Game Dev Diary: FR v0.19

The detectorists.

With how my game is actually going to play a little clearer in my mind, I had some more programming to do. I realised I would need doors, and switches to open and close them, so set about writing some very similar code to the stuff already in for “warps”.

When it came to working out collisions on these doors and door switches, I just expanded my “warp collision detector” to a general “tile collision detector” but it all went very wrong. I couldn’t figure out why collisions were not being triggered correctly: Sometimes warp tile detection would happen all the time (even when on other tiles), sometimes nothing would be detected at all, sometimes it would crash with a “nil value” error. I had to sleep on it 1.

Freeroam v0.19

I realised I’d only bloody initialised some of the variables used by the “make door” and “make switch” functions after calling those functions. Schoolboy error!

As I set about fixing it, I realised I had an awful lot of duplicate, or near duplicate, code. Did I really need separate functions to create warps, doors and switches? And other objects that I hadn’t implemented yet? Seemed a bit wasteful. I had the detection routines working now but it was nagging at me that I could streamline things a bit. I made the decision to scrap about a third of my code and start again.

I started by creating a generic object, er, object. Just check this beauty out:

Oh yeah. I included a function in there too. It tells the object how it is drawn on the screen, meaning I didn’t need a separate “draw things” function for each object type either. Nope, all I need to do now is:

Lovely. I’m very pleased with it.

As you can see, I’ve done a lot with the game but it isn’t actually looking very different to how it did before. How it works, though, is much improved.

Remember you can click in that box there and actually “play” the “game”. Remember also that everything is subject to change and the terrible “graphics” are placeholders only.


  1. Or go for a wee. It’s amazing how many solutions to problems I come up with when I go for a wee.

Let’s Play! Hungry Horace

I can’t believe it’s not Pac-Man.

Following on from last week’s Definitely Not Frogger/Ski Slalom game Horace Goes Skiing (And Traffic Dodging), today I bring you another from the Horace Trilogy: Hungry Horace. Which definitely isn’t Pac-Man.

Actually, that sarcasm is a little unfair. There are quite a few differences to Pac-Man, not least the fact that there are various mazes. Some have tunnels. You can move onto the next maze without collecting all the dots. There aren’t as many ghosts (or park keepers, or whatever they’re supposed to be in this).

It’s also a lot harder, especially this screen:

hungry horace

Getting to the top right, avoiding the two baddies, is not only hard, it’s almost impossible. And the bell that allows you to “eat” the baddies? You have to get past the baddies to get to it!

Can you beat it? No, you can’t. But would you like to try? No? Sod you then.

Continue reading “Let’s Play! Hungry Horace”

The Atari Jaguar Controller

Hanging on the telephone.

(This suggestion from King of Suggestions, @JayTay)

the Atari Jaguar controller

A few months back I did an expansive post on which controller was the best, and it was clear then that the Atari Jaguar pad was never going to be in contention. As I said back then:

The Jaguar controller is just stupid. It is superficially like a Mega Drive pad, only with a telephone numeric keypad glued underneath. That might have been fine back in the days of the Atari 2600 and Intellivision when games would make use of them (remember those maths titles?) but on the Jaguar it was a waste, especially since so many Jaguar games were just ports of Mega Drive and SNES games that already didn’t need those buttons. At least you could have game-specific overlays on the controller, I suppose. Yay?

It was big and didn’t have enough buttons where it actually needed them, especially when you realise that by then the Mega Drive had a 6 button pad. No shoulder buttons, when the SNES had them already and the PlayStation and Saturn were just around the corner, were a mistake: One thing the Jaguar did well at the time was 3D games like Doom and Alien vs Predator, and shoulder buttons would have made strafing and/or turning much easier.

All those buttons at the bottom, though. I suppose somebody, somewhere, thought it was a good idea – after all, it worked for a very small number of Atari 2600 games – although not a single title for the Jaguar uses them effectively. Most of them are impossible to reach mid game, and if you lose the paper overlay things are made more complicated.

On the plus side, they’re not as uncomfortable to hold as they appear, and they’re quite light due to being mostly empty.

There are worse controllers. But not many first party ones.

Game Dev Diary: FR v0.16, reprise

No, I have nothing new to show you. I’ve done very little coding since my last Game Dev Diary post, so I’ve nothing to show for it. So why an update?

  1. Because otherwise you may think I’ve given up on it.
  2. Because I have done other, related stuff instead.

You might remember my Interactive Fiction game from the other day: Sandman. Oh yeah, that’s an link right there. Sexy. Anyway, that was a deviation from this title, but it did help me think through the structure of a game a little more.


Now I have a mostly working “engine” for my PICO-8 game, I’ve been thinking some more about what sort of game I’d like it to be. I’d already considered a narrative discovery game, as it’s a good fit for something technically quite easy (since it’s my first proper game for the platform), and it allows me to concentrate on what happens rather than how I need to code it to happen, if you see what I mean.

To that end, I’m going to construct a game world which is pretty linear, perhaps in the form of a simple maze. You’ll be forced to progress, and there’ll be incidental events that happen or are triggered on the way. It’ll tell a story, some of which I have worked out in my head and some I still need to come up with, but I’m not going to explain any of that to you lot just yet. Spoilers, you see. And everything is still subject to change too.

So, next tasks:

  1. Come up with enough story to start developing more of the actual game.
  2. Graphics. Lots of graphics.
  3. ???
  4. Profit.

Pretty standard game dev stuff there, I think.

What I am finding hard, though, is trying not to think two or three projects ahead. I’m barely out of the starting blocks with this one and I’m already thinking through how my next game will work, and have ideas for another. Using Twine was an interesting side project too, so I suspect I’ll return to that as well. I just need to concentrate on one thing at a time!

My thoughts on the PlayStation Experience 2016

I believe the term is “hot take”?

Without even looking at the information about each announced (or re-announced) game, here are my immediate thoughts. Mainly in simple “yes” or “no” form, because nobody wants to listen to reasons these days.

  • The Last of Us Part II – No.
  • Uncharted 4: The Lost Legacy – No.
  • Nex Machina – Yes.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn – Yes.
  • Wipeout Omega Collection – No.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – Yes.
  • Nioh – Maybe.
  • Gravity Rush 2 expansion – No.
  • PaRappa the Rapper Remastered – YES. YES. YES.
  • Patapon Remastered – No.
  • Loco Roco Remastered – Yes.
  • Knack 2 – HAHAHAHAHAHahHAhAHHahahahoh you’re serious?
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – A thousand times No.
  • Resident Evil 7 – No.
  • Let it Die – Maybe.
  • Move or Die – No.
  • Destiny: The Dawning – The Yawning, more like, amirite?
  • NieR: Automata – No idea.
  • Retro Mode in MLB The Show 17 – Nobody cares.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – Probably.
  • Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom – Perhaps.
  • Pyre – What is this I do not know.
  • Dino Frontier – VR so No.
  • Windjammers – ABSOLUTELY YES.
  • Yakuza Kiwami – YES. Yakuza is BEST.
  • Yakuza 6 – ALSO YES.
  • Vane – *shrug*
  • Dreadnought – Nope.
  • Fallen Legion – No.
  • Games of Glory – No.
  • Persona 5 – YESSSSSSSSSS.
  • Absolver – Wut.
  • What Remains of Edith Finch – Yes.
  • Starblood Arena – VR so No.
  • Death Stranding – All sorts of Nope.

And there you go. Definitive, isn’t it?

Play Want Bin Expense: 2016-12-05


December already? Better find some Christmas games, like none of these are, right?


Pokémon Y (3DS)
I’ve mainly been chasing Moltres round the map this week. Which is a bit frustrating as it keeps moving before I get to it. Apparently, it eventually stops wandering round and holes up in a cave somewhere, but I don’t know how long that takes. Forever?

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3)
A bit of this. I had to head into a lab, destroy some equipment that was being used to try and control the blood dragons, then torch a load of dragon eggs like it was Alien or something. Which disturbed some very angry adult blood dragons that I had to run away from very quickly.

paper marioPaper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
Some people have said this isn’t very good. Those people are Wrong People. It’s very good indeed. It’s just a bit unusual, that’s all, with very few RPG features (like stats and levelling up), instead with stickers replacing pretty much everything. It’s funny, it looks great, and I’m really enjoying it. So far, I’ve completed World 1, most of World 2, and half of World 3. Yeah, you can jump between them to some degree.


Once more: Zelda (Switch), Sonic Mania (Switch), Pokémon Sun (3DS), Paper Mario (Wii U), Shenmue 3 (PS4) and a Switch. And that PaRappa the Rapper remaster for the PS4 they announced yesterday.


Nothing this week!


Grow Up (PS4) – £2.99
BoxBoxBoy! (3DS) – £2.01

Acceptable Christmas Songs (Part 1)

A rubber bum bum, a rubber bum bum.

It’s very important at this time of year to restrict your Christmas listening to only good Christmas songs. Not least because shops are full of the very worst ones, and variations of them such as the Panpipe Moods version of I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus. It’s no wonder suicide rates are up in December.

I bring to you, then, some of those Christmas songs which are allowed to be played. You can thank me in the comments.

The Darkness: Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)

Dio: God Rest You Merry Gentlemen

Alice Cooper: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Bing Crosby and David Bowie: Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: Fairytale of New York

William Shatner: Good King Wenceslas

Stay tuned for some more at some point! If I can be bothered.