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AthenaOfDelphi

Ludum Dare 34 and a bit of a catchup

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Well, after a somewhat busy year, it's Christmas and I'm glad to see the site is till ticking over. Don't think I've not been checking up on the place, because I have.

A little explanation for my extended absence is in order I feel. As some of you know I was studying for a maths degree, but due to work commitments (and some other more fun things which I'll come onto in a moment) it's become abundantly clear this year that I just don't have the time to dedicate to study. So after another dismal module failure, I've decided to knock that on the head. It's been replaced however with a bit of a fitness regime as back in January in a moment of post Christmas madness I signed up to walk 40 miles to raise money for a national children's charity, so myself and 8 other colleagues started training for the walk which took place in July. The little spare time I had left was eaten with walking around the Leicestershire countryside to get fit and prepare.

The event itself was a bit of a bust for me as I picked up a calf strain about 10 miles in But the rest of the team went on to finish and we managed to raise nearly 2000 for a good cause

But the getting out and about in the countryside has spurred me on. I've bought myself a new mountain bike and I've organised a couple of trips down the river Wye. One in kayaks and another in two man canoes, both of which were amazing fun. Unfortunately though it's not all been good. A close friend was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year and her treatment hasn't always gone according to plan resulting in lengthy hospital stays which have meant I've had to be available just in case her daughter, my best friend, needs assistance as she has her own problem which severely limits her mobility. So over the last 3 or 4 months I've been busy with that. Throw in a lot of sales activity at work and I've simply not had the time to do anything for the site or any of my other on-line activities.

I will admit, I've been a bit disappointed by how the community engine idea has died a death, and if I'm honest I was probably a bit naive in thinking that I could just provide facilities and the idea and let everyone run with it. These things take a lot of organising and as I've said, I've simply not had the time to do that. That doesn't mean I think the idea is a non-starter, I just think we may need to be more organised and structured (as some of you advised if I recall correctly). But more on that at some point in the future.

Now though... IT'S CHRISTMAS

And better than that it's Ludum Dare time. LD34 to be precise and the theme is Growing and/or Two button controls. And I'm in, with Delphi XE7 and ZenGL.

I have an idea, I'm getting the basics of the ZenGL sprite classes sorted (I'm learning it as I go, so that can't be good). I started at 2am (GMT) when the theme was announced, went to bed at 6:30am and now I'm going to be back to it as soon as I've done with this post. Here's a screenie from 4h 25min in... check out that classy programmer art



If you're taking part with and using Pascal... shall we start a thread somewhere?

Merry Christmas and Happy Jamming if you're in!
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  1. phibermon's Avatar
    Amazing to get it all off the ground so quickly I'm really sorry to hear about your friend - I do hope things get better and yes I was disappointed to see the community engine project trail off but there's been good work and I think it could really happen - if it were to reach a state where simple aspects were usable - where there was 'instant' gratification when working on comparatively isolated functionality - I think the project would really pick up speed then.

    However I've been working on my own engine for a number of years (it's now basically a more game orientated/optimized pascal version of Blender) and the really interesting stuff doesn't happen for a long time - those that come with optimism and a great idea for a visual effect for example may quickly lose interest when the available work is all boilerplate and halls of abstraction.

    A 2D engine to start with might be a good idea (far far less to learn). Perhaps an actual game project might build up a core team / interest levels better.

    I propose a lovable PGD character is created that people can latch on to - make small games featuring the character or the theme - perhaps some pre-made sprite-sets and or models + imagery that people can use.

    Like Tux the penguin etc

    It might be a silly idea but I think "We're making a Zeta platformer where she escapes an army of spartans" would get people thinking of game features and fun stuff way more than "We're making a threaded resource manager to stream assets in real-time" or "We need to talk for 6 weeks about the merits of scene-graph alternatives".

    Anyway - just my 7 cents (inflation)
  2. AthenaOfDelphi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by phibermon
    Amazing to get it all off the ground so quickly
    I should perhaps have learned a little about ZenGL BEFORE the compo I should also have checked that basic things like the font editor were working.. I had to download Lazarus and faff around rebuilding it to export to PNGs as the TGA support didn't appear to be working properly, but still... it's pretty simple once you get going.

    Quote Originally Posted by phibermon
    A 2D engine to start with might be a good idea (far far less to learn). Perhaps an actual game project might build up a core team / interest levels better.

    I propose a lovable PGD character is created that people can latch on to - make small games featuring the character or the theme - perhaps some pre-made sprite-sets and or models + imagery that people can use.

    Like Tux the penguin etc

    It might be a silly idea but I think "We're making a Zeta platformer where she escapes an army of spartans" would get people thinking of game features and fun stuff way more than "We're making a threaded resource manager to stream assets in real-time" or "We need to talk for 6 weeks about the merits of scene-graph alternatives".
    I like that idea... I've actually started working on something... a kind of follow on from our 2006 PGD compo entry. We both want to finish it so now I've started building. Will keep you all posted.

    The biggest problem with this idea though... where to get custom made art that is good enough?
  3. phibermon's Avatar
    I keep on meaning to check out Zen - I've heard and seen good things so far but yeah I'd be incredibly impressed if I didn't hit walls similar to that - one of the reasons I don't explicitly support Delphi in my code is to avoid all the additional testing that would be required

    I'd be willing to contribute towards getting an artist to do some if it's an idea others believe has merit but I'm sure that if it does have merit? then it will cause an even better idea to pop into someone's head if we have a reference 2D design I can certainly create 3D models and animations based upon them (albeit slowly - a skill-set eventually forced onto all 3D developers after getting bored of teapots)

    The character or theme themselves could potentially be the subject of a compo but I digress - I want to see an engine and I know it can be amazing - I think a more game orientated start would have a better chance of building up the snowball as it were.

    At least I think - the world is strange place, free fruit might work even better
  4. AthenaOfDelphi's Avatar
    Based on my experiences with ZenGL this weekend, I think it may be my go to engine for the next jam... I may even setup Lazarus properly and get it all compiling nice for different targets. It's been a while since I last looked at Lazarus... I found it a PITA the last time, but it's improved quite nicely. Was easy enough to get the Zen font editor rebuilt once I sorted it's dependencies out. And of course, I lost a lot of time learning... back and forth the demos, website etc.

    But getting something up and running quickly was pretty easy.
  5. phibermon's Avatar
    I spent years trying to exceed the capabilities of GLScene - succeeded - lost interest - now GLScene is at 1.4 (this month) and is better than ever - it probably trounces my feature set again!. GLSL differences between vendors, hours and hours working on 3D content, complex whitepapers on rendering techniques - it's a never-ending battle.

    I think the next jam I go for I'll probably use it too - tried and tested. I'd be so embarrassed if some unforeseen bug etc in my engine ruined my entry - or if some GPU junkie laughed at my shaders

    ZenGL will at least work out of the box and has survived trial by fire