Archive for July, 2009

Kodu Game Lab

July 31, 2009

UPDATE: Since I joined an online community centered around Kodu, I want to link to the site in case anyone is interested.

So, about a few weeks ago, I downloaded Kodu Game Lab for the XBox 360. I was eager to make games with it, because I could make 3D worlds. The fact that the coding was simple was also a plus. There are, of course, a few cons to it. First, because much of the game is hard-coded, more experienced game designers may be turned off by its lack of versatility. Second of all, making games in Kodu Game Lab can be a bit tough for those with big imaginations. However, those don’t stop the program from being entertaining.

Within my first week of trying out the game, I decided to make a world that I could test some features on. It went pretty well, and it was simple. I can control a Kodu, and my goal is to grab the star at the other end of the map. However, I threw many things in as I built upon it. First, I had a lake, and in that lake were fish. I also gave Kodu the ability to morph into a submarine (though it took me a while to get it right) with the press of the Y button while underwater. But that’s not all. I used the cannon creatures and created them similar to The Legend of Zelda’s Octoroks. Since indoor capability is absent as of right now, I attempted to make do with building a huge bridge on top of the river connecting to the lake.I also added coins, though they don’t do much. Two of my favorite additions were the mountain and the murky lake. I got to use the sub in a more open space, and I made a mountainside trail for Kodu to travel. At the top was more than a nice view of the world. There was a red star that gave Kodu the ability to morph into a plane with the Y button. However, the powerup appears to be lost while “transforming” into other shapes.

One of my more recent worlds was an attempt at remaking Zelda 1 for the NES as a Kodu world. I learned how to “enter” and “exit” through the use of teleporting, which took some time to figure out. However, the idea hit a roadblock when my rocket powerup disappeared when I “exited” the “cave”.

My last world is a remake of Advance Wars’s Spann Island. I wanted to try building a strategy game on here. I hit quite a few hurdles, but I seem to be managing. Right now, the actual island is finished, and I’m trying new techniques for building an army. Though, with the size limit around, I seem to only be able to have a little over 20 units at once. Also, controlling units seemed to be much too difficult, so I decided to use a leader Kodu so that I can deploy units from factories through the use of sound effects. However, I have to whistle BEHIND the factories to get the units to come out. I did try my hand on capturing properties, but I decided to work with just getting my units in order, first. I only have three types to use: Kodu, for capturing properties; the bike, as sort of a tank; and the cannon, for artillery. If I am successful with Spann Island, I might include air and naval units in a different world.

This game is a good start as far as a Community Game goes, but I would suggest add-ons that allow Kodu Game Lab to do more things.

UPDATE (July 31, 2009): I just fixed the warping problem with in the Zelda world by programming the Kodu to go to Page 2 (the page where he can use the powerup) if he doesn’t see the star containing the powerup at all.

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Been a Long While

July 26, 2009

It has been quite some time since my last post. I yearn for the desire to continue making blogs, because it is something I enjoy doing, and I hate losing the desire to do things that I normally enjoy doing, unless I’m doing it too much. So, let me give the rundown of what’s been happening.

I have been trying to get my laptop to turn on just one last time so I can get files off of it, since I have done so much on it. I don’t care much for the games I had, not as much as my fictional story I’ve been working on, and I had three chapters done. Basically, it is about a young man who gets an extraordinary task as a superhero and, with the help of his friends, he defends the earth from demons. Of course, that is just the surface of the story. I also gave the characters inner conflicts that they need to conquer.

I have been practicing the powers of the tongue mentioned in the blog of that name. And, I kid you not, it is more powerful than I first thought. I’ve been practicing blessings and curses on bean plants, but I’ll explain more, in another time.

Last week, I foolishly went to the beach without sunscreen and got bad second-degree burns on my legs, leaving me in bed for days, bad pain included. I tell you, once you’ve had one of those experiences, you’ll never take walking for granted ever again. I did manage to walk again within a week, but still, I don’t know which is worse: the pain or the temporary loss of the ability to walk.

I am almost done reading the entire Bible from cover to cover. I am now at 94.9% (1128 out of 1189 chapters). I am down to just 2 Chronicles and Job.

I want to apologize for my lack of testimonies as of recently. Every now and then, I get these “dry spells”, where I spend my time doing all but stuff such as Bible-reading. 2 Timothy 4:2 mentions being prepared “in season and out of season”. I don’t understand this verse too well on my own understanding, but from personal experience, I can guess that I shouldn’t expect myself to be focused on the spiritual all 365 days of the year. Of course, without the help of the Lord’s wisdom, I am not sure if I am correct. I’ve had these dry spells, before, back in the fall of 2008. It scared me a lot when I first had it. I was constantly thinking “What happened to me? Where was the enthusiasm I once had?” I’m not completely used to it, now. I’m not scared of it as I used to be, but it sure annoys me when I’m in one of these dry spells.

Most of my time had gone to the XBox 360 as of recently. Right now, I have almost 5,000 Gamer points. I have been mostly playing Samurai Warriors 2 Xtreme Legends, Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires, and Halo 3, as well as some Soul Calibur 4 and Star Ocean 4 and a bit of Half-Life 2.

Speaking of Half-Life 2, I’m doing a second runthrough of the game in order to collect more achievements. It was definitely fun to discover the singing Vortigaunt cave, and I’m looking forward to getting the remaining achievements in that portion of The Orange Box. However, I just got to Ravenholm, and since one of my friends went on vacation, I kinda stopped there, because I don’t like going through that level without someone who has also played through that level. I mean, with nothing but headcrab zombies running amok, I’m kinda without another human being in the game for quite a while. Grigori helps somewhat, but how the guy manages to live in Ravenholm is beyond me.

I got to play a demo of Dissidia: Final Fantasy a couple days ago. I liked it, though I need to get used to not only the controls but also the characters. Like, for Terra, her damage-dealing attacks require her to get up close to the opponent. Onion Knight was entertaining, as well, though he is weak, compared to the others. His strongest attack was fun, though. He changes into either a Red Mage or a Ninja and you have to choose the command and spell/item the game tells you to choose. I’m hoping that the characters can be  customized in the actual game, instead of sticking with the same moves throughout the entire game. Other characters in the demo include Cecil, Cloud, and Sephiroth.

So, as I am typing this blog, I am up at 5 o’clock in the morning, because I have just too much on my mind. I have spent a half hour trying to get my laptop to run one last time, and I pulled out a backup disk in an attempt to play some games that I had on it. Some games worked fine, but Zelda Classic doesn’t seem to work at all. It could be due to the fact that I was playing it on the CD, though. And now, after listening to some MIDI of various video game tunes, I decided to pop in a Newsboys CD. I must admit, that CD was a good buy. It was the Go CD, which has a song of that name, and it seems like it could fit so well as some sort of tune, like the one that plays in Rocky when he trains before the fight with Apollo Creed. Anyway, I’m just going to continue on until I reach 1,000 words, then I will end this blog there.

I saw some videos of Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires, and I have to admit, it looks like a good game, despite what Koei did to many of the characters. Well, to be fair, I say Cao Ren improved quite a lot, though I liked his previous moveset, as well. Dong Zhuo’s new moveset and looks are ok, but I really only enjoy him for his Fury form in Strikeforce. It looks so much like Ganon! I like the whole white hair idea with Sun Jian. I hope the white hair shows in future games. For Yuan Shao, the white hair seems like it puts more emphasis on his nobility. I noticed that Meng Huo is in Empires. No doubt he is needed in the Dynasty Warriors series. Without him, there is no Nan Zhong campaign and thus, a sizable piece of the story is cut out. Now if only Koei released him and others as add-ons for Strikeforce. That would really make my day.

Well, I have hit the 1,000 word mark and beyond. I’m going to go ahead and stop here, for now. I’m hoping for more blog ideas, and I don’t mean anything video-game-related. I want more real-life experiences in blog form. Last thing I want to say to the readers of my blogs: you all have a blessed day and enjoy the rest of your summer.