XBox Live Community Games Listings

April 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Other Stuff, XNA) (, , , )

A community created (Nick Gravelyn)  website has existed for some time which set out to emulate the functionality of the Xbox Marketplace but until very recently, it kind of sucked to look at. The information was there, but it was a fairly dull and average affair. But now, wow. Take a look for yourself. It’s almost like a direct copy of the Xbox Marketplace but it has 2 major benefits. It’s not slow, so you can go to it today, and read it today, and the other is user ratings. Go check it out for yourself, oh a third thing, the Box Art Collage is pretty sweet too, oh, and Random Game, i could go on but here’s the link. I’m going to find some new games to play 🙂

http://xblcg.info/

Congratulations to Nick Gravelyn & Scott Wendt & Björn Graf for getting this out without too much of a hiccup, I can see why Nick was so excited to get it out now. Great work with the new site.

xblcginfo

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A Pinball Prototype

April 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm (IceCream, XNA) (, , )

Last night I set myself and a friend a challenge. Make a game in 1 night. We’ve done it before with Rock Paper Scissors Live. This time we failed, miserably. It’s not a functional game by any stretch of the imagination, however it is a cool little prototype.

2D Pinball was the genre we chose, so I created a new IceCream project and off I went. Using the Farseer integration it meant I had something up and running in no time, but it was proving difficult and time consuming to get the physics settings to feel like a pinball game. IceCream support for Farseer isnt quite complete yet, so there was quite a bit of code to write surrounding Springs and Joints. After some quick tweakage after arriving home I’ve got it to feel much better and much more like a pinball game. Here’s what it looks like now. I wonder if I’ll come back to this project and turn it into a game 🙂 could be fun.

pinball

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IceCream Release (Update)

April 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm (IceCream, XNA) (, , , )

After finally releasing a release of IceCream early this morning which was probably not my wisest move as I was rushing and it showed in the release. Firstly I just messed up but secondly there were a couple of bugs I’ve been coping with that I should not have inflicted on anyone who tried it out. These were when you tried to open a project file and it couldnt find the scene file or no scene file was to be opened, the loading progress screen would stay alive and look like the app had hung. It didn’t, you just close the progress window and it’s ok to use. The second bug was deeper, when you open a project while already having a different project open, it would die a horrible death. I’ve been working hard on SBARG so it’s been a single project for me for some time. Both these bugs are now fixed in this release, along with an appropriate version number along with being compiled in Release mode so that should eliminate any debug performance issues.

You can grab the latest download of IceCream release here.

Again, please feel free to leave feedback, suggestions, comments or if you want some help email me at conkerjo at hotmail dot co dot uk.

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IceCream quick and dirty crash course.

April 20, 2009 at 1:18 am (IceCream, XNA) (, , )

So now that IceCream has been let out of the bag, how do you use it? well this post should give you a better idea of how a IceCream game is built and what are the basics of making your own game.

In the release there is a IceCreamPong demo sample, so let’s use this as our example.

This consists of a Visual Studio XNA Game 3.0 project, just like any other game project you would create. The installer adds a template for you which adds the reference and creates the default files. There is also a Game.icproj file. This file is the IceCream project file and is used by Milkshake to open your project.

Next is the global.ice file. This is a global data holder for template scene items and global assets such as materials.
Then you will have 1 or more scene files for your game, this sample contains TestScene.icescene. This is the main data store for any scene in your game. Both the scene files are xml and can be edited by hand, I highly recomend studying the data before attempting this though.

The game project contains a reference to the IceCream.dll. You will notice a lot of similarities with a standard XNA game project, we also gave a Game1.cs file which is our main game entry point. The difference is we inherit from IceCream.Game instead of the normal Game class from XNA.


public class Game1 : IceCream.Game
{
IceScene scene;
public Game1()
{
}


protected override void LoadContent()
{
base.LoadContent();
scene = SceneManager.LoadScene("Content/TestScene.icescene");
}
}

All it takes is 2 lines of code to get a scene up and running.
This is important the base.LoadContent(); method call must come before you LoadScene call as this is what loads the global content potentially required by your scene data.

When the LoadScene method is called it loads the specified file into the SceneManager.ActiveScene property if it’s the first scene loaded.

Next we wil take a look at the components. In IceCream there are 2 types of Components. A IceSceneComponent which is added to the Scene.Components collection and a IceComponent which is added to a SceneItem’s Components collections.

These components are updated on every game update much like the component system built into XNA except with more flexibility.
The IceComponent contains a property called Owner which is a reference to its Owning SceneItem, but a IceSceneComponent has a property called Owner too which is a reference to its owning Scene.

In the sample game we have an IceSceneComponent called PongEngine. This has been added to the scene in the TestScene.icescene file.

When the LoadScene method is called this Component is added to the scene and the OnRegister method is called.

public override void OnRegister()
{
Instance = this;
Enabled = true;
BottomWall = (Sprite)Owner.GetSceneItem("WallBottom");
TopWall= (Sprite)Owner.GetSceneItem("WallTop");
SetupPlayers();
SetupBall();
}

A couple of things to point out here, the Owner property is a SceneItem so it needs to be casted to a Sprite in this instance. But if you look more closely we have Owner.GetSceneItem method, this will retrieve the SceneItem if it’s registered in the scene with the specified name.

If we look at the decleration of the Component we see how IceCream & Milkshake utilize your custom components.


[IceComponentAttribute("PongEngine")]
public class PongEngine : IceSceneComponent

Some of the other types of SceneItem available are

  • Sprite
  • AnimatedSprite
  • TileGrid
  • ParticleEffect
  • TextItem
  • PostProcessAnimation
  • One of the cool things about IceCream is you can add Components to the scene and SceneItems from within Milkshake by right clicking an item in the main tree.

    I know this is only a brief overview of a tiny portion of what IceCream is. I will be writing more specific articles very soon.
    If you have a specific task you want to achieve, please post a comment and I’ll gladly help.

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    Early IceCream Engine Release

    April 20, 2009 at 12:30 am (XNA)

    I have decided to make a release of IceCream & Milkshake.
    IceCream is a 2D game engine built for XNA and Milkshake is the 2D visual editor for IceCream.
    Included in the download is a very simple sample of IceCreamPong.
    It’s a little hacked together but take a look at how things work.

    IceCream & Milkshake are still very young and this is a very early look at what it can do, it has some known issues, and I’m sure it will have some yet unknown issues so please use this with caution as I cannot take any responsibility for it yet.

    I use IceCream & Milkshake with SBARG and it has made the development much easier. So once learning the quirks this is a very functional engine and editor.

    Please feel free to try it out by downloading the self extracting exe here

    Once installed open the IceCreamPong sample in the Samples directory and make sure it builds ok. (The reference maybe wrong if you installed to a different location). Then run to make sure it runs and plays a very simple version of pong.

    Now run Milkshake.exe and open the Game.icproj file from withint the IceCreamPong directory, (edit) You will need to open the icescene file from the Content directory.
    Try something crazy like…. adding bloom… mmmm. MORE BLOOM!!!

    I’ll work on some “Getting started guides” but please feel free to try it out and let me know what you think in the comments or if it’s something more detailed or you want a bit of help I’ll try my best to respond to conkerjoe at hotmail dot co dot uk

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    SBARG trailer and progress

    April 17, 2009 at 8:20 pm (SBARG, XNA) (, , )

    Finally got the new SBARG Trailer fixed up and released here http://www.sbarg.com . Special thanks to Steve P for cutting this together for me 🙂

    I’m currently working on polishing the game some more. Little touches here and there are adding a lot of value to the feel of the game. It’s very tedious work so I’m drinking lots of coffee and yawning a LOT!!!. But it won’t be long before I finally give in and package it up for review. It’s been a long time coming and I’m looking forward to hearing what people think 🙂

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    Xbox Live Community Games Coverage

    April 14, 2009 at 10:00 pm (XNA)

    Wow… people bitch about coverage, and coverage is what they get.. keep bitching guys… it’s working.

    Here’s a rundown of what’s been going on in the world of XNA and Community Games recently and some other random links XBLCG related.

    ‘Media Coverage Matters’: Weapon of Choice Dev

    Analysis: XNACG Regional Sales And Conversion Rates

    Best Of GamerBytes: GDC Round-Up, XNA Analysis

    In-Depth: Xbox 360 Community Games Devs Talk Successes, Failures, What They Want

    Exclusive: XNA Community Games Sales Figures Revealed

    Joystiq interview: Halfbrick Studios

    The brighter side of XNA sales

    GamerBytes study shows disappointing sales for XNA Community Games


    Some creators disappointed with XNA Community Games sales


    GamerBytes picks top XNA Community Games


    XNA Roundup episode no.13 bite sized reviews #1

    SBARG

    Nick G’s awsome new XNA Game listings

    XNA Game Reviews

    Ziggywares Community Games Listings

    XNA Game Reviews And Ratings

    More XNA Game Reviews

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    SBARG Website

    April 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm (Uncategorized)

    I’ve finally knocked up a small website for SBARG. When I say knocked up, I mean installed wordpress + a theme, thanks for theme recomendation Krisc. See the new website here SBARG Website

    Not much there at the moment, but check out the highscores table, I’ll be filling out the highscores from more playtests later. There are also some screenshots and videos.

    Hit the RSS button to get updates on any new news.. like release dates etc. I’m almost there, I can feel it 🙂

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