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March 2, 2001

A new game, a new programmer on board, and more…
Wow – it’s been a bit since I make an entry into the Diary here. Whoops!
So what am I up to at the moment, you ask? (Or maybe you don’t ask πŸ˜‰ Well, there’s a new game getting close to done – however, it’s not a Boulder Panic! based game, nor is it Jumpman: 2049. I should probably explain what happened, and how this came about…
I’ve had the source code for the core of a game with a working title of ‘Tile Panic!’ setting around now for over 6 months. It was an interesting concept, but, it just never make it as a fun game really. It was slow gameplay wise (so it really didn’t fit the ‘Panic!’ series of games), and it just wasn’t… well, fun. That’s the only way to explain it. But I kept it, incase inspiration ever struck.
Well, I was setting around chatting with a friend about a concept of a different direction to take Boulder Panic! for a new type of game that could be done with the same engine (big mistake – I really need to retire the Boulder Panic! / Boulder Panic! 2 / Boulder Panic! 2 DX / Boulder Panic! MBMP / Boulder Panic! 2 TC / Boulder Panic! 2 2 CB engine. I think it sucks (even though I like the game) and is REALLY in need of a complete re-write. I have BP!3’s engine writen from scratch, and after BP! MBMP is done, it’s probably the end of the line for the BP! engine.) I was playing with the idea in my head over the course of a day, and somewhere at random, the Gremlin appeared in the idea. That’s when I suddenly had the idea to use the Tile Panic! engine I had laying around, and produce a totally new game – Gremlin Panic!
Explaining gameplay is a bit difficult, but, I’ll give it a shot here. The player is presented with a field of colored tiles. These tiles have two sides – a dark side, and a light side. The player has two actions in the game – flipping tiles, and collecting tiles.
When you click a tile, it flips over a LINE of tiles – if you click on the upper or lower section, it flips the verticle line of tiles, and if you click the left or right section, if flips them horizontal.
If during the course of flipping the tiles, any three (or more) adjacent tiles of the same color (on the light side) end up together, they are automatically collected. (Dark side tiles are not collected, until they are flipped to the light side). The more tiles you can manuver together to be automatically collected, the bigger the score. It also does chain-reactions – for instance, you can arrange it so that when the first set collects, and gravity causes the next set to fall together, the score is multiplied by 2, then by 3, by 4, etc. for massive scoring possilibities!
However, sometimes it’s just not possible to get them to be exactly where you want – in which case, you can grab a tile off the playfield, and throw it away. But, it costs points to do it.
Now, wait, you say – this has nothing to do with gremlins. Wrong… at the bottom of the screen is your nemesis, the Gremlin. She likes to watch you play, but, she tends to get bored easily – and when she gets bored, the problems start. I won’t give away everything she can do but, she can flip tiles, steal tiles, break tiles, throw rocks at the playfield, and more (just wait until you find a bomb, and end up playing ‘hot potato’ with her, trying to keep the tiles in the playfield from being destroyed!)
That’s gameplay as a quick synopsis. Granted, that doesn’t do it justice. I’m going to have to work out a bit better ‘sales pitch’ for the game, but, the best way to check out the game will be to just download it and play it πŸ™‚
There’s a lot new about this title compaired to the Boulder Panic! series of games. Unlike BP!2 DX, it was written for DirectX from the start, and it really shows – 24 bit colored textures, smooth animation, lots of variation in the animations, etc. Also look forward to a professional soundtrack (yes, MUSIC in the game!) by our Audio Demolition Department (Chris), and great animation for the Gremlin from our artist (Heather). In other words – this is quite a bit more of a ‘professional’ game than the BP! series was (thank God – while I love BP!’s game play, I’ve always been pretty self-concious about how it looked and ran :-/ I can finally vindicate myself with a much slicker title that shows off what can be done!)
So how long until it’s done? Well, plan on it to come out sometime this month – right now, I’ve got sound programming to do, and when I get the music and artwork here, I’ll be putting that in, and I’ll start the beta process, which shouldn’t be long. But, as usualy, it will come out “when it’s done.”
So what does that mean for Jumpman: 2049? Well, not much, except that it probably wouldn’t be out in July like I had hoped. I made the ‘executive decision’ to finish Gremlin Panic! and get it out the door mainly to try and increase the income for Midnight Ryder Technologies so I can get things closer and closer to being a full-time job, which means Jumpman: 2049 would take even less time to get done, if I can make enough off this one πŸ™‚ Also along the way I found an interesting (and better) way to handle animation than I had been working on for Jumpman: 2049, so that also ends up being a plus for J’49 πŸ™‚
Also while I’m at it, there’s a couple of new people at Midnight Ryder Technologies. Yeah, I know – it seems odd that I’ve still got a day job, and I’m bringing new people into the company However, warm welcomes to Craig Rickel and Jeff Houser!
Craig Rickel is a new game designer working on a project titled ‘L E O’ (which I’m not going to tell you about just yet πŸ˜‰ that may see shelves comming from a publisher. Watch for info on L E O comming sometime soon, and for some really interesting stuff out of Craig.
Jeff Houser is an interesting guy – he’s going to be both a game designer and game programmer here at Midnight Ryder Technologies, but not as a ‘full time’ job. He owns his own company (and is a musician to boot :-), and will be working with us – but not until after June. Right now, he’s just too booked to do much with us at the moment. Why? Because he’s currently authoring a book on ColdFusion (the web-development software), and won’t be done with that until June or so. When he’s done there, however, look for some interesting stuff from him – his area is going to be games like the older Ultima games (COOL!)
I’ve actually got more I would like to post up here, but, I’m running short on time at the moment, so, I’m going back to programming – look for more out of me in the next couple o’ days.
Midnight Ryder
AKA Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
President, MidnightRyder.Com
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One more thing… [113]
by MidnightRyder [email protected] on Friday, March 02 @12:53PM
One other thing about the Gremlin Panic! game engine… I’ve got another game core laying around that I’ve never finished called Cultures 101 that I’ll probably end up using the GP! engine for. It’s an interesting game, totally unique in my opinion, but really not worth much money I’m guessing (the game is strange, and VERY hard. I’ll probably sell like, oh, 5 or 6 copies of it!) But, it’s just too different for me not to do it, and re-using the GP! engine would let me get it done faster and without loosing much time for other titles like J’49. A couple other Panic! style games may also make use of it – It’s really good enough to continue re-using over and over for a while, without producing ‘stale’ games πŸ™‚Β 
As for what Cultures 101 is… well, I’ll leave that announcement for another time πŸ˜‰
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