Pizza Pulldo is our new app for ios devices. It is a twist on the match-3 puzzle genre where you use your matches to fill orders and collect ingredients. You use those ingredients to make your own Pizza.
With Pizza in mind, we're doing a rafflecopter and giving away $150 in pizza to the winner. You can enter by doing the typical facebook like stuff, or by playing the game and submitting a picture of your pizza.
Contest at http://bit.ly/1fekazw
I would post some promo codes but the game is actually free for the next day or so.
Roll out your dough and then match the ingredients in a row to make the perfect pizza! Match ingredients and then create your own pizza! Challenge the higher levels and unlock new ingredients!
My tribute to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is now available. It is a free download at http://JackGames.com.
You must defend your teeth against an endless assault of plaque. Blast with your fluoride cannon using a left mouse click. Use special weapons like floss with a double click. Navigate using either a right click or the arrow keys. I have made previous blog posts this week describing the various features and design decisions that went into the game.
In my previous posts I have discussed how I tried to make a game similar to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Because my game uses a mouse, and because I wanted to differentiate to some degree, I have added a special weapons/items system.
Once all the different types of plaque have had a chance to come out and put you on the run, special power-up items (creatively marked â€ś?â€ť) will periodically appear. Running your ship over these items will give you one of 8 random power ups. Double click to activate the power up. Some have a one time effect, others will last for about 10 seconds. Some items (like the shields and the floss shown here) can be combined. If you activate the floss while running shields, both will be activated and the shields effectivity will be renewed.
1-up: Double click for an extra life
Floss: Double click and a line of floss will be drawn from your aiming reticule to your tooth. Moving around will have the floss move with you. Anything that crosses its path is destroyed.
Two-Way: Double click and your reticule will start shooting back at you. This causes total destruction in-between you and your reticule, and also allows you to shoot behind your tooth.
Power Reticule: Double click and your aiming reticule will become a weapon. Move it over anything you want to destroy.
Shields: Double click to activate. The shields will protect you and destroy anything that touches you.
Sprinkler: Double click to leave a second tooth that will shoot a fluoride cannon in all directions.
Bomb: Double click to create a blast that destroys almost an entire screen.
Barricade: Double click to activate. For a limited time, your reticule will draw a barricade while you hold down the left mouse button. You can use this barricade to hide from plaque. Be warned â€“ most of them cannot get through it, but you cannot shoot through it either.
If you can score more than 10,000 points, future plays will have a power-up appear at the beginning of the game.
The biggest thing that impressed me about Geometry Wars was the different behaviors all of the different types of enemies had. So as I developed my tribute to Geometry Wars I knew that this was a major component of the game that I wanted to mimic.
Like Retro Evolved, the enemies of Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved start small and slow and continue coming in larger numbers and with more aggressive behaviors. There are 10 types of germs (or plaque) in Dental Evolved, and each will infuriate you in different ways:
Pawns: These are the first enemies. They chase you at a medium pace.
[color=orange]Heatseekers[/color]: This plaque will chase your tooth quickly and aggressively. You will need to quickly direct your fire on them or they will get you.
[color=yellow]Zombies[/color]: These plaque move slow and follow you methodically. Their slow pace often puts them just out of range of your fluoride cannons until they are too close for comfort. They also take more damage so they are dangerous if they sneak up close.
Splitters: This plaque is fairly easy to dispatch at first, but then they split into two smaller versions.
[color=violet]Jokers[/color]: These plaque try to gain position on you while constantly evading your shots.
[color=indigo]Kamikazes[/color]: This plaque will simply fly directly at you at top speed. They may easily miss, but theyâ€™ll quickly change course and dart at you again,
[color=brown]Dumpers[/color]: They rarely attack directly, but they lay down stones that are obstacles to you and your fluoride cannons.
Sinkholes: They attack fairly slowly but when destroyed, they produce a large vortex that will destroy anything in its path.
Ghosts: They attack fairly slowly but they can fly through barriers and other obstacles ensuring there is no such thing as a total safe zone.
[color=darkblue]Snipers[/color]: They arenâ€™t interested in attacking directly. They will shoot their germs at you and keep their distance.
There are enough enemies to fill the screen and overwhelm the player with all the different ways the plauqe will respond to you. There isnâ€™t as much creativity or variety as in Retro Evolved but there is enough to get some of the same feel.
Thus far I have outlined how I have tried to make a game like Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Dental Evolved will have some of its own features, however, namely a special weapons system. In my next post I will outline how you can upgrade your fluoride cannon or even pull out the floss to dispatch the plaque.
I am not unique in being a fan of the Geometry Wars series. Being a Nintendo devotee, I only have access to the Wii and DS versions. I rented Geometry Wars: Galaxies for the Wii and it became the first game in a long time that converted from a rental to a purchase. The Wii version has a feature that allows you to download the original retro evolved version of the game to the DS, which made it the very first Nintendo system game that converted me from a demo to another purchase for the DS version.
Having never played the X360 versions of the game, I never developed a bias for the dual stick control method; so I am one of those rare few that prefer the point to shoot method (especially for the DS). Being an aspiring game designer, I thought it would be fun to build my own take on the game using that control scheme (mouse instead of Wiimote, of course). I decided to start the project
- Iâ€™ll use the mouse to point and shoot. I want to make it very easy to access so that it could be played with one hand. So the mouse can also move your ship. Most people should prefer the arrows or maybe a joystick to move the ship.
- I love Geometry Wars graphic style. I want to make mine similar but totally different. I decided to try to emulate the style but invert all the colors so the background is mostly white instead of black and the moving characters are filled with color with light borders.
- I decided to make it like Retro Evolved where you had one stage where you would continue to fight and the action would continue to escalate until you die. The challenge is to get the highest score. A stage based game like Galaxies adds another level of complexity that I am not ready for, not having experienced how my basic game will play.
- I decided to have power-ups like Galaxies however. I think that doing some different actions with the mouse will help differentiate this game that would otherwise be a straight knock-off.
Because my goal was to take the Geometry Wars look and invert it, I was now dealing with a white background with dark colored objects comprising the action. To me, it wouldnâ€™t make sense for the game to be based in space with a white background, so I decided to do a throwback to a game I made long ago called Cavity Crusade (JackGames.com), a point and shoot (almost a light gun) game where you battle germs to save your teeth. Teeth are generally white, so it makes sense for this to be a mostly white setting. Combining the titles of my old game with the new one I was mimicking, I decided to call my new game Cavity Crusade: Dental Evolved.
I think the thing that surprised me most about Geometry Wars was all of the varied behaviors the enemies had. In my next post I will cover the enemies of Dental Evolved. read
People who have followed my on-again, mostly off-again, but now itâ€™s on-again blog know that the concept of playing Tetris for the sake of physical activity is nothing new. Roll the clip..
Since Tetris really only requires 4 inputs from the player (move right, move left, rotate and drop), it is relatively easy to map these inputs to movements; and pretty easy for a player to understand.
I would have liked them to map the balance board to the same input as the nunchuck analog stick. That way you would instantly have a load of backwards compatible games to at least try with the balance board. But I digressâ€¦
The webcam game shown here â€“ TetroDance is now free at http://JackGames.com if you want to give this concept a test run. Needless to say a webcam is required. read
I recently posted an article regarding one of my numerous failures in trying to break free from the common life and become an overnight success in the video game world. The traffic from that article was very telling – no one really knows or cares about Jesse “The Body“ Ventura anymore; at least not in the context of video games. Although it also goes back in 2001, my next tale is quite a bit timelier; as it regards one of the hottest topics in gaming right now.
I invented the Wii.
Not all of what makes the Wii the Wii. Accelerometers? no. Speaker in a controller? no. Urine-related name? no. But back in 2001 I was working with some of the concepts that make the Wii the Wii, namely: Simple and intuitive controls that rely on realistic physical motions, and development methods that allowed such controls to be implemented in existing frameworks quickly and cheaply.
Now when I say I invented the Wii, I am not implying that Shigeru Miyamoto stole my ideas, nor do I believe I was the only one in the world to have similar ideas. In fact we now know that Big N was already playing with this stuff behind closed doors during this time frame. What I am claiming is that I had very similar ideas that were ready for the public play long before the Wii was.
Don’t believe me? Roll the video...
Wait a second, other than him playing Tennis, Boxing, Baseball and Golf, doesn't that look more like Sony’s EyeToy? Why yes it does, and we’ll discuss its similarities as well; but I am talking concepts here more than technology, and Wii is more popular for the moment so it gets the headline. On with the story:
When you leave your desk at work for the night, do you come back to find items missing or stolen? In 2001 we did. Several co-worker friends and I were finding some items (especially change) missing from our desks. Rather than just report these thefts, one of my more tech-savvy co-workers and I decided to institute some vigilante justice. We hooked up a web cam to watch his desk and ran it overnight. We downloaded some security software that detected motion in certain areas on the screen and took pictures if motion was detected. Sure enough, three days later we have a nice flip-book of pictures of the clean-up guy rummaging through the drawers, jumping when he caught sight of the camera, and then clicking the button to turn the camera off. He didn't realize there was actually a PC with a hard drive hooked up to it I suppose.
Nothing happened to the thief of course. My friend and I were warned because apparently our makeshift security system broke some privacy rules. But I digress.
I have no way to explain it, but when we looked at this security software my gamer brain wondered how I could use it to play Punch-Out. Having some basic development skills (enough at least to make simple games and applications), I set out to do just that.
Sony’s EyeToy had not been unveiled yet, but there were a few online games that made use of a webcam at the time. They weren't really fun though, and their problems were some of the same that plagued EyeToy when it was released. I think the big mistake was they tried to be too complex, and as a result weren't precise enough.
Let’s say you were going to play a boxing game made for EyeToy or a similarly designed game. When you punch, the software will try to place the position of you arm, calculate the speed it is traveling, and keep watching as your arm is fully extended. It may continue watching as you bring your arm back, and make sure that your fist is moving back down and not punching again. It will place your body from the start and constantly update to see where you are physically placed. If there isn't much contrast between your shirt color and the wall behind you, or if anything moves behind you, your placement may be confused.
I didn't set out to directly place punches or calculate fist velocity; because after doing that you would still have to make a fun boxing game using it. I wanted to play Punch-Out.
Rather than trying to constantly keep track of the players position, velocity, different limb movements, etc. I used the simplistic approach of that security software: If motion here then do this. More precisely, every possible action was represented on the webcam display by a dot. Hit (or make motion) on that dot and the action would be triggered. The placement of the dots is what would make the motions intuitive: the punch dots would be placed above your head so punching up (as Little Mac tended to do) would make the character punch. The dodge dots were placed on the left and right bottom so that they would be triggered when the player took a step either direction.
Now that I had the intuitive controls worked out it was time to integrate it into the game.
Ah but there lied the other crux of all other web cam games (and eventually EyeToy). You couldn't take a game that was already fun (like Punch-Out) and just use your new webcam controls. You had to open up the code and integrate the new controls and webcam display into the game. Your binary or final build had to be compiled with your webcam controls already fully integrated.
Or did they? I was way out of my league to try to make my own Punch-Out, and I was certainly far from being able to hack a Punch-Out ROM to add a PC webcam display. So my solution was this, rather than having the webcam trigger an event in the game, just make it emulate a key press Now when I punched up, the webcam pressed A for me.
The possible implications for this were far-reaching. You could place the motion dots wherever you wanted, and make them activate any keyboard, joystick, or mouse event you wanted. Technically, you could play any game on the PC with motion controls using one separate controlling application. Granted, complex controls would be tough to separate on the webcam display, and many games wouldn’t feel natural being mapped to physical movement. But as the “casual game revolution” has shown us, there were plenty of simplistic games out there. There were plenty of games where it would work well enough until some good games were built with it specifically in mind. Bottom line: you could get intuitive motion controls into games for very cheap. And you couldguarantee the games would be fun, because you could use the controls on games you already enjoyed playing.
So why have you never heard of this? Perhaps because like Napoleon, I lack skills; namely marketing and social networks skills. Or perhaps just because it didn't bring the whole package together the way Wii did. Heck, even EyeToy for the world-famous PS2 didn't have nearly the impact of the Wii. Unlike the first story, there is not one central event that turned this downhill. I just didn't make the right connections for commercial success, as a result it never capitalized on its potential and never really evolved from the prototypes shown on the video.
Yes, I call my site Fantendo, so naturally I got a Wii and love playing it. As a long-time Nintendo fan, I also really enjoy seeing the success they are having. But as I push pencils and fill out TPS reports in my average-joe life, I take solace in knowing that I have been swinging my virtual tennis racket longer than Shiggy himself. read
I am a common man. I live common house. I have a common 9 to 5 job working for “the man”, where I design software that enforces business processes and government regulations.
Such was not always the case.
I had a dream. I wanted to follow my passion for electronic entertainment and interaction. Surely I was destined to rise from the desk in my basement with creations so innovative that I single-handedly would take over the video game world. Today, however, my technological innovations are geared to improving compliance yields rather than inventing new and exciting forms of entertainment.
In my adventures as an independent game designer, I count three times where I thought I was on the brink of overnight success; three failures that drove me out of the world of video games to the relative security of the mundane corporate world. Today I will tell you one of these tales.
But first, an article from the Associated Press:
From the Associated Press, Wed, Apr. 24, 2002: Ventura's next pitch to voters may come via video games ASHLEY H. GRANT Associated Press Writer
ST. PAUL - If you think Gov. Jesse Ventura is animated now, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Ventura's campaign committee, credited in 1998 with being among the first to use the Internet as an effective campaign tool, is again exploring how to break new ground - this time by distributing interactive campaign-themed video games.
Forget the standard glossy leaflets most candidates send. The games, on CDs or DVDs or posted on Ventura's Web site, would feature the Navy SEAL-turned-wrestler-turned-actor-turned governor, presumably touting his political accomplishments and putting the heat on his opponents.
"There's no shortage of material for a number of games," said Phil Madsen, treasurer of the Jesse Ventura Volunteer Committee.
The Ventura game (or collection of games) would be entertaining, 100 percent political and distributed free to voters as campaign literature, he said. While the games are just in the talking stage, Madsen describes what might emerge as "an ongoing political cartoon" that could engage the voter for hours.
"On the level of Letterman-like awards for creativity, this would be a good candidate," said Larry Jacobs, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.
First, though, there's a potential legal hurdle: Would the games be considered campaign literature or gifts? Minnesota law prohibits a campaign from giving most gifts to voters.
Madsen has asked the state's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board for an opinion, but board members said this week that the gift clause doesn't appear to fall under their jurisdiction. It's unclear, exactly, what group might have jurisdiction.
In the meantime, the campaign committee is keeping in touch with the game maker that hatched the idea. Because it's still in its talking stages, the governor hasn't yet been approached with the possibility.
Ventura declined an interview on the topic. He has said he won't decide whether he'll run until the July candidate filing period, but Madsen says he wants to be ready just in case.
"I'd much rather be prepared for a campaign that doesn't happen than to be unprepared for one that does," he says.
If not the first, it's among the first times a candidate would use a video game as campaign literature.
But Joseph Turow, professor of communications at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, said it's a logical next step in the integration of politics and entertainment.
Ventura, like other candidates before him, is trying to break outside the box for maximum exposure. All candidates create a persona - that's part of what gets them elected, Turow said.
"In a crowded media environment, breaking through is what you need to do," he said. "If you can break through, particularly if they're younger voters or unaffiliated voters, it's terrific. I think the idea is to be applauded."
Madsen, who also serves as the committee's Webmaster, has maintained that Ventura's 1998 victory didn't happen because of the Internet, but it wouldn't have happened without it.
He set up the Web site, a mix of position papers and biographical data, to produce money, volunteers and votes. The campaign raised a good chunk of its $600,000 in donations and loans through the Web site, which Madsen said cost $600 to set up.
Since Ventura was elected, the campaign Web site has sold Ventura action figures and thousands of bobblehead dolls. If the video games present ethical problems, one solution might be to sell them from the Web site.
"Nobody anticipated what a hit the Jesse Ventura bobbleheads would be," Madsen said. "A Ventura game could be a huge success or just a worthy experiment."
--end of AP story
Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura was the Governor of our State and attracted a lot of media attention in his various escapades. Like him or not (and a majority didn’t), his election made politics in Minnesota more exciting. Locally, he never had a high approval rating. Nationally, his election in 1998 was big news.
Three months after this article, another story broke about Ventura’s kid trashing the Governor’s mansion with a house party, which appeared to be the last straw for his declining local popularity and Ventura decided not to run for re-election.
My story started in St. Paul Minnesota in late 2001. Political groups were staring to gear up for the 2002 gubernatorial elections. Meanwhile, I was looking for an opportunity to turn my indie-games outfit into an overnight success. Thinking that 1) Most elections at the State level are primarily volunteer-run and would take any free help they could get (especially a 3rd party) and 2) Ventura’s national profile could mean a lot of exposure, I contacted the Ventura campaign at their website to see if they were interested in using us to build a political themed game staring Ventura.
The Ventura campaign was already famous for some novel ideas. They had used Ventura’s name and image for all sorts of original fundraising activities such as T-shirts, action figures, and bobble-heads. If Ventura ran for re-election, there was almost a pressure to continue that tradition and top what they did in 98. For that purpose, Phil Madsen, treasurer of the pending campaign, bought into my idea; and I devoted my time to developing “Jesse Ventura: The Game of Politics”.
The world realizes it now, but back in 2002 the prospect of building a video game to cater to the masses was not generally accepted. The Ventura campaign was high on the idea, because it offered something other forms of media did not:
1. Value-Added Propaganda: If the Democratic party produced a video, or aired an infomercial on television that was going to lionize their views and policies, how many people would pick it up and watch it? (Besides Barbara Streisand) Nobody has time for that. Yet millions of people did watch The West Wing, which essentially promoted the same policies, every week. Why? Because it mixed the political B.S. with something they value: in this case stories they find captivating.
2. Easy Sales and Distribution: Physically, video games are easy to distribute. CDs can be mass produced for pennies each, and top quality packaging can be made for less than a dollar. When put on the internet, you instantly give access to anyone who wants to play the game from anywhere in the world, and it doesn’t cost a thing (unless you don’t have your own connection and are paying for bandwidth) to distribute it. Video games also provide a variety of sales models, such as shareware and adware that let people try the product (and get the message you want to distribute), and then can also contribute to the campaign by paying for extra features, or can generate revenue just by playing it with embedded ads.
Like most of his campaign staff, I worked as a volunteer. I knew going in that I was taking a gamble- he could still decide not to run for re-election and all my work would be for not. But I took the gamble, and looking back (despite the outcome) I can still say it was the right move. The only thing I would have changed it the fact that we had to produce the game incognito. Here’s why:
In April of 2002 the Ventura campaign was forced to find out if and how they could legally distribute a video game. It was a given that we could sell the game, but campaign laws in the US and in Minnesota prohibit candidates from giving “items of value” away for free. That said, video games raised all sorts of new questions. If we gave the game away as a limited version, and sold the full version, is the limited version an illegal giveaway? If we gave the game away as ad-ware, would it still fall under those rules? Even if people downloaded it but had to pay before they could play, would the file itself be an “item of value”? Could digital files be classified “items of value” since they have no physical presence?
The Ventura campaign checked with the Minnesota Supreme Court to find out how they could legally distribute a video game. At that point it became public record and the story broke. The AP picked it up (as shown above) and all of the sudden it was in all the local papers, on the news both locally and nationally, and even appeared on tons of news, political, video game, and pro-wrestling web sites (which is where I first found out the story broke).
Then, the big news: Ventura’s campaign booked the game’s worldwide debut on NBC’s Meet the Press, and for subsequent showings and interviews on various news outlets. Ventura would be the main man, of course; but Phil and I would also be able to contribute, as the people who brought this idea to life. Needless to say, I was excited that my gamble had seemingly paid off. No video game, not Super Mario 3, not Mortal Kombat, not even Zack & Wiki had enough hype to garner this mainstream interest and potential publicity; and I was the little indie-developer who would have made it all happen. I could not wait until I was unveiled as the “secret volunteer developer” of what was already booked to be the most televised video game in the history of the world.
In July the news came that Ventura was not going to seek reelection. Ventura retired from politics into (relative) obscurity, and the big debut never happened. Now of course the game couldn’t generate hype if it were driving drunk with Paris Hilton. The only permanent outcome of the game: shareware is now a legal method of distributing campaign propaganda in the US, and I guess that gives me some solace in my commoner’s life. Yay work.
Here are some clips from the game. The basic idea was you were on a platform with money on it. You had to collect all the money and bring it back to the public fund. Move too far to the left or right, and the platform would tilt, and the objects would slide off the platform. There were also the Lefties and the Righties, who would try to take the money and bring it all the way over to their side. Breaking up the action were mini-games, which had themes which were mostly a fusion between State politics and pro-wrestling.
Looking back, I think God was looking out for me on this one. The game really sucked, and a debut on national television might have given me the kind of attention I didn’t need. read
Is there an aspiring game developer out there who hasn't made their own Tetris clone? A web search for Tetris will bring up hundreds or thousands of various free and shareware knock-offs of the game for download or in-browser play.
As a Nintendo fan-boy who was introduced to Tetris when the GameBoy was first released, I always associated Tetris with Nintendo; an association that was re-enforced when subsequent versions of the game were released for the NES and along with Dr. Mario for the SNES. So as a Nintendo fan-man who wanted to get into game development, and started by trying to recreate my favorite games like Super Mario and Legend of Zelda, I gravitated to Tetris as one of the game models I wanted to re-create.
I created several of my own knock-offs of the game with different themes: Christmas, Las Vegas, psychedelic 60's etc. But most of my versions ended up being themed skins with little of the game mechanics changing other than the way you accumulated your score. They served me well as learning experiences, but there was really no point to playing them afterwards. There was nothing that set it above or apart from the original versions of Tetris, or the hundreds of other versions on the web.
In the dozen-plus knock-offs of Tetris I have made, there are two concepts that I think have a little merit. They definitely aren't better versions of Tetris, but at least they are different enough to set themselves apart from the hundreds of other Tetris clones on the web.
Quake n' Break started out as QuakeBlox when I thought I was being clever (because no one on the Internet ever over-used the letter X, especially in the early 00s). The unique feature of Quake n' Break is that when you clear a line, the screen starts to shake for several seconds and it becomes more difficult to place your pieces (they move a little faster during the shake).
Tetrodance is Tetris controlled by moving in front of a web cam instead of using conventional control methods. Unless you really exaggerate, you don't really dance, but you do wave your arm left and right to move, and lift them up to either turn your piece or drop it down. Because physical activity is involved, I altered the scoring a little to reward longer play sessions.
Nothing developed budding cinematic artists back in 1992/1993 like Mario Paint for the SNES. I got my own copy when the game was released. My brother and I somehow also talked his dumb friend down the street into trading his copy of Mario Paint to us for HyperZone, which gave us two copies. Two copies held some importance for Mario Paint, as you could only save one image; so a second copy let you save a second image.
Mario Paint let you draw whatever you wanted using crude pens and stamps controlled by the SNES Mouse. One set of stamps was a whole set of sprites from Super Mario World, including Mario himself; so naturally every fanboy did some kind of animation featuring Mario. And since this was also the period of time when Mortal Kombat was big in arcades and coming to the home consoles, naturally Mario also had to die in a variety of over-the-top fatalities.
Apparently I had a lot of free time back in the early nineties as this theme spawned three films. Go to YouTube if you want to see more. read
About jordanbieber One of us since 12:25 PM on 08.10.2007
Video games and other media are often accused of stunting the imagination, particularly in children. My goal is to show that software and media can be used to create immersive experiences that challenge and excite the imagination.