Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Infiltrator - Season 3 Part 5

So I fixed that bug.

Okay fine, you deserve a bit more explanation than that. Since my job here is more or less to entertain you with painfully true statements, all within an interesting and paradoxical self reference, I think I'll give you a bit more detail.

I didn't need to use the view class from SFML. In fact, mine was working fine. The problem came in when I was checking to force objects to bump into walls instead of going through them. I was forgetting to use frame-rate independent movement in the calculations, while still doing it when manipulating the game state. This effectively broke everything.

But it's fixed now. And now I added the spiffy feature to read any number of enemies from a level file and spawn them within the level. In order to avoid spoilers, the screenshot of a bunch of enemies spawned is linked here instead of stuck up in your face.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Updates and Observations

Here is Cognitive Observation #13:

I missed posting to this site this weekend because of the holidays. Blllleeeeeeehhhhh! :P

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Odd as it may seem, I've only recently picked up Crysis. I won't bother making excuses, but I will give you a review. Note that I've spent probably only around ten hours on this thing so far. A plus here is that there are less spoilers I could reveal even if I wanted to. So let us begin...

Crysis is a sci-fi FPS adventure game developed by CryTek and released in 2007. The official "trial by fire" for gaming rigs, Crysis has made a significant name for itself. Unusual for a game 4 years old, it still pushes the limits of modern PC's at the highest detail. Naturally, it was still no match for my uber-rig, but it did put up a fight.

Touted elements include story, open-ended objectives, interesting mechanics, spiffy environments, and pretty pictures. Don't bork me for spending the rest of this review explaining how it kind of does these things, but halfheartedly.

Crysis at it's core is a cliche action FPS with the usual re-charging health and hiding behind things. I'm thankful that it's not the usual cover-based fare, but you had better hide behind things yourself if you expect to survive. It feels like they started out with a shooter where the player could use superpowers, and then decided to strap a bunch of other things on.

Story goes that some random island which archaeologists are excavating is taken over by Koreans. The transmissions from the island go silent, so you and a bunch of other dudes wearing funky "nanosuits"  drop onto the island in the middle of the night. These nanosuits bestow superpowers on whomever happens to be wearing them at the time. You get separated during the drop, and get pretty quickly picked off until there's only half of you left. The story is actually interesting and convincing, but doesn't really make up a big part of the game. In places you can feel that it's just an excuse for you to do more shooting.

The gameplay itself is pretty solid. There were some awesome moments. Allow me to transcribe my thoughts during one:

"The signal says the hostage is in this building. Better switch to strength mode and jump up on top of it. Hack! The dude on top of the building is firing a machine gun at me! Armor mode to absorb the bullets. Speed mode as soon as I hit the ground so that I can run behind a corner. I know, I can switch to cloak mode and sneak up behind him. Then I can smack him in the face with the chicken I've been carrying around."

Unfortunately, these are spread out around "Go kill 400 dudes, it's going to be impossible if you want to sneak by, because that wasn't the way the game designers meant it" moments. It does go between a shooter and a stealth game pretty smoothly, although I would have preferred more choice in when you use stealth and when you don't.

I'm glad that the cutscenes are in first person. It kind of reminds me of Half Life. A lot of things about the game remind me of Half Life I guess. It's still its own thing though, which I also like.

The island setting is interesting, and I haven't got bored of it yet because the day/night cycle keeps changing the aesthetic. I'm sure the setting eventually changes, and it had better. I think this island setting will get boring sooner or later.

While this game has creative elements in many places, the weapons are all cliche. You get usual mixes of sniper rifles, machine guns, shotguns, grenades, and rocket launchers. Not to mention that the game still does that thing I hate where you can only carry a few weapons with you. I know the argument here is that it's more realistic, but if I wanted a realistic experience I would just stay in real life.

I'd love to write more about this game at some point, but I hope this review can give you a good peak. The verdict for me is that it's a game with many good elements, but a lack of depth and lack of concentration on any of the good elements takes away from the experience. I guess that the main problem here is that there really isn't that much to the game apart from it's cliche first person shooting.

Final Score: 7.5
(why this score?)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Advanced LMMS S1E14

Here it is:

Early bird gets the worm...

..but the late worm survives for the next episode. Which is why this week's episode is going to be up about a day late. Sorry.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The bug

Blam these pesky bugs! I'm ATM wrestling quite ferociously with one of them in my current game project. It seems that it's no trivial manner to move everything on the screen just right so that it appears that the player is going past everything else instead of vice/versa. This is a fairly standard game programming thing, usually called scrolling. I've never had any trouble with it before, but there is just something about this time that makes the thing more error prone. I may choose to go with SFML's built in 'view' class, but we will see how this pans out.

School is making a killing off me at the same time, so hacking through this bug might be a bit difficult. I'm considering coming back to it later, and starting on some other part of Infiltrator. Perhaps a break will give me a useful new perspective.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

LMMS wish list

With the new VST(i) patch recently integrated into the current GIT version of LMMS, I've began wondering what else I could possibly want. LMMS will probably have these new features in the next official version, which will hopefully be released sometime this month or next. VST parameters can be accessed via LMMS interface knobs allowing the user to connect them to controllers and even automate them. If this isn't enough of a boon, VST preset saving and loading are thrown in for good measure.

Considering this, I've decided to throw out all my crazy ideas about what new features I'd like to see in LMMS. I'd temporarily underestimated the power of open-source, so I think some slingshot overestimation is in order. The point isn't really to be realistic here. I also know that if I had any integrity I'd get into the meat and bones of LMMS and develop some of these features myself. I'm thinking about giving a crack at it.

That said, I'm going to start out with the automation editor. You all know I've been wanting some kind of control point curve or line drawing setup for quite awhile. Having to draw curves by hand, and drawing lines the way it is done now makes automation a little too cumbersome.

Too ensure your security in my not just being another "Make LMMS more like X proprietary application" guy, I bring you something I cooked up over time. If you consider the current controller rack, and the controllers available, I think it's a bit lacking selection-wise. I don't know of other music software that comes with say, and envelope controller. While an envelope controller would be higher priority, since it also solves the problem where LMMS lacks a pitch envelope, virtual MIDI controllers like knobs, sliders, and buttons would also be quite useful. I used to use some old school virtual MIDI controller rack awhile back, but that required jack and didn't always work properly.

Now I'm really just dreaming here, in a kind of sky is the limit way. An accompanying or built in synth editor would be awesome. Like, amazing awesome. Like really hacking awesomely amazing. Like-oh skip it. It would rock. I'm not suggesting something like synth-edit. Probably the best way would be to create an elaborate instrument plugin with this type of feature. I'm thinking something kind of like what BEAST tried to do here:

Not only for anything in this post, but for my next wish especially, feel free to hit me up in the comments with an "RTFM, n00b!" and a link to the relevant manual section. I'd like to see LMMS more plugin friendly. I'm not talking about VST(i) plugin friendly, I'm talking things like instrument plugins and controller plugins(provided controllers are done via plugins.) It looks to me(who might be wrong) like you have to re-compile LMMS for every new set of plugins. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Add in the fact that LMMS doesn't seem to have easy support for Linux native DSSI(VST) plugins, and there is a feature hole many music producers would love to have filled.

Anything else... I guess not that I can think of right now (other than a new logo and less lame default theme). Oh yea, we also need more people to use it. ;)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Infiltrator - Season 3 part 4

Infiltrator moves on still. Changes pile up like pancakes on my plate at an all you can eat buffet, so I better write this out before I change something else.

Let's start with the weapons.

I took a lot of this sessions time developing five weapons. Purple maser pulses, dual gatling guns, the laser shotgun, EMP missiles, and the AIFSA are all setup. This not only includes art work, but also complete programming.

You'll also notice from the screenshot that I'm still adding level tiles. You're probably asking if I plan on building the levels this way. The answer is that if building the levels this way won't disturb the flow, aesthetic, and natural feeling, and if they aren't obvious and blunt, yes I probably will. It's merely one of my options however, and I have yet to make a choice.

Now on enemies...

Just like the player's weapons, I've also created art for all five enemies. Bosses are yet to come up, I'm planning on building them on top of the enemy base class. I'm not showing spoilers, including higher level enemies, bosses, and critical level sections, but I don't have much of that to show right now anyway.

The enemy base class is still very much a work in progress. as well as the "Drone" enemy you see in the screenshot. Obviously some programming basics are in place, but there is still a lot of work to be done.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Advanced LMMS - dubstep

So, I finally started my dubstep tutorial. This is the first of a three part set, this one covering the beat.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


While I'm taking a turn farther toward game design on this blog, I still haven't quit music. Today I want to recommend a great free VSTi, especially in the neighborhood of Drum and Bass or Dubstep.

Kairatune came out this year, 2011, and is the perfect solution for those of you who want a strong monophonic synth. I've added it to my VST collection quite happily. Here's a good demo, which still only shows a chip of what's possible with this synth.

Kairatune Demo by Kairatune

Most of the knobs don't turn properly, probably due to a bug. But I found a workaround by using LMMS's VST parameter converter to set the knobs.

Happy tweaking!