Metroid Week Gets More Filler

August 29th, 2007

During Metroid Week at Joystiq-spinoff Wii Fanboy my (very) old game, Megaman vs Metroid, got shown off. That’s pretty darn cool. Thing is, he goes on to dis the controls. The controls are a near-perfect copy of Megaman’s controls, I can’t even begin to wonder what the complaint is. If it’s the locations of the keys you can even change it from the options menu. One guy in the comments thinks the hitboxes are too big, but he’s absolutely right and has a sharp eye too. It’s easily the biggest flaw of the game, I used the sprites themselves as the hitboxes. Oh to be young and foolish again. Then there’s the guy who thinks there’s a bug that doesn’t let you recover health. Those blue flashing things are not health pickups boy-o.

I’m a little miffed I didn’t actually get linked to in this – they linked to a site I submitted it to – but I’d put up with it if even the guy linking to it seemed to like the game. I should be happy I suppose. Meh. Megaman vs Metroid is my baby, sure the code is pretty bad at some points, but I poured everything I had into that. I guess I don’t like hearing people talk bad about it.

More Doom

August 27th, 2007

Update: Visit the home of Doomed Online here.

So I’ve decided to open-source the Doom port I’ve been working on. It’s really a far larger task then I think I have time for and I’m pretty sure that I’ll have to turn to the actual Doom’s source code at some point. Things like the enemy AI are a complete mystery to me, although the rest I’ve been able to get away with so far. I’m not quite finished doing it myself yet, but once I clean up the code some more I’ll release it for public consumption. Not sure what license to put it under though, the GPL would probably be fine.

This leads to my main problem. What should I name the project? Anybody have a good idea? I’m trying to think of something interesting.

Anyway, I’ve got a new demo ready. It’s set in a different level (E1M5). There’s sprites now although most of them are dummy enemies. I figured out the lighting – at least I think I did – so everything is much more bleak and Doom-like. There’s animated flats, walls, and sprites now, as well as some lighting effects. There’s wall collisions, head-bobbing, texture mapping is much better, no more mysterious walls, sound has been fixed (press the spacebar), and the engine is actually significantly faster too.

Use the arrow keys to move. You can pass through doors and other non-impassable walls. Like before, it’s 1.7MB and there’s no preloader. The game is “after the break”, as they say.

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Hands-Free Mario

August 22nd, 2007

These videos are amazing. These too. They are custom levels made for Super Mario World that run entirely on their own, making expert use of the physics and mechanics inherent to the game. Truly, these people are gods among men. Embedded below are two of my favorites.

Bioshock (the Demo)

August 20th, 2007

Everyone is foaming at the mouth for Bioshock. There’s more hype surrounding it since the reviews came out than any game I’ve ever seen, and we’re talking about a single-player game in a multiplayer world here. Like any self-respecting gamer I jumped on it the minute I saw the chance, and I was even fortunate enough to find a section of the Internet where it was available and at high speeds too. Thank god my “rig” is powerful enough to play the game.

It’s good. If the rest of the game is like this, and it surely is, then it’s game of the year. Done. It’s over. If anyone wasn’t sure this game could live up to the hype they should be now. The real question is why are you reading this and not downloading the demo? Right now I’m thinking more about how this game will affect the future.

One good thing sure to come from Bioshock is in the video-games-as-art debate. While I think the routinely vilified Roger Ebert is wrong about video games incapable of being art, he’s also sorta right in the sense that video games are not “high art”. Gamers can complain all they want but there is no Mona Lisa game out there, games are just too new and it’s audience just too young to reach something like that. My problem with Ebert is that any young form of media needs only time to mature and then it will reach “high art”, and movies aren’t that far ahead of video games so don’t get cocky. In the end Ebert is just under-informed, not stupid. Despite the fact I disagree with many of his reviews, he’s still the only reviewer I read, at least before his struggle with cancer anyway.

What makes Bioshock relevant is that it reaches new heights in several areas, in graphics, story, atmosphere, style, attention to detail, and just about anything else I can think of. If there was ever anything to win over a guy like Ebert since Ico, this’d be it. More importantly, Bioshock is already setting a new standard. I’m hoping this will lead to more story-driven games and environments that are less about the player and more about the environment itself, like it could work just fine without the player there to interact with it.

The only problem with Bioshock is that it may be too good, in the same way its predecessors (like System Shock) failed, it may also fail. People like multiplayer games these days, how many will be convinced that Bioshock is worth buying before the next big game arrives? I wonder if this game will be famous more for its influence than how many copies were sold. Regardless, I’m in the mood to play the demo some more…

PaletteMap is fast

August 13th, 2007

This is one of the tricks to my Doom engine. Doom has a 256 color palette, and all colors in the game come from this palette. When an index is found for a pixel, instead of converting it to an rgb value using the palette, write it directly to the image itself. In other words, the last 8 bits (the “blue” section) of every color on the bitmapData should have an index, rather than an actual blue value.

bitmapData.setPixel(x, y, index);

After all processing is complete, you can use paletteMap to convert these indexes for you. PaletteMap uses the value of each byte of an image color (four total) to come up with a new color. See the documentation for paletteMap for more details. Provide an array that converts indexes to rgb values for blue and Flash will do the work for you. If you pass arrays full of zeros for red, green, and alpha, then these values of the associated bytes will have no effect on the resulting color.

bitmapData.paletteMap(bitmapData, bitmapData.rect, new Point(0,0), _blank, _blank, _index2rgb, _blank);

PaletteMap is very fast, which is why this offers a nice improvement in speed. Passing null to a section instead of an array makes it slightly slower on my computer, so that should probably be avoided.

I wrote a post a while back describing how wary digital distribution made me. Now a perfect example of the huge flaw in digital distribution exists. It was provided, surprisingly enough, by Google. They decided to back out of the pay-to-download video market, taking the videos people purchased with them. Refunds are offered, but in the equivalent of “store credit”. Google will likely do something to escape backlash, but more importantly, they really don’t have to do that. This is why digital distribution in its current form is very flawed, not because it isn’t a good idea, but because physical ownership is lost.

Edit: Looks like Google’s giving out full refunds instead of store credit, and they’re being extra nice about it too. Doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t have to do that.

Splice Music

August 6th, 2007

Oh my goodness. Andre has really done it this time. It’s a very “Web 2.0” community remixing site that uses Flash, allowing it all to run straight out of a browser. The Creative Commons-loving crowd is going to have a joygasm when they see it. Cory Doctorow will be so happy he’ll fall from his balloon. Also, my ongoing battle to outmatch Andre in AS skillz has been nixed again. Of course it seems another fellow did all the real audio work, but I must try harder nonetheless. You win this round Michelle.


August 4th, 2007

I noticed that games I lavish my attention on tend to be remade or re-released. Or both. I think it’s quite unlikely that everyone in the game industry is secretly scanning my website as a way of knowing what to do next. Instead I think it’s far more likely that I have some sort of magic power to influence the video game industry.

For one thing, the original Doom is going where it has never gone before – Steam – so it’s being re-released for modern operation systems. COINCIDENCE? Yeah probably, since it was just remade for the Xbox Live Arcade. But wait, I have more.

While plenty of people have tried making in-browser FPS games, none have really pulled it off and become popular. id Software (creators of Doom) just announced a remake of Quake 3 that works in your browser mere weeks after I show off my demo. I think it is obvious that once again my magical abilities have warped the minds another game company’s direction.

It’s also worth noting the chances of this remake being made in Flash are nil. It’s unlikely to be made in Shockwave either. The only real choices are Java or a custom plugin, both of which seem somewhat unlikely. Their main problem is figuring out how to use a mouse/keyboard setup in a browser. I’m looking forward to seeing how they pull this one off.

Flash… sucks?

August 2nd, 2007

This is a pretty interesting article in the sense that it provides a great insight into the minds of people who love, hate, and love to hate, Flash. The article writer’s opinion is that Flash sucks, but the shining point is the comments section which is full of well-thought responses. Truth is, most everybody on that web page seems like an intelligent individual, albeit with varying levels of bias. I can’t think of a single argument for or against Flash that wasn’t covered in a convincing way.

Thing is, I wasn’t aware Flash was going to include a DRM system in an upcoming version. I don’t know how I missed that one. If Adobe ever wanted to scare away the open source (or open specs) crowd that’d do it. With Flex going open-source it seemed like things were going so well too.

Edit: Whoops, according to Adobe the BBC didn’t distinguish between the Adobe Media Player and Flash. That explains a lot.