Tuesday, December 30, 2003

still fixing bugs. i must do some playrtesting tommorow... Vegas MIB still rocks, saw a fox in our garden tonight which was excellent.

fixed 2 bugs since beta 2 which a tester spotted. thanks! I've been playing the missions in Vegas MIB, which are better than sandbox because they are actually quite difficult. Its a very very good game, similar in many ways to the simulation side of the Movies (which is the area I work on) so its especially interesting for me, as well as being exactly the kind of game I lvoe to play. Well worth getting if you haven't bought it already.

Monday, December 29, 2003

arrrrrghhh. bug hunting goes on forever. there are still some trivial problems but sod it, im uploading this current build for the beta testers, lets hope there is some positive feedback.

got the artwork. its great. trying to send money with paypal however, is pointless. they keep telling me my credit card is already used by another account, I've wasted an hour of my life on these fucking idiots, customer service is non existent, so fuck them, I will post a check to the artists, and paypal can fuck off. what a bunch of losers.
RegNow are superb by comparison.

And just sold a shareware copy of StarLines, its been a good month for shareware. hurrah!

I didn't manage to get the version out yesterday, but the artwork should be here today and then thats practically it. just some playtesting and balancing happening at the moment.
I sold 3 copies of Starlines this morning through RealGames, hopefully if they publish ST it will get more of a promotional push and I might get up to 5-10 a day through them, which would be excellent. The old version (StarLines INC) is pretty bad in comparison.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

bah the gameplay isn't balanced right, and I've been bugfixing. might not make a release of the game tonite. grrrr.

I'm determined to release Beta 2 of Starship Tycoon to testers tonight. I have a few last minute things to improve and check.
I could go on working on this game forever...
Posted to madmonkey.net hoping to reel in a few more testers, I want 20-30 really.
I really need ST to sell 4 or 5 copies a week shareware to make it vaguely worth all this effort ;)

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Had some great games of Rise Of Nations last night, plus too much alcohol.
I'm putting the final touches to what will be the beta 2 release of Starship Tycoon. I've got 9 or 10 testers that hopefully will give me some feedback on the newer version, then I just need to do bugfixes and finish off the content.
I'm quite keen to get this game done so I can see how it does saleswise. Theres probably lots of minor things I can tweak now just to get it looking that bit slicker, adding more bubblehelp etc.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Well that was Christmas.
Got a great book called Tales From Development Hell, about the movie industry, and why films get canned (bit like games). Also got a copy of Vegas : Make it big, which is a superbly done Tycoon style game (very inspiring stuff for ST), albeit insanely easy in sandbox mode. I'm so pleased I have difficulty settings inside Starship Tycoon.
I'm rewriting the victory conditions stuff today, and adding a simple 'get X cash by Y' type of victory condition. A problem with the original game was its lack of variety mission wise, so hopefully this will help slightly. Its coded, but not fully tested...
I've been using Mozilla a bit, partly for testing my website, but its built in pop-up blocker is great stuff. Not quite swapped to it from IE yet though.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Wow, a while since my last update. Got some more bubblehelp put into ST, and some other little tweaks, plus had a few more ideas to make the game look nicer. Sold a copy of Space Battle today, thats still handled by RegSoft, which generally I have abandoned in favour of RegNow. I still have some of my poorer selling games, and my compilations on sale through regSoft, but its a pain because I end up getting small checks in dollars which are very inefficient to cash.
I should switch over to RegNow totally.
I had some duff download links on my site, so I've fixed them.
Saw Return Of the King last night. My brother will LOVE this film, never seen battle scenes like it, most outstandinG! However it dragged massively at the end, do I really give a damn that Sam gotmarried and had kids? Jeez, leave it for the special edition DVD extras please, it did NOTHING to the story for me.
It was amazingly impressive visually, but like cool 3D graphics in games, that alone doesn't make it a good film. I reckon the first one is still the best movie, even if this one was easily the most spectacular.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Well I sold 2 copies of Asteroid Miner today, so thats not bad going. I went to see Eddie Izzard tonite. He was good, but was it worth the £33 or so per ticket, plus £10 to park? plus £1.50 for a bottle of water and £2 for a tub of ice cream? The venue was so huge we had to watch the guy on a screen, so we might as well have rented the DVD. Also, it was being filmed, and bags were searched to prevent you sneaking in a still or movie camera.
I think if you charge 10,000 people 330,000 quid for 3 hours of entertainment, fleece them for programes, t shirts and beer, and also get to make a DVD out of the night, you cant grumble if they take some souveneir snaps?
He is a very funny and talented guy,. but I think the public are just egtting totally ripped off at things like this, especially as the whole arena is covered in billboard adverts (even INSIDE the arena).
this makes me more certain that Starship Tycoon should be released at $24.99 anyway ;) Its looking real nice, just added the option to turn off the nebula backdrops for older, slower machines, I might add some better GUI for atmosphere problems tommorow.

Friday, December 19, 2003

I was chatting to a fellow Movies coder today about hsi game engine, which he sells online, itrs really popular, and as a fair few coders read this blog I thought I'd bung a link in to it, so here you go:

last day at work. yay! went to a party last night without taking a map. that twas silly. Got 2 weeks off now, so betwen eating and drinking i should get the demo of Starship Tycoon done and dusted, its a silyl time to geta game finished, I guess I can just add a whole ton of content to it once its done.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

yah only 2 more days of work and then its mince pies and alcohol. w00t.
The artwork for ST is not done yet. bah, but I guess it would be silly to release the game until at least mid jan anyway, so thats not a disaster. I've added a second level to it now, so I have the rest of the month to do the other levels, playtest it, and maybe add some more skinable options.
Movies is looking fab as usual.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The movies publisher just bought everyone donuts. yaY!
I am in the process of arranging for people to have sex in trailers in The Movies. This is a bizzare job, the first function I wrote today was this:
void CWaywardness::ArrangeSteamySex(CFacilityTrailer* ptrailer,CStar* pstar1,CStar* pstar2)
Not exactly a normal job I guess.
Last night I added a new GUI thing to ST, a button that allows you to review the mission objectives, as this was highlighted by the testers. I also fixed some other stuff, I still have to do all the other levels, and The tutorial goes out of synch too easily, so that needs tidying up.
Sold a copy of StarLines through realgames this morning.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Fixed loads of movies bugs today. hurrah, and the day has gone super quick, despite nightmare traffic and long slow compile times.
Now its time for chinese food and thrashing people at games. bwahahahahahaha!
I am still thinking about buying a robotic hoover when I get some money...

Sunday, December 14, 2003

found lots of bugs, fixing them slowly but surely. Game MUSt be bug free this time!
Also cooking roast chicken. yummy.
Feel terrible today though, not sure exactly why. Jadzia has the right idea, she is sleeping and getting cuddled most of the day. ahhhh to be a cat.
tried debugging whilst listening to ediie izzard but its impossible, going to see him live soon hurrah.

looks like starship tycoon is full of bugs. Im adding some better assert code and reorgansiing some of the code i think might be to blame.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Ok its uploaded, hopefully I'll get some feedback this weekend. In my eyes this version is way better than the old one RealGames is selling, although i reckon it needs some play balancing and serious checking.
Im burned out on it for tonight though... Gaming and food awaits.

Getting some work done on fixing any last minute bugs in ST so I can release a build to testers tonight. The installer done, 2 new Wavs are added, now I'm just squashing some bugs.
I'm going to release a build tonite whatever happens, its not 100% finished, but thats why they call it beta testing right? ;)
Also got some blue christmas LED lights which are cool.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Received a mountain of paperwork from RealGames this morning. I hate to apply for some american IRS number crap, and then when i have it, fill in some other form to do with Tax, something about witholding tax from payments yada yada.
Jesus can governments make running a business any harder? Talk about a load of tedious junk.
I hate dealing with that crap.
I have a few names of beta testers for ST, I'll be adding in some new sound effects tonite and testing, and hopefully by saturday night I'll have a build put together that I can send to the testers, then I can work on adding planet descriptions and backdrops for the other 7 levels.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Some shareware games are just too big. I was working my way throught adrenaline vaults top shareware games. Fire and water was quite a laugh, but I wouldn't pay for the full version. There was a game that looked nice called Deimos rising, but after downloading 16 MB with no end in sight (and no idea how big it was) I clicked cancel.
Its essential to let people know how long they will wait for your game.
Starship Tycoon is looking better and better, fixed some bugs last night concerning multiple starships, I have some new character art on order, and I'm aiming for a beta copy to be done by friday so I can set up a better website and start canvassing for beta testers at the weekend.
Starship Tycoon needs to sell very well after all this effort, but I think its looking good, and hopefully will have long term playability, which is the key to sales IMHO, and the reason many shooters don't sell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

sometimes bugs are a nightmare, sometimes they aren't so bad, sometimes they are even funny. Today at work I got a bug where the paparazzi pursuing film stars didnt have any thought bubbles. Eventually it turned out that an Enum wasn't set right and HUMAN was below PAPARAZZI.
Effectively the paparazzi had no thoughts because they werent human beings.
Social commentary in a bug.
cool huh?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Well Im currently negotiating with the artist who did the character art for StarLines to get some more done on Starship Tycoon. Not sure if I'll do some mroe or not, depends on the price. I know you have to speculate to accumulate, but how much am I prepared to put into ST before the first sale?
I'm hoping this version will be the best selling yet, its already the most playable, the old version looks terrible to me now.
Last night I ditched the system that created the 'background' ships and redid it. The new system is way different, and I think makes the galaxy look better and busier, plus their destinations actually reflect planet popularity too.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Spent the whole lunchtime marvelling at the demo of Vegas:MakeItBig, a truly superb sim game, just the kind of thing that I love. Good on them for shipping such an open ended demo too, I'll be asking for the full game for christmas!
Its cheap too, so get out there and buy it.
Hopefully I will have a playable demo of Starship Tycoon packaged up by friday, thats my aim anyway, then its time to arrange some beta testers and get some feedback while I knock out the data for the other 7 or so levels.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Got some good bugfixing done today, and was ice skating in Belgium yesterday. hurrah!
having real problems getting the new starship tycoon icons to display without distortion. I'm making them the right sizes, and setting the right handles, but its as though they are still being scaled badly by XP itself.grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Friday, December 05, 2003

Theres a rumour going round that IGN and Gamespy will merge. If its true this is very bad news. Gaming is corporate enough as it is, what with big giants like EA and GAME deciding what games we get to see on shelves.
Whats needed are a lot more truly independent gaming sites tahta arent afraid to slag off crap games, and also to give top billing to unheard of games that they like.
Thank god for game demos, because you simply can't rely on anything that reviewers say these days. The problem is getting enough people to download and try out your game. With many demos weighing in over 100MB, they just arent an impulse download, even on broadband. I'm planning on keeping my demo sizes below 20MB, and pref below 10MB, both for bandwidth cost reasons and to get more impulse downloads.
Played Vegas Makeitbig recently, its pretty well done. worth a try. (even though its a 122MB download! I got it from a coverdisk luckily).

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

well I heard back from Realgames after all so thats ok. All I have to do now is make a killer game! I've been revsiiting the slightly messy save game code for Starship Tycoon, changing some old stuff to enable me to rejog features. This has come about through wanting to redo the system for acrgo explosions.
In the old game, cargo explosions were a fairly random event, whereas StarshipTycoon will have them happening dependent on the hours an explosive cargo has been aboard, as well as the total tonnage, so it will be a more calculated risk.