A history of Zombie games. Part one.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxhgKupoiuo&hl=en&fs=1&]

I’m easily impressed by quantity in games. Serious Sam for example has always seemed to me like more of an accomplishment than whatever more modern shooter is available. Unless you’re going to really do something serious like Deus Ex I would rather have hordes of easy to kill N64 looking baddies over a few one with nice bump maps. That’s why I love the idea of zombie games. It’s a justification to make a game that revolves almost exclusively around the concept of crowds. So I’ve made a few zombie games.

First up is one I made with DarkBasic Pro and was going to become a crimson land style shooter minus the power ups and with some added solid environmental objects (tombstones in the one test level and presumably buildings and walls in future ones). It was also the first time I used Box2D for a top down game (something I’ve become rather fond of doing and a lot of what was done making this went on to being a source of inspiration for that cubicle game from a previous post). Originally it was going to be a first person (or maybe over the shoulder third person. I don’t remember for sure.) but somehow transitioned into being top down. It’s not complete and you can’t get hurt or die but aside from your immortality essentially everything else is functional. I’m actually really happy with a lot of it. The feel of the aiming/camera controls seem less phenomenal then I remember but are still good and nothing beats running through a thick crowd of zombies (even if it would become a suicidal thing to do once injury and death where implemented). Plus it just looks really cool and cartoonishly colourful. There are some nice particle affects showing clouds of radioactive smoke rising from canisters. The character models are ugly but they look fine from a distance and there is something extremely awesome about watching the zombies rise out from there graves. Unfortunately it’s also a complete programming mess and the frame rate (at least on my far from cutting edge computer) well starting out fine turns to shit fairly quickly. It doesn’t help either that well you may not guess it by looking at them the polygon counts and texture resolutions for almost everything is much higher then it should be (a side effect from the initial plans to make it first person which would put everything into a closer view and demand a higher level of detail).

Download.

A history of Ctrl+Alt+Del games. Part one.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pBv82FZV-4&hl=en&fs=1&]

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that at one point in my life believed that the web comic Ctrl+Alt+Del was good. Not mediocre but actually really good. Clearly I was delusional. Regardless of my mental state though this fandom resulted in a few unfinished (I’m beginning to see a trend in the kind of content I post here) games.

The first game was intended to be a third person sand box adventure game. The core game play would consist of walking around, talking to people and triggering scripted interactions. Anyone, everyone, everything, and every place ever depicted in the comic were going to be included and for the most part I was fairly well prepared to deliver on that plan. Regardless of there quality it still saddens me that I created so many models and textures which will never be put to use. There would also have be some simple platforming and what you would expect from a bare bones brawler but it was going to be primarily dialogue driven. That was really all just going to act as a hub world though. Within it there would be retro inspired mini-games (Frogger, Tetris, ect).

The community was actually really great about the game. The initial response to it on the forums where accusations that it was a virus (that seems to be a common response). But people where really cool after they realized that despite its low quality and lack of completion it was legit. Along with a reasonable amount of offers from different forum users looking to help on the game (none of which I accepted since I wanted to do the game myself and didn’t have a script yet for anyone to get started recording voice work) I also got a ton of people offering up free web hosting and that kind of stuff.

The main site for the game was and still is http://cadgame.ga-servers.com/ with hosting provided by Xtrife. There was also a mirror of the complete site but I’ve lost the address for it and the name of the user who set it up. A few other users chipped in by hosting mirrors of the early builds of the game as I released them. At one point someone even registered the URL www.cadthegame.com and had it redirect to the site but that address doesn’t seem to be usable anymore.

Even Tim Buckley (the person who makes the comics) was pretty awesome about it. He posted blue prints of the main characters house which hadn’t been available previously (when I first started I had worked out a somewhat nonsensical layout for the house based on the colours of the rooms and the colours of the adjacent rooms you could see through open doors). He also mentioned it twice on the sites front page which did a lot in terms of drawing attention to the game. The first mention actually resulted in Xtrife’s site being shut down for a while because of the bandwidth usage from people downloading the demo (despite whatever company he was getting his hosting from having apparently advertised uncapped bandwidth).

It never got anywhere that resembled a game though. If anything the fifth and sixth versions where even less complete then most of the releases that proceeded them. The main menu looked nice and would have made an alright screen saver. I’m still in love with the settings menu that I setup for the fifth/sixth release and the original settings menu before that wasn’t bad either. The character models and the textures in particular where by no means perfect but I still think I did a great job of translating those characters (which in the comics only ever existed at forty five degree angles) into. As I said before I made a frack ton of other graphical content even if most of it was never used. But as a game it never evolved. From how many times I remember reprogramming everything from scratch you would think I would make some changes to either add new functionality or perfect what was already there but It never really progressed beyond where it was in the second release (which I put out pretty quickly) with it just consisting of pointlessly wandering around a small area with nothing to do well struggling under a camera system that never really worked well enough for a third person game set in such a small and odd space and a collision system that never really felt smooth or correct whenever walking up against walls or through doorways. The camera especially haunts me. The way walking worked was just a result of me not knowing things that I do now. But spent ages working on the camera and I’m not sure I could do much better even if I did it now. Everything I changed seemed to somehow make it worse. Maybe it was all in my head. I don’t remember complaints about it. But people really don’t realize how difficult it is to make a third person camera that works well in a closed in and fairly complex environment. A first person camera? Stupidly simple. Third person in an open area where nothing can obstruct your view? No problem. Third person in a simple box room? Not a big deal. But when you bring doors and other things like that into the equation it’s impossible not to have the cameras view either obstructed or placed somewhere it shouldn’t be or feeling like it’s constantly jumping around and changing distances. Anyways the game sucked. Also well I’m not sure if my computer is just acting weird (I definitely didn’t use to have this problem) but for some reason several of the releases have Ethan (the main character) constantly walking in a certain direction and not fully responding to keyboard controls. There’s more shit I want to say but this going on forever so I’m just going to stop for now.


Download all 6 of the original releases.
The game’s site.
CAD’s official site.
The first cad news post about it.
The second news mention.
The now closed forum thread.

Escape from the cubicle.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYSZ5C5Vo2I&hl=en&fs=1&]

Escape from the cubicle is another one of the games that I half made and maybe sorta kinda intend to get back to some day. It was intended to be stealth game about a cubicle dwellers attempt to leave work early. At the moment though all you can do is walk around the office. Everything is physics based (once again using Box2D) so you can push chairs and boxes and coworkers and everything like that works great. Your coworkers also have a simple kind of AI (which was also going to be the basis for a zombie game I was/am working on) though there lack of path finding combined with the lack of openness/linearity of the environment makes them seem more moronic then they are and leads to them getting stuck trying to walk through cubicle dividers.

When coworkers see you they follow you and also inform nearby workers (who will then go investigate). If they lose sight of you they will continue to head towards the last known position but will stop looking if they fail to find you. You can tell what there level of awareness of you is based on thought bubbles above there heads. An exclamation mark means they see you and a question mark means they have suspicions about your location. When they are completely unaware of you there thoughts drift to random things which admittedly tend to be somewhat inconsistent. They are intended to seem absurdly sheeple like but well they praise the bible and its age based legitimacy they also prefer both The Beetles and the Flying Spaghetti Monster over Jesus and well they also obsess over TPS reports they also seem to be fully aware of there pointlessness. Anyways well I would probable rewrite most of them if I continued work on the game I still really like the idea of the thought bubbles. I was also going to make some of them go to sleep but I never got around to that and since there is no path finding yet I didn’t see much point in trying to have some of them wander around.

Another half finished feature is your interactions with walls. The plan was (and hypothetically speaking still is) to make it possible for you to lean up against cubicle walls (making you less visible) and also climb over them (which would make you visible to anyone facing the right way well doing so regardless of whether something would be obstructing there view well you where on the ground. Crawling and running where also on the list of additions to make.

Well the gameplay may be less then complete I’m still totally in love with the graphics. Though my love of it is somewhat lessened by the fact that its a total rip off of a preexisting design. To clarify I never intended to copy anything else. It just kinda happened. I wanted to make it cartoonish and stylized because making anything photo realistic when your working alone on a free game is truly a pointless effort and squares are more or less the official shape of conformity so I figured I would make them square. There heads where always cubes and there bodies consisted of a grouping of rectangular shapes. The protagonist on the other hand had a spherical head and before getting the blue shirt he has now (which was at one point also a Homer Simpson inspired pink) he wore a pro piracy t-shirt. But his head just looked lame and no matter what I did with it his hair always came out looking weird so he eventually ended up with the same character model as the other workers. And I wasnt really as crazy about the arms and legs as I thought I would be so I merged them Lego character style (The upper arms and forearms for example where previously separate shapes that just happened to touch each other) and made the mesh curve a bit at the joints so they could bend more naturally if needed. Well I was still to retain that rectangularness I had originally wanted I figured since I was rounding out the elbows and knees it wouldn’t hurt to do the same to there bellies and make them look a little more detailed. Then well wandering around google images looking for pictures of cubicles (I had began work on the level design at that point) I cam across a set of toys called The Cubes. They look stupidly identical to the characters I made. Not similar. Identical. Just a reminder that originality is a myth. With an estimated 6.777 billion people alive on this planet you can be assured that nothing you have ever done or thought of is new.

So if your interested here it is to download. Its for Windows only and requires DirectX 9.0c or higher. Need a reason to download? It has lolcats!

Download

Legitimacy for new media via old era distribution.

The free to watch online show Pure Pwnage (a Canadian mockumentary about a pro gamer) summarizes what’s become possible thanks to new technologies. The continually dropping costs of entry for aspiring media creators (regardless of whether the medium of choice is video or text or interactive electronic games or music) has made it possible for people to make essentially anything and because of how common place computers networked together by the internet have become distribution is no longer a concern. The printing press may have in its time revolutionized the spread of text and ideas and with it the distribution of power and control over media but now not only can we match it we can surpass it. We don’t need publishers to create prink copies of books or record movies onto VHS cassettes or manufacture cartridges or discs. We don’t need to be restricted by the gate keepers of old era distribution methods because we have surpassed what they can offer us. But for some reason we still crave the attention of those gate keepers.

Pure Pwnage is going to have an eight episode season of new episodes air on the television station Showcase. My first response was that it was cool to see the show make it to television. As if its status as an online independent show made it less legitimate as a show then one aired on television. As if it being aired in a dying format would validate it somehow. Then I started thinking about it more and felt guilty for that reaction. It is already a legitimate series and shouldn’t need to be taken in my old school distribution methods to prove that.

I don’t even watch television. I download pirated copies of most of what I want to see and watch it on my computer. So why did I have that gut response? It’s not restricted simply to video. It’s the same thing with text. Even if print text was ever more reliable a source of information then the average internet site they aren’t anymore or at the least certainly won’t be for much longer. With print (everything from news papers and magazines to stand alone books) on the decline the first thing to go is fact checkers. Even with hired professionals doing there best to make sure everything’s correct there is still no way them to compete with the (ironically often criticized) hive mind of a wiki like Wikipedia. But we still have a bizarre respect for published authors that tends to be refused to even the most talented and successful online authors.

Maybe it’s a little too naive and utopian of an idea but I think the concept of for profit media production will end (or more realistically largely be marginalized) within my lifetime. People are already moving away from the old methods of entertainment and towards the new user generated and often free alternative. When people’s mindsets change to start judging content on its own merits rather then where it originated then media companies will have to more seriously compete against hobbyists for the opportunity to entertain and enlighten consumers (who quincidentally are for once no longer passive consumers in the media creation game) and you can’t compete very well against free. Fox and ABC will die but YouTube will thrive.
The main reason I’m bringing this up here (along with my being bored and in the mood to type) is that this all applies to video games. It’s already happening. Even once heavily restrictive console makers are opening up to it. Just look at Microsoft’s indie game support on 360. Homebrew is slowly becoming main stream. How long will it be until the next Halo or Modern Warfare are made for free by a indie developer (not me my games are shit but there are other more talented people out there with a fondness for open source freeware) rather then a for profit dev team?

A response to a ping.


I’m not sure what compelled me to make this the first game I post here but regardless of reasoning here it is. Pong in all of its two player glory. I made it during a day over 9000 years ago to test out some physics stuff. I think I may have at some point thought that I might include more functionality or at least more complex graphics but I never did. There is no single player mode and although it keeps track of the score no amount of points will ever cause it to declare anyone the winner. First player uses the W and S keys to move there paddle and the second player uses the up and down keys. It has simple white on black vector based graphics.

It was made with Box2d and DarkBasic Pro and as a result of the later of the two you need to have Direct 9.0c or higher installed for it to run. You will also need WinRAR or some other similar compression/decompression program to get the executable out of the rar file.

Download

“Hello world!”, says the auto generated wordpress post.

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

I choose to edit it. Hello, readers (all zero of you), you may know me as ThatOtherPerson or SomeOtherPerson or perhaps simply ThatPerson or as an entirely different person. But regardless of names one label that I’m fairly comfortable with is that of a nerd. I am a nerd. A multi-purpose nerd really but included in my list of nerd earning qualities is my fondness of computers and software/media creation. So I’m going to be using this blog to post about my many half finished creations with the false hope that someone out there in the internets will enjoy consuming whatever creations it is that I have to share.

See you later, unspecified reader.