Sunday, 22 March 2009

A Useful Flash Extension

I'm not intending to make a habit of technical posts which are only tangentially on the subject of video games. However, when I come across something which is likely to be of use to other developers, it seems worth linking it up.

I've been pulling in a large number of bitmaps into flash recently (in fact importing them from Photoshop psds). I'm scaling the objects in my game, so I need to set the properties of each bitmap to 'allow smoothing', so they anti-alias as they scale (i.e. they scale smoothly rather than going all pixellated).

Quite unhelpfully, the Flash GUI doesn't allow the Properties of multiple library objects to be set at once. And even more unhelpfully, it defaults all Bitmap Properties to 'don't allow smoothing'. This means I would have spent the whole of friday afternoon going left click.. right click.. left click.. left click.. left click.. grind teeth.. repeat..

.. if it wasn't for this lovely Extension which allows you to select a folder, and recursively set the properties of all bitmaps below it with just a couple of clicks.

So thanks Devon O. Wolfgang! You just saved me HOURS of toil!

Okay, your normal exciting game development news service may resume...

/shuffles off..

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Keep Ahead - Share and Enjoy

We're delighted to announce that Keep Ahead is now available to play at To briefly recap what the game is about, you control two explorers called Ivor and Yora through 50 different levels, but because of a voodoo curse, you share a single head between the two bodies. Along the way you will meet a number of hazards which you will need to avoid including head stealing Monkeys, Zombees and Man-eating plants. You must use the ability to swap the head between the two bodies so that Ivor and Yora can collect all the hidden totems on the 50 levels. Only once you have done that will you be able to recover your other head.

Gwizz Editor Screen. You can tell I'm not a designer.
Keep Ahead is also the first game to provide you, dear gamer, with the ability to create your own levels through Gimme5's ace new Gwizz editor. Once you register with Gimme5games you can access Gwizz from the main menu of Keep Ahead and from there it is a simple process of placing items on your blank level canvas, then testing it works how you want it to.

That's not all though, once you have made levels and are happy with them, they are unleashed into the wilds of the Gimme5games community so they can marvel at your level design genius. Perhaps you'll be the next Will Wright, Matthew Smith or Nat Marco!

Head on over to to see what all the fuss is about.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Someone Made A Game About Us!

Nat's folks just returned from a big mad holiday in the States and brought this back.

In 1982, unless she's lost, or works on reception, she should not be there!
This game runs on a TISSUE OF LIES

It's a Tycoon game about two blokes and a girl setting up a games development studio, so it's like someone has created our lives in electronic form! Then sadly, you check out the box and it all goes very wrong, here's a few inaccuracies.

  • The year is 1982? Okay then, apart from that humungous monitor, that image is all wrong. CD's, suits that didn't have enormous shoulder pads, blokes who didn't look like Roy Wood from Wizard and the concept of women in the games industry are all the stuff of fiction! Plus, that monitor is only accurate if the screen is about 7 inches and green.
  • Unless that bar chart is an ACTUAL representation of the typical game difficulty curve of your average C64/Spectrum/Dragon 32 game, it has no place in an early 80's dev studio.
  • The desks should be covered in boxes from Wimpy, Starburger and Chippy wrappers. Having spent my formative gaming years wandering down to Bug Byte's offices in the centre of Liverpool to buy our games direct from them, I know what an early 80's dev studio looks/smells like.
  • Game developers studios were not in offices like that in the 80's. They were abandoned warehouses and bedrooms. Normally tramps and muggers were outside.
  • Ricky and I were still in little school in 1982, Nat wasn't even born.
  • None of us dress like that, though the glasses on the coder looking guy are quite similar to Ricky's. Even then, contemporary frames like that were not about in 1982.

Even TRON was closer to reality than this...