Practice Platformer in Gamemaker Studio 2 – Part 4

Oh boy. A lot of little additions this time, but one or two big ones as well. Let’s see…

  • Added a placeholder title to the title screen, though still have no idea what this will eventually actually be called
  • Added ability to operate menu with mouse
  • Enemies now have the ability to detect and avoid ledges
  • Player’s gun is now a pickup object
  • Small animated effects added to ground when landing and bullets when hitting walls
  • New breakable blocks (excuse the incredibly half-assed look/animation on those right now (even more half-assed than a lot of the other half-assed stuff in here)

And then there’s the biggest, most obvious change…the fact that the enemies now have guns, can track and kill you with them, and…their guns are basically big pulsating dicks. I’m not sorry.

Following the tutorial exactly had them carrying the same kind of gun as the player, but by complete chance it ended up positioned exactly on their groin area so it kind of looked like they had guns for dicks. Naturally I thought “what if they DID have dick guns?!” and so I made a little animated…appendage. It doesn’t look explicitly like a dick, but let’s face it, it’s a gun dick. The accompanying sound effect really seals the deal too.

Had another snag that was causing the game to crash due to some code in the “enemies having guns” parts, despite the fact that I definitely followed the tutorial exactly, but was able to fix it on my own without too much panic this time, so I guess I’m really getting the hang of this.

I don’t know quite know where this game is going yet, aside from the obvious side-scrolling shooter genre, but it’s gettin’ weird! Weird and fun. I’m still not quite sure how far I’ll take this particular project after the tutorials are all done, but I know that at the very least I’ll spend some extra time on it afterwards to tighten a few things up, change a few mechanics that I don’t really like, but don’t want to change until the tutorials are done in case they end up being important later, and probably fix a few of the more rushed sprites/animations in there. Though even thinking about all the changes I have in mind makes me think that this might turn into something more than the dumb practice demo I thought it would be when I started…

Practice Platformer in Gamemaker Studio 2 – Part 3 (Now with sound!)

Let’s see, what’s new this time?

  • There are now sound effects for almost everything (which have a whole story behind them that I’ll get to in a minute)
  • Created a new and improved background layer that I think looks a lot better
  • The game autosaves each time you move to a new room and the continue feature on the menu screen actually works now
  • Player character can now die
  • Added signs with readable text bubbles
  • Added larger enemy types with more health

I believe that’s everything since last time. Had a bit of a scare when adding the sound effects, but I suppose it taught me a few lessons as well. After adding some 8-bit-ish sound effects that were created using a program called BFXR, testing revealed that the game was now completely freezing up during combat. Since I hadn’t had this problem until adding the sounds I assumed that it must be related to the sounds, possibly some kind of conflict when multiple sounds played at once since that’s when the freeze seemed to be occurring. However, after disabling each sound effect one by one, and then just plain replacing them all with differently created ones, it turned out that the sound seemed to have no effect at all on the issue.

Next I made a backup copy of what I’d done so far (which I should have already been doing – Lesson #1) and started rolling back the last few sets of changes I’d made step by step, thinking that one of these recent changes must have been the culprit. Nope, that also did nothing.

After more testing to attempt to narrow it down, I found that the freeze only happened when killing an enemy while your character was jumping, so I started looking into the code related to each of these actions for both the player and the enemy. It only then occurred to me that Gamemaker Studio 2 has a debug mode, one that works very similarly the one I’m already familiar with in Visual Studio. I reeeeeeeally should have thought of that sooner. Embarrassing Lesson #2. Anyway, this was able to show me the exact line of code that was running each time the freeze occurred. It was a while loop that  must have been getting stuck in an infinite loop, but why was it doing this? It still wasn’t exactly clear what was causing this loop to get stuck.

Luckily, I guess I learned something from all those Computer Science classes after all and I was able to figure out exactly what it was triggering the freezes. Turns out it was all caused by one tiny little change I had made to the enemy collision box when creating the larger enemies. This had to be adjusted a little because thanks to their increased size they would just spawn stuck in the floor. Apparently I over-adjusted it by just the tiniest bit and so now whenever you killed and enemy and it switched into its death animation, which involves its corpse flying back in the opposite direction it was shot from, the corpses were now being told by the code to teleport into the floor, which sent the collision detection code crazy and crashed the game. Fun times.

These collision boxes have been the cause of most problems I’ve had with this game and I guess I still don’t know how to utilize them as perfectly as I’d like to, but I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of tweaking them properly so that sprites can stand/fall right where I want them to without getting stuck in the environment.

Aaaaanyway…that’s about it for this check in. 15 parts of this tutorial down, 17 more to go. More to come in a few weeks again, most likely.

Amazingly, still working on this game:

Sooooo…surprisingly (to me anyway) I haven’t procrastinated to the point of abandonment on this thing like I have with every other overly ambitious video game idea I’ve had over the last several years. I haven’t gotten a huge amount done on it this month since I just had final finals and graduation to deal with over the last few weeks, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for it, but I’d say there has still been a decent bit of progress anyway.

One thing I decided to take care of before getting too much further into this lengthy tutorial process was to create all original assets for this thing. The previous background, walls/floors, and bullet sprites were all placeholders that I just found on Google or just ripped right out of Contra. Everything in there is now hand drawn with the single exception of the gun, which is a Photoshop-edited version of the pulse rifle from Aliens. I like how it looks, but it doesn’t really match the rest of the art style does it? Maybe I’ll change it later, we’ll see.

Other additions include an animated menu screen with working New Game and Quit options (title to come later), a camera that follows the character, room transitions (though there are only two rooms right now), a shaking effect to firing the gun (which I’m not sure if I actually like. maybe it’ll feel better once there are sounds or I might just need to tone down the level of shaking a bit, not sure), parallax scrolling background layers, and controller support.

Something I’m not super thrilled with, but am kind of stuck with as part of this tutorial process is the 360 degree aiming. I feel like eight directional firing would be better and easier to control. I don’t think a game like this really needs to control like a dual stick shooter, especially one where you still have to manually press a fire button on top of aiming, but I don’t want to deviate too far from the tutorial model here and end up painting myself into a corner again. Also the character used in the tutorial has little stick figure limbs so the effect of the gun spinning around with his little stick figure nubs on it doesn’t stand out too much, but for my guy I just had to go with no arms because how am I going to have big white drawn arms that don’t look terrible when they start getting twisted around 360 degrees? Again, that wouldn’t be an issue with simple eight direction firing, but this is just going to have to stay like this for now.

Still less than halfway through this tutorial series so there’s still a lot more to go, but I’m feeling pretty good about it still, and I have a lot of ideas about what I’d like to start next. I think I’ll take some good advice I heard recently though and stick to something relatively simple for my first real attempt after this, something like a basic original Contra type side scrolling shooter. Best not to get ahead of myself though. Back to learning…

KIND CUT-OFF | DAILY INKLING

This person at Normal Happenings has challenged me to this writing prompt thing for some reason!

He has asked that I:

“Write a blog post inspired by today’s Daily Inkling:

KIND CUT-OFF

During a lapse of concentration while driving, someone cuts you off. Fortunately nothing bad happened, and you forget the whole event. Strangely, you receive an apology letter in the mail from said driver a few days later. What does it say?”

An idea popped into my head surprisingly quickly, so I thought fuck it let’s do it! Here are the results:

Continue reading

A guide to playing old PC games

Sometimes you may have the itch to go back and play an game from the olden days of PC. These days many of the most popular old PC titles are available on places like GOG.com, all set up to work on most modern systems with no effort required aside from a simple installation, but there are still many, many games that haven’t received such fancy treatment. Maybe someday in the future they’ll all be simplified and/or fixed to easily run, but until such a day arises you’ll just have to resort to some of the following methods.

Before I discuss any of the trickier, more obscure methods, let’s talk about the simplest solution that’ll work for the majority of games from the pre-Windows 95 era: DOSBox

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Top 12 Pantha Pics (because I couldn’t narrow it down to 10)

Did you think I was joking? Here we go! I’m not even going to try to put these in order of preference either, I can’t choose, instead it’s chronological order.

Also, my premium plan expired today, like I had mentioned before, and this totally messed up my font and color scheme to the point where things suddenly looked really generic, so…surprise new look!


#12 Pantha’s first night home. We went to look at kittens and I saw her sleeping with her tongue hanging out like this like a cute little idiot and I knew she was the one.


#11 I guess she took a liking to me pretty quickly too, because she immediately found her new favorite seat, right on top of me, and has never stopped trying to sit there every chance she gets, even though she’s a bit big for it now. I can’t say no to that stupid cute face though.


#10 Pantha’s first Halloween. Our previous cat would not tolerate costumes at all, but Pantha took this surprisingly well.


#9 Falling asleep in a homemade box bed by the fireplace. You’d think she’d get too hot with all that fur, but she loves stretching out in front of a fire and getting all toasty.


#8 Looking like a scared maniac for no particular reason.


#7 Looking retarded for no particular reason.


#6 Looking majestic for no particular reason.


#5 Caught in the act with the most guilty face I’ve ever seen.


#4 Ignoring a brand new bed so she can use the new racetrack toy as a bed instead, because of course.


#3 Being my gaming co-pilot.


#2 Sitting in the most uncomfortable, spine-shattering position, as they so love to do for some reason.


#1 Stalking some ice cream. I don’t know what it is with her and ice cream and shakes. She doesn’t get this excited for milk, but any ice cream based thing she’ll immediately run up to and stare at like she’s hypnotized, waiting for you to leave it unguarded for just one second. She was mad this time because that was some espresso ice cream so she wasn’t allowed to have even a little taste.


Well, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed this look into the wild world of Pantha. Who knows, maybe I’ll do another dozen someday.

Changes for the new year

I don’t generally subscribe to the whole New Year’s Resolution business. This is honestly just a complete coincidence that these changes are going to happen right after the year change, but anyway, starting this year…

  • My fancy domain name and premium plan expire in a few weeks and I’m not going to be renewing them this time because money’s going to be a little tighter this year and I can’t justify blowing $99 on a domain name that has no real use other than vanity. I’ve never touched a single one of all these extra premium features and I doubt I ever will. I’m just not into self-promotion and advertising that much. I’d rather just continue to keep things casual and I can live with having a small audience because at least its made up of cool people.
  • Speaking of keeping it casual…I’m going to be stepping down from A Most Agreeable Pastime and just going to go back to more casually sporadic posts here. It was nice to try something a little more formal, but again, recent time and money constraints due to the real world are making me want to back away from any unnecessary obligations or restrictions.
  • Since it’s going to be getting all casual again, I will be taking the opportunity to occasionally write about completely random shit that isn’t about games, comics, or movies for once. I think I’ll probably start a series on music later in the year and if you thought I was joking about that top 10 pictures of my cat list, I assure you, I was not.
  • I’d also like to finally take some time to work on a personal project or two if I can manage to find the time and the will. I’m not going to bother getting into details at this point because who knows if I’ll ever even actually get started, but if I finally do, I’ll be sure to share at least some of the results here.

That’s about it. I’ll still be doing the same old Now Playing, Watchin’ Stuff, and Now Reading type stuff, so I guess things aren’t going to change all THAT much, but you never know what the future will bring…

The Mystery Blogger Award

The Shameless Narcissist nominated me for this award, let’s see…uh, I don’t even want to say how long ago that was. Oops. Time sure flies when you’re cranking out game reviews and other assorted ramblings non-stop, but I promised myself I’d do this this year, and so naturally I waited until the very last minute to do it…so, surprise! I did actually notice and remember, it just got a little buried under a long to-do list of things. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this either. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I don’t tend to talk about myself too much on here other than what new toy I’m playing with. For all my babbling, I’m a pretty private and anti-social person, and so something like this seemed as uncomfortable as going outside in the sun. I’m trying to reform my curmudgeonly image though (a little bit), and as welcoming and friendly as this community has been (I’ve only met one person I’ve wanted to punch in the face so far, which is some kind of personal record for me), and when a request like this comes from someone as respectable as The Shameless Narcissist, I could hardly refuse such an offer.

THE RULES:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • Answer five questions from the nominator.
  • Nominate from 10 to 20 bloggers.
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

*The award was created by Okoto Enigma*

“Mystery Blogger Award”  is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

Three Things About Me:

  1. I’m an elderly college student who is currently trying to complete a major in Computer Science. I’m almost twice as old as everyone else here because I wasted many years of my life being a depressed, drugged up nihilistic asshole and have only relatively recently finally begun to do something worthwhile with my life. I actually originally intended to get into IT, but after having straight A’s for the first 2 years or so, and after having my first programming class, I made a semi-impulsive decision to switch over to Computer Science because I wanted to learn something more unique and challenging. I may have gotten in a little over my head at first, as my perfect grade record was immediately shattered as I found the difficulty curve had increased much more than I expected. For a while I was starting to worry that I’d made a mistake and really screwed myself by changing to this field, but I kept at it until I finally got my head wrapped around it and am finally feeling confident that I can actually succeed in this field. I look forward to serving our future robot overlords well.
  2. I attribute this drastic, positive change in my life entirely to my wife, who kept on me to get off my ass and do something with myself (but wasn’t too pushy about it) and gave me the confidence, the will, and the motivation to aspire to greater things than busting my ass at ungrateful, shitty restaurant manager jobs. She is also responsible for introducing me to the strange new feeling of happiness, which has allowed me to live and enjoy my life without feeling the need to drown my misery in drugs.
  3. I have the greatest cat of all time. Her name is Pantha and she is a perfect, spoiled little princess. Don’t get me started on her because I will literally start showing you hundreds of pictures of her. I will restrain myself and only post this one for now: 

The Shameless Narcissist’s Questions:

  1. What’s your favorite kind of scented candle? Not really my thing, but if it was I’d probably use something like Mmm,  “old timber, leather, and maybe some blood…”.
  2. Do you prefer physical copies or eBooks?  In the same vein, do you prefer digital copies or physical for video games? Books I definitely prefer the real thing, but I do have a lot of digital stuff too because you just can’t have or have room for every single physical book you ever possibly wanted. I used to feel the same way about games, but the digital versions are slowly winning me over in that area with all the damn sales all the time and with so many games being digital-only these days.
  3. What’s your favorite nail polish color (yes guys can answer, too!)? Again, not really my thing. I was more into jewelry/accessories in my youth. Spiky, skully rings and chains and spikes everywhere. Good times. I’ve cut down to simply wearing all black most of the time these days. I even finally got my hair cut short recently. What a sellout.
  4. Philosophical question: Do you think humans are inherently good or are we amoral (lacking morals as in neutral, as opposed to immoral, which is against “common” morals) only exhibiting them because it’s the cost of living in a culture/society and they become so ingrained that we believe them to be inherent? People love to reduce everything to simplistic binary states where there’s only right/wrong, good/evil, us/them and everyone conveniently falls into one box or the other depending on if other people happen to agree with their personal belief system or not, but the world just isn’t that simple. People are all driven by their own inherent survival instincts and that base need we all have for companionship in one form or another, and everyone processes these needs in very different ways and at varying levels of efficiency. Our base animal impulses are like the bios that’s embedded in our hardware, and our personality is the operating system that communicates between our emotions and these base impulses, and naturally, everyone would rather this process be as basic and dumbed down as possible, and this is how we ended up with Macs! I hope this answered the question sufficiently.
  5. Silver or gold? I like silver because he had that cool mask. The one guy that gets this reference is going to think it’s hilarious. Seriously though, I prefer silver. Silver kills everything don’t you know? Vampires, werewolves, demons, babies, etc. What CAN’T you kill by shoving silver through its heart?

My best post:

Apparently my most viewed post is…Now Playing: Bloodnet (1993)? Weird. That’s a really old one from back when I didn’t think anyone at all was reading this stuff. I guess not too many other people are covering Bloodnet out there!

My Nominations:

AmbiGaming

Retro Redress

Raistlin0903

My Side Of The Laundry Room

Hundstrasse

Lightning Ellen

Cheap Boss Attack

I Played The Game!

Games and Stuff

I Heart Old Games

My Questions for the Nominees:

(Which I’m going to go ahead and give my answers to too, because I can’t help it)

  1. What is your favorite sugary breakfast cereal and why? (I quit eating them myself, but Lucky Charms was always my favorite back in the day)
  2. Blue pill or red pill? In other words, would you want to be pulled out of the matrix to live a dirty cave in the middle of a radioactive wasteland having shitty raves, eating nothing but cave moss and bugs for life, and getting murdered by robots or would you rather stay in there and eat the tasty digital steak? (Me, I’d stay in the digital world. Why not? Looking back on it, I’m really not sure what the downside was. Seemed like everyone’s quality of life was way higher in the digital world.)
  3. Who is your favorite superhero(ine) and why? (I always liked Spider-Man the most because as ridiculous as his life is, he still had the closest to realistic problems. He’s always trying to balance his secret identity with his personal life and usually destroying the latter to preserve the former because he just cared too damn much. That and the jokes and great enemies.)
  4. What is your favorite video game specifically from your childhood and why? (Contra, easily. It never ever gets old no matter how many times I play it.)
  5. Would you like to live forever and why or why not? (Me, I say all that “immortality would be boring” is for suckers. I’d live forever and love it, preferably as some kind of Lawnmower Man style digital god, but perhaps I’ve said too much…)

Well, that’s it then. I’ve done it. Naturally, I don’t intend for anyone mentioned here to feel at all obligated to reply to this. If this isn’t your thing, I understand perfectly and hold no ill will if you don’t do one. Now, I gotta get back to my long family Christmas vacation which will likely be so uneventful that I’ll never speak of it again. Happy holidays to all you masochistic readers out there!