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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Urban Sniper

"One shot, one kill, no exceptions."
Another shooting game soon to hit the online game arena is The Urban Sniper. Players take the role of a gunman for hire in this fun and addicting game.

Starting of as sniper wannabes, players try to tackle missions in order to build their reputation to eventually reach the rank of an urban sniper. Each mission introduces new twists to the normal aim-shoot-kill routine of most sniping games. Having only 99 bullets to use for their entire career as a sniper, players will have to conserve their bullets... because once you run out of bullets, it's game over.

Ever wondered how to kill 5 bad guys with only 2 bullets? or even 1 bullet? or how to sink a ship without even shooting at it? The Urban Sniper will make you wonder even more as missions like these are assigned to you.

Emails received on your computer alert you of available missions. Multiple emails allow you to choose the mission you want to take, though choosing a particular mission can cancel another mission. It's up to you to play your cards right.

Once in a mission, all you have to do is follow the given objectives. "Think-aim-fire!" is what this game's all about.

The game is currently still under development. The game engine has already been implemented and so far, only the levels need to be produced. You may have to wait a few more days or maybe a week before this game is launched. Do check back every now and then for updates.

Conquer Antarctica - Multiplayer

Conquer Antarctica is a game of domination. Players start with 2 or 3 penguins and take turns firing showballs, granades or rockets at their opponent's penguins. The first player to wipe out the opponents army in this best of 3 games match wins the game... or more appropriately, conquers Antarctica.

This is actual a modification of an existing game of the same name. The original game is a single player game and it also featured a two-player mode.

Modifying a single player game into a multiplayer game can be quite difficult and tricky especially if you were not the developer of the original game. I think that is one of the major issues with having more than one developer working on a particular project. Programming style vary from developer to developer in terms of variable naming, methods and layout to name a few. So if no proper documentation exists for a previous project, the next developer handling the game will definitely run into problems.

During the course of modification I had to do a number of tweaks and tests due to unfamiliarity with the developer's style, so unfortunately some bugs may appear every now and then. The limited time frame given to convert the game into multiplayer added more problems since a more efficient way of doings things had to be by-passed just to meet the deadline.

Another obstacle in creating multiplayer games is trying to effectively solve the problems in regards to connection problems. A sudden lag in internet connection may cause these type of games to "malfunction" which results in a mismatch(?). Players who experience lag will have no choice but to restart the game or reload it. I know that this problem is not really a problem because there are ways around it. But as I said, if you don't have the time... then you have no choice but to deal with it.

Conquer Antarctica so far has seen more than 2 Million players from all over the world. Do you want to be the one to conquer antarctica? Play the game exclusively at or simply click on the game link located on the sidebar games section.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Bunny Wars - Multiplayer

This game is an adaptation of Hexxagon from Argo Games. The object of the game is to simply capture an opponent's piece by moving your own pieces into adjacent blocks. I tried to add something extra by using bunnies instead of gems, and giving it a comical feel during the capture process. Also, this is a multiplayer game.

When we say multiplayer, we mean that two, three, or even more people can play with each other at the same time even if they live miles apart. I use ElectroServer by Electrotank as the socket server for the multi-user applications I make in Flash.

Like most multiplayer games, The Bunny wars has a Log-in screen so we can keep track of the number of users playing the game. It also helps in identifying players as they play and when they're chatting. Once logged, players can see all players currently online. They can chat, and if they want, challenge other players to a game.

A game ranking system records player progress. This feature has been added because I think it's one way to get people to play your games. A ranking system will tell you how good you are amongst all the rest. And it also shows you your standing in all multiplayer games available. Of course, a highscore system wouldn't hurt either. =)

Anyway, there are four ways to win a game. 1) It's either when you control more bunnies by the time the bunny holes are filled, 2) If both players control the same number of bunnies, the one with the higher score wins, 3) If an opponent is trapped and cannot make any more moves, and 4) If your opponent forfeits the game. A forfeit happens when a player leaves in the middle of game play, or when he runs out of time (both players are given 60 seconds per turn to make a move.)

If you want to play it, and see if you're the bunny of all bunnies, the game is available to play exclusively at Click on the link here or take a look at the games section on the sidebar.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Producer + Designer + Programmer = Developer

The Gaming Division of the company I work for has four (4) classifications for employees: Game Producers, Game Designers, Game Programmers, and Game Developers. I will try, to the best of my understanding and knowledge, give you a general scope of the responsibilities of each position.

  • Game Producers - Game Producers are the people who conceptualize a game. They are the guys who tell you what type of games to make. They would mostly try to think of a new game concept, or at times browse the web for existing games and find ways of improving them. If you see a game and find it cool, or crappy, then these guys are the ones who'll receive the praises or the criticisms. They also delegate the work to the designers, as well as programmers.
  • Game Designers - Game Designers are also known as the Graphic Artists. They are responsible for making the graphics, and layout of the games we play. And at times, they also provide the music, and sound effects for the game.
  • Game Programmers - The people who make the games come to life. Producers work closely with the programmers to make sure that all aspects of the game are followed, and the game plans are enforced.
  • Game Developers - Producers may be designers, and programmers may be producers... but if you put all three together, then you have a Game Developer. A game developer conceptualizes a game, then makes the graphics, then programs the game.
I would say that most, if not all, game developers are freelancing. It would be quite a rare catch to find a developer in a game development company because these companies usually have producers, designers, who take care of the pre-production process of the game. Game Developers have an easy way out since they don't need to make everything, and as such, are "demoted" to either designers, or programmers.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Post It!

Most of the time while sitting in front of my PC, whether surfing, playing games, or programming, I would grab a piece of paper and write down notes; reminders of sorts... like appointments, usernames and passwords, or almost anything that should cross my mind. This would leave the place littered with paper that would at most times be misplaced and make the place look like a dump. With that in mind, i present to you my Flash Desktop Wallpaper.

This has been one of my fave works of all time. It has a few neat features which help me get on with my day while at work. First off, the notes.

The Notes solves almost all my note-taking problems. I can add notes, place them anywhere on the desktop, then delete them if i no longer need them. What's cool about it is that even if you turn off your PC, the notes will still be where they're supposed to be.

Calendar and Event Reminder. Not wanting to forget all those dates and occassions, these guys prove to be a valued addition to the app. Just like the notes, event entries can be added and deleted, and will hold events for the whole year. A little note at the bottom of the event list also reminds you of the number of days left before the next event. Both the Calendar and Event Reminders auto-update, meaning you don't have to turn off your PC to see the date change.

Picture Slideshow. A picture slideshow loads images from a specific folder located on the harddrive. It is currently set to load images in 5 second intervals. You can also drag the picture frame (container) to any part of the destop.

And lastly, an MP3 Player. Similar to the picture slideshow thingie, the player loads mp3's from a specific folder on the harddrive, which acts as your playlist. Basic functionality includes power on/off, play/stop, and forward/back. You can also drag the player to any part of the desktop.

A lot of people, friends and family mostly, have showed interest in this desktop tool and have ask me whether i'd go commercial with it. Right now it works fine for me, but it will need a bit more tweaking before it's ready to multiply. To date, only three people have this installed as their desktop wallpaper: a marketing executive, the CEO of the company I currently work for, and myself.

Back on Track

I'm Back. After almost a year of inactivity, i've finally found the time to get things up and running again. Sorry for the delay, but things have been quite hectic after my last post. I am now currently working as the lead game developer for an online flash game portal here in the beautiful city of Dubai.

In the days to come i'll be posting my experiences working as a game developer so all you game-developer-wannabees will more or less get an idea of whats it's like to be one.

In the meantime, it's back to work. I'll be showing you my works a bit later on when i free up some of my time. Cheers guys!

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Job Offer....

I'm willing to offer you $XX,XXX per year...+ visa for 3 years, plus one free ticket back home every year etc, to work from .......... office in Dubai.
Got this email from an online Flash gaming site's administrators. What do you think?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Map Generator

The start of 2006 was kinda slow for Earlsgames. Been "busy" so to speak with other projects, and after my previous post, i kinda started to think about the kind of games i wanted to make.

So I stopped the usual routine of making games and focused more on learning more advanced methods of game making. So until such time, i'm afraid this Blog of mine will see fewer entries.

Anyways, that beside the point, i just wanted to show you this Map Generator thing.

I made this application for that big secret project I mentioned a while back. You can probably imagine how big the project is... and who wouldn't? It's not everyday a Flash game will have it's own map generator program.

Similar to other map maker apps like those of Command and Conquer, and Warcraft, the "generator" basically does the same thing, but on a simpler level.

It features a flat isometric 16x16 tile grid. Each tile can be raised or lowered to build the map that you want, and tiles can be "removed" to represent cliffs or bodies of water. The generator allows you to save, and load maps to the hard drive via .map files and export the map as an image.

It also features a texture editing mode (disabled in this version) so you can have a good feel of how the final map will look like when finished. You can have grass textures, wild growth, sand, bricks, rubble, rock, pavement, marble, and of course, water. I disabled the feature for the time being because it affected the application's performance. I still needed to optimize the code, but set it aside for now.

After making the map layout, all i had to do now was to export the map as an image, and send the image over to the map renderers who in turn will use a combination of 3D Studio Max (or any other 3D application they like) and Photoshop (or any other image editing tool they like) to come up with the final map.

Maps will have their own themes, depending on which part of the game we plan to put them in. Once the game is launched, the generator may be downloaded along with the game client so players can design and render their own maps.

These maps will then be submitted to us for review, making sure it fits proper specifications for the game itself. If the map is ok, it will be automatically be included in map updates so players from all over can download and use the map. Pretty cool eh?

The actual game is nearing the start of our "internal alpha" phase where all of the guys involved with the project will get to play it and give their comments. After that, we start finalizing alpha for the Beta release. The website is currently in development and should come out a couple of weeks before the Beta.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A developer's thoughts...

I've done a lot of thinking these past couple of weeks regarding the future of Flash games. As an active contributor to an online Flash Forum, i came to know the concerns of most game developers in regards to game portals (buyers), and online games' indirect competition with console (ps2, xbox, etc) games.

A number of professional developers are concerned with the turnover of low quality Flash games into the online community, being sold to gaming portals for substandard prices. There are a lot of game portals that take advantage of the "game-developer-wannabees." These sites, i would like to think, have the belief that "more games equal more visitors." Which of course it true. But what they fail to realize is that if those games are not quality games, then these visitors would stop playing even before starting.

Quality games? A lot of arguement has been poured onto this specific topic. What makes a quality game? Graphics? Sounds? Features that appeal to one's senses are a big plus, but does that automatically mean that a game is top-notched just because of it's realistic 3D graphics, and heart-pounding music and sound effects? I believe that packaging a game to attract players is not only about what's on the outside, but what's inside is equally or even more important. For me, three things make a quality game, the first being visual, the other two would be flawlessness, and experience.

A quality game should be flawless, in terms of how it was programmed; how game characters interact with the players, interact with themselves, executing of actions. In short, bug free. A game should survive without scratches. It shouldn't stop at a middle of a level, expected reactions should happen after an action. What good is a game if it can't do what it's supposed to do?

A quality game should provide a new high in gaming experience. Yeah, we've seen them countless of times, some good, some bad. But they're all the same. I'm talking about the "Attack of the Clones." It's funny how this StarWars title came and hit everything right on the spot. Clones are everywhere. How many different types of Tetris-type games have you seen? Hundreds to even thousands? It's Tetris. How many of Nintendo's Mario-type games have you seen? Those side-scrolling games where you collect items, jump or shoot at enemies along the way to reach your goal? Hundreds to even thousands? It's still Mario. And how many Space Invaders, Asteroids, Breakouts, are out there? Be my guess. We are playing the same games (with different packages) over and over again. Nothing new actually. A quality game is about new experiences. What good is a game if it can't do what it's supposed to do?

These three points are what's crucial in making the next hit game. Some may agree, some may not... but that's what i think, and that's another problem. It's a problem that a number of developers are contemplating about. The game concept. It's another issue for another day, but an equally important issue nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Omni Shadow

For all you guys wishing to see some never before seen games on the web, Omni Shadow is the place to go. Though still to be launched later this month, the site promises a kind of gaming experience not found in any other Flash gaming community.

Games at Omni Shadow are designed, and developed by a team. We have the Graphic Crew, Music Crew, Animation Crew, Voice Talents, and of course the Gaming Crew. I am a Gaming Administrator at Omni Shadow, and will work side-by-side with some of the most talented guys out there to bring you some of the most finest games to be found on the web.

For all you guys wishing to be a part of this project, feel free and do apply at You're talents will not go to waste here; aside from the initial payment and commissions from sales, you will also be credited for all the work you've made. Just another addition to that portfolio of yours.

Do check it out come December 25, 2005.