Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Flash ? Nah, we're a Wii blog now

Whilst we've been talking about tinkering with Flash on the Wii this month, we've got this handy link that Amy kindly sent us to pimp here, and we appreciate the art of pimping, so here it is
how-to-homebrew-wii-games-73-tips-tutorials-and-resources

A really excellent list of links which should be a good starting point for anyone wanting to look into the subject more.

I promise we'll be back to normal service soon, it's just that things are waiting for sign off behind the scenes so we're like a swan, serene on the surface but hidden away it's a flurry of activity.
One way or another, there will be at least one new game posted here before the 14th of Feb ( Guess what the theme of that will be ).

Squize.

Never say quick when it comes to coding ...

So I had a long night yesterday, finishing off some unloved project that I've been delaying for some time now and as some sort of personal reward for being so brave I played a bit with my "play media on the wii" idea...

I had written the service for getting drives, dirs and files a few days ago (don't try this on real a webserver :) ), so I *just* had to do some flash frontend ...

Oh well, I should have known better ....

To give you a basic idea of what I was thinking of, here's a (sized) image:

wiicenter_00.jpg
(icons are just temporary)


I thought that fiddling with scrollbars would be a no-go on the Wii, so I came up with the idea of a dragable "canvas".
So you can click on a drive, which opens the folder list for it, clicking on a folder... you get the point.

Now here starts the tricky part ...
Once I had the drive list done, I noticed that it lists floppy disks and CD/DVD drives, too. I either had to give the drive type when getting the list from the service or don't show them (in both cases this means to mess with the service's code - that for quick and easy).
The next thing I noticed that the service currently doesn't care if a directory is hidden or not (and if it is hidden, I might need to know in my flash file).

Well, it doesn't end there (of course not), because I might need to know some more about the files inside a folder (size is obvious) - oh and what is if there are some more files/folders (say you have a folder with 1000 images or mp3s) ...

That clearly killed my idea of a quick solution, I'll have to heavily modify the service (although I had to do that anyway) and there are some quite important things to consider for the swf (I may have to drop the drag idea).

We will see.

nGFX


Playing media on the Wii

It's so long ago I've posted something that it's untrue. It may be because there was nothing much to say during that time, that is projects not really game related or so absurdly NDA protected that even to mention the general direction would be ... well expensive.

You surely remember my last (!) post where I have a bit of a rant about the media capabilities of the Wii (still no games on it for me, though). Right now this neat piece of hardware sits beneath the TV left of it's bigger and way more often used brother the xbox 360. All I do with it (you remember: playing Wii Sports after a lot of coding) is using it as TV based web browser.

Webbrowser ... well that brought the idea.

(OK, that and the fact that we had some friends here and wanted to look at some photos from the last party. One of them (a "no gamer") asked if there would be some music to play along and I had to admit that it's not working anymore (due to the glorious photo chanel update))

So inspired be the fact that I got the 360 playing my mp3/fotos/movies from my pc in no time, I started to set up a small test environment webpage on my local IIS to see if I could use the browser to browse my pc's hdd. And of course it works.

So I wrapped the output with some XML and viola I had a flash 7 swf that I could use to browse the directories on my pc. Well done.

The only drawback atm is the fact that there has to be a webserver running ... I guess you can't convince most people to install an IIS on their PC to get some media on the Wii. After a few minutes of thinking it came to me that I could write my own - or better integrate cassini (an open source micro webserver) - to host the services for the Wii ...

Well, let's see where that leads to ...

nGFX

[edit] just found this while hunting for informations about the Wii browser flashplayer ...
http://my.opera.com/[..]flash-7-and-not-8-or-9

2007 in words and pictures

Well I've been freelancing for over a year now, and GYW must be due it's first birthday, and what with it being the start of a new year I thought it'd be cool to look back at what's gone before so we can look to the future.

warmbeer_grab.jpg

The Day of the Warm Beer. One of my favourite games, I was just given so much freedom on this, and one of the few games that I'm really gutted with didn't have more time with 'cause there was so much more we could have added.
I'd do a sequel tomorrow if I could.
( One quick thing to note, the boys at skive had to alter it, click tracking I guess, so the correct font isn't shown on the sat nav and the arrows pointing to your friends don't tween correctly. )

polarity_grab.jpg

Polarity. I love parts of this, and really dislike others. Should have been better than it is, but it's still pretty impressive.

greenlight_grab.jpg

Greenlight. A really aggressive deadline for this so it was a stressful development ( I was also finishing off Polarity at the same time ). Not my thing to be honest, but I think what we did we did well. It's recently had some more levels added to it, but I was tied up so they were done internally at Skive.

thinkDrive_grab.jpg

Think & Drive. My first job with Morpheme ( Before starting on the Phantom Mansion games ). It's still sitting around waiting for the client to supply a final bit of copy before going live. Feels a bit dated now ( It's been gold over 6 months ) but it's still fun, and it was great using the mouse to control a driving game.


sol_2.jpg

Signs of Life. Epic huge project, although I really had next to no input. A pay the bills job for me.
I'm not going to link to it as it's UK locked due to it being a BBC project ( And therefore funded by UK licence fee payers ). I think 'cause of that it's recieved a lot less attention than it deserves, which is a crime.

pm_screenGrab.png

Phantom Mansion(s). A very difficult and drawn out development, but we're there now and it plays really well. I've just all but finished the next chapter ( Blue, which is number 5 I believe ? Starting to blur a little now ) so that should be out before the end of the month.
( Some of the early chapters have an issue with the loader frame work, if it gets to 3 hands on the preloader and just sits there, hit F5 and it'll work fine ).


FF_logo.png

Model City. Bit of an emergency job to help out a mate, I re-coded Fuel Factor-Y from scratch in 8 days ( I think that includes the never ending supply of amends ) as the original game source we were given would have been too much work to reskin and add the additional features.
Also did the code for the model city itself ( The loading Hub ) and various bits and bobs on the other two games.
Not the most fun project I've ever worked on.

grabFinal.png

Crazy Balls. Just a rebrand and re-release of an old game to see how it would fair on Kongregate. It died on it's arse.

GiftShopButton.png

The Game of Life. This was actually being developed when I was working on Signs of Life ( And "Golden Balls", which still hasn't been released and I think I'd be badly busted if I even posted a screen shot of it ).
First time as a project manager, and one of the best things I've ever done, and great working with Olli and Marmotte on it. There's more than enough posts about it on the blog so I'll leave it as that.

And that's a years worth of development. Hopefully when Olli stops being lazy and taking time off he can post some of his goodies too.

Coming up we've got the platform game ( Which I'm really proud of. It's on par with GOL in terms of love and quality ), the continuing Phantom Mansion games, Orbs and Olli's got a great old school game that we've been commisioned to do. All good.

Squize.

And the snowman said, "Can you smell carrots ?"

We just want to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas, and what the hell, a Happy New Year too.

Have a good one, and we'll be back soon with a cheeky platform game and maybe a slightly ego driven review of the past years output.

Squize.

Quo vadis Wii?

So I admit it ...

I once was a proud Wii owner. "Was?" I can here you ask. Well yes somewhat.

I own a Xbox 360 since the week it came out and I really like it and the games, too. (And please, keep all Wii, PS3 or whatever is better comments to yourself, as it really doesn't matter).

But this summer I bought a Wii, I like the control scheme, the browser and a lot of the classic games. Oh, speaking of games, this is something the Wii is currently very weak at.
I played Zelda, which is nice, but not that nice, a lot of boring running around scenes, not to mention this very unpleasant save game system.
I like Wii sports after a few hours of coding.
I loved Resident Evil 4.
Excite truck managed to be some fun for a few hours.
I was very pleased when Alien Syndrome hit the stores, but that passed after 3 hours of mostly boring and uninspired playing.


Well that's it. Is that all they managed to produce on the games end? Pretty much yes so far.
I admit (agian) that I don't like party games (And metroid isn't my cup of tea either).

But this time's Wii update really hit me, now the photo chanel cannot playback mp3 anymore, just aac.
Speaking of mp3, why the fuck isn't there a music chanel? Something that can playback music while showing some random colours?
I'd really like to use the Wii at times as music player (yes, I could use the 360 and because the Wii cannot, I do it, too), but the 360 is quite noisy and sometimes I just want something smooth as background music.

So when are there going to be some more "adult" oriented games (not in the Squize way adult, mind you)?
Or a music player?
Maybe even dvd playback?

I reached a point where I think I could well have lived without a Wii ...

nGFX

Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.

Well, well, well, after a quite long posting absence I just returned for some not-game-related words ...

I think I told you guys last time, that I'm burried under work and all of it is NDA sealed, so no words on that for now.

While having a few days off (finally) I started to work again on the dgNotifier, a cunning peace of software I've been moving around with me for quite a time now, but never ... really got into.

Everytime I start a new project I notice that I *need* that damn application, but of course I can't code it *now* because of the new project ahead.

So what's this dgNotifier?
Basically it's a ToDo list.
and some sort of bug tracker
a micro message board
helps tracking your working times
and it's a small calendar app

My problem is that I have two offices to hang out, so most of the stand-alone ToDo lists won't do the trick. Most of them don't meet my requierements (being small and non intrusive) and just a few allow widows-server based list handling.
What I also wanted was multi user ToDo lists.

I think I go into the ugly details of flash-remoting later, for now just 2 images of it working ...

dgn_todo_00.png dgn_editjob_00.png dgn_tasktimer_00.png
Main ToDo list view / the job editing panel / taking times for a task

Along with email and tray notifications it might prove handy ...

Next step will be implementing task editing (time tracker for tasks works already).

nGFX

ps: todays headline quote form Terry Pratchet's Hogfather (DE, US)

Believe

I imagine the vast majority of the whole world has seen the stunning Halo 3 believe ad.

This clip , from a much more innocent time, when the term "Arcade perfect" was the dream we all had, just shows how far we've come. And how old I am.

Squize.

25:47:45

That's how long it took me to play through Resident Evil 4, wii version. I also got some extra milage from the "second" mission, and the other bits and bobs they give you..
It's one of the best games I've ever played. When I first started playing it, I remember thinking how much the wii graphics suck in comparison to the 360 ( Gears of War has spoilt me ).
Sticking with it, you don't even notice it. In fact the fire and water effects are just stunning, and the whole atmosphere just drags you into that world.

In terms of levels, the game just keeps giving and giving. It's vast, and you never feel like you're just walking down the same corridor. Just when you think you've seen everything the game could possibly have, there's more. And more again.

One of the most stunning games I've ever enjoyed, just brilliant.

Wednesday, like I imagine one or two other people, I picked up Halo3. It's everything you'd imagine it to be. It's nice and familiar, but a million times larger and wider in terms of visuals and depth. So I had a couple of days hitting it hard after closing Flash. Picture how much it sucked that by Saturday, I've finished it.
Like sex, it's a lot of wow, a lot of enjoyment and... oh, it's finished. At least with sex it's my fault it's over before it needs to be.

It felt like the campaign mode is just there to supplement the multiplayer modes, rather than the other way around. That they've given you these huge ( And perfectly formed ) vistas to mess around with, a handful of new toys, and then sold it all a bit short.
I guess it just shows how much effort a game of this scale really is. I don't think Bungie have been lazy, I just think that if they tried to double the length of the game ( I'm sure I did it in 10/12 hours. Now I'm not the most anal gamer, I didn't go exploring every where, I just wanted to get in there and beat the game. Finding every hidden area has never appealed to me. So yes, perhaps if I'd gone exploring I could quite easily add a couple of hours to that ), then they'd still be developing it in 3 years times.

Maybe it's a symptom of the huge graphical advances that have come with the current generation of boxes, that we all expect every image to look like a photo of some alien world, that to actually finish developing a game the number of levels have to be cut down to balance it all out.
I mean the Halo3 world is really big, it's just that I didn't think I'd tear through it quite so quickly.

If nothing else, it's made me realise I do need to get a gold membership to Xbox Live so I can get a lot more milage out of that 40 quid I've spent.

Oh, and at the end, don't skip the credits, there's a little extra at the end.

Squize.