Category Archives: Game Dev

The Spielmatrix Game Engine

I’ve begun work on a new game engine, inspired by Perlenspiel, but with an additional focus on modern development methodologies and the latest in Javascript. It uses the Pixi.js rendering engine, Keydrown for key handling, and likely many additional libraries as I add functionality.

You can follow the development on Github. Check out the ‘development’ branch if you want to see what I’m playing around with.

It’s not ready for general use yet, since it’s missing some major features like Audio and a solidified API. There is, however, a README that you can look at if you want to start using Spielmatrix right away.

It’s far enough along to have a Lights Out example (source code) and a fun animation (source code).

Itch.io

If you have a Perlenspiel game that you want to share with everyone, http://itch.io/ is a great place to do it. There are only a couple things to prepare a game:

  1. Rename the game.html to index.html
  2. Zip up the project folder
  3. Create a 315×250 cover image for display on Itch
  4. Upload it all

Then you can share it with a link, or a cool widget:

Perlenspiel: Mow Problems

Here’s my latest hit Perlenspiel game, Mow Problems. In this game, you play a lawnmower that shoots clippings out of the right side of your mechanisms when you mow over a patch of grass. You have to mow all of the green squares, but don’t let too many clippings land on one square, or else it will become impassable.

Your task is made more easier or more difficult by the things that people like to put in their lawns. Trees block your path, but you can put as many clippings on them as you’d like. Pools aren’t allowed to have clippings in them at all. Can you mow all 10 lawns without going crazy?

The below area is an iframe, so you can play the game right here! Click on the L1-L10 buttons to play the levels.

Some action shots:

 

ExSphere for Windows Phone

Here’s an early build: Link to download .xap file

Controls: Tap and hold to guide the ball to a particular horizontal position. The ball travels vertically on its own – you can’t control that axis of motion.

Goal: Break all of the bricks on the level, other than walls, skulls, and “key” blocks. You need to have the specific “key”  block activated in order to destroy most block types.

White blocks: You start out each level with the ability to break these, but there’s no key block for them, so you have to get them all first before attempting any other block types.

Ice blocks: You can always destroy these, regardless of which key block you’ve hit.

Red Bricks, Stone Blocks, Grey Bricks, Wood Boxes: These are the “Normal” types of blocks with key blocks available whenever they are present on a level.

Gold bricks: These have a key block, but with a restriction that you can’t switch back to another key block after hitting one. Because of this, you should attempt these bricks last, after clearing every other brick type (with the exception of ice blocks).

Skull blocks: You lose a life and restart at the spawn point. Your key block is reset to white.

Here are some brief instructions from the old PC version, in case the above is confusing: http://diehrstraits.com/md/exsphere/img/screen06.jpg

Since the Windows Phone version is still fresh, there isn’t a HUD to show your current key block, so you have to remember it. Thankfully, the levels are pretty small!

Let me know in the comments what you think.

Game Idea: Building Controller

A planning failure has left a nearby construction project almost complete, but the company that will be leasing it has very strong efficiency, water, energy, and security concerns that must be addressed.

As a building automation controls engineer, your job is to make this building smart enough to improve all of the above categories, which will save the leasing company money in the long run.

At your disposal are various kinds of sensors that can be used almost anywhere, and they can be used to control different aspects of the building to keep things running smoothly. You’ll have to design a robust system that can handle all 7 days of the week, including any special events or circumstances that may drastically raise or lower the amount of people present.

Gameplay items:

  • Monitor usage to increase or decrease the temperature of a particular floor or area
  • Lock or unlock particular doors on a time cycle
  • Set up elevator park locations and other behaviors
  • Dim or shut off lights in areas that aren’t being used, or have enough natural light