Sunday, November 30, 2003

Well I've finally made the first steps towards a website for the new version of StarLines INC, which will be known as Starship Tycoon.
Heres the website so far:
Starship Tycoon website. All I need to do now is redirect the domain name, Ive also set up a discussion forum for the beta of the game.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Fitted a catflap today. hurrah, no more sitting shivering in the living room while the cat decides if it should go out the door or not. Havent managed to wrestle the magnetic tag around jadzias neck yet, that fun is still to come.
Been doing some mionor tweaks to StarLines before readying it for beta testing, I now have a demo configuration set up, with just 1 level, and Im tweaking stuff like default buttons, and homing in on minor bugs. Theres still a lot of features that I'd like to add, but this version is already so much better than the original Im keen to get it on sale. The new version won't be called StarLines anymore by the way...
I'm still stuck on the same level in Call od Duty, firing at German motorcylists from that truck using panzerfausts. bah! I've decided its actually great fun multiplayer.
I sold 16 shareware games this month so far, which isn't bad, especially after you add the RealGames sales on top, haven't heard back from them concerning StarLines, which is a bit worrying, but I suspect they are just ultra busy.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Lots of stuff to do on the movies, all quite entertaining to code, And doing the scenes for the AI (which can be quite creative) is especially entertaining.
Still playing Call of Duty, lots of Geeks at work finished it in 10 minutes but it'll probably take me months. Not as bad in multiplayer as I first thought either.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Things are bouncing along nicely on StarLines and on the Movies. I'm doing the tutorial at the moment for StarLines, making it work again after everything was pulled apart and redone. No word back from Realgames yet, but they are always super busy anyway. In any case, Im aiming to release the new version as shareware first anyway.
I've also decided to release the new version as physically separate download/demo urls, to avoid serial number cracking. There was a discussion about this at a while back.
Recently there was a brief surge in sales of my stuff, which is cool, because it means I have some money accrued in the RegNow account to spend on advertising once the game is ready. I still spend a few pence a day (literally) on adwords for Asteroid Miner.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

That screenshot I posted only had 1 nebula effect, the latest versions are looking much better. I guess I should do some playtesting while I'm keen, even though like most coders I just want to add new cool stuff. I've added the ability color the window backgrounds, kind of a first step towards making it skinable, not sure how much effort I'll put in there.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Game sales still seem unusually good, a copy of asterid mienr and of starlines this mroning, and a few more last night. Great stuff.
Came accross another sharewrae game similar to StarLines, but luckily it was nowhere near as good (and certainly not as good as it will be following this next release).
Im teaching people to drop litter today on the Movies. And teaching staff to sweep it up.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Just saw the film Love Actually with Hugh Grant in. Its well written, quite funny, and Bill nighy especially was fantastic. Don't bother with all this Matrix bollox, go see a decent film, no explosions or guns in it, but thats a good thing IMHO.
I now have a working level editor for StarLines, although its only used for the planets, not the ships yet. Its a big step forwards though, hopefully this will make it very quick to add much better content for this version.
I've also emailed a screenshot to to keep them updated, hopefully they are still interested, I've sold 4 copies of StarLines today through them, so its still selling well.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Well its been a while now and I am hapy to say that looks like it does a really good service. I'm guessing they are trapping 95% of my spam, and only had 1 false positive so far. Highly recommended.
Had a good day at work, the whole company got together for a meeting and its scary how many of us there are.
Also made a little mini movie. I thought it rocked, but I guess I'm too close to the game to really judge.

I have done a bit of StarLines coding, changed it so that Landing fees are charged on a per-ton basis, which makes more sense. I'm determined to improve the economic mode so that freeform play is a continous challenge, which is very hard to do without making the game impossible at the start. I reckon lots of gameplay testing and number editing will be required before I am happy. I'm planning on concentrating on bugs and play balancing for the next week or so, so that I can put together a playable 1 level demo for beta testers.
Then I'll work on the save game stuff and the mission editor.

I've deceided not to rant to much about publisher stuff. Most people now who the good and bad guys are by now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I'll post full details later, but basically if you are a developer, steer well clear of CrystalInteractive. They have seriously ripped me off, they basically have sold my game on to various other publishers and not paid me a penny. Bastards. If they disagree with these facts, they can sue me. (Id liike to see them try).

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Got some good code written today, plus continuing to negotiate rights for Rocky Racers. As a result I tidied it up tonite and played it for a few minutes, forgot how much fun it was, the tractir beam idea is very cool, it s mazing its not in any of the big name futuristic racers. oh well...
Seeing a friend playing EVE has reinspired me to add tons more modules to StarLines (when i get the time).

Monday, November 17, 2003

Back to work today. bah! Certainly not as much fun as lounging around at home. On the plus side, the Movies is looking very good, I'm writing some new code today instead of patching up old stuff, so everythings pretty good.
Sold a copy of Asteroid Miner this morning. hurrah, plus 6 of StarLines over the weekend.
Over the weekend I added third class cabin and fuel injector modules to StarLines. I need to set a point at which it just becomes a case of playbalancing and testing (soemnthing which I find tedious), but Im not quite there yet.
Also started coding the games dialog driven level editor, which involves yucky windows code (shudder). It needs one though, it will make it so much quicker and easier to knock up more than the 8 levels that starlines shipped with.

Friday, November 14, 2003

having played COD I've decided Starlines looked a bit pants, so I experimented and changed the rendering so instead of a tiled background, its black, with a starfield and occasional nebula effects rendered on top in whats called a 'sparse tile engine'
Heres a shot of it:

Im also going to fiddle around with the star fields a bit, maybe autodetect processor speed and scale their numbers accordingly etc etc.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Call of Duty is good.
Its very good
Its better than medal of honour. It looks superbo on my new PC, decent particle effects at last, and a very convincing sense of immersion. Most recommended.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

goodbye sygate hello spamcop
Today I signed up for a $31 a year account with to filter spam out of my email, It seemed to take ages to get the forwarding set up right, but now it seems to be working just fine. The onslaught of virii and spam was beggining to get me down.
I've also turned my back on years of using sygate personal firewall, and installed ZoneAlarm. I loved SPF, but sadly it was hanging my machine, unable to display its dialogs during BF1942. Obviously this is unforgiveable, so Ive gone back to good old fashioned ZA.
I'm currently negotiating the retail rights to Rocky Racers for Germany, which could be good, and also getting lots of improvements in to StarLines. I have 1 really obscure annoying bug in an iterator which is so far proving elusive.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Ok, picked up my new MESH computer today. So far so good, it looks great, was dirt cheap and has a whopping 256 MB video card, so I may get quite distracted by super cool gaming later!
Its going to take a while to copy all my settings and source code over to the new box, so Im sat here with 2 keyboards and 2 boxes at the moment.
Popped in to work to get the PC, relieved to discover that my code hadnt totally destructed or anything while I was on holiday. The save/load stuff that has been my bane is being tidied up by a better coder than moi, and boy does it need it. The MOVIES is looking fantastic, I'm very convinced the game will be a big hit. God knows what happens after that!
I'm still reeling from yesterdays big royalty check, which has put me in a fine mood. I also have a whole ton of code improvements in my head for StarLines, last night I managed to redo part of the string manager class so that strings are loaded on demand (although they can be cached). At the moment, if you request bubbletext string 22, then the whole bubbletext section gets loaded in and cached from disk. I'll probbaly keep it that way (to avoid too many small inefficient disk reads) but will end up breaking the text into more sections, now I dont have to declare the size of the section and their names in advance. I guess this has all been influenced by working with the proper string database stuff used by lionhead.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Been on holiday for a while but back now. Downlaoding the thousands of pointlewss worms and virii that i am 100% protected against, so why I cant filter them server side is bveyond me. Kids, if you are writing a virus, wake up and relise, that

a)Any idiot that knows VB can write one, its not clever
b)You don't get paid for it you dolt. write something constructive.

I came home to a big fat royalty check hurrah! And also came back full of dieas after reading that Empires of Doom book about the founding of id software, a great book and highly recommended.
Dont go to iceland, its expensive, they havent discovered customer service yet, and don't know what good hotels or breakfasts are.
I recommend canada instead ;)