Scrapyard Racing! Recorded Laptimes

November 14, 2010

Over the past week I have been making random improvements to Scrapyard Racing!  First I started with some user interface / heads up display stuff, but have yet to finish.  My lack of artistic value is draining me.  I then started playing with the best lap times database, and in-game display/interface.  First I started with populating the database with a bunch of generated users with random personal best times.  Now I have used those records to test the in-game display.  Which I must say is coming along nicely, even if it isn’t yet complete.

In-game Best Laps / Records Display

In-game Best Laps / Records Display

I need to add some navigation buttons, but I assure you I’ve tested it with a few hotkeys at this time.  There are three major additions until I can say the records are complete.  First I need to actually add records from game when the player makes a new personal best.  I also would like to see the ability to search for a friend by their user name to see their time / how much bragging rights you have over them…  The final one is going to remain undisclosed, as I haven’t had a chance to make sure I can pull it off; but it would be a nice feature.

Besides the timing charts, I’ve been working on moving my website around to this new place, of awesome.   I would like to make a video of me editing a track, as well as making a few tracks since I’ve only been testing on the one.  I haven’t done much gameplay wise.  The car is still a tad sluggish, and you still don’t need to use the brakes, but it is easier to drive compared to previous versions, and I think that is a pretty important part.

I may have failed to make my October Alpha goal, but I doubt I’ll fail to release this; the better question is when?  I would love to see it released within 2010, likely near December.  But I assure you, I have a long ways to go, and that is my dream time frame.  I have extremely high doubts on hitting the target.  Enjoy.

Scrapyard Racing! Alpha Come and Gone

November 3, 2010

Okay, so I did not quite get where I wanted to this October, but it would have been a challenge even if my free time would have been higher.  Work related stuff ended up taking a lot of my time, for almost 10 days in a row I was unable to make much progress at all, then work started slowing down, but I had an opportunity for a programming test; which ultimately failed as I found out last night.

These are not excuses, as much as the truth of why I didn’t get where I wanted.  I am actually quite far behind schedule now, although I am still holding high hopes that I can sell a copy by December 31st.  I see more and more people are starting to become interested, as I released a video of the game in replay mode last week, and have had a few instant messages with congratulations and stuff.

Overall I still feel positive about the project, and even after a few weeks of “here and there” development I think things are coming together nicely.  I still need to edit the physics of the car/world, and need work on the user interface of the game.  One small piece of the gameplay portion exists before I start adding all the dressing and polish that will turn it from a ‘game’ into something playable.

Tonight I added a config file, so the player can change settings and they will remain stored for the next time they play.  As soon as I finish writing this I will start working on resources for the car, so that tires can be depleted, fuel runs out over time and brakes heat up, performing worse under heavy use, although quickly cooling back off.  Once I get that working I will need to add some more things to the track editor, and start making some tracks and content…  We will see.

In other news I added music, for now it is just temporary although I am going to be getting in contact with a musician sometime (I hope).

Have a good time, and congratulations to all those in the community that finished their games in October!!!

Scrapyard Racing! Locked Brakes

October 13, 2010

Progress has been a lot slower these past few days.  Sunday I has to do a bunch of stuff in the morning, had many interruptions  and distractions while I could have been working, and had other stuff to do that took a few hours in the evening.  Basically no progress.  Monday after work was pretty much the same, although a little bit of progress was made.  I now have the game connecting to a database, and sending information to it.  This will be used for best times, world records and that sort of tracking.  Tuesday not much progress was made by myself, but the website can now access the database and display a table of the laptimes, sorted to boot!

Today has been a slightly different story.  Progress isn’t blazing, but I have at least added a Message Box state, which will be used to tell the player that they are not connected to the database, and therefore any laptimes performed will not be shared, or rated.  Among many, many other uses.  The other day I didn’t put up screen shots of the main menu, but I will now – despite the same fugly look.

A simple main menu. (*Multiplayer may be cut!)

This is likely what it will remain like for the Alpha build, although perhaps I am wrong.  I know that over the course of development when I come to polish this screen, I plan on it looking something like the next screenshot.  Forgive my concept art skills.  Well actually, forgive the complete lack of any art skills!

My hopes are to have this screen animated, so it looks like the car is moving along.  The plan would likely be just moving the trees and clouds from right to left, while adding a subtle vibration to the car, perhaps tire rotation…  Something simple but active.  Anyways, I’m still trying to refactor and put together some simple UI classes so I can create other screens quickly.  Also, before I go too far I will need to stop and consider localization support for any text that gets built into the game.  It is best to do that sort of thing early, although I am going to attempt finding “universal” symbols/icons, and use those instead of text whenever possible.

I do wish I didn’t have a day job.  It is really holding back my potential progress, and really hurting me as far as my schedule is concerned.  I’m hoping to release something by the end of October, but I am not overly confident it will happen.  But here’s to hoping!

Scrapyard Racing! Week 1 Wrapup

October 9, 2010

Now it has officially been a week since I started the project.  I must say I am pleased with the progress made so far, although things need to start moving along a little quicker.  I am still knee deep in the editor, although wow, has it come a long ways in a single week.  If I must say so, this is likely the best editor I’ve ever made.  It has almost complete undo/redo support.  I can’t say I am pleased with the code behind the editor.  Maintaining this will end up being a nightmare, I can feel it already.  A lot of copy/paste code segments for things like add/delete checkpoints / track nodes and other bits of information.

Since I last wrote a progress update, I have added the checkpoint system, which will be used to verify the car went around the track properly, and for timing the lap.  I’ve also added camera control to the editor, which involved making the engine support the mouse wheel for zooming in/out.  Also the track nodes now contain a width modifier, that can change the width of the track in a particular area.

Finally I’ve added a start grid tool, which can create evenly spaced grids for the starting position of the car.  Only 9 tasks remain on the editor and track environment and then I will be onto a new task.  I still don’t have a good name for the project so “TBR: The Best Racer” is sticking for now.  Or it could be Tim Beaudet’s Racer…

A current screenshot of the editor with a textured track, checkpoints and starting grid.

My current plan of attack is to add objects / sprites to liven up the environment.  Trees, haybales, cones, crowds and other common trackside objects would really liven the place up.  After that I need to implement saving/loading of the track, and a car/world editor to assist when I start making the actual gameplay.  More to come in the following days.  If I have a miracle session tonight, perhaps the editor will be completed?  Ahahaha…

Scrapyard Racing! Menu Progress

October 7, 2010

Well, I don’t have any screenshots to share tonight.  I could make one of the MainMenu, but really – not worth it.  Just take my word.  I do have drop-shadows on some text, which is pretty neat.  But besides that, it is extremely bland, rotten colors and just needs to be touched up during the next phase of the project.

Alpha is all about getting all the features finished and working, and the main menu is working.  Both keyboard (up,down,enter) and mouse (movement, left-click) selection support.  I wasn’t planning on starting the MainMenu and linking up a few other game-states (with no actual implementation yet), until later, but I made a mistake yesterday that I need to be aware of in the future; especially on this project with such limited time.

BlackBird’s Lesson:

I hope you can learn from my simple mistake; Don’t get caught up in things that don’t matter. Yesterday I was working on the editor, I got the track textured – looking a bit better now, and a handful of other little things.  But most of my time 3hrs or so, was spent on a specific tool.  It does have a use, but it also was a waste of time to spend more than 15 to 20 minutes on such a tool.  Yet I added all sorts of little features/behaviors to this tool and I must brag, it came out awesome.  But afterwards I realized that it didn’t do anything to the actual track.  It helps edit the track, but it doesn’t edit the track.

So I didn’t actually make much progress since the tool I added is just a nicety, and not a requirement.  I decided to take a step back from the editor tonight and start working on the gamestates for a change of pace.  I know a lot of you LD’ers are shooting for Oct 31st to release by, but I won’t be releasing until early to mid December at the absolute earliest.  Although, I will be completing Alpha by October 31st.  Any features not completed by that date, will effectively be cut from the project.

I expect it to take the full month of November to polish up the features, and reduce the bug count as much as possible before releasing.  This process will likely go into December, however after October 31st I can not, and will not, add any new features.  I promise I won’t.  (Hmm, will I?)

Scrapyard Racing! Track Editor and Tools

October 5, 2010

Well progress has been coming since I last posted the Splash screen.  I have been working on some tools, in particular the track editor.  I remain vague about my game idea for the current time, but it will be a racing game; for all intent and purposes.  I am focusing efforts on being unique, and a thorough google search only brought up 2 other “personal” projects/attempts at what I am doing.  I am hoping that serves to my advantage, but I am happy to know I have an idea that is more original than just making an Pac-Man clone with different theme.

So about this track editor; I spent my day Sunday working on starting it, and Monday night after work I lost about 3 hours of productivity.  I was beat, muscles aching, etc… and couldn’t concentrate.  However I did manage to get a few productive hours and managed more than I expected for the night.  Undo/Redo capabilities for all current actions:  Add/Delete TrackNodes as well as the ability to Move/Edit the node.  This editor is within the game*, however it will likely be stripped from the release build.

An editor under development for my Sell-a-Game Challenge.

I have been wondering quite a bit whether or not I should implement undo/redo.  I estimate it will take 3x or so longer to maintain the actions, but I also believe it will save time when designing/developing more tracks.  I plan on a minimum of 5 tracks, but hope for more than that.

Tonight I’ve started by writing this post, soon I will begin working on building the actual track from the nodes above.  I am hoping that doesn’t take me all night.  I want to do more than just that, but at this time I have nothing else planned, as I can’t think what comes next.

*Although it is within game, I have an EditorFramework that acts as an external editor; giving me advantages of a professional looking interface, menus and more.

A few hours later. . .

Well, I did manage to get somewhere tonight.  Even further than just getting the track surface built from the nodes.  Although, I didn’t get the track textured, yet, I did manage to build it quickly.  Also I sent it off to a partner of mine, and fixed several small editor ‘issues’.  Added saving/loading of editor settings for convenience , undo/redo still fully working.  (Redo for the move action was previously broke!)  Here is a small image of the track being built from the nodes:

A track being built from the nodes!

Scrapyard Racing! Splash Screen

October 2, 2010

Well I’ve decided to make my own engine/framework, choosing DirectX for visuals and DirectSound for audio.  I understand this limits the current implementation of the framework to Windows only.  I take this path because of future plans in 2011 with this framework.  Beside, if I do find the need to port my “OctNovDec” project to other platforms, the framework does encapsulate all details; FileIO, Input, Audio, Visual, and  Timing.

So after getting my framework up and running on an extremely basic level, with a lot of fun whoop-de-doos, I have a splash screen.  Something I said I could do in “10 minutes” ended up taking “40 minutes” because I also made a simple sprite class.  My time estimations seem to lack truth…  Here is the splash screen, at least in concept.

BlackBird's Splash Screen

A bit simple, but my best piece of art.

With that I do need to change my logo.  “Presents” must be removed or replaced;  I’ve thought of Studios, but it is just me.  I’ve thought of Games but that could be limiting – even if it is what I am focused on at these times.  I could leave it just BlackBird, but I’m not sure.  In any case, when I have a Main Menu, this will fade nicely into it.  So, this is what I achieved as of last night, October 1st.

Today I’ve got some simple sprite based font system working, a finite-state machine for different Game States, and now progressing to work on the editor.  May come back to edit.  Yay for my first actual post!