Dev Blog: v1.5 is out! Added Survival Mode

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Well it’s been around 6 weeks since my last update. Not only just because it took 15 days to release this update. The game underneath has had a massive overhaul, and there are lots of cool new features and integration like Game Centre for storing and checking survival mode scores. All those horrible weird bugs? All gone. Done. Fixed. Kaboom, Ah!

The game is now a lot more polished with music being changed to music  from Incompetech.com to set the mood a little better and make it feel more like an action game.

There isn’t a whole ton I really need to say about this release, but I will talk about survival for a moment. I have made it, with a large degree of difficulty. Why? Because I figured in it’s nature people are bound to keep on trying to do better, etc. If it’s too easy they won’t bother. If it’s not too difficult either, maybe people won’t find it quite as fun. The added danger, is what I am pinning my hopes on people liking, and wanting them back to play this game mode again.

It’s available starting this morning over at the iOS App Store! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/project-odyssey/id931404603?mt=8

Enjoy 😛

Have a screengrab 🙂

Survival

Dev Blog: v1.4 Away to be Certified and iPhone Release

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

There’s a ton of things I want to talk about on here. Before I start, I am thinking about something myself. I am wondering whether I should start divulging my thoughts and experiences on here, as well just the little updates. Maybe adds a personal touch, I don’t know. Would give me an excuse to write more I suppose 😛

So there’s a couple of pieces of news that I have.

Firstly, Project: Odyssey is on iOS!

Project Odyssey passed certification for iOS on Thursday night. Today is day 3 of downloads. I expect the download figures for up to today to be within the 22-25 range. Not huge, but I don’t really mind. The only place I have posted a link so far is the GameMaker forums, but when either v1.4 or v1.5 goes live I will maybe start sharing out a little more to get people interested.

Click to go to iTunes / App Store!

v1.4 is being certified!

I have sent off v1.4 for certification, it’s not a huge update but it has been a lot of polishing and little tweaks to make the playing of the game more understandable. It’s already out for windows phone.

The main changes here are:IMG_1118

  • Removing those horrible clouds just after launch and replaced them with a new particle effect
  • Adding icons to the numbers on the main game

All the changes can basically be shown in the screenshot to my right. I am also making the iPhone version universal, it’s not looking terrible on iPad any more but the slight difference in aspect ratios at the moment mean that there are black bars. Not great but at least it all looks in proportion. Looking at different resolutions is a problem that I have tried to tackle, not one in which I am having great success in at the moment. I am exploring the best options.

v1.5 And Beyond

I have some art in the making, some new objects coming and things, I am working on a survival mode and Ewan is starting to work on challenges. My ultimate goal is that somewhere along  the line challenges will integrate into game centre and it will send off people’s high scores. I hope to have survival done in a couple of weeks. In actual fact all the base of survival is done, I just feel it needs some polishing or something to add. It’s missing something, I can’t put my finger on it.

Thats everything 🙂

Project: Odyssey Hit v1.3 BETA!

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Hey Guys!

It’s been a little while, I’ve been on holiday and stuff (I am actually writing this in the car home) and I have decided to delay a few new features. However I do have a massive update for y’all, so here’s whats new….

BETA V1.3

*Makes standard rocket faster, and upgraded speed for each engine level
*Added Music
*Fixed bug where max level for an upgrade was not coded in properly, going to the shop would cause a crash and a reset of player data
*Fixed the objects spawn/respawn code on level 2, they would jump around all over the place before
*Fixed collision code on level 2
*Stopped Darth Vadar from eating my sandwich
Some of the fixes here have been required for a little while, however after feedback from friends and my 8 YO niece I decided to make the standard rocket faster, it was a little too slow before. However in doing so I have made each engine level slightly faster as well, to see how it goes.
I have also added a screenshot on lthe second level, which will appear on windows phone store later on.
Oh my god that’s awesome… when does this awesome update release? 
TODAY! It will be approved for Windows Phone around 4PM (90 mins approx) and will come as an update later today or tomorrow, or if you can’t wait delete it and redownload when you see v1.3 is out. I suggest you redownload anyways so you can see the difference made to the basic rocket.
The Delay
Ok so here’s the thing. You know how I was meant to release survival mode on this release…. well it’s not happening yet. It’s coming but I want to look into ways of making it more fun, apart from having just objects spawn to avoid and having to avoid them. Any feedback or suggestions would be welcome.
The Good News
So last night I decided to check how the download figures were doing so far. Three weeks, fourth major release out today and so far around 67 downloads. No idea how, or why. More than expected! I am aiming to get it to 100 before the 29th (one month) but you never know.
The Maybe
Thinking of releasing to Windows 8.1 store. It works only for tablets though as it only supports portrait mode at the moment and there is also the issue of no keyboard controls.
Thanks guys for reading 🙂 Would love your opinion, advice, comments, anything!

Introducing – Project: Odyssey

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

For around 11 months now me and my friend have been working on a cool little concept of a game in our spare time. Over the last few weeks I have ironed out most of the bugs. I am confident in presenting to you, what we have so far. I hope you like it!

Introducing

lT29uQs.png

Project Odyssey is a game in which a user starts off with a basic rocket, and has to earn money and upgrade the rocket so that they can eventually get into space.

It features a second level where the user must also glide the rocket down towards the ground avoiding UFO’s and meteors.

Here are some screenshots:

IZYVogs.pngyB1htSi.png

I have coded an auto-randomising world with items and objects like blimps and UFO’s which change their position each time the world is loaded. I have also coded a rocket and fuel system from scratch.

Note: Music is not in this build.

Future Goals

Being that this is only the first of MANY Beta’s we have many goals for the project.

  • End-less competitive survival mode (which connects to leaderboards and services like Xbox live and iOS Game Centre
  • Android and iOS Builds (although we don’t have an iOS License at the moment)
  • More worlds
  • Challenges
  • Scenarios

We have submitted an .XAP to the Windows Phone store so you will be able to test demo within days. I have an XAP which I can provide if required however I wanted to wait until it had been certified so that it would be signed and encrypted.

I will also be writing a Dev Blog here as the game progresses.

Credits:

Art – mAnik800 (find him over on the gamemaker forums, great vector artist) & Me

Music – LevelBard (my friend Euan)

Code – Me and my other friend Ewan

Any questions PM me or post it below!

The first (real) app I ever made

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

I was browsing the internet tonight when I remembered an application I made around a year ago, one in which I consider to be the first (real) app I ever made and one of the first I actually released. I say real because I have done programming at school for a couple of years, and although we make applications they have no real use out in the open world and they are all pretty repetitive.This app was breaking new territory for me, I had to learn a lot of new concepts and code to make it possible.

Being that I had no experience I was surprised by how it turned out. The interface is really well designed and the application has a fast, clean and smooth feel.

Introducing RasPi HQ (for Windows Phone only)

 2124f565-2109-407a-981f-30a0b7ab99c1With this application I wanted to do several things… 

Create a nice, easy and fast way to catch up on Raspberry Pi news, go to the discussions and occasionally read the Mag Pi. So I created an all round solution for dealing with all of this. 

This is the project in it’s current state. After a couple of months I decided to re-open the project files and look for a way to improve. I added notifications. At the time there was no notification centre for Windows Phone and push notifications were incredibly hard to do, and some methods require external servers, a liberty which I could not afford. So instead I came up with a compromise. I set up recipes in IFTTT.com (google it) to either email or text the user (they opt-in to this service themselves) and then it emails them whenever  the RSS feed on the raspberry pi blog is updated. I use it myself and I find it to be a very good system. All of this is free for the user.

I look back on this, thinking of nicely it was made and how much thought and effort went into it. I believe it turned out so well as it was not just another application I was churning out, not just something else to be made and forgotten. It was an application I wanted to not only make, but use, and use it often I did. I now have an iPhone though. I still get the text notifications about blog post’s though, which is awesome :).

So that is that, my first ever released application. It is actually doing not bad either, it has around 1,750 downloads at time of writing. I am thinking of purchasing a license for Android and trying to recreate it for that, and make it a designated RSS reader instead of having an in app web browser like this app,

Learning Unity 4 – “Fall Triggers”

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

So for whatever reason I have been compelled to start learning unity. Probably because even though I have tried to learn it in the past I am determined to master it. And so far the results have been good, and I am somewhat confident to start creating simple projects on my own.  The first of which I have made (with help of a guide) is a simple project called fall triggers.

Fall triggersThe idea behind it is that a simple character (which comes stock with the unity character controller) walks around on a cube and jumps around on to other cubes (in this case the blue cubes). He keeps jumping until he falls onto the lava cube (orange cube down below) which then teleport’s him back to the centre of the white cube. The ideas can be expanded, the simple idea could lead to you making more cubes for example and maybe a door to jump to another level, or maybe even an entire parkour type game (which I may try this afternoon, I am going to need to find assets and things so it doesn’t look terrible).

The guide for this can be found at: http://primerlabs.com/unity101

Stay tuned for more projects like this . I am close to finishing a game I have been making with a friend in Game Maker: Studio with my friend. I am hoping to release info on that project soon. 

 

Introducing: “Project Nightstand”

Friday, June 13th, 2014

20140613-134233-49353797.jpg20140613-134234-49354111.jpgOver the years I have used iPods and the like as night stands, and for years they have looked like an htc’s home screen with the weather and the flip style clock. Even after the design evolution that was iOS 7 the style of these apps never changed. I have put together two similar, but slightly different designs (key word here is designs, I haven’t started to implement these designs yet).

It is a reimagining of a simple idea in a style that would make Johnny Ive proud. These are only designs but when implemented it will display current weather information, date, and act as an alarm. Ideal for use whilst iPhone is in dock. I am interested to look into releasing these designs into the real world as an app but although I could write the application I don’t currently have an Apple developer account to publish it and I don’t see that changing soon. I think I am most likely going to try and create an application similar to the style of the picture on the right.

Prototype 2 SuperImp Cropped

 

 

 

A look at Limelight-Pi (Install and Use)

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Image

Behind limelight-pi there is a really cool concept, using your Raspberry Pi to stream games live from an Nvidia gaming PC somewhere else in your house. With steam machines coming this year, starting what could be an era of living room pc gaming, it will be interesting to see if a Raspberry Pi could do a comparable job using hardware you already own. Not to mention steam is bringing in-home streaming later on this year too. If you want to know what rig I am using, check the specs on the right 🙂

Before I get started: The Pi version of this software is a fork of the PC and Android and is not from the original developer of limelight. It was made by the community. It is extremely experimental, and there is no guarantee of stability. Also the documentation for the software is poor, bordering on non-existant, which is why I have made this install guide.

Part 1 – Downloading and Configuring PC Software

Image

First things first, Limelight works on the same software that the Nvidia shield uses to stream across the network, so what you need to do is go fetch GeForce Experience and install it. http://www.geforce.co.uk/geforce-experience/download.

Once it has been installed, open GeForce experience, go to Preferences, SHIELD, and click “Allow this PC to stream to SHIELD devices”

That is almost it for the PC side of things, you will need to go back later but for now go to the next part.

Part 2 – Setting up the Pi

I set up my Pi using a fresh install of Raspbian, with my Pi being overclocked to 1000MHz. You need to have the optimised version of Java installed on your Pi, which is why I recommend using the latest image of Raspbian because it has Java pre-installed. Basically the first thing you need to do is get the Limelight-Pi jar file from https://github.com/irtimmer/limelight-pi/releases/download/v0.4/limelight-pi.jar. I downloaded it straight to the Pi desktop. Next thing you need to do is install some packages using the terminal. Log out of the LXDE session, and type the following into the terminal –

sudo apt-get install libopus0

Just so there is no confusion that is a 0 at the end of that code not an O.

After that set your terminal directory to wherever the Jar file is, if you put the Jar file on the desktop like I did then you will need to type the following…

cd /home/Pi/Desktop/

Now you need to pair your Pi to your Gaming Computer. Firstly you will need to find out your gaming computers IP. To do that open command prompt and type ipconfig, and it will tell you your IP. Now go to the PI and type:

java -jar limelight-pi.jar -pair 192.168.x.xxx (x being what your IP address is)

Image

Now back on your computer you shall see something like this. Instead of Surface-Tablet it will say raspberrypi. Press accept and head back over to your Pi, because now we are ready to get everything connected.

First thing to do is work out what the inputs are and what the Pi recognises them as. This is quite easy to do. I am showing you what it is for a keyboard and mouse although in theory controllers like the Xbox 360 controller should work too. That is in theory, I have actually heard people having issues with that, and I suspect its because the Pi cannot power the controllers. Anyway, to get the inputs you need to type:

ls -l /dev/input/by-path

And you will be confronted by something like this…

Image

It’s ok, it does make sense. Read carefully, your looking for the tags ending in /event(x). Event 0 in my case is mouse, event1 is keyboard.

The final step here is to assemble the code to make Limelight-pi run. You can use my code as an example:

java -jar limelight-pi.jar -input /dev/input/event -input /dev/input/event1 192.168.0.5

After typing that code, the program will load and you will soon be looking at steams big picture mode being streamed to your pi.

You can add more tags like -1080 and -60fps. But when I did the program would not get past “Starting Input Connection”. Like I said before, this software is experimental. In the end I left the code as is, it streams then at 720p but the Pi barely handled that for me. I have seen people have real success with this, but I found my Pi even overclocked was laggy and could only handle a very low latency.  I increased the memory to the GPU and all sorts of other tweaks and nothing seemed to help much.

If it works for you, then good on you. In all honesty for me though, I probably would plug my Mac Mini into the living room TV and use that instead of my Pi, because its faster, can handle more peripherals (like gamepad’s for example), more functionality and software support in the OS so I can also use Netflix and YouTube and the setup uses a GUI.

Sidepost – Limelight on a PC

WP_20140317_19_40_46_Pro

In the interests of fairness and because of the fact I am outright curious about this, I am back, testing out how well it runs on my Surface Pro.

Install is pretty easy, the software runs inside a GUI and all you need to do is follow the instructions over here: https://github.com/limelight-stream/limelight-pc

If you read my last post, using Limelight on the Pi, you would know that it was laggy and didn’t work very well, imagine my suprise when I got consistant 60FPS smooth gameplay on my Surface Pro with minimal setup (although 1080P didn’t work? I had the same issue on the Pi). Even intensive games like CS:GO were more than playable. It was nice to use steams big picture mode, and I am confident that if you want a cheap DIY steam machine of sorts, you could use a Mini-Itx PC in the living room with this installed and get a solid gaming experience (assuming 1080p gets fixed). I even collected some sample game play for you, which you can see below.

>

I recommend however that to make sure you get the best performance possible you keep your host PC wired into Ethernet, because interference among other things can really kill performance. The limitations of the software at the moment are the games supported by Nvidia Shield. Some older games like Assassins Creed and GTA 4 are supported along with all of the source games (mods like the hidden do not work), but these games only work at all if they are on steam.

For the meanwhile this software is pretty damn good, but this feels to me like an unofficial preview of steam in-home streaming, it just needs a bit more optimisation for people with poor networks, and for wifi use (which lets be honest is how most people will use it. Hopefully I can try out steam in-home streaming very soon, as I have signed up for the beta, and I shall post on here my experience if and when that happens.

Thank you for reading, be sure to comment if you like and subscribe to this blog, I have a lot of cool projects on the way.

In the meanwhile, I am away to try out Steam OS, SEE YA! (UPDATE: I have been selected for In-Home Streaming, it’s fine, runs 1080p game over the network at 30FPS. Blog post may follow. )

Hello World!

Friday, March 14th, 2014

My name is Matthew, and I am a nerd. This blog is where I am going to document all of the nerdy projects I am embarking on, and some of which you will be able to use for yourself very soon!