Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday June 12, 2007

Belated salutations. The entry for this week is late cause I’ve embarked on a long needed but all-too-brief trip to Australia. I’m currently in the city of Adelaide, which is located in the state of South Australia (closely adjacent to the grand state of bliss). What a remarkable world we live in when one day you can be enjoying the warming rays of a near-summer sunny day and the next gazing out on cold, crisp evening in early winter. It was a rather last-minute decision that leads me back to the southern hemisphere, but I’m here to scout out firsthand info on a possible (or highly probable) relocation here from my current gray cat’s loft.

The topic for this week is programming, and I’ve decided to forgo the usual structure of this log to document the creation of a small computer game over the next few weeks. We’ll go over everything from basic design through making the graphics and audio, to coding in weekly installments that should prove bite-sized and highly digestible. It will also be a learning experience for me, since I’m no seasoned pro when it comes to rolling my own games. Each week I’ll go over is some detail what steps to take, what tools I’ve used, and how far along in the overall project we are. The usual music, graphics and programming entries will relate to the building of our game. It’s a rather ambitious project, but most good things in this life make you sweat a bit. Will this be fun stuff? Of course! Some work? Yep! Shall we proceed? Make it so!

The first choice to be made in the game is what genre or type of game we want to make. For this project I think a puzzle game will offer the best mix of playability, challenge and relative simplicity to program.

The next step will be the choice of platform, or what type of hardware and computer OS we’re writing the game for. There is also the possibility of designing our game to be cross-platform (playable on many different platforms) though that has some special requirements. I’m limited to the choice between Windows XP, Suse Linux, and Palm OS. While I’m tempted to make a nice Palm game to play on my PDA most of my programming experience is in creating Windows applications so for let’s make this project a Windows game. We can approach the prospect of porting the game to another platform or platforms later.

Now that we have decided on a platform the next choice will be which programming language to use to create our game. Your choices may vary, but on my PC I have Java, Dev C++, FreeBASIC and Euphoria installed. This choice is a bit simpler, because I’m not versed in Java or C++ (yet), and of the 2 remaining choices I’ve far more experience with Euphoria. For this series, I’ll take the easier path and save the trailblazing into new programming realms for later. Euphoria is also nice because I can use my Euphoria header for the SDL graphics/multimedia library. That last bit of geek-speak will be clarified once we get to the actual programming phase of the project.

And that’s about it for this installment. Next week we’ll do the graphics design and start formulating the rules for our game.

That’s it for this week. The picture of the week and the loops will return next time.