Archive for August, 2009


I modified my platformer engine in a few ways. First I killed off the fisix engine. It was really a physics engine, but the lack of support kind of killed progress for me. I switched to APE and I couldn’t be happier. Next I made it more generic. I removed the idea that this was going to simply be a platformer, and I started to think about what the difference was between 2D games in different genres. The only thing I could think of that truly separated them was the action that occurred while walking or attacking and the perspective of the game. In other words an RPG is top down or at an angle (essentially the same just with different art) and a platformer is side scrolling. The only other game type not accounted for is a SHMUP (Raiden and other top down flying shooter types). So I took my level reader and stepped it up a notch. I now have 2 xml files. One to characterize the level and the other to characterize the player. I allow for many built in “actions” such as walking up, up-right, right, down-right, etc, and I am hoping to also include a way to add custom actions. These actions are tied into 1 swf file with multiple movie clips. Not only that you could also specify whether a certain movie clip should be flipped for a certain action which cuts down on the amount of animations or duplicates one needs to make.

Simply stated I could specify in xml that the right action is using the left movie clip and is flipped horizontally but not vertically.

Not only that a person could specify a game mode. Right now it supports walk (RPG style) or jump (platformer style, side scroller).

So the code doesn’t look to bad either. I’d say the messiest part is deciding what happens when these actions are selected. In specific when to flip and clip, when to flip it back, modifying velocity while jumping etc.

Once I get more work done with it I may post the source code, or I may just give out tools for making levels :-D, but for now imagine a world where making a game was this simple:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
 <name>Platformer Demo</name>
 <surface x="5" y="600" width="7000" height="20" bounce="0.3" friction=".1" rotation="0"/>
 <surface x="5" y="5" width="200" height="10" bounce="0.3" friction=".1" rotation="2"/>
 <surface x="700" y="400" width="500" height="10" bounce="0.3" friction=".1" rotation="3"/>

Player Profile:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
 <bounds type="circle" x="450" y="100" radius="45" elasticity="0" friction=".1" visible="false" />
 <speed horizontal="15" verticle="15" maxH="30" maxJumps="2" />
 <clip name="walk_up" action="up" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_down" action="down" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_right" action="right" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_right" action="left" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_up" action="upRight" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_up" action="upLeft" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_down" action="downRight" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_down" action="downleft" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="stand_right" action="stillRight" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="stand_right" action="stillLeft" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />

Then imagine a world that had a drag and drop interface that could generate the XML files above with all the art specified as pngs with supported transparencies! 🙂

The implications also include that one game could have several level “types” per game with no extra development needed. Perhaps at some point people would be creating plug ins to support additional game types as well! Ahhh now we are just dreaming :).


gridzSo a few months ago I made this game on facebook with Edgar called Grid[z]. It is a simple little board game, but we have a ranking and score system that is based off ELO. ELO is the ranking system that is used for Top Coder and Chess Leagues among other things.

gridzWe have some planned modifications also including a public lobby that would allow players to invite each other. Also more stringent security policies are also needed. I don’t see this game becoming popular or making tons of money so I am considering it my first foray into the facebook api + cakephp. I may eventually post my cakephp library for making games; however, trying to validate player interactions with the server in a way to cover all cases seems to be a hurdle. It may be a nice starting point though.

Check it out: