Embrace the Social

In order to keep me motivated and potential readers and fans entertained, I will now and then try to tweet about the development of Stop, Ampeltime! in addition to blogging. But please bear in mind that this project is (for now) developed in my spare time and the amount of time available varies depending on my situation at work, family etc.

First Tweet

You can follow me on Twitter right here: TaurusI76

When time has come, I will also create a Facebook page for the game, but this can wait until a playable version is available.

Prototype Bugfixing: Roundabouts, Collisions and Music

Recently I got some feedback on the game that motivated me to do a couple of fixes and enhancements to the Stop, Ampeltime! flash prototype (the one playable here).

There was a bug in the prototype code that prohibited players from creating roundabouts. The code scanning the streets and looking for routes for the cars to drive got stuck if a loop was created in the road system. Luckily, it only was a small check that I had to implement. So creating roundabouts should now be possible. Let me know if you still encounter problems!

Prototype Roundabouts

Another issue arising with the new possibility to create roundabouts was the right of way, or the lack thereof. In the current prototype, cars only stop on traffic lights and don’t respect the right of way – something that will be added in a future version of the game. But for now, in order to complete a level with a roundabout in it, you can disable the collision checking in the settings menu. This of course makes the game a lot easier and unrealistic, so only disable if really needed!

New Prototype Settings

A final concern was the music that wasn’t to everyone’s taste and that now can be muted in the settings menu.

I’m not planning on doing any more changes to the flash protoype. Instead, I will focus my energy and time on the new and enhanced 3D version of the game.
Stay tuned!

(Edit: Clear the cache of your browser to make sure the new version of the flash file is loaded!)

Dev Blog Started

Today I’m starting to blog about the development of Stop, Ampeltime!. Or TrafficSim2, as the project is called internally. Why 2? Because it’s a new chapter, and a new beginning in many ways.

Stop, Ampeltime! in the form that it exists in now was entirely designed and programmed during my studies for game design. It began in the second semester as a project for the Flash/Action Script module and ended up being my bachelor’s thesis at the end of the three years of studies.

The project itself was very interesting and fun to make. And it required a lot of thinking, planning, writing of code, rewriting of code, re-designing of whole ideas. Well, the re- part of things was not planned, of course. But every redesign was necessary to get to the point the game is now. For a long time, I thought that using Flash as a game engine was the right thing to do. It felt cool, because many people don’t like it (despite they use it a lot, unwittingly). Like the underdog of game engines. Well, not exactly, because there are tons of Flash games out there. But not many that go deeper or are more complex than arcade games. I thought that Stop, Ampeltime! could be one of these games that stand out. Now I know that this was kinda silly. Flash has its restrictions, and I knew of them from the beginning. But it was not until the end of the bachelor’s thesis that I was fed up enough to decide to switch engines.

So now this is what I’m doing. Saying goodbye and farewell to Flash and switching over to… C++. I hope that a lot of the ideas in the original Action Script code can be used more or less in the same way in C++, because I created some nice OO structures. And if not, I try to make the best out of it and re-engineer the code for the better.

What am I hoping for the switch to bring?

– faster speed in general
– benefits from multithreading
– better graphics (a blog entry covering the choice of graphics/game engine will come soon)
– more build targets (without the whole Flash being a requirement thing)

So I hope this is the right direction that I’m going in. Further developing in Flash certainly didn’t feel right!