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You can download Neon Challenge to your Android phone with this link:

Neon Challenge Demo

 

Neon Challenge is my go at a simple game for Android that takes into account user skill while determining the difficulty level. For now development on it has halted but it has been a good learning excercise.

It’s been 2 years since I left University and since then I have only made one game. I kept that game simple and didn’t challenge myself as much as I could have.

My goal is to make a fully featured game engine with the hopes of creating a game in it sometime in the future. There are some key areas of the engine that I want to focus on for varying reasons:

  • Graphics: When working on Alexandria I didn’t have anything to do with the graphics engine and thus, don’t have the understanding and expertise that I want. I really want to make a good go of the graphics part of the engine and hopefully learn plenty.
  • AI: Being one of the most interesting subject areas that I took at university I would like to expand on my knowledge and make something more complex than I have done in the past.
  • Engine Editor: This was my main task in the Alexandria project and it was something that I enjoyed making. There were plenty of features missing from that editor that I could have done and I know I can make an easy to use editor that will give the user a lot of control over the engine.

As it’s the season of people going back to school I thought I should be no different as I still have plenty to learn in game development. Because of this I will be documenting the progress of the engine as to prove to myself that I fully understand what I have created and maybe even help anyone else who has ideas of making their own engine.

The engine will take some time to create but I am optimistic that I will be able to create a stable engine that could house many different kinds of games.

After the dust settled on my first full game I kept looking at it thinking I could have done better. I released it for all the wrong reasons. I wanted it out as fast as possible to make money from it and because of that there were areas of the game that I am still not happy with. That is why I am now going to be revisiting the code and making the game more like what I envisioned. The graphics will be updated and bugs will be fixed and it has been given a new name:

Neon Arena

This is to reflect the neon style graphics and the arena based gameplay that will be refined and polished.

I have no timescale on the improvement process but once it is done I plan to release it as a pay what you want game so that anyone wanting to try the game can while people who think the game is actually worth money can also help me with costs into my new project. I want to put out a good fun game and I know that this can be it.

Glare started out as a project over 2 years ago. I was going to do all of the game myself so when it came to art I was basically screwed because I have no ability whatsoever to draw. I then looked at simplistic art styles because of this. Geometry Wars then became a big influence along with Pac Man Championship Edition. These simple vector based graphics could be easily replicated and end up looking good.

The main idea of Glare was to be a side scrolling shooter as that was in line with my ability at the time:

That was a mock up made in fireworks of how the game was going to look. You can note the horrible free XNA fonts used for all the text here. Further revisions to the design were then made including the idea of co-op in the game:

The inclusion of special weapons was thought about here. One idea was time dilation where the enemies would move slower than you and another was a wormhole/black hole thing that would suck the enemies in. After all this designing, university got back in the way so time was better spent on my assignments.

Then just over a year ago after I was finished with university I picked up Glare again as a project. Thing was I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had just finished a game in XNA which was a top down shooter that based it’s difficulty on how well you were playing. Because of this I looked at making Glare top down instead of side on:

This would also mark the first use of the font: Orbitron. A lovely looking free to use font. A story was to be included in Glare with mission objectives as you can see.

So coding properly began and I started making the game engine using Farseer Physics and a level editor so I could easily make up some levels:

A lovely set of collision markers there.

The first build of the game was interesting to say the least… If you are wondering I had only one sprite so the bullets shared the same sprite as the player. Also the bullets didn’t die when they hit anything so they stacked up. Couple this with being able to fire as fast as the code can run, you end up with something looking like that.

Small improvements were then made including adding enemies.

It was then becoming apparent that to create a story that people would actually want to play coupled with my programming experience would mean the game wouldn’t be all that fun to play. It was decided that I would concentrate on making an arcade mode instead which would feature lots of enemies and score hunting.

The first iteration of the arcade mode the Glare would grow up into.

Waves got added along with different weapon types. The game was finally starting to take shape.

 

Did some re-arranging of the HUD and added medals. You can see some of the parts being finalised here.

Then particles happened. As you can see, they got a lot better in the final version.

It was only now that Joe was brought on board to do a better job of the graphics.

Adding the new art made the game look loads better. And after a little bit of bug fixing and making sure it hit all of Microsoft’s certification requirements, it was put on the Xbox Indie Marketplace. I’m quite proud of that fact. I know this isn’t the best game you could ever play but it was a great accomplishment of mine to actually get this game finished.

The weird thing is, even after all the hard work and many nights programming it, I want to do it all again with a new project. This is my new addiction.