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Submitted by Shane, posted on December 12, 2004

Image Description, by Shane

Here is our little game, the first commercial one. ScreenShot1 shows the game in action mode. This game was created to run on the tapwave zodiac ( from the ground up using tricks i learned in various programming books. The code uses standard bitblts to draw the backgrounds and menus, it uses color sourced blits to draw the sprites of course, and in this screen shot we can see it doing a graphics blit using a alpha mask(the shooting image) and then it also uses the particular graphics api to draw the cool explosion (pixels that have trails and fade).

Background: You move your little piece around a specific area to destroy pieces of like color that entrench on your area...if they make it into your safe square (the greyarea) its game over man. To destroy other colors, you swap colors by shooting unlike colors.

Technically the game isnt impressive, but the device it was made on was. It was easy to port directdraw code over to the device (cause they both use the same concepts: blitters, and surfaces) and the device itself is a cool pda for gaming: 480x320, 16bit color, analog stick built in , touch screen and rumbler. The api tapwave provides is pretty slick, and this game's core was up and running in a weekend (took us 6 months to polish the game).

So technical break down:
480x320 16 bit graphics
uses most the blitting options the device's api offers.
Uses the rumbler effects
Though it being a 2d game, it doesnt really utilize the analog stick.

Oh it should be noted, all the graphics are loaded into the video ram, cause the device comes with a 8mb 2d accelerated video card!!! :) (making those transparent blits nice :) ) its a smooth device, and runs PalmOS. Though, we built the game from the ground up for the specific device so it wont run on other palm devices, but it means it doesnt "feel" like a palmOS game, which is good... (though I didnt have to learn all the intricacies of the palmOS)

The last screen shot is just a shot from the puzzle mode, where u try to clear the board with only so many shots. In retro spect we should of developed a PC side client to let u make new puzzles and copy them to the device, or better yet write a module in the game lets u make ur own puzzles, and share them wirelessly (the device has bluetooth) via infared, or load off an SD card that may be present in one of its two slots.

I can say creating for this device was fun, especially since using the API was so close to the directX api, that made the learning curve to get a game up and running a lot smaller than I previously anticipated.


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December 12, 2004, 02:53 PM

I've seen the future, and it's zodiac shaped. :)

Jetro Lauha

December 13, 2004, 06:05 AM

Looks pretty slick! Is there a demo version coming out?-) I have a Zodiac2 but I'd like to try out a demo first. :)

PS. Are you using the Tw API or the X-Forge base which comes as part of the SDK?


December 13, 2004, 12:41 PM

Wow finally a IOTD posted after years of longing for one!! w00t.

The demo version? probably not, its kinda like trying to come up with a demo of tetris... the game is basically Zoop (old PS /Saturn/SNES/GB game) though its got some other modifications and upgrades to it, plus the game play fits on the go gaming perfectly.

Im using the Tw API, didnt want to say to much on it cause of NDA's etc. The Tw API is just awesome I think, cause it mirrors the directdraw functionality pretty well...


December 13, 2004, 02:17 PM

This is a rip off of Zoop

Jetro Lauha

December 13, 2004, 02:20 PM

Yeah, probably the only sane way to make a demo version would be to give full featured but with limited playtime.


December 13, 2004, 08:52 PM

In Xixit and Chain Reaction, two Columns/Tetris-like MS-DOS games, the shareware versions had limited assets. They only had two soundtracks and three block sets, IIRC. The full versions had about five soundtracks and 10 block sets. That might be a way to go about it.


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