Recent posts by Solanix on Kongregate

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Topic: Game Programming / Any ways to speed up exporting of SWF when debugging movie in Flash?

Alternatively, keep all your heavy assets in an external swf and merge it only at runtime. That way you don’t recompile and reprocess all the graphics and audio each time you want to test some slight code changes.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / [?]Multiplayer, Anti-Cheating, and True random numbers

And the reason why this works is because someone would have to know the seed number capable of their wanted results versus the results they had.

Unless, of course, they inject the seed they want (as in already used) at the start…

You might want to generate that server side. Matter of fact, since you’re recalculating everything on the server with a multiplayer game, why not simply keep the seed and calculations on the server and only send the results back to the client?

 
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Topic: Game Programming / GiTD #38 - *Minimalism*

- Between Scylla and Charybdis
- The Law of the Jungle
- Pyrrhic victory

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Good Rating or good players?

Originally posted by Aesica:

Not to be rude, but what’s the point of “clicker” game? To learn and level up one’s carpal tunnel?

I’m pretty sure it is a conspiracy constructed by mouse manufacturer to sell more mouse related products.

Besides that, why would you care about blocking cheaters in a single player game? I really fail to see what there is to gain in doing so. If you’re worried about things like leaderboards then don’t submit/accept impossible score (and do it silently). Otherwise, it’s really not worth the risk; I remember Enigmata 2 (or was it the first?) tanking at first because an update caused quite a few save files to become flagged as cheated do to an error (and never fixing it).

 
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Topic: Game Design / Simplistic game too simplistic?

Modern gaming is moving pretty quickly towards games without a lose condition. Even non-idle genres do this: platformers no longer give you limited lives, shooters give you instant respawns, and even competitive games give you exp and rewards regardless of whether you win or not. Participation rewards ensure you’re always progressing regardless of your ability at a game.

That’s because the actual term is whether an interactive piece has failure states (which, unlike lost, doesn’t imply punishment or the game ending). A good example where the distinction becomes important is in Wing Commander where you can thoroughly fail missions and yet keep proceeding along the story. Also, in time management games, wasting time can be considered a form of failure state (getting less/no reward for the same time spent).

To me this is like saying instant coffee isn’t really coffee because (some arbitrary reason about how “REAL” coffee “should” be made). The same goes for #4 and #5 in the list, too, really…. why can’t a puzzle or a competition also be a game? Who says they have to exist as separate things? In fact #5 would appear to suggest that any game with leaderboards isn’t a game, since you can outperform but not attack your opponent, making them all competitions.

Games are compound elements. Just because the leaderboards may be a competition doesn’t mean some other part of the gameplay isn’t a puzzle or a full game. It’s very common to see games within games, if you’re only analyzing from a holistic point of view then you’re missing out on quite a lot.

Also, isn’t it the point of definitions to arbitrarily define things? Saying all forms of interactive media should be called game is akin to saying all forms of music should be called Jazz. We just end with an overly broad and redundant term that creates confusion and grief. It makes more sense to have a variety of terms to describe the variety of possible genres/types we have (and expandable enough for those we will have). Perhaps if things like Dear Esther and Gone Home had proper terms we wouldn’t get so many people expecting something else when they bought them (and no, non-game doesn’t work, that’s like saying Rock is non-Jazz, it’s ineffectual at best).

 
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Topic: Game Programming / EA Free-To-Play MicroTX has Gone Too Far

Breaking News: Apparently EA decided that we can have nice things. (offer is over)
Please, do not mind the damage control alarm ringing in the back.

I wasn’t too sure about posting this, but I figured some of you might of liked some err… free research material.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / EA Free-To-Play MicroTX has Gone Too Far

You know, I’m not sure people would get the joke. We all saw what happened with Achievement Unlocked and Upgrade Complete, right? :P

 
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Topic: Game Programming / EA Free-To-Play MicroTX has Gone Too Far

I don’t think any of those developers would care about that, saybox. The way they see it is if someone is worried about spending a few bucks, then that person isn’t part of the 500$+ target audience that they care about. And one consequence of targeting an audience like that is prices become VERY inelastic. You’d need a massive player base for new sales from a price drop to ever reliably surpass the losses from what the ‘whales’ could of spent on high prices. So I doubt they’ll stop this anytime soon, matter of fact, we’re starting to see things like full priced releases with more and more ridiculous microtransactions these days.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / EA Free-To-Play MicroTX has Gone Too Far

Originally posted by Aesica:

But…I loved the original Dungeon Keeper. What they fuck is this? It’s almost as bad as Wartune.

Well, at least the good news in all of this is that DK 1 and 2 have been the top sellers on GOG for a few days now. It seems people are realizing what the better payment plan is. Maybe that was EA’s master plan all along.

Also you mentioning Wartune reminds me of that other DK atrocity.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / EA Free-To-Play MicroTX has Gone Too Far

That would be because it’s not even possible to rate it anything but 5 stars. Any other ratings gets you redirected to an EA support ticket. Which means the only way to rate it fairly is to rate 5 and then change your rating in the store later.

Also, don’t you just love the smell of burning AstroTurf in the morning?
I don’t think they’re even trying to be subtle about it.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Apparently "Saga" is Trademarked

Originally posted by Ace_Blue:

What we need now is some enterprising soul to trademark “zombie” and finally put an end to one of the most overused tropes in video games.

I’m sure that wouldn’t work. Com2uS has a trademark for ‘Tower Defense’ and that wasn’t enough to kill that genre.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Apparently "Saga" is Trademarked

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/131637-Candy-Crush-Studio-Denies-Cloning-Games-Pulls-Cloned-Game

hmmm… I’m getting this strange sense of déjà vu.

I was always under the impression that you can’t trademark standard words

I don’t know, Apple was a pretty standard word to me. But from what I can recall, you can trademark anything as long as it isn’t a basic descriptor related to the the service or product you’re providing (so for example Coca-Cola can’t grab Cola on it’s own, no PC manufacturer could get Computer…). In this case, Saga is a particularly silly trademark considering it’s a descriptor for a style of narrative and video games happen to be a medium for narrative.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Memory traps

Actually, from what I’ve tested it’s the opposite, the weak reference option is tied to the listener (the actual function object) not whatever the listener is attached to. Since class or static level functions can’t be scraped, this means it only becomes relevant when the function is stored in a variable or is anonymous. Which makes this whole option misleading and pointless to use in most cases (or not use, depending on how you look at it).

 
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Topic: Game Design / Steath Games: What are they?

There’s a procedurally generated stealth game that came out a few weeks ago called Not The Robots . There might be some worthwhile inspirations to pick up there.

I don’t think stealth should be considered a genre. You don’t make a stealth game.

But does FPS or Action really define a game like Thief 1/2 better than stealth could?

In plain English, dead sentries don’t raise alarms.

Actually, they’re quite capable of doing so. The most elegant method I’ve seen was in Metal Gear Solid 2, where certain guards with radios would send a sitrep every minute or so. If the guard couldn’t send one for any reason, command would try contacting them at some point and eventually send a strike team to investigate.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / (True === False) ???

You’ll never be able to work it backwards since there is no logical/mathematical way to arrive to the solution above; it is merely a consequence of the way Flash is designed (more specifically that things like Boolean(undefined) return as false). In truth, it shouldn’t even be valid because saying false < null = false is a mathematical fallacy (as it implies that false must be either greater than or equal to null (and those return as false in AS3, I checked)).

 
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Topic: Game Programming / FlashDevelop's flawed Features

Originally posted by BobJanova:
Looking for getTimer(), for instance? just starting to type it won’t cut it, unless you’re already importing it in that class.

Yeah that’s the one thing that’s annoyed me about it (same for describeType and other static non-OO functions).

You folks know about the magic ctrl+shift+1 key for FD, right? Just type your getTimer or other native function then press that shortcut and FD will generate the proper import declaration for you.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Context Free Grammar

Why not simply add another syntactic variable to the mix? As in:
“Pure”,“Red”,“Blue”… means a determined color.
“Hue”,“Red”,“Blue”… means a color to be expanded.
And maybe “Tone”,“Red”,“Blue”… would give a color that can only be expanded with black or white.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Multiplayer Game Dev Contest - Play Entries!

According to the second eligibility section in the official rules, the game apparently has to be a cooperative multiplayer. I’m kind of curious as to why there is no mention of that anywhere else. Also, why would a competitive/free-for-all focused game be turned down if it can fulfill all the other requirements and recommendations? Or is this all just a copy/paste error?

 
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Topic: Game Programming / AS3 overloading?

Since I doubt you’ll be working with images that have a height of around 4294967295 pixels:


public function pixelAt(indeX:uint, y:uint = uint.MAX_VALUE):uint
{
	if (y == uint.MAX_VALUE)
	{
		//use indeX as an index to get coords
		//overwrite indeX and y with the results
	}

	//use indeX and y as coords
}

Or inverse it if you want to go from coords to index. Just make sure you document the function well if you don’t want it to haunt you back in six month.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / [Performance] Old JSON vs. New + Native


  32 bit Windows XP x86 11.2.202.235 Release PlugIn

Parsing...
JSON Length: 7,631,861 

skyboy v1(AS3) 	 649
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 686
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 690
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 694
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 695 

skyboy v2(AS3) 	 310
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 362
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 354
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 359
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 367 

Adobe Native JSON 	 650
Adobe Native JSON 	 609
Adobe Native JSON 	 613
Adobe Native JSON 	 614
Adobe Native JSON 	 617 


Encoding...
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 623
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 614
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 614
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 615
skyboy v1(AS3) 	 628 

skyboy v2(AS3) 	 685
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 684
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 677
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 675
skyboy v2(AS3) 	 675 

Adobe Native JSON 	 1207
Adobe Native JSON 	 1117
Adobe Native JSON 	 1094
Adobe Native JSON 	 1083
Adobe Native JSON 	 1097 


Total time: 20612
Input: Kongregate badge list Array (x10)

 
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Topic: Game Programming / [AIR iOS] Webview video and sounds

I guess you’re out of luck if you can’t upgrade then. You could try using drawViewPortToBitmapData() instead of adding it to the stage, but I don’t think there’s any way to pull the audio out. You could check if webview happens to be using something like SampleDataEvent in the back for its audio that you could catch, but I doubt it.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / [AIR iOS] Webview video and sounds

You wouldn’t, by any chance, be using a version older than AIR 3.0?

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Art vs code vs performance - what's more valued nowadays?

Originally posted by Ace_Blue:

Where Dwarf Fortress excels is in generating emergent behavior: behavior that is not explicitly coded but arises as a consequence of the game rules interacting with each other. This aspect is lacking in the vast majority of games. In fact, AAA titles are practically designed to avoid such behavior, because the designer doesn’t have full control over emergent properties, and most commercial game studios are obsessed with controlling the player’s experience. In the end, that model is self-defeating, since I’ve never seen an awe-inspiring cutscene, no matter how much attention to detail went into the cinematics, while many DF stories are awesome enough to elicit reactions in the order of “Man, I wish I’d seen that!” even though the only things to see were ASCII symbols and a text description.

I don’t think it’s something reserved to emergent behavior. While the idea of crossbow wielding scorpions is hilarious, I also greatly enjoyed that scene in Fallout 1 (or was it 2?) with that radscorpion that could pick locks, had 20/20 vision, and was a grandmaster chess player (who gets betrayed by a talking plant, by the way). I think it simply involves not being afraid of not reusing the same old copy-pasted settings as is, or not abusing the same tropes over and over, or not regurgitating memes after memes that we’ve already heard a million times already. There’s nothing wrong in using them moderately, but most games these days just seem to be a collection of memes coupled with something I’m not sure could be defined as a plot. It’s a difficult balance, something that is constantly weird will simply be alienating while something constantly mundane will be dull. But if you build a world that can be (for the most part) related to, then throw in some sprinkles of weirdness here and there, you just might get something engaging, something that makes you want to explore every inch of that world. Is it worth the risk and effort? That I cannot answer, because in the end it all depends on why you are making (and playing) those game.

About DF and ASCII graphics – do you people still remember the first MMORPG games there were, namely MUDs? They even lacked ASCII art, they used text commands to interact with the world, they pretty much required a lot of imagination to go beyond the simple “ki bug” approach, but they were highly playable and enjoyable. And, PVP! :) While it’s pretty fun hearing DF stories, and attempting to imagine a scorpion flinging arrows and reloading a crossbow (ROFL), DF is not oriented towards average player (and I’m not even saying “casual” or “YOBA” player), and its genre puts emphasis on gameplay instead of everything else, so art for it is largely redundant.

Does the fact that a game caters only to a niche or small player base really harms its value? I mean yes, you won’t get a 4.5 star rating or 90 metacritic score. But you also have a much less saturated market to work with/against. If you’re making a plain shooter, what are you going to do to make it stand out over the hundreds of other shooters coming out this year? Try to throw in an innovative feature that has a chance to backfire on you or simply make your game feel gimmicky? Try to push graphic fidelity even more to the point of tripping over an uncanny valley? Or do you simply hope the marketing team know what they’re doing.

Also, is Shakespeare’s work worthless because there is a high learning curve to appreciating old modern english? And does the fact that a select, small, group of academia still refuse to modernize contemporize mean nothing in terms of overall cultural appeal?

And am I the only one who thinks audio is an extremely important part of games?

You know… They say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think we have enough example up here that shows that. From Zelda’s simple item get jingle to FF6’s 20 minute long Dancing Mad are all good, but they only become great when you’ve experienced their associated experience. I have a much harder time remembering good music from games that weren’t too engaging (and it’s definitely not because there aren’t any).

But the opposite is true too. I don’t care how great and fitting the music is if it’s attached to something like DuckLife 4. The game is still going to be inferior to any of its parts. And not because of its art or code or performance, but simply due to a few design decision that added nothing positive to the game.

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Art vs code vs performance - what's more valued nowadays?

Doesn’t the value of the aspects of a game highly depend on its genre and draw? I mean, surely I’m not the only one that doesn’t care if your TBS or card game lags (unless it is composed of obnoxiously long, unskippable, animations), but will get infuriated at the sightless inconstancy in a rhythm or precision platformer game.

Same with art/graphics. I expect a roguelike’s graphics to be mostly functional. I want something that can efficiently, at one glance, communicate to me all that is going on, not something with fancy large tiles that only lets me see 5 tiles on each side of my character. But on the other side of that spectrum, I would expect decent aesthetics from a point & click because it’s usually a core part to the mood and atmosphere of those games.

Originally posted by Draco18s:

How many games do you know that….

A) When SomethingAwful decides that it’s terrible, go play it, and then decide it is in fact The Best Thing Ever?
B) Have people who donate to the dev despite having never played the game?
C) Allow you to pluck out people’s eyeballs?
D) Beat a man to death with his own severed arm?
E) Allow you to die because a colossus ripped off your pants and then beat you with them? (Can’t find the original source)

Meh, you missed that guy who got his crossbow and bolts stolen by a giant desert scorpion then got shot in the face with it… Ironic how such a game with ‘lacking’ graphics can convey so much imagery after all, no?

 
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Topic: Game Programming / [Performance?] Array access oddity


  32 bit Windows XP x86 11.1.102.63 Release PlugIn
Array as Array	371
Array as *	355
Array as Object	358

  32 bit Windows XP x86 11.1.102.63 Release PlugIn
Array as Array	360
Array as *	372
Array as Object	361

  32 bit Windows XP x86 11.1.102.63 Release PlugIn
Array as Array	358
Array as *	356
Array as Object	396

  32 bit Windows XP x86 11.1.102.63 Release PlugIn
Array as Array	370
Array as *	360
Array as Object	357

  32 bit Windows XP x86 11.1.102.63 Release PlugIn
Array as Array	359
Array as *	356
Array as Object	355