Ninja’d

After disappearing faster than a monkey can peel a banana, I’m back with another update on things.
Note that if you are new to this place, this is where I update about projects I do and other school related things, so you might not always get every reference I make to projects and people, I tend to disappear for a long time and then things have changed so much I have to update a lot of the pages, I’m working on it!

MAV Warfare has been ‘cancelled’, or more accurate, cannibalized together with some other projects for a new game. The main reason for this is that in the beginning me and Kjeld just started to work on it without a clear idea on how to structure it, and in the end the code got so interconnected that one thing broke another and it practically required us to start from scratch to get it working again. But who knows, maybe we’ll start it up again after a while, since I still like the idea. And it’s not like we haven’t learned from this, we have learned a lot about multiplayer, how variables are synced, gamemodes, scoreboards, radar etc.

M-Sat: Just after we made the post about us working on it, a very busy time at school started so it quickly became very quiet around it. School ‘draining the intent to program’ so to speak. The problem is now that a lot of the more ‘common’ mods have moved to newer versions of Minecraft, while we are still on 1.6.4. The idea is that we patch it up once we have some time, so its playable on that version, and put it online to see what the reactions to our idea are. If positive we will continue to work on it, for that version only though, porting will take too much time. All three of us still like the idea, and in fact we have expanded it beyond the original scope, just to look around in the code to see what we could do. Even if the feedback is negative and we won’t continue to work on it, it was a lot (and I mean a lot!) of fun, gettingΒ  the weirdest bugs and trying to come up with ideas for multi-block structures.

MAV Warfare and several school projects led to the creation of MAR (I’m beginning to think that I have something with M’s and project names…), we structured it, and for the past few months we have made a lot of progress! We have a roadmap and documents detailing what goes into the game. The thing we lack though is time, so progress is being made, just slowly. I’m updating the page for it soon! It is a lot of fun since we have to think of things that we haven’t thought of before, servers, sending character data to clients, balancing server CPU vs. networking load, cheating and a few other things.

 

 

 

Crawl

With my internship ‘finished’ and school kicking off again, it is time I come crawling out from under a rock πŸ˜‰

School things:
Project Stella Incognita, extend an game-engine (Irrlicht) with 4 teams of 4 people, and per team make a game with that extended engine featuring your extension. Sounds complicated, and it probably will be! 16 People working together in one GIT repo with almost no experience in C++ and GIT, yay!

Advanced Physics, as the name says, its a continuation of the ‘basic’ 3D math courses we had, with more focus on the physics side of things. For assignments we have to do things with the cyclone physics engine, which was a royal pain to set up…
One of the lessons was about shaders, how they work and the cool things you can do with them. Check outΒ http://shadertoy.com/ for example! :O

Persistent Storage, SQL and databases, database table relationships and how to set them up. Quite tricky assignments, a lot more complicated for someone who only made simple SQL querys. Especially involving subquerys and recursion!

Only 2 courses, and 1 project, lots of free time? Nope. It might sound like I’m blowing it out of proportions but they give you enough work to think about πŸ˜‰

Projects:

MAV Warfrare has had very little attention, small features introducing new bugs (for example chat is no longer working) and not enough time are the main causes for this.

Time was spent however into M-Sat!
About 2 years ago me and Kjeld were messing around in Minecraft, and made a mod, it was just a few items and a block which had an GUI. Nothing functional apart from that.
About 4 months ago I thought, why not try and port it over to 1.6.4. We got back together to fix some of the errors, and figuring out how things worked in the new version.
One thing led to another, a design document was made, and in our free time we were messing around, trying to implement our features. And here we are, M-Sat!

It stands for Multipurpose Satellites, or Minecraft Satellites if you want. We’re not disclosing a lot, but here are a few screenshots, showing from where we started to what it is currently:

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Custom entities, models, GUI’s, networking (SMP works! πŸ˜€ ) Multiblock strucutres and the list goes on! More info soon ™

Fixing LA, take 2 after 5 weeks of site going AWOL

What a weird thing, for over 5 weeks this blog was unreachable! I had no idea why, and cause the WordPress support forum said something about sites being unreachable due to ISP’s blocking the wrong server, I thought it was related to that!

After inquiring at my ISP about it (they said nope) I started digging around in this site, the admin page was still reachable! I started opening pages one by one to see if it was related to one of them. And it was!

The page explaining how I removed malicious code from a site didn’t load for some reason, even after editing. WordPress probably tagged it thinking that it was harmful to others, the thing is that they don’t show that! *sigh*

As an image, here is the post that did it all:

thepostthatdiditTo be safe you have to type out the links if you want to, to prevent the blog from going unreachable again.

And a small update while I’m at it…

Next week my 3rd year (of 4) at the University of Applied Sciences starts, with half a year of internship xDI’m going to be an intern at EngageIT, a company that applies gamification to contact center’s (you know, the people who answer your support calls/mails)
Gamification is the mixing of games to something more daily, like for example taking out the trash, children might go and take it out but avoid certain pavement stones, in essence to make the job more fun! There are countless examples of children game-ifying things that are normal to us, and applying that knowledge to us adults shows a great increase in productivity! Go and look at http://www.thefuntheory.com/ it has many more examples!
I’m really excited to start, an interesting topic in an actual business environment! πŸ˜€

During my holiday I spent some time working on MAV warfare, adding abilities and so on.

mav1I added bullets and a basic grappling hook, and I started a little bit on another gamemode, Capture the Flag rather than FFAKOTH (free for all king of the hill)
Also I added a small radar system, after furiously looking up how to convert 3D coΓΆrdinates onto a 2D plane πŸ˜›

A long long time ago

There was an upadate.

Its been a while, school has been busy!

In this post I’ll talk about what I did for school and a few project updates, progress has been made :D.

The project entertainment game (see previous post) has been completed, and you can see some of the screenshots at the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TwistedMindsGame
Actual gameplay you ask? Why not play it yourself! Its up on Dropbox <LINK> Just run the exe and you’re set!

One of the courses we had was 3D modeling, in order to learn/appreciate πŸ˜‰ (for us programmers) the design side of games.
We had three exercises, make a house, a rough terrain vehicle, and a face (based on your own)
Results….well its not exactly perfect, but for someone who rarely models…

Another course we had was called Algorithms and Datastructures in Games, where we were introduced to things like A* and Dijkstra’s algorithm. Me and the partner I had to do the practicum with actually managed to confuse the teacher. Our A* algorithm behaved like it should, but in a few levels it went a little bit differently then what was supposed to be. The code was fine, what could it be? Our program then got discussed with the entire course team, but no answer was found! Magic! πŸ˜€
For those interested in the code and the document we created, here is a link to the NetBeans project: <LINK>

Currently at school we are busy with C++ (a course), AI (another course) and C++ in Android (a project) for which details can’t be revealed just yet.

And now, the projects….

  • The intro for Starbase United has been written, but the actual production will take A)More time then we have available and B)Money…
    We are considering making a trailer and putting it up for Kickstarter.
  • MAV Warfare, (the game me and http://kjeld21.wordpress.com/ are working on from time to time)
    We have basic multiplayer and a simple gamemode ready, and are currently working on the TDM gamemode.
  • The Klingon translator has got a few letters added to its vocabulary.
  • Oolas machinima,
    We ran into some trouble, but with LOTRO becoming 6 years old the things holding us back seem to have disappeared. Filming will begin in the May holliday!
  • The next tutorial is, like many other projects, put on the backburner due to school (note that I started writing it 170 days ago -.- ).
  • Some secret is going on in the background, I don’t quite get it but the other project members are quite excited, its got something to do about the Oculus Rift headset…. Me want! πŸ˜€

PEG and Breen

With Project Entertainment Game I was added to team Twisted Minds, creating a horror/puzzle game based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe. We are almost at the end of the second SCRUM sprint (see image in previous post) and things come along nicely. Lots of interesting features have been made with Unity! I won’t talk much about this since we are supposed to be professional about this. Me talking about having made a bjoetiful (:P) chair creates an expectation with the audience, if later is decided that it isnt used ingame, then not only I am sad, but also the audience.

Because of this project and University in general I haven’t been able to make much progress in….well… all projects available.

There is however something in the making, yes another project πŸ˜› , but this WILL be done. I promise! It’s called Breen in Amsterdam. I’m going to toy around with Blender’s Track Match Blend DVD tutorial. Its an introduction to VFX (visual effects)

In the tutorial, that will be part of this project, I’ll talk about de-compiling the model into Blender (instead of XSI), animate it by hand or Kinect, and then apply animations to VFX scenes.

A great example what can be made with blender + VFX is this:

Now about the idea, think this:

plus

plus

Of course filming in the middle of A’Dam is going to be one hell of a job, especially to get people to cooperate.. But I’ll worry about that once I get the Blender DVD in my head πŸ˜‰

Thats it for now, stay tuned πŸ˜‰

PEG post 2

As expected I messed up the pitch, so my game idea wasn’t chosen. Not that I cared much, I knew I was going to mess it up. I can’t forcibly talk about something in front of people. That was one of the reasons I dropped idea 2 on my list (see previous post) and took number 3. I get really nervous, forget half of what I wanted to say and race trough it like an F1 car….Β  Now me and someone who got trough paired up and we have to explain his idea a bit further and put it into a business model (what platform we want it to be on and money related things)

We have to pitch this next week and if we get chosen we somehow get to create a team around us with other students. Then its onto actual development :O In the case that we don’t get chosen we get integrated in other people’s teams.

Thats the project planning, every sprint stands for a stage in development:

  • Sprint 1: Proof of Concept, at the end we have to show that we can somehow make the actual product.
  • Sprint 2: Pitchable product, we should have the project done up to a point where it can be pitched to potential publishers
  • Sprint 3: Showable product, the game should be > 80% done up to this point and have all the major features such as game mechanics/assets etc.
  • Sprint 4: Releasable product, the game should be ready to go from closed beta to release.

We learn to do this by getting lectures in the development method SCRUM, from what I read at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_%28development%29 it should be pretty interesting.

Also I started learning Unity, it is suggested for a couple of courses, and Design3 just happens to be a group with lots of Unity courses πŸ˜€ Following tutorials and trying to get my first assignment done with it in under 4 days…. wohooo πŸ˜›

PEG post 1

PEG, translated in Dutch is a bad spelling version of pech, meaning bad luck. Lucky for us PEG is an acronym for Project Entertainment Game.

A bit weird name since games tend to be entertaining by themselves, no need to put it in the title again! But who am I to criticize project names πŸ˜›

The idea of this project is that tomorrow everyone pitches his/her (ultimate) game idea. I already got a few ideas lying around collecting dust but…. Idea 1: Impossible with current level of technology (in case you have a working holodeck please contact me πŸ˜‰ ) Idea 2: Kind of want to keep this for myself. But the basic idea is turning Legendary Hatters into a game.
So I’m left with the next thing on my list, idea 3. Which is Dhovakiin!
Thats right, the game I worked on for a few days but dropped due to lack of programming knowledge!

Ill talk about the game in a minute. What happens after the pitch is that the ‘jury’ selects half of all the ideas, pairs two people together, and they are the selection jury for their idea/team! After that the game needs to be developed in half a year, and in 4 development ‘sprints’. Somewhere in between a game publisher comes in the picture. So if its good enough (a sellable game!) it might actually get out in the world!

I just hope for the best with my idea. Here it is:

Take the shout words from Skyrim, combine it with the spell casting system from Magicka, and put it in an adventure platformer.

The level has no pre-defined way to solve, the player has to use his creativity to get to the end.

There are as you can see in the (pre-alpha) screenshots I made (in my previous year) 7 base words, they define the base action of the shout. Other words change the effect, or potency.

As far as I know there is no big story, apart from a very basic idea that a Dhovakiin in 2012 fights for freedom from the evil villains which have taken the workers at Gars Incorporated (no, not Mars! :P) hostage. And for some reason our protagonist likes a Gars every now and then.

So humour and creativity saving the world and giving us back some candy bars πŸ˜›