Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We're not dead! Project Number Two

Well the title says it mainly, we as a company are not dead. Yet.

Things were put on hold a bit as I was on holidays and Greg has been (and still is) busy finishing up his PhD. Lucky for me I don't need art to get started on things as I can always use awesome programmer art to fill in the gaps. Everyone loves programmer art.

So now that I'm somewhat settled in London I figured I should get my ass into gear and start working on the project I've been thinking about since Call Connect was released - noteworthy news being that Call Connect has had over 100,000 downloads to date!

As I've previously mentioned, the game we are going to try to make next is in the genre of SHMUPS. Even if you haven't heard the name SHMUP before you've probably encountered the game-type before. 1942, Raiden, Gradius, DoDonPachi, Radiant Silvergun. All of these games fall within the category of SHMUP with the defining characteristics being the player controlling a ship as enemies swarm towards them firing patterns of bullets.

Some games put more of an emphasis on these patterns than others and ours hopes to follow suit. The first step towards achieving this is to develop a robust bullet engine that allows us, the developer, the craft patterns and get them into the game with little fuss. One of the issues with Call Connect was that it was pretty much all hard-coded, which essentially meant that if any changes needed to be made then they needed to be done by me, the programmer, in the code. What we want to do is allow both of us to design bullet patterns and get them into the game with Greg being able to get things going without my help.

To do this I am trying to make a file structure that is essentially XML but using the native Xcode file format, plist. They are built the same essentially but doing it this way means I won't have to fiddle with any xml readers. If I find plists aren't up to scratch then I may have to look at other options.

So essentially now I am trying to build a structure that will allow for anyone to input various values which will then build into many different potential bullet patterns. As a base I am looking at Kenta Cho's BulletML which uses XML to build patterns for his games. The structure I am trying to implement is not quite as complex at the moment but it is a good reference point.

I'm going to be trying to keep a regular blog this time around on all parts of development and I'll be going into as much detail as I can. The next post will have some more details on the bullet pattern structure I'll hopefully be trying to implement in the game.

- Shaun.