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Submitted by Jens Tinz, posted on March 24, 2002




Image Description, by Jens Tinz



Here are some graphics of a game I've been working on for a while. StarCab deluxe is the first title I've developed for the DirectX platform. Features include:
  • 12 levels with unique graphics (14 total)
  • music composed individually for each level
  • a storyline carried by cartoon characters
  • graphics up to 1024x768x32
  • multipane scrolling
  • There isn't anything spectacular on the tech side, because I mostly concentrated on the artwork (yes, it's coders art). After having a brief look at libSDL and DirectX7, I decided to implement the game in DX8/Direct3D.

    I'm fully content with this choice. Using the 3D API, I didn't have to mess with update regions, and I can easily use things like alphablending, rotations and scaling. Since I wanted the game to perform ok on older hardware (like my own K6/2-333, RageXL 8MB), I had to keep an eye on texture size and fillrate. Apart from that, working with the 3D API was a breeze.

    I'm currently putting the finishing touches on the game, and am still looking for testers. Here's a 4 level demo you can download. If you're interested in testing the full version, please drop me a note.

    A thank you goes out to all those who helped me in the forum, and to Rick Lynch for providing the music.

    PS: I plan to sell the game online. Might it be worth to look for a distributor?


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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
     
    raiderr1

    March 24, 2002, 04:39 PM

    Hey, looks pretty cool.

     
    davepermen

    March 24, 2002, 04:44 PM

    hey looks neat!

     
    flush23

    March 24, 2002, 05:07 PM

    Some kind of Space Taxi on C64.
    I love this C64 stuff :)

     
    Garett Bass

    March 24, 2002, 05:09 PM

    I played your demo, it's challenging, but very fun and engaging. I really like the artwork. I'm sure I'll keep playing this one until I beat it. Keep up the great work!

     
    Scorp

    March 24, 2002, 06:10 PM

    Nice. Realy fun. Very strange ending thou! :)

     
    Division By Zero

    March 24, 2002, 06:29 PM

    I think its definitely worth a comment ....
    Am I wrong ?

     
    François Beaune

    March 24, 2002, 06:38 PM

    Very nice art ! My "programmer art" is something worse.

     
    llyod

    March 24, 2002, 07:16 PM



    Looks smashing! Loved that old Space Taxi. BTW, an
    interview with the original author can be found here:

    Space Taxi the Interview - with John F. Kutcher Jr.


    Cheers!

     
    Neil Witcomb

    March 24, 2002, 07:21 PM

    Nice, a good break from homework. I noticed a couple problems, on something really odd occured when I changed levels, there was a black flashing in the centre of the screen. I also noticed that when I died once, one of the passangers that was waiting was still on the screen from the previous screen.

    Neil Witcomb

     
    KieranIsOK

    March 24, 2002, 09:16 PM

    But it's not 3d :)

     
    Ono\Sendai

    March 24, 2002, 11:08 PM

    Beautiful art, well done!

     
    bgl

    March 24, 2002, 11:23 PM

    Do you want to look for a publisher? Here's some actual advice (instead of my usual l33t sp34|< :-)

    Go into the Computer Games section of your local Target store (or wherever Joe Schmoe buys his games in your neck of the woods).

    Pick up the boxes. Turn them around. Read the art, look at the brands, look at the screenshots. Could you compete? More importantly, could you convince some businessman in a tie that HE should sped $1M on slotting fees and packaging for YOUR product to compete?

    I suggest you sell/distribute it as shareware on the web. You want as wide distribution of the bits as possible -- if people give it away, so what? It's your name, and hopefully it'll be connected with joy.

    Then use the game either as marketing for your next, bigger, better one, or just as your calling card when interviewing at games companies. Such dedication gets attention!

     
    Udderdude

    March 25, 2002, 01:28 AM

    Whee, neat lunar lander style clone :)

    A few issues ..

    I had trouble distinguising what I could hit from what I couldn't. In a game like this it's pretty important. You might want to make the background entirely different shades or colors.

    I found myself wishing for a thrust down button to speed up my rate of descent. This probabally isn't possible, but oh well. :)

    I think it could benefit from more gameplay elements. It felt like it would get boring pretty quickly. Some suggestions off the top of my head : wind areas (pushes around your cab), boost areas (land your cab on it and you go flying up), fuel powerups, enemies (you don't have to be able to kill them, just avoid them) ..

    The music was pretty cheezy, and the loop skips around .. you could atleast make it loop correctly.

     
    jeti

    March 25, 2002, 02:41 AM

    Hello!

    It hurts a bit, but I'm afraid you're right. With your
    own game, it's hard to tell how good it is - or isn't.

    The IOTD was posted later than I expected, and I actually
    released the game a few days ago on my page. I'm offering
    the free demo and selling the full game online for $8.

    But althogh I have ~3k visits a day, I haven't sold a copy
    yet. Needless to say, I'm a bit disappointed. If I can't
    sell some copies within the next weeks, I might release it
    as freeware or shareware (makes no difference).

    Only the bandwith will hurt. On free games, I always get
    several thousand downloads and the full version got 8MB.

     
    jeti

    March 25, 2002, 02:56 AM

    > I had trouble distinguising what I could hit from what I couldn't.
    > In a game like this it's pretty important. You might want to make
    > the background entirely different shades or colors.

    The foreground is seperated from the background with a contour.
    Objects within the foreground do have no contours or weaker
    contours. Also the multipane scrolling should help to distinguish.
    (In 1024x768 there's hardly any scrolling. I prefer 800x600.)
    A problem is that I haven't been consequent with the men, arrows
    and the gasstation. They got hard contours, although you cannot
    hit them. I'll test whether those objects look ok wo contour.

    > I think it could benefit from more gameplay elements. It felt
    > like it would get boring pretty quickly. Some suggestions off
    > the top of my head : wind areas (pushes around your cab), boost
    > areas (land your cab on it and you go flying up), fuel powerups,
    > enemies (you don't have to be able to kill them, just avoid them) ..

    The C64 version offers a few more elements like that. Maybe I'll
    add some more stuff like wind. But there is a growing number of
    "enemies". In the 1st level, there's the jet, and in the 4th an
    UFO is added. Higher levels got quite a number of those elements
    (comets, helis, deadly confetti, drops of lava - you name it).
    Also the gravity changes in some levels.

    > The music was pretty cheezy, and the loop skips around .. you
    > could atleast make it loop correctly.

    I have never had any complaints about the sound. The game uses
    a pretty straight player class based on DirectMusic. Honestly,
    I'm baffled.

     
    jeti

    March 25, 2002, 02:57 AM

    Thanks! I'll read it for sure.

     
    jeti

    March 25, 2002, 02:59 AM

    PS: The license of the full version expicitly allows
    to share the game with personal friends and family.

     
    CGameProgrammer

    March 25, 2002, 03:34 AM

    Cool game, nice change of pace from all the top-down shooters. But as Udderdude said, it could benefit from more "stuff." You need to model air resistance for one thing. The density of the air could vary from level to level, with moon levels that have no air (the current game plays as if in a vacuum). You can also add wind to the air levels.

    But what would really be appreciated is some sort of in-game animation that plays when a fare gets dropped off, to reward you. By that, I mean when you drop someone off at a building, you might see him enter the building and/or a light in a window of the building turning on (great if you then see his silhouette walk behind the window). When you drop the Klingon at the spaceship, it should take off. Etc. Use your imagination. But this would be very important for enhancing your game. The animations shouldn't take control away from the player or anything; they should just happen in real-time.

     
    jeti

    March 25, 2002, 03:48 AM

    Wow. These are truly excellent suggestions.
    I'll implement air resistance and see what
    rewards I can implement with a reasonable
    amount of work.

    Thank you.

     
    abdulla

    March 25, 2002, 03:50 AM

    i remember playing this game (different version), it drove me nuts, maybe i'm just crap :)

     
    DEVLiN

    March 25, 2002, 06:47 AM

    Let me guess, you've put that as your sig. and just post a reply without text? Since that's the only thing you've posted at all.

    Yes, it's worth a comment, No, you're comment wasn't worth it. :)

    This project has very nice programmers art, is a fully fledged game, etc, those things are worth commenting.

     
    dEViNiTY

    March 25, 2002, 07:49 AM

    another variant of a well-known idea. This one looks pretty funny though.

     
    Kurt Miller

    March 25, 2002, 08:54 AM

    ">>It hurts a bit, but I'm afraid you're right. With your
    own game, it's hard to tell how good it is - or isn't."

    There are a lot of publishers who put out smaller, value-priced games, either in their own box or on compilations with other games. Just because it might not compete with the multi-million dollar games on the shelves does not mean you can't get it published. I suggest you sell it on your web site by default and pursue other opportunities to sell it, both as physical media and through online marketplaces. If you want some suggestions, e-mail me. Seeing as how you have a complete game, you're not in the same situation the average Joe is who's trying to convince a publisher that he should trust him with an investment.


    ">>But althogh I have ~3k visits a day, I haven't sold a copy
    yet. Needless to say, I'm a bit disappointed. If I can't
    sell some copies within the next weeks, I might release it
    as freeware or shareware (makes no difference). "

    I wouldn't give up so fast.

     
    Kurt Miller

    March 25, 2002, 09:02 AM

    BTW, if I were you I'd really consider using an installer for your distribution. I noticed the release of Starcab on CNET's archive is a zip file also. Zip files are no problem for people on this site, but many a casual gamer out there won't know what to do with it. Inno Setup is a good, free install maker.

     
    jeti

    March 25, 2002, 09:51 AM

    Thank you, Kurt. When I asked about publishers, I was, of course,
    thinking along these lines.

    I won't give up now. I'm simply a bit disappointed, because people
    usually go wild about our free games. But when you try to sell
    something, the applied criteria seem to be completely different.

    I've gotten a load of useful feedback in this forum, and will
    create an updated version which makes use of this. When it's
    done, I'd like to contact you. I will also try to get more
    exposure for the updated version. If I still cannot sell it
    after that, I'll distribute the game as shareware and unlock
    some bonus levels for registered users.

     
    MikeW

    March 25, 2002, 09:59 AM

    The nullSoft Installer (google for it) is also good.

    Mike.

     
    goltrpoat

    March 25, 2002, 02:24 PM

    B title publishers are a dime a dozen. It's not difficult to get a budget title published *at all*.

     
    Qix

    March 25, 2002, 04:57 PM

    This game is very playable. Simple, but it does play smooth. My suggestion would include more than just picking up the passanger. Complex gravity such as in Gravatron (An old vector game) where you are pulled towards the center and not just down. Maybe a few baddies shooting at ya..

    Don't give up on selling this project at all. There are a multi-million number of people on the net an all you have to do is let them know it's there for them.

    One suggestion is do something like I did with Ringing Bells. Have a bunch of web software distributers like www.alberts.com sell it. They take 20% or so off the top and the rest is yours. Some also do some PR work for you and make sure the search engines have it. Quite easy....

    ( On a side note to other posters: How do I place a link in these posts? I see how code is done but not web addresses )

    MarkW

     
    ArielJ

    March 26, 2002, 04:11 AM

    Hi Jeti,
    Every time I create a software or a game I don't have any idea how to 'release' it.

    I created the game catapults (it was showed in the IOTD) but what should I do now..?

    (www.global-rd.com/catapults)

    Thanks,
    Ariel.

     
    Quasar3D

    March 28, 2002, 12:00 PM

    beatyful graphics

     
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