Thx for the givins

Well the holidays are getting pretty darn close to wrapping up. At this point, I have about one more day left. Sadly our flight is at 5:30 am from Fort Wayne to Detroit (and then to Philly by 9). While this early timing sucks in terms of the amount of sleep we will be getting, it is actually kind of nice to have a full day back before hitting work on Monday. Definetly need some down time to (apologize for the words) flush the system.

Another reason to look forward to Sunday is some time with L4D2 (still awesomin) and also enjoy a nice $34 copy of Borderlands (for PC). Steam launched some awesome deals for the holidays and Borderlands was on sale for %33. Bless Steam :)

I've been interested in Borderlands for awhile but after being hurt so bad by Hellgate London and its utter failure to fufilll its promises of merging FPS and Action RPG gameplay together, I am pretty hesitant. I've heard three pretty convincing arguments - 1 of which indicated that playing solo was pretty fun. Hopefully my PC won't have too many issues playing it. I'm looking forward to using the Soldier class and mastering the wasteland critters with my turret of doom. Good god I'm a nerd :)

In other news, I'm still working on my side project. I did an overhaul recently to the graphics system allowing me to do some more fun effects with my GUI. This slowed me down from real production for a bit but I think in the long run it'll pay off. To keep you all informed, the new 'prototype' that I hope to put up later this week is the same controls as Heavy but now you are trying to collect colored balls that come out of cannons placed in the level. Once you collect six balls, you earn points for linear 'matches' in your collection. The objective in each level is to get a set score as fast as possible to progress to the next level.

What I'm waiting for is making sure that all the primary game logic is working, putting in just enough visual/sound effects to get the basic feedback in, and at least 3 levels to show of potentials for design. Hopefully I can get something up to you all soon.

For the Party Poopers...

If you are in the camp that thinks there is no difference between L4D1 and L4D2, here's a f**k you from me to you.

Just kidding..but seriously..I go the chains in the back.


I just played the first campaign (Dead Center) by myself.

That was the single most amazing time I've ever had in an action game ever. It was so good that I wanted to cry tears of awesomeness over and over again.

And that was just on normal.


Looking for ideas

I want to take Heavy's control mechanics and cross it with a simple puzzle game (like match 3, etc) to end up with a hybrid genre thing.

Anyone have any ideas?


I'm killing ARZ. After working on it during the weekend, I became increasingly frustrated at the direction the game was going. I was running out of steam on how to develop it and to be honest, I just lacked the knowledge to pull off a game like this. So after spending some serious emotional down time trying to figure out what I'm going to do for a side project, I came up with the idea of Heavy.

Off to the side, you will see a new section for Heavy - this is a new side-scrolling game I'm working on that uses the ARZ code base. You'll notice in this demo that several assets/text are the same. I haven't really updated every piece yet but you will be able to see the idea.

In Heavy, you pilot a small spaceship through a maze to and get to the exit. To move the ship, simply use the mouse to make him look where you want to go and press the left mouse button. Your ship will then burst forward but you will need to wait a bit before you can burst again. Getting in you way are cannons that shoot "heavy" - a black ooze that sticks to your ship and will slowly weigh you down. To get rid of heavy, simply slam your ship into the walls. This will wipe it off ya (maybe after a few rams) and then you can get back on track.

So grab the demo and try it out. Tell me what you think of the controls which is my primary focus for now.

I'll go into it later why I chose this game, right now my fingers are tired from pretty much a 3-day non-stop code jam to figure this out.

Level design is the hard

First off, a new update is available (0.61). This version includes 2 new levels where I'm trying to actually get the game focused. Its still a longs way off. There is definitely some focus missing but I must not get too down hearted. Got to see this thing through :)

Drop me some feedback if you get a chance.

Proto 0.6! Long Live Emitters!

Yup. I lied. I said before I was going to be working hardcore on a small set of levels and really "balance" the game and NOT result in programming more stuff. Yeah I completely lied. After brainstorming for a few days I could not get over certain aspects of the game - the big one that stuck out was how the game was turning more into this click fest and less about simple puzzles/strategies - which for me makes levels easier to design (when there are clear cut 'solutions').

So my issues with the game come from this: You have to keep "upkeeping" the emitters since they die after awhile and you can more or less create tons of them as long as your meter stays up. So to drastically change this, I've made emitters last forever but you power no longer recharges. Instead each emitter costs 1 pt and will give you 1 pt back when you kill it - thats right, you can now kill emitters. When they come up you will see a bright spot in the center, click it and the emitter dies and will give the 1 pt back. Press spacebar to kill all emitters and get all your power back.

While the levels have not be redesigned, this new scheme is going to make it a HELLUVA lot easier to brainstorm levels since now it can be about limiting power and forcing players to evaluate their decisions more...oh crap. That means level specific power info...or does it?

Anyhoos, download and play and get back to me! I'll be working on levels with any freetime I have this weekend.

Poop Sockin!

I'll get to the title but first, some book keeping!

I haven't posted an update to ARZ recently because of an extended break. Laura and I went home last weekend and just before that I squeezed in the new directional emitter feature and then decided to call it off. This was coupled with the trip and then upon coming home, Torchlight's release. Once again, I'll get to that in a bit. As for the game, I'm starting back up and this time I'm going to focus on simple thing: level balance. This is all about getting one level to be truly represenative of all the known gameplay mechanics (or at the very least the core mechanics). This is going to require me putting down my programmer hat (as in I think everything can be solved by smarter coding) and attempting to "act" like a designer. I think at this point, all the elements are there but they need to be put together an more complete package. The first bit to this will be setting up a proper lose condition. Right now, you can simply sit back and have every single enemy go through the D point and then you'll happily move on to the next level. There is no consequence besides knowing that enemies got through. So now I'm going to make it where you can actually lose. Once you start each level, you will be given a set amount of life. This is a % of the total # of enemies that will be spawned in that level. If at least that many get through, you will lose and get booted back to restart the current level. I'll set it up so that you will want to get through all the known levels and this time it won't loop them.

The idea is improve the game as is then add more if necessary. I am pretty crappy at level design so if anyone has any ideas based on the protos you've played - please drop me a line.

Now for the explanation. Poop Sockin comes from the long-since defunct podcast GFW Live. In simple terms, it means playing the hell out of a game in a short period. I've been poop sockin Torchlight like no tommorow. For those who don't know, its an Action RPG by the folks who were making Mythos before Flagship (owners of the properity) shutdown. The regrouped and formed Runic Games who put out Torchlight in 11 months(!). The game is a phenomenal return to what made Diablo 2 so damn good but is geared towards a more casual approach (leveling is very fast and in the end the game is not meant to be played that long). It also 20 friggin bucks. So what do you have to lose?

I just pre-ordered L4D2 today and grabbed early access to the demo. I don't get it. I don't understand how Valve takes elements we see in so many games and makes it feel like we've never ever done them until this moment. I've shot so many zombies in so many games or at least I thought I had. L4D2 redefines what it means to shoot a zombie. Words really can't capture it so imagine me jumping up and down and getting really loud. What they have done to improve this game is just staggering. Every part of the game makes for one of the most visceral experiences I've ever had in an FPS. I've already put in my "husband day off" notice with Laura. Now I just need some badass stereo headphones (with mic) for my pc. I need to heard that sax blair when they zombies come out to play.