Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Landscape and a Short Boss Fight

A new video is up, showing the 2D/3D toggle and another landscape. At the end of the level, the evil space train is dealt with swiftly.
After uploading the last video I saw that the energy bars were not updating, which is now fixed.
In the video the first few seconds show a "traditional" bird's eye view of vertical scrolling Shoot'em Ups. The rest of the video uses forward scrolling.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Videos now hosted on Youtube channel

I am continuing my experiments with video recording and hosting. Seems like YouTube's video quality is far superior to their own blogspot-hosted videos!

My next steps are some bugfixing and then to offer a small demo for download.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Another Video and RSS Feeds

I put another video up in the Media section in an attempt to improve the video quality. I will keep experimenting, maybe I will have to upload to YouTube for better quality.

I noticed that the Chrome browser does not come with any feed reader support. To subscribe this page, for most browsers scrolling all the way down to "Submit to Posts" is the way. Chrome users would have to install the RSS feed reader plug-in and will then find an orange feed icon in the navigation bar. *Sigh of relief*

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gameplay video

I was checking out Open Broadcaster Software and created a gameplay video. You can see two players shooting down some bogies over 2 minutes. This is how the campaign or survival modes would work. All current weapon types are shown, but only one enemy type. This video is also without sound, but there will be more to follow. By the way, the game has a friendly fire setting for those who like to get into arguments with whoever they are sitting next to playing.

Head to the video over at Media

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Modding Horizon Blaster

Game modifications...

We know that nobody has time to waste anymore and that people are sitting on endless bucket lists of games they want to play at some moment. Then why do game developers even bother and facilitate modding of their title? The consensus is that this increases the metaphorical life span of a title. Take a look at how Starcraft's custom map feature lifted off, spawning the tower defense genre. Warcraft 3 repeated the same stunt creating MOBA style games. These successes are based on excellent customization tools.

My aim is not the same quality of tools because my priority is to get the game done and polished. Most modding capabilities of the game came automatically instead of being grafted onto. Usually loading data from files is usually the most versatile way to develop and avoid program compilation times and content creation turnaround. The benefit of this data driven programming technique shall also help the players to tweak the game or create their own content. Maybe an entire "mod" will appear, who knows?

Because I am planning for an online highscore list, there will be mechanisms that disallow scores achieved in a mod from going to the list of official version high scores.


Here is the current state of technologies I use to build my ship create Horizon Blaster.

Languages and Frameworks
  • C++ game and "engine" code
  • Python for internal workflow scripts
  • OpenGL for graphics
  • GLEW to facilitate OpenGL
  • SDL for input and sound
  • FTGL for font rendering (will cycle this out, soon)

Main Tools
  • Visual Studio Express(!)
  • WScite as text editor
  • Blender to model the ships
  • Paint.NET for terrain and textures
  • sfxr for sound creation
  • NSIS for the installer (will change to WiX)
Debugging Tools

These don't go into released versions, but accelerate development.
  • glIntercept
  • AntTweakBar
If you have questions about any of these tools and how I use them, drop me a note. I can explain more in a future post :).

Friday, January 23, 2015


Welcome to the wonderful world of space ship shooting.

You will find news and background info for my game Horizon Blaster right here.

I am hoping to upgrade regularly, should that ever not be so then you must drop me a line and I will push a couple more pixels onto the web.

My plan is also to submit a few technical articles here, so if there is any particular technique or implementation you are interested in, then ask!

Now, to our protagonist:

Horizon Blaster

Forward Scrolling Shoot'em up

Coming in 2015 to desktop PCs

Wait, "forward" scroller, is that a thing?

I honestly don't know, unlike vertical or horizontal scrollers, I have never heard this categorization from anybody else...
Better answer: Well, yes I think they do! What about Space Harrier, which appeared in 1985 and whose "super scaler" hardware dominated its kind well into the 90s.
We also saw After Burner in 1987. By the way, both were created under lead of Yu Suzuka at Sega.

My definition of forward scroller is this:
Where scrolling horizontally is movement of the world along the x axis, vertically means y axis and forward along the z axis.
In a forward scroller the world advances screenwards, in the direction the player looks, the player's forward.

Don't let anybody call this style of play a "rails shooter". It can't be named that because the player is allowed to move to the sides in order to aim. A rails shooter in my definition restrains you to a fixed location but allows you to aim freely.

I am closing with mention of another defining element of all shmups.

Forward ever, backward never!