It seems that the console games industry is on the brink of meltdown due to burnout staff working practices – EA (NASDAQ: ERTS) being the most prominent offender, and the potential recipient of a potential class action lawsuit. This comes in the wake of numerous reports of a corporate culture of abuse, burnout, death march development cycles, and gross management incompetence, according to both firsthand accounts and anonymous rants by family members of developers.
There is talk of forming a Game Developer’s union, not to mention countless op-ed pieces on how to turn out a games project on schedule without losing half your developers in the process. I don’t know how, but I think it’s definitely time for something to change. I’ve eperienced long working hours on both games and web projects, and it’s true that working later and harder on projects is a fact of life in creative industries – however, EA’s alleged approach of a scheduled, unending crunch has got to be a sure way of destroying some of the games industry’s best talent. If I had to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, that career in carpentry would start to look damned attractive…
I, for one, am not going to be buying any EA games in the foreseeable future – and it’s been a long time since I’ve used any of their graphics applications…
I’m really stoked right now, because I’ve just finished the first milestone of GAMEFRAME, my current project. GAMEFRAME is a collection of libraries designed to assist in creating flash games – it’s an AS2 framework which includes things like world management, sprite behaviours & collision detection – stuff that virtually every game needs. I’ll be talking about it at the LondonMMUG.org meeting this thursday.
Here’s a demo: this demonstrates the usefulness of tree based collision detection (which gameframe makes it really easy to implement) – you can have a large number of sprites on screen at once, all moving independantly and reacting to collisions – with only a small drop in performance. This is it the expense of a small amount of accuracy, but for most games this will be good enough. I’m thinking arcade style shoot-em ups, that sort of thing. Anyway, this demo has 30 enemy sprites, and one hero sprite, moving around freely in 2 dimensions. As you can see, it performs pretty well. I’m pretty happy with the collision reactions, which I just got working tonight, thanks to Jobe Makar’s Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Design Demystified. Anyway, check it out, let me know what you think.
Instructions: Note – this is not really a game. Just move the black square around with the arrow keys and bash into the other squares. Refresh the page to start again.
View GAMEFRAME collision demo
I’ve been asked by the London MMUG to do a talk on developing flash games for their next meeting. I’ll be talking about the World/Controller design pattern, which is a flash specific variation on the Model/View/Controller pattern, and also the basics of tree based collision detection. I’ll be posting articles & source on here to go with the talk, either just before or after the meeting.
London MMUG (formerly mmug.co.uk) now have a new website, it’s at:
The meeting is at 6.30pm on Spetember the 18th, doors open 6.00pm.
The details can be found here. Don’t forget to register! Hope to see you there!
AndrÃ© Michelle has released a new package of game related libraries. It’s still in a very early version, but it’s got a good conventional tilemap engine. Check it out here.
As you may know, I’m all about the collision detection. So I was quite pleased to find this tutorial on the Seperating Axis Theorem on the Metanet site. Basically, the seperating axis theorem lets you get early outs on a lot of collision checks, because of the brilliantly simple theorem that if two shapes are projected on a plane, and any one of those projections do *not* intersect, then the objects cannot be in collision. Go check it out! It may solve you sloping platform game problems!