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April-June 1999 (oldest-to-newest)
I must be getting burned out from programming. I
haven't done anything on Decaying Orbit in quite some time.
Kinda sad since the demo is close to being done.
In the meantime I finally got all the golds in
Wipeout 64. I must have tried
that Super Combo Challenge #5 a couple hundred times
before getting lucky. The Time Trial Challenges were a
pain in the arse too. Hmm, what's next? I never did
finish Goldeneye or the single
player game in Bomberman 64.
Then there's Body Harvest which
I haven't done much with.
I also started and completed The
Neverhood on Sunday. Wonderful claymation, but the
puzzles were a bit simplistic. And there was too much
backtracking/repetition. Good thing I didn't buy it when
it first came out.
Holy crud, it's been a while hasn't it? Truthfully
there's not much to report. I was spending a lot of time
replaying Silent Hill to get the
Good+ ending. With that out of the way I continued with
Syphon Filter. BTW, I still need
to play Silent Hill a third time
to see the UFO ending. Hopefully it won't take me that
long though since I've already done it twice.
Anyway, I'm mustering up the will to finish off the
Decaying Orbit demo so I can finally put it to rest. Of
course it will only be one fifth done according to what I
have planned for it, but it's a good breaking point to start
on something new.
I can't promise when it'll be ready, but look for it in
the coming weeks.
All I needed was to sit down and plunk around with the
code for a few hours to get back into it. And woo I'm
I finished up the last two system pics and scanned them
in. I just need to color them and get them in the game. I
also created some cut-scenes to go with the opening text.
They're just still renders, but better than nothing. I'll
need to create maybe one more to go with the ending text.
I also did some minor tweaks to the game. All that's left
are a few more sounds, *real* boss graphics, and some method
for replaying levels after beating the boss (right now the
game just ends). Not too bad.
I colored the last two remaining systems and put them in
the game. I'm spending a lot of time getting the Decaying
Orbit website going. An adventurous person might even be
able to find the prototype out there somewhere...
I had a first go at fixing the prices of the systems you
will buy. I'll play through the game a couple times to see
how they work out. I'm getting pretty excited about the
upcoming release of the demo.
Okay, now when you beat the boss on the last level the
screen fades to black. Then it fades back in with a star
background and some text scrolls by, further developing the
story (in a similar manner to the opening sequence). I
still need to render a scene to go with the text, but that
shouldn't take long.
I just finished this up before turning off my computer
last night so I still need to do testing and such on it.
After that I'll work on some sounds. Oh, and I realized I
forgot a system pic so I'll draw that at some point.
I added some new sounds last night. There's now a tone
played when you activate all the beacons. Missiles now make
a sound. And I changed it so the different turret types
make different sounds when firing and exploding.
The game is on the cusp of a demo release. I can smell
it. Oh wait, I just forgot to put on deodorant.
This weekend was absolutely awesome coding-wise.
Here's the list:
- Created remaining sounds
- Drew/scanned/colored last system pic
- Drew system powerup pic
- Made floating money/systems disappear after 15 seconds.
I didn't want to do this, but some levels were seeing
framerate drops with too many floating around.
- Implemented a cheat menu. There are a few cheats
already and I'll add more as needed.
- Lots of miscellaneous bug fixes/enhancements
Here are the things left to do:
- Ensure shop backgrounds vary from shop to shop
- Add something for when you get all the bonuses in all
- Bug fixes as I encounter them
All this week and next weekend I'll be playtesting it,
tweaking the difficulty. I need to balance the price of
each system, define the time given to complete each level,
and make each level have suitable difficulty.
I finished up the last two bullet items from below:
making sure the shop graphics vary from shop-to-shop, and
adding ending screens for when the player finishes the
There are three endings total. The first is when you
play through it and beat the boss. The second is when you
get the "All Bonus" in every level (and then beat the
boss). After you accomplish that the Time Bonus for each
level gets set at the "Insane" level. The Insane time
will be the fastsest I have been able to complete each
level and get the All Bonus. I've been playing this game
for over a year, so if you can beat my times then you're
truly a master. I'll add a little slack so as to ensure
that it's possible to do, although the slack will be less
than one second.
I also went ahead and added a credits screen. Why
With these out of the way the game is now feature
complete according to my notes. I still have a short list
of bug fixes to do before releasing it, but it shouldn't
I tried. Really I did. This thing is so close to being
ready to go. However, I sent it to a couple friends in the
UK to test in PAL mode and they reported some problems.
Hopefully I can sort them out, but since I can't replicate
the problems on my end it makes things difficult (and I even
bought a Jam! device so I could view PAL - the problems just
don't happen for me).
I do intend to release the demo before I leave for E3 on
Wednesday. So if I can't get it sorted by then I'll just
post it and deal with it when I get back.
The bad news is that I encountered two rather large
bugs last night while testing the game for release. I
sorted one of them out, but the other is still there. So
I won't be releasing the demo until sometime after I get
back from E3 on Saturday.
The good news is that the bug I fixed actually appeared
to be the same bug the UK guys were seeing (see previous
update on May 10th). Strangely the bug has been there for
quite some time - many months at least. Odd that I haven't
encountered it before. Anyway, hopefully that squashes any
PAL/NTSC conversion problems.
Sorry for the delay folks! I feel like the guys at
what with the broken release dates. However, the longer I
take to get the game right the better.
E3 was a blast as to be expected. It didn't start out
that great for me the first day, but Friday and Saturday
were fun fun fun. The probable reason for that is that I
concentrated on the console section the first day and went
to the PC side after that. While the Dreamcast stuff
looked impressive, the PSX and N64 just didn't do much for
With that being said, here's my personal list of show
- Watching guys embarrass themselves by asking Lara Croft
questions at the Eidos booth. I felt bad for the model
- Seeing a guy dressed in a big Q-bert suit and just
about busting my gut laughing. I took a picture and will
have to post it when I get the roll developed.
- Watching the Rayman cartoon
done in complete CG. This thing was just so cool. In
addition to the beautifully rendered cartoon itself, it
had lots of humor. Watch for it coming to Saturday
- Putting a face to the name of another Yaroze member,
Wayne Lee. We ate lunch and chatted for a bit.
- Seeing Dance Dance Revolution
for the first time and watching several people's adequate
attempts. And then seeing a japanese girl get up there
and totally kick ass! Watching the game played by a
master is like poetry in motion (to borrow a cliche).
- Having a nice chat with Bryan from
magazine during the shuttle ride home on Friday.
- Battlezone 2 for the PC - One
of the few OHMYGOD titles at the show. I never played the
first one, but I will definitely pick up the sequel.
- Happiness at getting to play a near-arcade-perfect
version of one of my favorite games
Space Ace. And then despair when
seeing the half-second pauses that occur in between each
move. And then happiness again after the gentleman
explained that one of the enhancements to the NUON version
will be to get rid of said pauses.
- Being taken by suprise at seeing a banner for
Dragon's Lair 3D. I hope they
don't screw that one up. Can you tell I'm a fan of the
old laser disc games?
- Getting a free Zelda: OOT
strategy guide from the Primas booth by just happening to
walk by during the 2-hour window when they were giving
them away. While I've already finished the game, my
finacee is still working on it.
- Seeing the PSX2 demos firsthand including the playable
Gran Tourismo demo.
- Obtaining no less than 16 distinct free magazines at
the show. It was great until I had to carry all the ones
I didn't finish back home with me. A dozen magazines in a
duffle bag weigh approximately 10 tons. Not good when I'm
trying to run to catch a flight in 15 minutes.
- The lack of recycling bins for said magazines. What a
serious shame that thousands of people will throw away all
those mags after reading them.
- Deciding to definitely buy
FF8 after watching the movie
shown on the huge screen. And then deciding there's no
way I'll buy it after going to the interactive kiosks and
watching some guy fight the same boring battle for 10
- Ecco the Dolphin for
Dreamcast - This game singlehandedly cinched a DC purchase
- Being very impressed with Ready 2
Rumble for Dreamcast initially, and then bored with
it after seeing it for 3 days.
- Watching people play Um Jammer
Lammy on a giant 15-foot TV screen. And
subsequently getting one of the songs stuck in my head
("Now put these kids to sleep will ya").
- Initial impressions of Command &
Conquer 2 leaving me unexcited. Units still move
in only 8 directions? Come on guys, didn't you ever hear
of a game called Total Annihilation?
- Not trying to tow the company line, but
Tempest 3000 for NUON floored
me. I'd seen earlier builds, but the one at the show
was just sooo cool. Maybe it was because it was played on
the big screen. Maybe it was the Prodigy used for
background music. Nothing else at the show looked quite
- Obtaining 46 new stickers with which to cover my PC
case. I took pictures and will post them when the roll
- Fear Factor at the Eidos
booth was another OHMYGOD title. The rendering is done
comic book style so it has a very unique feel. Also, the
backgrounds are done with streaming FMV which blend
really well with the onscreen characters. This makes the
world so much more believable. I can't wait for this one.
Whew! Since I got back from LA Saturday evening I did
manage to work on the game a bit this weekend. I think I
have that last bug licked, but since it wasn't something I
could reproduce consistently I won't know for certain.
I added a new little graphical tweak. When mines
explode the screen shakes a bit. It adds so much to the
game and was so easy to do.
I still have some more testing and play-balancing to
do, but my most recent estimate for a release is this
One more bug found and fixed last night. I just need a
good couple hours with it to finish balancing things.
Hopefully nothing else major will pop up.
I forgot to mention that I've started compiling the game
with optimization on. That cleared up all the remaining
slowdown problems I was seeing thank goodness. Plus it
compressed the size of the binary by about 35% which will
speed up download times for everyone.
Saw Phantom Menace yesterday
afternoon. Screw the critics, this is an awesome movie.
It's classic Star Wars. And no, I didn't think Jar Jar was
As for Decaying Orbit, I played through the entire game
once last night to get a feel for it. It plays really well
actually. The prices of most items are at reasonable
levels. The difficulty for each level is appropriate. I
increased the total time you have to complete each level
just so first-time players won't get frustrated with time
always running out.
The end-of-galaxy boss is now more difficult than ever
< evil grin >. There are three stages to the boss and
each one presents its own challenges. Without going into
details, the final stage is very frantic which is great.
Without further ado, here's the Decaying Orbit™ demo in
form! The downloadable manual is available
in glorious html, and the utility to convert screen dumps
to images is
As you can tell, we moved the website to our own
domain. Kind of nice that it coincided with the demo
Along with the demo, we have a site exclusively for
Decaying Orbit. You can access it from the
or just click
It has (or will have) all the information you could want
about the game. I'll be adding lots more stuff to it over
the coming weeks (including the source code).
Hope you enjoy the game! As always
let me know
what you think!
Okay! The files are now available on the official
server. I'm afraid the SCEE people will have to wait
until it gets mirrored over there. Here they are:
For SCEE (once available):
If you happened to pick up the version I posted before
I would encourage you to grab these. I made a couple
minor tweaks to the game in the interim.
I will be gone for about a week starting tomorrow so
there won't be any updates until next Wednesday at the
Here's how my computer case now looks after acquiring
over 40 new stickers at E3. I know no one but me cares, but
heck it's my website now isn't it? :)
Also, I finally got my
posted. The Q-bert outfit is just so cool.
I haven't done anything with the Yaroze since finishing
up the Decaying Orbit demo. I plan to start devling into
3D soon so hopefully I'll have more to say then.
In other news, it looks like Decaying Orbit might make
it onto an OPSM disc. I need to clean up a few things to
make it presentable, but that's nothing major.
I read through Peter Passmore's tutorial on 3D. It's
kind of depressing going from someone that knows what
they're doing (in 2D) to total moron (with 3D). Still, I
had to start sometime.
The first game I will make will be an adaptation of a
board game I have. It's a good project since I don't need
to bother with collision detection or animation. Keep
things simple for now. Plus, I've always desired a computer
version of the game so I could play it whenever I wanted.
My goal is to get the game done very quickly. I don't want
the project to linger on like Decaying Orbit did.
This web page and all other pages on this site are
© 1999-2007 Scott Cartier