Archive | April 2012

Probably the most irritating song you will EVER hear.

Just wait for the chorus.

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Stupid Conversations #1

First Woman: “I don’t know what to get Fred for his birthday.”
Second Woman: “Why don’t you get him a book?”
First Woman: (after a moment’s thought) “Nah, he’s already got a book.”

Fixing and upgrading my PC, lol

My current PC is custom-build. It has decent specs, but it seems to run EVERYTHING perfectly. The graphics card is ok, it motherboard is decent, it has 3GB RAM, pretty bad cooling fans, Windows Vista etc.

However, I can run just about anything perfectly on it, with zero lag. Skyrim on High? Fine. 3 Minecraft servers at the same time? Fine. TF2? Fine.

It is a mystery. The only problem is it’s full of junk and Vista is terrible.

However, my computer recently slowed down, shortly after I installed the Unreal Development Kit (and realised I needed more RAM), it started shutting down. Just turning off whenever I did anything high-stress(eg Skyrim).

At first I thought the hard drive being nearly full was the cause, so I deleted some junk, cleared my temp folder, etc. It sped up a bit. So I ordered more RAM, only to find out that I needed a 64-bit operating system to use more than 4GB of RAM. Darn. So I ordered Windows 7. The upside of this is that it would clear out my hard drive. The downside is that I have to backup all my games, files, etc.

I am doing this as I write this post (Steam is backing up). When that was done, I still had more backup to do, but I wondered whether my computer having 7GB (4GB of which it could use) of RAM rather than 3 would speed it up.

By this point I had also worked out that the crashes were overheats.

So I opened the case to see if I could sort the fan out/install the RAM.

I found A LOT of dust. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of dust. I’ll post a photo before and after I clean it.

Lol.

BIT.TRIP RUNNER & Runner2

Man, I love BIT.TRIP RUNNER.

Woo

Basically, it’s a game where you run.

You play as CommanderVideo, the rectangular dude with the rainbows flying out of him. Not much in the way of a strotyline, other than he lands in a meteorite and is running.

He will run forwards automatically, and it is your job to make him dodge the various things in his way. These include holes, targets, signs, walls, lanterns, boxes, etc. You have 5 keys (on PC, it originally came from WiiWare): Up, Down, Left, Right and Space.

First off, space jumps. Down ducks. Left kicks through various obstacles (crystals, targets). Right blocks things flying straight at you. Up jumps off springboards. The controls are highly responsive and effective. Whenever you hit an obstacle, you die and restart the level. While the starting levels are slow, easy and somewhat tedious, the game gets completely MANIC later on. Apart from the fun (and highly addictive) gameplay, one of my favourite things about this game is the music and sounds. They all fit with the gameplay, and layer up as you collect the glowing pluses. You go through different stages, HYPER, SUPER, MEGA, ULTRA and finally EXTRA. With every plus you collect, you level up, the music gets more epic, and the particle effects flying out behind you get more awesome.

There are three worlds, Impetus, Tenacity and Triumph. They are all very, very frustrating. At the end of each world, you have a VERY long level, usually named something like Odyssey, and then a boss. The boss fights usually involve dodging their attacks, and then waiting for them to come near you so you can kick them in the face. I’ve got to set myself a limit on the number of times I’ll retry the levels and bosses, or I end up playing indefinitely!

Boss

The game has nice art, almost entirely consisted of Voxel Art, i.e. 3D pixels, as you can see from the screenshots. One problem with the graphics is that the backgrounds are 3D, animated and often extremely visually confusing and distracting. Other than that and the difficulty and frustration, those are my only issues!

BIT.TRIP RUNNER is developed by Gaijin Games, and is on Wii (via WiiWare) and Windows, Mac and Linux. It is also on Steam.

Rating: 9.5/10

I recently learned of a sequel to the game. It is not a part of the BIT.TRIP series, and so is named Runner2. From what I can see, it seems to be an improved version of the original, with more levels and better art.

Here’s a pre-alpha peek:

Runner2 Pre-Alpha Sneaky Peek from CommanderVideo on Vimeo.

I can’t wait!

Humble Bundles

If you like games on the PC, remember the name: Humble Indie Bundle. Basically, they are bundles of indie games (games not made by big companies like Valve or BioWare), which are generally very good. The important thing about HIBs is that you can pay whatever you want. Yes, whatever you want, be it $999,999,999,999 or $0.01. However, you only get Steam keys if you pay more than one dollar (to stop people grinding steam keys), and there are often offers where if you pay more than the average, you get extra games.

There have been several spin-offs of the HIBs, including Indie Royale, Indie Gala, Little Big Bunch, etc. Sure, they’re all right, but the games just aren’t as GOOD as the  HIB games. In one HIB, I got And Yet It Moves, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Cogs, Cave Story+,  Crayon Physics Deluxe, Gratuitous Space Battles, Shank, Nightsky, Hammerfight, Jamestown, and VVVVVV. All of which (apart from Hammerfight, in my opinion) are absolutely brilliant games, especially Super Meat Boy and Cave Story+.

You also get the soundtracks for almost all the games as MP3’s (and sometimes FLAC’s). Most of the games have reasonable soundtracks, but occasionally you get amazing ones like the Super Meat Boy soundtrack.

This thing will tell you about the current bundle. If there is not one running, I HIGHLY recommend you sign up.

Back! Coding, and other gamedev related stuff

Hi again! I’ve been in Greece, with no internet, which would explain my lack of posts.

I’m REALLY tired, but I’m still going. I’ve been trying to get Box2D (the world’s best 2D physics engine, and one of the only ones not named after an animal) running in Java. I had it working in C++, but now I’m on Java I’ll need it working. Box2D has ports for several other languages, including Java. The port’s name is jbox2d, and the site is here.

It turns out it’s actually more difficult to set up in Java, because you need something called Maven (don’t ask, no idea), lots of JAR files, Subversion and a lot of patientce. I got to the stage where I had installed the Maven plugin in Eclipse, but the files wouldn’t import or something like that. Really annoying.

So I switched to NetBeans, which is infinitely easier, but I still can’t get the testbed (a way of testing the engine out) running.

The thing is, I got used to the C++ version, which was actually EASIER to set up, and the Java version of Box2D is different in several critical ways, none of which I am completely sure about yet!

AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!

Change of IDE

Java has several very good, free IDEs(Integrated Development Environments). These are programs that help you code, by generating code, compiling the code for you, helping you make GUI’s, etc. Good IDEs for Java include Eclipse, JEdit and NetBeans.

Now, I had previously stuck to Eclipse because it is highly effective, it checks for errors as you type, it has lots of plugins, etc. But the main problem with Eclipse is that you need to install a lot of plugins, which is tedious. You also lose code through “Workspace errors”, which is a pain.

NetBeans seems to be better than eclipse, surprisingly. It has everything installed already, which rules out the pain of installing endless plugins. It has a brilliant GUI (graphical user interface) editor that works a lot like Microsoft Visual Basic’s, and it has an INSTALLER, rather than just downloading as a .zip file with the .exe and resources inside it (peace of mind).

Ideas

I’ve been thinking about game ideas on holiday in Greece