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 Post subject: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:15 am 


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Hey all, just wondered how many people program for recreation.
I could ask in the Dev section I suppose but not everyone makes shmups.

Some people make demoscene stuff, some simply play with algorithms and other recreations.

So who here enjoys a spot of divination of the binary?
If you do please list what you have picked up over the years!

I've been programming since about 17 in highschool. Started with Mark Overmars' "Game Maker" when it first came out, moved to Blitzmax, learned a goodly bit of C++98, learned Python in college, started C++11 (was turned off by the monster of syntax it turned into), Read through K&R and played with some early C, picked up Common Lisp out of curiosity by borrowing a book from the college library, went on to learn a good chunk of Scheme (part of the MIT tradition) and that brings me up to today.

I really love Common Lisp most. Sadly, a lot of the libraries are kind of old and unmaintained or partially implemented wrappers of C libraries.

Oh!
As a personal note, please consider the books by Alexander Dewdney! They are a bit old but they provide a lot of fun little puzzles and interesting things for leisure on a lazy Sunday afternoon. He uses pseudocode which is nice since you don't have to write in the language he prefers.

The Armchair Universe
http://www.amazon.com/The-Armchair-Univ ... 0716719398

The Magic Machine: A Handbook of Computer Sorcery
http://www.amazon.com/The-Magic-Machine ... 0716721449

The Tinkertoy Computer and Other Machinations
http://www.amazon.com/The-Tinkertoy-Com ... 071672491X

The New Turing Omnibus: Sixty-Six Excursions in Computer Science
http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Turing-Om ... 0805071660
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Last edited by Pixel_Outlaw on Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:43 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:29 pm 


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Not as much as I'd like, but lately I've been learning 68k assembly and Genesis / Mega Drive development.

I also know C, PHP, JavaScript, and bits of several other languages.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:49 pm 


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In 2014 I started learning Z80 assembly and develop for the Sega Master System. It's really nice hardware to develop for.

I'm currently working on my second game, which I hope to finish sometime this spring. I do enjoy coding as a recreational activity. Progress on the projects tends to be slow, though, as work in particular and life in general get in the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:33 pm 


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I'm not a proper programmer at all, but I had to learn gml for my game projects. Kind of a hassle (though still fun at times) since I'd prefer to fully devote myself to game design and art assets, but there's no other way when you are starting and have no money to pay a real coder. It does have its advantages since it gives you full control when it comes to game design, as you will get exactly what you want, but it's still a huge workload.

Managed to get a functioning fighting game engine based on Super Turbo and KOF. Eventually I put that project on hold since it's a lot of work for a single person, but I'm reusing a lot of that code for a smaller ninja beat'em up/sidescroller project. The project helped me learn a lot in many areas so it hasn't been a waste of time.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:25 pm 


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Been a recreational web programmer for a long time. It's just one of many interests I have so I'm not much of a pro. Only started using javascript this year for example. I haven't done much in non web related programming languages, although I've been doing work on games with game editor/creator software for just as long as I've been doing work on websites. Played around with C++ trying to put together a shmup, but lost interest when I realized I'd really much rather make an RPG. Even if that would probably take much more time. The last thing I did related to game programming was trying to do some scripts for the RPG Maker VX last year. It went not as good as I had hoped and I ended up putting the project on hold due to more urgent matters at the time, and I couldn't get back into it because I lost interest in my concept which involved too many compromises tdue to my lack of understanding of the game scripts the engine was supplied with. My current plan is to try writing my own RPG engine from the ground up. Even if it's going to take years. However it's going to be a while until I'll have the time for that.

I've considered making my RPG for the SNES. That's pretty much the origin of my current project though. Back then I've looked a bit into assembly and SNES development and it looked like a hell of work. At least it did back at that time. Maybe in the far future I'll give assemlby a proper shot, but for now I feel like I shouldn't make things harder than necessary for me (considering that I haven't been able to get anywhere with this hobby).
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:13 am 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
In 2014 I started learning Z80 assembly and develop for the Sega Master System. It's really nice hardware to develop for.

SMS really is nice. Very simple hardware that's pretty logical in most ways. I'd like to get back to poking on it sometime.

I'm a recreational programmer and a professional programmer. I do lots of C for work and fun, and lots of different assembly languages for fun things. Also use Ruby a bit, but C and assembly are my true loves. Particularly like 68000, Z80, and V60/V70. Grown somewhat fond of 16-bit 80286 assembly too, as gross as that makes me feel.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:48 am 


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I work as a software engineer and I work on projects at home for fun as a hobby.

I have worked on the Amiga, Megadrive, tiny amount on the NES, PC-Engine and work on embedded projects for fun and hobby.
I have worked in the embedded field on VoIP, Industrial Chemical Analysers, Medical Projects and Satellite Navigation projects in my paid work and have worked mostly in development with some project planning work involved and budgeting.

I write code for embedded targets in C and Assembly. My first Assembly language was 6502 as a kid then I got into 68K when I got my first Amiga and then later I learned Assembly for some other families: AVR, ARM, PIC, 8051. I never liked Intel and always liked 68K :) I was in University in the late 90s and 68K was still being taught on some Electronics Degrees so I used 68K even at University. I also wrote the control software for my first Music Synthesiser in 68K - I should have used something more modern but I had no $ at the time :D

I prefer the command-line to GUI based development environments and love UNIX generally. I also write UNIX Shell scripts such as Bash and others for work and home projects and I use Python and Matlab a fair amount - Python is very useful for getting data into the correct format for a machine's registers I find when used in interactive mode.

Over the years (20 now) I have always had a 'love hate' relationship with C but these days it is mostly a 'love' relation now. I can program in C++ and I even studied Java many years ago along with some functional languages such as Prolog (probably the hardest language I ever had to learn - very, very different to how we think in procedural languages and a real mind-bender) and Haskell (I loved Haskell). I find that most people these days are very poor with handling a machine's resources and I have seen far too many silly examples of people dicking around in C++ and Java to take it too seriously. C, on the other hand, is just simple and straight-forware and doesn't tempt (especially inexperienced developers and ego-maniacs) to try and utilise every single feature of the language (especially the new ones.....) in every single project. I mostly dislike how C++ has gone since the mid 90s and I can't abide Java and C# - that partial keyword speaks sloppy thinking and lends itself to poor practices in my book.

I write low-level software and really like working in VHDL but I am more of a beginner in VHDL and have only designed one piece of hardware of any real complexity but I will do some more perhaps this year.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:37 pm 


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I have been using the raw Ruby side of RPG Maker to create a few game prototypes, over many lunch breaks. For me, making games is more fun than playing them, now. Figuring out how to arrange and organize all of the game data. When I successfully executed my first Input-Output operation on an external file, I was ecstatic. Recently, I have been building an in-game map editor.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:57 pm 


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Back in high school and early college, I used to program z80 assembler for the TI-8x series of calculators. 8) Really loved it--the sustained, intense focus and problem solving--and I had reached some deeper levels of sophistication before quitting in favor of Japanese. Side note: nearly failed out of high school due to all my time being spent between programming and Japanese, hehe.

My "magnum opus" was a little jrpg-clone called (cue cringe) "Dying Eyes". It was the most advanced rpg game on those calculators for awhile, hehe. I was working on my own SRPG iteration of Dune 2 before quitting, that would have been great. I had even written many novel engines/routines, including simulated greyscale animation on the TI-82, which was a "big thing" then, haha.

I never seriously moved on to C. If I ever get back into programming (I think about it often), it will probably be in the context of something like max/msp.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:00 pm 


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I'm studying to become a computer scientist. Writing little games in a variety of genres is a hobby that I intend to make up a portfolio with. It's also fun.

Hagane wrote:
I'm not a proper programmer at all, but I had to learn gml for my game projects. Kind of a hassle (though still fun at times) since I'd prefer to fully devote myself to game design and art assets, but there's no other way when you are starting and have no money to pay a real coder. It does have its advantages since it gives you full control when it comes to game design, as you will get exactly what you want, but it's still a huge workload.

Managed to get a functioning fighting game engine based on Super Turbo and KOF. Eventually I put that project on hold since it's a lot of work for a single person, but I'm reusing a lot of that code for a smaller ninja beat'em up/sidescroller project. The project helped me learn a lot in many areas so it hasn't been a waste of time.


Be it on my own project, or yours, I'd love to work with you Hagane and help out with code and design. A ninja beat em up sounds fun :3
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:33 am 


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I wrote a whole game in 6502 assembly, also one in Z80 assembly. I made some smaller programs on other CPUs like x86, 68k, SH2, 68hc908. I write miscellaneous tools in FreeBASIC (I used to use QBASIC in the old days) for stuff like gfx/sound manipulation and building 3D models for my printrbot.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:15 am 


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This is as good a place as any to post it, maybe you fellow recreational programmers are interested.

My new game for the Sega Master System is out. You can get it over at SMSpower:
http://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/BaraBur%C5%AB-SMS

If you don't already have an emulator of choice, I recommend Emulicious. It's the most accurate SMS emulator I know of.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:50 am 


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Shall play; I'm about to hook up Wii again (where I typically play Master System ROMs these days).
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:31 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
This is as good a place as any to post it, maybe you fellow recreational programmers are interested.

My new game for the Sega Master System is out. You can get it over at SMSpower:
http://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/BaraBur%C5%AB-SMS

If you don't already have an emulator of choice, I recommend Emulicious. It's the most accurate SMS emulator I know of.

It is good to see that you kept at it. How are you for tools and libraries?
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:11 pm 


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MintyTheCat wrote:
It is good to see that you kept at it. How are you for tools and libraries?

I think actually finishing a homebrew project is probably a greater challenge than coding it. There are a lot of very promising projects in the homebrew section of SMS Power that, sadly, never got very far beyond a tech demo. Well, the new game is the second one I've finished now. Funny thing is, after finishing my first project (which also was my first ever venture into assembly language programming) I said to myself: "I won't do such an ambitious project ever again". Only to start with an even more ambitious one just a month later...

As for tools, I use ProMotion for graphics and a custom tool written by a community member to convert tile data. The sound is done in a tracker and in-game it's provided by an excellent music/sfx engine (PSGlib) another community member has written.
The rest is plain old z80 asm code. I don't use any other tools like level editors or something. For the first game, I built the screen layouts in Photoshop and abused the aformentioned tile converter to turn them into proper tile maps. The new game generates the tilemaps itself, based on the collision data of the levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:56 pm 


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I love coding in my spare time. I wrote a softsynth called Digits:
http://www.extentofthejam.com/

And last year I wrote a simple time-attack shmup:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSo9gLX6weM

I think this is an older build and it's a pretty choppy video (it runs smooth IRL, synched to the framerate)

Herr, your game looks really cool. I'll stick it onto my Everdrive when I get a chance!
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:55 pm 



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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
I really love Common Lisp most. Sadly, a lot of the libraries are kind of old and unmaintained or partially implemented wrappers of C libraries.

If you can put up with immutability by default (i.e. you have to go out of your way to mutate something) then you should give Clojure (runs on the JVM; on-line REPL) and/or ClojureScript (generates JavaScript) a look.
And more recently Pixie has appeared (Pixie - A Lightweight Lisp with 'Magical' Powers).

EDIT: I should also mention Racket (Unix, Linux, OS X, Win) which is a Lisp-Scheme dialect that appeared first in 1994 (Racket (programming language) - Wikipedia).
Realm of Racket, Learn to Program, One Game at a Time! (June 2013), O'Reilly Media, amazon.com.


Last edited by HydrogLox on Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:49 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
MintyTheCat wrote:
It is good to see that you kept at it. How are you for tools and libraries?

For the first game, I built the screen layouts in Photoshop and abused the aformentioned tile converter to turn them into proper tile maps. The new game generates the tilemaps itself, based on the collision data of the levels.

It is a lot easier if you have a tool that allows you to specify the level layouts and then convert it but for your game it is an n x m table which could be passed to your engine with IDs for each plane and collision info.

This type of project is highly modular though and it is a good choice for a first project.

Well done and keep at it.

I will be adding support for Pro Motion into MDU at some stage but I haven't though about supporting the SMS.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:01 am 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
This is as good a place as any to post it, maybe you fellow recreational programmers are interested.

My new game for the Sega Master System is out. You can get it over at SMSpower:
http://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/BaraBur%C5%AB-SMS

If you don't already have an emulator of choice, I recommend Emulicious. It's the most accurate SMS emulator I know of.

I'm playing Bara Burū (classy lettering on title screen, by the way) emulated on Wii right now, liking it a lot (GBA port would be extremely welcome if you ask me*, but I'm not sure if any more people play GBA homebrew than SMS these days, so if you don't get much kick out of programing GBA, there's little reason to go there).

If I had to do any nitpicking - when two enemies turned food** occupy one spot, it's not obvious whether there are still two of 'em, or one collectible "ate up" another. Perhaps making as many "swallow" sounds as the items gathered is what I expect.

*) Of course, single cart multiplayer via link cable would be all the more welcome.
**) Looking DELICIOUS, I must admit.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:13 pm 


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Obiwanshinobi wrote:
I'm playing Bara Burū (classy lettering on title screen, by the way) emulated on Wii right now, liking it a lot (GBA port would be extremely welcome if you ask me*, but I'm not sure if any more people play GBA homebrew than SMS these days, so if you don't get much kick out of programing GBA, there's little reason to go there).

If I had to do any nitpicking - when two enemies turned food** occupy one spot, it's not obvious whether there are still two of 'em, or one collectible "ate up" another. Perhaps making as many "swallow" sounds as the items gathered is what I expect.

Thanks. I'm glad you like it. Sorry to tell you that chances of me bringing it to other platforms are slim, though, especially if those platforms aren't z80-based and therefore I couldn't re-use any of my asm code...

Good point about the food items. I'll keep that suggestion in mind for the next time a similar issue comes up in a possible future game, but I don't think I'll go back to this one unless someone discovers some huge game breaking bug.
To be honest, the food items (and the tumbling dead enemies) were a nightmare to code, as I ran out of sprites and had to implement them by manipulating the background data. At first I had items competing for the same spot flickering between the two states, but that looked more like an error, so I took that out again.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:52 am 


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Currently finishing up the Linux port of a logic game called Shufflet.
I'll be releasing it on Steam in a week or two.

Written in Python's Pygame, a departure from C++11. I've just gotten tired of C++ after adopting Common Lisp and Python.
I just prefer heterogeneous containers and first class functions with dynamic typing anymore. :wink:

Anyway, I've got an idea for a Schumpe! next.
Shufflet just had a slightly faster development cycle for a first marketable project.:D
Blog here: HERE
Twitter (more active) here: HERE
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:03 pm 


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For completion's sake, I'd like to mention it here, too, just in case there are interested members who spend their forum time more in OT than shmups chat, and may have missed my post there. (Mods: If this is too much of a shameless plug, feel free to remove this post.)

My new game is finally out. Again, it's for the Sega Master System. This time it's a caravan shmup. A little more info and a download link can be found here.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:12 am 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
For completion's sake, I'd like to mention it here, too, just in case there are interested members who spend their forum time more in OT than shmups chat, and may have missed my post there. (Mods: If this is too much of a shameless plug, feel free to remove this post.)

My new game is finally out. Again, it's for the Sega Master System. This time it's a caravan shmup. A little more info and a download link can be found here.


Whoa! Plays very well. Perminant addition to my ROM collection for sure.
Couple of questions...

1. How did you design your enemy movement patterns? Are they just step timers and direction/speed changes per enemy?
2. Who did the art? It's very pleasant to look at. (Much better than a lot of the art on the system)
3. What does development feel like for such a system? I assume it's ASM?
How about the tools used? 8)
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:48 pm 


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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Whoa! Plays very well. Perminant addition to my ROM collection for sure.

Thank you. I'm glad you like it.

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
How did you design your enemy movement patterns? Are they just step timers and direction/speed changes per enemy?

Yes, that's basically it. In my enemy entities, I have a byte I call the movement vector that encodes speed and direction, so the change from one frame to the next can be taken from a lookup table. The enemy paths are simply a list of byte pairs which specify the movement vector and for how many frames it's valid. An enemy wave is another type of list that specifies which enemy types spawn and how long the delay between individual spawns is.

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Who did the art? It's very pleasant to look at. (Much better than a lot of the art on the system)

I did. Everything in the game was done by me: art, code, music, sfx. The Master System has really nice video hardware with a very pleasing palette. Unfortunately, it rarely got used to its full potential back in the day. But with the right approach you can squeeze some really nice stuff out of the hardware.

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
What does development feel like for such a system? I assume it's ASM?
How about the tools used? 8)

Pigarus is my third game for the system, so by now I think I know what I'm doing. It's actually very developer-friendly hardware. The Z80 is fairly fast at 3.5 MHz, the video hardware is good, with 64 sprites and easy scrolling. Only the PSG is a piece of junk only a Tim Follin can get good stuff out.

The game's done completely in ASM, as I think that one of the most important things is to carefully design your game around the shortcomings of the hardware, which is much harder to do if you don't use low-level ASM but something more abstract like C.

As for the tools used: I used a multi-platform assembler called WLA-DX. The graphics were done in Cosmigo's ProMotion. For the music I used Sneventracker. For debugging I used an excellent emulator called Emulicious, which is very accurate and doesn't take shortcuts like other emulators tend to do. You can always be sure that if something works in Emulicious, it will work on a real Master System, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:07 am 


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Here is my current project. Kind of bored of working on it and not sure how successful it will be.
It may be a bit too chaotic (in the bad way :( ) for a serious score based game.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41vf0ucRkbs
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:46 pm 


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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Here is my current project. Kind of bored of working on it and not sure how successful it will be.
It may be a bit too chaotic (in the bad way :( ) for a serious score based game.


Nice bullet spam! Is it completely random? If not, what influences the pattern generation? It looks a little too random for a score game, but there's obviously tons of potential there.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:34 pm 


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That one looks like it's somewhere between a Kenta Cho game (rRootage) and Warning Forever. Could be interesting to see it developed further.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:03 am 


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Oh look a programming thread. And I just updated what passes for my blog with a new program.


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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:54 am 


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Vexorg wrote:
That one looks like it's somewhere between a Kenta Cho game (rRootage) and Warning Forever. Could be interesting to see it developed further.


Very heavily inspired. I'd like to do procedural generation but not random every time.
The program just generates the bosses for the model you select.

There would be a 5 boss mode, a 7 boss mode and a 15 boss mode.
With popcorn enemies between bosses.

I also thought of a "boss of the day" like an advent calendar which would be generated in advance for each day of the year.

ED-057 wrote:
Oh look a programming thread. And I just updated what passes for my blog with a new program.


Looks pretty nice!
Reminds me a bit of GrafX2.
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 Post subject: Re: Recreational computer programmers?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:39 am 


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Reminds me a bit of GrafX2.

Heh, another Amiga-inspired editor. The one Herr Schatten mentioned was also.


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