Our game has a trailer!

You know, there's something about having an real, genuine trailer (it says official and everything) that legitimizes this whole thing for me. I really am making a video game. This is really happening. I'm one of 3 programmers and 6 artists who've spent the past 4 months working on Clo. We're all students. For all of us, this is the first time we've aimed to make something that could potentially be considered a real game. It's exciting. Hopefully you guys think it looks at least a little bit cool.


I Made a Video Game!

So I'm learning how to make video games. I want to do it for a career. Myself along with my good friends tomeh and Zanda (who doesn't have a GB account) worked together to make a game for our end of year project.
I present to you: Honey Bear Solid!


Now keep in mind we only had 3 weeks to make this and it was our first real team based assignment so its nothing amazing but I am really proud of what we made as its the first thing I've ever been a part of that I'd call a functional video game. So give it a play and tell me what you think!
Note: If the game crashes on start up you have to download and install the XNA redistributable package found

Developer in Develpment #2

Welcome friends! To the first 'real' edition of Developer in Development. Sadly with the exception of yesterday and today I was real lazy this week and spent far more time playing L4D2 and Borderlands with friends than I did coding, but never fear! I still have some stuff to show! So without further ado - The video.


What work I did do this week was mainly cleaning up all the code I had for collision and input that I'd haphazardly placed slap in the middle of the main game loop. Basically as soon as I tried to add full functionality to a second tank I realized that the way it was set up I had to copy and paste a few hundred lines of code and edit them to affect the second tank instead of the first(and this would have to be repeated for any further tanks). Clearly this would not do and a few hours of work later it now takes 4 function calls placed in the game loop to add a new fully functional tank to the game, so that's good. Other than that, as you can see in the video I added clickable buttons and a level select screen. I've actually had the levels loading from an XML file for a while now but I figured I'd show you guys that in the video while I was at it.
It's not the prettiest game ever and whilst it'd be real nice to try and make it look somewhat good I'm only marked on the code so that's where 90% of my effort is going. Now this is due in a bit under two weeks and I'm mostly happy about where its at, a few big things left to do though.
  • Set up tank/tank collision
  • Set up scoring 
  • Get options working 
  • Make a  win screen  
  • Make tank death / respawn system
  • Build particle system
  • Create a level editor (maybe) 
  • Set up enemy tank AI (unlikely)
Those last three aren't required in the assignment brief but I'd really like to get them working before handing it in.

Man, other websites suck.

So I posted my previous blog over at the Gamespot forums because, well, I was interested in showing a bunch of people. Firstly, they censored all the cuss words - something I'd completely forgotten that other sites do, then I realized they had no way for me to embed the youtube video so I had to just have a link to it at the bottom, then within a minute of posting it, it got deleted for "advertising/spam" presumably because I linked back to this blog. 
So I'd just like to say that for years, I've taken the freedoms that Giant Bomb grants its users for granted and I'd like to apologize for that. Also, this ain't a dig at their editorial content or site design cause I think both of those are, for the most part, fine. 
Anyway, ciao.


Developer in Development #1

When I was 13 years old I decided I wanted to make video games. The story's probably not all that unique, I started high school, didn't fit the social norm, had no friends, started playing a lot of  video games (mainly Counter Strike) and began to think 'How awesome would it be to like, make this stuff'. Now at the time it was far more a whimsical dream than reality. I spent a few months learning the basics, made a few god-awful flash games, threw them on Newgrounds, people said they sucked and I gave up. The phase passed. I went back to CS. But the idea stayed with me. Over time I stopped being so socially awkward, made some good friends, did a bunch of stupid shit and then in general, just grew up. 
As I approached the end of high school I came upon the obvious questions of what do I do when I'm finished with this? And you know what? I still wanted to make video games. From there it didn't take a huge amount of  self reflection to say "Hey, I'm real good at maths and science and I enjoy logical problem solving - I should be a programmer!" I started looking into programing books and made a few more far less god-awful flash games. Pretty much just enough to realize I kinda liked it. When I finished high school and looked at my options I opted to not go to uni and get a computer science degree and instead take the programming course at AIE. Now its debatable whether this was the best idea for my future or not and I honestly don't know yet myself. What I do know is that I'm having a shit-load of fun right now learning how to do something I'm legitimately interested in with a group of fantastic people.
So finally getting around to the purpose of this blog, as you can probably tell from the somewhat cheesy title, this is the first in (hopefully) an ongoing series showing and talking about my work as someone learning how to program video games. So right now I'm about 5 months into a 2 year course and half way through what I would consider our first real game project - to make a two player versus dual joystick style tank game in C using OpenGL.  So its been about a month since I learned how to use OpenGL and 3-odd weeks since I got the assignment and I made a video showing off what I've done so far. When I'm done I'll definitely post the exe and the source code in case anyone is interested. In a later installment I really wanna talk specifics about the code but the video is all I got for now. Peace.
TL;DR - I'm learning to make games, here's some shit I made, go watch.


A fucking Steam/Paypal horror story

Warning: Big fucking read
This morning I received an email from Steam support. An email I've been waiting for days for with baited breath. An email that finally, put an end to this god damn shit storm. 
But clearly I'm getting ahead of myself.
Lets rewind to shortly before Christmas last year. For various reasons, I came into possession of a Razor Callahan endorsed FIVE GRAND! (note: not actually endorsed by Razor Callahan). Now, being a semi-responsible human being, the first thing I spent the money on was a bunch of crap I needed for college, which I'm starting this year. Now, only  being a semi-responsible human being, instead of spending the rest on a car or something that would be otherwise useful, I decided to spend it on SWEET, SWEET VIDEO GAMES. More specifically I put a large chunk aside to build a really good gaming rig. Determined not to simply squander the money I spent a huge amount of time researching what parts to get, where to get them and how to put the thing together myself. Because of this, I finished the build just a few days before the end of December. Which, coincidentally was when I was scheduled to take a two week trip to visit my dad in Dubai. A yearly ritual in which he spends as much money as he can on me in the hopes that I forget the fact he normally has nothing to do with me.
Now I had a bad-ass new PC, but no games that could harness its power. So of course I turned to Steam. Just before I left, I transferred a bunch of money from my bank account to my Paypal account, which is how I have to buy stuff online as I don't have a credit card, then off I went. It takes about a week for funds to transfer into Paypal using this method so it was about a week into the trip that, upon checking my emails on my dads laptop, I saw that the money was in. Barely able to contain my excitement I decided to purchase everything I wanted from the steam store then and there so that I could download and start playing the games the second I got back home. 

I bought about $300 worth of games that day. Here's a quick run down:
  • Modern Warfare 2
  • Borderlands
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • Crysis
  • Torchlight
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl 

Now I know what your thinking. 
Where's the 'horror' part of the story? Five grand? A new PC? A two week all expense paid trip to one of the worlds biggest tourist destinations? Are you sure you're not just some spoilt kid turning to the internet for yet another small glob of attention? 
Well I'm glad you asked dear reader, for this is where, as they say, the shit hit the fan. 
What follows is a small but deadly chain of events. Paypal noticed I was spending money from Dubai instead of Australia, my normal place of residence. This raised a red flag at paypal so they cut access to my account pending an investigation, contacted the seller, in this case Steam and withheld the funds from being transferred. Seeing as the funds didn't get through to Steam, this counted as payment fraud under the Steam subscriber agreement so they disabled my account. Shut it down. Killed it. In the span of a few hours I had lost access to both my Paypal and Steam accounts and almost $1000 dollars worth of games, $300 of which I hadn't had a chance to start downloading, much less install and play. I spent a good 3 hours sitting in front of that laptop trying to figure all this out. Needless to say, many an expletive was uttered.
At this point I was just realising exactly how deep in shit I really was. Obviously my first thought was 'How the fuck do I fix this'. Actually I should say first rational thought. My first thought was something along the lines of 'AAAAAAAAH! I'M SO FUCKING SCREWED! AHHHHHH!!!111!'. Looking to Paypal first I discovered that in order to regain access to my account I had to prove I was me. How do I do this? Well they charge two small cent fees to my credit card, then I relay back to them what two amounts they charged. Easy enough, right? The astute reader will remember as I mentioned earlier I don't have a credit card. But wait! They have alternative methods! Firstly, they could use the charging method except with my bank account. That sounded fine to me but no matter how many times I tried it, the damn thing  simply wouldn't let me past the screen where I chose which bank account I wanted charged. Eventually I gave up and sent them a scan of my drivers license. The next day I checked and after having to change my password and security questions my account was unlocked. 
Fantastic! I thought, things are going swimmingly! Now I could only hope that the disabled steam account wasn't permanent. I contacted steam support with an email that in all honesty was far snarkier than it should have been. In my defence I was tired and now that the shock had worn off, just plain angry at the whole situation. Well I got my dues in an equally snarky response telling me I needed to fix the Paypal issue first and kindly reminded me that the games on the account couldn't be transferred to another and that I couldn't get a refund on the games I'd just bought. Gee, thanks. Back to the problem at hand. I'd already fixed the Paypal issue. Hadn't I? It turns out that while yes I had regained access to my account, the payment itself was still under investigation. 
So back I went. Looking at the Paypal resolution centre, the payment stated that it required action from me before it could be fixed but try as I might I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was I needed to do. Eventually I gave up and just sent them an email. Being polite this time I explained the situation and awaited a reply. And waited. And waited a little more. Almost a full week after I'd sent the email, I got a very apologetic reply telling me it had all been fixed. The payment had been sent. Back in Australia at this point, I literally spent a few minutes dancing around my room in joy before sending one final email to Steam. The response to which I was referring to at the beginning of this behemoth of a post.
So in the end all was well. I've always been a huge supporter of steam and it saddens me to say this ordeal has seriously affected my view of the service as there where a few points where I genuinely thought I wasn't going to get my account back. I'm not really sure what I should take from this. I know the security measures are there for a reason and I'm pretty sure my situation is in the minority. 
PS: Thank you very much if you actually bothered to read all this
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