Saturday, February 27, 2010

Please sir, may I have a license?

Well I have been using the TorqueX engine for the past 30 days. Although for the past few days I was a bit busy and didn't have much time for game development. At the moment all you can do in my game is run around and shoot holes through some wizards. The wizards are from Microsoft's RPG Sample kit, but I created the implosion animation myself!! I'm very happy with how it looks and I plan to spend a lot of time working on death animations.

That's the draw of TorqueX, at least for me. I can spend as much time as I want creating my exquisite implosions and explosions and not have to worry about how to get them into the game, all most things require are a simple drag and drop.

In the video above I'm making use of a component from Henry Schillings' GameKit. There is a blank object just offscreen that I attached the Spawning component too and then I told the object to spawn some wizards. What Fun! I'm still going back and forth about what kind of game I'm going to make, a gauntlet clone perhaps? Or an RPG? Or something completely different? Most people will tell you to write out a design document before you start creating your game, and one day I will probably do so. But for now I like to think of the TorqueX Builder as my easily mutable design document.

And I'm barely scratching the surface of TorqueX, take a look at this lighting demo included with TorqueX

I am not really sure how to use this lighting stuff in my game but I definitely want to figure it out. It looks pretty neat. And from the limited code used to get the lighting to work I don't think it will be that complicated.

But alas, my trial for the TorqueX Builder has run out! So for the moment I must put development of my game on hiatus. I have read on the forums of a few people creating their game with TorqueX but doing it entirely in code without the use of the builder. This is certainly an option but that sort of defeats the purpose of the drag and drop builder. And I have been enjoying the builder immensely. I might have to make some important decisions soon!!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Avatar Showdown


I've been a bit of an agnostic when it comes to the Avatar Marketplace. I haven't partaken of the real money for fake clothes debate, which usually boils down to someone being an idiot in every discussion anyway. I am a huge fan of funny hats though and when I saw this gem I just had to have it.

Yeah, that's me!

You might notice I bought some sweet goggles and a tshirt as well. I purchased these items before the release of Avatar Showdown but they have definitely come in handy for the game. 


My hat and goggles combo evokes a sense of silliness in my competitor which in turn leads to a lowering of my foes defenses. Their demise quickly follows. And by quick I mean between 3-7 seconds, which is your window of random opportunity for mashing a button and bringing the pain. May those with the quickest fingers and the fastest connection reign supreme!

I asked some of the devs at Jforce Games, the team behind showdown for more features, for some reason I always want more features, and here is a response, "The goal of Showdown was to have a quick dev time, very simple game that would raise awareness and money for Unstoppable. So right now we don't have any plans to add to it apart from fixing the online mode."

Well, I am definitely more aware of Unstoppable now and with over 1400 sales in two days, I think Jforce games is well on their way to the raising money portion of their goal as well.

So what are you waiting for?

By the way, I've got three tokens for this game to give away, so if you would like one, just send me a link to your avatar in the comments or by email ( You can look at your avatar here, scroll down to the view images portion on the bottom right. Modifications to the image are fine!

The three funniest avatars get the tokens! 

We have our first entry!! YAY! A happy droog from A Clockwork Orange. Pretty neat, do you have a funnier Avatar? Another Entry!! Sort of an older, happier mario lol. I suppose this contest will end in a few days perhaps Tuesday March 2.
                                              hodsey2008                              cagix

Contest is over, congrats to the winners!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The greatest games are the ones you make yourself

I am currently on day 13 of my 30 day free trial of the Torque X game engine from GarageGames. One reason for writing about my game development process is to hopefully exchange my words for an engine license code ;) Below is a short video showing where I'm at with my game.

Balls of Fire!

Making the Game

I have a fairly good idea of where I want to go with this game and I hope I make it there!

If you are thinking about getting into game development and distributing your game on the Xbox Indie Channel, TorqueX is definitely the way to go. GarageGames has a list of games created with TorqueX here, List of TorqueX Games A few of those have been released to the Xbox Marketplace.

Most of those games seem pretty simple, but most of them were probably created by developers new to game development, which is what I think the indie games channel on the Xbox is all about.

I mentioned in my previous post about some code from John Kalanakis's website He has some code there with around ten or so sample games, each making use of a different feature of the TorqueX Engine, and with easily reuseable components.

Some of the components I'm using

Those do what you probably think they do and I was able to drop them into my game with no modifications in most cases. I don't even have the book from which those samples came from and I am still able to use them. To use components all you do is add them to your characters or game objects in the builder and then set the options. The AiPlayerChase has a target,speed, and chase or avoid option. It's that simple lol. And so much fun. I'm already spending lots of time playing my simple game and it's not really a game yet.

Here is the meat of AiPlayerChase to demonstrate how simple things can be.

private void _UpdateChase(float elapsed)
            // determine angle to point our ship to the player
            float angle = T2DVectorUtil.AngleFromTarget(_sceneObject.Position,


            // set the ship on its way towards the player
            _sceneObject.Physics.Velocity =
                 _TargetObject.Position, _speed);


sceneObject is the AI and TargetObject is whatever you would like the AI to chase. This component is attached to every Wizard in the first video above, the Large Warrior is using AiPathFollowing which is pretty simple as well.

There is a learning curve to the TorqueBuilder and it will definitely help to have some background knowledge of C#, but you don't need much knowledge to start making games. I tend to learn the most when I don't know how to do something, if that makes any sense lol.

I'm also thinking about buying this Character Pack from the Torque Website, it's only 30 bucks which works out to 2 bucks per character so that's a pretty good deal.

I think these guys will be fun to shoot at :)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making Games is Fun

So I've been using Torque X for about a week. If you aren't familiar with the product I suggest you familiarize yourself with it immediately. It's a game engine that's fully integrated into XNA and features a drag and drop type game editor that is easily hooked into your C# code. I believe TorqueX is used in a lot of those "create a game in two days or die trying" competitions which can occasionally produce something worth playing but most of the time seem to produce games that look like they were created in two days. Having said that, here is a clip of what I have been working on this week.

Don't mind the music, just what I was listening to at the time.

At the moment I am still in the tutorial phase of my TorqueX education. In fact, what you see above is a mixing of numerous tutorials with slight modifications. Besides the tutorials included with the TorqueX download, I got some sample code from this website, Envy Games TorqueX. The code is from The Complete Guide to Torque X, a book written by John Kanalakis, who has also taken over development of the TorqueX engine and has written a roadmap of where he wants to take TorqueX. RoadMap.

I am probably going to purchase the book, but I am having fun looking at his tutorials and ripping out his components for use in my game.

Components are pieces of code that can be easily shared between different games. For instance, the clip above makes use of an AIChase component and an AnimatedCharacterComponent among others. I combined these into one and got my AI to chase my player and display different animations. It would probably be better for me to keep these two components separate and I will modify my code later to do this.

You probably noticed in the clip that the animations weren't quite correct. I'm basing which animation to display based on rotation and its a bit off so I would like to display this rotation variable on the screen at runtime. I am about to do some research about how to display things onto the screen in TorqueX. Maybe someone wrote a debugging component I can use, or perhaps I will create one?

Figuring out how to display text on the screen using pure XNA is pretty easy, there are a lot of tutorials around concerning XNA, but not so much for TorqueX. I am glad that better documentation is high on the engine's roadmap priorities. Displaying text is a pretty basic problem though so I am sure I will find something I can use.