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Posts Tagged ‘SoulHow’

SoulHow to use data structures

September 13, 2008 Leave a comment

NOTE: Comments are locked. I no longer answer questions about the Game Maker tutorials on this blog; I suggest you take any questions to the Game Maker Community. For more info, view the FAQ page.

Skill Level: Experienced User (6)

I told you it was coming. The data structure soulhow article. We’re up over 8000 hits, thanks to you, so I figured it was a great time to write another article.

So what are data structures? Well first, before I go any further, I’d like to redirect you to the arrays soulhow article if you haven’t read it yet and don’t already know what an array is. The reason is that data structures are just special types of arrays.

Sadly, this is a pro-only feature. So if you have lite, GO GET PRO and come back.

Back yet? Great. Let’s go.

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SoulHow to use arrays

September 3, 2008 Leave a comment

NOTE: Comments are locked. I no longer answer questions about the Game Maker tutorials on this blog; I suggest you take any questions to the Game Maker Community. For more info, view the FAQ page.

Skill Level: Intermediate User (5)

Ever heard of those weird things called arrays?  Me neither.

Just kidding of course.  Anyways, arrays are much easier to understand than they sound.  Due to the fact that I realized I had actually never explained arrays in any blog entry (!!!), I’ll explain them here (as suggested by the article title…) If you don’t know what a variable is, either read the SoulHow to code in GML article, read the GM manual, or else you’re on your own.

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SoulHow to make a more successful fangame

August 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Skill Level: N/A

What do you think is the most frequently made fangame?  Mario?  Sonic?  Megaman?  Nope, you’re wrong.  The most frequently made fangames, are bad ones.  And sadly, these poorly-made fangames’ reputations tend to rub off onto other fangames and shoot their chances as well.

I really don’t care about original vs. fangame; all I care about is whether a game is good, and I’m sure most of you will agree with me if you truly think about it.  Seriously, who out there has played, for example, Hard Hat 3 by Damaged, and disliked it because it was unoriginal?  The real deal breaker is (should be) the game’s quality.  If you find yourself disliking a fangame only because it’s unoriginal, you should think be thinking a little harder.

And with that said, I will now write something more like what you were expecting in a SoulHow article: how to get your fangame more successful.  This doesn’t mean matching the original game to the T, but making different levels and bosses.  Actually, it involves a number of things.
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SoulHow to make gameplay fun

August 12, 2008 2 comments

Skill Level: N/A

This sounds like a ridiculous idea for an article. Come on; talking about what’s fun? You KNOW what’s fun. Or do you? This is actually a more difficult subject than many would assume. Making your game fun isn’t just about adding more and more features; it requires careful planning, strategy and testing.

First let’s think about what fun games are like. Think about a game you’ve played that was fun; was it engaging? encouraging? interesting? stimulating? rewarding? Now think about a game you absolutely hated. Was it frustrating? boring? repetitive?

Chances are you answered yes to each of the questions I asked above. Now I’d like to discuss some parts of a game where you need to focus on fun. In each section, I’m going to highlight a few words that describe a game as fun, or not fun.

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SoulHow to keep the player playing

July 28, 2008 1 comment

Skill Level: N/A

Hey guys. I wanted to report that we’re up over 4000 hits, and I thought it’d be as good a time as ever to write another special SoulHow game design theory article.  This one is about how to keep people playing your game.  Keep people playing? What’s the point of talking about that? After all, a lot of people can write a game with a task, a goal, and a challenge.  Should be enough right?  Wrong.  Well, sometimes.

It’s important to think about ways to keep your target audience interested in the game.  After all, that’s the ultimate task of the game designer; to keep people playing.  Even back in the days of the arcade games, with horrible 2d splotchy graphics, the goal of the designer was to write a game which will keep the player interested so that they played enough to get hooked–which translates to their inserting more quarters to play again and again.  The longer the player is compelled to continue, the more money the arcade makes.

This brings up an interesting point.  It’s obvious the game must be fun or the player will stop midway through, but keeping the player playing does not only mean during one go.  If the player fails miserably and dunks Megaman into the burning lava three times in a row, he still wants to keep going.  That’s what you want.  Even if the player continues to die over and over, he should still want to head back to that title screen and click “new game”.

The last part of your job as a game designer occurs when the player wins; when Megaman finally defeats Sigma, the player should reflect and say, “Hey, this game was so awesome, I’m going to start it again from the beginning.”  This isn’t always entirely possible, but you should definitely try.

Below I’m going to discuss a few ways to achieve success in each of the three times you must keep the player playing (in-game, post-failure, and post-success).

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SoulHow to work with surfaces (Game Maker)

July 18, 2008 3 comments

NOTE: Comments are locked. I no longer answer questions about the Game Maker tutorials on this blog; I suggest you take any questions to the Game Maker Community. For more info, view the FAQ page.

Skill Level: Advanced user (7)

Welcome to the surfaces SoulHow article. In this article you will learn how to use surfaces in Game Maker. They can be used for many purposes, such as neat transitions, dynamic textures, and custom sprites made at runtime. A lot of people think surfaces are some magical, superdifficult concept you shall never understand except by…witchcraft. Got you.

The basic idea is this: A surface is like a blank canvas. Imagine going to the art store, and buying a blank canvas. On this canvas, you can paint whatever you want, and put it wherever you want on the wall. You can paint over what you’ve already painted, and you can rotate the canvas as well. However, unlike what is possible with a physical canvas, with surfaces, you can also scale and stretch, alpha blend, and transparify.

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SoulHow to debug your game (Game Maker)

June 29, 2008 2 comments

NOTE: Comments are locked. I no longer answer questions about the Game Maker tutorials on this blog; I suggest you take any questions to the Game Maker Community. For more info, view the FAQ page.

Skill Level: Experienced user (6)

Welcome to another SoulHow article.  This one is about debugging your game.  Ever get that problem during programming that’s just so elusive that it makes you want to take your keyboard, rip out every single key one by one, ram it into your monitor and finally burn it in fiery destruction?  But you never did it, because, then, well, you know, you couldn’t use it anymore.

Well there’s a way to fix this problem, or at least figure out how, aside from running to the GMC and posting an obscure thread with no details other than “Mai gaem duzn’t worrx!”  Okay, so you probably wouldn’t have done that (I hope) but you still might not need to post anything on the GMC.  Through wizardry, you might ask?  Absolutely positively not.  Okay, maybe.  But in this guide, it’ll be through debugging techniques which you can use with virtually every problem.  Read on, young game maker. My apologies for that if you’re actually an old game maker.

(Note: this article assumes you understand about code, that you know what scripts are, and that you understand while and for loops.  It’s not really much if you’ve been using GM for a while but I felt I should mention it anyways.)

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