[OT] aspiring game developers
gcanyon at inspiredlogic.com
Fri Oct 3 05:22:01 EDT 2003
On Thursday, October 2, 2003, at 01:24 AM, Scott Rossi wrote:
> Geoff Canyon has also done some phenomenal (and I do mean phenomenal)
> stuff with vectors. I'm hoping he'll post his experiments and formulas
With a plug like that, how can I resist? I've posted the stack "Star
Battle." Type this in the message box and press return to try it out:
go stack url "http://www.inspiredlogic.com/rev/starbattle.rev"
Star Battle is a thought experiment that I might want to do something
with. As such, feel free to poke around in the script (everything
useful is in the card script) offer critiques, suggestions, and even
borrow if you like. Please don't redistribute the stack or claim it as
Okay, I've kicked the lawyers out.
I used to be a big Asteroids player back in the early 80's. It was a
vector video game from Atari.
Revolution graphic objects have a points property that can be set. If
you leave a blank line in the points, you get a blank line segment in
the graphic -- it appears as more than one graphic, in essence.
This is the point where I said to myself, "Revolution can't possibly
set the points of a graphic fast enough to be useful in making a
game...can it?" 600 lines of code later, it turns out it can. Be sure
to check out the "Really nice technical details" at the bottom.
WHAT IT IS
Star Battle is a variation on the Asteroids theme. You have a bunch of
rocks floating across the screen, and a little ship. You can rotate
left and right, thrust and fire bullets.
There the similarities end.
In Star Battle, the rocks are impervious. Instead there are enemy ships
that move much like yours, shooting at you just as you shoot at them.
The game keeps score, awards extra ships, has individual rounds, and
can restart the game. No high score list, though.
The rocks exert gravitational attraction on all the ships. This is done
mathematically correctly, I believe (feel free to check and correct me
if I've taken an inadvertent short cut). I don't do gravity on the
The game performs collision detection on all the bullets, ships, and
rocks, each time through. It's a simple proximity test, not an actual
overlap test. In practice it seems to work pretty well.
When placing a new ship, the game checks for other ships and rocks (but
The game tracks levels and your score.
THE REALLY NICE TECHNICAL DETAILS
Everything drawn on screen except for the score and player's lives is a
single graphic object. That includes all the rocks, your ship, the
enemy's ships, and all the bullets. The game calculates and sets the
points of the graphic repeatedly. The beautiful aspect of this is that
no screen locking is required. Since the one graphic draws everything,
and setting the points of the graphic is an atomic operation, there is
Levels run a minute in length. A few months back I would have handled
that by checking periodically whether it was time to update the level.
Since then, I've learned the wonders of wait...with messages. The game
logic is in a straight repeat loop. It just cranks and cranks and
cranks. The loop has a timing governor -- even on the fastest machine
the game will never go faster than twenty frames per second because it
checks each time through the loop how long it has spent, and if it's
running fast, it waits. To do that, I put the ticks() into a variable
at the start of the loop, and at the end of the loop I do something
put tStartTicks + 3 - ticks() into tWaitTicks
At this point, tWaitTicks is how long I need to wait to delay the game
appropriately. On a really fast machine it might be as much as 3 ticks.
On a slower machine it will be 0 ticks, or even negative.
To enforce the wait period, I use this:
wait tWaitTicks ticks with messages
It doesn't matter if tWaitTicks goes negative, the command above works.
Now the "with messages" part deserves special mention. Because of that,
changing levels is easy (remember, this start out about how to update
the level each minute).
To update the level, I use:
send "updateLevel" to me in 60 seconds
Because of the "with messages" part of the command above, the
"updateLevel" message gets delivered just fine, and without an apparent
hitch in the game. I don't have to keep track of time, I let Rev do it
Anyway, it's late. Let me know what you think.
gcanyon at inspiredlogic.com
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