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Category Archives: Games

Posts about creating and playing video games, one of my favourite things.

Xbox Game Collection

Posted: August 5th, 2015

Xbox game collection

 

In the ever-rolling quest to clean up after myself, tonight I ended up collecting and cataloging all my physical Xbox games. 139 boxed, mostly Xbox 360.

Because I’m a lame nerd I also made a spreadsheet of them all so I don’t buy dupes. Oh dear.

I’m thinking I need to add digital games too, since Games with Gold and numerous sales has gifted me a whole load more games in the last couple of years. Physical games have a greater charm though, I think. They take up space but I like having them, especially Xbox 360 and prior where games still had manuals (pretty enormous manuals in some cases!)

 

Any recommendations you don’t see on the list and that haven’t been given away via GwG? Let me know!

— B

Greetings once again, time to talk about something I almost forgot in the whirlwind of life, and it’s a game!

Prior to Jadecliff, I worked at a small marketing company called Stefan and Stephan of whom Jadecliff was a large client. When I started with S&S around April-May 2013 one of my first projects was to play with an idea for a mobile game relating to their nearest retail site, Marldon Christmas Tree Farm. I wanted to try and make a runner-type game in the tree farm, and over a couple months and iterations I think we came out with something kinda cool – although requiring more work to get to release than we had time to do. Work was ended on this project in the final days of July, about 2 months of work in total with some other tasks in between.

 

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Online highscore system for Haxe NME

Posted: June 30th, 2013
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Hello everybody.

Long time no blog, so here’s a quick catch up: I got a job at a small start up doing many varied and interesting things. The first project I was given built on my experiences with game development, and somewhat outstandingly I got to start writing a new game in Haxe NME! I can’t go in to details about the title right now, but it’s 99% complete and looking good.

One desired aspect of the game was an online leaderboard of some sort, so we can assign rewards to weekly/monthly winners. I’d never even looked at NMEs web function before, vaguely deciding I’d worry about highscores in Tower Defence “at some point”. To my relief it’s super simple to use, and with a few php files on a server I’ve got a nice simple highscore system running… Someone’s bound to find this useful since I couldn’t find any complete samples online, so here we go… (more…)

I bought my Xbox 360 just after Christmas 2006, £300 for the console with two wireless controllers, Project Gotham 3 and the first Gears of War. Since then it’s been custom painted, it’s red ringed and taken a holiday to Frankfurt where it was repaired over Christmas 2009, lived with me in five different houses, and generally been run in to the ground; But although all the internals were replaced with the RRoD repair in 2009, the hard drive was still the original 20Gb unit it arrived with. Until the last couple of years this hasn’t been a problem, but now it’s annoying. Halo 4 for example, requires you to install the second disc to the drive before you can play anything – that’s 4Gb gone right there. Throw in a few map packs and a lot of accumulated game saves, and suddenly space is at a premium. Not only that, new hard drives are also at a premium – depending where you look, a new drive at the top end of the available sizes (250/320gb) can be £70!

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But of course, you never need to do things the “official” way. Within that drive enclosure is actually a standard 2.5″ SATA drive, and besides a little bit of software tinkering you basically just need to swap it for a larger drive… In the newer style 360, it’s even easier since the native SATA connections are exposed inside the HDD slot, so you can literally take a 2.5″ drive and (carefully) plug it in to the slot. I knew this was possible having read about it at some point long ago, so “why not”, I thought.
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Simple C++ TicTacToe game

Posted: April 25th, 2013
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Hello my lovable minions, today let’s talk about board games.

tttoe
Well, not really, but let’s briefly discuss that I made one. This was an all-important C++ refresher that I wrote in preparation for a small interview the other day where I knew I’d be queried on some C, so it seemed only practical to do some for the first time in a long time. Nothing particularly complicated, but a good refresher in pointers, memory management and classes/program structure. The one zip file I’ll provide includes both the source and a compiled exe, since C programs are so small anyway, and it’s only command line — download here.
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Alpha/Demo/Something release

Posted: April 2nd, 2013

Progress with Tower Defence has been slow recently, what with moving and the general disruption that brings, but the other day I did manage to settle in and resolve a few long standing and occasionally nasty bugs which brings the game to a highly playable level. As such, I felt it might be prudent to make a demo available so people can actually try this thing out themselves rather than watching my boring videos.

I’m a long way from guaranteeing it’s crash free, but it’s not far off. There are also bugs galore (see full release notes after the break), and a few things are disabled for being either half implemented or inconsistent in performance or reliability, but it gives a reasonable overview of the project. This release is in the form of a Windows binary, although if there’s any interest in OSX/Linux/mobile builds I’ll happily crank one out and you’re welcome to see if it works.

Download build 43 now 🙂

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Picture is related

Posted: March 2nd, 2013
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SDC10001
 

At what point do you own too any games? Having just moved, I unpacked all my games and lined them up in the only place with enough room for them – the top of a wardrobe. It’s a pretty long line of stuff, and it doesn’t include all the games I keep on the hard drive of my original Xbox (also not pictured: Halo 4, Forza Horizon and L.A. Noire, because they’re all near my 360.) Only one game there is still in plastic (DiRT 2), although there are a few that I’ve only played briefly for whatever reason (most embarrassingly, Just Cause 2, because I thought the original Just Cause was amazing.) The plain DVD case at the top is a backup of ‘Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay’ because my original copy was damaged long long ago, if you were wondering.

How many games do you have and do you think you have too many? As long as I have a chance of finishing them all before my aging 360 RRoDs again I figure I’m alright!

Quick project: Tetris

Posted: February 18th, 2013
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Occasionally I start Googling random collections of words related to video games — more usually, video game jobs, hoping some golden ticket is going to fall right out of Mountain View or something. I often end up reading lots of forum threads and blog posts about the topic and how to make yourself seem attractive to studios etc etc, and it was within one of these little quests that I read an idea that nagged me, “Just make something … Tetris or something, just show you know what you’re doing.”

So a few days later I got up and made Tetris.

 

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All told it was maybe 6-8 hours work split across two days: Mostly production, with the final couple of hours on day two dedicated to bug squashing. Anyway, it’s super simple but I think it’s kinda neat for what it is. As ever, this game is built with Haxe NME (3.5) – to compile the source you will also need the Actuate tween library installed. Download the source here.
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Tower Defence prototype code

Posted: February 7th, 2013

Hello once again!

Today I’m happy to offer some code from my early prototypes of Tower Defence, build 13 from September/October ’12 if anyone is pedantic enough to want to know. It’s super basic: No maze generating algorithms yet, not much in the way of gameplay. A random maze is created (i.e, each map tile is 50/50 whether its walkable or not), start and end points generated and a route found between them using A*, and an “enemy” (green square) moves along the path. You can create a single weapon type – the gun – which fires very slow moving bullets at the enemy.
This code also contains remnants of my quick and dirty collision system, although Box2D is actually running the show.

 

Untitled

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Within the nme.geom package of HaXe NME you’ll find Matrices, Points, Vectors, Rectangles and… ColorTransform? Yes, it seems a slightly odd place to put it, but that’s where it is, and it can be useful in your project. No doubt, there are endless things you could do, but I wanted to talk briefly on how I’ve used it across my previous Pinball project and now, in Tower Defence.

Simply, sometimes you want the same object to appear multiple times in your project, but with subtle variations. Behavioral changes can be accomplished in code by subclassing, size variations by scaling, but what if you wanted it red in one instance and green in another? Including the same image twice with different colours seems redundant, even if the images in question are quite small, so what are your options? Well, a ColorTransform is an option if the image is a simple, single colour. In Pinball, I used this method to colorize the lights and lighting effects – the image files themselves were greyscaled, and were coloured in code before being displayed – and now in Tower Defence, I’m using it on some UI elements (the slider knob’s that change colour dependent on value).

Let’s step through how this works. First, of course, you have to create a graphic you want to use. Here’s the image of the slider knob in Tower Defence, as it came out of Photoshop…

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