News Archive Q3 '98
September 30, 1998

I felt like adding something totally new to the game last night. So now there are mines floating in space. Don't get too close :) I only added a simple explosive mine, but I have some ideas for other types.

Great, just what I need - more stuff to add to the game...

September 27, 1998

Hmmm, I don't have much to say, but felt like writing anyway. The level editor is coming along. The control scheme changed again, but what else is new? Now you can bring up a minimap of the level by holding down SELECT. You can move around while in that view too if you want to jump somewhere quickly.

I can't wait until I get to just sit down and churn out some levels. Shouldn't be long now as I don't have much more to do (aside from the 5 billion things on my list).

I just realized that the "Free Talk Yaroze" link didn't lead anywhere so I took it off. I guess James Anderson isn't Yarozing anymore :(

September 22, 1998

The level editor will have four modes, which you can cycle through by pressing SELECT. The modes are move, copy, delete, select. Move obviously lets you pick up an object and move it around. You can also change its attributes while within this mode. Copy and delete are self-explanatory. Select lets you choose multiple objects at once. Then you can move/copy/delete them as a group.

September 17, 1998

Wow, where does a week go?

I'm happy to say that much progress has been made. The level editor is coming a long very quickly. Right now it has the ability to add objects (planets, nebulas, turrets), adjust their attributes (scale, color, strength), and move them around the playfield. The cool thing is that it looks just like you were playing the game - meaning all the sprites are animating while you are editing the level. But the really cool thing is that you can test out the level at any time. Enter the menu by hitting START, select "Test Level" and off you go. When you die (or win) you get sent back to the level editor to make changes. Eventually you'll be able to save these levels to a memory card. For now I just have it print out the information in a format suitable for insertion in my levels C include file.

I've also begun adding the ability to recall items in the shop. Right now, when you hit the "recall" button on an empty extra (if you've played the game you should know what I'm talking about) a new screen pops up, letting you select amongst your stored items. It doesn't actually do anything yet, but it's a good start and shouldn't be too difficult to finish off.

Once I get both of these major items finished I'll post some screenshots.

September 9, 1998

I've seriously cleaned up the code and added a bunch more comments. I finally got fed up with trying to figure out what a certain section of code does.

As for new features, I'm polishing up the shop screen a bit more. I hope to add the ability to "recall" previously "stored" items soon. Also on the drawing board is a level editor. I hope to make it useful enough such that I can place objects and immediately test out the level. And what the heck, I might as well make so that anyone can make their own levels.

September 2, 1998

Just thought I would update the time/date stamp on the member page. I'm not sure if people use that to tell if a page has been updated or not. Anyway, if you haven't been here in a while, welcome back!

I also updated the public mirror to reflect changes up to today.

Moved some stuff from the archive to a new Q2 '98 page.

Added a couple pics of Dave's cats to the Staff section.

August 28, 1998

Wow, an update 3 days in a row! I had scanned a few pages out of my notebook a while back and just found them again. For the truly curious. Only a small portion is shown below:

notebook1 notebook1
August 27, 1998

Put up a couple more screenshots that show the new vector circle and system icons in action:

do14 do15

August 26, 1998

The icons are in place and working now. The actual graphics may change, but the code to control them is done.

I updated the Staff section with some scans of our two cats, Pickle and Goldberry. We just got Pickle from the shelter a few weeks ago.

August 24, 1998

Right now I'm working on the HUD. I'm putting in some icons to represent the ship's five systems. When you change a system's priority the icons will pop up to show their status (high, medium, or low). I'm also changing how the vector circle works. It used to be in the upper right corner. Instead it will now be centered on your ship and move around with you. That way you don't need to move your eyes too far to see it. I've also made it a bit smaller so it doesn't cover too much area. While the vector circle is displayed by default right now, I'll eventually make it such that you have to buy a certain power-up to get it.

August 21, 1998

Introducing Decaying Orbit™! We've decided on the new name to replace Escape Velocity. I like it nearly as much as the old name. In fact, the more I think about it the more I like it. Now let's hope someone doesn't tell us they have a game by that name too...

The developers conference was cool as all heck. I learned a ton more about our business plan and specific hardware capabilities. And to top it all off, I got to meet Jeff Minter.

August 18, 1998

Removed the link to Jay Brewer's Peerless Yaroze since it seems he's exited the Yaroze scene. I also rearranged the member links to put the most-often-updated ones at the top.

Nothing happening on the game for a while. Hopefully this weekend.

On the "cool" front, I just found out that I get to go to the Project X developers conference this week. I'm pretty stoked about that.

August 12, 1998

I put up the transition screen shots (both static and as an animated GIF) in the screen shots page.

August 11, 1998

I'll be gone to San Diego until Sunday so I won't update until next week. Dave and I are heading to Comicon International.

The transition from shop to level is mostly complete. I'll be adding more stuff as I go, but the core code is there. I've grabbed some screen shots and will make an animated GIF to show it in action. Hopefully I can get that done before I leave tomorrow.

August 5, 1998

Just a quick note. I updated a few parts of the Staff section.

August 3, 1998

On the game front, I've been working on the transition when you exit the shop to start the next level. If you've seen the demo, there's a minimap in the shop which shows the next level. Well, when you exit the shop, the minimap will zoom in to fill the entire screen. While zooming, the real planet graphics will replace the minimap circles. It will keep zooming in until it settles on the starting planet. It should be a nice smooth zoom from minimap to the start of next level. When I get a chance, I'll grab some screenshots to better describe what happens.

In my June 2nd update I mentioned the alterations I'm making to my computer. Here's a pic showing what I mean. The M&M guy has LEDs for eyes (which are connected to the HD light so they blink semi-randomly).

August 2, 1998

Tidied up things a bit. I went through all the pages and changed Escape Velocity to GFKAEV. I split up the news archive page into 3-month segments; I was having some trouble with it being too large to edit. Strange, I didn't have this problem before.

Added a link to Jeff Lawton's excellent Yaroze World (broken link) Yaroze World

Added a link to Mario Wynands's Sidhe Interactive

July 27, 1998

Until I can think of a new name for my game (see below) I'll just call it GFKAEV for "Game Formerly Known as Escape Velocity". Now that would be annoying :). I'll be updating all my pages over the next week or so to reflect this change. Maybe we should do what Prince did and change the name to a symbol. Silly corporate lawyers...

Jeff Lawton (aka Zark Wizard), of Yaroze World (broken link) fame is organizing a Yaroze competition with cash prizes! I plan on entering GFKAEV if I can get it done by then. The deadline is in November, but there's still so much to do...

July 18, 1998

Hooboy it's been a few weeks hasn't it? I've been busy changing jobs and moving to a new apartment. I was also in Orlando for a week (Disney World rocks).

Amongst the 100+ messages I had upon checking my email (which took a while due to problems setting up the phone in the new place) was a nice message from Ambrosia Software. It seems they have a game titled Escape Velocity and think my little project is going to affect them. Well, okay, technically I am infringing on their trademark so there's not much I can do.

So in the next week or two I'm going to change the name of our project to something else. We haven't decided yet, but we'll be hard pressed to come up with something as fitting as Escape Velocity. *sigh*

Jay, you were right


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