Upstairs Room Software

2/24/17:  The weather got nice outside, really nice outside, the past couple weeks.  Usually in Northwest Wisconsin during the month of February the temperature is still below freezing.  A few warmer days are certainly possible, but the past several days we have seen temps in the upper 50s!  So yeah, I have been outside enjoying it in my free time and not working on my many side game development projects.  Today however we are in the middle of a winter storm warning with lots of fresh snow falling and accumulating, and I am back at work on a couple games.  The RPG Maker MV game I am making for a friend is coming along nicely.  It is turning into a big project.  I have most of the overland map complete, as well as some smaller towns and military bases complete, as well as some character dialog interactions.  I also have made some progress on my roguelike game, but I think I am going to put that on hold for a while and wait for Construct 3 to get released.  Some of the new game design features in Construct 3 involve improvement to building arrays, and I think that will be a huge benefit in making the game when dealing with character inventory.  I am still working on a ‘maze runner’ type of game in Construct 2, and hope to maybe complete it by this summer – maybe.

I have not been playing much in the way of games the past three weeks.  The desire comes and goes.

1/30/17:  Spent a quiet weekend at home.  Didn’t do much in the way of work on any of the games I am working on.  Must have needed a break and used my free time to catch up on some reading.  I did do a little retrogaming by playing the remastered version of Wasteland that I got for free when I backed Wasteland 2 a few years ago.  That was fun.  The big news however is the email I got from Scirra a few days ago about some upcoming announcement for Construct 3.  Construct 2 is a great creation engine for making games, and the main tool I use for building games… so a new and improved version of Construct has me excited.

1/20/17:  My free time the last week has been diverted from working on my roguelike I am building with Construct 2 towards an RPG MAKER MV project.  Been a while since I used RPG Maker MV building something from the ground up, so I have mostly been refreshing myself on a few things regarding the scripting features, gathering some resources, writing notes on game events and directions, and writing character dialog as this new game is going to be dialog heavy.  I am making this latest game for a friend, but I will probably make this available for people to download and play when I am done with it.  Personally I am not a fan of the ‘chibi’ characters RPG Maker MV uses in their free resources and game engine.  If I was a kick-ass game designer who knew javascript and HTML and was able to write my own code I could probably revamp the RPG Maker engine to use different character sprites… but I’m not that good.  Learning slowly, but not there yet.

1/12/17:  I decided to go with the grid based type of movement for my roguelike game.  It is going to mean more work, but I don’t care.  I am not on any schedule.  I am doing this for fun.  So… last night I spent a couple hours going over my concepts I created so far and made some decisions on features I want to keep versus those I am want to do away with.  I also made a list of what else I still need to work on and develop.  Along with the grid based movement I will now need to figure out turn based combat… I think I have an idea how to incorporate that using Construct 2, but I have never built anything with that before, so there will be some learning ahead when I get to that part of the game.

This past week I also started building a new game in RPG Maker MV.  I am gearing it towards the grand kids again.

I have also been doing a fair amount of retrogaming.  Seems like during the winter months I tend to game more, as much as 5-8 hours a week… which is not much compared to my younger years.  Been enjoying some of the simpler games on the C64 emulator; Save New York, Bruce Lee, Roland’s Rat Race, Raid over Moscow…  good times.

1/2/17:  Happy New Year!  Had a good New Year’s Holiday Weekend.  Aside from the usual surf & turf dinner my wife and I cook for ourselves at home, I managed to get some work done on the roguelike game I have been messing around with.  Figured out some cleaner event coding for the enemy random movement, as well as their line of site movement (what the enemies do when the player is ‘close’ enough to them to be seen and attacked).

I received a few private messages over the weekend via Twitter and through the Construct 2 web site asking about the art I am using in the roguelike.  The art is not my own.  It is available to use for free and can be changed/tweaked in any private or commercial uses as long as credit is given to the original creator.  When the game is actually done and finished there will be a ‘credits’ page that details all the art sources and any other outside sources used.  There is a link in my links page for OPEN GAME ART.  Follow it and you will find a great resource site for indie game developers.

12/29/16:  Sometimes I wonder how I manage to get anything done.  Back to work today after a being off for the Christmas Holiday.  I spent most of my time at home, and with the wife having to work, I had plenty of time to myself in my man-cave to work on some games.  Did I spend my time productively?  Not so much.  I get into a retro gaming bender… big time.  I probably only worked on the roguelike game for six or seven hours during my entire vacation.  The rest of my free time I geeked out playing some C64 and Amiga games on emulation.

However, those hours spent working on the roguelike were productive and I had a major breakthrough.  I never liked the shadow affect I had been planning on using as seen in some previous screen shots.  So I spent some time wracking my brain figuring out a better means of creating darkness and light; and I did it.  Screen shot of the new darkness and lighting affect can be seen over on the ‘in production’ page.  I think it is really going to add a lot to the game.  The only downside is that the visual lighting affects does not look retro to me.  But I think I may be able to rough it up a bit.

12/23/16:  Last night I spent five hours sitting at my computer at home (in my upstairs office, of course), trying to figure out why a concept I had tested for having enemy sprites attack the player sprite was not working when I moved the coding events over into the working game.  Some developers using Construct 2 like to throw all their codes and events together into a project and then go back and test later to work out the bugs.  I like to build things piece by piece and test to make sure everything in the game is working at least somewhat smoothly as I move along from concept piece to concept piece.  What is really annoying is that I have used the exact same Construct 2 events for enemy line of site movement and attacks in two previous games and they worked perfectly.  Why the exact same events are not working now in the roguelike game is boggling.  I am probably missing something obvious that is right there in front of me.

So I am going to step away from it tonight and work on figuring out tile based movement coding, which I suspect is going to take me through the Christmas Holiday to figure out how I want to implement.  Luckily I have a four day weekend ahead of me.  However, not all of my free time is going to be spent working on Construct 2… I have decided I would spend some time playing Ultima 4 on my Amiga 500 emulator.  I have never played any Ultima single player games before.  I have played lots of clones on the C64 back in the day (Legacy of the Ancients, Deathlord, Questron 1 & 2, Legend of Blacksilver), but never an actual Ultima game.  I did play Ultima Online (MMRPG) about twelve years ago, but that doesn’t count.

Ultima IV title screen for the Commodore Amiga

12/21/16:  Added a screenshot over on the “In Production” page of the rogue-like being worked on.  It’s still in the concept phase, but part of that for me involves fleshing out a general layout and getting some basic game functions into place.  I have a lot of notes I have taken for where I would like this latest project to go.  I wish I had more time to work on it.  Between the day job and family life in general, there is not as much time to tweak on my hobby as I would like.  It doesn’t help that last night when I did have some free time, I spent it messing around looking and paying some old 80’s games on my C64 emulator.

A few days ago I went back and did some updates to the Nazi Shooter game.  While I was working on concept tests for the rogue-like I figured out how to fix an issue I was having with the Nazi Shooter that had caused me to stop working on it some months ago.  The issue involved ‘line of site’ movement for the Nazi scum; sometimes they would follow their random paths, sometimes they would just stand there and not move at all.  For the live of me I couldn’t fix.  Well, without going into boring event scripting details of Construct 2, I fixed it.  I’ll probably be going back to the Nazi Shooter now and then to do some work when I need a break from the rogue-like.  It’s mostly done, just need to kill some bugs and iron out a few other issues.

Another thing I have started working on is a logo for Upstairs Room Software.  I can’t draw to save my life, but I know a few people who can, so I have a few friends working on a logo idea I have.  More on this later if I see some good results and feel like sharing.

12/14/16:  Have added the final touches to the grand-kids that are getting their own personalized game this past weekend.  Since then I have been using most of my free time to research making a retro ‘rogue-like’ game, perhaps something akin to the classic “Temple of Apshai”, but with some improvements of course with the modern retro feel.  Some good news is that while I was doing some development research on the new game, I figured out something that was holing me back several months ago from completing the top down shooter game I was working on.  So now I can either go back and start working on the top down shooter, or keep plugging away on the rogue-like.  Being only one person I can only do so much… too bad I don’t have a team!  I suspect I am going to keep working on the rogue-like game, and that is where my attention is being pulled and where I am having fun working on right now.

On a side note, I think I tracked down one of the main founders of the Upstairs Room Software gaming group from the late 80s that I lost touch with after high school graduation.  I am planning on sending him a letter in the near future and saying ‘hello’ for old times sake.

12/5/16:  Another long stretch between posts.  Been a busy Autumn as we head into the Holiday Season.  Aside from playing some games such as ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE and ELITE DANGEROUS, I have also been spending some lesser amounts of time tweaking the RPG games I am making for the the grand-kids as some bonus Christmas presents.  Not all of the kids are getting a game, as some are a little young yet and just learning to read.  So I decided I was going to curb the game giving down this year to only three of the oldest.  I think these next few weeks are going to be crunch time…  The games are done, like I said maybe a few tweaks here and there, but I think I am going to try and get CD cases made special for the kids.  It would be a nice added touch.

On a side note, I am looking fondly back at some of the C64 era games and feeling nostalgic about making some retro looking programs, similar to the plat-former I made using Construct 2; “Temple of the Lost”.  So as a winter projects I may tackle another retro themed game, and I also want to get back into the work on the Ultima style clone I had been working on.

Real life has a way of getting in the way of hobbies.  My wife tells me I should put more effort into this game making hobby and try and sell them for some extra cash.  We’ll see…

9/28/16:  Wow, long time since I posted.  The move happened earlier this month.  Love the new house.  More room.  Have a room all to myself where I can work on my hobbies.  Mostly unpacked now, which is a good thing and a major stress reliever.  I am planning on jumping back into game designing very soon.  I need to spend a little time here on the web page as well updating some pictures.  On the side I have been playing some AGE OF CONAN and ELITE DANGEROUS.  My interest is starting to fade though, and that means I will either be out in the woods this fall hunting, or working on making some games…. or both!  Likely both.

8/1/16:  Got a lot work the done last month and finished up a couple games for the grand-kids.  Still have three more to complete, plus a side project I started for a friend who wanted a personalized game of himself.  With that said the misses and I are buying a new home (condo), and this month is going to be insanely busy getting things ready to move, then moving, and then unpacking.  Hoping to be settled back into a normal routine by the middle of September.  The interesting news with the move in regards to Upstairs Room Software is that my new office where I keep my computer will be… yep, upstairs.

6/22/16:  Been a busy month.  I have put a lot of work into the grand-kid’s games for Christmas this year.  I have also done some work on the UN-named top down shooter, but have been still running into annoying snags with the character collisions.  I have been contemplating scrapping the work I have done so far and just going back and starting new from the ground up with a slightly changed concept.  Time will tell… I will probably not get around to making that decision until first part of next month.  Been a busy spring summer so far, witch limited time overall for working on games.

5/15/16:  Been a while since I had an update.  Been working 95% of the time on the games for the grand-kids I want to give them this coming Christmas.  I have run into a few coding snags on the Ultima style clone as well as the top down shooter.  The top down shooter I am not too worried about figuring out, the Ultima clone is going to take some time.  Since I don’t want to get to wrapped in either of those projects just yet since I know I have a lot of work to do on the grand-kid’s games, I have been focusing most on the Christmas presents for the end of this year.

4/22/16:  Progress has been coming along nicely trying to figure out how to create an Ultima style clone using Construct 2.  As I mentioned somewhere else I knew I would be struggling trying to learn some advanced features of the game making tool, but surprisingly it has gone well.  However, with that said, I also now know that the event coding required for this kind of project is going to be monumental; it is going to take some time to complete.  Sadly, I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate working on this project.  I still need to finish a handful of games for the kids in my family in time for Christmas this year.  So… I decided I better get back to work on those projects and have been using RPG MAKER MV once again to start knocking out those ‘personalized’ video games that got me started in making games to begin with.  I also want to finish the top down shooter that is in near completion, and will do so in the next month or two.

4/11/16:  Stopped work about five days ago on the top down shooter (taking a break from it), and began concept testing on a CRPG that I want to try and build.  The CRPG would be retro, similar to games from the late 80s such as “Legacy of the Ancients” and “The Legend of Blacksilver”.  This new game could take a long time to build, as there is a lot I need to learn in order to make it.  Top down shooters and platforms are easy to create, as there are lots of examples to learn from and the event coding is easy.  The CRPG I have in mind does not have many current examples to learn from.

4/4/16:  Over the past weekend I have been toying around with the idea of making a “Ultima” clone.  Ultima and games like that from the mid to late 80s were very popular, and I admit I enjoyed playing games like “Legacy of the Ancients” and “Legend of Blacksilver”, which were considered clones of the Ultima games.  I have begun making a test game where I am seeing if I can construct such a game using Construct 2.  This could take some time…  in the meantime, I will be working from time to time on completing the top down shooter.

3/28/16:  Open Beta for “Temple of the Lost” has paid off.  Players on the Construct 2 sight where the game is hosted for free play have found one noticeable issue with the players character stepping off from ladders in the game – a minor bug with the animation.  Squashed it early this morning and uploaded a new game update with the fix.

3/25/16:  The programming is pretty much completed for the ‘un-named top down shooter’ and I have begun using most of my free time to design and layout the various levels for the game.  I’m sure I will need to go back and make some adjustments and fix things in programming as the game progresses, but for now I think I have the brunt of that aspect complete.

3/21/16:  Moved “Temple of the Lost” into open beta.  If you want to play it go to the In Production page and then click on the game link.

3/15/16:  Found some annoying bugs in “Temple of the Lost” the past few days as I kept playing it all the way through from start to finish.  Squashed a few over the weekend, but need to do a little research to fix some of the others; Construct 2 web page has been down since the morning of 3/15/16 from some issue with a Windows 10 update, so I have been waiting to check out their forums ‘help’ page for some answers I suspect are there to help fix my bugs.

3/8/16:  Updated some information on the “In Production” page regarding two games currently in the works.

3/4/16:  The past two weeks have been very intense.  Working hard on the top down shooter.  Things came together quickly but then I ran into a procedure problem about seven days ago I didn’t know how to fix that was crucial to the game working the way I wanted; in order to advance to the next level the player needs to search and find an access key on their current level.  I could spend the next hour writing about my problem, for which I knew there was a solution, but just didn’t have the knowledge of using Construct 2 to get around it.  Well, today I finally figured it out.  Taking the weekend off.

2/23/16:  Started layouts and outlines for a new game that will be a top down shooter.  Selected a few royalty free asset resources to use in the game from the Construct 2 store.  As of this time the is new game is not named.

2/22/16:  “Temple of the Lost” is now in closed beta.  I’ll be playing it off and on the next month or so and fixing any bug issues I come across.  At some point will share it with a few people I know so they can play test it as well.

2/15/16:  “Temple of the Lost” is now pretty much done with internal programming.  Level design and implementation is now kicking off.  I’ve learned a lot over the past month and having a good time.  I wish I had more time to work on this project.  I have been trying to keep a tab on my time involved I am close to forty hours so far.

2/2/16:  “Temple of the Lost” half way through programming phase.  Looking forward to getting everything tweaked so I can start designing more levels.  Figured out how to create a ‘totem pole’ that shoots darts the character needs to avoid.

1/18/16:  Purchased some one time use royalty free assets from Construct 2 for my first platformer, “Temple of the Lost”.  Working on level layouts and trying to figure out in game obstacles.  It will me based on a Mayan Temple theme; collect treasures, look for a lost pet (styled after my former dog, Chico), running, jumping, dodging traps and skeletons… etc…etc…

1/15/16:  Completed running through a few tutorials on the Construct 2 web page.  So far so good and having a blast learning to use the software.  Looking at starting to make my first game, I think it will be a platformer style not unlike PITFALL II from the Commodore 64.

1/10/16:  Taking the plunge!  Downloaded Construct 2 having decided to try and make video games.