Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tips for keeping interested

1) Make it procedurally generated, so it's different to play each time.

2) Make it actually fun to play.

3) Make it single player with an AI.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Unnamed Horror Game

My newest project is going to be a 3D Horror Game.  I think 3D is the way to go (hello 1995!) these days; it may be harder, but for me at least, simple 2D games just don't interest me, and certainly don't interest my kids who are my main audience.  With this in mind I thought a horror game that scares them would be fun.

Here's the very first video.  it's just me walking around:-



It's written in Java using the excellent JMonkeyEngine for the 3D.  I did have a look at using LibGDX which is also very good.  However, for the physics aspect at least, it was just a "leaky" wrapper for Bullet.  Bullet is written in C, and so even in Java it seemed to be a case of remembering to dispose of objects and other things I'd hoped to never have to do again.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Tips for Software Developer Recruiters

I've had quite a few Software Developer jobs, been an interviewee even more times, and sometimes even been the interviewer.  This is a brief rundown of some tips that I've picked up along the way to avoid wasting both the interviewers and interviewees time, and help you get the right people.

1) Read This

For the love of God, read this before you do any interviews.

2) Be flexible with interview times

...preferrably holding them out of hours.  A consciencous interviewee who already has a job doesn't want to risk endangering that job, or waste their holiday allocation, or go through the minefield of taking time of work, if they can help it. 

You will make it so much easier for potential recruits if you can do the interview out of hours, or in some way make it as easy as possible for them to get to the interview without disrupting their current job.

3) Test their development skills by getting them to develop something

Software development is about developing software, not about knowing the definition of Dependency Injection or what the definition is of each of the method modifiers available in your chosen language.  There is so much to know in Software Development the no single person can know everything, and by asking specific quiz questions, you're turning the interview into a lottery (for both you and the interviewee) where the "winner" is determined by who was lucky enough to have recently read the specific fact that you asked them.

Go through the process of developing software with them.  Allow them to use Google and Stack Overflow, and discuss their code as they write it.  Allow them to use technologies they are experienced in (or claim to be experienced in).  In short, get them to carry out a microcosm of what the actual job would be.

4) Look for Passion

Good software developers love programming, whether it's part of their job or their hobby at home (or anywhere outside their job).  I'm always wary of an interviewee who doesn't write code at home.  If they do, don't worry or expect that it's actually any good; most hobby development is just for fun, and once it stops being fun it gets abandoned.  The fact that they do it is the only important thing.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Escape from Krakatoa Remake


I've been working on my remake of the classic game Escape from Krakatoa for a few weeks now.  I'm already the top Google result for "Escape from Krakatoa remake" (about the top 5 results actually) which says more about the fact that no-one has attempted a remake of this game rather than my internet omnipresence.

The game "components" that I've managed to create using JBox2D is the helicopter, a rope, the landscape, water, the tanker and the rocks thrown from the volcano.

Here's a video of a few of them combined.




They are all basic polygons at the moment (with the exception of the water), but it shouldn't be too difficult to replace them with proper graphics once everything has come together.

At the back of my mind is what new aspects I can add to the gameplay.  I was thinking of something like, the player can (must?) transport crates to the islanders or the tanker to keep them supplied, whilst also defending them against rocket attacks.  And, unlike the original, maybe the player can actually help the islanders escape from Krakatoa?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Just discovered JBox2D

I think I'm pretty late to the 2D physics library game; I've just discovered Jbox2D and I can't believe what I've been missing.  Apart from anything, it handles all the collision detection for you, which saves tons of coding straight away.  But not only that, it also handles them in realistic ways.  As a game developer, you just create all the physics objects and then let the physics engine do everything else.  All you need to do is draw the graphics and handle user input.  It's so good, I'm surprised at the lack of example code on the internet.

Here's a small vid one of my first experiments - water and getting something to float in it.



It's pretty simple, but what's even simpler is the code required to do this.  I've just created the particles and the rectangle, and then the rest is automatic.  The main bit of code I had to write was drawing it all.

I've been messing about with it for a few weeks now, and my first "big" project with ti is going to be a remake the classic Escape from Krakatoa using JBox2d.  It's a game that lends itself to a physics enghine; the player flies a helicopter, must avoid rocks being thrown from a volcano and rescue people from the island.  I'm going to check I can recreate each aspect using the physics engine, and then put it all together.  Next up is flying a helicopter.