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July 30, 2001 – Jumpman, Wizard’s Future, and Turning 30

I’m filing this in multiple areas – Jumpman Games and Developers Diaries. Why? Well, it’s got more information on Jumpman: 2049, another game in the same genre, the first screenshot of a game getting read to head into beta, and some personal stuff too – so, instead of writing multiple entries, I’ll write one and save myself some effort 😉
First, Jumpman: 2049 information…
Well, I’ve got a case of writers block. I’ve ran into two problems that have me pretty torn on which way I want to go – so, feel free to contribute your $.02 USD to the situation!
First off is the graphics – I keep trying to walk a fine line between a complex set of graphics, and some much more simplified stuff. The problem is this – to me, if you have a complex background / foreground for a game like Jumpman, you end up loosing some of it’s ‘visibility’. For instance, when you looked at the Jumpman screens, you can instantly see where existing bombs are at, etc – you don’t have to sort through all the visual information displayed in a game like Metal Slug / 2 / X (haven’t seen it? Find it – it’s visually the BEST platform shooter ever made!) On some of the planned levels, I think that’s going to be very important. However, on the flip side of that, it means the screens are going to be very simplistic when it comes to screenshots – something that makes or breaks a sale a lot of times. To be honest – I think I’m leaning towards simplified graphics. I know it’s going to hurt sales a bit, but, I’d rather it be done ‘right’.
The other thing that’s been killed – no multi-screen scrolling puzzles. I went back and replayed the original games, and realized it hurts the simplicity and visibility of it if I extend it out too far. So, I’m killing that idea. Sorry if I disappoint anyone there!
The other problem is with the idea of extending the control system a bit. After messing with it for a while, I’m becoming of the opinion it’s a bad idea. Originally, I was planning on having Jumpman have a couple of extra abilities – a dive manuver (that may stay), a couple of specalized flips that were based on timing (which was a great idea in the fact you could REALLY save your butt if you timed it right!) Problem is, for them to work properly, I’d have to make changes to the game mechanics. That’s not what my concept behind Jumpman: 2049 – this is supposed to be extending the game into modern day, without changing the game mechanics. But I really like the new manuvers idea… I’m very torn about if I should change the game physics to allow for them, or be completely faithful to the original. Any comments?
Wizard’s Future
Nearly half the people who have emailed me telling me how much they loved Jumpman, and how much they are looking forward to Jumpman: 2049 have mentioned Wizard and/or Ultimate Wizard. I have bad news – I’m not going to port / redo / create a new version of Wizard.
Now for the good news – I have something similar in mind now. I’m not going to redo Wizard because there’s no way to contact the original authors – and I’m not going to walk all over their copyrights. But more importantly – I think Wizard could be done better. So, I’m going to take the Jumpman engine when Jumpman: 2049 is done, do some modifications on it, and produce a new game – Wizard’s Future. What’s the new game going to be, you ask, if it’s not going to be the old Wizard game?
Glad you asked! Wizard’s Future is going to be set in the same timeframe as Jumpman: 2049 – the semi-near future. Thrown out of the past into the future by a evil wizard’s spell, the Wizard must now track down all the components nessisary to complete tasks that lead up to casting the spell nessisary to return to his time. Once there, the Wizard gets a chance at a little payback!
Planned features are pretty much the same as Jumpman: 2049 – level editor, a scripting engine (VBA) for advanced level creation, etc. However, don’t expect to see any of the old Wizard levels – they won’t be there, because the ballance isn’t going to be the same. Most of the stuff I mentioned above in the way of physics changes to the Jumpman engine will probably happen (which means the Wizard will have a cool little set of moves he can perform), and something even more important – I’m not going to give the player a set number of spells. Instead, some spells require mana – the player gets (x) amount of mana at the begining of a level, and can use any of the spells he has in his book at any time! However, some spells will require components the player can collect along the way – can’t give the player everything on a silver platter, ya know! 😉 There’s a number of other changes along the way that I’m considering – but this should be enough to get everyone’s juices flowing 🙂 So – for all of those who emailed asking about Wizard, there ya go! (See, talking to software authors works sometimes 🙂
Tile Panic!
Here’s a screen shot for ya (click it to see a 1024 x 768 screenshot):
Yep – that’s the next puzzle game. (Ok, it’s not NEARLY that grainy. The graphics are all 24 bit, not the really crudy .JPG that shows when you click on it! 😉 I’m getting ready to release the first beta (and, hopefully, one beta is all it will require – but that’s never how it really happens 😉 This is another game like Boulder Panic! in the fact it’s dead simple to learn, but, ends up being a quite interesting game that gets quite difficult as time goes on. However, it has nothing in common with Boulder Panic! when it comes to the game it’s self – totally new engine, graphics and UI are skinable already, and quite a few other neat things. The game was inspired by those odd little sliding tile puzzles, but, doesn’t really have much in common with them anymore. I’ll tell you more when I release the full game! 🙂
And the personal stuff…
Yesterday (7/29/01) I turned 30. Yep, big 3-oh. Big deal. Kinda funny, but, I was more concerned when I was turning 29 than when I turned 30. How funky.
As usual, life is busy as hell – just got through with two trips to Kenosha, WI before this. And had a laptop with me that was totally worthless for programming. So I accomplished absolutely ZILTCH while out of town this time. *SIGH* That’s the way it goes sometimes. On the upside, I’m going out of town again come Aug 4 – headed to Colorado to visit family. That’s right – I’m taking a vacation! I’ve tried this ‘vacation’ thing before, and last time I never made it (my wife went without me – I had to stay and work.) This time, come hell or high water, I am going to Colorado!
So, if my replies to email are a bit slow for a while, you know why – I’m relaxing and taking it easy for a week 🙂 (But, I’ll have a laptop, and probably check once a day, just cause I’m an email junkie, and can’t stand the idea of having a customer try and contact me and not get a fairly prompt response.)
Ok, that’s it – I’m outta here! Post your thoughts on Jumpman: 2049 and Wizard’s Future – I’d love to hear what you think, as usual 🙂
Midnight Ryder
AKA Davis Ray Sickmon, JR
President, Midnight Ryder Technologies
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Hey, Look! A Reply! [318]
by Jorpho on Thursday, August 16 @11:24PM
I was getting a little concerned about the apparent lack of Jumpman news, so I thought I’d poke around a little here. It’s good to see that everything’s still alive and kicking instead of gasping for breath, that’s for sure. 
New manouvers certainly would make an entirely different game; working them in would be very difficult. Making them available at random would make more difficult levels into exercises in patience; ditto for point-based awarding. 
Using them as “Desperation” moves might work; they might become available only when running low on lives, when about to be killed by something, etc., but that would be difficult to program. In fact, probably the only way to make them work would be to make them available only in certain levels. Or you could just do away with their special properties altogether and just make the occasional, ordinary jump look a little fancier. 
I think very subtle, dark backgrounds could add a lot of atmosphere to Jumpman – distant silhouettes of pipes, or mountains… They would just have to be subtle enough. 
A pity about the scrolling puzzles. The idea of having an occasional, vast level to explore always struck me as nifty.
[ Reply ] 

And another… [319]
by Keir [email protected] on Tuesday, August 21 @03:47PM
I’m very glad to see that your still working on Jumpman 2049. 
I was also going to suggest some subtle backgrounds. You may consider a few more detailed backgrounds on certain levels, and use those for your screenshots. 
If I understand your problem regarding new manouvers correctly, perhaps you could have special shoes that you pick up and use to do those moves. Then you lose the shoes when you move to the next level.
[ Reply ] 

Re: No Subject Given [393]
by Wixon [email protected] on Friday, May 17 @12:26AM
I desperately want to get into the game industry. I’m low level genius 24 yrs but i need to know what to learn and how to start. Should i teach myself c or c++, or something else, and how do i track down a copy of that software? please help 
Gratefully, 
Wixon

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