Category: Updates and Status

Guess What. I just Won At Demon’s Hex

Demon's Hex WinExciting news everyone! I not only just played Demon’s Hex, but I also won a few battles! This is big. This is the first time this game has been playable in any way, shape or form. Not only can you play it over on the product page, but you can also win!

There is still a lot of luck to the game though. You start off with a random selection of tokens, which may or may not be good. The enemy does as well and they may or may not be better than yours.

The enemy AI is still weak. It still just takes a random token from its hand and puts it in a random empty space, but it can be tricky though. Sometimes it can place a random good token in a random good spot and take your lead toward the end.

I am really getting excited about developing Demon’s Hex. This is the most progress I have made in a while and I really look forward to expanding it and making it far better.

I hope you guys enjoy it. If you want to help out in development of the game, I am taking donations over on the right. Just click the Paypal “Donate” button. Any little bit helps. While you won’t get any real perks right off, you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping a budding indie dev grow.

Demon’s Hex Game Dev Meetup Updates

Hey everyone. On Thursday, we went to the Monthly Oklahoma Game Developers Meetup. There was a great presentation by Dan Moyer on Visual Perception and how it influences game design. We then showed off Demon’s Hex as it was on Thursday (above). Then David Hartnett of Red Clay Games showed off his online multiplayer space shooter Gravity.

The game has made steady progress since our last update and made even more since the meetup. By Thursday, I had the beginnings of a turn order working. After you placed your token, the enemy would place on of theirs. Each would be highlighted with blue for the player’s tokens and red for the enemy’s.

Demon's Hex BattleHowever at the time there were still a couple of bugs in that. For one, the enemy was not respecting used spaces and would from time to time place a token on an existing one. The other bug is that the token backs representing the enemy’s hand do not disappear in relation with its number of moves.

I have fixed the first bug. It was not the enemy’s fault. Turns out the player was being a bit stealthy with his moves. If the player’s hand had more than one of the exact same token, it would still place those tokens, but the grid array would retain a null value, thus confusing the enemy. You can read more of the bug in detail at this HaxeFlixel forum post.

I am still working on the enemy hand bug but it is a low priority. At this point, I am focusing my attention on getting token interaction going. I need to get this playable soon. I am hoping to have the first playable prototype by mid-August or so. So keep in the loop.

We also have more plans having to do with the Ouya, but I will come out with more details later. I talk a bit about it at the end of the video above, but I would like to have some more in depth information here.

Demon’s Hex Now Glows In The Dark

Demon's Hex Battle ScreenOk. Not really. But I did add a glowing feature to the tokens. This is something that we have wanted to implement in order to make the game development process move along a lot smoother.

What we had originally planned was to have the token border, the portion with the directional attack arrows, be the color designating the player control. However, I had been having a lot of trouble trying to build the tokens on the fly and it just wasn’t working. So what I ended up doing was build a token creation tool that created the full token image with a brown border. All I have to do is enter the token stats and hit save and out pops a cool new token.

The next step was to figure out how to designate who controls the token on the board. Since all tokens have a brown border, something had to be done to highlight ownership. That is where the glowing edge comes from. I was able to get this working thanks to this HaxeFlixel thread.

You can see these glowing borders in action over on the game page for Demon’s Hex. Right now, you only see the blue edge designating player control, but we will add more colors soon. The goal is to have the colors customization to help with accessibility. Right now, I am going to stick with blue for the player and red for the opponent.

This update also has the ability for you to drag and drop tokens onto the game grid. I haven’t had that in since before I started using Flixel. I don’t have player turns set up yet, but that is my next task. This will come with some rather mundane AI at first. Hopefully in the next week or two, you will be able to actually play a match.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the update.

Changing Up Our Forums And Other Stuff

Hello Folks. Its been a while since our last update. We have some changes going on at the moment.

First up, we are changing our forums. Our current setup is Simple Machine Forums which are nice, but don’t integrate well with WordPress. So we are switching to bbPress. bbPress is a WordPress plugin that provides all the forum functionality we need as well as integration with the blog and its users. This means that we will be opening up registration and commenting on our articles so that as soon as we get it working, we can have forum and blog post comments synced.

This switch will also allow for us to use our current blog theme throughout our site. Right now, our forum theme is drastically different and it can be jarring for some visitors. I have never liked it. I think having a consistent theme is part of having a good website experience. So that will be a nice change.

We will have some other updates coming in short order, so keep in the loop. Thank you again for following us.

Demon’s Hex Shown On Public Television

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview with Cathy Tatum of Oklahoma’s Public Television. It was part of a feature they were doing on game development in Oklahoma. The industry is a small but growing one here and I am glad to be a part of it. While I wasn’t featured as much as I would have liked, I still think it is good exposure. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. Also, please ignore the Debbie Downer toward the end.

Well, I Feel Stupid

So for the last few weeks/months, I had been struggling with something core to our game design. It hasn’t really help me up on development but it had been nagging in the back of my mind the whole time. One of the core tenants of our game requires six values to be in an on or off position. With these values there are 2^6 or 64 different combinations.I had worked out 62 of those but for the life of me could not figure out the last 2.

So I ignored the nagging voice in my head to focus on it for a long time. Well, it came back strong one I made progress on the back end portion of our game. This portion used that functionality and I wanted it to be complete. So this past Sunday, I was talking with Willis about the issue. I was explaining that Braille has the same situation of six positions each in an on or off state, but I couldn’t find any charts showing all 64 Braille Characters.

I began showing him some of the sites I had looked at and this site caught his eye. This site had all possible combinations up to four digits, but I needed six. But it was mainly this chart that caught his eye.

Binary Up To Four Digits

It is a tabled view of how to figure out the combinations of binary digits. Seeing that, he made the suggestion that I do that in a spread sheet. I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought of it.

So that is what I did. I created a spread sheet in Libre Office and went to work. Once I had all the combinations figured out there, I began cross referencing them to what I had already worked out. Turns out the two I had missed should have been obvious:

101010

010101

Those are the ones I missed. How I missed them, I will never know. It frustrated me to no end. So there you have it. I am kicking myself for not seeing it sooner or thinking to create the spread sheet. But that is the way the world turns.

Well here is a little treat for reading through my frustrations. A cool ghost dragon Willis made:

Ghost Dragon

Progress!

So I have made some significant progress with the game. I had been working on a back end utility for adding tokens and controlling their stats for use in the game. This is now working and is ready to be tied into the game. I am getting more excited about this game the more I work on it.

We are getting closer to officially announcing the game. Hopefully, we will be making that announcement in January as we are trying to have a playable alpha build by then. I feel like I have been pushing this back further and further as we have hit several set backs over the last year. I had originally wanted to have a playable alpha this past summer, but that never happened.

So this is a pretty short update, but I can’t leave you empty handed, so here are some juicy graphics for you:

Back End Programing

I have been working on the actual Flash portions of the game for a while and needed a break. Since I didn’t want to stop development on the game, I am working on the PHP back end for the game.

Since the game will require information stored in a database on the server, I figured I would get started on that. To be frank, I am a lot more comfortable working with PHP at this time and it is a nice change of pace for me. I have been working as a PHP developer for a little over three years and this is second nature to me. So we will have some nice clean PHP code that will help keep the game running smoothly.

I really like working on the Flash portions o the game and it is providing me with a nice change of pace from my normal PHP work. There is a lot of stuff I did not know about Actionscript 3 and I look forward to learning more of it. But, the programming has been slower going than I had hoped as I have to look  up a lot of the information.

Hopefully, as I get the PHP back end up and running, that will spur development of the Flash front end. Knowing what information will be on the server, how I will be connecting to it and what I will be doing with it, will really speed up development. I really should have been doing more of it sooner.

Add that to my list of things I wish I had thought of sooner. So far it is:

  • Use an existing Flash Game Engine, in this case Flixel
  • Develop the back end first.

We’ll see what else crops up.

And just so you don’t leave without a treat, here are some of the latest characters Willis has made. He is doing an awesome job.

Back Up and Running

Well, I am back up and running. Turns out the problem had little to do with Ubuntu 11.04 and more to do with Firefox 4.

Firefox 4 upgraded to XULRunner 2 and Eclipse is only compatible with 1. So the built in web browser didn’t work.

I found a site that help me figure it out. He had the steps necessary to upgrade Eclipse to work with Firefox 4. I did have to download the latest version of eclipse, Helios, as Ubuntu only has Galileo.

I am really not sure why the Ubuntu Repositories are always so far behind in app versions. It is really annoying.

Well, now that development is back on track, I hope to have some updates on the actual game soon. I will keep you informed.

Gah!

As you may have gathered from our philosophy here that I am a Linux user. Specifically I run Ubuntu. Usually it is a pretty nice running OS and I rarely have any issues with it. That is not the case recently.

Back in April, Ubuntu released version 11.04 and it has been nothing but frustration. The first problem that happened when I upgraded from 10.10 to 11.04 was all the sound was shut off. I was not able to get any sound from any part of the OS. As far as I could tell in my hours of research and debugging was that everything was fine.

Finally after about 2 weeks of no sound, I stumbled across a suggestion that I check user permissions. So I did and there it was. Ubuntu decided in its infinite wisdom that no users should be able to hear sound unless you explicitly tell it they can. Seriously, why is that even a setting. Is there some reason why you would want certain users not to be able to play audio? Is there some reason why this setting would have been set to off by default for all users? I still can’t get start up sounds to play, but I at least have sound when logged in. Continue Reading