Steve Phillips

Using sandbags to control avatar movement

When designing a game, it is important to define what areas the player’s avatar can access. This lets you define the outer bounds for the map, as well as mark off blocked areas, such as spaces occupied by a chest, a building or a tree.

In my work developing Armadillo, I experimented with the concept of a sandbag grid to aid me in this. In this multi-dimensional array, each cell represents an X,Y coordinate, with a value indicating whether or not that square is accessible in the game.

Breaking it is as important as making it

In programming, quality assurance is where you ensure that the project works right the first time. For small teams, this often falls on the same people who wrote the code in the first place. This means that the people trying to break it already know how to interact with the system. Accidentally breaking a system that you created is difficult, which means you must intentionally break it, and break it as often as possible.

Creating games using XNA

I wrote my last game, Fusion, using cocos2d-javascript. While I liked the library, I wanted to branch out before committing to any framework. As a veteran developer, but new game developer, I knew the trap of falling in love with the first viable framework and ignoring all others. So for my next game, I wanted to really change things up and explore other languages, platforms and frameworks.

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Updating my portfolio and skills

Over the past few months, I have been involved in a number of new projects, as well as hardly touching older tools. I haven't had a chance to update my blog, and don't plan to write a full summary for each subject (except the Arduino turret), and instead will just give a brief overview. The Arduino turret will be covered in much more detail once I have it completed.

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A Long Overdue Update

I haven't posted an article in over 2 months, but I assure you that is not for lack of interesting development thoughts racing through my head. It is merely a side effect of switch from a web developer role into a software / firmware developer role - a lack of confidence.

On Visual Basic .NET

From what I hear, Visual Basic .NET is one of the most hated languages in existence. And so I am baffled as to why I'm enjoying it. Is it just the shininess of new paradigms and techniques? Is PHP really the absolutely bottom of the barrel of languages? Until I spend more time with VB .NET and other languages (especially C# .NET), I can't say for sure.

My Post-PHP Experiences

A few months ago, my work duties changed and I've been spending most of my time on languages other than PHP, namely VB .NET and C, with occasional forays into C# .NET and Basic. In those few months, I've learned a few things about what it's like outside of the PHP ecosystem.

Robots and embedded systems

Last March, I made a robot. I followed the instructions over at Let's Make Robots! and built a little bot running the PICAXE 28X1 microprocessor. I named her Li'l Lady Murderpants and had big plans for some fun times.

Nordic Adventure and the Mediator Pattern

When I wrote Fusion, one of the mistakes that bogged me down was that all objects were on a single layer - the backgrounds, player, turrets, bullets, enemies and explosions all intermingled in the same space. This made it difficult to independently work on each section, since there was always concern that my work would impact another section.

Introducing Nordic

In July, I wrote that I was working on a new Javascript game using the cocos2d-javascript framework, and I'm ready to make a real announcement. The working title is 'Nordic'; it is a 2D action-adventure game inspired by classics such as The Legend of Zelda, Beyond Oasis and Terranigma.

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