Archive for the 'I Made This' Category

Drumcircle

Monday, May 16th, 2011

This is a little music toy I made for PCs and mobile phones.

Download (version 1.0.1)

What is it?

    Drumcircle is a radial drum machine: you place tiles corresponding to notes or drum samples, and they play as the clock hand sweeps past them. An internet-play mode lets you collaborate on drum patterns online with other users of the program. I’m really happy with how this turned out– making drum patterns with the tiles just feels really natural and intuitive, especially on the tablet versions.

    Drumcircle includes icon art by Mike LeMieux and 27 different sample voices out of the box.

Sample packs

    The PC version of Drumcircle lets you add your own samples. Download this thing for more information.

__________________________
Update 6/28

Someone made this youtube video of themselves using Drumcircle and it is awesome.

Source code for Jumpman, iJumpman, and The Snap

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

I have just released the source code to my games, because why not.

The source code for Jumpman and iJumpman can be found here.

The source code for The Snap can be found here.

The code, art and music is available under the Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported” license, which means it is free to use for noncommercial use as long as you credit the original creators. You can find more information about this at the Bitbucket pages. (If you find this license too restrictive, I suggest checking out Jumpcore instead.) Both games were created in C++.

Thanks to everyone who played these games, and if anyone finds the source useful, I’d be curious to hear about it!

Jumpcore 2

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Short version: Here’s an MIT-licensed open source C++ game framework that lets you write your game once and immediately have it run on Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, WebOS and Android 2.3. It packages together all the basic libraries you need to get started with writing a game, and makes mobile porting easy by abstracting away the incompatibilities between OpenGL, OpenGL ES 1.0, and OpenGL ES 2.0.

The project is hosted on Bitbucket, so you can download the source yourself by doing one of the following:

  • hg clone https://bitbucket.org/runhello/jumpcore
  • svn co https://bitbucket.org/runhello/jumpcore/trunk
  • Visit the Bitbucket page and click “get source” in the upper right corner.

Here’s a little physics demo that comes with Jumpcore, shown running on PC, iPhone, and Android:


Long version: When I first started writing C++ games a few years ago, I quickly discovered that there was a lot of stuff that you really need in order to write a game but which SDL+OpenGL don’t provide out of the box– things like text display, or build scripts for a crossplatform binary. So once I’d actually finished my game, I decided to package up the basic skeleton of my game into the thing I wished had existed when I started coding games– a package to serve as a bridge between “there exist cross-platform game libraries in the world” and “I can actually sit down and create a game in C++”. Once I’d put this package together, I found it useful myself for rapidly prototyping new game ideas. I released this a year or so ago as “Jumpcore”, with support for Mac, Windows and Linux; what I can announce today is a new version that adds support for mobile platforms (iPhone and Android). I’ve also set up a project on BitBucket; what I would like is if this could grow into something like a free and open-source version of Airplay SDK, or a stripped-down Unity.

Jumpcore is minimal; it tries to set things up for you and then get out of the way, allowing you to develop your own “engine” as you see fit. Most of the functionality is provided by a selection of open source libraries I’ve bundled in. Jumpcore comes with:

- SDL and GLee for event and window handling (on desktop platforms)
- Chipmunk version 5.3.4 (2D physics engine)
- A modified FTGL ES (freetype text display library) with OpenGL ES 2.0 support
- TinyXML
- LodePNG, and a simple texture loader based on LodePNG
- A generator and loader for texture atlases based on a script by Retro Affect
- Pthreads for win32

Included code unique to Jumpcore includes:

- A simple GUI interface library (based on Chipmunk spatial hashes)
- Event wrappers unifying SDL mouse events with iPhone and Android touch events
- Wrappers for getting the paths of “internal” files
- A set of OpenGL wrappers that abstract away the differences between OpenGL, OpenGL ES 1.0, and OpenGL ES 2.0, meaning you can write your OpenGL code on mobile platforms the same way you write it on desktop platforms.

Getting started

Developing with Jumpcore basically just means implementing a few simple callbacks. You can find quick instructions and links documenting all the functions in the included libraries at the Getting Started page on the BitBucket wiki.

Compiling

Jumpcore uses GCC on all platforms, however you will need a different version of GCC (XCode, mingw, etc) to compile each of the different targets. You can compile all five targets on one machine as long as that one machine is a Macintosh (Linux and Windows users may need to find a mac before they can compile for Mac and iPhone). You can find detailed build instructions at the How to Build page on the BitBucket wiki.

Caveats and future development

Jumpcore is a work in progress; as I mentioned this is the base I use for starting new projects, so I should be improving it as my main projects continue. For a list of known gotchas and things yet to be done, please see the TODO page, again on the BitBucket wiki. Note: Some of the limitations in this initial release of Jumpcore 2 are quite serious, particularly on the Android version, so you should probably read this page.

If you have problems compiling this or getting it to work, please do let me know. Thanks!

The Snap

Monday, February 28th, 2011

A first person shooter

Download (1.0, r219)

How to Play

    The Snap is a two-player deathmatch shooter with time travel. Time in the Snap arena takes place in a loop. 20 seconds or so after the start of each game, the events of the game will begin to repeat themselves. You can also jump back in time by about five seconds or so by performing a Snap.

    If you interact with the past, you will change the present. If you shoot someone in the past, you will damage them in the present. If you block a bullet in the past, thus preventing someone from getting hit by that bullet, damage in the present will be undone.

    For best results, I suggest using a gamepad with analog thumbsticks (you can fit both players on one gamepad if you try!); also, since the game uses stereo sound with the sounds “heard” by one player going to each ear, I suggest plugging in a pair of earbuds and giving each player one earbud.

    10 levels are included, and you can make your own; if anyone tries out the custom levels feature, please do post below and let me know.

Future development?

    This a prototype of sorts, created in 40 days for the Tigsource Versus competition. I’d be interested in making a more complex game with more complex environments and online play (maybe a “real” first person shooter or a 2D platformer with free-aiming guns) using the time engine someday. Is there interest in this?

A Game of the Year 2010 Poll: Results

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE PRETTY COLOR-CODED FULL RESULTS

This explanation will look a lot like that of previous years, but:

Every year since 2004 I’ve been hosting this Game of the Year poll for the users of some forums I read. There are a lot of GOTY polls out there, but this one I think is kind of special. Most polls, you’re given a list of four or five options and you’re asked to pick the one you liked best. This poll, people are given a list of a couple of hundred options, consisting of every new game released in the previous year– and asked to rate their top ten or twenty.

This does a few interesting things. First off, we get to see all the information about what people’s second, third etc choices are. Second off, because the second, third etc choices count, people are more likely to vote for the game they want to win, rather than the game they think is likely to win– they’re less likely to engage in “strategic voting”. Finally, because we have all this information, we’re actually able to provide somewhat reasonable rankings for something like the top hundred or so games of last year.

The full results– showing the exact number of voters who ranked each game first, second, third place etc– can be found here. In the meantime, the final results were:

  1. Mass Effect 2 (8125) *** GAME OF THE YEAR ***
  2. Red Dead Redemption (4887)
  3. Starcraft 2 (3930)
  4. Minecraft (3678)
  5. Fallout: New Vegas (3513)
  6. Super Meat Boy (3205)
  7. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (3006)
  8. Halo Reach (2713)
  9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2505)
  10. Civilization V (2444)
  11. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2378)
  12. Bayonetta (2257)
  13. Darksiders (1967)
  14. Just Cause 2 (1865)
  15. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (1855)
  16. Angry Birds (1740)
  17. Alpha Protocol (1677)
  18. Call of Duty: Black Ops (1604)
  19. Heavy Rain (1573)
  20. VVVVVV (1523)

The numbers in parentheses are the final scores each game got under the poll’s ranking system. Thanks if you voted, and some more elaborate analysis of the results (plus an explanation of the scores) can be found below.

NOTEWORTHY WINNERS

  • GOTY 2010:

    #1, Mass Effect 2

  • Top-ranked PC Exclusive:

    #3, Starcraft 2

  • Top-ranked Wii Exclusive:

    #7, Super Mario Galaxy 2

  • Top-ranked 360 Exclusive:

    #8, Halo Reach

  • Top-ranked iPhone/Android Exclusive:

    #16, Angry Birds

  • Top-ranked PS3 Exclusive:

    #19, Heavy Rain

  • Top-ranked DS Exclusive:

    #31, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

  • Top-ranked PSP Exclusive:

    #64, Valkyria Chronicles 2

  • Best RPG:

    #1, Mass Effect 2

  • Best FPS:

    #4, Minecraft

  • Best “Indie” Game:

    #4, Minecraft

  • Best Game Available Through A Console Download Service:

    #6, Super Meat Boy

  • Best Browser Game:

    #48, Robot Unicorn Attack

  • “Cult” Award (see below):

    #52, Deadly Premonition

  • Best Downloadable Game (XBLIG division):

    #59, Breath of Death VII: The Beginning

NOTEWORTHY LOSERS

  • Best game of 2010 which somehow nobody considered to be their #1 pick: #35, Alien Swarm
  • Worst game of 2010 that at least one person considered their #1 pick: #200, 3D Infinity (This is an XBLIG game; Only one person voted for this at all)
  • Worst game of 2010: #237, Dead Nation (Only one person voted for this; it was their #20 pick)

There were 23 games on the nominations list no one voted for at all.

ALTERNATE SCORING METHODS

The rankings listed above are based on a version of the Borda count voting method. Each vote cast for a game gives that game a certain number of points. If someone ranks a game #1, that game gets 20 points. If they rank it #2, the game gets 19 points. If they rank it #3 the game gets 18 points… and so on. I have a script that checks a couple of alternate ways of ranking the same data, though.

For example, if we rank games only by the number of first post votes they got, we get a wildly different list, with tons of games listing that weren’t anywhere near the top 20:

First Past the Post

  1. Mass Effect 2 (231)
  2. Red Dead Redemption (69)
  3. Starcraft 2 (47)
  4. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (40)
  5. Minecraft (35)
  6. Fallout: New Vegas (29)
  7. Bayonetta (20)
  8. Super Meat Boy (19)
  9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (18)
  10. Alpha Protocol (15)
  11. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (15)
  12. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (14)
  13. Deadly Premonition (12)
  14. Rock Band 3 (11)
  15. Civilization V (10)
  16. Alan Wake (10)
  17. Halo Reach (10)
  18. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (10)
  19. Super Street Fighter 4 (9)
  20. Call of Duty: Black Ops (9)

Most years when I look at the first-past-the-post list a “cult” game usually emerges that received very few overall votes, but where an overwhelming percentage of those votes were #1 votes; this year actually seemed to have more “cult” games than normal, but I think the cult award was pretty clearly earned here by Deadly Premonition, which went from a ridiculous #52 in the normal ranking to #13 in the first-place-votes ranking. Also noteworthy here though were Dragon Quest IX (jumps from #31 to #12) and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (jumps from #37 to #15, tying with Halo).

I also did two more ways of sorting the rankings: an “approval” vote, where nothing is counted except the number of votes a game received (i.e. a first-place and a twentieth-place ranking count the same– all the matters is if the game was on someone’s list); and an instant runoff vote. Your eyes are probably starting to glaze over at this point, and these rankings very rarely differ from the Borda rankings, so I bolded the places where these two votes differ from the official rank. A small observation: 858 people voted this year. More than half placed some sort of vote for Mass Effect 2.

Approval

  1. Mass Effect 2 (440)
  2. Red Dead Redemption (284)
  3. Starcraft 2 (241)
  4. Minecraft (235)
  5. Fallout: New Vegas (217)
  6. Super Meat Boy (210)
  7. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (182)
  8. Halo Reach (177)
  9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (165)
  10. Civilization V (163)
  11. Bayonetta (155)
  12. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (146)
  13. Darksiders (144)
  14. Angry Birds (137)
  15. Just Cause 2 (135)
  16. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (115)
  17. Alpha Protocol (115)
  18. Call of Duty: Black Ops (115)
  19. Heavy Rain (114)
  20. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (114)

IRV

  1. Mass Effect 2
  2. Red Dead Redemption
  3. Starcraft 2
  4. Minecraft
  5. Fallout: New Vegas
  6. Super Meat Boy
  7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
  8. Halo Reach
  9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  10. Civilization V
  11. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  12. Bayonetta
  13. Darksiders
  14. Just Cause 2
  15. Angry Birds
  16. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
  17. Alpha Protpcol
  18. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  19. Alan Wake
  20. Heavy Rain

FINALLY: PER-FORUM BREAKDOWNS

As mentioned before, this poll mostly exists for a handful of video game forums where some people I know post. Since a couple years ago when I started posting the results on this blog, I’ve tried to actually run some extra results, in each case counting only those voters who– as far as one could tell from looking at the logs– had come to the poll from one particular forum or other.

So, here you have it– these numbers aren’t totally accurate because my logging method is not entirely trustworthy, but here’s an approximate by-forum breakdown of these results. Links go to color-coded full listings.

Penny Arcade Forums (666 voters)

  1. Mass Effect 2
  2. Red Dead Redemption
  3. Starcraft 2
  4. Fallout: New Vegas
  5. Minecraft
  6. Halo Reach
  7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
  8. Super Meat Boy
  9. Civilization V
  10. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  11. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  12. Darksiders
  13. Bayonetta
  14. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
  15. Just Cause 2
  16. Alpha Protocol
  17. Angry Birds
  18. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  19. Heavy Rain
  20. God of War 3

Tigsource.com (39 voters)

  1. Super Meat Boy
  2. VVVVVV
  3. Minecraft
  4. Mass Effect 2
  5. Super Crate Box
  6. Starcraft 2
  7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
  8. Hero Core
  9. Halo Reach
  10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  11. Fallout: New Vegas
  12. Red Dead Redemption
  13. Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale
  14. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  15. Alan Wake
  16. Donkey Kong Country Returns
  17. Limbo
  18. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
  19. Alien Swarm
  20. Hydorah
Platformers.net (38 voters)

  1. Mass Effect 2
  2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
  3. Bayonetta
  4. Super Meat Boy
  5. Fallout: New Vegas
  6. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
  7. Red Dead Redemption
  8. Minecraft
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  10. Super Street Fighter 4
  11. Bioshock 2
  12. Robot Unicorn Attack
  13. Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars
  14. Game Dev Story
  15. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  16. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
  17. Shin Megami Tensei
  18. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  19. Pokemon Heart Gold / Soul Silver
  20. Just Cause 2

Thearcadians.net (27 voters)

  1. Mass Effect 2
  2. Red Dead Redemption
  3. Halo Reach
  4. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  5. Starcraft 2
  6. Fallout: New Vegas
  7. Rock Band 3
  8. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  9. NHL 11
  10. Minecraft
  11. Bioshock 2
  12. Limbo
  13. Pokemon Heart Gold / Soul Silver
  14. Monday Night Combat
  15. Angry Birds
  16. Alan Wake
  17. Super Street Fighter 4
  18. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  19. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
  20. Blur

iJumpman (Jumpman for iPhone)

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

My free Mac/PC game Jumpman is now available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

HOW TO GET IT

  • Click here or search on the App Store for “iJumpman”.

GAMEPLAY VIDEO

FEATURES

  • All the content from the PC version
  • Gesture and tilt controls (plus optional button control scheme)
  • Full in-game soundtrack (plus iTunes library support)
  • Full level editor with integrated online level swapping
  • Supported languages: English, Spanish, French, German

PLOT

  • Guide Jumpman to the exit.

A Game of the Year 2009 Poll: Results

Friday, January 8th, 2010

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE PRETTY COLOR-CODED FULL RESULTS

This explanation will look a lot like last year’s, but:

Every year since 2004 I’ve been hosting this Game of the Year poll for the users of some forums I read. There are a lot of GOTY polls out there, but this one I think is kind of special. Most polls, you’re given a list of four or five options and you’re asked to pick the one you liked best. This poll, people are given a list of a couple of hundred options, consisting of every new game released in the previous year– and asked to rate their top ten or twenty.

This does a few interesting things. First off, we get to see all the information about what people’s second, third etc choices are. Second off, because the second, third etc choices count, people are more likely to vote for the game they want to win, rather than the game they think is likely to win– they’re less likely to engage in “strategic voting”. Finally, because we have all this information, we’re actually able to provide somewhat reasonable rankings for something like the top hundred or so games of last year.

The full results– showing the exact number of voters who ranked each game first, second, third place etc– can be found here. In the meantime, the final results were:

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum (7772) *** GAME OF THE YEAR ***
  2. Dragon Age: Origins (7019)
  3. Borderlands (5579)
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (4458)
  5. Left 4 Dead 2 (4295)
  6. Assassin’s Creed II (4205)
  7. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (3858)
  8. Torchlight (3792)
  9. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (3386)
  10. Resident Evil 5 (2941)
  11. Street Fighter IV (2576)
  12. Shadow Complex (2460)
  13. Demon’s Souls (2342)
  14. Halo 3: ODST (2104)
  15. Brütal Legend (2008)
  16. The Beatles: Rock Band (1991)
  17. Infamous (1844)
  18. Plants vs. Zombies (1773)
  19. Scribblenauts (1752)
  20. Prototype (1720)

The numbers in parentheses are the final scores each game got under the poll’s ranking system. Thanks if you voted, and some more elaborate analysis of the results (plus an explanation of the scores) can be found below.

NOTEWORTHY WINNERS

  • GOTY 2009:

    #1, Batman: Arkham Asylum

  • Top-ranked PS3 Exclusive:

    #7, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

  • Top-ranked PC Exclusive:

    #8, Torchlight

  • Top-ranked Wii Exclusive:

    #9, New Super Mario Bros. Wii

  • Top-ranked 360 Exclusive:

    #12, Shadow Complex

  • Top-ranked DS Exclusive:

    #19, Scribblenauts

  • Top-ranked PSP Exclusive:

    #46, Dissidia: Final Fantasy

  • Top-ranked iPhone Exclusive:

    #56, Canabalt

  • Best RPG:

    #2, Dragon Age: Origins

  • Best FPS:

    #3, Borderlands

  • Best Game Only Available Through A Console Download Service:

    #12, Shadow Complex

  • Best “Indie” Game? (I’m not even sure I know what that word means.):

    #18, Plants vs Zombies

NOTEWORTHY LOSERS

  • Best game of 2009 which somehow nobody considered to be their #1 pick: #30, Punch-Out!!
  • Worst game of 2009 that at least one person considered their #1 pick: #248, Harvest Moon: Animal Parade (Only one person voted for this at all)
  • Worst game of 2009: #284, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Only one person voted for this; it was their #20 pick)

There were 17 games on the nominations list no one voted for at all. Also, FIFA 10– which was left off the nominations list by complete accident– probably deserves some kind of special “moral victory” award for the sheer number of people who were upset about its absence.

ALTERNATE SCORING METHODS

The rankings listed above are based on what was originally intended to be an approximation of Condorcet voting, but which I’m told is actually closer to the Borda count. In my Borda-ish voting method, each vote cast for a game gives that game a certain number of points. If someone ranks a game #1, that game gets 20 points. If they rank it #2, the game gets 19 points. If they rank it #3 the game gets 18 points… and so on. I have a script that checks a couple of alternate ways of ranking the same data, though.

For example, if we rank games only by the number of first post votes they got, we get a wildly different list, with the most obvious difference being Batman and Dragon Age swapping places:

First Past the Post

  1. Dragon Age: Origins (134)
  2. Batman: Arkham Asylum (119)
  3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (111)
  4. Borderlands (58)
  5. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (45)
  6. Left 4 Dead 2 (45)
  7. Assassin’s Creed II (41)
  8. Demon’s Souls (41)
  9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (32)
  10. Street Fighter IV (25)
  11. Brütal Legend (14)
  12. The Beatles: Rock Band (13)
  13. Shadow Complex (12)
  14. Torchlight (12)
  15. Resident Evil 5 (11)
  16. Halo 3: ODST (10)
  17. Muramasa: The Demon Blade (9)
  18. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (8)
  19. Red Faction: Guerrilla (7)
  20. Forza Motorsport 3 (7)
  21. Infamous (7)
  22. Little King’s Story (7)
  23. Machinarium (7)

Most years when I look at the first-past-the-post list a “cult” game usually emerges that received very few overall votes, but where an overwhelming percentage of those votes were #1 votes; this year there was no obvious leader in the “cult” category, although the jump in ranking for Demon’s Souls seems pretty significant, and Murasama (which jumps from #37 to #17) and Machinarium and Little King’s Story (which jump from #40 and #48 to a five-way tie for 19th place) seem worth mentioning.

I also did two more ways of sorting the rankings: an “approval” vote, where nothing is counted except the number of votes a game received (i.e. a first-place and a twentieth-place ranking count the same– all the matters is if the game was on someone’s list); and an instant runoff vote. Your eyes are probably starting to glaze over at this point, so I bolded the places where these two votes differ from the normal rankings:

Approval

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum (438)
  2. Dragon Age: Origins (395)
  3. Borderlands (347)
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (281)
  5. Left 4 Dead 2 (265)
  6. Torchlight (255)
  7. Assassin’s Creed II (247)
  8. Resident Evil 5 (215)
  9. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (213)
  10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (210)
  11. Shadow Complex (175)
  12. Street Fighter IV (172)
  13. Brütal Legend (148)
  14. Halo 3: ODST (146)
  15. Demon’s Souls (143)
  16. Scribblenauts (141)
  17. The Beatles: Rock Band (133)
  18. Prototype (131)
  19. Plants vs. Zombies (130)
  20. Infamous (126)

IRV

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum (438)
  2. Dragon Age: Origins (395)
  3. Borderlands (347)
  4. Left 4 Dead 2 (265)
  5. Torchlight (255)
  6. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (210)
  7. Assassin’s Creed II (247)
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (281)
  9. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (213)
  10. Resident Evil 5 (215)
  11. Street Fighter IV (172)
  12. Shadow Complex (175)
  13. Demon’s Souls (143)
  14. Brütal Legend (148)
  15. Halo 3: ODST (146)
  16. Scribblenauts (141)
  17. Infamous (126)
  18. The Beatles: Rock Band (133)
  19. Prototype (131)
  20. Plants vs. Zombies (130)

FINALLY: PER-FORUM BREAKDOWNS

As mentioned before, this poll mostly exists for a handful of video game forums where some people I know post. Since a couple years ago when I started posting the results on this blog, I’ve tried to actually run some extra results, in each case counting only those voters who– as far as one could tell from looking at the logs– had come to the poll from one particular forum or other.

So, here you have it– these numbers aren’t totally accurate because my logging method is not entirely trustworthy, but here’s an approximate by-forum breakdown of these results. Links go to color-coded full listings.

Penny Arcade Forums (767 voters)

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  2. Dragon Age: Origins
  3. Borderlands
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Left 4 Dead 2
  6. Assassin’s Creed II
  7. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  8. Torchlight
  9. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  10. Resident Evil 5
  11. Street Fighter IV
  12. Shadow Complex
  13. Demon’s Souls
  14. The Beatles: Rock Band
  15. Halo 3: ODST
  16. Brütal Legend
  17. Infamous
  18. Prototype
  19. Scribblenauts
  20. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

Tigsource.com (48 voters)

  1. Machinarium
  2. Star Guard
  3. Scribblenauts
  4. Canabalt
  5. Borderlands
  6. Assassin’s Creed II
  7. Captain Forever / Successor
  8. Don’t Look Back
  9. Dragon Age: Origins
  10. Don’t **** Your Pants
  11. Au Sable
  12. Left 4 Dead 2
  13. Plants vs. Zombies
  14. Small Worlds
  15. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  16. Torchlight
  17. Blueberry Garden
  18. Glum Buster
  19. RunMan: Race Around the World
  20. Brütal Legend
Platformers.net (45 voters)

  1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  2. Dragon Age: Origins
  3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  4. Torchlight
  5. Street Fighter IV
  6. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  7. Shadow Complex
  8. Borderlands
  9. Punch-Out!!
  10. Retro Game Challenge
  11. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
  12. Rhythm Heaven
  13. Left 4 Dead 2
  14. Brütal Legend
  15. Halo 3: ODST
  16. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
  17. Red Faction: Guerrilla
  18. Infamous
  19. Demon’s Souls
  20. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Thearcadians.net (26 voters)

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  2. Borderlands
  3. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  4. Forza Motorsport 3
  5. Dragon Age: Origins
  6. Torchlight
  7. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  8. Left 4 Dead 2
  9. Shadow Complex
  10. Assassin’s Creed II
  11. Halo 3: ODST
  12. Brütal Legend
  13. Trials HD
  14. Infamous
  15. Red Faction: Guerrilla
  16. Street Fighter IV
  17. Battlefield 1943
  18. 1 vs. 100
  19. Ghostbusters: The Video Game
  20. Resident Evil 5

Jumpcore: A starting point for SDL/OpenGL games

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

NON-PROGRAMMERS READ THIS

Here, download this silly physics toy:

    “Typewriter”

Controls: Keyboard, mouse, F1, F4, ESC

PROGRAMMERS READ THIS

(UPDATE 4/11: Instead please see the page for Jumpcore 2.0.)

When I started writing Jumpman, something that frustrated me was that there are a couple of seemingly basic things that SDL/OpenGL doesn’t actually provide out of the box, and that I couldn’t seem to find a really good source for sample code for– things like drawing text, or creating a simple GUI, or building a crossplatform binary. So once the game was done I decided to clean up my code a little, strip out the “Jumpman” parts and release the basic skeleton as open source sample code. Below is that code, and a small tutorial on setting up Mac OS X such that it can build Windows and Linux executables. The hope is to make an overall package that would allow someone starting an SDL/OpenGL game to just sit down and start writing, rather than having to spend time downloading and fiddling with libraries.

The Jumpcore package comes in two versions. A minimal version that includes only:

  • The ability to draw text (provided by the Freetype and FTGL libraries).
  • A code snippet for managing “internal files” (which live in a directory named “Internal” on windows/linux, and inside the application package in OS X)
  • Alt-tab support for OS X (SDL does not do this out of the box for fullscreen apps)
  • Makefiles (and one .xcodeproj) for Windows, Mac and Linux

And a more fully featured version that also comes packaged with:

  • The Chipmunk 2D physics library
  • The LodePNG library (and a code snippet for loading PNGs into OpenGL textures)
  • The TinyXML library
  • Some color conversion routines
  • A minimal “ControlBase” GUI library (dependent on Chipmunk)
  • The “Typewriter” demo code linked at the top of this post.

The included libraries were picked in an attempt to include all the basic stuff a game needs, while still making the package as easy as possible to port and reuse in weird situations: all the libraries are self-contained and except for SDL itself can be built from the package as source where necessary; nothing depends on anything more complicated than the STL– I avoided heavyweight dependencies like Ogre or libpng; and everything is under a BSD-like license. The biggest limitation of the package at the moment is that it’s a bit mac-centric (I have not tested it with Visual Studio or Dev-C++).

Basically, here’s a box full of Legos and half a robot. Have fun.

DOWNLOAD

HOW TO BUILD

Included is a Jumpcore.xcodeproj for compiling on mac, which can be compiled with XCode; windows makefile and support files are in a folder named win/, and can be compiled with mingw; Linux makefile and support files are in a folder named lin/, and can be compiled with gcc. More detailed instructions for all three platforms follow:

    If you’re on a mac:

To build a mac executable, from a mac: Included is a Jumpcore.xcodeproj for use with XCode; just build that in Release mode and it should produce a 10.3.9-compatible universal binary (though note, I’ve not specifically tested it with 10.3.9).

    If you’re on a mac and you want to build a Windows executable:

Here’s the best way I’ve found to do this:

  1. There is a “Cross Compilers for Mac OS X” page here that actually has OS X installers for mingw. PPC and Intel versions are included; I installed 4.3.0 for Intel. The only problem with these particular installers is they install into strange places, so whichever installer from that page you pick, write down the “Installation directory” listed to the right of it.
  2. Once you’ve installed an installer from that page, you need to install SDL headers. In order to do this, go to the SDL download page and look under “Development Libraries” -> “Win32″ -> “Mingw32″. Download that tarball. Once you’ve downloaded it ignore the “INSTALL” file, which is full of lies, and do this: Edit the “Makefile” in the directory so that the “CROSS_PATH” on line 4 is the “Installation directory” you wrote down in step 1. Like in my case this would be:
      CROSS_PATH := /usr/local/i386-mingw32-4.3.0

    Once you’ve done this, run “sudo make cross” and it will install the SDL headers into your mingw directory.

  3. Go into the “win/” directory. Run “make” with the argument MINGW=[Installation Directory], where [Installation Directory] is again the directory from step 1– in my case this would be
      make MINGW=/usr/local/i386-mingw32-4.3.0

A directory named “Jumpcore” will be created with a Jumpcore.exe and all the support files necessary.

    If you’re on a mac and you want to build a Linux executable:

Just distribute source. No, really. Building Linux binaries for distribution is tricky, and binaries aren’t what people want anyway. However if you want to do what I did and chicken out, what I recommend is installing Virtual Box or Q (probably Virtual Box, though Q is what I used) and loading up an Ubuntu install CD. This is quicker and easier than trying to set up a cross compile. Then go into the “lin/” directory and type “make”.

    If you’re on Windows:

I was able to successfully compile Jumpcore on Windows by doing the following:

  1. Download and install MinGW. (Make sure to install the C++ package.)
  2. Download and install MSYS (it’s part of MinGW, but a separate download)
  3. As described on the MinGW install HOWTO, add C:\MinGW\bin to your path: right-click “My Computer”, click “Advanced”, click “Environment Variables”, double-click the line that says “PATH”, and in the second line add the characters ;C:\MinGW\bin
  4. Go to the SDL download page and look under “Development Libraries” -> “Win32″ -> “Mingw32″. Download that tarball and open up its contents in MSYS. Type “make native” and it will install itself.
  5. A kind of odd step: right-click the file “README.txt”, open it in Wordpad, and immediately save it. (This will strip out my evil UNIX newlines.)
  6. Go into the directory win/ and run: make WINDOWS=1

This will create an install directory named “Jumpcore”. If you want to compile for debugging, in that last step type: make WINDOWS=1 DEBUG=1

    If you’re on Linux:

Install Freetype and SDL. Go into the directory lin/ and run make. This will create an install directory named “Jumpcore”. If you want to compile for debugging, instead type: make DEBUG=1

GETTING STARTED

Once you get the thing built, you’re going to want to start focusing on swapping out the Typewriter code for your own code. Jumpcore consists of a main.cpp that does basic bringup/teardown and event loop work hopefully good enough for most games, and makes callbacks as appropriate into a display.cpp (display logic) and a program.cpp (game logic) you provide. You’ll want to implement the following methods:

In display.cpp

    display_init() – This is called once each time the display surface is initialized. It’s a good place to do things like initialize fonts and textures. (Note it could be called more than once if the window size ever changes.)

    display() – This is called when it is time to draw a new frame.

    audio_callback() – This is set up as the SDL audio callback.

    drawButton (“full version” only) – This is a cpSpaceEach callback which the default display() calls on each interface item. If you want to change the appearance of the ControlBase controls this is a good place to do that.

In program.cpp

    program_init() – This is called once when the program begins.

    program_update() – The default display() calls this once per framedraw.

    program_eventkey() – This is called when SDL gets a key event.

    program_eventjoy() – This is called when SDL gets a joystick event.

    program_eventmouse() – This is called when SDL gets a mouse event.

    program_interface() – This is called after the event system finishes dispatching events to ControlBase controls, to give the interface a chance to redraw itself.

    BackOut() – Called when ESC is hit (quits).

    AboutToQuit() – Called right before the program quits.

Documentation for the individual libraries and functions included with Jumpcore can be found on these separate pages:

LIMITATIONS AND POSSIBLE FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS

I’m not really sure if this is ultimately going to be useful to anyone, and I don’t intend to maintain it unless there are people actually using it. However if there turns out to be any interest in this there are a few things I’d like to improve in a future release:

  • The package contains everything you need to build a Windows version from a Mac. It would be awesome if I could eventually reach the point where a Windows user could build a Mac version (is that even possible?).
  • Linux version is poorly tested in general. I have reports of issues on 64 bit systems, and the original Jumpman code seemed to have issues with switching to and from full screen mode.
  • The final executable size is pretty large– 2 or 3 MB compressed for the very minimal typewriter demo. I’m curious if this can be improved on. At least on the mac a large chunk of this is taken up by SDL, which gets bundled along with the executable. However, to someone who’s using OpenGL to draw, a lot of this is wasted space– because much of the complexity in SDL is taken up by the 2D drawing support. I’d like to try to swap out the SDL libraries for versions that lack 2D drawing.
  • iPhone compatibility? Now that I’m doing iPhone development I’m becoming pretty firmly convinced it does not make sense to create a single codebase that compiles on both PC and iPhone– the platforms are too different– but maybe it would make sense to rewrite some parts of the typewriter demo to make portability to something like iPhone easier (for example, rewriting the drawing code to be OpenGL ES-compatible).
  • I am not sure that every library included with this is the most recent version.
  • The one “every game needs this” feature that isn’t in this package is configurable joystick/gamepad support. I’m not sure whether it makes sense to try to add it or not.

Finally, there have actually been a number of interesting-looking SDL “game engines” released lately, so you should be aware of those in case one fits your needs better than Jumpcore does. One I’m aware of is 2D Boy’s Boy engine (though that one does not appear to come with build files for anything except Visual Studio); if you know of others feel free to share them in the comments below.

Jumpman

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I made a video game.

DOWNLOAD (Version 1.0.2)

GAMEPLAY VIDEO

FEATURES

  • Old-school puzzle platforming with some twists
  • Low-definition graphics
  • Gamepad support
  • Full level editor

PLOT

  • Guide Jumpman to the exit.

 
————————————————————————————————————————
 
(OTHER STUFF)

  • There is a collection of user-created levels for Jumpman here.
  • In 2010 I released an iPhone/iPad version of Jumpman.
  • You can find the source code for this game on Bitbucket.

A Game of the Year 2008 Poll: Results

Friday, January 9th, 2009

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE PRETTY COLOR-CODED FULL RESULTS

I’m just gonna copy and paste the explanation I gave last year:

For the last few years I’ve been hosting this Game of the Year poll for the users of some forums I read. There are a lot of GOTY polls out there, but this one I think is kind of special. Most polls, you’re given a list of four or five options and you’re asked to pick the one you liked best. This poll, people are given a list of a couple of hundred options, consisting of every new game released in the previous year– and asked to rate their top ten or twenty.

This does a few interesting things. First off, we get to see all the information about what people’s second, third etc choices are. Second off, because the second, third etc choices count, people are more likely to vote for the game they want to win, rather than the game they think is likely to win– they’re less likely to engage in “strategic voting”. Finally, because we have all this information, we’re actually able to provide somewhat reasonable rankings for something like the top hundred or so games of last year.

The full results– showing the exact number of voters who ranked each game first, second, third place etc– can be found here. In the meantime, the final results were:

  1. Fallout 3 (8780) *** GAME OF THE YEAR ***
  2. Left 4 Dead (6626)
  3. Grand Theft Auto 4 (5032)
  4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (4321)
  5. Rock Band 2 (3290)
  6. Dead Space (3151)
  7. Gears of War 2 (2942)
  8. Fable 2 (2751)
  9. Braid (2729)
  10. Metal Gear Solid 4 (2666)
  11. Little Big Planet (2520)
  12. No More Heroes (2241)
  13. Audiosurf (2152)
  14. Castle Crashers (2083)
  15. Valkyria Chronicles (2027)
  16. Mario Kart Wii (2014)
  17. The World Ends with You (2000)
  18. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (1914)
  19. Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Ep. 1 (1910)
  20. Sins of a Solar Empire (1850)

The numbers in parentheses are the final scores each game got under the poll’s ranking system. (The scores in general were a lot closer than last year–basically all the rankings 14-18 are within a couple votes of each other!) Thanks if you voted, and some more elaborate analysis of the results (plus an explanation of the scores) can be found below.

NOTEWORTHY WINNERS

  • GOTY 2008:

    #1, Fallout 3

  • Top-ranked Wii Exclusive:

    #4, Super Smash Bros. Brawl

  • Top-ranked 360 Exclusive:

    #7, Gears of War 2

  • Top-ranked PS3 Exclusive:

    #10, Metal Gear Solid 4

  • Top-ranked PC Exclusive:

    #13, Audiosurf

  • Top-ranked DS Exclusive:

    #17, The World Ends With You

  • Top-ranked PSP Exclusive:

    #39, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

  • Best FPS:

    #2, Left 4 Dead

  • Best RPG:

    #1, Fallout 3

  • Best Sports Game:

    #27, Burnout Paradise

  • Best Game Only Available Through A Console Download Service:

    #8, Braid

  • Special “Cult” Award (see below):

    #26, Persona 4 & #15, Valkyria Chronicles (Tie)

NOTEWORTHY LOSERS

  • Best game of 2008 which somehow nobody considered to be their #1 pick: #33, Spore
  • Worst game of 2008 that at least one person considered their #1 pick: #179, Midnight Club: Los Angeles (Only two people voted for this)
  • Worst game of 2008: #203, Mystery Case Files: MillionHEIR (Only one person voted for this; it was their #20 pick)

There were also ten games which were listed, but which no one voted for at all.

ALTERNATE SCORING METHODS

The rankings listed above are based on what was intended to be an approximation of Condorcet voting, but which I’m told is actually closer to the Borda count. In my Borda-ish voting method, each vote cast for a game gives that game a certain number of points. If someone ranks a game #1, that game gets 20 points. If they rank it #2, the game gets 19 points. If they rank it #3 the game gets 18 points… and so on. I have a script that checks a couple of alternate ways of ranking the same data, though.

For example, if we rank games only by the number of first post votes they got, we get a wildly different list:

First Past the Post

  1. Fallout 3 (182 first-place votes)
  2. Left 4 Dead (109)
  3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (42)
  4. Metal Gear Solid 4 (42)
  5. Valkyria Chronicles (39)
  6. Persona 4 (39)
  7. Grand Theft Auto 4 (35)
  8. Dead Space (31)
  9. Rock Band 2 (30)
  10. The World Ends with You (30)
  11. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (30)
  12. Gears of War 2 (23)
  13. Little Big Planet (21)
  14. No More Heroes (19)
  15. Braid (15)
  16. World of Goo (14)
  17. Spelunky (12)
  18. Sins of a Solar Empire (11)
  19. Fable 2 (10)
  20. Prince of Persia (10)

Every year when I do this there’s some game which scores horribly low in the objective rankings but gets a really startling proportion of first-place votes; last year the standout game in the “cult” department was Persona 3; this year the standout was, interestingly enough, Persona 4, which only got 87 votes at all, placing it at #26 in the overall rankings– but nearly half of those votes, a full 39, ranked it in first place, putting it in sixth place in the First Past the Post ranking above. Tying Persona 4 in the First Past the Post ranking is Valkyria Chronicles, which did a little better in terms of how many people voted for it (117 votes) but which still gets a pretty great cult ranking since one in three of those voters considered it their #1 game. (Honorable mention in the cult category should probably go to “Spelunky“, a wildly obscure but kind of awesome freeware pixel art game released in the last two weeks of December, which came in way down at 51st place in the overall rankings but managed to come in 17th in first-pace votes– with again nearly one-third of the people who voted for Spelunky at all rating it #1.)

I also did two more ways of sorting the rankings: an “approval” vote, where nothing is counted except the number of votes a game received (i.e. a first-place and a twentieth-place ranking count the same– all the matters is if the game was on someone’s list); and an instant runoff vote. Most years I’ve done this the Instant Runoff and pseudo-Borda rankings have been almost the same, but this time there were some interesting differences (with the biggest one being, for some reason I don’t understand, World of Goo somehow jumping a good seven spots in the rankings?!). Your eyes are probably starting to glaze over at this point, so I bolded the places where these two votes differ from the normal rankings:

Approval

  1. Fallout 3 (488)
  2. Left 4 Dead (388)
  3. Grand Theft Auto 4 (325)
  4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (266)
  5. Rock Band 2 (205)
  6. Dead Space (204)
  7. Braid (187)
  8. Gears of War 2 (185)
  9. Fable 2 (184)
  10. Audiosurf (161)
  11. Little Big Planet (161)
  12. Metal Gear Solid 4 (161)
  13. Castle Crashers (160)
  14. Penny Arcade Adventures ep.1  (176)
  15. No More Heroes (155)
  16. Mario Kart Wii (148)
  17. The World Ends with You (129)
  18. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (128)
  19. Mega Man 9 (124)
  20. Sins of a Solar Empire (122)

IRV

  1. Fallout 3
  2. Left 4 Dead
  3. Grand Theft Auto 4
  4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  5. Dead Space
  6. Rock Band 2
  7. Gears of War 2
  8. Fable 2
  9. Braid
  10. Metal Gear Solid 4
  11. Little Big Planet
  12. Castle Crashers
  13. Mario Kart Wii
  14. No More Heroes
  15. World of Goo
  16. AudioSurf
  17. The World Ends with You
  18. Valkyria Chronicles
  19. Penny Arcade Adventures ep.1
  20. Sins of a Solar Empire

FINALLY: PER-FORUM BREAKDOWNS

As mentioned before, this poll mostly exists for a handful of video game forums where some people I know post. Since last year when I started posting the results on this blog, I’ve tried to actually run some extra results, in each case counting only those voters who– as far as one could tell from looking at the logs– had come to the poll from one particular forum or other.

So, here you have it– these numbers aren’t totally accurate because my logging method is not entirely trustworthy, but here’s an approximate by-forum breakdown of these results. Links go to color-coded full listings.

Penny Arcade Forums (806 voters)

  1. Fallout 3
  2. Left 4 Dead
  3. Grand Theft Auto 4
  4. Super Smash Bros Brawl
  5. Rock Band 2
  6. Dead Space
  7. Braid
  8. Gears of War 2
  9. Fable 2
  10. Metal Gear Solid 4
  11. Little Big Planet
  12. AudioSurf
  13. Mario Kart Wii
  14. Castle Crashers
  15. No More Heroes
  16. Valkyria Chronicles
  17. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
  18. Penny Arcade Adventures ep.1
  19. The World Ends with You
  20. Sins of a Solar Empire

Platformers.net (42 voters)

  1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  2. Fallout 3
  3. Left 4 Dead
  4. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
  5. No More Heroes
  6. Persona 4
  7. Mega Man 9
  8. Professor Layton and the Curious Village
  9. The World Ends with You
  10. AudioSurf
  11. Grand Theft Auto 4
  12. World of Goo
  13. Dead Space
  14. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
  15. Metal Gear Solid 4
  16. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
  17. Little Big Planet
  18. Rock Band 2
  19. Tales of Vesperia
  20. Braid
360Arcadians.net (37 voters)

  1. Fallout 3
  2. Grand Theft Auto 4
  3. Left 4 Dead
  4. Gears of War 2
  5. Rock Band 2
  6. Metal Gear Solid 4
  7. Fable 2
  8. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
  9. Little Big Planet
  10. Dead Space
  11. Saints Row 2
  12. Sins of a Solar Empire
  13. Burnout Paradise
  14. Prince of Persia
  15. Valkyria Chronicles
  16. Castle Crashers
  17. NHL 09
  18. Lost Odyssey
  19. Penny Arcade Adventures ep.1
  20. Civilization Revolution

Mechanically Separated Meat (6 voters)

  1. Super Smash Bros Brawl
  2. Professor Layton and the Curious Villiage
  3. Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix
  4. Mega Man 9
  5. World of Goo
  6. Trauma Center: Under the Knife
  7. The World Ends with You
  8. Iji
  9. Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden Hourglass
  10. Fallout 3