After the rush to complete the full playable version of 39 Kuiper for Dream.Build.Play I took a few days off of working on it to spend the time with my family and to rest and recharge a bit. But now it’s time to get back to work, the goal now is to finish the game for release!

There are many aspects that I want to improve, in particular I need a better solution for particles, the approach I took was based on the apphub example. This was good for early prototypes, but it did not perform well when I threw a lot of particles at it. So I spent a day researching alternatives, the first instinct was to write it myself, I even made a very quick and dirty prototype, but while this idea was a bit exciting because it’s fun, I considered the time it would take from developing the actual game and decided to go with a different solution, I’m currently integrating DPSF (http://www.xnaparticles.com/) into 39K to evaluate it, so far it looks very promising, I would prefer if I could configure the effects with xml rather than within the code, but I think for 39K it will be acceptable.

The next thing I will improve will be the main UI, I think the metro style UI will likely stay for the Windows Phone version, but for XBox360/PC I will do something more visually pleasing that shows more of the planets.

Then most of the work will go into refining combat, adding new weapons, new weapon behaviors, improved enemy combat intelligence.

So it’s a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m very excited to jump back into it.

 

I took a ton of screenshots of 39 Kuiper but only needed to submit 3, so here’s a few of them!

It’s still a work in progress, and I really will need an artist’s help at some point. But I’m extremely proud of it so far and I’m actively working on making it even better in the next few months!

 

Tonight I submitted 39 Kuiper to Dream Build Play! Watch the trailer!

Getting this far has been a lot of fun and it is very satisfying to see how much the game evolved from the moment I decided to participate. The game is not finished, but working on it for Dream Build Play allowed it to evolve and take a giant step. At the beginning it was a collection of features, all disconnected, I wasn’t sure which direction some things needed to go, but focusing on getting a complete playable experience allowed me to close some of these gaps.

I want to write a more detailed postmortem in the next few days, but right now I just finished and I am tired. I will go, lay down and start reading a Feast for Crows.

A big thanks to all the XNA/XBLIG guys and girls on twitter, it was motivating to see your progress and your games, I look forward to playing them! Also to the guys behind xnalastdance.com!

Good luck everyone!

 

My target for submission to Dream Build Play is June 2nd. for the Xbox360 build, depending on how this goes I will submit the WP7 version shortly after. It’s been a busy few weeks since I registered 39kuiper.com and all my spare time and energy are going towards it. This is why I haven’t spent much time tweeting or blogging, I really am trying to get it all wrapped up. So here’s a recap of the things that I’ve done recently:

- Implemented the global supply/demand system.

- Added first pass of gamepad support. (including rumble support). Where do we stand on using the gamepad as a simulated mouse on 360?

- Began testing directly on Xbox360, fixed many rendering problems.

- Fixed most saving/load issues, I still need to fix saving multiple games.

And many, many other visual features that improve the quality. I’m happy because it’s definitely taking shape, and while it will not be 100% full featured for DBP, it will not be too far from it, so post-DBP I will polish, add more content, and just work on improving the game experience.

And now, it’s time I get back to work, right now I’m working on improving the experience when you encounter pirates.

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I am happy to announce that I have decided on a name for my game and entry into the Dream Build Play contest! It took me some time to decide on the name, but I am very happy with it. I also made some cover art that you can find if you head over to 39kuiper.com. I don’t have any content yet, I am completely focused on the game itself, but I will try to add details, images and videos as the game’s development advances.

 

So here we are, ~80 days for Dream Build Play and I noticed that a lack of direction when I implemented the game’s inventory resulted in less than ideal code. Any small change I needed to make, any feature I tried to add resulted in many tricky or annoying edge cases that were stealing away all my time. I decided I might as well bite the bullet now and change my approach entirely.

The first goal was to simplify, simplify as much as I could so that the data was in an easy to access format and I didn’t need to manage multiple lists or keep track of moving data.

I went from a system in which I had inventory grids and each grid kept its own list of items to a system in which I have one list of item and each item knows what grid it belongs to. In this way, I moved more towards a model/view architecture in which my list of items is my data, and the grids are the view. No more messy data transferring or list management.

The end result is a system that is more robust, more user friendly and a lot more fun to work with. I can easily do queries now, such as “tell me all the items of type ‘Weapon’ you have in the inventory grid”. I have multiple grids and drag/drop data between them and I didn’t need any special code, I only needed to update the item itself when it was dropped.

So I’d say I’m about 80-90% done with this refactoring, but I am really happy that I did it, the inventory system works and feels so much better now.

 

I decided to participate in this year’s Dream Build Play competition. I feel that this will give me the last bit of motivation I need to complete a release candidate of Void (working title) and a great opportunity to receive some feedback from the indie gaming community.

So what’s going on with Void?

Well, I have begun thinking of the name, as Void has been used many times for many different games, current candidate is “Pew pew pew”.

I have a great story in mind, but I don’t think I will focus on the story side for DBP, I really want to get this right and doing it in a rush wouldn’t give it justice.

As of last night, I could say I’m at a “soft-alpha” stage, all the features I intend to have are there, they are accessible, the game can be played, though I do know of a couple of continuity breakers, as well as one or two features that are implemented half-way, so once these things are ironed out, I will say I have reached a real Alpha build. :)

I posted my very first (ever) video on youtube: Void – Tech Bay it shows an early version of the “tech bay” which is where you will customize your ships by assigning weapons, shields, engines and the skin of your ship.

What’s next?

The first goal is to reach the real Alpha development stage, as defined by “all the features are available, the game can be played from start to end without continuity breaks”. I hope to reach this within two weeks at the most. (I only work on this from 5am to ~7am and then any other chance I can get, which are not many, in fact, I should be asleep already!)

That said, I will call it a night, tomorrow morning I am looking forward to working on the inventory, or perhaps address one of those continuity breaks I mentioned :)

Good night!

 

Hello World!

For the past year I have been developing a SciFi Space Game, which I have referred to as “Void”. Void was originally developed with Windows Phones in mind and in many aspects it’s tailored for this platform, but as I kept on developing, I found that getting ahold of a WP7 here in Canada was not particularly easy, restrictive carriers with very poor variety of phones and not having $500 to invest on a dev phone yet, well I shifted the focus a bit to PC (and Xbox360 xblig). I still intend to release it for WP7.

In Void, it is the year 2100 Sol Galaxy Standard (2100 sgs, even though the human race has never left the solar system, it has already established standardized conventions for when they do) the space industry is young and thriving, no human has yet reached the Kuiper belt so trading and space activities are restricted to the inner planets.

Some early screenshots of Void.