just testing my blog rss feed

October 24th, 2009 by Sharky

Rss for my previous post (first in months) seemed to be buggerised by fvcking spammers – go figure. Let’s see if this works.

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In case you’re wondering…

October 24th, 2009 by Sharky

YES, I’m still here!

My blogging (or lack of) is inversly proportional to how busy I’ve been with life in general.

I am happy to report that…

  • I do in fact have another Indie game in the works
  • all going well, I’ll be able to blog about it sooinish
  • …when it is closer to completion
  • …in a few weeks / maybe a month or two. Rough guess

Sharky :)

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Air Legends update is LIVE!

May 19th, 2009 by Sharky

Exciting news!

The Air Legends update is available now on the Xbox 360 Community Games marketplace.

If you’ve already got Air Legends (thank you), you should re-download the game to get the update. (at this stage Community Games don’t automatically inform you of an update – microsoft are adding that soon.)

If you’ve not tried Air Legends before, or it didn’t appeal, please do check out this new version.

The update adds some great improvements and addresses a couple of common complaints about the game, while retaining the existing gameplay for those already happy with it.

I hope you like it. I’d really appreciate if you also head over to xblcg.info and rate it.

Final change list below…

  • new game “Speed” option of Normal, Speedy or MANIC. These will effect the aircraft speed, acceleration, turn rate & increase bullet damage noticably. MANIC in particular should appeal to the more “twitch” gamer types. While Normal is the status quo.
  • New “Flight School” mode for learning and practicing the Controls. This is basically a free flight mode with interactive instruction, hints and tips.
  • Lastly, due to popular request I’ve added a 2 second invulnerability after respawning. Something that should always have been there, but I shelved to make my new year launch deadline.
  • Added animated score +/- for when player scores hits.

It’s immensely satisfying to have this update complete. While I’m not ruling out further updates & features, I feel I can at last shift focus to game #2

p.s. I’ve a little tweaking to do before I can release the Windows version of the Update, so stay tuned.

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Air Legends update is now in Peer Review

May 7th, 2009 by Sharky

The Air Legends update I’ve been blogging about is now one step closer to release – now in Peer Review. If you’re a Creators Club member, I’ll be mighty grateful if you check it out. Cheers!

It adds some great improvements that I hope address a couple of common complaints about the game, while retaining the existing gameplay for those happy with it.

Final change list below… includes a cool new feature I’ve not mentioned before.

  • new game “Speed” option of Normal, Speedy or MANIC. These will effect the aircraft speed, acceleration, turn rate & increase bullet damage noticably. MANIC in particular should appeal to the more “twitch” gamer types. While Normal is the status quo.
  • New “Flight School” mode for learning and practicing the Controls. This is basically a free flight mode with interactive instruction, hints and tips.
  • Lastly, due to popular request I’ve added a 2 second invulnerability after respawning. Something that should always have been there, but I shelved to make my new year launch deadline.
  • Added animated score +/- for when player scores hits.

Now it’s time I got back to peer reviewing for others – seeing some awesome stuff out there.

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XNA Collision Detection for 3D models tutorial – revisited!

April 29th, 2009 by Sharky

Hi all.

Many people visit this blog for my 3D model collision detection tutorial. It’s nice to know it’s still in demand!
I did it way back in the XNA v1.0 days (I think), so people are possibly having a bit of grief getting it working with XNA 2.0 & now 3.0.

So, I’ve finally updated the sample to work with XNA 3.0, and improved it considerably.

Head over here to get the updated sample.

IMPORTANT: The actual tutorials have not been updated to reflect this XNA v3.0 version and refactoring.

The main sample changes are these:

  • updated for XNA v3.0
  • refactored to make it easier to include your own models and textures
  • refactored so that the subdividing info is now contained in handy XML files
Plane in BoundingBox
Plane in BoundingBox

Working Sample

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New Interview up at ExL Studios

April 28th, 2009 by Sharky

G’day.

There’s a new interview of me talking about Air Legends, it’s development, Bionic Shark Studios, sales/pricing, and other stuff at ExL Studios.

Check it out here.

While you’re there check out their site. Besides Developer interviews, they will also be reviewing Community Games! (an Air Legends review will be coming once my Update is complete.)

It’s great to see the community really gearing up, with several Community Games/XNA sites sprouting up lately. (apologies if I missed any – it’s quite hard to keep up, so do let me know!)

While I’m at it, if you’re a fan of Air Legends, get over to http://xblcg.info and rate Air Legends for me.
…and if you’re not so much – well, perhaps hang on and try my coming-soon Update before making your judgment. ;)

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Brewing up an Air Legends update

April 25th, 2009 by Sharky

Hi folks.

Once again I’ve been quiet on the blogging front, but feverishly busy in every other way.

An Update to Air Legends is coming very soon!

I think it will please many, so do read on.

Firstly, I should point out that Microsoft encourage Community Games developers to keep Updates to bug fixes – not features. (I think this is absolutely fair enough too, but I won’t delve into why here.)

In saying that, my update is not so much bug fixes, as addressing a common complaint that must surely be reducing the game’s appeal. So I reckon I’m justified in doing so, even if you could argue the changes are “features”. The core game features are unchanged.

Air Legends has been proving very popular on the marketplace. While it’s clear people are appreciating it, I’ve seen something of a common complaint in good, but not great, Reviews of the game. These boil down to:

  • planes too slow, or turn too slow
  • not everyone appreciates the dogfighting (chase and maneuver, earn the kill) focus of the current game. It seems some would like less chase & more kill, kill, kill
  • some also appear to miss vital controls (like a throttle!), or misunderstand their usage

My update will address these both:

  • new game “Speed” option of Normal, Speedy or MANIC. These will effect the aircraft speed, acceleration, turn rate & increase bullet damage noticably. MANIC in particular should appeal to the more “twitch” gamer types. While Normal is the status quo.
  • New “Flight School” mode for learning and practising the Controls. This is basically a free flight mode with interactive instruction, hints and tips.
  • Lastly, due to popular request I’ve added a 2 second invulnerability after respawning. Something that should always have been there, but I shelved to make my new year launch deadline.

With regards to the new Speed mode. It’s amazing how slow “Normal” mode feels after playing Speedy & MANIC. Normal mode will still be the default however – I don’t want to alienate existing happy customers!

Stay tuned. I hope to have the Update released in the next couple of weeks.

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“Air Legends” for Windows is now available

February 19th, 2009 by Sharky

The Windows version of “Air Legends” is now available over here. Comes in two flavours: Demo (free) & Full game (for donations).

  • functionaly the same as the Xbox 360 version, but with basic Keyboard support for those without 360 Controllers.
  • Xbox 360 Controllers are highly recommended however. The way it’s meant to be played
  • Contains historically accurate insignia on the german aircraft. (this had to be nerfed for the Xbox 360 Version)

You may be familiar with my previously released work-in-progress builds of Air Legends. If so I recommend you try this new version. You’ll find it a considerably more featured and polished version to any you’ve tried before.

Go grab it

Enjoy! :)

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A little Homebrew Marketing for “Air Legends”

January 16th, 2009 by Sharky

Tomorrow, I’m excited to be going to the Wings Over Wairarapa Airshow. There was even going to be a Spitfire flying, but unfortunately it had a wee hiccup on the landing gear front and crash landed.

Anyway, I’m still really looking forward to it. I figured why not get a little local publicity for my game and made a Leaflet for my two awesome kids to proudly hand out at the event.

Leaflet

The more observant of you might notice it says “Coming soon” despite the fact “Air Legends” is actually already released on Xbox 360. That is because at present this new Community Games marketplace is still only available on Xbox 360’s in USA, UK, Canada, France, Italy & Spain. More countries will come online as Microsoft enables them.

So, now a message to anyone visiting after seeing one of the leaflets.

  • Thanks for coming!
  • The PC demo of “Air Legends” will be available for download here within the next couple of weeks. (the game itself is complete – I just need to build an installer)
  • The Full PC game will be available also, for nothing more than a donation.
  • The Xbox 360 version will be available in New Zealand, just as soon as Microsoft enables the new Community Games marketplace here. Hopefully soon – but this is out of my hands unfortunately.
  • The Xbox 360 version of Air Legends topped the sales charts for the week of 5 Jan 2009!
  • In the meantime, see more of the game here.

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“Air Legends” is published!

January 3rd, 2009 by Sharky

I’m thrilled to announce that Air Legends is published at last – on the Xbox 360 that is. (A windows version shouldn’t be far off)

It is available on Xbox 360 Community Games marketplace in US, UK, Canada, France, Spain & Italy. Other countries should follow as Microsoft enables them. (I’m guessing they’ll be schmoozing with a government near you to make it so.)

It’s a supremely satisfying moment, though it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

Even if you’re not in the supported countries, you can still check it out on the web marketplace here:

“Air Legends on the Marketplace”

Now to reflect on a little trivia…

  • 2 years & 5 months in development. Just me tinkering away in my limited spare time.
  • began as a tiny exercise to brush up on my .NET v2.0 skills at home – since my day job had me rotting in v1.1.
  • the game is based on an unfinished game I attempted in BASIC back in the 80’s.
  • the distinctive rotation of the planes was something I came up with back then. I wanted you to enjoy all angles of the plane rather than the traditional 2D side view.
  • I started it as a 2D game. Became 3D when I quickly learned what a mammoth task it would be coming up with sprites for all angles. In the 80’s it was easy with only 16×16, 2 colour sprites.
  • I started the game using Managed DirectX with .NET 2.0. I didn’t even know XNA was coming, so it was a very pleasant surprise when Beta 1 emerged late 2006
  • the game had no name. The exe name was Legends.exe. David Weller that suggested “Sharky’s Air Legends” when Microsoft needed a title for the first XNA showcase video. The name stuck. Thanks Dave.
  • the project was scuttled much of 2007 thanks to certain personal events that hit hard. With a whole new life ahead energy levels returned and I resumed with vigour and a serious goal to make the life dream a reality.
  • I dropped the “Sharky’s” prefix one day in 2008, when it dawned on me I could actually publish this thing one day!

That’ll do for now. Bound to be more trivia – but I can blog that later.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

:)

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