Ok, EvilKris game usually = hardcore blood'n'guts violence but in this one case I took a step out of my usual psychology and have gone and done us all a juicy little trivia game.

Little background- when unchained for a night, I often consume my wages playing darts in these amazing Japanese electronic darts-bars (which I KNOW will swoop over Europe one day) and afterwards when I get tired I like to sit down and play those little pub trivia machines they have. Addictive little bastards. So I thought I'd throw one out there myself. That's it. It only took about 3 weeks from start to finish, but I'd say TriviaCasino was one of my classier productions, well-nurtured from start to finish. Every font is drop-shadowed, every question hand-typed, transitions, blur filters, fake 3D, cute sfx, you name it. This one's even been obfuscated so no 15yr old decompiler is getting his greasy mits on that high-score without memorising the encylopedia. No loader in yet, sorry, and it is 1.8 meg so guys with slow internet connections will have to stare at the blank white screen for a bit. Plus I'm trying out FlashInCrypt with this one so there is a trial version stamp on the swf.

The version is beta- there's only 20 questions for each category so far, but I THINK that's all that needs doing. That's kind of why I'm releasing it here, for you guys to give me some feedback. I realise most gamers don't give a ff about Sports and History so I've only bothered with less elegant categories that most gamers can relate to, Music/Entertainment/Video-Games. That's right, bet you've never seen a pub trivia quiz that has questions about games.Don't try too hard to get the high-score as I'll be wiping out the current records when the proper game is released.

I have spotted a couple of bugs here and there and probably forgot about them, so if you see anything, any bad fonts etc, please report it.

So what is TriviaCasino? just your average multi-choice question game with a bit of gambling thrown in. If you get 4 questions right in a row, you'll get a chance to win more points in a bonus round that resembles a slot machine. Furthermore, from time to time a random 'Double Your Money' event will be launched, and if you decide to risk it, you'll have the chance to win twice your current points, or lose the lot. Having the high-score readily viewable on the first screen of the game adds incentive to beat it IMO, and I think I'll probably stick with that design for most of my future games- I figure the more EK trademarks that are recognisable in my games, the less chance my artistic license will be infringed upon by some unscrupulous website.
Well the good news is, me and this fellow Pele/Robin Mitchell chap have decided to embark upon creating a little Metal Slug clone. Not a hell of a lot of originality going on there and if he wasn't such a fabulous artist I'd probably not be so keen. I wouldn't say I'm not a big, big Metal Slug fan, but the businessman inside me was like "The art will sell the game by itself!!" so what the hell...? It's not like I'll be running back to The Damned any day soon after losing months of work on it. Coding new stuff - even if you're not into it- is fun and all is potential cut&paste for use in other projects anyway.

I committed myself to coding it in AS3 to start off with, but progress has been slooooow so instead of trying to get my head around the complicated innards of the new language I decided I may aswell lay it all out in AS2 and then convert it piece by piece to AS3 when it's all done (or pay some other sucker for the task). Don't get me wrong, I'm all for AS3 but Jesus does it make the simplest tasks a pain in the arse at times, I mean, just the other day I was trying to create some simple lines to show me the co-ords of bounding box on an mc- something which would take like two secs in AS2- and three hours later I still couldn't get the bastard compiler to stop throwing out error messages. I guess I'm just an ambitious rodeo-cowboy without the chops to pin down the beast, for now.
I've decided to keep note of what changes between the two languages screwed me up so far, and will be creating a new little AS2-AS3 Ref.Guide for Game Programmers to go up on the Sidebar any day now.

As for the engine, I started off using TonyPa's Tile-Engine but being frank I think if you're going to make a game that has as much art in it as say Metal Slug you're better off with art-based, as you're not repeating many tiles anyway. Andre Michelle created a sweet little art-based prototype for mario over on GotoAndStop.it using vectors and so far it seems the best option to me, being I can derive the co-ords for every platform just by drawing a line over the art background and taking the x,y for each end, and don't have to muck around with a ton of code, either.
Ah Jesus F**cking Christ a virus wiped out my entire hard-drive this afternoon.
Can't blame her, it was my own fault for downloading files from the wrong sorts of sites and BAM! couldn't even get into Safe Mode to stick my Flash files on a CD.
It wouldn't usually bother me much but I'd been working on The Damned again and had practically finished the entire game. I was literally days away from uploading it to the safety of the server.
Geez, Level 2 was looking brilliant. Not only did I have zombies with location damage all over their bodies - arms exploding, heads flying off at random angles and calculated velocities, but the magnum weapon was working well; enemies exploded into chunks of blood and guts at close range. Like a different game and much improved. The real killer is that I had painstakingly redesigned many of the 'death scenes', cutting footage from zombie movies out and adding my own little personal touches. Took weeks. Gameplay was far more exciting, the zombies came flying at you from out of the darkness but could be illuminated from a distance for a brief second with a round off the beretta. I'd also created a 'Salems Lot' style monster that crawled along the walls towards you following a circle radius. Ah man, they looked awesome but I don't have a single screenshot- it was all for naught. A labour of love, lost.
Not only that. An update of the SORF engine with enemy AI and extra moves. A prototype I had made for a potential remake of Green Beret, written in AS3. It was looking pretty sweet, had the guy running around the tile-engine and he would execute a slash Strider-style ie- as fast as you could hit the key.
Oh well, adapt, overcome. I'm pretty bitter but there's nothing like a clean slate to spur on the imagination.
I'm too down to go back to work on The Damned so for the time being I might get into the fighting-engine. I figure codewise it won't be the biggest stretch to get a decent little mini-game up and running in no time, so keep your eyes peeled here for that in the near future. Later dudes.
Nexus/Sirius Continued...

Been working on the Nexus demo a lot recently.

Check out the updates. Elevator now works. Choose a floor (1-5 are explorable) and tap D to operate the thing. You can now enter rooms and use the UP array to search through the junk in them for objects.

When you leave rooms the doors tint to red to let you know you've been in them. At a later stage that'll change so they'll tint only when you've searched the entire room.
Don't bug me about stuff in the game being wrong. I'm not asking for beta testers here, and I'm fully aware that some doors tint before you've entered them, rooms not existing and levels doing funny things. Cheers.

Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. That's the new working title since I can't go completely ripping off Nexus now can I? Truth be told I've thought of a few little changes I'd like to make to the original game anyway. So, it's now not a blatant Nexus but inspired by Nexus. I hope to retain the atmosphere of the first game but evolve it with a few added extras such as a couple of new weapons and some other stuff I've been mulling over.

So, how would you set up a world similar to mine?

myMap = [[16, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12],
[11, 9, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 0],
[5, 4, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 0],
[14, 15, 14, 15, 15, 14, 15, 14, 14],
[12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12]];

This is the array that represents the rooms for each level. So we've got 5 levels at present (elevator levels higher than 5 don't exist). The numbers in the array are used to reference the tiles that are used in the background.

floor3 = [[[0,0],[10,0],[0,0],[0,0],[0,0],[0,0],[0,0],[1,0],[1,0],[0,0]],

This 2d array is for the main tiles on each level. It's 10x7: 10 tiles per screen, 7 screens per level. 0,0 would be an empty space, 2 is an elevator (for now), and anything from 3-100 is a graphical tile with no properties (so 1,0 is a barrel). 100 and up is a door. Each level uses a different door mc, so we need 101,102 etc. the second part of the array represents the room number. so [101,10] would work as say "Use tile with linkage tile_101 for the graphics and 10 we'll keep for later so we know what room it leads to".

myMiddleMap2=[{roomnumber: 1, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room1", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [13,0], [14,0], [1,0], [13,0], [14,0], [0,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 2, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room1", roomArray:[[11,1], [12,1], [2,1], [13,2], [14,3], [13,1], [14,0], [1,1], [0,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 3, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room1", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [13,0], [14,0], [1,0], [13,0], [14,0], [0,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 4, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room1", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [13,0], [14,0], [1,0], [13,0], [14,0], [0,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 5, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room2", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,1], [3,4], [13,5], [14,2], [1,8], [13,3], [14,2], [0,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 6, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room2", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [13,0], [14,0], [1,0], [13,0], [14,0], [0,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 8, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room3", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [13,0], [14,0], [1,0], [13,0], [14,0], [30,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 9, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room3", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [11,0], [12,0], [11,0], [12,0], [14,0], [30,0],[10,0]]},
{roomnumber: 7, image:0, entered:false, tile:"room2", roomArray:[[11,0], [12,0], [3,0], [13,0], [14,0], [1,0], [13,0], [14,0], [0,0],[10,0]]}

This is the array of objects for our rooms. We can give it as much information as we went, in this case roomnumber, image (no use right now), entered:- has the room been entered, boolean. tile: linkage for the room background mc, and roomArray is another array similar to the maintile array for coordinating object/furniture tiles across the screen. This time the second array number carries special information about what objects can be located when the player 'searches' the tile in question. Anything above 0 is an object. I've yet to incorporate anything such as puzzle pieces or weapons so at present all you'll receive is a "Got Something" message when you search objects in the rooms.
I haven't quit the Streets of Rage engine, nope in fact it may have found a home.
I was approached by a talented artist about 2 weeks ago enquiring about a possible collaboration and it looks as though we may be working on a game together!
It's too early to say much about the project but suffice to say we've both agreed that it will be a medieval Hack'n'Slash a little like Golden Axe but with a lot more gore. There's a lot of ideas and concept art flying around at the moment but little else, so I'll leave the rest of the details for later.
Regarding progress, since my engine has to be custom adapted after we've set the framework for the character sprites and such, I've had some spare time on my hands to work on other projects. Therefore I broke out the old Nexus.fla and have been working on that. Goddamn was there some shitty code in there. But that is to be expected -it was the first game I had worked on since I started using Flash for making games, after all. It's nice to know my coding skill has upped and 1 year ago I wouldn't have dreamed of using arrays of objects to contain all the 'room' information in the base. I've put all my gained knowledge back into it and now things that screwed with me a year ago are working like a charm.
You can check out the update on the right. Now you can walk into rooms using the UP arrow and er..that's it. The doors to the rooms go red when the room has been entered, just like in the original Nexus. (You wouldn't believe what a bastard that was to get working, btw). Just laying foundations dudes.
I still haven't figured out how I put XML in Flash to good effect. People keep telling me they can't live without it these days but I haven't seen what use it would be unless we're talking about loading info on the fly. Saying that, I'll probably eat my words a year from now.
SO, here's the story. I was fiddling around with the Streets of Rage tutorial and thought "Hmmm this engine is coming along rather well" and decided to scrap the tute and embark on actually creating a proper game. So here's what I've done so far;-





Yes it's only a basic demo, just a small preview of what's to come- but at least the mechanics at this point are- in my opinion- pretty fluid. Took a lot of fiddling around with keyhandlers and the like to get it working like that. There are soooo many beat-em ups out there that look fantastic, but playwise lack the juice to keep you intrigued. This is mostly down to controls being unresponsive (bad coding) or the characters movements too slow (bad design). So I made an effort to keep things frictionless.

Pretty much everything I'd love to see in a 2d fighting game I intend on having, borrowing the best bits from the best games and leaving out the poo. Floating combos, multiple grapple techniques, power-up attacks, firearms, hitting grounded enemies. God I'm violent. There's only a handful of those in the demo so far, but keep your eyes peeled...

I you can draw real art, (ie something other than crappy little cutesy characters), please get in touch. There's money to be made for a good artist in Flash these days. Companies are beginning to realise the huge potential of advertising within online games and financially speaking things lousy sponsorship deals are becoming a thing of the past and giving way to percentage earnings. In other words, the day may be dawning when we can actually earn what we're worth. As you can see, the current demo uses placeholder graphics and one day I hope to either put in my own graphics, or hopefully get someone who has some real talent on the job.

I discovered a couple of handy coding techniques along the way with this puppy, such as saving a reference to whichever bad guy the hero is beating on after he comes up on the hitTest--bleh, difficult for a moron like me to explain, but in other words, you could do something like. hero.current_enemy._x=500;
In other words you have all of the current enemies properties available from within the player object. It saved me a lot of time. Guess my skills are improving, but I'd still love to know how 'real' programmers manage to code entire games without putting any lines within their movie clips as I completely struggle to figure out ways of avoiding that at times. There's that old coders adage that "It's not the code but the game that matters" but it's a great feeling when you know your coding is clean and organised (and all on one frame!).

Had an odd urge to go back to coding the remake of Nexus once again. I know the project is supposedly abandoned, and I had no intention of returning to it, but I can't help it- recently great ideas for how it could be done just keep popping into my head. I started scribbling down some map diagrams for the base and who knows, I might just break open the old swf and get cracking on it again.

This doesn't mean I'm blowing off Bounty Hunter 2, but the scale of that game is so large I'd be crazy to focus entirely on it when there's other more attainable visions to chase. Go with the flow of your mind dudes, that's all you can do. As long as you never stop a project completely you'll always have stages in the year when you feel like adding a little bit to it here and there.
Yes, it's official, AS3 is awesome. After 2 weeks of consistent AS3 tinkering, I'm wondering how I ever made games without it. Programming in AS3 is definitely tricky. There's no easy way to remove MovieClips anymore, and even passing parameters to functions can be a pain-in-the butt with all the new compiler errors that pop up should you misplace your variable definitions, but by and by it stands head and shoulders over AS2 in many departments.

Something I've been cheerful about is that- contrary to my initial belief- AS3 doesn't necesserily have to be coded in solid OO (what the hell is a public/private function anyway?), and you CAN thankfully code in an almost similar manner to AS2 just by learning the appropriate methods to migrate your AS2 code to AS3. And yes, though the proper programming protocol would be to have your game consist of a bunch of class.as files and give you a headache over all the encapsulation/polymorphism and that sort of tosh, you can actually circumnavigate all that and do it the old fashioned way I'm used to, ie having the game code entirely on the first frame and bugger all OO. Naturally I do intend to gradually turn my games into full OO, but it's a relief to know that my coding doesn't have to come to a flat halt while I'm on the baby steps to mastering that particular style of programming. Subsequently I wont be releasing any tutorials based on AS3 until I'm comfortable that I'm coding properly in OO- but you can expect a few new games out soon.
It's great perkt that I can stick to my usual style of programming and yet still benefit from the TASTY speed increases AS3 has to offer. Already it's clearly obvious to me that the power of AS3 is superior to AS2 in many ways, and if you take a look at some of the demo's online showing the differences between the two you can see it for yourself. It's like having a new Testarosa in your garage- all good fun and I shan't be going back to AS2 anytime soon.
Bounty Hunter 2 (AS3) is in the works. I realise the first one is well... shit, but it was fun to code and there's still a lot of functions in there I think I can reuse. Think of Bounty Hunter 1 & 2 as the equiv of Mad Max and the sequel. They're going to be light years apart in excellence. I've already a little prototype up and running on my machine with an astronaut that can enter ships littered around a galaxy, and an R-Type style beam weapon in operation that is looking rather fab if I don't say so myself. I won't post a pic or an swf as firstly there's a few bugs still in there and also the graphics are all placeholder and crap to look at. I figure I'll start out making a skirmish mode demo that sets you against 20 bots in a deathmatch, and if that does ok with the public I'll turn it into a long-term (and I do emphasise 'long-term') multiplayer project that will have teams against teams. I think the beauty lies in the Paradroid style ability to defeat and then occupy the enemy, assuming all of their special abilities and such. Almost like a Space Sim GTA. It's a play mechanic that I think will be huge fun, with people competing to get or destroy the best ships. Throw in some special super-rare super-hard-to-get street cred ships and you've got a winning game I reckon.
What I've been working on for the last few days though is actually the Streets of Rage engine. It now has throws, combos, some sfx and enemies, and is working well. This will be my last AS2 project for sure, I'm dumping AS2 like a frumpy girlfriend who's no longer good in the sack, for AS3, my new Swedish PlayBoy centerfold. The SOF engine will combine the mechanics of some of my favourite beat-em-ups, Final Fight, SOR, and Spike-Out. It's like Tarantino says- if you want to make great movies, you've got to be a great movie watcher, and I'm pretty confident that I know exactly what it is that makes some fighting games better than others.


Yup, sounds like I'm making it up, but it actually exists. It's a game that's identical to the 2nd House of the Dead shooter, except you don't shoot, you err.....type. As zombies rush towards you a little box appears above their heads with the words you need to type in to kill them. Most of the words belong to the same content family. Like, 3 zombies might attack you with "ACE", "JOKER", "SPADE". The faster and more accurate you type, the higher the score and the better chance you have of getting extra lives. Bosses are of course, much tougher, and usually attack you with quite long sentences in illegible romanised Japanese "Ore mo jigoku e iku zo!Omae no sakki ni!" Something like that. Some sentences have hyphens and ampersands and such so they're just friggin impossible to get out in time. Finally, the cutscenes look silly, as the main protagonists now have huge typewriters attached to their hands in the place of guns.
Still, taking it all tongue-in-cheek, this is a pretty damn good game and there are much worse ways to blow 100yen. I happen to be quite a fast typist and always make it to around the 3rd level, when the sewer worms gets me due to my inability to answer questions about Japanese culture you are faced with to damage it.
I've also played a Lupan typing game, but this one is much better IMO.

Official website here: http://sega.jp/pc/soft/tod/

TIME CRISIS 4. Doing the rounds. Half-decent game. Has the same guy who does the Japanese voice for Snake in the Japanese Metal Gear Solid in this one. Very good voice actor.

The Japanese looooove 'Keiba'. That's horse-racing to you and me. This is a relatively new gambling game that's only been out for about 6 months. Basically it's the same as betting at the track, except computerised. Need any further elaboration? You just grab a console, stick your money in, choose a horse, then cross your fingers. And nope, you don't win real money, just tokens.

Bingo. Pretty much as you'd imagine it.

I remember when I used to play 'Shenmue' thinking that the capsule toys were cool but fictional. Well, I was wrong. All over Japan you can find these machines littered around the supermarkets and arcades. What makes collecting capsule toys more attractive is that you can often find some rare machines that can't be found in other prefectures. And I've heard that trading them online is quite a popular pastime for certain nerdy types. What's weird and Japanese about them is that you can find toys relating not only to popular comics and superheroes but also pretty much anything else imaginable, including human anatomy, celebrities, vegetables, electronics, well the list goes on...
I found a very cool StreetFighter Hyper Fighters collectors edition one the other day.

Video-games for kids. The one at the bottom is Mushi-King (Insect King). Japan is actually home to some of the coolest creepy-crawlies in the world, and in particular the kabuto (Rhinocerus Beetle), which is extremely popular with young kids. They keep the things as pets, and just love creating kabuto ring fights (little bastards) in the same way English kids love playing conkers. This trading card game they can emulate that by buying random game cards from the machine and fighting Final Fantasy style against a friend or a computer opponent, gaining experience with every battle they win. I've never played it but it looks fun.

Someone requested a close-up of the Half-Life 2 controls so here y'ar. The left stick is mainly for strafing and menu-selection and the right-stick is your controls. It's like a normal joystick except you can rotate it left and right to turn your character. Tap the foot-pedal to move forward. Like I said before, it doesn't quite work as well as it could, and this kind of over-complexity in a game will ruin it in Japan.

Gundam Battlion. Haven't played it yet but this game looks sweet. It's some kind of multi-network robot flying/shooting game and it's brand new. Looks from the outset to be a kind of gang warfare game where you team up with a dozen or so of your mates and take on an army of enemies, or perhaps humans linking from their online network. Will have to try this one out real soon.

Brand-new game called Too Spicy. Didn't look so hot. It's almost like a shooting version of Super-Punch Out. Instead of blasting away at a zillion enemies you have to take on one guy at a time and successfully avoid being hit by using the pedals to navigate your character around the arena. First impressions, not fantastic.

Romance of The Three Kingdoms (at least I think that's what the kanji of the title is). Awesome looking-game but I'm buggered if I can figure out how to play it. There's waaaay to much Japanese text flying about on the title menu and before you can even play you need to buy a bunch of playcards. You then play by swiping your cards over certain areas on the play tablet. Ahh bollucks...I'm not even gonna bother trying to guess how this is played, it goes way over my head. Looks good though. Amazing to think that from that little Snes game Nobunaga's Ambition followed all this.

Just a quick pic of the game-card machine for the above game. You know, for shits and giggles.

A final pic of a new Mah-Jong game that is popular here. Never played it.

That's it then peeps. There is still much more to go, but for now I'm spent. I'll be sure to continue this theme for at least the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for the next post!
(New Streets Of Rage Style Scrolling Beat-em-Up Tutorial on the sidebar!!)

As I had a bit of spare time this past week, I thought it might be fun to take a few pics of the country I live in from a heavy gamers viewpoint. I'm always seeing cool new machines that I'm sure never make it outside of Japan, and so you know, I thought I'd introduce what some guys outside of Japan would be curious about. What games are big in the video-arcades now, what's selling like hotcakes on the PS3, pics of gamer magazines, etc. Just generally illuminate how the game scene differs from back home. I'm not sure if this'll become a series or not (likely not), but I'll fill at least a couple of posts with it.

Since I'm originally from the UK, most of my comments will relate to my experience growing up in UK video-arcades. That's not to say they won't apply to you guys in the States, and as I did live in San Francisco/San Jose for half-a-year so I feel the game scene in both the UK and the States are kind of level-pegging, but, just so you know.....

So without further ado;

Game-Centers (Video-arcades)

More often that not they're run by the big names that you know well. Sega, Taito...Ah shoot, forgot to get Namco WonderLand for you. Will do that soon.

Round 1 is sweet. Check out the things you can do there;
Don't know if you can see all that (blogger.com only allows for set pic sizes).
It says:

B1- Games
3-4F- Leisure Stadium
5-6-7F- Bowling
8F- Open Air Sports
3F- Active Sports and Games - Billiards & Darts - Shower Room
4F- Internet-Karaoke-Table Tennis-Relaxation

So it's like a gaming multiplex. The first few floors have a lot of funfair style machines, video-games, football simulators, kickboxing bag games. All sorts. Then you've got a more chilled out space on the 4th floor where you can enjoy massage chairs, read manga, sing Karaoke or/and piss about on the net. They've also got electronic Darts machines which I simply cannot get enough of and will have to devote an entire post to at a later date. On the 8th floor you can play basketball and baseball against the ball machines, and when you've done all that, you can go soak your sweaty buttcheeks in the shower.
Awesome or what?!And people ask me why I moved to Japan....

Just like the UFO Catcher in that game Yakuza right? These claw machines are extremely popular with young chicks and couples. You can win 6ft Mickey Mouse teddybears. Personally they bore the poo out of me, but you know, they attract the babes so no complaints here.

The Japanese Fruit-Machine (pachislot). This one (Godzilla) is a little popular right now along with the Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star). Gambling in Japan is pretty unexciting if you ask me.
You buy 5 bucks worth of tokens but no matter how much you win, you can't ever change it back into real money. Kind of defeats the purpose of gambling, doesn't it? And personally I much prefer UK fruit-machines. In Japan, instead of the reels spinning in random icons, you can actually time the drops to get exactly what you want. It's not as easy as it sounds, but yeah, you find a few peeps do nothing but win on these things. But again, YOU DON'T GET ANY REAL MONEY, so what's the point? Booooriiiiing. But at least they don't cheat.

And the machines are sexy. That pic of Godzilla you see there is actually an LCD screen that generates 3d cg imagery, so say you win the jackpot or something you see animations of Godzilla smashing down buildings or incinerating Tokyo
One interesting fact is that in Japan you can buy all these games on the PS. Yeah, not literally the machine, but the emulator that runs exactly like the machine PCB. So, if you're the sad bastard who's actually into them, you can play them night and day.

Ahh. Now these games are a mildly fun way to waste your money. As far as I know these things don't exist outside of Japan, either. They're like a combination of your standard coin-toss/woodrail game mixed with an rpg or first-person shooter. They're highly inventive and actually I once thought about making a Flash-game based on them. I still might. This one here is called DragonQuest (if memory serves). It follows the same principles as most of them- along the bottom of the video-screen you get some moving icons that you have to hit with the coin from a well-aimed rail, when you hit them they'll vanish and either reveal nothing or some kind of bonus. Usually the bonus is like 'Move 2 Squares forward' or 'Win 50 coins', where 50 coins will drop onto the shuffling coin-tray and hopefully push the rest off it. As you progress through the game you'll get the chance to battle bosses (hit them with the coins in their weak spots) and do other missions like collecting items for merchants or rescuing a dragon. It's all great fun but terrifically expensive. You could easily go through 10 pounds (pounds, not dollars) in as many minutes, but at the same time you have those days when the win streaks just don't stop.

Random Popular Games

Forgotten what the hell this one was. Gundam or something. Never been into those robot games much but it seems to get a lot of attention.

Spike-OUT. Wow, still surviving after being released 7 YEARS ago. One of the most popular fighting game multiplayers in Japan in fact. There's not many games that can boast with one credit you can either last 5 minutes or throughout the entire game. Best combo system ever conceived if you ask me. The difficulty level is so spot-on as well, the bosses are never too easy, but if you and your mates time the attacks well you can finish them in seconds. Great game.

Good to know the King is still alive and well.

Yep. Fun 4 player Mario Cart arcade.

Virtual Fighter TV. You can play against anyone around the country.

Half-Life 2 Arcade. I had a go on this, and I don't think it'll stand the test of time here in Japan, the reasons being;
a) Japanese aren't much into 1st person shooters. They claim that the games makes them dizzy.
Usually I'd scoff at that, but this game really does.
b) Too many controls. Western people don't mind so much, but Japanese gamers hate having to figure out zillion button games.
Still, it was a good game I personally thought.

OK. So that's it for now. Next time I'll take pics of game stores and show you what's no.1 on the PS3 and things. Plus whatever else I think might peak people's curiousity.

Just a very quick drop-in to let you dudes know that I'm currently working on a Streets Of Rage -style fighting game tutorial. I've actually got the combo system up and running, flying kicks, and enemy damage systems are a go go. The tutorial is about half done, so watch this space!
Sorry but that's all your getting today.
Yes, it's true. The dude hath returned.
Yeah it's been awhile but I figured I'd pop my head in. Why the absence? Frankly, no particular reason other than laziness. Well, to write I mean, not in relation to coding games. In fact, if you take a peek over to the right hand side you'll see that not only have I shaken up the sidebar design a little but there is also two new demos for your perusal.
They're both taken from a new series of games

The poor reception of Bounty Hunter around the net kind of took the wind of my sails and soiled my desire to continue with the whole space sim theme, so instead I turned to sports. I was running through some of my old favourite C64 games and came across HyperSports. As some of you know it's a game that involves a lot of whacking the keyboard and throwing joysticks at the wall in order to make your character jump higher/run faster/leap over twice as many hurdles. Inspired by how much fun it still was, I thought I might as well have a crack at doing a modern day version. So inventively named 'UltraSports', you can find the first two events almost finished and ready to play on the sidebar. I'm hoping to link each event up into a main swf and include a leaderboard highscore table.


ASWD - Player One
Arrow Keys - Player Two

-Running, Swimming, and Biking all in go. Whilst running tap LEFT and RIGHT as quick as you can. In the water: Boost up each respective bar (using LEFT and RIGHT) to it's full gauge then switch to the opposite key and do the same. Bicycle: LEFT and RIGHT will gain you little speed, you must also navigate the bicycles over the milk to reach the finishing line quicker.


MOUSE only. Hold Down button to boost and move around to change the angle of the shot. Far targets make for higher point shots. At present Archery is only 1 player, though 2 player option is imminent.

Sooooo, what else have I been up to?
Finished the first level of The Damned completely. Now you don't die immediately, and instead have 3 beating hearts that represent lives. Also got some wicked new sound effects for the guns. Finally, I have added some crawling, Saloms Lot-inspired vampire creatures that arc around the walls toward you in the second level- but they've yet to go in.

Well, AS3 is out, so I've been fiddling around with that. It's all quite exciting for me, discovering the nice speed increases that are available. I've only really put my toe in the water so unfortunately I can't give you guys a decent analysis of the improvement, but there have been a couple of good changes (and bad ones) in the IDE. Sounds stupid, but actually one of the things that brought a smile to my face was that they finally fixed the Edit Multiple Frames option, something that I in particular use a lot due to the high amount of animation png's I use in my pre-rendered graphics. Sounds like a silly joy to have but that was pissing me off at times.
However the panels are a little fiddly, things don't dock very well and I find myself constantly having to move the actionscript panel all over the place in order to see what I'm doing. I liked it better before.
I suppose I will have to sacrifice a lot of my time now abandoning AS2 for AS3. I plan to completely switch over after I finish the UltraSports series, as AS3 has x10 speed to AS2 sometimes, and well, that says it all. Goodbye AS2- got me a hotter chick.
I figure with the extra juice I can start thinking about creating The Damned 2. In my minds eye I can already see it. 2.5d models walking around on Mode 7 tiles. Resident Evil 4 1st/3rd person perspective. I'll post a sketch soon.
Wow. Would love to say more right now but, wow, I'm knackered. 4 am over here. Will write more tomorrow or a little later on in the week. .

PART 7 of the BEAT-EM UP TUTORIAL IS OUT..Check it out on the template. It's likely that there's a few mistakes so let me know if you catch any.

Right well, haven't been up to much this past week. Hardly any coding in fact. Added a few new graphics to BountyHunter (link updated), though I'm only mildly satisfied with the way they've turned out. The main ship looks a little cack and resembles a flying iron. That'll change. The Monitors are sort of OK but hmmm.t. I think the Hunters look alright though, bit like pizza crusts but ok. And the Mothership mesh I pinched from a Star Trek model website so it's not even mine - it was already sexy.
What I am quite pleased with is the rotation effect of the ships. I tried to copy the original retrosprite from the game Time Pilot, but was originally worried the effect wouldn't work in 3d. It didn't look good at all in the beginning -sort of made me trip out just looking at it really- but now it's not too shabby.

Hmph. That's about it folks. Will pop in soon.


Thought I'd drop in with a few words. I've been a bit busy of late. Not just with the coding or work but with playing GTA San Andreas. This might make you laugh, but over in Japan it's just
come out now so I finally had a chance to sink my teeth into it. It's an awesome game, I mean, screwed-up moral issues aside, there's nothing that can top it. Game of the decade. However some levels are waaaay to hard and sadly in all honesty I believe it truly is down to luck and luck alone how you win some races. Never mind though.
Actually I was reading about Rockstar North the other day and had no idea that they were originally DMA, the guys behind the classic 'Hired Guns'. Boy did me and my mates sacrifice some sleep game back in the day between that game and a few joints. It has an atmosphere that still keeps me on edge when I get nostalgic and kick up the old Amiga emulator for a game. Comes to me as no surprise then to hear the same folks invented the equally creative GTA.

Seems like a lot of you are benefiting from the Splatterhouse/Beat-em up tutorials judging by the fairly frequent mails I get. Great stuff. To the guy who asked for the Streets of Rage tutorial- yes this is kind of the direction I'd like to take the tutorials in eventually. I've had an idea in my mind for a beat-em up for ages and will open-source when I get around to starting it.

One thing you should know about beat-em-ups though is that they take a lot of work. Coding a fighting engine isn't the hardest task in the world but creating all the sprites for the backgrounds and the ton of animations for every enemy and proponent takes a lot of time. Still, that being said, watch this space because I'll be making one soon.

Yes you''ll have to be patient though, as I'm in the middle of my little Bounty Hunter space shooter. I suppose you could say I burned out on The Damned about a month ago. The problem was the second level- I simply couldn't think of any way to make it more fun without committing a lot more time to developing the engine and adding some huge changes and wasting a lot of my days piddling around in 3ds Max making models or something else. I tried a kind of spider/man hybrid monster at one point but it KILLED the rendering speed and I kind of well, got coders block after that. People can throw suggestions at you "Chuck in a rocket launcher/Desert Eagle/grenades/flying monkeys"-etc but they forget that you've still got to involve some kind of strategy with the weapon or else it'll make the game too easy. Plus there's the issue of if Flash can even handle half of this stuff. I know that anyone with a shitty computer can't play The Damned over 17 fps and that's just ridiculous. If I just chucked in a load of new weapons that did more and more damage and made the enemies easy to fry it'd be like one of those daft Newground games with no strategy. So, The Damned is currently on halt. That's not to say I won't continue developing it -as it's not my style to leave things unfinished- but I'm kind of chilling out working on my Bounty Hunter game for the time being.

This is a very linear, cutesy little shoot-em up that will only have roughly 16 missions. In fact it's almost done and right now I'm updating all the placeholder graphics with tasty 3d models

BountyHunter is leading up to a bigger better idea I have to use the engine for related to the old C64 game Magnetron(on top). Magnetron was the first game (bar the prequel Paradroid) that utilised the idea of 'occupying' the enemy robots and using their more advanced skills to further yourself through the game. It was addictive as hell- desperately trying to dance around bouncing bombs to conquer their owner, and turning your cyborg into something worth worshipping. I was playing around with my 2d GTA car demo -something I've been trying to figure a use for- the other day and thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to have a space game where you start off as a little pod or something and you have to attack and defeat stronger enemies to get their craft?" When they're ready for boarding you have to dock the new ships in your spacesuit, but you have to be quick, leaving yourself open for easy annihilation.

Flash is kind of ripe for this sort of little idea, and I may even look into making it multiplayer. Imagine that, a very simple game (no missions) where you roam the galaxy looking for the ultimate space fighter to capture and inhabit, or else defend your already powerful mothership from little bastards chasing you around the galaxy. Every ship you become will have different (randomized) statistics and a variety of secondary weapons. But every ship gets weaker and weaker and eventually you're relegated back to being a crappy pod looking to catch some passing ship when it's weak so that you can inhabit it. Once in an update I'll chuck in a new type of weapon or a passing free-for-all super ship at a set location on the map so that people have to race to get it. It would be interesting to see who gets the highest score for a game like that.
As far I know, anything more complicated would be a stretch as a multiplayer in Flash, but a simple game like that? Actually possible. And really not that hard for me to code since most of the current engine for BountyHunter handles most of what I've already mentioned.

So, let's work on this puppy together, what do you say? Anyone who contributes a REALLY good idea will get credited for it.

All for now folks.

p.s.I'll rustle up the next beat-em up tutorial (losing lives and dying) sometime during March.

How's it cookin'?

SO, what's new, not so much, mostly I've been working on The Damned first level again, the next chapter in the beat-em-up tutorial 'Weapons' (99% done) and I also rustled up a little Streets of Rage-style fighting game prototype the other night too. Making moves link to other moves when attacking was easier than I thought, and didn't require any complicated methods to achieve.

I'm quite chuffed with the way the revision of the first level of TD (The Damned) is going. In retrospect I can't believe I was prepared to simply let it be at one stage. My thinking was that maybe people would notice it, then the next game would be more popular. Then I noticed some of the effort some of my peers were putting into their games on this http://board.flashkit.com/board/showthread.php?t=717716 thread over at FlashKit and frankly, was inspired to keep pushing the game until I myself am truly satisfied with it. First things first, there's not enough weapons so I decided to chuck an assault rifle into the first level, which is becoming seriously playable now- if I don't say so myself. It was a teeny bit tricky to get the rapid-fire action of the gun done in AS as there is no such thing as a MouseButtonIsHeldDown handler in Flash, and so you have to fiddle around with things like boolean values instead. Also getting the rat-a-tat sound going wasn't as simple as you might think. I broke the sound into a single 'tat' and stuck it on the first keyframe of the firing animation and that works quite well.

Also, I was told by some folks that there should a wider variety of enemies to kill, and so after a lot of trial and error with different types (had ghosts and shit flying over the lake at one point) I decided it might be cool to make a mask-wearing harder version of the lake zombies. Enemies that are slow but take a good and proper mowing down to kill, as opposed to the ones that come at you like Olympic swimmers. On top of this, ammo is now limited and must be collected by shooting the occasional ammo box that pops up through the waves (because they just do that sometimes!), accompanied by my own sexy "AMMO!" voice, audio edited Audicity to sound much cooler.

I also contributed a few minor cosmetic changes, the sliding text boxes used for Rick and Jennifer's speech have been reenvisioned to be more 'antique' and decorated with steel engraving. A flashy extra ammo text box pops up now too. Oh, and the loading screen has been updated.

I'm surprised nobody has guessed what game this is a secret prelude to yet. Hint, Rick, Jennifer? Lots of gore? Masks and things? Certain beat-em-up tutorial on this very site?
Nope, I guess I am old.

Well, all these changes might be for naught, but I'm having fun actually making a game that is becoming more playable by the day. Links on the right-hand side, folks.

p.s.Saw III is awesome. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I'll say one word to convey a hint to what was my favourite scene, 'pigs'.
I'll post what's done of The Damned online. It's all work-in-progress so don't come crying to me about this and that not working, these graphics are crappy, etc.

There will be constant updates so keep checking in. Working link is on the right.
Okay, a quick post.

Check this out

New demo I've been working on. The physics behind it are all sound, converted from some online projectile motion mathematics I found to code. However I haven't quite equated how to get the arrow to rotate properly yet.

My inspiration for this little diversion came from the game Bowman Prelude which is by far my favourite Flash game on the net - the only Flash game I could play for hours and hours instead of five minutes. In the game you have to defend your castle by firing a variety of arrows at an attacking army and you can also destroy their castle. After every victory you can use the cash you earned destroying enemies to buy better, more powerful projectiles and other types of army. It would be perfect, well, more perfect if only for a couple of teeny little issues.

Bad Points

*No bonus cash for destroying the enemies castle
*Capturing the flag carries little incentive save making the levels shorter.
*The enemy can conjure all sorts of cool baddies but you're stuck with the same basic groups for your armies.
*Graphics do the job but they're boring.
*Repetitive sound loop gets on your nerves after the first hour (though you can turn it off).
*All the levels look the same.

In fact, while we're on the subject let's discuss my favourite Flash games followed by my analysis of just why they are so good.

Guardians of Altarris is my second choice for best Flash game on the net.
If you're into Final Fight clones, you'll love this. The graphics and sound are some of the best ever seen in a Flash game, IN FACT me and most other Flash games hobbyists I know were like "Shit is that really Flash?" when we first saw it. If I ever come across the guy who made the ambient music for this game I'm going to lock him in a room and force him to do the stuff on all my games. His stuff is that good.

Wow. The gameplay ain't half bad either. Though it isn't Aliens VS Predator, it's of a high calibre and stands head & shoulders above pretty much all other fighting games out there for Flash. As it is, it wrestles for the crown with Dad & Me (next review) for best fighting game on the net. With a bit of work on the fighting engine, it could easily be the best Flash game, period. The engineer behind the game (Scott Stoddard) in my opinion is probably the greatest Flash games programmer out there at this point in time. Not in an outstanding technical sense - though his games are obviously well-programmed - but rather in the way that every game he makes is sweet. I played his latest prototype over on FlashKit the other day and it's as addictive as hell.
Certainly a benchmark setter for us other wannabee legends.

Bad points
*Takes a looong time to load (kind of unavoidable for a quality game)
*Kind of slow at times.
*No weapons. Health icons, etc.

Dad & Me
is a highly stylised beat-em up. I love everything about this game from the slick presentation to the comedic touches. I mean Tom Pulp and his lot sometimes go over the top with their twisted sense of humour but has genuine moments of hilarity such as boyscouts in front of buses and throwing lawnmowers at punks.

This is the best game on Newgrounds (after Bowman), and I often wonder why they didn't take this one to the N64 or whatever it was instead of Alien Hominid, which was nothing special. Though it can't beat Guardians of Altarris for graphics Dad & Me more than matches it in style and has a more responsive/flexible fighting engine that incorporates some nice physics. Also very well done is the soundtrack, which keeps the same melody throughout and yet changes depending on the environment.

Well, check it out! 6000 almost exclusively positive reviews on Newgrounds can't be wrong.

Bad Points
*Too short

If I was going to make a walk-along-beat-em-up I'd probably make my game more like Spike Out. There are two games I still consistently play in video-arcades, and never get tired of over here in Japan, StreetFighter and SpikeOut. Both are old games, though they contain the kind of perfect gameplay that never gets tiring. Good beat-em ups are all about the timing.
SpikeOuts strength lies in the multiple power meters which require perfect timing to operate. Once you've mastered it though, you can pull off some amazing floating combo's and progress through the game further than before. The bosses are genius, and kind of timing needed to defeat some of them separates the casual gamer from the expert. But if you're good enough, you can literally play the whole game through on one credit.

If you don't incorporate the necessity for good timing in a fighting game, it will never become a classic. Even Final Fight gets boring after a few levels. Aliens VS Predator is a good beat-em up that works not because of the skill level involved to play it, but because of the unique variety of moves available to each character.

Right well, I'm going back to the archer demo now, catch you later.

p.s. Just saw SAW III and it was awesome. Almost matches the first one.
Temporary hosting that is. One kind bloke I know from my other website "Young Dudes Guide to Japan" offered to help me out since I'm having such a bugger of a time getting a visa card over here in Japan.

I want to show you dudes the game- it's just that it's too close to completion now.
However, you can check out my first ever YouTube post, a render test for Usagi Yojimbo, the main character from Samurai Warrior.

Nothing flash (pun intended), but it's only the bare bones so far. I haven't even decided if I'll remake the game (Samurai Warrior) for sure yet. Pretty likely though.

I finally solved the sound doubling problem I had with the Damned. Turned out I was using two Mouse listeners instead of one. Like an idiot, I thought that you needed to declare different variables for every state, ie onMouseDown, onMouseUp then make a listener for each. Nope, one listener takes care of anything the mouse does after you initiate it. Stupid. This is very cool though because really now the only problem I have now is getting my external loaders to work. And I know why they don't, because the AS is all on the first frame, and all the movieclips are dynamic.

Will post some pics soon.
Well well, back again, if only for a quickie.

The Damned is very close to Beta stage now. Not only are all 3 levels complete, with new death-scenes and a few extra tweaks, but they've also been tied up to the main menu swf, which now loads them as external files. The menu swf file keeps track of the amount of continues you have left and everything. However, I really, really, wish I had done this fromt the start because it's been an absolute struggle to get the swf levels working smoothly now that they're external. I had simply shitloads of problems, everything from setIntervals continuing after the level had ended to enemies not appearing at all.

In fact I am utterly stumped by one tiny, annoying little error with the gun sound object retriggering on every instance of an external swf being loaded (in other words, every time I load a movie/level, the sound of gunfire 'doubles'). I've a hunch it might have something to do with the function for firing being triggered by a _global variable, instead of a local one. It's such a pain in the arse having the game this close to going live and yet not making any progress because of some idiotic little malfunctions in the code.

In my burn-out time I've been working on some other stuff. You might notice a new 2d engine demo posted on the blog. That was a tricky bugger to pull off at first, but isometric is my bitch now. This might well be the engine used to the Friday 13th game I have planned, or a remake/remix of the Last Ninja (another one of my aspirations)- you heard it here first. p.s. if any of you folks out there who read this are big fans of either game and think you could render up some sweeeet iso graphics for me to use, send us a mail. I won't hold my breath though...

I've got big hopes for The Damned. It's my first game, so it's not supposed to break any new ground in terms of coding excellence or gain much of a fan base, but I do hope a few folks out there enjoy it enough to anticipate a bigger and better second version. Now that I've laid down a concrete engine for the game, I know that the next one will be so much better.

I at least get some kind of a good starting rep in the Flash world. I am very excited that finally for the first time in my life I have the opportunity and the capability to make the games I always wanted to make. Call me a nerd or whatever, but it's almost like my highest ambition to be on the same ladder as the older generation of games makers. Individuals like Rob Hubbard, Matt Gray, Archer MacLean, and the folks in teams such as System 3, Thalamus, Sensible Software, CodeMasters --agghh..like movie stars to me, man! I want that! So if you like the game when you play it, remember that a lot of love went into this baby, and a lot of respect for those who inspired me to become a game author.