Alpha Revolver Games


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Art Update 004 – Misc. & Vacation

Been working on bits and pieces from the main game this week, Created a new water area so the Swamp pet now has somewhere to live and been working on some dynamic backgrounds for other areas. Also for Monster Mayhem I’ve created some tester transition screens to let the user know when things are speeding up!

FASTERtesterI’m heading to Barcelona, Spain this Wednesday for a week, so there will be no work from me and no Art update next week. The rest of the guys will be hard at work though, I’ll be playing catch up when I get back, which funnily is the way I like to work. See you soon!


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Week Update

We managed to get through quite a lot of stuff this week. As you may have noticed we managed to get an additional new short created for Monster Mayhem and some testing completed for both Air Balloon Game & Monster Mayhem.

Moving forward Alex will be finishing up additional bugs on Air Balloon game, Implementing the new pets and dynamics. Alex will also be working out our screen sizing for all the devices and will be testing a method he reckons will automatically adjust the resolution and UI without much effort on our part.

Malcolm will be making any additional art for the current shorts for Monster Mayhem that are still missing as well as the additional art for the future shorts that Steven will be making this week.

As said, Steven will be moving forward with Monster Mayhem, implementing any new art and making the other shorts. Once things are complete I usually take what he does and I try and break the game, outline balancing issues and recommend changes or improvements.

My work this week includes further detailing the next 3 shorts for Monster Mayhem, testing both Air Balloon & Monster Mayhem personally and then testing it with testers to get as much feedback as possible.

Garry has a soundtrack and some of the SFX ready for Alex to implement into the Air Balloon Game. We are hoping that Alex can get them in so we and Garry can test it out and make any changes.

We have a meeting this Monday to discuss what additional work we can do moving forward as well as discuss what we can do and have ready in order to go to an Indie demonstration event in Novemeber in Scotland, United Kingdom.

Thanks for tuning in folks,

Darius


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Challenges, Professional Growth

This week, I said i was going to talk more specifically about challenges I have been faced with during my time on this project. However I feel like before I do, its important to touch on the basic concept of Object Oriented Programming; and how OOP differs in GML when compared to vanilla C#. Object Oriented Programming is, at its core, implementing behavior or functionality of objects within the games environment. This functionality will then form the boundaries of the games world; setting up rules, initialising game mechanics like so:

when this happens > do this.

when that’s finished > do this and this and this… etc.

Expanding on this, the most basic example of OOP is a simple if statement:

if(player gets shot){

 reduce health by amount;

}

the above pseudo-code is an example of one such rule: if the player is shot, they take damage.

Regarding differences  between C# and GML, I have noticed a significant fundamental difference in how I personally implement functionality:

in GML, if I want to execute a piece of code ONCE, I feel like the easiest way to do so is to use an IF statement, in conjunction with a Boolean variable, like so:

if(enemy_Killed){

add_Score = true;

}

if(add_Score == true){

score += 100;

add_Score = false;

}

this code will only add_Score ONCE, whenever an enemy was killed; because the Boolean is true, the code within the if statement will fire at the end of which, the Boolean is set to false, so the code will not run again until it is once again true.

in C# if i wanted to run the same code with the same functionality, I would call the function add_Score() from the update function like so;

void Update(){

        if(enemy_Killed){

        add_Score();

        }

}

public void add_Score(){

score += 100;

}

in GML, 95% of my code is in 2 places, the create event (essentially the Start() function of GML, initialises variables and objects) and the step event (which is basically the Update() function of GML). In C# my code structure is very different.

That is essentially programming in a nutshell, very iterative, very logic based, very heavy mentally, trying to solve problems, trying to explicitly tell the program what should happen in any given situation. Next week, I will talk about those challenges I eluded to 🙂

Thats all Folks!


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Ideas don’t always come when you want them.

This week, I had to really take a look again at the design document for Monster Mayhem and look at the shorts we had that make up our mini game. As expected when we had come to work on it, things will change naturally as a point of discussions as flaws are found and new ideas come in to motion. A big part of this week was thinking about how ways to salvage existing shorts ideas and thinking up new ones with the new constraints we have set ourselves.

Kind of like writers block, I guess you could call it designers block, I struggled to think of good concepts that fit within the constraints that we had set. A bad thing I started doing was thinking of overly complex shorts that didn’t suit the game theme and pace. I took a step back and just jotted the first ideas that came to mind without over thinking it so I could in return review it later. The problem I feel I have is I start to go over the top with something that I lose what makes its good or unique in the first place.

All the Energy sprites are ready to be placed into the game now. So stay tuned for a video or demonstration of it.

I managed to get some testing recently and have arranged for new testers to test it later this week. We tested both the Air Balloon and what we have of Monster Mayhem and the response has been very positive. However we have things that we will have to go through and fix and make clearer after reviewing additional testers.

Moving forward I hope to start preparing the group for attending an event to showcase our game to the public in November. More information on that once we have confirmed we are going. It will be good to see what the general public think of of our game.

Thanks for Reading!

Darius


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Small challenges

One of the things we have to keep in mind when coding this game is that we are planning on releasing it on multiple different devices. This means we have to make sure that the game is compatible with as many different devices as possible. The most important considerations for this is screen size and saving. As anyone who has shopped for phones and tablets should know, even if the devices run on the exact same operating system they can have a variety of screen sizes.

On the other hand, how things are saved is not something that people normally dwell on. Mobile devices have a much stricter restriction on how files and applications communicate with each other to reduce the amount of malicious software that can end up on your device. The two most common ways to save would be buying and running a server or having local saves that are a specific file type and are restricted to one space that can only be accessed by the one app. Purchasing a server is a bit extreme for our game as there are currently no plans for multi-player. Local saves are perfect for our game though purchasing a server will remain under consideration.


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Artist Update 003 – A Syncing Ship!

Its been another productive week! Monster Mayhem is coming along nicely and I’ve completely finished the Energy pet. There’s not been a lot of challenges this week. Well… Darius did think it would be funny to “accidentally” drag the entire project into another folder… causing Dropbox to have a fit, and everyone having to re-sync 21,000 files! But its A-Okay now.

Here’s a preview of the latest snippet from the Monster Mayhem mini-game!
Birdblog


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The New Guy

Hi there,

My name is Steven, and I am the newest addition to the Alpha Revolver Games Team. My contribution to the project will mainly be on the side of Implementation: taking the vision of the team, and making it a reality. In order to achieve this I will be using GameMaker, and as such, will be Programming in GML (GameMakerLanguage) which is for all intent and purposes, C# with additional help for novice developers. I am currently working on the second mini game for Little Monsters’ Grand Adventure. Originally this game was simply called the Party mini game; however now that implementation is fully underway, we have given it a new working title, which I am pleased to reveal: Monster Mayhem.

At the beginning of my work on the project, around about 3 weeks ago. I was very excited to be using GameMaker for the first time, whilst also being apprehensive about how this would affect my ability to work at a productive pace. Now although I had never used GM before, I did not consider myself a Novice Developer by any means; having used Unity 3D and C# in my own projects. The change to GM was actually harder than I thought it would be, and it was due to the focus of the tool being directed at beginners.

GameMaker itself has been developed to present EVERYTHING in small, digestible chunks; and while this is great for beginners, it presented some challenges for me, someone with more experience, who wished to structure the project a certain way etc. In the end though, it only took me a few days to acclimatize myself to the projects development space, and I quickly started rattling through the project.

Fast forward to the present day, Monster Mayhem is looking in great shape. We have, at time of writing, 3 fully functional levels [referred to as Frozen, Build and Leaking], devoid of bugs/ issue for the most part. The game also has a high score table, a game over screen, and a main menu screen. Moving forward, we will be developing Monster Mayhem in 3 level chunks, taking a break to test the newly added content.

In the next blog, I will be talking more about specific challenges which I have had to face during the implementation of Monster Mayhem and the way in which I managed to best them 🙂

Thats all folks!