Welcome to the sun-bleached wasteland where miscellaneous, ancient projects come to slowly turn to dust.
All below are small, obscure or no-longer-functioning experiments and distractions, the ones that got close enough to being actually releasable (even if not useful) in some form. I have directories full of ones that never made it this far!
A utility for importing artwork from external editors into Jason Rohrer’s innovative 2-player storytelling game, Sleep Is Death .
CodeSnippet for Google Wave
An attempt at getting in early to what could have been a promising new bit of technology, although it quickly became apparent that it was a gateway to uncontrollable chaos. Although perhaps they were just way ahead of their time ?
CodeSnippet was a conversation widget adding a lockable container for sharing and collaborating on code, with added syntax highlighting. Wave lacked decent code sharing, a glaring omission given its early adopters were all the kind of nerds that would expect that off-the-shelf.
It became briefly quite popular, clocking almost 1m requests in November 2009 .. before the metrics fell off a cliff. Wave followed it off the cliff shortly after.
Lord knows why anyone would want it, but the source is archived here.
An HTML conditioning tool designed to make writing eBooks for the Kindle using Microsoft Word 2010 as painless as possible. I assume there are significantly better pipelines for doing this these days. The download includes a long guide from my old site, a build of the tool, all the source, a test I apparently did in 2014 checking it still worked. I’ve never published a book for Kindle, but maybe you will.
Goofy little Game Boy Advance-like portable console that worked great for emulators and hacking on. It attracted a bunch of homebrew hacker interest as the SDK was freely available and it was easy to get up and running with the hardware. More details and links at RobeesWorld and DarkFader still has their GP32 page up, full of the finer technical details.
The link below has a bunch of collected old stuff just in case someone finds a working one in their loft. It includes GP32 Generator, the description of which I’ll have to take from a very old version of my site because I had no memory of what it was or, indeed, ever writing it.
If you are using the ARM ADS suite (and, therefore, CodeWarrior) to develop for GP32, this set of plug-ins and stationery will simplify and accelerate the whole build process. GP32Gen provides a replacement post-linker that can generate FXEs and/or firmware images directly from CodeWarrior. Integrated support for FXE tagging (author, icon, title) is built into the IDE, as well as the option to run successful links in the excellent GeePee32 emulator, or upload it directly for execution on a running GP32 handheld using Darkfader’s PCLink. Stationery is included, designed to run with a customised version of the GP32 SDK, that provides a pre-setup, ready-to-build project to be used as a template when starting new GP32 apps.
Also included is my USB communications library and what appears to be the GP32 SDK for ARM ADS.
Ludum Dare #0001
I entered the first
okay, except #0 in April Ludum Dare
24 hour game jam, starting at 9:14
as noted in the readme, clearly this was an important detail to me at the time Saturday morning and shipped Antivirus before the end of the following day. The theme of the jam was
A guardian game. Protect! and in Antivirus you tried to defend against coloured viral coils trying to burrow into your bloodstream by tapping out matching coloured sequences on the keyboard.
It was bastard hard and ugly as sin. It did feature a natty splash screen though, probably authored instead of doing any kind of balancing or bug fixing.
I wrote my own DirectX 8 renderer from scratch for it, which helps explain why the game was pretty basic as I suspect writing the engine code consumed 70% of the weekend! Still runs just fine using Compatibility Mode in Windows 10, unfortunately.
January 1983. Computer & Video Games magazines are stacked full of type-in code listings for games sent in by readers and computing enthusiasts. This particular issue unleashes a new game, Submarine Hunter, understatedly pitched as “the thrill of an underwater naval battle” with its dense but elegant source code consuming a riotous 2-and-a-half A4 pages. The programmer, Hugh Denholm, had sired a child several years previous. That child was me. I am the Son of A Published Games Developer.
The premise is this. You are in a helicopter full of bombs. You must drop these bombs on submarines floating under the sea as they race to the safety of their dock on the right-hand side of the screen. Vile enemy destroyers sail right to left, guarding the submarines and launching surface-to-air missiles at your flimsy craft. The catch? While a bomb is in flight, you are stuck in place. Good luck, pilot. Do it for king and country. You better get a decent score or the game will insult you about being crap at playing it.
August Maybe?, 2001. Fresh from a brief stint building Game Boy games at Kuju Entertainment, that same son (me, hello) lovingly types the Submarine Hunter code into an Atari 800 emulator. He pours over every facet, analyses the complex scoring mechanics, nuanced graphics, rich soundtrack. Slaving over a hot keyboard, he builds a Game Boy Advance version for the father’s birthday. The father is duly grateful (that his son has finally recognised the genius of Submarine Hunter)
This version kept the same chilling tension and realistic flight physics from the original but fixed many of its shortcomings, like not having a cool splash screen when the game boots.
October, 2014. The documentary From Bedrooms To Billions
is released, of which I am a backer. The film documents the rise of the bedroom game developer, discussing C&VG as a source of type-in games and has pages from the magazine feature occasionally. At 15:24 my brain twitches as a code listing flickers across the screen for a few seconds.
HELICOPTER MISSILE CONTROL. Like Alexis “Lex” Murphy logging into a UNIX system in Jurassic Park, I instinctively whisper “I know this…”
Present Day. The legacy is preserved below, with source code from the Atari 800 version so you don’t have to type it in and make countless mistakes doing so like I did. Additionally the GBA remaster source code and a compiled version is included for modern gamers with good taste in cool splash screens.
Included here mostly as a joke on someone else. A 2D map-building tool for the GBA, written internally while I worked at Kuju, released as open source for reasons I forget publicity, probably, as we managed to get an inch or two of prime column space in Edge Magazine about the fact we were doing so. Or, based on the missing image alt-text from the download page .. “Need a GBA game?”. Hire us! PLEASE.
The original page is stashed inside Downloads on the old Kuju site although the download link is long broken, so:
GTA2 Hacking Tools
A pair of GTA2 tools that allow for save game editing and unlocking the “Power Manager”, a panel of game editing functionality hidden on the default game launcher. Source code long lost (absolutely for the best)
Shout out to Sektor from GTAMP for actually finding and returning a more recent version of the save game editor than I ever backed up! Lots more exciting and interesting tools to take GTA2 apart can be found on their excellent site.
It’s Minesweeper ! But in my version you could have any size board you wanted. Woah! Built to try and impress someone who wanted that feature. All 60Kb of it still runs on Windows 10 just as well as it did on Windows NT 4, pure Win32 gaming excellence. Terrible old source code included!