Thursday, July 25, 2013

8-Bit Dimension Release!

The download for 8-Bit Dimension can be found here.

8-Bit Dimension is finally complete! This game took a lot longer than I originally expected it would take, especially with all the progress I made with the initial stages of building the game. Really, looking back at things, I can really only chalk it up to the increased demand on my schedule from school. When I made ManaClash, much of my progress was made when I only had to concern myself with work during the week. Making sure I had time for 8-Bit Dimension was probably the most challenging part of this project.

That's not to say it was the only challenge. With this project, I wanted to work on collision detection, and lightweight game physics, as well as the ability to load files for my levels. In addition tot he mechanics, I wanted to implement sound in this game as ManaClash was left relatively silent. I had a lot of trouble finding someone to do the sound for the game, and even once I thought I had, that individual was unable to commit the time to do it. In the end, I wound up doing all the sound myself, though not without help. The sound effects were all made with this handy online tool: and all of the music I made myself with the program FamiTracker. If you thought my art was bad, wait till you hear my sound design!

There were a few other features I wound up cutting just to move on from this project. For example, I wanted to do a little more as far as aesthetics goes by animating the various enemies, and having different backgrounds and enemies for different stages. In addition, I wanted there to be a "Final Boss" to this game, but all of these things would have taken far more time than I have available, especially since I'm in the middle of working on a commercial project with two others that has much more of my attention at the moment. Is that to say I won't return to 8-Bit Dimension? Of course not. Maybe one day in the future, much like ManaClash, I'll tinker around with the game, clean it up, and add some more features. For now, this is what I'm presenting to you.

As for what's changed between Beta and release? Here's the rundown!
- Added roaming enemies. These enemies can get in the way and cause unpredictable results when your spell collides with them, but you will be awarded points for the trouble.
- Added Sound to the game. Now you have sound effects for nearly everything imaginable, in addition to two nifty songs. "Level Start" and "Game Over"!
- Added three new levels, all of which are much more difficult than the original two. It wouldn't be a retro game if the difficulty weren't cranked up to 11, now would it?
- Fixed a bug that prevented the window from being closed after getting game over. This bug is apparently also present in ManaClash, and will be included in the list of fixes with it's first update.

That's game number two under my belt. Of course, I'm not the type of person to rest for long. I'm giving myself the weekend off to enjoy myself and relax for the first time in months, then I'm going to hit the grindstone once more. What will my next solo project be? Honestly, I'm not sure, but I will say this: I bought RPG Maker VXAce when it was on sale a few weeks ago and I've been dying to dive in and make something. I used to love RPG Maker for the Playstation, and made quite a few games I made my friends suffer through. RPG Maker VXAce seems to fix all of the issues I had with the original for Playstation, and I have a few RPG ideas I would love to prototype in RPG Maker. For example, I think I would like to remake The Ring of Fire in RPG Maker format. We'll see though.

Whether it's an RPG in RPG maker, or if I decide to tackle another game in Python, I'm unlikely to stop in my pursuit to improve my skills. With university right around the corner as well, I have a feeling that as difficult, stressful, and busy as the next few years are going to be... I'm going to see my skills as a programmer and a Game Designer improve manifold. I hope you enjoy the game, and let me know what you think! Until next time, enjoy the rest of your summer!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Now Entering: Hell Month


Summer is in full swing. It's been raining here in New Jersey literally every single day for a month now because God hates New Jersey. I suspect Noah will be here with his arc to pick me up soon, so before I go, it's time I let all of you in on what to expect.

First off, 8-Bit dimension is 99% complete. I'm putting a few finishing touches on it to give it a little more polish before releasing it. Granted, I probably won't be able to give it a full-makeover and there will be parts of it that are left... unrefined for lack of a better word, it is fully functional and playable. Expect the release before the end of July. Like ManaClash, I may revisit it one day to add a little more flair and pretty it up, but that will have to wait.

With Physics behind me, Calc2 half-way done, and University starting in the fall, this is the perfect window for me to be productive and belt out some games. Of course, this does mean I won't be able to play all of the video games coming out this summer, but what else is new? I haven't played video games in over a year! Enjoy your summer folks, and expect more news soon! This month is going to be wild, crazy, and intense... and I might just make it out alive if I'm lucky.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

8-Bit Dimension Beta 2

The download for the new version can be found here.

Summer is here. I'm taking two classes, and working on two games, so although progress may be slow, it's coming! Today, contrary to what I thought would be an evening of sleeping after a very, very long 12 hour day I cranked out the last little bit of code to put 8-Bit Dimension into Beta 2.

There aren't many new features that will be added to the game outside of polish at this point, so test to your hearts content! All of the items have been fully implemented, tested, and debugged. In addition, I put in the beginnings of code to allow roaming enemies, but have kept the feature out of sight for this release as it doesn't add anything to the game in it's current state.

Here is the change log to  Beta 2:

- Added three new items to affect game play.
- The orange item will grant you power over the mighty forces of magic to blast away any obstacles in your path. By pressing the Right Control button, you will discharge a magical attack that will destroy any blocks it comes in contact with. Do note, that if you are also under the effects of the sticky item, firing the magic shot will immediately launch any spells you are holding.
- The black item will open up a portal to the next stage. By attempting to leave the stage through the now opened door on the right side of the stage, you will be warped to the next level, losing any power ups you currently have. Note that this item may be hard to see against the black background. Keep your eyes peeled!
- The purple item will grant the player one extra life. Please note that the player cannot have more than 6 lives at any point in time.
- Fixed a number of bugs regarding the yellow item.
- Minor game play adjustments.

Next up, final release! When's it due? I don't know, but I can safely say before summer ends.With the release, I hope to have the roaming enemy system completed, as well as perhaps the addition of sound and some more levels to extend game play. There's so much more I could add to this game to help polish and clean it up, but at this point my major concern is to release the game and focus my efforts on completing "Project Zombie" for a September release. As usual, please report any bugs you find with the game. I've tested it extensively to make sure I have a clean launch, but these things are rarely apparent. Have fun, and let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Advent Games

It's June. School's already started back up and I decided to be crazy enough to cram Physics and Calc II into a summer I'm already booked to develop three games.

Yes, three games. Let's start from the beginning.

As you know, I'm knee deep in development on 8-Bit Dimension. I'm happy to say that I'm almost done with Beta phase 2. In my current build I've got all the items implemented. Cleaned up a few things and the code, and I'm in the process of putting in the beginnings of roaming enemies. I'm hoping to post that up sometime before the end of the month, but the work I put into that is solely reliant on my other two, more important projects.

My second project is the previously announced "Project Zombie". While I don't have any more information to share about it at this time, I will say that progress is being made and it's currently still on schedule for a fall release. I will, however, take this time to talk to you about Advent Games. Advent Games is the name of a brand new Video Game studio that I am heading. With a focus on honesty, integrity, and quality, the three of us who formed Advent Games want to make a company that's founded on the things that we as gamers and human beings value most. Evil DLC? Money Grubbing tactics such as Whaling? Incomplete, bug ridden messes of games? We, as a company will be doing everything possible to stay away from the things we feel weakens the gaming industry as a whole. By sticking to our adamant desire to remain indie, we won't be getting involved in the producer side of the industry that we feel often forgets the true purpose of a "game" - to have fun! Furthermore, without the intervention of producers, we can focus on artistic expression and experiment with new ideas that may not have come to pass in an industry clouded with corporate protocol. We're currently fixing up a website, and preparing a separate blog for our new studio which I will be sure to link here once it's complete.

The third and final project which I would like to mention is that Advent Games will be partnering up with fellow indie studio Hybrid Games to make a small RPG on a new, house built engine during the month of July. This RPG will be a free release that anyone will be able to download and play, as well as being open source so that if anyone in the community wants to tinker with our creation, they'll be free to do so. The engine will also be open source and posted online separately for anyone wishing to create their own RPGs, but I will have more information on that as it becomes available. If you'd like to be a part of this project, feel free to e-mail me at Please note that we only have a very limited number of positions, and you will need to have transportation to the Jersey Shore where we will be doing this work during the month of July. Currently, we're not looking for anyone to work remotely.

So, three projects, two classes, and a hard deadline of September? I think I can do it. I'll be sure to post updates as soon as they become available. My hope is that soon I'll be able to introduce all of you to "Project Zombie" with some of our assets, and perhaps a screenshot or two. Until next time, have a great summer, and stay cool!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Less than two weeks remain in this school semester, and I can't wait to be free.

Project wise, I've been knee deep in two: A game I've been making in Game Design, and a Guitar Simulation I've been coding with three other gentleman for Data Structures. I don't have much to show for either of them right now, but I might post some stuff up in the next few months when I'm not churning out breaking news left and right.

Speaking of which, I'm set to reveal some big news next month. Oh, how I wish I could spoil it early, but we are currently working out the last few details of a months long endeavor. In addition, full production on "Project Zombie" will begin with the end of the semester. I eagerly await the opportunity to give more info on that as well, but all in due time... all in due time...

That's all for now though. Sorry for the slow news months, but I promise, Summer will be worth it. Until then, I wish you all the best!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

There's Something Brewing Just Beyond the Horizon

It's April, and as the semester winds down, the work is getting more and more intense. I've found myself leaving the house in the wee hours of the morning, only to return some where around 3 AM, and continue the cycle day after day. I suppose this would make good practice for the inevitable crunch time situation I'm bound to face in the future.

Speaking of which... There is a lot going on as my team and I move into the final stages of preparing to launch our studio. Big things! I've been aching to talk about some of these things for months, but it'll have to remain a secret, if only for another month or two. One of those things will be an opportunity for those talented individuals in the NJ area looking to expand their portfolio or get hands on experience with a chance at making an actual game with us! We're still hashing out the details, but expect to hear something a little more concrete in June.

When it comes to games currently in production, there isn't much to report. 8-Bit Dimension has gone back into stasis until mid-May when the semester is over and I can dedicate time in wrapping it up. Work does continue on our Android game, which has yet to be named, but full production on that won't start until mid-May as well. As the development team and I are terrible at coming up with project names, I'm just going to call it "Zombie" for now until we come up with a better one. No, it has nothing to do with zombies. I just feel like naming all of my games after RPG enemies. Let it be known! Henceforth, Mana Clash shall retroactively be assigned the project name "Skeleton" and 8-Bit Dimension shall similarly be known by the project name "Wolf".

That's all for this month. News may be slow going, but soon I hope to knock your socks off with back to back news announcements of great import! Until next time, I hope you're enjoying what ever game currently has your attention!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

8-Bit Dimension Beta 1

The download for the new version can be found here.

In a completely unexpected turn of events, I somehow found the time to wrap up Beta 1 this week. Oh, the wonders of having free time that can be spent on stuff other than homework! Unfortunately, there are a few very minor bugs that I plan on fixing for Beta 2. All of the known bugs involve the "Sticky" item, and while I got all of the major bugs fixed (One of which would crash the game.) a few small minor bugs remain that don't impact game play too heavily. The known bugs will be detailed at the end of the post.

For those of you who play the game, the focus of this version is the inclusion of four different functioning items. Please let me know what you think of them, and their balance on game play which may be tweaked before release.

Here is the change log to  Beta 1. It's surprisingly small for an upgrade from Alpha to Beta:

- Added four new items to affect game play.
- The green item will split a single spell into three separate spells. Please note that this effect does not stack with itself, and if you have more than one spell active, you will only earn points for obtaining more of this item.
- The red item will increase the size of your shield by 50%. Changing levels or losing a life will reset this effect. Please note that the effects of this item are not cumulative. Obtaining more red items after your shield's size has been increased will have no effect and only grant points.
- The blue item will slow down the speed of all balls on screen by a fair amount. In order to keep the pace of the game moving, there is a minimum speed in place, thus, obtaining enough blue items will eventually have no effect if this minimum speed is reached.
- The yellow item will make your shield "sticky" and thus, catch any spells that make contact with it. Simply press the launch button again to fire your spells. This effect will fade upon changing levels or losing a life.

Known Bugs:

- Currently, while holding a spell under the effects of the "Sticky" item, if you move your paddle up against a wall, you may notice a small shift in the spells resting on the shield.
- The angle calculations when firing a spell while under the effects of the "Sticky" item are slightly off and may on rare occasion yield unexpected results.
- Speed is reset to it's starting value when ever a spell is fired while under the effects of the "Sticky" item.

Beta 2 will hit sometime over the summer as I know that nothing short of a miracle would allow me to finish it before the end of spring break. Especially when you factor in time to receive feedback and possibly fix any new issues that may be discovered. With Beta 2 I plan on fixing the bugs with the sticky item, and introducing three more, much rarer items. If time and testing permits, I will hopefully also have enemies added to the game, in at least some basic form. Please let me know what you think of the game! Any and all criticisms and comments are welcome as I move this game into its final phases.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ever Have One of Those Months...

... where you've had a fever for over a week straight?

This is probably the most sick I've ever been over an extended period of time. I've been pretty much bed ridden since March 2nd, and my productivity in all things has essentially hit zero. In fact, the only reason why I'm able to post up this blog entry is because I just woke up a few hours ago and I need to occupy myself with something that doesn't take too much mental energy until I can rest again. Still, at least I can talk about what's been going on this past month.

First up, I have a few screenshots to show for the game I'm working on in my Game Design class. Enjoy!

Here we have a simple terrain.

And the top-down view.

This Terrain I roughed out in a few hours for the tactical RPG I'm working on. Oh how I wish I had more time to work on this game. Sadly, my Data Structures class seems to hog every possible second it can like the greedy class it is. I may have more to show next month, but don't count on it.

Next up, 8-Bit Dimension! The game I wish I had the time to finish already. I haven't been able to put any effort into it since before the semester started, but I'm determined to put some time aside next week when spring break begins. At present due to my illness I'll need to spend significant time catching up on all of my school work, so I expect to bring Beta1 from about 50% done to some where around 75% done. I had hoped to finish Beta1 during Spring Break to allow a lengthy period for Q&A while I wrap up the semester, but it looks like right now I will have to try and wrap up the entire thing in the early summer. On the plus side, I finally found someone willing to do sound for the game, so expect sound some where down the pipeline at or before final release.

Finally, the mystery Android game I talked about last month is well under way. Due to the entire team being students, we're taking a slow and steady approach to working on the game until the semester ends, at which point it will pretty much become a full-time job in the hopes we can meet a September release. We have a studio name chosen which means you can either expect to see the name of this blog change, or a new one crop up in the next month or two, and the project name (which has absolutely no bearing on the final game) should be decided when we meet on Saturday to go over our progress over the past month. I hope to reveal both to the public as soon as possible, but with the matter of studio name that will have to remain under wraps until it's formally established and we purchase a domain for it. Who cares about a studio name any way?

Well, my cough is acting up again so I should be getting back to bed. Sorry I didn't have more to share, but I promise you there's a lot of exciting stuff waiting just beyond the horizon. Now of only the semester were over so I could get to work on all this stuff like a man possessed! Till next time, stay well, and if you have a fever for more than 4 days, well, I hope you have health insurance!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

February Update

It's February and school is officially in full swing. This semester has me swamped with even more work than last semester, something I didn't think was possible! In addition, it is beginning to look more and more like my Fall semester will see me going to Drexel University. A frustrating experience as this will kill my independent study time, but necessary as I know my knowledge of the material will eventually plateau without learning from professionals.

Onto news regarding my current projects!

8-Bit Dimension has seen some work since the Alpha v2 Release last month. I managed to get the Beta roughly half way done before the semester started. Sadly, once classes started, all work on that was put to a halt so I could focus on my classes. It's gotten so bad I've had to shelve ALL games to focus on my school work. Next up is my social life and a majority of my non-academic obligations if I find I can't keep up with the work load. Still, I'm hoping I can sneak in a little work next month during spring break assuming my professors don't see the vacation as an opportunity to unload a mountain of work upon me.

I've also done some minor touch ups on my "Ring of Fire" game that I made last semester. Still nothing amazing enough to re-release a new version, but you may see it at some point down the pipeline when I embrace my lack of a life and accept my computer chair bound destiny. This semester in Game Design I we will be working with Unity, and I plan on making a bare bones 3D tactical RPG. I might even have some screen shots to show off next month with my awful Maya modeling skills. I never claimed to be an artist.

There is, however, another game I have not mentioned before on this blog. A game spoken of in hushed tones as not to rouse the creative minds at Zynga. In less than 24 hours I will begin production on my first commercial endeavor with two pleasant and very talented individuals. I would say more, but many of the finer details are still in the works. For now, let's just say it -might- be an Android game, and I -might- need to direct you to a new blog in a few months. Needless to say, I'm really excited and have the support of a few individuals who have much more experience in the game industry than I do.

And that's that. I'll be back next month with some goodies to share with all of you. Until then, be safe, and have fun playing the games you love!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

8-Bit Dimension Alpha 2

The download for the new version can be found here.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season! After a holiday break and a nice trip that left me pretty sick, I've put the finishing touches on Alpha 2. I just got back home late last night, so I'm in the process of catching up with every thing that I've missed here in New Jersey since I left. After I take care of that and I do a little recovery I plan on starting work on the Beta version of 8-Bit Dimension.

Unfortunately, I can't give an accurate prediction as to when that might be available. School starts again in roughly 2 weeks, as will my work on another project. I've allotted time to complete at least 25% of the necessary work for Beta 1 before my classes start again. As usual, if I find I have more free time than expected, some of that will be put towards expediting the work on Beta 1. Also, as was the case with the last two school semesters, any development schedule will go out the window once school starts, and I'll be lucky to make ANY headway with the game. As a man of my word, I can guarantee that the full version will eventually be up, and it will be up at the soonest possible point.

Now, as for the change log for Alpha v2, I made the following improvements to the game:

- Added controller support. (See below for more information)
- Added a score mechanic.
- Added a set number of lives. A player starts with 2 and may obtain up to 6 extra lives as their score increases. If the player has no extra lives remaining and loses a ball, it will be Game Over.
- Added a level indicator.
- Added a pause feature.
- Added scaling difficulty. The ball will now increase in speed periodically when it collides with blocks. The silver blocks will affect the speed by a greater measure than the colored blocks. In addition, colliding with the upper wall will automatically set the speed of the ball to a new minimum if it hasn't reached that speed yet.
- Added items. (Note: Item effects have not been added to the Alpha version. Rather, it is currently an empty place holder in an effort to get feedback on item appearance rates.)

Controller support is extremely basic as befits an arcade game such as this. As with Mana Clash, it was designed utilizing a traditional NES controller to recapture the retro feel, and there is no way to re-map the buttons in game, so you will have to use your own button remapping software if you are using a different controller.

D-Pad: Controls movement.
Button 0: Fire the spell.
Button 3: Pauses the game.

Beta 1 will focus on item effects and rates. I plan to have several different effects that items will have on game play, and thus will need lots of time to properly implement and test each one. In addition to managing the items, I hope to implement roaming enemies and perhaps a new level, but that will depend solely upon the progress made in getting the items to work properly. As usual, please feel free to give me any constructive criticism you can so that I can continue to improve upon the game.