A long while ago I stopped posting when I decided I wasn’t getting enough cold hard coding done. After a lot of cold hard coding, I’m back to talk about Bad Bones. Bad Bones is a flash based real-time strategy game that is my first attempt at the RTS genre the way I see it. It still needs work, but it’s doing well.

Bryson is still working on unit art, but here are a couple sketches I sent over to give him an idea of what I was going for with the game.

They’re called Boman and they like to eat and have babies. Stay tuned for more art and the Boman backstory.

I’ll be demoing my early version of Bad Bones at the Independent Game Conference West in sunny Los Angeles (Marina Del Rey) this Thursday and Friday (November 5th and 6th, 2009). If you’re around, gimme a holler and wish me luck on finding a bag of cash to fund my game.

Now I wish to direct your attention to some impressive figures! I expect that I can deliver good performance on map sizes at least as big as 1600×1200, and perhaps as large as 3200×2400. Dimensions like that are generally thought to be impossible in flash, but I tell you it can be done. My proof is that I have seen it! Though it was at about 15fps…Still, it can happen.

I can get in 1000 units if I’m okay with 15fps on a 1600×1200 map currently. After some house-cleaning I expect to run a solid 30 fps with 500 units on a 1600×1200 map and of course I’ll aim for higher.

Bad Bones represents years of pondering over the RTS genre. I might say that the first time I became a hardcore fan of a game was when I got into Warcraft. It was right around the time that Warcraft 2 was coming out that I found out about the series from a kid named Raphael in my 6th grade class. His description gave me a blind faith in its excellence, and at this crucial time in my gaming experience, I was not disappointed. My family had just recently purchased our first computer and Warcraft and Warcraft 2 were an immensely gratifying experiment in PC gaming for my brother and I.

However the suspension of disbelief perpetuated by the fantastic booklet art and its pages of story, the in-game text, cut-scenes, and characters could not last forever. Warcraft 2 was my first online multiplayer experience and I became immediately aware that the name of the game was micromanagement and rushing. The best players weren’t strategists or tacticians, they were factory foreman that knew how to pump out a basic unit fast and deliver it to the enemy encampment. Continue Reading…

Sammy Samurai: Runner
Play it at www.sammysamurai.com

In late November of 2008 I found a forum post on Flashkit that linked to a contest from Mochiads. I wasn’t too excited about the prizes, the runner-up prizes were almost a joke, but I saw this as an opportunity to rush and actually finish something. Winning would be a plus. I hadn’t released a Sokay game in 2008 so I felt it was my last chance.

So I wanted to plan something that I would be able to finish within a month. That meant it had to be a lot simpler than my usual grandiose visions. I passed up on the opportunity to work with the Donut game I’ve been working on because there was a lot of animation that needed to done that I didn’t want to think about.

I had recently been inspired by the Studio Ghibli film Tales from Earthsea. I didn’t think the movie was very good but it has some awesome background design and a few shots had some excellent parallax scrolling going on. The parallax shots were very quick but captured my attention. Thanks to digital compositing they were able to blend many layers without making it obvious where one layer ended and another began. Continue Reading…

Scarygirl Game screen
Go play Scarygirl, sucka!

The game’s finally out, been playing it for the last few days. Awesome stuff! I got into making Flash games to create experiences like this game so it’s major inspiration for me. It’s 16 levels with a built in save system, so you can come back and finish it anytime.

Check it out at Scarygirl.com!

Game by Touch My Pixel.

Bubble Struggle
Bubble Struggle – a prime example of Flash Game Ballin’

I found an inspiring forum post by kreso, the Croatian creator of the Bubble Struggle Flash games. He made a thread asking if anybody wanted to buy his sites that generated $10k a month. Many posters weren’t taking him seriously but he stuck to his claims , adding that about half was generated Mochiads and the other by CPX advertisements.

In the end, he found a deal and left an informative post about the story of his game. How , when he was a kid, he sometimes stole his parents money to play the original at an arcade. How he wanted to make a Flash game more compelling than the lame Flash games running rampant. How he sold the game to Miniclip for only $750 way back when, after initially offering $250. Good stuff.

Check it out here:


An excerpt…

First hours spent on creating Bubble Struggle 1 were actually practicing programming. I created a box that was moving left and right on keypress. Amazing! Then I added bubbles. Wow! Then the harpoon (shot) etc… After I realized that I have all the basic elements of a game I noticed something about internet and got an idea!

What I noticed was this: all of flash games on internet are either a) short in duration (you can finish the whole game within 5-10 minutes) or b) so boring that you don’t want to play it more than 5-10 minutes.

My idea was – what if I would create a game that is a) long in duration b)had a new, different chalenge on every level.

I knew that this ment more programming for me, but as I was just learning and enjoying progamming this was actually a plus. A sidenote: code in my game is disastrous. I just kept adding code for each new level because it was so different than all the others. But I succedded!

If you somehow haven’t played this game before, it’s basically a clone of Buster Bros. It’s a great game and I’ve been wanting to 1-up him by making a game like it myself.

This is one of those “one in a million” success stories that you read about in articles like Gamasutra’s Where’s the Cash for Flash? but it’s definitely encouraging everytime I hear someone having success doing what they genuinely enjoy. Kind of an unfortunate contrast to news that Xbox Live Community Games has yet to yield much success for its developers.

Oh well, let’s make some more games!

Tarwin of Touchmypixel left a comment informing me of this new trailer for their Scarygirl Flash game. Looks sweet!

This looks like some amazing Flash stuff. I’m wondering how they’re pulling off so much parallax and smooveness. Looking at their blog, it looks like he’s using bitmapData for rendering, using spritesheets and BIT-101’s BigAssCanvas class to work around sprite size limitations.

The trailer definitely increased my expectations. Over 14 levels of goodness. Coming soon to www.scarygirl.com. Just not soon enough!

I was Interneting when I found this bit of coolness. Scarygirl is a platform game based on the Scarygirl line of toys and fun things. The game is by Touch My Pixel, which seems to be a cool Australian Flash game+web company. It’s not out yet but it looks cool as hell!

It’s funny to see this because I totally recognized the Scarygirl site. A year ago I had bought some cool vinyl figurines at a music store in Long Beach and I wanted to find out who made them. I ended up finding Scarygirl on that search — I’m not sure if any of my figurines are from that series.

Anyway, the game looks awesome and the guys at Touch My Pixel have a nice blog so check it out for updates on the project.

I spent much of today beating 2 flash games. I like the sound of that: beating flash games. Not just playing them but beating them, because there is enough in the games to play that when you’re done you can actually say the games are beaten.

Dino Run: I found this beauty c/o the blog over at indiegames.com and I was very impressed with PixelJam‘s work. I’d label it under the Sonic the Hedgehog genre of games, one I’d like to play more of. It’s a full game with a lot to play with. The look and feel is nice, some of the physics are a tad weak, but they do the job and beat the norm. I love the tension, the atmosphere of fleeing. It would be excellent setting for a simple story because the nature of a chase is that it is linear. Not to say that stories must be linear, but game-stories tend to be (due to laziness). Unfortunately, the game is lacking in the story department, but it’s alright because it does well everywhere else. GO PLAY IT.

Warlords: I was linked to this piece from Ben Olding after playing Dino Run and was really surprised by such a simple design adds up to strategy on multiple levels. It’s not only about unit selection, but timing, and tactics as well. Again, the game has tons built into it: multiple races and unit types, unlockable races and unit types, leveling-up, a filled out campaign mode and the unit purchasing/upgrading system really gives players a place to craft a style of play. It’s all very simple, but the game is much more than the sum of its parts. PLAY THIS ONE TOO.

As a bonus, each of these games has a form of multiplayer. Dino Run is actual online play and Warlords allows 2 people to play on the same keyboard. Both options are pretty cool if you ask me.

Man, it’s nice to find good games.

-Christopher J. Rock

Flash games all around but some stand out much more than others. Yesterday I discovered Kavalmaja by Tonypa, a pretty amazing game. He describes it as a “kind of adventure-puzzle game”. That’s pretty much what it is.

Kavalmaja by Tonypa

In the game you wander around a maze trying to figure out what everything does. It uses only the arrow keys and you don’t fight anything. The game uses abstract pixel art and offers no upfront explanation so you have to play around and interact with objects to progress in the game. The artwork is pretty clever and makes symbolic use colors. For example, a gray block is a door that can be opened by a switch or a key and a red object will hurt you. You’re wandering through the maze as you attempt to figure out what these objects do and when you think you’ve figured it all out, it throws in a new surprise for you.

What I found was that my view of what the game actually was changed constantly as I played, as I learned the new rules. That made me curious to find out what it was all about and if I could solve the puzzle!

It’s an simple and clean game. It auto-saves at every screen so you can pick it up and play it any anytime. I think I’m close to finishing it! The perfect game for a mid-core gamer. 😉

But that isn’t the only game to catch my eye recently…

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I’ve been seeing a lot of cool 3d Flash stuff here and there, mostly on development blogs or forums. When I tell people that Flash can do 3d stuff, I get an impression which is a mixture of shock and disbelief. After checking out an informative PaperVision 3d video tutorial on gotoandlearn.com, I was less intimidated and ready to jump into it. Been looking for an excuse to brush up on my 3d skillz.

CUBOCC face demo

Anyway, I saw this demo at http://cubo.cc/ today and it kind of shocked me. Apparently it’s a bit viral already, spreading around the net as it should. Some awesome coding, brilliant texturing and a simple design goes a long way, doesn’t it? The future of Google Adsense? Unfortunately, most likely! haha

But wait… that’s not all!

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I’ve had an exciting week sitting at my computer. Reading all the news and happenings from GDC. Hoping for some great info, some great discoveries to be rained down upon me like liquid inspiration.

XNA Community

The most important news story to me is that on Wednesday Microsoft finally announced that games created with XNA Game Studio will be able to be distributed to ALL Xbox Live members. They’ve developed a system similar to Newgrounds.com, allowing anybody to upload content, undergoing peer review to be approved. This seems like another great way to reach a game audience, beyond Flash. You can read the details of how they plan to “Democratize Game Distribution” here.

N+ on Xbox 360

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Wednesday marked the release of N+ on Xbox Live Marketplace, an upgrade to Metanet Software’s well-known ninja-simulator Flash game.

It seems that making the transition from free Flash game to a commercial product is becoming more reasonably obtainable/acceptable.

In other news… what have I been playing recently?

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