My Ugly Games #1: Ugly Orbs

August 9, 2009

uglyorbs

FROM JASON’S COMPETITIVE NATURE — It’s not that I hate Andrew, or want to crush him with my gauntlet of justice, or desire to tread over the dusty remains of his bones.

It’s just that when I saw his most recent post — the first in seven months — about his Lovely Games experiments with Lua and Love2D, all that nostalgia about using ClickTeam’s software came rushing back.

Here’s Ugly Orbs, the sworn arch-enemy of Lovely Squares. Maybe more will come. Who knows? I have some old games sitting around that have been complete or half-complete for four or five years. Boy, those were fun.

See, while Andrew’s been learning fancy-schmansy methods of “programming” and “coding” and “scripting,” I laid out some big bucks a few years back for The Games Factory and later MultiMedia Fusion. These object-oriented engines are very good at helping you slap together working applications using a WYSIWYG interface, an intuitive event editor to tell your game pieces how to act, and a graphics editor that’s fairly full-featured (I still use Photoshop for most sprite editing, though).

So the game that Andrew spent 10 hours on last week took me about four with the help of the right software. And I’m a retard, barely able to navigate Linux, write HTML, or edit a config.sys file. So if I can emulate his skills, you know ClickTeam’s stuff is powerful magic.

By the way, most of the sprites I used came from a Sinistar clone. They were released into the public domain by the author over at Lost Garden. It’s very possible that (if I can rouse the energy and willpower) I might do a shooter using the same graphics.

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The Battle for Wesnoth: Freeware at its best

December 23, 2007

NAVIGATING THROUGH THE TRENCHES OF ANDREWS DEEPEST THOUGHTS — Rarely do you find a freeware game with as much polish and detail as the turn-based strategy The Battle for Wesnoth. Published under the GNU General Public License, Wesnoth is available for Windows, Mac, and tons of Linux distributions.

Boasting a strong 200+ unit count, 16 races, and 6 factions, Wesnoth provides a deep and rewarding experience.

A fantasy based strategy game, it has players recruit armies from a myriad of races, the usual Tolkien influenced bunch, to battle for control of a hex based map. Within the default era, the available factions are Undead, Rebels (Elves), Loyalists (Humans), Knalgan Alliance (Dwarves), Northerners (Orcs and Goblins), and finally Drakes (Dragons).

Each race as a bunch of units, each with it’s own specialty and traits. Additionally, each unit can gain experience which will allow you to level up your base units into more distinct and powerful units as they fight and survive battles. You must learn their units and utilize their strengths against their enemies weaknesses if you ever hope to be successful.

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Battle between armies

Several players battle for control of a critical village(Click for full image)

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The basic aim of the game is to protect your commander while you navigate the hex grid map, seizing control of villages that not only provide you with gold, but a stronghold to defend key points on the map. Featuring a vast collection of land types, all with heir own movement modifiers that limit a unit’s ability to travel distances, the playable maps always provide an interesting change in tactics and you move to position your units to the best vantage points.

It also boasts a robust and complex battle system, which is balanced precisely while maintaining very asymmetric factions. However, it may take players a while to grasp the full complexity of the system.

Wesnoth provides players with both single and multiplayer modes. Not only does the game come with six excellent default campaigns, but players can easily download hundreds more from the official add-on server, easily accessible from the main menu. User-created content is one of the most compelling reasons to play this game. Not only can you download more campaigns, but you have access to new eras (which provide more races and units), tons of multiplayer maps, and even total conversion mods. Wesnoth was built from the ground up to be modular, user friendly, and encouraging to the community to help contribute. In fact, the developers welcome new additions to the game and usually include high quality content in future releases.

Finally, the game looks beautiful and can be run on almost any machine, old and new alike. The sprites and animations are detailed. Taking a look at the screen shot archives on the website, you can see how the game as progressed visually over the years, and thankfully for the better.

PROS:

  • Tons of units and factions.
  • High-quality user-created content.
  • Complex, balanced battle system.
  • CONS:

  • Steep learning curve.
  • Games may take a LONG time to finish.
  • PURCHASE IF:

  • It’s free, just download and try it already.
  • AVOID IF:

  • Your name is Jason and you suck at it.

  • Customizing a cell phone is easy with the right tools

    December 7, 2007

    FROM JASON’S CELL PHONE — Those ringtones on your phone are just little WAV and MP3 files, and the wallpapers are just tiny JPGs. That means you could convert your phone to just about any theme — if only there were a way to get your custom clips and images to it.

    Sure, you could pay $2.99 per ringtone to buy through the service provider. Or you could use a couple of simple online tools to upload any ringer and any wallpaper for free.

    For some phones, getting free toys straight from the Internet is a snap. Some providers, though — like Verizon — make it quite counter-intuitive to get anything at all to or from a phone (especially the lower-end ones).

    It took quite a bit of digging to find upload tools that weren’t scams, overly complicated software downloads, bloatware, or pay sites. These links below, however, work like a charm:

    Upload free ringtones

    Upload free wallpapers

    Get wallpaper dimensions

    Upload free ringtones Upload free wallpaper Get wallpaper dimensions

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    It takes about 5-12 minutes for the messages to traverse the cell network and beep to your phone. Be patient and don’t spam yourself like I did the first time trying to get it to work.

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    My phone has been converted to a Star Trek communicator using this ship’s intercom hailing sound along with a text message tone from Worf. This one from Data or this computer dialogue also work pretty well.

    Couple it with this United Federation of Planets logo wallpaper I cropped, and you’re set to go.

    It’s a little bit nerdy, sure, but you should have heard the reaction from my co-workers the first time I got a call at the office. I couldn’t resist flipping the phone open dramatically and doing my best Shatner.