On Cloud Nine

Posted by
April 16th, 2015 10:32 pm

Well, not quite, but I am in for my ninth time (in a row).  I was hoping to get some nice rest before the competition, but it’s 11:15 PM here and the local utilities are digging up the street in front of my house because of a gas leak.  I’m actually kinda waiting for them to tell I have to leave my house due to danger.

Well, providing my house doesn’t blow up overnight, I’ll be using the following in the competition:

Programming: Visual Studio 2013, C#, XNA 4.0.  I keep telling myself I’ll move on from XNA to Monogame at the least, but I didn’t port my base code between competitions, so I’ll stick with the Microsoft library once more.

Graphics: Paint.NET, Corel PhotopPaint, Spine, Sketchbook Pro, and a pad of paper and a camera.

Sound: SFXR, Famitracker.  I’ve been doing some reading on music theory and think I have a little better grasp on composition, so I have no excuse and won’t skip music like in the last two entries (I promise).

Base Code: My custom engine. It’s a pretty extensive collection of input, sound, and graphics wrappers with a really great camera and animation support.  No changes from last time, but there are so many goodies in there that I’ve pretty much abstracted out XNA from the library.  Seriously steal my code.

Font: For any text display, I have been using a free font  from http://www.proggyfonts.net/, specifically Proggy Square.  I have converted it to a spritefont (PNG) for use in XNA (both full size, and something that fits in 8×8 for NES style graphics).  The original font and converted formats can be downloaded Here.  It doesn’t actually take too long to draw a font, so I might make a new one this time if appropriate for the theme.


Also, for new comers, some good advice.  Scale back as much as possible.  Make a game design that is easy and fast to get working (like seriously get is working with blocky graphics in 6 hours or so).  Start small, and once you get the small working, then add new features and polish in small units, such that the game is working and fun after each change.  Everything you want to do will take much more time that you expect, so be ready to drop features and having to stop faster than you think, so you want to make sure you have something you can submit as early as possible and stays submittable.

Also, even more important, get people to play your game while you are making it.  You’ll be surprised what simple things you didn’t consider that are easy to change and make a big impact.  On my best game I had 5 WIP builds, the first one available early on Saturday morning.  The feedback helps, and if you wait until too late, you won’t be able to act on the feedback.

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