Robot vs. Monsters – Dev Diary 1

So I’ve been talking for a little while now with Ash about creating a game, and talking with him about what he would do for making his own. The first many many ideas were basically the same game as him iPhone or Wii favorites, but usually with Lego or Star Wars tossed into the mix. (Angry Birds Star Wars, Lego Star Wars Wii Sports and so on) I encouraged him to come up with his own, new idea that hadn’t been done before, and the idea we settled on would be our own little masterpiece together – Robot vs. Monsters.

His basic idea was that you are a robot tasked to protect a city and the people in it from attacking monsters. He wanted 4 levels, and of course a big boss to fight at the end. The goal of each level would be to save all the humans on the level, and to defeat the monsters using your robot’s weapons.

A feature list we collaborated on:
– 4 Action Packed Levels (each with a different environment!)
– Epic boss battle!!
– Save tiny humans!!
– Use exotic robot weaponry! (Swords! Blasters! More!)
– Sound Effects!!
– Side scrolling, 2D, platforming adventure!!!
– Fun for the whole family!!!

Fairly simple right? Except for the fact that I haven’t programmed anything seriously since college over 10 years ago. Forgotten how to ride that bicycle, and what better time than now to learn all over again.

I decided to make it a Flash based game, so it would be easy to share with friends and family. A good part of the reasoning was as well that there would be plenty of documentation, tutorials and help out there on the web for me to use to help build this game.

I chose to use a Flash library called flixel which has been so far an extremely easy to use framework to get my little game started. There is also an incredible wealth of tutorials out there to work with.

I started with their EZPlatformer Tutorial as a base to get the general idea of how to build a platformer, and since then have been busy tinkering with it adding little bits and pieces to learn more.

I’ve added:
– Sound effects (coin pickup and jumping)
– A player “sprite” (my artwork is terrible I know!)
– Created a tile based level in an editor (DAME)
– Created my own coins to add to the level
– Managed to get it all, somewhat working, with a scrolling level!

Yes some of the level is broken below (inaccessible areas due to the little guy not being able to jump high enough), but it’s a start! Enjoy tinkering with the first little example of what we’re doing:

Click the window to play. Arrows to move. Space to jump!

The next update should include the following:
– New Robot character
– New, less generic map that’s bigger
– Humans to collect instead of coins

I figure those are easy enough goals to work towards, and creating small goals will make this all that much closer to completion.

Responsibilities for this project:
Ash – Lead Designer, Concept Art, Level Concepts, Game Director
Brian – Code monkey, Artist, Level Builder

I’m letting Ash guide the game as much as possible so that he feels like it’s his game, and in the meantime I’ll enjoy building a game and learning something new. Enjoy!

Visualization in Sports

Visualization in Sports ? Visualization Blog.

I’ve been long fascinated with data visualization and the growing field that it’s becoming. With the amazing amount of data that’s being collected and stored with the advances of technology, new ways to derive meaning out of data beyond simple bar graphs and pie charts are needed.

Here’s a collection of links that marries my love of sports and a number of great visualizations of different aspects of the sports.

A favorite?

Baseball – Salary vs. Performance – Showing how much a payroll vs. wins and losses shows up. The Mariners do not fare well here.

Quick update

I upgraded to WordPress 2.7 here a couple days ago, and so far I like the backend and admin tool updates that they did over version 2.5.

So far everything still weeks. I’m working on few side things. Now Reading has broken with the new updates and won’t let me search for and add new books. Hopefully an update will be coming for the plugin soon.

Otherwise, I’m still alive and kicking. Honest.


A few rumblings of things going on in life.

– Coffee shops in Tacoma – I’ve got a number that I need to visit and write up and I plan on getting another one up here in December soon. Either the excellent Blackwater, one of the many many Forza Coffee Companies or possibly one of those new odd places like Cafe Muse on 6th a try.

– Blogging Quest – I know I need to continue. I’ve been distracted, and frankly lazy when it comes to continuing my quest to save the queen. I’ll work on it.

Cave Story for the Wii! – It’s coming soon! I’m very excited for this one. The people behind the port to WiiWare are working with Pixel, the original author, to design a graphical update, along with a bit of remixed music. They are keeping a blog with updates on what’s going on, as well as comparison’s of the updates! Like the update below to the enemy Balrog.

WordPress 2.5 Upgrade

So I’ve taken the plunge, and upgraded my Word Press installation to the new Version 2.5.

Supposedly some great new features to help keep Cinder Inc. running strong. Already I like the new dashboard improvements in the content managing side of it. Hopefully it’ll make updating even easier so I can keep Blogging Quest actually updated.

If you find anything that’s broken just let me know.