Yes, the long silence is broken with something that definitely isn’t a Poing community level preview (coming soon… honest!). Instead… well, what on earth is THIS?

EightyForty WIP 1 - oh, what a can of worms...

Presenting the first (and possibly the last) screenshot of: EightyForty, an oldschool DOS-ish screen prototyper! Boring, nerdy and geeky, yes? Hell no! This is the cutting edge, I tell ya…

This came as a direct result of finding out how to do single-buffered graphics in BlitzMax, which isn’t as clearly documented as it should be. As it happens, such a graphics system isn’t really utilised fully in this particular app – but for a future Blitz Roguelike engine it certainly would be :D I must shout a big “thank you!” to Mauft for suggesting the breakthrough that got it up and running.

In other news, work is edging forward on a super-secret collaborative project that I can’t say anything about. Yet. If and when there’s anything juicy to tell you (that my good coding partner is happy for me to let slip!), you’ll almost surely be among the first to know 8-)

Fail.

I said I’d post some more teasers of the new Poing! PC community levels over the weekend. I failed. Miserably. :(

Sorry folks. You deserve better! I have slapped myself on the wrist and will remedy this by posting some teasers later in the week.

Not that I would ever consider doing such a thing when there is so much else to be done, but here (in no particular order) are five ways I quite often end up using the interweb to waste time…

  1. YouTube logoWatch stuff on YouTube. My personal favourites being anything in the Let’s Play… category. If you like retro games, and in particularly like watching other people suffer while playing retro games, my recommendation is DeceasedCrab‘s complete playthrough of La-Mulana. Yes, he does include Hell Temple. And yes, it’s quite frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious :P
  2. Tumbledrop - remove blocks and keep the pink star safe!Play random browser games. “You wake up in a room, but you have no idea how you got here. And wait – the only exit seems to be locked…” There’s more to online games than escape-the-room stuff! For example, the Java-powered Powder Game and Stick Ranger by DAN-BALL are famous around the net for good reason, and there’s also stuff like Desktop Tower Defense and Tumbledrop to suck up those idle minutes.
  3. Shiny!Find juicy loot in an MMORPG. My personal bad habit is World of Warcraft, but there are plenty of others (some – like Runes of Magic – are completely free). You could even mix an MMO with browser games and end up with Runescape. Hey, these days you can play it fullscreen with all manner of bells and whistles, so don’t turn your nose up just ‘cos it’s been around for ages!
  4. Just one link in a chain...See what other indies are doing. There are plenty of blogs and forums with interesting stuff that I check frequently, as well as the site of other indie developers. I won’t mention any specific ones because they’re pretty much all over to the left, just there, under “Fellow Developers” and “Links” :D
  5. SumoPaint logoCreate stuff. Okay, maybe this isn’t actually wasting time, but it can still use up lots of it :) There are more and more online tools around lately with which you can create and share content with others. A couple of my favourites that I stumbled across recently: FontStruct, a TTF font creator, and SumoPaint, a light-looking but fully-featured graphics app. There are also downloadable gems like MoonEdit, something Mauft told me about. It looks like a text editor, but it’s “multiplayer” – up to 14 people can edit a document simultaneously over the internet. Funky!

Gosh. I didn’t think this post would be so big. Never mind, eh… ;)

So, after taking a few days to see what is happening next, I’m still no huge distance closer to figuring out my next project. Or am I?

Being the tease that I am, I’m not saying anything yet. Instead, in suitable “hey, look over there!” style, take a gander at a quick review of recent Interesting Stuff ™:

  • World of Warcraft got its first major content patch since the latest expansion was released. A whole lot of stuff has been changed, and even more stuff has been added. Fun times!
  • Scarygirl is now available to play – full and for free – at its homepage! Like so much stuff lately, I haven’t had chance to play it myself, but I plan to fit in at least an hour over the weekend to give it a look.
  • Judith is a short lo-fi first-person story about… well, better for you to find out for yourself. All I’ll say is one word: creepy :-|

Also, today is the final day of the Poing Community Levelset campaign. Again! And unfortunately there haven’t been any more level entries :( Expect another couple of teasers over the weekend.

Dalyn's Quill logoI was going to wait until tomorrow before announcing this, but since all the preliminary guff has been done, there’s not much point in waiting around…

Pleasantly, as I’ve been able to get a huge amount done over the past few days, I’m happy to announce that Dalyn’s Quill is now available for you to download! This means absolutely nothing to most of you, of course, but then I do seem to specialise in… erm… “niche” software :D

Since the last Quill update I’ve obviously added and tidied a fair bit of stuff, but perhaps the most interesting addition is that of teleporter target visualisation. In other words, selecting a field with a teleporter in it will show you on the map where the target field is. If it’s not on the current level, you can click the “Show Target” button and it’ll automatically switch levels and flash a highlight around the target field. Handy, eh? No more counting grid squares to double-check coordinates!

Anyway, head on over to the shiny new Dalyn’s Quill project page for the full blurb, or if you’re impatient, get the Windows download right now. As always, any feedback or bug reports that you send in are very welcome. For now though I’ll tie this up by wishing you happy dungeoneering!

Hmm… and I guess that makes it time to decide on my next “big” project… :-P

Happy Easter! :) Here’s a couple of interesting trailers that I’ve been meaning to mention.

IGN have posted a Night Game gameplay video which showcases the ambient, physics-loaded exploration platformer from Nicalis (yep, the team that Nicklas “Nifflas” Nygren is working with, if you didn’t already guess from the footage). It’s coming out later this year on WiiWare, and I have to say that I’m seriously tempted to get a Wii just to play this game. Roll your Oxyd-like black marble around the dusky landscapes and just… enjoy the ride. Check the video out here.

Night Game - just rolling around has never been so much fun!

Also released last Wednesday was a trailer for The Blackwell Convergence, the latest point and click adventure from Wadjet Eye Games [link]. This is third in their series of Blackwell titles and it looks to keep up the same high standard.

No more waiting! If you’ve wanted to have a go at the massive XBLA hit Braid then finally you can. A demo download is available from a few places including Big Download, FileFront and the official Braid homepage (which, understandably, is pretty snowed under). Enjoy, then grab the full version for a measly tenner on Steam!

Braid - is the Princess in this castle?

Today’s blog post is about gadgets. Not the cool type of gadgets (like, for example, the gorgeous-looking Optimus Maximus Keyboard), but boring buttons, labels and spinboxes. Yeah. I know what I’d prefer to be playing around with… :roll:

Specifically I wanted to ramble on about the gadgets I’ve stuffed into Dalyn’s Quill, and about some of the progress I’ve made in bending them to my inexorable will. Cue the obligatory work-in-progress screenshot:

Dalyn's Quill - field selection and object tweaking

As you can see I redesigned the toolbar (mostly because I had to create one last item on it – namely, the area toggling tool) and spruced it up with a gradient background. It still looks a bit too disconnected from the overall look and feel, but I’m not going to spend any more time on that until more important stuff is finished first. I also figured out how I can deal with mouse events a bit less hackishly, and happily I’ve managed to replicate the old mousewheel behaviour again. Yay! I knew there was a way :D

Fields can be selected in order to fiddle with any “objects” (teleporters or chutes) that might be in them – my next job is to get the three wise monkeys… errhm, sorry, the three command buttons to do their jobs properly. Should be relatively straightforward, yet for some reason, few things ever are. Ach, well. I’ll just keep pressing on!