Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

Mmmm Candy

Work on VI is progressing nicely, nothing major really over the past few days other than trying to make sure that it all looks as smooth and as nice as possible. There’s far too many things that have been hacked in as tests and still sitting in the code that I’m currently stripping out. Chances are, it’ll still be sitting around the 15meg mark when finished, but thats a file size that I can live with – course, I’ve not added GeeKays excellent sound track to it yet…

I must confess though, I am incredibly happy with the way its turning out – and even if no other sod likes it, It’ll still be my own little toy to enjoy 🙂

With a bit of luck, a few weeks into the competition and a quick overhaul of the Bag Full Of Wrong site and I should be good to go, but y’know – I’ve been saying that for nearly six months now, so I wouldn’t hold your breath just in case.

Picked up a copy of Charlies Games Bullet Candy this morning. Charlie started this roughly the same time as I started VI and I was a bit worried that we might have been treading similar paths, but nah. He’s gone for a more traditional Llamatron come bullet hell style than myself so all is good in the world.

Its quite enjoyable and well worth the (under) ten quid I spent on it and some of the effects look excellent.

I can’t help but nitpick though, possibly because its a similar style of game to what I’m working on therefor I feel a bit closer to it than I really should. One of the complaints I received over some of the beta versions of VI towards the end of last year were that occasionally, the effects obscure the action meaning that you’re in danger of biting the bullet due to lack of visibility.

In Bullet Candy, this can become a bit of a problem towards later levels. Around 99% of the times I blew my poor little ship to pieces I had absolutely no idea what had hit me until the death was over and I could see what was remaining on screen – and whilst I had a large stock of lives, so it wasn’t too much of a problem – its certainly frustrating thinking that there was no possible way I could have avoided that.

The collision boxes felt a little too large given the amount of bullets on screen, maybe I’ve been spoilt by oodles of excellent Japanese shooters that allow you that wonderful feeling when you’ve just scraped through a near impossible situation by the skin of your teeth – but it was certainly something that felt amiss in this game.

With the larger collision boxes in Bullet Candy you absolutely must have a pretty clear run as bullet scraping is impossible – meaning that on levels where some of the nasties are pissing out bullets two the dozen (and they do piss them out at great speed) the only way to get yourself out of a tight spot is suicide. So, you better hope that you’ve stocked up on large amounts of lives beforehand or you’re fucked.

This probably sounds like I have loads of problems and issues with the game, and really – I don’t. I’m quite possibly being oversensitive about some of the problems I am finding as VI is at the forefront of my mind at the moment and all the rules I’ve set in place for how VI must turn out are spinning around my head constantly.

So, Its good, dumb fun and as mindless shooters go (my favourite type of game)- its certainly one of the better ones on the market that I’ve played (and I’ve played most of them, for my sins) and kudos to Charlie for not slipping into the dumbing the game down trap for the casual market that so many folks seem to think is sensible.

There’s a lot of love been put into Bullet Candy and it shows, so don’t let my minor quibbles put you off. It really is an excellent game worthy of your time.

I certainly played through a lot of it this afternoon with a huge grin on my face.

Go and check the demo out and see if its up your street too, its available in Mac & PC versions from Charlies Games

Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.


Replacing the placeholder graphics now, spit and polish and making the game look “teh pretties”.

Follow the yellow brick link

Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

A Big Yay

VI New Shot

For some odd reason a trip out to the dullards of Birmingham this week has got me reinvigorated on working on VI – I doubt it’ll last too long, but I pulled an all nighter on it last night and whacked together 15 more levels.

A lot of people have commented on how they much prefered the vector look, so taking all the bug fixes and stuff that come with the last build and shoehorning the graphics from the older version to see what they looked like was first order of the day.

I must admit that part of the reason I got a little bit down on the old Vector look was because when I started writing the thing (nearly 12 months ago now) there wasn’t actually that many vector styled arena shooters out there… then along came Geometry Wars 2 and well, I think we all know the story from there on in. Its took a long time to bash out the feelings that I couldn’t compete with how gorgeous some other people had made their games look, which quite possibly comes down to a lack of confidence in what I actually produce.

I know for certain that when I actually look at what I’ve put together for VI, it impresses me and part the reason it takes me so long to get anything done on it is that I can’t stop playing it. Of course, the latter is the upshot of writing the game that you do want to play! I have an intense detest of cockiness though, and I guess that manifests itself in the obligatory “there’s no bigger critic than yourself” ethos… it wouldn’t matter if 500 people told me I’d made the best game in the known universe (if ever that were to happen) I’d still be able to nitpick and find flaws in it.

The quest for “perfection” has certainly been one of the main drags with VI and distancing yourself from your own code is perhaps the only way to overcome this. I’m trying really hard this time to just cruise along and not fall into the tweaking trap so that I can finish the darn thing and get it out of the door once and for all, close this chapter and move along to some of the other idea’s I have… and hopefully getting Devil Rides In out aroundabout the same time as VI is finished.

I digress…

The vector graphics are now back in, along with some new backdrops and the touched up effects from the new build and I’m quite impressed with how it looks now. I don’t doubt there’ll be some more taming to be done on it, but the level building is cruising along slowly but nicely for the past 24 hours or so. 15 more levels is more than I’ve managed in a long long time, so I’m hopeful and for the first time in a while can see the light at the end of the tunnel.