Chris Wilson

This is a solo entry by ciw42


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Ratings (show detail)

Overall: 2.4
Fun: 1.8
Production: 2.9
Innovation: 2.5

Respondents: 23


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This will have to do for now.
ciw42 2006/04/02 00:50

Diary Entries


I know there was a countdown at the top of the competition page, but I'd never really looked at it properly, so found myself rather surprised things had kicked off an hour ago instead of the same time tomorrow night. Also just been reminded that we in the UK are losing an hour's sleep this evening. Things have not started well! Even though I'd placed "It Runs On Steam!" quite highly in voting terms, right now, it's probably the theme which I have the least developed idea for, and is also the one which will require the most work in terms of art, which is probably my weakest area. Gonna stay up for a couple of hours now and try to come up with some better ideas.


I do believe I'm actually making negative progress!

Well, so far I've only really managed to spend a couple of hours on my entry, and pretty much all I've achieved is completely scrapping the original idea, as the more I thought about it, the more work it was going to be to get something I'd be completely happy with in a week. So, I've got something new in mind which I think is going to be much more achievable, but can always be enhanced in whatever time I have left. All things being well, my current target is to have the basics down by tomorrow night.


Now we're cooking!

After getting nothing done on day 1, and deciding to abandon my original idea and start again this morning, I've spent the evening learning OpenGL for doing 2D stuff, and have to say, it's pretty damn sweet. Hit a few brick walls along the way, and it's taken me a while to get my head around the way the API works, but I've now managed to write (completely from scratch) a set of 2D routines to handle fonts, scrolling backgrounds, sprites (with rotation, scaling, alpha blending, automatic movement and inertia) plus a handful of bits and pieces which will be generally useful for games. I'll probably get around to optimising it all tomorrow, but for an evening's worth of work it's actually looking pretty tidy. I'm probably not actually going to need a lot of the stuff I'm coding for this game, but I really want to make sure I understood all the important stuff now, rather than it causing me problems when the time starts to run out. And anyway, it may be useful for adding eye-candy if I have any time left towards the end of the week. I'd like to add a basic particle system, a simple animation system and some intelligent path following for the sprites before I call it a day, but I'm just reaching that point where tiredness is starting to make it all somewhat less fun, so I may leave it until tomorrow. Aside from a font which I'll probably keep, and a bunch of abstract test bitmaps, I've not really gotten around to doing any artwork, so once I have today's libraries tested and optimised, and I've worked out how to use py2exe (how hard can it be?!?), I'm going to sit down and draw a few odds and ends so I can post up at least some screenshots of version 0.1 before the end of tomorrow. That's the idea anyway.


Back in the (coding) saddle

OK, I'm back in front of my PC and ready to get some serious coding done. This evening's goals are: Basic particle system - Primarily for smoke/steam, but also maybe for sparks and explosions if I'm still in the mood after I've got the smoke working. Simple sprite animation system - All I really need for this game is some basic stuff based on the direction and speed of each sprite, but I'll probably try to make it a little more general. Path following for sprites - Not really needed for the game itself, but it'll be handy for special effects etc. Want the sprites to be able to move towards/between specified points, with specific acceleration and inertia. Also want them to optionally slow down as they approach the destination point to allow them to stop exactly on it. After that, it's time to start on the artwork. Probably rip some temporary stuff from the arcade game on which my entry is based (all will be revealed very soon!) just to use whilst I'm setting up the game framework.

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And then there was steam!

Spent around 4 hours last night (well, early this morning) hacking away with some art and the code to produce realistic looking steam for my train, and I'm really pleased with it. It actually billows nicely, dissipates pretty much like proper smoke, and it looks good and realistic whether the train is stationary or moving at high speed. Had something working after around 5 minutes, but kept tweaking things and trying new ideas, and in the end, the whole thing comes in at only around 20 lines of code and only uses one small image. Going to add a few more parameters which may be useful if I have steam elsewhere in the game, and then it's back on with the game framework.

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I could really kick myself!

Had a good handul of relatively easy, but important things to do on the game last night, to bring it up to a level ready for people to have a proper play with, and instead I spent until 5am messing about with unimportant things, pretty much all of which won't be used in the game at all. I still hope to get things finished off by midnight tomorrow, but there's probably going to be none of the extra eyecandy I wanted and playtesting will probably just be a solo effort. The artwork is now likely to be pretty much just a redrawing of my (borrowed) placeholders, and I can only hope inspiration strikes quickly when I sit down to write the music.

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Why is it...

... that you always have some of your best ideas when you're rushing to finish off what you already have, and there's not enough time to implement them properly, if at all? Thankfully, they're just things that would be great (and I mean, *really* great) to have in the game, rather than fundamental changes, but still, it's annoying. Twenty three hours or so to go, and if I'm going to have any chance of finishing this, I'll need to be awake and working for pretty much every minute of that time. I'm probably gonna sleep through the entire of Sunday. Good luck to everyone in this final stretch. From the other posts I've read, it appears we're pretty much all running desperately short of time to complete our masterpieces.


So. Very. Tired.

Well, after my second all-nighter this week, the game's starting to look pretty good. It won't be fully finished in time, and I suspect I'll be another couple of days adding all the nice odds and ends that I've come up with today, but it certainly should be playable and hopefully fun too. Just at that point now where I'm wondering if I should just stay up, knowing that I'll be less productive, and may in fact die at the keyboard, or catch a couple of hours sleep and be much fresher but obviously have less time to do things? Trouble is, I took a break from coding the actual gameplay to do some incidental stuff which required very little brain power, and I hoped that would refresh me, but all I've got of that left to do is write the text for a second instructions page which will take all of about 5 minutes, and then it's back to stuff which will require the use of my brain. Sod it. I'm off to bed.

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A bit about my final submission.

Due largely to foolishness brought on by lack of sleep, during the last 8 hours or so I think I manage to break more stuff than I fixed, and turned what had been reasonably well structured code into an awful mess. I even managed to break my smoke. Well, not exactly break it, but there a few problems with it when you change speed which are annoying, so it just doesn't look quite right. There's just about no game to play, although I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to get it finished properly by tomorrow night. Still, driving a train around is a lot of fun. Honest. The level map is only my half filled test map, and contains all sorts of stuff that was to be incorporated into the game, but was abandoned, so it's a bit of a mess.

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Man, I needed a break.

My plan to finish the game off yesterday hit the buffers when I woke up at 9am with the intention of going for a 10 mile walk, and didn't even have the energy to phone/send a text saying I wasn't going. The wife described me as "being like a zombie, but with much less energy". Last week was lots of fun, and for a while I was reliving my youth, up all night coding demos and games on the C64/Amiga. It's a lot harder to do it now though, and I was starting to feel somewhat dissappointed in myself, until I realised that back then, some 18 year or more ago, I didn't have a full time job, wife, house or commitments, and my time was truly my own, which kind of made me feel somewhat better about it all. Still, it's a pity I didn't finish my game by the end of the week, and whilst it probably looks a long way off, all the pieces are pretty much in place, and the actual full game coding wise is probably only around 8 hours from completion. I still need to develop the graphics side of things (around hlf of the in-game artwork is currently ripped from "Super Locomotive") and the music, but it shouldn't be more than about a day's work. Probably get things underway again this evening.


Cool, another competition

Haven't visited the Pygame website for a while (or written anything in Python for probably a year or more) so when I checked earlier today was surprised to find another PyWeek competition had started.

Not too sure how this week's going to go for me as I won't have any free time until Wednesday night, and I'm not sure how much I'll have from then until the end of the competition, but I've got what I think is a good idea for a robots game, so I plan to give it a go.

I've downloaded the latest Python, Pygame, PyOpenGL & Psyco, will probably spend half an hour sketching the idea out tonight, and then may fire up The GIMP between now and Wednesday to put together some place-holder artwork.

Good luck everyone.

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