Ninjah is now available for $2.99 via the Ubuntu Software Centre! Version 1.1.2 is current version on there, but I will look to update it soon. $2.99 is the minimum price I could select, so that's the reasoning there.
If I am honest, I wasn't expecting it to be accepted! I assumed some issues would appear and the more experienced Linux users who perform the QA process would find something or other that was wrong, but they didn't!
So here you go, Ninjah on the Ubuntu Software Centre.
A new version of Ninjah is available from the download page featuring the following minor changes...
25/10/2012 - v1.1.4
Bug Fix / Feature
Music playback now uses memory based streaming of oggs
which should result no more 2 second pauses between tracks!
23/10/2012 - v1.1.3
Arrow keys can be used for movement (instead of just WASD)
Credits screen behaving badly
Just unzip the contents over your current Ninjah installation directory
I have released Ninjah for Windows ( XP / Vista / 7 ) and it is available for purchase at the Ninjah Mini Site for $0.99 via paypal!
Wow, three months since my last post. That's bad.
Three months a go I was deep in to working on Perling and things were going really well! But...I think I must've burnt out though because by the end of July I had very little motivation and even less energy. To an extent I've always tried to force myself to make progress, but I broke. I broke big time! I went back to my parents for a few days with the hope of making lots of progress, but I did nothing at all and in all honestly I probably needed it!
So since July 11th I've actually not done much game development, that is until a couple of weeks ago. "So you've made lots of progress with Perling right???" no, barely any I am afraid, but I have been working on getting Ninjah ready for Windows, OSX and Linux.
Ninjah was originally created for XNA with the Xbox 360 in mind and while it was possible to distribute for PC, I wasn't entirely comfortable with the installation process or the way it handles media, specifically licensed music. Anyway, a group of people who were generous enough to give their time and talented enough to get it working have almost entirely ported Monkey so it can build for the Blitz Max programming language (brilliant for Windows, OSX and Linux games!). The project is called MonkeyMax and as far as Ninjah is concerned it runs flawlessly
I had always hoped the BlitzMax target would appear, but never really knew when it'd happen so didn't think about it too much. The great thing about it is, you can bundle everything in to a single executable file which is perfect for me, especially as I am hoping to distribute it myself.
I will be selling Ninjah for Windows (and soon to be OSX and Linux too) for $0.99 via paypal. More information is available via the Ninjah Mini Site. You buy once and you get it for all three platforms as they become available. I feel like I am in some sort of limbo at the moment where I know deep down Ninjah for Windows is ready, but because I am selling it directly from my site and there's no peer review system like there is for XBLIG I feel a bit more vulnerable about releasing a product that might not work for some people (not that I actually think it won't work!).
I'm all ready to go, I have press releases written, contacts listed and media ready, I guess I just need to man up and release it! ... but maybe I will wait to hear back from a few more testers before I go... :S
OSX and Linux
I don't own a Mac, but a friend who also has BlitzMax (and more importantly a Mac) has been able to build and test it for me and everything appears smooth and fine. I need some clarification on where I should be storing save data, but apart from that I am happy. For Linux I have got it built just fine and have even created a debian package for proper distribution, but I dunno... with Linux I never quite know how confident I am about it working for people. I think I will have to release it and hope people are understanding if something's not quite right.
I'd rather not fire fight issues with 3 OS's at a time, so I will release the Windows version first, give it a while to settle, then concentrate on the Linux release and finally the OSX release. I'm leaving the OSX release until last because I am less able to fix things for it (I can't justify buying a Mac just yet) so I will hope that any problems surface for Windows and Linux first.
Thanks for reading
So what's been going on? In short, nothing
The last post spoke about procedurally generating a world map. I was going to use this for a game I had planned on making years ago, Virtual Evil. However, I soon realised I wanted to make a game that as best as possible made itself. So no fantastic story, no scripting, no plot, just a (hopefully large) set of rules that let's the game make its own random entertaining scenarios.
As mentioned before, I really enjoy making components of a game (for example a certain type of enemy), however I really struggle actually implementing them in a reasonable way (I still have no real idea why). So the plan is to randomly generate as much as possible automatically. An example might be an enemy that is scared of water so avoids rivers/lakes and when set on fire it targets similar enemies and runs at them. It's up to the level generating function to decide which enemies and tasks happen in each level.
Instead of having levels 1,2,3...100. The player will select levels by name, either by very specifically writing a name in themselves letter for letter (it could be a word, phrase, or random jumble of letters!) or by using the included level name generator that spits out such gems as "Unsightly Bumpy Minister" or "big screeching fight".
My previous attempts at level generation relied on drawing everything, so to summarise "draw some trees, draw a river and then draw a town", it seemed almost child like and while I think it had its charm, it was crap. I knew that Perlin Noise existed but because I didn't entirely understand it, I ignored it. Having found a PHP implementation of Perlin Noise, I decided to have a closer look and found out it wasn't quite as scary as I first thought (that's not to say it isn't brilliant still!). Being more comfortable with PHP than any other language, I was able to actually understand what was going on (or at least understand what the code was doing on a per line basis) and I decided to rewrite it in Monkey which allowed me to generate levels from within the game.
"So you should be just about done now right?"
Hah, not even close. I've been really lazy for the past month or so and would say I am barely started. I still don't know exactly what I want to add, so I have no idea of scope yet either! I bought a new computer with the notion "A faster computer means I will be able to develop and compile things quicker", unfortunately and if I am honest not unexpectedly it has been "Now I have a computer capable of playing all the games I've been buying from Humble and Steam bundles that I was previously unable to. Oh and Minecraft, I can now play Minecraft". You know what though? It's been fun!
I installed Monkey, Visual Studio C# and Jungle IDE on my new PC earlier this week and am now ready to carry on when and if I see fit. I'm not too fussed about setting myself targets at this stage, but it would be nice to be at least doing some work.
For anyone interested (hi Shereen!) Ninjah is still plodding along making sales on Xbox Live Indie Games and recently hit the 5,000 sales mark Originally I had said I would be really chuffed with 2,000 sales (a number I plucked out of the air), so to see the number going up a bit each day still is fantastic. There's still a niggling feeling that there is plenty I could make better, I guess I should just use this as inspiration to make a better version. I would love to make it available for the PC, but am a bit concerned about protecting assets I've licensed, notably the music which currently would just be included as a WMA file with no encryption. If it were my own music I wouldn't mind, but I am weary of hurting those who made the music.
There we go. Thanks for reading (all 3 of you)
Ninjah is on the Xbox Indie Games market place and is doing really well. I am really happy with how many people downloaded the trial, let alone actually bought it! Various youtube videos have sprung up and it's heart warming to see people have taken the time and effort to bother posting such things. There is more I'd like to write about Ninjah but I think I will do so once I've had the chance to fix everything that's currently outstanding (this has been difficult because I am getting little in the way of feedback about certain Monkey issues).
So what next?
My initial plan when Monkey was released was to release a simple mobile game based on a game originally made by Dustin Friend but I went in head first and got too far ahead of myself before backing out and working on a game I knew about, Ninjah. I am now confident I can make a good go of Pie Panic and this will now be my focus.
It will be a mobile game available on Android, iPhone and maybe Windows mobile 7 and that's pretty much all I have at this stage
I am very concious about trying to plan as much as possible before actually doing any coding this time, so I am hoping this won't be a case of "make gameplay, then worry about making a game of it!". Time will tell
Ninjah is now available via the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace
Ninjah failed peer review because in Spain and France they use a comma as the decimal point instead of a period (it was screwing up the loading / saving). Annoyingly I had actually read that section of the "XNA evil list" but clearly didn't understand it well enough to, you know, implement it. Luckily I was advised by a peer reviewer to cancel the review early, but even then I have to wait until the 24th until I resubmit. I am considering working on Pie Panic a bit more when I can this week until the review either passes or fails