Tag Archives: gamedev

Adventures in Space with MS Paint: There’s No Sound in Space

Well, the first alpha version of Metal X is out, version

I’m elated how quickly this is coming along. HTML5 is fantastic because I don’t have to compile anything, and it’s available on the internet right out of the box. Javascript is okay, and I know I’m doing things wrong (my developing tool Firebug doesn’t know how to read my function names), but it’s workable. Learning as I go. I’ll probably buy Sublime Text 3 when it comes out, as I’m currently using ST2. I’m looking forward to adding each new game feature, and I get excited visualizing how I want the game to end up.

In the immediate future, you will be able to build ships from your fleet blueprints, launch and recall those ships, and send crew onto planets and watch them run around. I wrote a 15-point To Do list to achieve this, and it’s taken me a week just to get through the first two. Building buttons and text boxes from scratch is not sexy. But it was worth it, and I’m proud that they work. I did that.

Eventually they’ll be starmaps, and enemies you can shoot down, and factions, and multi-tile rooms for bigger and better weapons, engines, command centers, and more. First I’m focusing on building up your ship and fleet. Then comes advanced crew missions and orders. Then enemies and allies and collision detection in space. And then story mode. Maybe. Oh, and music and better visuals. Or I’ll just rename it to Adventures in Space with MS Paint: There’s No Sound in Space and call it a day.


It’s not because I got rid of a build mode where it zoomed in on your ship and time slowed down. It looks cool and is still in the game, and I hope to use it later (to set repairs and see your crew / boarders). The build mode is now Blueprint mode, which for now just edits your fleet’s blueprints, but will eventually edit your main ship’s blueprint as well.

And it’s not because there was a game crashing bug when exiting out of the text box. Yay for last minute code changes!

So it’s I think. I’m not exactly sure about version history numbering.

I used http://javascriptobfuscator.com/ to obfuscate the code to deter offshoots and stealing. Like that’s going to happen. Next time I’ll try using the instructions from http://www.thetechhub.com/2010/04/combine-text-files-into-one-with-single.html instead of copy/pasting 20 .js files into one file by hand. Oh me.

Metal X

Metal X (okay fine. Chemical X. Stupid Powerpuff Girls) transforms into anything you want. Perhaps it’s the life-blood of replicators. By molding it, you can create anything from fuel to food, from a starfighter to an engine room. You’ll be able to harvest it directly from various sources, or scrounge it from debris.

You’ll be able to build your own ship, starting with just a command center. Build an engine room, and off you go. Add barracks for additional crew (they help out in building time, repairs), weaponry to blast enemies, hangar decks to house fighters, subsystems, harvesters. Tile by tile, you’ll slowly transform your small two-tile fighter into a capital warship.

Tiles will give (dis)advantages to surrounding tiles. Engines stack. But can overheat nearby rooms. Hull acts as a shield between the enemy and your precious innards. Subsystems benefit any touching tile, but must connect to other subsystems and your central command. Tiles near barracks get repaired faster than others.

Hopefully you’ll be able to recreate famous ships. Right now I’ve got Galactica in my head. Weapons up front. Hangars on the sides. Engines in back. Command Center smack dab in the middle. Launch the fighters to protect the harvesters. Call them all back. Jump the ship.

Should each tile be as-is? A weapons room is a weapons room. Add more for more pew-pewing. Or should building two weapons next to each other create one bigger weapon? A 4×4 weapon room could turn into a slow-moving missile launcher. 2×8 for nuclear warheads.

Schematics for additional supplies? Perhaps enemies drop schematics, and then you can use Metal X to build whatever it is. Radar, warheads, giant laser beam. Or maybe it’s like Minecraft crafting. Set up a weapon, hangar deck, and engine room, and you get a handful of fighters. Weapon and engine gets a missile. Weapon, subsytem, engine get a guided missile. Weapon, engine, engine? Faster missile. A single weapon room surrounded by engine rooms produces a teleporting bomb. Two subsystem rooms turn into a radar dish. A radar dish and an engine room turns into a drone. Etc etc.

I’m actually attempting this one. So far I have a 3×3 grid. The center tile is a “Command Center”. It’s black. Click on a tile, and you can turn it into an “Engine Room”. Red! Fancy stuff, huh? Up next, I’ll have it so if you have an engine room connected to your command center, and you launch the ship, you can fly your two-tile craft around. Neat-o.

Playing and Learning

Remember Math Blasters? I’m trying to think of a way to incorporate learning tax rules into a game. In Math Blasters, there’s only one right answer. The input can be processed quicker, and output can be entered even quicker. What sort of questions would a game focused on tax look like?

John is 38. His AGI is $43,000. He puts $5,000 into this IRA in 2012. How much will his credit be?

Jane is 19. Her AGI is $4,000. She paid $600 in tuition expenses. Her mother is claiming her. What sort of education credits are available to her?

Or maybe you have a chart of information (age, AGI, itemized deductions, etc) in which you had to click the appropriate fields relevant to the question.

Jim wants to know if he can deduct his unreimbursed employee expenses. What information do you need to answer his question?

Age AGI StandardDeduction IRA Contributions Dependents FilingStatus

But these are just the questions. The game needs gameplay.

CPA. A time management game, in which you have to get as many people through as possible? Penalties for wrong answers, bonuses for uninterrupted correct filings. If you take too long, you have to stay overtime and your wife leaves you, or the client gets fed up and walks out.

Client. Scam the IRS as much as you possibly can, without going overboard. Avoid the obvious errors. Conjure up “receipts” for everything.

Client. It’s February 1st, and the days are winding down. The CPA is rapid-fire asking for random pieces of info. Scrounge through the desk? Go online? Ask the broker? Whoo! Made it just in time. And then uh-oh. Random audit!

IRS Agent. You must base your questions off of what the taxpayer filed. You can only ask for so many things before your boss wants it done. What looks fishy? What will be impossible to prove? Will anything take up too much of your time?

Eh. These all sound stupid.

Upsetting the System

New game idea: F2P MMO (overbloated already!) in which all cosmetic items are free, but the gameplay is going to cost you. You can /walk, /talk, and /attack, but anything else costs real-world money. /jump is $1. Special attacks are $3 apiece. $20 to fly. Dungeons, lands, weapon proficiencies. Money, money, money. Because why should the people who like to look pretty front the costs of everything?