Bargains To Be Had

Having been so busy with the SCIFI DLC work, I did not realise we are running a promotion on a new pack we put together called The Game Creators Collection which offers a discount, not only to GameGuru and some of our DLC, but the mighty AGK and its collection of content too. Click the link to go direct to the page, as at the time of writing it only has 7 hours left to run.

collection

If your interests are squarely on making games with GameGuru, and have yet to take the plunge then we’ve created a new Fantasy Pack bundle that includes GameGuru and an extra DLC for a great discount.  The best news about this pack is that I have a small army of new assets, characters, animation improvements and more to add to this Fantasy Pack DLC quite soon, and all existing Fantasy Pack DLC owners will get these improvements and additions for free so no time like the present to grab what I consider one of the best DLCs we have.

fantasypack

This weeks sees another meeting far from the office, but that’s not until Wednesday so my plan is to start collecting the assets together for the next round of free DLC improvements to the Fantasy DLC and the Death Valley DLC. You should already have received the improvements to the Buildings Pack, which adds ‘interiors’ to your building choices and I also have a small collection of assets that when perfected will be destined for a SCIFI DLC update.  Our commitment to ensuring the DLC items we offer are great value for money has never been stronger and I look forward to reading the feedback on the new content when we release it over the next few weeks.

After the ‘content work’ I will be returning in earnest to the coding side of things, ensuring the Christmas build becomes the main public build, integrating Ravey’s new multiplayer changes for the next update and making a few essential tweaks of my own. I will also be revealing the next big chunk of work for GameGuru so watch this space and happy game making!

SciFi DLC Finished

I had one last day to make small fixes and refine my final demo, and now the files have been uploaded ready for greater minds than me to prepare Steam pages and get it all ready for going live next week.  It was again great fun making small improvements to the game, which today include an end sequence where the alien gives the player a new ship which is then teleported to the stranded spaceman, and he is allowed to leave safely while the player stands and watches the craft ascend into the heavens. I was going to use a video originally but I figured the scripts would teach a lot more if everything was created for real-time action.

FridayImageSCIFIDLC

It has been great fun pulling together the content for this DLC, and especially the level making side. I did a little voice acting along the way so I hope you enjoy the finished result, and if you do have some critique to level at me, remember the entire level was done in about 10 hours from scratch which is not bad for a whole game level that has a beginning and an ending :)  Speaking of endings, I am now going to back up my files, finish a few emails and unpack my suitcase which has stood idle since I came back from Italy last week (been a busy week).

Made A SciFi Game Today

It’s one thing to assemble assets and plonk them about a map, but it’s quite another thing to create a small game with a little bit of a plot!  I almost forgot how much fun it is creating a universe with your own story and events to delight and enthrall your would-be audience. Alas I had less than a day to write mine so it’s quite basic and small, but I enjoyed the process nonetheless. In my game you find yourself in the middle of a wreck site, next to an old style lander craft and a suited up Neil Armstrong in good health.  You then explore your way to an outpost, past some guards and help an engineer find his lost tool. You then gain access to a secret mountain complex, talk to an alien, retrieve a stolen artefact and save the day by entering the alien temple as ambassador to the human race. Fin.

CannotLetYouPast

I dare say I have a few more hours in me, mainly to dedicate to answering emails, forum posts, reviews and other social feeds before I retire for the evening. Friday promises to be another good day of asset assembly but whether they make it into the current release, or held for a quick ‘after-launch’ update remains to be scene. I deliberately avoided adding weapons and explosions in this DLC to build around the fact you can have good games without violence, but rest assured future assets and a possible future DLC will cover the need for pulse, laser and proton weapons, proximity atom dischargers and personal combat force fields as and when such an item gets voted to lofty heights in the community voting board.

Also if you wandered why the SCIFI DLC got so much of my attention this week when I should be working elsewhere, it was a pending task and I was becoming the bottle neck, plus some of the assets are going to be rather instrumental in my efforts to start the Building Editor feature for the next major update in this area.

Meeting Day

I am finding January simply chock full of meeting days, with another one scheduled for next week. Today I had one, and I have another planned for next week down in London (or near enough). This is pretty normal when you have to factor in the running of a company, planning overall strategy, multiple product lines and marketing plans. All in an effort of course to remain a strong and viable business entity, which keeps us coding and providing fixes and updates year after year. The good news is that all of Thursday can now be dedicated to crafting the SCIFI DLC sample level, adding even more, content to the DLC that has been worked on in my absence, and begin testing to ensure everything in the pack is as it should be.

4

Even though I was elated by the content we already have for the SCIFI DLC, I was cheeky enough to ask the artist to provide more variations to existing models such as damaged and destroyed versions of complete structures, and as you can see from the above shot he has no problem destroying as well as creating :)  Hopefully by Thursday PM I shall have a final DLC to test and have ready for submission by Friday (personal goal not an official release date for the avoidance of doubt).

NOTE: Any opinion expressed or timeline suggested in this development blog is a casual statement and perspective of Lee (me) at the time of writing, and does not constitute a TGC pledge or promise of future features or functionality in GameGuru. The dev blog is provided as a special insight into the daily efforts of the core GameGuru development team, and a glimpse at the shifting sands that such a creative endeavor inevitably produces.

More SCIFI Goodness

Today I continued my work on the SCIFI DLC and added the Character Creator body parts and seven new characters for instant selection and use. I have decided these characters are to be non-violent characters by default and will simply stand and watch you until your game logic gives life. I plan to create a new script for them to allow basic dialog, though a new GameGuru update will be required to really exploit this idea.  I will probably do a Twitch broadcast soon after release on how to extend what the SCIFI characters can do, and as I will be in a meeting on Wednesday my friend Ravey will be taking over this week’s broadcast which will be Wednesday 4PM GMT as usual.

temple_4

A few days ago our artist kindly provided some sample shots which definitely whet the appetite, as above, and I have had time to create a few of my own from testing of the characters today and I gladly post them below for you enjoyment.  Rick will also be producing screenshots from an early demo of the SCIFI game I have sent him.

SCIFIDLC-AlienAlone

 

SCIFIDLC-Characters

In addition to the seven characters you get by default, you also get all their body parts added to the Character Creator so you can make all kinds of cool combinations such as aliens with mohawks and Elite Marines with crazy cowboy hats.  We deliberately kept the Character Creator open like this so unique and wonderful creations could be made by you.

As I say, meeting day for me tomorrow, but will be back Thursday to focus on my SCIFI DLC Game Story and level design. I often do not get a chance to write games myself these days, but it’s always fun and I am hopeful to create some new game mechanisms and scripts that will open up GameGuru horizons a little more.

Work On SCIFI DLC

Today I worked on renaming, organising and testing all the content files for the forthcoming SCIFI DLC, and spent the last few hours creating a quick level to test the content in context of a non-violent adventure through a crash sight, a colony, through a secret research station and finally a great alien mystery. Right now it’s just the landscape and the entities placed down, but everything works with the right shader, collision, material and scale so the basic tests are complete.

AlientInBlueMarsScene

I also added plenty of sci-fi decals to bulk up the offering too and give the games created with this pack a more dynamic feel.  Tuesday I plan to add in the characters, create a short basic story and continue testing the content ready to produce some screenshots and a video for you.

My Last Day For A While

As you may know I am off next week so there will be no riviting blog from me during that time, but I have ensured that you will get a Twitch broadcast at the usual time of Wednesday 4PM, with Ravey discussing all things GameGuru. I’ve spent the evening emailing last minute instructions to anyone who will listen, and it’s almost time for me to pack.  They say the journey is what counts, but I am not looking forward to the extract from ‘trains, plains and automobiles’ in order to arrive at my vacation spot.  I’d rather just materialise there just in time for the lifts to open.

One little piece of news before I conclude this very short blog, I received a cool tank model with a request to add a rotate limb command to LUA. Well those commands are now in my internal build and the artist now has a tank which can rotate its turret to track the player, and it’s pretty cool.  Keep an eye out in the store once the new update goes out, and of course for all the other cool new items that will take advantage of this simple yet powerful ability.

FixedSkyscraper3Ceiling

 

I also fixed the issue with the ceiling texture of the Buildings Pack DLC Skyscraper 3 Insides version, which will also be released soon via an automatic Steam update. Feel free to report any other DLC asset issues as we want these packs to be everything you expect, and a little more!

On my return I will continue to fight through the bugs and tweaks, assemble some new DLC goodness for you and stay camped out in the website and Steam communities answering your questions and helping you make cool 3D games.

Dynamic Music In Today’s Twitch

Despite moving my Twitch broadcast from Wednesday to Thursday, I still got some good viewing numbers and the subject today was how to use the ‘entirely unused’ dynamic music system in GameGuru, which allows you to control the music transitions based on what is happening in the game, and it does it smoothly through auto fade volume control. The first part of the day was filled mainly with answering emails and posts, and also sorting out and refining the master list of issues to be addressed we have collected over the last 8 months or so.  Some had already been fixed, some are crazy feature requests but most described something that when implemented would make a small improvement. Add a hundred of those things together and you end up with a cooler product for sure.

My plan is to mine the list for all the items I want to fix for a public update for the end of January, based on my involvement with the forums, reviews and emails I receive, to ensure the niggles that hurt the most are dealt with sooner rather than never. I also have some DLC assembly and other duties, but the main thrust will be a moderately sized and well-tested bug fix update.  During this month I hope to run a few beta builds, and we now have a good selection of beta testers who are standing ready to publish each version to ensure you get a solid one by the time the process is complete.

I also strayed into the old legacy forums today, mainly to assure long-standing and new users alike about the plans for our DBP and FPSC brands.  Rather than let them collect dust, the plan in 2016 is to set them up as open source projects, moderated by the community and available for free to whoever wants to try them out.  We are removing the products from sale, ending the physical lines and closing down servers that relate to them, keeping only the main forums (for the mountain of advice they contain) and as a place where the community can continue to meet and share knowledge.  As the TGC forums is also where AGK lives, we are going to let AppGameKit cover the bill for the forum as it’s doing very well on Steam right now and people are very happy with the current version (obviously not and never 100% satisfaction but a lot more smiles than frowns). We also have some very cool plans for AGK in 2016 so it’s a solid product that will keep all the TGC forums well funded :)

As another bonus, though not 100% confirmed, it looks like we will be putting all the FPSC model packs that TGC own into the open source repository as well, available for free, for anyone to use to make their games, so don’t worry about 75 model packs going off sale, a good number of them will be back and available at zero cost. We are also contacting the authors of those packs to see if they want to be involved and add their model packs to the free release idea.  It was briefly thought that we could convert them over to GameGuru (new money for old rope), but my own view is that graphics technology has come a long way since the days of FPSC and I think new assets need to be created to take advantage of higher texture resolutions, higher polygon budgets, better animation techniques, advanced physics tie-ins and a general need to raise the quality bar.  For those that want to convert anyway, a number of FPSC and GameGuru users have successfully converted packs over so the process is by no means impossible (though you may lose the occasional script which would need to be written in LUA from FPI).

Time for me to get my best shoes on, as it’s Steak night and I have an appointment with a lot of protein ;)  Until an even busier Friday, have a great evening!

Meeting Day Went Well

Had some ideas over the Christmas break, and discussed them at today’s meeting to general agreement, so be prepared for some cool things coming to GameGuru in 2016.  I am excited to report that I will be working on nothing but fixes, tweaks and much-requested solutions (not features) for the majority of January. All those niggles you may be experiencing are now my number one focus for the next update, so watch this space, do.

Got back around 5PM, and then ate, then out to play pool (we did not lose) and now back closing in on 1AM.  Thursday is a packed day indeed and plenty of code to enjoy so a better blog for sure come Thursday, not to mention the belated Twitch broadcast which I had to move from Wednesday as I was out of the office (and they have not invented Twitching from one’s car).  My artist returns today as well, so I can start the 2016 ramp for new graphics which is super exciting.

Despite it being one in the morning, I have seen a small mountain of emails from the day, so I think I will deal with those before retiring for the evening, and then start Thursday early with many things to be done. I am off again (for one week) on the 10th, and so the next two days are critical to ensure I have sorted all the backlog items, everyone has their answers and plates are spun to produce many wonderful things in my absence. Of course, you will have Ravey to keep GameGuru happy while I am mucking about at high altitude.

Sorry no more blog pictures for the moment, with no artists around, it’s just some occasional code and a wittering coder ;)

GameGuru Warming Up

Spent the morning responding to GameGuru questions and fixing five bugs, and plan to spend the afternoon preparing for my meeting on Wednesday. I drive out to Manchester tonight to get an early start on what should be a long day of talking and thinking big thoughts so no more bug fixing and answers until Thursday AM.  I also fixed a few bugs yesterday too relating to the light mapper, so I have copied all the fixes below:

  • Fixed light mapper to match same texture models better (dummy limb issue)
  • Lightmapper can no longer duplicate polygons of first mesh in batching process
  • Fixed issue causing character entities to rotate to player when enter unfreeze range
  • Fixed issue with character entities not updating the ‘angley’ field
  • LOCK now added to grouped entity menu
  • Locking entities now prevents entity movement when editing terrain
  • Fixed ‘musicplaytrackX.lua’ scripts to use correct full 100 volume
  • Fixed GetTimer(e) so it reports zero immediately after using StartTimer(e)

The light mapper fix is a cool one as it will now detect more opportunities to batch small meshes that share textures and are close together. It will try to batch them up to 3000 polygons per mesh that lie within 1000 units of each other with designated grids, and on a recent level sent in, we saw a reduction in draw calls from 151 to just over one hundred, a saving of over 30%!  There are other gains we can get from the light mapper (such as LOD batching, auto-polygon removal and scaling the 3000 poly limit based on final LM texture size) but I think those are best left until we have addressed the other issues on my snag list (of which there are quite a few).

One aspect of the meeting on Wednesday is to decide how much of my time should be on fixing these snags, and how much (and when) we start on new features from the community voting board, and the early sense I get from the forums is that getting the snags dealt with will allow more users to crack on and get more of their game projects completed, and it makes sense to me to have a solid, uncompromising base feature set before we start adding new shiny things on top.

1 2 3 4 17