Zwibbs – Development Update #1
Development on Zwibbs continues, and the game is starting to come together. I’ve got all of my tools set up, the majority of gameplay mechanics programmed, and nearly complete view of where the game is going. There’s a few small details to iron out, such as how to complete a level (more on that later), but the gist of the game is ready. I’ll have a lot of work to do when it comes time to polish, but I’ll get to that once an artist is selected and hard at work.
As I said in my introduction post, I wanted to show off my development Tools, and talk a bit about some of the pros and cons of the tools I’m using. My weapons of choice for this project are FlashDevelop, FlashPunk, and Ogmo Editor 2. Without these tools, game development would be far less enjoyable for me, so huge props to their respective creators.
FlashDevelop, as most Flash game developers know, is an open source code editor. FlashDevelop is where I program and compile, so it’s quite essential to the entire development process. In my opinion, there’s very little room for improvement, and this is by far my most standard and required tool. If you’ve somehow never used it, stop using whatever it is you use now, and give this a try.
FlashPunk is my current library of choice. I recently switched to using it, and am now feeling pretty comfortable with the code. FlashPunk is a very organized, light-weight, simple to use library, that takes care of all the annoying small tasks that you would need to re-do between projects. It has some great features, such as an excellent debug overlay, support for tile based games, and much more. The library is commonly known for making platformers, but it is in no way specialized for doing so, and is perfectly capable of making any game whatsoever.
Ogmo Editor 2 is an open source level editor created by Matt Thorson. It’s absolutely great for anything tile based, and packs most of the features one would expect from an editor. Ogmo Editor 2 is, as you expected, a rewrite of the original Ogmo Editor. Unfortunately, a lot of great features were taken out of 1, while some things were improved in 2. Neither editor is perfect, but both are great. I’m simply using 2 because it’s what I started in, and it’s getting the job done. If you’re not writing your own editor, and have never tried Ogmo, definitely do so.
While FlashDevelop and FlashPunk are both great, Ogmo Editor 2 is definitely giving me some difficulties with this particular project. The biggest issue I’ve run into, is the fact that Ogmo Editor 2 doesn’t allow you to set the displayed frame of an object within the editor. For example, I have a turret object, and that objects needs to be able to display as red, green, and blue. in the editor, because I’ll be placing red, green, and blue turrets in my levels. I can’t simply add a turret object, give it a turret sheet as the image file, and manually adjust the visual representation after I place it in the editor, I need to literally have 3 different objects, all with duplicate properties (color aside). Here’s where things get really tricky. Not only do I need a different editor item for each object (in this case 3 colors for a single turret), I also need 4 version of each because of the four direction the turrets can face (90 degree increments). Now I have 12 objects, just because a turret can have a color, and face a certain direction. I’ll remind you that turrets are but one object, and the game has many, which results in an absolutely ridiculous amount of objects in the editor. Ogmo Editor does support properties, and I can change them on each object, but I can’t visually tell a difference, which does me almost no good. That being said, in order to make Ogmo Editor remotely useful, I had to do a lot of extremely tedious prep work.
Progress has been a bit slow due to the obstacles of life, but the game is definitely coming along. Most of the programming is complete, and I’ve finished the tedious editor work that was holding me back. I’ve finally selected an artist, and I should be receiving the majority of the art in the next week or two. With that being said, hopefully my next update will be a little prettier, rather than being a mess of my horrible looking programmer art.