Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Final Frontier???

So the game development is slooooowly winding down. I think that I'm getting down to the last couple of crashes and bugs. Here's the readme file updates for my last two versions of the game.

Version 1.0.06 (Fri. May 14, 2010)
- Added some text feedback if a user tries to click on a menu option in the main menu, then they are told to press either R, I, or J.
- Data is now in a versioned folder system, so when a change is made the new data will be automatically updated without a user having to refresh their downloaded files.
- Fixed a problem with trigger squares not working on the bottom edges of dungeon rooms.
- Dungeon Shame's main ladder no longer dumps you in the ocean. (whoops)
- Spellcasters now have the correct maximum MANA. (it had been half of what it should have been)

Version 1.0.07 (Tues. May 18, 2010)
- Fixed problem where buying more than 50+ gems or keys would result in 99 gems or keys.
- Party will no longer move if all members are sleeping along with characters who are dead.
- Fixed bug where spellcasters were not getting xp for killing monsters with Tremor.
- Replaced any honor text with honour. (Keeping with the Lord British and Britannia theme.)
- Fixed the Open spell.
- Fixed a problem with dungeon graphics displays where ladders and fields were appearing where they shouldn't.
- Peer in gem, and casting view can no longer be performed while riding in a Balloon. You have to land first.
- Added some code to make the monsters be different on each random spawn.
- Daggers are now ranged weapons that are expended on each use.
- Monsters will now return fire when attacking with a ship's cannon.
- Monsters will attack after being hit by a ship's cannon (if they are right beside the ship).
- Combats no longer overlap when multiple monsters can attack the party at the same time.
- Monsters who died in combat from spell damage no longer get extra attacks.
- Fixed a crash that occurred for ranged monsters fighting when suffering from Jinx.
- Fixed any further possible animation crashes when monster attacks are interrupted by any sort of animation. (hopefully!!)

(whew... I think we're getting there.)

GDC was pretty cool. I saw people that I worked with six or seven years ago, and haven't talked to since then. It looks like I may have a game contract coming up pretty soon, working on a really COOL project! Nothing has been finalized yet... which would be nice to know that everything is going to work out for Jean and my summer. (EI payments stopped coming in as of this week.) But I think everything is going to work out... ya just gotta believe right?!?

My next work on Ultima... will be to turn it into a Facebook application. This way people will be able to log-in from any computer to be able to play their character. Also, I want to create multiple profiles so that you could play the game with a couple of saved characters. I think I'm getting ready to start advertising to the bigger game forums. Assuming that people don't find any BIG CRASHES in the next week or so (please keep emailing me at ultimabugs@phipsisoftware.com if you find anything people) then I will consider the project 'FINALLED'.

Also, there is one famous game critic who I happen to know. I've been waiting for the right moment to namedrop my project to him, but I don't know how he will respond. I think if the project has no serious crashes... then perhaps he might mention my game in something that would be a REAL DRAW to my site. I dunno. Jean seriously wants me to 'use my connections' but I feel like I should let my work 'speak for itself'. BTW: Speaking of getting the word out... somebody mentioned my site on a Korean internet forum. I'm now getting some serious hits from Korea and represents about a quarter of my regular hits on a daily basis. Go figure!?!

I've also had requests to put sound into the game... this is actually pretty easy to do. But I just want to make sure I've got some decent sound clips I can use in the game. I don't know if I want to go back to the 8-bit plonks and pings. People seem to want that... but I'm not convinced. I'm still of mixed minds about it. If I could find a decent library of sounds to use, then I might be more willing to 'make some noise'. ;)

Well that's it for now, I'll keep ya posted on how stuff develops over the next week or two. I've got a buddy who might be able to get me some business grant money to let me continue working on my project (on my own terms). This would be SERIOUSLY COOL!!!! I have an idea about continuing the Ultima 4 prototype to a whole new online role-playing game called mysteriously 'Project Infinity', but I haven't yet written up my complete design yet. But I should be posting something soon on my www.phipsisoftware.com website. (There is a link to this page in my Ultima game on the preloading screen... but the page is basically 'under construction' for the moment.

Cheers everyone and keep travelling,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Updates and GDC

Well I've got another update on my game for tonight. This one fixes a few brutal crashes that people ran into that kinda hurt their game. Hopefully there wont be too many more of these.

Version 1.0.05 (Thurs. May 06, 2010)
- Fixed a crash that would occur when casting a spell right before being attacked.
- Fixed a crash when a monster died in a Flame Field.
- Fixed the conversation data for Lady Tessa in Paws.
- Camping parties can no longer be ambushed by water creatures.

So tomorrow if the first day of the Vancouver Game Developer Conference. I've recently spent some time trying to update my webpage to show off my Ultima work. I'm really excited about attending and have made up some cool business cards to make me look professional. If wishes were fishes then perhaps I could find an investor to see the potential of making these kind of online RPG games.

The responses that I've gotten over the past couple of days have been AMAZING. I wish I had more time to mention all of them. But there were two comments that stabnd out. The first one was from a parent who thanked me because he showed (the game he used to play in his childhood) to his seven year old son, and the sone has been playing constantly for the past few days. That story really hit me. It's kinda the main reason why I work as a game programmer. The second one was from a guy who is working on his PhD in moral and ethical philosphy. It turns out that he decided to pursue this field of study because of the inspiration to think about morality from when he played the Ultima series.

There's so many people out there who have such fond memories of playing Ultima 4. I'd argue that fact alone is enough to qualify video games as art. Take THAT Roger Ebert. (Just kidding... I love your Tweets!)

All the best, and wish me luck tomorrow!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Updates and more to come...

So I just put a new version of Ultima on the website. Here's the list of updates and improvements for the past couple of days:

Version 1.0.01 (Mon. Apr. 26, 2010)

- Fixed a bug where a person who was asleep or dead could guard a camping party. (Weekend at Bernies anyone?!?)
- Fixed a crash when entering a dungeon room.
- Fixed an occasional crash when the last monster flees a combat.
- Fixed a problem that a party could teleport up/down a level and then enter a dungeon room from a non-normal direction and then the entire party is stuck at (0,0).
- Removed drop shadow from text to improve visual clarity.

Version 1.0.02 (Thurs. Apr. 29, 2010)
- Fixed a problem when entering/leaving a city and trying to move before the city data is fully loaded.

Version 1.0.03 (Fri. Apr 30, 2010)
- Fixed a crash in the guild purchase script.
- Repaired the ladder data for Dungeon Wrong.

Version 1.0.04 (Sun. May 02, 2010)
- Fixed Typo for Bloos Moss to Blood Moss.
- Players can no longer attack people objects: Ankhs, Fires, Water, or Wounded.
- Torches now reset when entering and leaving dungeons.
- Cleaned up party dead code. Removed uaser prompt when resetting data back to Lord British.
- Fixed problem where Balrons would heal party members with Energy Attacks when a protect spell was active.
- Fixed internal crash when fleeing from a city combat.

Also... how would ya like to have Ultima 4 running on yer website???

Put the following HTML code in your web-page:

<iframe src="http://www.phipsisoftware.com/ultima4/Ultima4Embed.html" width="664" height="418">
<p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p>

I've tried to give you the best size for playing the game... but I can tweak it a little more on my end if people want larger or smaller versions (tho I don't know how you could play it any smaller).

ALSO! I've got tons of stories and updates to share with people as word about the game is starting to circulate around the internet. Jean (my lovely wife) is working hard behind the scenes to try to get people hyped about my Flash version of Ultima. There were two GREAT posts that have really helped drive up my site traffic: http://www.ultimaaiera.com/ (thanks Ken!), and a thread from BoardGameGeek entitled "If you're a child of the 80s, any free time you have is gone..." (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4974805#4974805). I'll be sending a thankful message to Chris Palermo (who started the thread) later today.

Plus, I've had a thought kicking around in my head... I might make a couple Ultima 4 T-Shirts and give them out to the first couple of people who beat the game!!! Shameless promotion... possibly. But you gotta remember that back in the day Richard Garriott would send you a certificate if you told him you completed an Ultima game. And this was just one guy running a company in the days when email was restricted to the military and academics. :P

Sooooo more info to come, and I'm hoping to have time to tell ya some of the stories about the last couple of days. But I'm trying to get my main website Phi Psi Software up and running 'cause I'm going to the Canadian Game Developer Conference next week. Who know's what'll happen??? I'm kinda DREAMING that I might get hooked up with some development money and perhaps get to build more complex 'Ultima-type' games. Hey who doesn't want to get paid to do something they love!

Keep journeying onward folks,