Category Archives: Computer Games

Day of Reckoning Gets Closer

I’ve set the date for the first Alpha Release Candidate 1 for Goldwingu: 10th of May.  I’m really getting close to the point where I just need feedback from outside my brain to get forward. Before that I’ll need:

  1. Video of the gameplay.
  2. At least 5 (preferably more) different enemies, with different movement, attacks and other qualities.
  3. A few, good, meaningful achievements.
  4. Some polish to the GUI.
  5. I still need to tweak the Campaign-mode a bit. The pace needs to be slower. Capability to build ships should be more expensive (i.e. it would require a big-ass ship yard, but once you have one, ships should be easy to build).

That’s the bare minimum. I’ve got a week to go. Do you think I can make it?

Release: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.13

Creeping toward non-triviality, one release at a time. Treat yourself to Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.13 [3.46MB] right nao!

In this version (among other things, see Release Notes for more):

  1. Changes to assets:
    1. Assets file and graphics have been moved to its own directory.
    2. The logic that controls enemy movements are now read from Assets file (under section BRAINS)
  2. Support for global (as opposed to the medals, which are game instance spesific) achievements, with one achievement implemented (visiting all [both] stellar locations in the Campaign mode. Unlocks missiles).
  3. Added two resources that are both needed for building fleets.
  4. Some changes to the heuristics.
  5. Production isn’t nulled after successfull invasion, just decreased.

Making Strategic Decisions

In Goldwingus campaign mode I’ve been interested in combining the arcade component of the game with having a broader meaning to it than just advancing from level to level. So far this combinement leaves a lot to be desired.

Currently the heuristics for the different players is to just attack the planets with the weakest fleets of all of the players. This is pretty straightforward and transparent and also it means that once any one player gets an upper-hand, it will almost definetely win too. The problem with this is that players choices aren’t that meaningful. A planet is a planet is a planet.

So, I’ve wanted to add something to the game to make different planets more interesting pursuits and make the strength of the fleet in orbit less deciding factor for the player. Let’s take an example. Enemy planet A currently has strong enough fleet in orbit that doesn’t allow attacking with our fleet, but it does have is some resource that the player needs. In this situation the player can make a meaningful difference within the campaign, risking his life to get those high-value targets.

I have been thinking over several things to differentiate the planets with in value:

  1. You could have different building resources that all are needed for building various things.
  2. Fleets needing fuel to move and having fuel deposits of different sizes on planets.
  3. Making movement between planets possible only through set paths, making some planets important because of their connections.
  4. Building and restoring production capacity would be more expensive (in relation to building fleets) and conquering planets would always save some of it.
  5. Planets having different levels of ‘habitability’ i.e. how much production they can actually house.

I have been thinking of going with all of these except from #3. You’ll see the results at the end of the week.

Release: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.12

I suppose its that time of the fortnight already: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.12 [3.46MB] is released!
In this version:

  1. Two new weapon types for enemy; homing missiles and laser!
  2. Changes to the Tactical Display:
    1. Added a radar to show approaching enemies
    2. Added pop-up notifications to the side of the screen to display incidental info.
  3. Something of an overhaul in Campaign mode and the way the heuristics are applied. Every player has target planets that its fleets will go after, makin the fleets less individuals and hopefully making their movements a bit less erratic.
  4. You can now quit a level by pushing Escape two times, once to prime the hyperspace jump engines and a second time to actually start the countdown to the jump.
  5. And most importantly: added a bit of sparkle to the explosions.

“Put the Wine Glass Down and Tell Us Something”

Happy half-birthday to everyone! To break the monotony of endless and boring release notifications I thought I’d share a little something about what I’ve been doing lately.

As all of you well know I have been very keen on the idea of the Tactical Display (TD) in Goldwingu even though I haven’t yet done much anything with it. This week I have concentrated on realizing the potential behind it. My problems have so far been two-fold; what to present to the player through TD and how to present it.

Of course in a game the answer to the “what” should be something relevant to the game and its purpose. I have thought about replacing bottom game GUI with TD to have a nice clean screen. This is a nice approach, but the score isn’t really part of the game world as such so in my mind it wouldn’t fit well as part of TD. This is a rather small problem. More of a problem has been what other info to include in to the TD. So far my answers are:

  1. A radar to show approaching enemies -> this requires some changes to the way levels are built at the moment, but I think a rather nice idea. This provided it makes sense for the player to view the info -> balancing of the levels becomes more important.
  2. Information about the condition and make of various components of the ship. -> changes to the way the player entity is built BUT would probably necessitate gameplay mechanics that would be meaningful e.g. broken components changing the way the ship functions, if you don’t have a working hyperdrive, you’re stuck here. Also and perhaps the ability to e.g. change warheads to your missiles, would anyone be interested in some cluster bömps?
  3. Information on various incidents. Let’s say Goldwingu announces that a jumpgate is forming, you fire up the TD to see that it’s a capital ship with two escort ships and it’s time to hope that your hyperdrive is fixed soon.

The answer to “how” has been more up to my technical abilities, which are still on a quite an amateur level. I’ve managed to come up with a working radar, which of course leaves much to desire, but I like the way it works. I’ve also added support for text messages jumping from the side of the screen which would be perfect for various announcements: “Jumpgate forming”, “Glamdring missiles have been deployed”.

Coming soon this Friday, you will see what the meaning of this all will be. And it will change everything you know about anything so far. </movieteaser guy>

Release: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.11

For those who can count it comes as no surprise that Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.11 [3.45MB] is out!

In this version:

  1. New enemy type; Smatter. It multiplies.
  2. Some GUI changes in the Campaign mode:
    • radiobuttons to configure the display the size of planets, planet names and production level.
    • Smaller Back button, which takes you to the Campaign options page.
    • You can now choose up to 14 enemies in Campaign mode.
  3. Explosions can be configured (a bit) in the assets file.

Release: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.10.5

Looks like sex is back on the menu boys! Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.10.5 [3.45MB] is out!

In this version:

  1. In Campaign mode you can now choose between 1-10 enemies. Oh yeah!
  2. A default wavepattern is now attached to the enemyships that don’t have one specified in Assets file. Now you can try out different enemy graphics with minimal effort.
  3. Re-factoring and general tweaking all around.

Release: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.10

Apologies for keeping such a boring Blog these days, but it’s the big one o’. Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.10 [3.45MB]. You just have to ask how good is this going to get?

In this version:

  1. Added radar coverage to the Campaign mode. Now enemy planets are seen only when close enough. Because of my low OpenGL-fu this radar coverage is not shown on the map, I couldn’t get the drawing routine fast enough. (NOTE: I give myself no points for this, but it does defy certain boundaries of common sense.)
  2. The map in Campaign mode should be more tidy now, redundancys have been removed. Also planets that have a full production capacity are shown in brighter color, and the actual production capacity is shown for the planets where its not full.
  3. PNG-reading routine now reads and saves the actual color information, so trying out new kinds of enemy ships should be relatively easy.
  4. Other bits and pieces.

Release: Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.9.5

I hope you are not getting bored yet! The new version of Goldwingu 2: Episode 1; Means to End v.0.9.5 [3.45MB] is out! This one is a pretty heavily optimized version. That’s the good part of being an amateur, you can gain ridiculous amounts of improvement just by being lousy enough to begin with!

In this version:

  1. Heavy optimization in the drawing routine. This version should be a few times more efficient in drawing than previous versions.
    1. Moved from using triangles to drawing pixels and just use points and set their size accordingly.
    2. Reduced the number of glBegin() and glEnd calls.
  2. Fixed the PNG-reading routine, which should read any PNG-file without hiccups (assuming it has the right colors).
  3. Added a fuel component to Campaign mode. Now the player has a certain amount of fuel that limits to how far he can fly and replenishes at own planets only.