Saturday, November 05, 2011

2659x3000 Image of My Alpha Base

This thing is almost 4 megs large, so here's a link to it.  Down below is a smaller thumbnail.

I need to stop playing and keep working.


I need to make it so steel + water = rust, too.

Here's the forging formula:

It's the strongest object in the game currently.

Also, here's the forging formula for glass.  It's pretty straight forward.

Forge and Glass

I spent tonight working on the Forge.  The Forge will let you 'cook' items.  It is pretty much the same thing that the furnace in Minecraft is.

The graphic for the Forge isn't completely finished.

You interact with the Forge the same way that you do with the Chest.  When you land on top and open your inventory, a Forge window will pop up.

I had just finished making some glass and there was left-over fire.
For the first forging recipe, I created Glass.  Glass is easy to make.  It takes 1 Sand block to get 4 Glass block.  Glass is placed 'behind' objects.  This means the player and other creatures can move in front of it.  It's a decorative piece and nothing more.

Adding those two things swayed me way off my roadmap.  A lot of my next updates involve sound, so I'm going to focus on that for now.  I've been adding a lot of placeholder sound until I can find/afford a sound person.  I figure that as long as I get the code done, I can consider it done on my end and move forward.

Testers can expect a build with the forge and glass sometime late Sunday.

If you're interested in testing, go sign up at and post in this thread.  I'll send you a link to the latest build.  I could use more eyes looking at the game and giving me their opinion.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

MonoGame -vs- XNA Comparison

I was toying around with switching to MonoGame earlier tonight.

First off, the transition was very simple.  I downloaded MonoDevelop, OpenTK and the MonoGame source.  I compiled MonoGame using MonoDevelop and got a dll out of it.  I then deleted all of my XNA references from AstroMiner and added a reference to the MonoGame .dll.

After trying an AstroMiner build, I noticed a couple of differences.  Texture2d.FromStream is now Texture2d.FromFile.  render.SaveAsPng (for taking screenshots) is no longer available.  Out of everything I do, that's it.  Can't really complain.

After running the game, I noticed that the first thing that was off was the window size - it was smaller.  It also didn't have the proper title or icon.  No problem.  The game wasn't using a FixedTimeStep anymore, but that's also probably a small fix.  When I went to fullscreen, I noticed that the drawing dimensions didn't adjust.  First thing that problem tells me is that the Window functionalities are different enough to throw my code off.  Things like Window.Width, .Height and others.  I then noticed that the mouse wasn't working in the game.

Next was trying to play the game.  Keyboard controls worked for the most part.  Shift, Ctrl and Alt didn't work but all the others did.  Mouse still wasn't working.

I would say that 90% of my code worked fine.  All the game logic was normal (as was expected since that was vanilla C#).  The drawing functions, for the most part, worked.  Certain sprites were flying all over the screen, but they were at least displaying in the right spot at some point.  It was pretty hectic overall.  The crazy thing is whenever I would try and take a screenshot, all would look normal.

The game ran at 59fps average.  Using the XNA framework, the same world runs at 350fps average.

So for not having to make any changes to the code (besides replacing FromStream with FromFile), I think it's a really viable solution.  I'm going to keep researching to see if I can figure out how to fix the minor issues I had.  It'd be nice to not require the XNA libraries and be able to publish to multiple platforms.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Launcher, Updates on the Future of the Game and Binder Pictures

I've been working on some maintenance stuff in AstroMiner.  One of the things that I wanted to do was leave ClickOnce.  When I did that, I switched my installer over to WiX.  It took a while to learn but I think I got the basics figured out and I have an installer that checks pre-requisites, installs them if needed and installs the game when done.

The nice thing is I have a lot of control over the install now.  The one thing I lost, though, was auto-update functionality.  I was going to implement this functionality in the game itself until I thought about how the 360 users don't need this at all.  All updating will be handled by the 360.  In my normal brainstorming technique, I loaded up another game to zone out and that game happened to be Minecraft.  I realized that I really like how their launcher is set up.  It would let me deliver news to my userbase and give me an easy place to handle updates from.

So I bring to you the new AstroMiner Launcher:

One thing you'll notice about it is that it requires a username and password to launch.  That's one thing I haven't talked about much on here:  how much the game will cost.

When the game first launches, it will be free.  It will still be in Alpha and that will allow me to get a good wide userbase for testing.  That free version will have everything that you've seen up to this point and a bunch more features/in-game creatures/structures.  Once that's been tested well, I'll release the first version for what I'm thinking is going to be $5.99 USD.  The money I get from that will go towards contracting a graphic designer and sound person, as well as maybe another programmer to look at my code and make it better.

It will stay that price until the end of Alpha.  That should hopefully only last a few months.  In those few months, my goal is to completely finish Terraforming an asteroid.  A lot of content will be added to the game and while the free version will have bug fix updates, it will not have content updates anymore.  That will be saved for the pay.

Once Terraforming is done, I will consider the game in Beta.  At that point the price will go up.  Beta will be focused on multiplayer.  I have some awesome plans for multiplayer that I don't want to reveal just yet because, primarily, they're not entirely done.  Multiplayer + lots of content updates is what beta will be all about.  I'm hoping to get to Beta by early next year.  I have a huge binder full of notes that I've taken that detail how I want the game to go forward.  If I want you to pay for the game, I want you to be sure that you're getting your money's worth.  On top of a full roadmap going forward, I also do nightly backups both on-site and off-site to 2 different sites.

One of my backup sites, Dropbox.

In a nutshell, I don't want people to put their faith in me only to have me mess up due to some stupid error.  Hopefully by documenting this whole process, you can also see that I'm serious about getting this game done and out to you to play.

So that's what I'll be focusing on this week.  Functional and important updates :]

So until next time... ~

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bombs Away!

I've been hard at work on another build.  First off, I have some new testers which are giving me some awesome information.  I released v.04 to a bunch of them and am already working on .04.1.  The changelog for it can be found here.

I mentioned before that I had added bombs to the game.  Here is some footage of them in action:

Bombs need ~2 blocks worth of space to materialize.  If they don't have that, they don't detonate and you waste the bomb.

So the changelog for v.04 is available on my forums.  v.04.1 will be released sometime soon.  It's primarily a bug-fix build.  I won't be adding any structures or creatures in it.