Archive for March, 2011

Fencing Game

Posted in Fencing, GameDev with tags , on March 17, 2011 by bbarrett


New Project Announcement

I’ve been working on a fencing game for the last few months with a friend of mine. Its coming along nicely. We hope to have it finished during the summer, but we’re close to having an alpha of the primary gameplay, perhaps by the end of the month.
I thought I’d get time to work on the programming language tutorial set, but my energy has gone into this and I thought better than producing some half rate work.

About the Game

My friend Sean is the lead designer (being a fencer!) and also doing almost all of the art. I’m doing most of the programming, and acting as a sub-designer of sorts. It is interesting work, particularly writing game AI which I’ve never done before.

The game is quite simple. It is round based, you can attack, block and sprint. You can play against a friend using an XBox controller or play against the AI. For the full game we want to make a tournament system, where you control a team of fencers who will have different statistics. Winning will be partly about pairing off your fencers against the opposing team in the correct order as overcoming the individuals in the interactive fights.

Here is a quick video I made of the current gameplay. This features a bug (which has since been fixed), where the screen declaring the winner appears instantaneously and doesn’t tell you who won.

 The rounds are reasonably quick, it gets tense and more fun towards the end when you have only a couple of rounds left to go! The AI can be really mean, it does this thing where he can step back one pixel away from your attack, and then step in a pixel and hit you. It is also quite non-deterministic, but we’re thinking almost too much so at the moment.

We Need You!

What I’m hoping for is a few volunteers for testing the outcome of our next iteration. This will be primarily to get feedback on the gameplay, but also an initial test for deployment, performance issues on strange machines, etc. I’ve never deployed a C#/XNA game before so I hope it won’t be particularly tricky. What would be really great is if we could get someone who has an XBox controller they can use with their PC to try out the multiplayer for us.Let me know in the comments if you are interested.


Movie Marathon Markup – Seven Film Reviews

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6, 2011 by bbarrett

I spent the last week in the gorgeous south of France with my little sister. We spent the days basking around the various cafés, living off coffee, alcohol, pain au chocolat and crepes au chocolate (the French really know how to live). We spent the nights watching an eclectic mix of movies. I decided it might be worth cataloguing them. In no particular order:

  • The Room

    The unrivalled apex of the “its so bad its good” genre. I’m not usually a fan, but one cannot deny that this is a masterpiece! Perfect for watching with some friends and not a small amount of drink. I cannot really describe this movie, and I think any description could not do it justice. I will just say that this is one man’s honest attempt to write, direct and star in a movie which is just bad in almost every way. Bad acting, bad script, inconsistent plot, odd scenes and some just bizarre choices or oversights, such as massive continuity problems or the fact that all the picture frames in the scenes are filled with pictures of cutlery, presumably the stock photos they had when purchased. I don’t believe it would be possible to deliberately make a worse film.

    A quick warning however, the movie features no less than three sex scenes in the first 10 minutes (with another 2 during the rest of the movie, if memory serves). Power through this, for while it is certainly gratuitous, it is but another facet of the ridiculous nature of the film. The scenes come across as humorous rather than offensive, with hindsight. I really don’t think the film would be the same without them – which makes these thoroughly unnecessary sex scenes suddenly seem quite necessary… An odd thought.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop

    This movie was thoroughly enjoyable, even if the real star was actually an slightly mad French cameraman rather than the elusive English artist Banksy. I think this was the right choice though, the man’s obsession pours through the screen. His enthusiasm and strange personality make the movie what it is. Such a hilarious character. You get the feeling that Banksy thinks he is nuts, but still kind of loves him. As do we all, I suspect.

  • Shaolin Soccer

    A lovely surprise from Stephen Chow, I had always assumed this was a poor movie… but it defies every and any expectation. I loved its commitment; any time you think they’ve gone as far as they could go, it manages to go to 110%, or more. Also strangely touching, though this could be just because it doesn’t comply with the Hollywood expectations that are almost subconciously expected by us. Relentless.
  • Due Date

    A rather forgettable comedy featuring Zach Galifianakis playing roughtly the same character as “The Hangover”. Depressingly, I suspect this one is probably the biggest earner of all these films in the box office (with the possible exception of “Alice in Wonderland”, though comparing blockbuster income from two films separated almost 60 years is obviously difficult). Its funny, but very much predictable and by the book. It looks weak in comparison to these other titans.

  • Kung Fu Hustle

    Another head scratcher, yet still a gem, from Stephen Chow. I didn’t enjoy it quite the same way as Shaolin soccer (I feel this might be because I wasn’t prepared for the kind of shenanigans he would try pull the first time round – surprise is the essence of comedy), but still a really good watch. One of those rare films where you cannot really predict anything. Most of the commentary from Shaolin soccer applies.

  • Alice in Wonderland (original Disney animation)

    Such a delightful film. The only one I had seen before (as you, dear reader, have almost certainly have), but more than worth watching again if it has been a while. Puts the recent reworking to shame. Beautiful nonsense, with some stunning animation – in particular the scenes with the playing card army.

  • MegaMind

    Quite hilarious, certainly a lot better than I expected. I had assumed it wasn’t great because I hadn’t heard anyone talk about it, but I thought it was rather charming in its own way.