Thursday, September 27, 2007

Review In PC Gameplay

From Belgium. Don't know what it says, but got a nice score:

I've been play balancing, talking to the music guy and art guy, doing some nicer graphics for the games 'achievements' and also thinking about changing some code for ministers. Also got to try Team Fortress 2, which is fairly cool. And I hear my copy of the Company of heroes Expansion has shipped. w00tage.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Making The Countries Different

I did some work today trying to make the different pre-selected countries in the game differ a bit from each other. Each one has a different set of starting policies, a different demographic, and you get to choose currencies, party names and tweak some values (like initial unemployment). They each come with different debt levels too. I started re-doing some of their flags yesterday to fit in better with the type of state I was hoping to create.

I also started adding a few special switches that let me change a country, so some suffer from political apathy (low turnout) others have compulsory voting. Some have a monarchy, others suffer from earthquakes and hurricanes. There is still lots of scope to add more.

I haven't managed to get re-elected yet, so i know the game isn't too easy.
I also added some more policies. I spent ages trying to do a 64x64 icon for 'micro-generation grants' as a policy. Ended up with this:

I should have some proper artwork to show off next week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Artwork, Sounds and Gameplay

It's all gradually coming together. just put in the very first basic code for the music playback. This will be the first time I've commissioned music from scratch for a game (Rock Legends music had rewritten lyrics and was re-recorded, but it was an existing song).
Also, I am getting the first look at some of the final artwork that will represent the voter groups. This will hopefully be my most polished looking and sounding game to date, and I sure hope that gets reflected in it's sales. I did a long play through yesterday, and the gameplay is coming together. I had just about pulled the economy back together, and although I was fairly popular, I got kicked out of office due to a poor turnout from my supporters on election night. Most annoying.

In other news I got a book by Marvin Minsky on AI yesterday, looks pretty interesting so far. I must make an appointment to take Jack Sparrow (2nd cat) to the vet at some point for a booster jab. We have given up on ever getting Jadzia to get in a box and be carried out of the house to the vets, I lost too much BLOOD last time. If we ever move house we will have to tranquillize her.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Intel Reports

I'm sprucing up the screen that gives you intel on the various pressure groups formed in the country, including the ones liable to launch terrorist attacks.
I bought a stock image of some radar dishes after much hunting and not finding what I wanted, then stuck some generic binary code gubbins and interlace effect stuff over the top, and sued it as the background. I'm not 100% happy with it, but it does the job for now:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Adwords distress

about 72 hours ago now, I got an email from google complaining that my account details were invalid and they had frozen payments.


Although actually it wasn't, because their direct debit form had accepted my bank details, then flagged an error saying the sort code was wrong (it isn't), but then accepted them anyway. Except they hadn't really.
So fine, I switch back to my old card for the account.
And the whole batch of ad campaigns has been frozen ever since. Google, meanwhile have ignored numerous messages and emails from me.
Google adwords used to be great, but over the last year or so it has got more and more hard work to just run some campaigns. It seems like quality control at google has slipped. They used to be just a search engine company and were the best at it. then came the ads. Now google do everything but sell crisps, and my experience suggests that their core business is flakier than it ever has been.
I have lots of play through stuff to do on Democracy tomorrow, finally finished fiddling with Rock Legend

UPDATE -> Finally all sorted out, by re-entering my old bank details. A bit annoying, but my ads are running fine again. google did get back to me, after several days, they need to fix their response times.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Text rewrite BAH + Thighs.

Horrid bugs involving using Microsoft's Windows GDI with Microsoft's DirectX under Microsoft Vista (yes indeed) mean I need to rewrite all of the text code for Kudos: Rock legend.


But I'm getting through it, whilst listening to Judas Priest.
"The engine roars between my thighs"
So they tell me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

ListBoxes and STL

Writing listbox code today. how dull. At least you only need to write it once, and I already had button and scrollbar code, so its not too bad.
They are for the player selecting the names of his party, and the opposition party. I haven't made them slide in and out like the fancy windows ones yet.
also did some optimising, looked into why list.remove() is so slow.
i didn't realise that the STL list remove() is looking for multiple matches. so if you have 2,000 items in the list and want to remove the 3rd one, it does 2,000 comparisons. There should be a way for you to say "I know items are unique, so seriously, just stop once you find it". But there isn't. also encountered slist, which is a 1 way list that may be better for my needs, and faster.
My biggest list has about 3,000 items in. 2,000 voters plus a thousand or so other objects.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Slow but steady

Recent progress on Democracy 2 -> the Ultimate political strategy game (hello googlebot)

So.... I'm currently looking at the manifesto pledges in the game. there was a short list in the original game, because tbh, they were kind of 'tacked on' towards the very end of development. I'm adding a new 'class' of manifesto promise -> the promise to cancel something. So you can pledge to cancel property tax (for example). and if you have not done so at the next election, you will get penalized.
Did a one-term play through today with no bugs or crashes, which is cool. Found the game a bit easy, but that's because the global economic cycle code was screwed up and always positive. I've finished off the mini-scripting support by doing the code for ministerial firings and resignations. Also, this morning I finalised text for the 'attack' events, where annoyed pressure groups try to kill you.
I'm aiming to get into a play-testable mode within a month, hopefully I should have my music and artwork done by then, and then we will have to think about the long balancing and testing period. I'm guessing right now that we are looking at shipping the game in late November maybe?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Official Announcement


so maybe don't even try?:
Good old John Petrucci (kinda)

Amazingly, some of that is *not* sped up.
bastard etc.
I need to do some piano practice

Working on some lovely silky looking flags for the new virtual countries in Democracy 2, finally got them looking how I want.