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Virus Effect

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Developer Blog


IndieVElopment Pack

So lately I've been trying to decide what to do next. My side venture into Android programming went good. I made Pac-Ball which is a combinations of pac-man and labyrinth. I decided not to put ads in it and just release a demo version and a full game version. The sales have been decent, I think the only way to make it on Android is put out many games. I've decided not to continue making smaller games, and come back to VE.

Since I still need to raise money to finish off the wide variety of directions VE can go in, we have created the IndieVElopment Pack.

With the donation of $9.99 players will get all the paid weapons, access to test out everything in the development, an unlocked private forum section to help make design decisions, and the latest news before the public. With help from the community we would finally be able to focus more of our time on making VE into a great game.

Some of the things in the development demo include early looks at the new main character design, male and female, new physics engine which include a grappling hook, and soon to be added a gravity gun similar to Half-Life's. More features and additions will be able to be seen first by IndieVElopment players.

One of the next bigger things we will be working on is multiplayer. We want to get this done early on before we start on the story side and missions. That way players can play against each other while they wait on the meat of the game. Can't wait to see what everyone thinks about the development demos!

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-Corvinex-



Android - Why Every Java Developer Should Be On The Bandwagon!

A few months back I bought a Motorola Droid when it came out in November for two reasons. One was to get rid of my old flip phone and shut my brother up about his Iphone, and the other was to develop applications for it. Since releasing my first app, a port of Virus Effect, I have a few things to say to all Java developers out there. Jump on the wave while there is still room.

The Android platform is perfect for any beginning developer that wants to release an application and slowly build upon it. The turnover time for releasing updates depends on how much time you have and how fast you can code. There is no Apple enforced review process you have to worry about. This is great for any developer that wants to try out their skills in the mobile world, especially indies. The development community is also very active, and there are various resources to aid you when developing on the platform.

The main reason everyone should be developing on the platform is because there is still room for independent projects that can get awesome reviews and be successful. The Apple App Store is overly saturated with games and apps that shouldn't have seen the light of day, and being successful on there is a more difficult achievement. On Google's platform you can refine your project then port it over to the Iphone once your successful in the Android Market. The best part is you can make a buck or two while working on it with easy to implement ads or releasing a full version of your app.

Google has been extremely kind to new and dedicated developers. I recently attended one of the Google Developer Labs in Austin and got a free Motorola Droid. So now I have two, and can test out multiplayer when I get to it in the near future. They have also just recently announced that they will be giving out a Nexus One or Droid to any current developer of an Android app that has at least 5,000 downloads and a 3.5 or higher rating. This is a ton of developers, a category in which I don't fall under but I'm not disappointed. VE Android is still in the early stages, and I don't need a third Droid... yet ;)

So if you don't have an Android phone to develop on, focus on getting one or use the emulator. It is perfectly fine to develop an app with, and if you are coding your games correctly you should be able to get decent performance out of it. On the bright side you will know when its on a phone it will perform much smoother. The most rewarding part of the whole experience is seeing the smile players get when playing your game for the first time, or in my case the frustration people have with the controls. :P

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-Corvinex-



Android Version In The Works

In November I purchased a Motorola Droid from Verizon and have been itching to do an app for it. Well a few weeks ago I started work on just that. At first I was going to make a simple app to get the hang of things. But with my uncontrollable coding practices I started porting VE over to it.

Progress on it is growing rapidly everyday. The Android API uses Java as its programming language so jumping in was pretty simple once I got the set up done. Using OpenGL ES has probably been the most difficult part, although it only took a few days to get a good set up and sprite class that can handle rotations and static sprites drawing as fast as possible.

The Android version will use the new engine I have been working on. The physics works smoothly and its just down to making that engine into the game we envisioned. The Lite App version will be free and contain a few guns and episodes to try out. The full version will contain all the awesome features. All weapons, the missions, hopefully the story and a bunch of new content among other things.

Well I better get back at it. I'll keep you guys posted as progress continues.

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-Corvinex-



November Update

Why hello thereÖ I havenít given you all an update in a while and my thoughts of where VE is going are far and wide. As you can see the last thing I have been working on is the updated physics engine. In this version box rotation is not going to be implemented due to the slowdown that it will cause in the frame rate. It was a decision i made when I started the game, I wanted it to be fast and fun.

The main differences the new engine contains are the somewhat annoying physics bugs have been greatly reduced. For instance some of the main ones were: jumping while going down slopes, slopes swallowing items, Dual Shot not working on slopes, going through walls occasionally. Most of these issues have disappeared in this version. One of the things Iím most proud of are all the new angles of slopes we can have, and all collisions against them work flawlessly. So now when deadly enemies are around a corner the bouncing bullets will never fail.

We are going to try to throw everything that we wanted to be in the game into the redone version of VE. Some of the new things will include weapons having levels, enemies having levels, and continuous environments. The most important thing I wanted to change in this rendition was the environment system. Instead of episodes I wanted to have a continuous land that never ends, and every once in a while you would find a teleport to go back to the city. Hopefully this brings about a more immersive experience.

Another of the game changing features will be that enemies will be able to drop items and weapons. This will be a difficult thing to balance on our side, so expect many changes when this comes out. And this isnít the last of the new features weíre going to implement. We will release more info as comes alive, I gotta get back to coding now. The whole team is waiting on me.

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-Corvinex-



New Physics Code, Finally

I just finished some of my best work to date.

Recently when I was playing around with the multiplayer it turned out that bullets went through the players. This was caused by the physics engine that I made at the very beginning of VEís lifetime. This was the first thing I worked on when I started this game.

The whole reason I took VE further was because of how proud I was of the simple physics I incorporated into it. Well there were a couple flawsÖ

Slopes were horrible in the game, I believe I just slapped some ugly code together to make it work. Later on this caused a few issues with items getting swallowed into them, the Dual Shot bullets never quite worked correctly, and not being able to jump while walking down them. The hardcodedness of the slopes never allowed me to edit them much, so I went on to other things. The other big flaw was the bullets not always colliding with smaller/thinner objects. The thought of having to redo that mess of code was mind numbing. Donít get me wrong, when I coded it I was amazed with it. But, it brought with it many problems that slowed down VEís progress.

So now , things have changed my friends. I have done in one week what I have been wanting to do for the past year. I have done in one week what before took me more than two months to get right. I have done in one week some of my best code to date. Heh, Iím sure you can tell Iím pretty extatic about it.

Well here it is, try it out. I will be updating this often, there is still much to do.

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Many updates since the last post

I really should start posting more huh? Iíll list what we have changed and updated in no particular order.

First of all the transfer system when you receive an Item after donating is updated so you wont lose the Item if you are in game.
Chat has some new features. When you are typing your username turns green.You can type /afk to show you are Away From Keyboard.Inventory is now in the game, so you can pick up items you find along the way.Press C to open inventory, and Double Click to use something.Equipment has been completed, we are just awaiting more images from the artists to implement and then unlock enemy drops.Which means when you kill an enemy they have a chance of dropping an item.Two new stores have been built in the city, the General Shop and Slick Styles.In the General Shop you can buy different apparel. There you can also sell your items for Credx.Slick Styles is the local salon where you can spend Credx on different hair styles. More stuff will be coming soon for both places.I have started working on the Multiplayer aspect of VE, its coming along nicely.I wrote a tutorial for any Java developers intrested in getting started with multiplayer coding.

All of this and more has been done since the last post. Iíll be sure to post more frequently regarding the new multiplayer.

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Passion and Dedication is the Life Blood of an Independent Game

Looking at the Indie Game Community one might wonder: Why do most indie games die? What drives people to create such lousy games? What is the fundamental key to finishing an indie game? All these questions can be answered in one simple wayÖ passion and dedication. To finish an indie game you almost have to be crazy and ignore all the haters, and continue morphing your game into what you have in mind. But you also have to pay attention to the feedback given to you from them as well, whether its good or excruciatingly bad.

There are many factors of why most games go off into dark corners and die, nearly all of them have to do with the dedication by the developers. The entire time a game is in development it is built off of the drive the developers have to finish the project. Without that drive and/or passion final products would have never seen the light of day.

In the independent world money is usually not the force that drives developers to finish a game, unlike the corporate world. It is almost always the passion and dedication that they have to see the project to its completion. If the developers lose that drive to accomplish the goal the project will be a distant memory before another project has even begun.

Developers can lose the passion in many ways; negative feedback, boring game play, or even getting side tracked by another project. It is actually good that most of these games do not get finished. They would other wise be polishing one of the many games that should have died prematurely. But most of those games came to be, because of the passion the developers had to complete them.

VE has gone through many trials and tribulations in my mind on whether or not it should be completed, even at this early stage of development. But the community and the still attainable goal of what we want the game to be drives me to take it one step closer to completion. I will probably never stop. The passion will continue to be the heart beat of the game, while the inspiration from the indie community is the oxygen.

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Whatís New?

Now that we have finally released Episode 8, Iíll explain all the new content that has been put into this update. First of all, it is an all new location.

The sewers house a few new enemies, and has a mild infestation of rats. All the enemies have been reprogrammed and now we can add in new enemies through simple scripts loaded at run-time. The boss in Episode 7 has also been replaced by a new one that makes more sense and can spray particles of slime that cause damage to the player.

There are now animated tiles in VE. One example is the waterfall from the sewer run off. The levels also contain all new environment features like buttons, shootable triggers, doors, platforms, ropes, ladders, and spikes. All of these are classic platformer elements, and has turned VE into a more enjoyable experience. These new ingredients gives us a whole new set of abilities to create unique puzzles with the engine. And soon we will be implementing more details of this sort into maps, like an enemyís death will trigger events. This has only been used once so far for the new boss, which unlocks the door after its demise.

We have also implemented new death animations and attack animations to different enemies. All the pink jelly enemies now have attack animations. The orange robot explodes into rotating pieces and those pieces explode as well. The floating eye drops its internal organs, which at this point is just an eye. The player, upon death, also explodes into pieces that rotate according to the velocity vector each piece is moving. Thanks to my physics class I came across the simple formula to calculate the change in degrees along the velocity vector.

The next big programming task is coding Dialogue Boxes for the story mode. Although right now there are still a few lingering bugs in the engine. I have alot of ideas on how to fix them; I just need to be able to reproduce them and find some time.

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New Blog, New Forum, and Some Updates

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to announce to everyone that we have just created a blog to more easily broadcast and reveal the details behind the scenes of VE. This will help us stay on task and monitor our progress throughout the life of the project. So without further adieu: What has the VE team been up to?

Other than school, other projects, and time management issues we are well on our way to the next version of VE. We have acquired a talented Writer from Australia by the name of William Broom. He has put together a great introduction to implement into the campaign mode of VE. This has helped all of us stay focused on our goal to turn VE, the episodic adventure, into a full fledged RPG platformer with the sole purpose of eradicating viruses with exceptional weapons.

Our current goal is to release a few new maps for the present version of VE. These new levels will contain a unique location and quite a few new environmental features to give an objective to the levels. We are still in the testing phase with these new maps and plan on releasing them as soon as possible. Our usually active Level Designer, Semir Mehmedovic, had a misfortune when his laptop crashed. He has resorted to using school computers to continue his progress on the new levels. This shows how dedicated our team is to the project

As for the progress of the story mode, I am in the process of rewriting the enemy code to enhance the capabilities and ease of implementation of new enemies. The utilization of a simple scripting system will load all the enemies and their unique behaviors, and allow for the new enemies to shoot back for once!

Progress is slow at the moment but we are getting there. Our resident pixel artist, Ryan DeGange, has created a collaboration of unique enemies that I will also have to implement. They will each have their own exceptional abilities, so this will take up the rest of the time right after the enemy code is completed. At the moment our programmer, Oscar Gomez (me), is the bottleneckÖ soon this will change

We have also just set up the VE forums for everyone to gather and give our team some constructive ideas to help us along the way, or just discuss the latest leaderboard standings. Diana Liao, our proficient Graphics Artist, has taken up the task of creating a cohesive look for the forums. This isnít an easy task since the phpBB version we are using is 3.0 version.

Well thatís the update on VE, I will try to post as often as possible. But for now, I have to return to my passion and finish what I started. I wont let you guys down.

P.S. We have also come accross an artistic composer to create some exclusive music tracks for VEís campaign mode. Once the testing phase of VEís campaing mode is initiated I will fully introduce the composer here.

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Latest Blog Posts
IndieVElopment Pack
Android - Why Every Java Developer Should Be On The Bandwagon!
Android Version In The Works
November Update
New Physics Code, Finally
Many updates since the last post
Passion and Dedication is the Life Blood of an Independent Game
Whatís New?


About The Author
Oscar "Corvinex" Gomez
The programmer behind VE, has been developing the game since May of 2008. His passion is programming and he started his own company in February of 2009, Corv Studios LLC, to do just that.