Twitter feed....

by Niels Brouwers 21. February 2013 05:20

You may have noticed that the Twitter feed on the right was broken again....

I came across the Twitter Timeline feature today and decided to embed that instead of pulling the information programmatically through the widget. It's working now, let's see how long it takes for this one to break....(yeah I am getting a bit sceptical about it!).

In other news: progress is being made! The Carter Jones is available on the BlackBerry 10 phones out there (Z10 at the moment and the Q10 version is in review as we speak)! The 'official' release will feature double the amount of levels (currently there are 30, so there's a lot more to come for those who have bought it already!) and a bunch more graphics to give the players some more background on who Carter really is and what he does.

So, the 'official' release has been delayed, but I am expecting to bring it to the Apple store by the end of March! So, for now, I will get coding / drawing to get the thing finished and ready to go!




The Carter Jones Adventures - pending review

by Niels Brouwers 21. January 2013 17:19

So, the good news is that The Carter Jones Adventures is being reviewed as we speak so it should be hitting BlackBerry's App World pretty soon (for BB10). The release for IOS will follow in february and hopefully the Android version will be ready at that point as well! The Playbook version will be submitted right after the BB10 launch.

I've learned one thing over the past few months (years actually): making games from start-to-finish is pretty hard! Just check out this blog, I think I have started it over 3 years ago, writing about my game involving Carter Jones that I would bring to the XBOX Indie Games channel (XBLIG). Back then, I was expecting to finish it within a year or so.....

Now, we are 3 years later, the game is finally submitted to at least one store. But look into the history on this website, check out my submissions for the two DBP entries, find the screenshots of long ago and compare them with the screenshots that I show you here. It's a totally different game!!! Still featuring Carter Jones but not the same at all!

After failing to even qualify for DBP (twice) I figured something had to be fundamentally wrong and with the state of the XBOX Live Indie Games channel at that point I decided to quit it altogether for and restart something new. I focussed on an IPad 2d Platformer first, trying to keep it short and sweet, I reused a lot of the tools (leveleditor, sprite editor, animation-tool) and ported my XNA code to C++. I also stuck to the same character: Carter Jones, an adventurer for hire, modelled after James Bond, Indiana Jones etc.

I was moving fast, things were looking good, but the same traps were lying ahead: feature creep, no clear deadline, wanting to perfect it instead of finishing, postponing chores and focussing on the fun stuff. Then along came Marmalade and BlackBerry, they said: 'Hey, develop a game for our new BB10 platform and we'll give you full developer support (tools & materials).'. I grabbed the chance with both hands and 4 months later - here we are! Game submitted! It just works for me when there is a third party expecting something from me, it gives me focus and a deadline. The best thing is: I didn't feel like I was compromising on anything!

I still need to do a lot of stuff, there are a lot more levels coming up and I have many more plans but so far I am happy that I am about to release a game into the wild. Now I can start focussing on new fun stuff like marketing my game and seeing how it will be received by its players!


While we are awaiting approval from the App Store, here are a couple of screenshots (these are work in progress, I will show a few final images in a later post this week!):


Halloween, monsters and all that!

by Niels Brouwers 25. October 2012 04:33

Hey everyone,

 It's been awfully quiet from me lately but there is a good reason for that. More than one actually! I can't mention them all just yet, unfortunately!

I have been very busy lately porting over my code from XNA to something completely different, it's now running in C++. In the process the whole idea of Carter Jones has been turned upside down: the graphics are different, the controls different, the platform is different. It is a totally different game but it will still feature Carter Jones as the main character. This was my plan all along, to have this one character starring in a series of games. I don't know what the future will bring, but at the moment I can safely say that the Carter Jones Adventures will be available before the end of january 2013 on at least one tablet device.

As soon as I have some screenshots that I can show you I will post them here!

Meanwhile, here's a monster that I did a very, very long time ago. I still like it but it wasn't designed to be animated and that makes it pretty useless for any in-game purposes.

I will be updating more frequently over the next period. For now, although maybe a bit early, I wish you a happy halloween from this place!

Smelly cat

by Niels Brouwers 5. August 2012 08:11

Today I just had to try out a new technique I saw on youtube. It involved making a drawing in Sketchbook and then adding a multiply layer and an ADD layer on top of that to create the shading in the drawing. Great technique, see picture below!

Maybe you remember Friends, Phoebe sang this song for smelly cat...



The math behind platform games

by Niels Brouwers 21. June 2012 06:22

I just ran through a couple of well-known platform-games (mostly 8 bit classics) to find out about their ratios in terms of the differents sizes involved. I measured a couple of things, most importantly: the size of the main character and the size of the screen.

I only checked platformers that were well received with the general public (ranging from Super Mario Brothers to Super MeatBoy) or that I particularly liked and remembered. The results are nothing spectacular but a couple of interesting properties did come up:

1. The main character is usually contained within a square. the size of 51x51 comes up a lot (I scaled everything to 1024x768 IPad resolution to normalize everything), it seems to be the sweet spot size for a character at that resolution.

2. In percentages, we can say that the character ranges between 3% upto 7% of the screen width (these are the minimum and maximum values), with an average of 5%.

3. The height of the screen varied the most, ranging from 56% to 75% of the width of the screen with an average of 66%. The height seemed irrelevant, and is probably mostly determined by the given screensize of the particular device.

So what does that all mean? Let's say you are developing an 8bit styled platformer for the new IPad with 2048x1536 resolution. Your character should then measure 102x102 pixels and the height of your game should minimally be 860 pixels (that leaves a LOT of room for virtual buttons, menu's, or different resolution support for other devices). Ideally the height would be 1013 pixels (average). Personally I would aim for a full-screen game but a little more than half of the screen has been shown to be sufficient as well.

So there, finally a useful way to apply your basic math skills and learn something about the ingredients of a good platform game as well!


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