Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Buttons ^^^^

I've updated the buttons on the site to be rounded rather then slanted rectangles. I feel they are more pleasing to the eye.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Windows Ports!

As a way of apologizing for canceling the racing game, I've ported JemQuest, Birdwatch, and Doodle Dude to windows! You don't need a Mac anymore to enjoy these three great games!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Racing Game isn't going to Happen.

The racing game I started was part of a group project. Unfortunately, the group has lost interest and I am unable to continue developing the game by myself. I'm planning on releasing information about other upcoming projects in the new few weeks.

I just want to thank the fans for sticking with us in these tough times.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Site Makeover

I've added some new features to the website. Firstly, there is now an articles section. Secondly, I've replaced the "games" button with a "downloads" button. This is because I'm planning to expand Gribble Games to include general software and other non-game related material.

So far, I only have two articles written up. I plan on making other, minor changes over the next few days.

Let me know what you think on the forums.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

3 Web-Related Lessons Learned

I'll tell ya, GribbleGames.com is the first website I have ever made, and I must say, it was quite the learning experience.

Lesson 1) Originally, I was using IFrames to display the blog (BAD IDEA). Search engines can't read the text out of the frames, which prevents people from finding this site.

Lesson 2) I thought a forum would be hard to setup, but actually I found it to be quite easy. I use PhpBB for my forum and it was surprisingly simple to setup. I would highly recommend if you're interested in having your own forum.

Lesson 3) When working with HTML, use the #include directive! I can't even begin to describe how wonderful the #include directive is. Before I knew about it, I had to manually edit all my HTML files whenever I wanted to add a new button or modify the logo up top. The #include directive has saved me a lot of time!

For anyone out there just getting into web design, I have only one thing to say to you: Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A few new changes headed your way...

I'm planning a few new changes to the website over the next couple of days. So keep watching the site! (or else) :D

Monday, July 20, 2009

Space Smashout Postmortem Entry #2

This is the second part of my Space Smashout (referred to as SS) postmortem.

After having decided on Opengl as my video driver, I began work on the game engine. For SS, I created my own (simple) rendering engine. After about a month into the project I had model loading capabilities via my own model format, texture loading with the tga image format, and the start of a scriptable gui (graphical user interface). I must say, though, the gui was undoubtedly the hardest thing to make.

People really don't notice gui's anymore. Its as if people just figure that the gui is "supposed" to be there, and if it's not, then something is wrong. I don't think people realize how hard it is to write one either. So many unforeseen problems can occur. Also, the gui was not only the hardest thing to program, but also took the most amount of time to finish.

The thing about a user interface is we all know what it is and how it should work. We all know what a button and checkbox are, so my problem was that if I didn't integrate the gui 100% correctly, people would say the gui was bad.

It probably took me at least 2 months to get the gui working right, which was practically half the development time! And in the end, I had a variety of 6 different widgets: The button, label, checkbox, slider, listbox, and text field widget.

As a gamer, a gui is just something to be expected, but as a programer, the gui is one the hardest and most tedious things to get right. Perhaps now that I know what mistakes I made, I'll be able to integrate a gui faster next time. All I can is, that as a gamer, I have much more appreciation for the programmer stuck with writing it.

To the fans out there, just do me a favor: next time you find yourself in a game menu, just stop a second and really absorb in the work that went into displaying that start and quit button.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Space Smashout Postmortem Entry #1

As promised, I'm starting a series of blogs about the development of Space Smashout. This is entry number one in the series.

I originally started Space Smashout as a way to learn more about 3d graphics. One of the first decisions I had to make was whether to use Microsoft's DirectX or Silicon Graphics Opengl. After some thinking about, I decided to use Opengl.

The reason for this is simple: portability. When I was younger, I was brought up using Macintosh. I loved my Mac, it did everything a nine year old could expect, except to play the greatest games. I was always disappointed that all the "cool" and "new" games were coming out for windows first, with Mac being fed only the scrapes. I vowed that if I were to ever make a video game, I would make sure it ran on Mac. Thus, this resulted in my choice to use Opengl over Microsucks DirectX.

As I said at the beginning, Space Smashout (lets refer to it as SS from now on) was my first attempt at 3d graphics. When I began SS, I had no clue how 3d graphics were produced or displayed on the screen. I began my journey cutting and pasting code which I would find on the internet. Let me tell you right now, DON'T CUT AND PASTE CODE! The result is that my source code looked like it had been sent through a meat grinder (not pretty).

I quick realized that if I stayed on this track, SS would never be finished. That's when I sucked in my pride and *gasp* read the manual (yes, even programmers hate reading manuals). But there was no other alternative, I read over the Opengl specification a step at a time.

Apparently, things worked out well because SS was finished after all and I have no regrets about choosing Opengl over DirectX.

Of course, there were still many of other problems that I will write about over the next few days.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Video of Race Track Editor

Hey all, here's a video demonstrating the new sidebar in our race track editor.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Everything still going smoothly...

Everything is still going smoothly on the project. Tyler is still working on the event system and I am still working on the editor. The editor is almost finished, there are just a few last minute things that need to get done.

The biggest problem were facing with the project right now is organization. This was Tyler and me's first time working on a group project. We both didn't know what to expect and we didn't do a lot of planning at the start. We've just been adding features onto the game at our own pace.

Our next project will probably not take as long as this just because were going to organize things better next time.

I'm still going to be discussing the development of Space Smashout over the next few days so stay tuned for more info.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Screenshot of Track Editor

Here's a new screenshot of the track editor. I haven't had as much time to work on it because the Calculus class I'm enrolled in is keeping me very busy. However, in the past week, I was able to make a panel (seen on the right) that allows you to select the race track tiles you want.

You use the mouse now (previously the arrowkeys) to drag and drop tiles. I figure the mouse is better for this, since the arrow keys are pretty retro.

Over the next few day I plan to improve the track editor and make some small updates to the website.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Space Smashout has been downloaded nearly 1000 times!

Space Smashout has been downloaded nearly 1000 times, and boy is my hand sore!

But in all seriousness, as a developer, it gives me great satisfaction knowing that people are benefiting from my hard work. I'm also pleased that the forums are growing. I have to confess: Space Smashout was my first attempt at 3d game programming, and I'm pleased everything went as well as it did.

Over the next few days, I'd like to take a moment to review the progress of our next game, as well as discuss the development of Space Smashout.

I also have been very hush-hush bout the iPhone game I'm developing. I encourage you to keep bugging me and maybe I'll release the details sooner.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Editor Being Worked On

This weekend, I'd like to try and finish the track editor menu (or at least get it ready for beta testing). Up until now, I've been using the arrow keys to select tiles. I find that this method is not very user friendly.

Over the next few days, I'm going to be working on a separate menu that will allow you to visual select and drop tiles with the mouse.