Saturday, 20 December 2008

Panda Postscript

So I have two more working days before I can switch on my out of office autoreply. And on Friday I taught for the last time for a while, as I have been asked to shift role away from front line teaching at least for a time. I probably won't have responsibility for a whole course again until next September/October, and that makes me a little nervous -- I like teaching, and I like students. On Friday, for example, I took a group of students from never having made a functional bit of interactive software before to having built a basic SHMUP. In about three and a half hours. What's not to like about that job?

Shooters have been a little on my mind lately. I am not a big fan (my reflexes are appropriate for my age, as I might politely say to my own parents), but I have seen Pinball Panda confront three in a row in the GMC Cage Match (a Game Maker Community bit of nonsense where members vote on two games in an online poll, with the winner going on to face a new opponent the next week) and I have a feeling that the poor little thing will lose this time (to I Have the Gun, having survived voting against Ever Scrolling Hue and Shoot 2008). A shame, but it has done well for such a casual game, whose core audience is unlikely to be the same demographic as that of the GMC.

Some random numbers: Plays (from all places) 322+8+27=357. Not bad, I feel, although minute by internet standards. Ratings: 2.7/5 (YoYo :(), 8.2/10 (64 Digits :)). Entries in Online Highscore Table: 42. Entries in Online Highscore deleted because of offensive tags: 2. Times Table Hacked: 1.

Ho ho ho, and happy holidays.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Online Pinball Panda

Pinball Panda continues to be well received, which is nice, and is currently wrestling with Erik Leppen's lovely Shoot 2008 in a Cage Match on the GMC, for those who know about such things. It does suddenly occur to me that it isn't flagged anywhere that the version sitting in the widget to the right somewhere is offline only, if you want to play the version with online highscores you will need to go to YoYo or 64Digits.

[Edit] I have just uploaded the version with online highscores to the widget. That'll be the zip file rather than an exe. Remember to unzip into one folder and keep the game file in that folder as it uses a DLL to access the magic of the internet.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Panda Reviewed

I can't remember now if I was academically interested in User Generated Content before or after I started toying with Game Maker, but I have always seen it as an amateur pursuit that gives me access (and hopefully insight) into something I see as being more and more significant to commercial games. I have played around with Unreal, toyed with machinima, modded NeverWinter Nights (remade as Lilliput just by scaling -- much fun), and recently messed around inside Spore and now Little Big Planet, but I suppose my little experiments with Game Maker have been the closest thing to really making games. At some point I must write the article that all this is supposed to be informing, of course.

But sometimes it is just nice being inside the community. I missed it when it first came out, but there is a lovely little review of Pinball Panda in a community online magazine called GM Weekly (site here, issue with review here. I really like the concluding line: "a perfect casual game". Therefore am I happy. :)