Big Update

Posted February 3rd, 2013 in News by Charles Micou

We’ve left JavaVeg in a state of neglect for quite some time, mainly because we’ve been busy with exams and university work. However, we’ve still been working on games (and some of them are coming on rather well), and while none of them are ready for release, we thought we’d at least show off some of what we’ve been working on.

One of the big changes is that we’re now working with XNA to develop our ideas. After a getting over a few tricky hurdles at the start (that content pipeline is evil incarnate), we’re quite liking the change of scene. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring out a full game (Haunted House) with it in the near future.

We’ve been doing some interesting stuff, like a 30-hour programming marathon with a larger team than we’re used to. While we’re used to collaborating as a pair by now, learning to integrate with more and more people is going to be essential should we ever want to take on a really ambitious project.

We’re both looking for jobs in software over the summer. If you’re an employer and have found your way here from our CVs, we hope that you like what you see.

Haunted House

Posted February 3rd, 2013 in Game Design, Games, Porfolio by Charles Micou

Haunted House is the working name for our first delve into XNA: a platforming game that centres around the usage of light to complete levels. We wanted to call it Torchlight, but it seems that we were beaten to it.

The protagonist of our adventure is a little boy who has flown his remote controlled plane onto the roof of a large, abandoned mansion. In typical ghost-story fashion, he sets out in the middle of the night to retrieve his lost toy. Within the mansion, he finds ghosts that roam around. Some even try to chase him. Fortunately, his trusty flashlight causes them to freeze in their tracks as he navigates the crumbling ruins of a building and jumps his way ever higher.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in Haunted House, the most obvious of which is the lighting engine. As it’s fairly key to the gameplay, a lot of effort was put in to making it look smooth and work with the graphical style. While the game is probably going to end up a bit lighter (it’s a bit hard to see where you’re going at the moment), we really like the ambiance it gives to the levels. Also new to us is the integration of smooth animations and jumping mechanics, as platformers that don’t handle well are simply no fun to play.

We’re currently at a stage in development where a lot of the basics are in place (physics, animations, lighting, controls, level loading) and we have a lot of potential to make a fun, short and more original game than some of our previous efforts. We started working on this project just before sitting our Pre-U (A-level equivalent) exams, and so it was cut short because we felt that getting into university might be somewhat important. With those out of the way came a new constraint on our development: university work takes up quite a lot of time! We’ll be coming back to it and polishing it up, possibly over the summer of 2013, possibly sooner.

PiCore

Posted February 3rd, 2013 in Games, Porfolio by Callum Lawson

Players use a BASIC-like language to write “Code Warriors”, which then battle it out in virtual memory with the aim of forcing the other program to execute an illegal instruction. The document below is the specification for PiCore a programming game for the Raspberry Pi. The repository can be found on github at https://github.com/callumlawson/PiCore.

Space Pirate

Posted February 3rd, 2013 in Game Design, Games, Porfolio by Charles Micou

We entered a 30-hour coding marathon in January 2013. The theme was announced on the day as ‘Space’, and so this is what we sat down to produce:

You are a merciless, space-faring pirate; terror of the seven solar systems. You make your living by raiding innocent science vessels, but they’ve started to catch on. Now, the ships that you board are armed to the teeth with defence turrets, landmines, heatrays and poisonous gas traps.

While we never really came up with a title (the time constraint meant that pretty much every second was spent coding and designing), ‘Space Pirate’ is a top-down bullet-dodging game that is unforgiving and challenging: one shot and you’re dead. The levels are procedurally generated from little ‘blocks’ of rooms, each with their own configuration of traps. You need to find your way to the control room, hit the self-destruct button and make your way out of the ship under time while grabbing as much loot as you can get your pirate-hands on.

It was a fun game to play, and it was running quite nicely after the time limit expired. Despite this, we want to continue to add to it: we think we’ve hit on something very playable and addictive, and all the tools are now in place to create more rooms and traps efficiently. Look to see more of this in future.

This project was written in XNA and guest-starred Lawrence Esswood on the programming team.