Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New videos coming!

Everything is back up and running and I am getting a new headset/mic for Christmas, so expect some more videos.  I plan to jump into Blender and start designing levels.  Thanks for your patience!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I have uncovered a backup of my hard drive! I forgot that I had kept my backup in an eSata enclosure that I had removed from my backpack when heading on a business trip.  I left it on my workbench in the garage--shows you how often I use the workbench.  Anyway, it appears to be the most recent version of the game.  I should be starting videos again and will most likely start back up by jumping into Blender so that we can do some nice versions of some of our assets.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Ok, so yes, it has been an incredibly long time since I have posted.  My computer issues were more than I originally thought and I have lost all of my project files - including my backups (don't ask).  Luckily the code was backed up on github and I am reconstructing things from there.  Shouldn't be too bad really.  The code was the only serious work, the actual models were stock for the most part.  I also have been working on getting a Hackintosh up and running because I have had alot of people asking about iOS and I didn't have a good way to work on that since it requires a Mac.  Why a Hackintosh?  Simply because I can't afford to shell out the money for a Mac, but I do have access to PCs.  I purchased Snow Leopard for $30 from the Apple app store and now have it running on a Latitude e6410.  If anyone is interested in the process, I could probably do a run down of how I got it running and what my current issues are.  For the most part it just works.

Oh, and I went to Blackberry Devcon and have some exciting news about the direction that RIM is taking for their future platforms.  I was very excited to see ShiVa3D mentioned multiple times.  I will do a full write up soon!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Technical difficulties

I tried to make a video last night, but my game making efforts are being pushed into a virtual machine so that I can keep all of my personal stuff of my work laptop.  Hypercam2, which is what I use for recording videos, locks up my VM every time I try and run it.  I am going to try and find a replacement today.  The video I was ready to make was how no load Android apps on the Blackberry Playbook.  I know that this is not directly tied to the current project, but it is related because I need a device to test my game on and this is the only mobile device I have access to at the moment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Been a while!

So I meant to do some posts and videos a while back but it didn't quite work out.  The software that enables you to run Android apps on the Blackberry Playbook came out and I wanted to see if I could get the game running on the Playbook.  That is when I found out that there are some issues with the current version of the Authoring Tool when it comes to publishing Android apps.  I tried for several days before posting to the ShiVa forum (I'm stubborn!).  They told me that the beta version works and that the full version would be released very soon.  Of course if you are a paying customer you get access to the beta version, but alas, I am not a paying customer yet.  Long story short, I was waiting on that and it still hasn't materialized.  What I am going to do instead is do a video on getting Android apps working on the Playbook in preparation for when I will get the Authoring Tool that will work.  Oh, and my computer crashed, so I am still recovering from that =)  In fact I am installing ShiVa as I write this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Traffic stats for anyone interested

In case anyone would like to see the traffic stats to see the browser breakdown, locations, etc, here they are:

Happy 50th to me!

I just hit 50 subscribers on YouTube!  Actually it says 51, but one of those is my personal account so I can monitor how the subscription updates look.  I just want to thank everyone for their support!  I would have quit a long time ago if it wasn't for you guys taking an interest.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yay! Major milestone - basic mechanics finished!

It feels good to have a big portion of the game done.  That selector was the biggest pain and probably why I did it near the end.  The basic mechanics are done.  Now we need to spend some time playing the game.  There are other things I want to add, but for now, you can launch the ball, bounce it off stuff and make it to the goal.  I feel pretty good about that!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finally finished the selector!

I have to admit, this little problem kicked my butt for a while, mostly because ShiVa was not behaving the way I expected.  Here is how I got it all working and the end result.

Trig lesson

If you are like me, it has been a long time since you learned this in school.  Here is a refresher so that you are ready for the next video.  It's pretty much the basis for all the changes I made on this iteration.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I've finally figured it out!  You'll have to watch the videos to see what I figured out, but it took me all week to get this working the way I wanted--granted I only have time to work on this for an hour or two each night.  The videos will include a trig lesson as background to how I had to implement the code the way I did.  I'll also show you a bug I found in ShiVa, or if it isn't a bug, it's at least something that isn't implemented correctly.  So check back sometime tonight for the update!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Awesome article series about economies in MMOs

I don't know a whole lot about online economies and how to balance them, but I have experienced as a player most of what Simon mentions in his article and his solutions seem doable.  I don't know that I will ever tackle a project that would require a complex economy, but it was still a great read!

Yes, there should be another video soon =)

Getting the object selector/control piece working is taking a lot more effort than I originally anticipated.  Maybe I am just going about it in the wrong way--I don't know.  However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and so I am hopeful that I will be able to put something up soon even if I have to put that on hold and tackle something easier.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making games tailored to mobile devices

Develop had another article that discusses how we are using mobile hardware in game development.  The gist of the article is that the best games take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile devices.  I have seen way too many games that were originally designed for consoles or computers but are ported over to a mobile device so that the controls end up being horribly clunky.  I think I have been a victim of this mentality especially when using the preview feature in ShiVa3D.  My game is focused on mouse control at the moment and I have found myself loosing touch with the nuances of a touch interface.  I may have to find an Android device I can borrow so that I can start testing on the actual device.  I don't want to wait until the project is nearly done only to find out that my interface doesn't really make sense for a touch screen.

Making money on Android

Develop has an interesting article up titled What's the best way to make money from Android Games?  It definitely has some good points especially about freemium games, but the best info is that it can be pretty difficult to develop for Android because of all the different handsets and firmware combinations that are possible.  If you add to that the fact that the Android emulators are notoriously slow so that testing games is nearly impossible, then you definitely have one king-size headache brewing.  I guess I will just have to see for myself.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Adding the object selector tool to the HUD

In this video I finally import the HUD element that we created a week or so ago.  Originally I ran into some issues with the imported image looking pretty bad.  It turns out that when you import textures they resize to a multiple of 64, i.e. 64x64, 128x128, etc.  For a small image with a lot of subtle alpha settings to blend the edges, the resizing can really screw it up.  Once I resized it in Gimp to be 128x128, it looked much better.  So from now on, we will be making our texture sizes multiples of 64.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's my motivation?

I got my first donation - thanks Rosario! Just to give you an idea of how online economics work, 2 months of people clicking on my ads barely evened out with what I got from Rosario's single donation! So if you are looking to get rich from a blog, don't hold your breath =)  This experience really got me life crowds in, there are times when priorities shift and change and some things that used to be vitally important move to the back-burner.  As indie game developers, we often have the difficult task of trying to squeeze game development into our already busy lives.  So I started thinking about our source of motivation since I was finding it harder and harder to find the time to work on the project.  Getting a donation really snapped me out of my funk and made me really look at how I can better motivate myself to keep up with the project.  I think if we were to list all of the possible motivations that figure in to a game development project we would quickly run out of room, but I want to hit on a few.

I think that I have mentioned before that part of the reason that I am doing this a public/open project is because I feel that it will help me to stay on track, so the expectations of others can be good motivation.  If you fall in this category, I would encourage you to find some public forum, whether it be family, friends, the internet, etc., and let them know what you are working on.  It is hard to slack off on a project when people are always asking how things are coming.

Another reason is that I just love creating something that others will get enjoyment from.  It's also the reason I like to play music up on a stage--I love to see other people getting enjoyment from something I am creating.  If you fall in this category, you may want to get prototypes out in front of others to see their reactions.  It will help you to stay motivated (as long as they like it) and help you to know when you need to make changes (when they don't like it).

The last reason is plain old money.  I think when it comes to the creative process money may feel like a dirty word, but I think we would be kidding ourselves if we took it out of the equation--certainly when we hear of others that get rich off a game that went viral, we can't help but wish that we could be next.  Getting a donation made me realize the real pull that money can have on motivation--I thought, if what I am doing is important enough that people are willing to pay money to support it, then I have to keep going!

In reality, I think that our motivations are very complex and shift constantly.  If you want to see a project through to the end, it's important to maximize all of the motivating factors so that there will always be a reason to continue and give you the extra boost when times get rough.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Awesome pixel art tool!

A friend of mine just showed me a powerful app for doing pixel art.  I've only played with it briefly, but it seems to make creating pixel art easy and fun.  This will definitely be useful for making 2D games.

Check it out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Real-time development

I read this great article on Develop-Online. You guys have probably figured out that I am a HUGE fan of iterative development.  What really drove the concept home for me is the fact that I have been working on a Blackberry app for work and I am doing it in Java.  The problem with Java development on the Blackberry is that you run your code in simulators that take forever to startup and load the app.  There are ways to reduce this time, but when compared with Blackberry Webworks development, it is a huge time waster.  In Webworks, there is a browser based simulator named Ripple that allows you to redeploy an app by simply hitting the refresh button in the browser.  ShiVa functions along the same lines because you can run the game in the IDE on-the-fly.  You don't have long compile times or a long wait while the simulator loads.  More than anything else, that has been the single most important feature in ShiVa and makes development so much easier.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Using Gimp to create a HUD element

I am definitely no expert in Gimp, so please keep the laughing to a minimum!  Since I am not an artist, I really appreciate the way programs like Gimp can make it easy to apply 3D effects like emboss.  In this video I create a basic image that I'm going to import as a texture and then put in the HUD of the game.  This will be the control to handle the rotation of movable objects.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Some great feedback!

So an important part of iterative development is to get good feedback during testing and then incorporate it into new iterations so that, over time, the game continues to improve.  This video discusses some of the feedback I have recently received and where you can go to leave feedback.  Although I have not implemented all the feedback yet, I will make sure that I call attention to changes that are the result of feedback when I do the videos.

Beam me up, Scotty! Adding a teleporter to the game.

I think it turned out pretty good!  I still need to change some of the mechanics like moving the camera with the ball so that there isn't such a jarring change in the view.  Kronos gave me some great feedback in the forums and mentioned the way the poly trail pauses, so I will be fixing that as well.  I encourage everyone to read his feedback because it brings up a lot of good points and demonstrates how critical it is to get the input of people outside the project. Thanks for the excellent feedback, Kronos!

Bug fix and AI re-design

Sorry its been about a week since my last post.  Here is a video documenting the fix for a bug that I accidentally introduced to the game.  Basically by adding a ceiling that is a collider, the game could no longer find objects that you click on to move them.  I fixed it by moving the ceiling in edit mode.  I also moved some code around to segregate AI functionality a bit more.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flame on!

Video showing what happens when the ball gets too close to the fire.  I also include a switch to turn the flame off.

Fire and smoke - Particle effects in ShiVa3D

Finally something flashy!  It is pretty easy to implement a particle effect in ShiVa3D, but you will want to spend some time tweaking the settings to get exact look you want.  I still don't feel that I got the fire exactly right, but I feel good about the smoke.  At first I didn't like that some of the fire particles lifted off the main body of the fire because it didn't look very realistic, but when I added the smoke, the fire particles now look like the light of the fire reflecting off the smoke.  I think it looks pretty cool.  Next I will add some sensors so that the ball catches on fire when it goes through, which will be very cool if it works out right!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Emulating a trampoline in ShiVa3D

Not going to write much on this one because I am at work =)  Watch the video and see how to implement a trampoline like object.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Installing the Corona SDK and looking at the demos

I'm not getting bored!  I'm just interested in a lot of different things all at the same time.  I wanted to start doing something in Corona so that I could see exactly how different it is to working in ShiVa3D.  This video just installs the SDK and then we look at some of the demos.  I will be developing a game in Corona and documenting it along the way similar to what I am doing in my ShiVa3D video series.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ShiVa 3D - Adding a poly trail to the ball via a helper object.

Here we are adding poly trails in ShiVa3D so that we can see where the ball has gone.  I was finding it difficult to position objects in the level when I couldn't remember exactly where the ball had traveled.  This makes it easier because we can see the path of the ball by using poly trails.  I love how easy they are to set up and they just work. I also add a helper object to make the trail work right.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I changed my github setup

I realized that within a ShiVa project there is a scripts folder that has the raw Lua files.  I setup that folder as my github folder and so now I am syncing directly from there.  As a result, my github files are now divided up by functions/event handlers.  Just an FYI in case you get confused when you go there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Ok, I may be a bit late to the game, but I just started seriously using Python for the first time and I have to say that I haven't had so much fun in a long time!  This really has nothing to do with game development, so I hope you will bear with the digression.  I am a bit of a programming language junky, but only in the sense that I like to learn about them, play with them a bit and move on.  I don't do a lot of serious programming with each one unless I come across a situation that seems appropriate.  I had to do some simple modifications to a CSV file and I will have to do it on a regular basis.  The idea of using C# or Java to do it didn't sound like much fun and those are the languages that I am most familiar with.  Instead, I thought of Python and went from knowing nothing to having the dang thing finished in a few hours.  The code was much smaller than what I would have written in C# or Java and it was a lot more fun!