Taggame development

A Phaser 2.0 Game: Welcome Back Alex

welcom_back_alex

As Christmas 2014 approached I was faced with the yearly conundrum of what to gift to my various loved ones. I think I did an adequate job selecting items for most people, but I wanted to get my brother something good since he’s been out of the country for two years teaching English in Korea.

I saw this as a good opportunity to finally try out the Phaser framework that I’ve been following for quite some time, but never really used. Phaser is a game-making library written in JavaScript that provides a ton of great utilities for making 2D games that work on the web.

Phaser.io Given that Christmas was my deadline, and I started in mid-November, I had to be pretty modest in my expectations. Learning a new framework, and coding everything by hand (as opposed to using graphical tools like Construct 2 or Unity) further exacerbated the time constraints. Luckily, with the help of several online examples and some darn good official documentation, I was able to squeek out something the kind-of passes as a “game” and provided a few hearty minutes of entertainment on Christmas day.

The game itself follows my brother, Alex, on his journey home from Korea. In level one, Alex must protect the school-children from the invading Zerglings. In real life, Alex spent a few months bumming around the South Pacific backpacking through jungles and across beaches. So in level two, the objective is to cross the beach, avoiding obstacles and find the lovely lady. Finally, Alex reaches home (Wisconsin) and decides to take our parent’s new dog, Sophie, for a walk – in the middle of the street! Avoid the cars and win the game!

The source code is available on Github, and I can’t promise that it’s great. The modules are haphazardly written and there’s definitely some copy-pasta going on in a few places, but I tried to take as many queues from the official docs as possible in regards to best practices. Follow the links below to play the game, or view the code.

Play the game!

Grab the source code!

Construct 2 HTML5 Mobile Game: Turkey Trot of Doom!!

So it’s a week before Thanksgiving and I get an email from the hostess of the dinner I plan on attending. Included was a list of dishes assigned for guests to bring. The usual suspects were present: stuffing, cranberry sauce, pie, lots of pie…

But when I finally got to my name, a ‘holiday themed video game’ was requested.

“Ha!” I thought, funny joke, can’t be done. But then I thought some more. Perhaps it could be done. I’ve always wanted to try making one of those newfangled mobile HTML5 games that all the kids are talking about, and here was the perfect motivation. To make things even more interesting, I decided to try out Construct 2 – a drag-n-drop game maker that exports to HTML5. I haven’t used anything of the sort since Klik ‘n Play back in 1995. Construct 2 is much, much cooler.

The interface is mostly intuitive, but reading the manual is definitely necessary to do anything meaningful. After a few hours of fiddling with the sample projects and reading bits and pieces from the manual and a few tutorials I was confident enough to at least begin my own project. After I got started, many grand ideas popped into my head, but there just wasn’t time. I had an hour here, and an hour there to work, and Turkey Day was quickly approaching. In the end, I managed to get one major feature from my wishlist working – accelerometer controls. When playing the game on a mobile browser, the player moves by tilting the device. It works pretty well on a modern iPhone (4, 4s, 5) and iPads. Doesn’t work so great on Android, but you can still get the gist of it.

Rather than go into too much detail on how the game was assembled within Construct 2, I’ll just post the game file for download. There’s nothing terribly complicated going on, and the way the event sheets are organized, it reads almost like a book. You can download the file here.

To play the game, simply visit http://turkey.thebogstras.com. If you are using a mobile device, make sure it is in landscape orientation with the home button on the right. It takes a while to get used to the tilt controls, and you will probably die very quickly. If playing on a desktop browser, click the mouse where you want the character to move.

Remember, this game was never intended to be fun. It’s sole purpose was to be a game, and have some Thanksgivingy stuff in it. Fun was never a requirement.

Credits for artwork:
Boss Turkey – Puppet Nightmares
Turkey Leg – Kenj
Mini Turkey – MikariStar
Evil Turkeys – DMN666

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