Double Tap

Again, so much time and so little things to do. Ah, wait, I got that wrong…and not on purpose. Cripes I’m tired. Reverse that, switching the “time” and “things” parts of the first sentence and…it still doesn’t make sense. Let’s assume that you know what I’m talking about and move forward from there.
Right then, been spending a lot of time recently considering moving. No, the internet is not a local thing that I can only get to from here, so I can keep right on writing these things. I’ve just come to the conclusion that, since I get the occasional callbacks regarding things I apply for (that could almost be graphed since my experience increases every day, hence the odds of calls and interviews begins to rapidly approach a highish percentage) I can increase the chances for my present by increasing the number of places I apply to. Hence, widening my search. Having said that I’ve begun to really look at social and mobile games. Don’t get me wrong, given an option, yes I would like a cool million worth of budget to make something awesome. But so many of the things that I really love about all of this is condensed into mobile and social games. I get to build things quick so I’m working on lots of projects, and I’m done before I get bored. Always thinking about the next thing and aiming the full intellectual and creative fury of my gray matter at the game at hand…pretty much like I do now at Star Frog.
So I’ll keep on looking, and applying, and discovering that the world of game development is weirder and much more interesting than I had ever thought.

– In regards to Paper Zeppelin (if I keep typing out Paper Zeppelin Google will finally put me at the top instead of the item from WoW.) I’ve gotten the first level hacked out for single player. It works and is fun to play. The mechanics work, and I was able to have some playtesting done to ensure that the mechanics hold up in the code. Thankfully they seem to, although I did have to change the player bullets to only fire about 60% of the way across the screen for balance reasons. One of these days I’m going to have to write about balance, and what it actually means in regards to fun. Maybe next time (so tune in! {…like anybody reads this}). I find that while making levels, especially the early ones, I have to strike just the right balance between having things to shoot at, and not overwhelming the player. Too much and then the player just gets frustrated and quits – possibly before purchasing the full version for 160 Bill Bucks or whatever they’re called. Too little though, and the player just watches the scenery float by. I mean, the scrolling does look really nice, but it’s not what I paid my $2.00 for. I paid to shoot at construction paper stuff with my friends. It’s an interesting challenge, and I’m finding that I enjoy doing it more than should be legal.

– Alright then, the titles. For playtesting purposes (and general “make the gods damned game work correctly” purposes) I went in and made all the stuff lethal. To that end (trying to start fewer sentences with “So”) I turned the damage and collision for bullets on. Fired up the game, took a bullet and promptly died. Now the game is supposed to remove a single HP when a bullet hits a target. It already works for all of the enemies for shit’s sake. But for some reason, the player sprite would smoke and go right out. It’s the kind of thing that Elton John would write a song about if it wasn’t so stupid.
Turns out, after doing some screwing around with it, that the bullets were somehow hitting the player multiple times, in spite of the fact that the bullet no longer existed for all intents and occasional purposes.
After playing with the timing, all I’ve managed to do thus far is make it worse. Now, for some reason, enemies do the same thing when they worked just fine before. Also, when a player is damaged they no longer show the proper symptoms for being on fire (mostly the smoke and flames).
What I have here I believe, is a Systemic Bug. Gods I fucking hate these. It’s not a misplaced line of code, it’s not the wrong variable getting passed or anything so dumb. No, instead it’s a breakdown of the logic of the system. Somewhere in the structure of the bloody thing, it’s doing something, some process, in the wrong order. The fact that it had previously worked was some kind of fluke.
So to fix this, I’m going to gave to fix big chunks of code. I probably should have done this before, but I’m going to break out each of the Lists (Sprite, Enemy, Ground and Player) into their own function that will then check each of the other lists for collision purposes. Right now, I run the lists and then check things when they are convenient. So when I check bullets for example, I first check all the enemies, and since I have the bullets open, I have it check the players too, saves some processor time. But I get the impression it’s all those nested loops that are causing the stupidity. I’ll smash the thing with my brain until one of them admits defeat, and my money’s not on The Problem, which has a record of 0 – 100,000,000.

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