Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Major Layout Revamp in the Works

After taking a break from my projects to participate in Ludlum Dare #29, I've finally recovered from sleepmdeprivation, gotten caught up with work, and am now back to working on foreachgamer.com  My focus right now is to redo the layout and framework, which will set things up nicely when it's time to tie in the new search options (note: search options deployed on the live website are currently disabled).

I have now opted for cells with a 16:9 ratio, which will make displaying screens and youtube videos a bit easier, since the majority of them are using this ratio anyway.  On top of that, things seemed a bit cluttered, so I increased the spacing between the cells.  The layout now displays information in an organized, easy to read layout without overwhelming you with too many games.

Taken from my Windows 8 tablet

... and again in portait mode

With that done, my next move is redo my entire foundation work for loading the cell data.  Now that I have worked out the kinks and come up with a system that will be the final version, it's time to make the code work for me rather than the other way around.  It's not going to be easy, and the website won't look a whole lot different when I am done, but the data that is being pulled into the system will be more organized, and more importantly, ready and waiting for the search system.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Title and the Basic Gameplay Concept

I just hit that point in my concept work where things are really coming together to look (and act) like a game.  The cubes are not disappearing yet, so you lose sight of your main character while digging, but it at least proves the idea behind the work.

I’ve also gotten work done on a logo and title.  Not sure I’m sticking with the title, but it works for now.

* Note: If my posts seem short and to the point, it's because there is a very short time to complete Ludum Dare.  Once it is over (Sunday night), my blog posts will return to my prototype of Codename: Factions

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blogger API Integration in the Works

I've been working on a system which will make Blogger integration simple.  I'm currently bringing my blog at eatsleepindie.blogspot.com into my profile for Codename: Factions.  Here is the url if you'd like to see the progress first hand:


My goal is to eventually have a system where, if the developer wanted, they could use their own Blogger API key to load their blog posts automatically into their games profile.  If they opt of out that for whatever reason, then a url will suffice... the scripts will take care of the rest.

First draft of the included blog cells.

As an indie developer, this type of system would save me a lot of time.  The idea that I can continue to blog the same way that I already do, but to also have that content posted to my foreachgamer profile as well, just leaves me more time to focus on my game. It could potentially do the same for a lot of other indie devs as well.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Finally, A Reliable Server

This will be a very quick blog post, just to let everyone know that foreachgamer.com is now back up on a more reliable server. After major problems with our previous webhosts service, we've found a new home.

The profile for Codename: Factions hosted on foreachgamer.com

Also, I've added new screenshots and videos to the profile for Codename: Factions, and will be posting more work on that this weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My New Website Is Finally Hosting My New Game Prototype

I wasn't sure at first which blog this should be posted in; this one here, or my blog at http://eatsleepindie.blogspot.com/  The latter is a side project I worked on during my free time the last two days.  It is an MMO resource management & strategy game using SmartFox Server and Unity3D.  The whole purpose of http://foreachgamer.com/ is to feature Indie projects and to help gamers find them based off the Un-Indie games they are currently playing.  I've had demos like Angry Bots featured on the site before, but never my own project.  Not until about 5 minutes ago.

The foreachgamer profile for my side project, Codename: Factions

That's two weeks of free time programming a web site hosting a profile for two days worth of prototyping in Unity3D.  I'm pretty proud of both projects, and I think they highlight each other very well.  This has only given me more drive to finish this system completely, as I am anxious to see other developers Indie games featured on the site as well.

At some point I will be adding a 'demo' cell to the profile, which will bring up a lightbox containing a Unity Web Player version of the game.  Not sure if I'll try it after I finish my shift tonight or not, but for now, it's time to pay the bills.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Footer Search Concept in Progress

I've made some progress on my concept for moving the search menu to the footer.  The idea has expanded far beyond what I had originally planned.  Before I explain, here's a screenshot of the setup:

An example of how the search menu system will work
The 'platform' and 'genre' buttons open their prospective menus, each of which have various toggle buttons.  This will allow you to search, for example, FPS games for Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC at the same time.  All platforms are shown in the screen above, but by default the 'old school' systems will be collapsed, keeping the size of the menu window smaller unless the extra space is needed.
What all of this has led me to is that this website will never need to leave the first page.  Between AJAX and jQuery, I will be able to load the entire websites content without ever needing to refresh or redirect the page.  Granted, I'll definitely be creating static pages to serve up to website crawlers, but for the end-user, the experience will feel more like an app than a website.
I will accomplish this by using the footer menu to limit the results shown.  If you search for FPS games, then only FPS games will show, but they will load the same exact way as any other search result; with cells containing the content that you can scroll through, with new cells being loaded at the end of the page when needed.  Looking for a particular game? The search can easily be limited to any game, so that you'll be getting all the information on that one title in your results, which can also be limited even further to just screenshots, videos, etc.
The resulting website will operate more like a search engine for anything gaming related, but will serve the content up in a much richer format, which also creating the illusion of profiles for users, games, etc.  I can't wait to use it myself, but first I've got to program it.

Plans for the Footer

After my last blog post, I started playing around with ideas in PaintShop.  The following is a very rough draft of my plans for the menus in the footer:

Menus and toggles for the footer menu

From left to right, the first button will be a rest button.  This will reset the buttons to their default state: the main content for your home page.  The next few buttons will be to narrow down results, and will be drop-down menus that open upwards and allow multiple selections where applicable.  The last set of buttons will be two toggle buttons, each with an "include" or "on" state, as well as an "exclude" or "off" state.  This will allow you to easily narrow results to either indie games, un-indie games, or both.

If memory of isotope's documentation serves me right, there are some pretty neat features that will come in handy when implementing this system.  And I think I may be able to completely tie the search system into it as well.  So, for now, searching is on the back-burner, and priority has switched to the footer menu system.

As is usually the case, things will probably change as I go, but that's how I'm comfortable working:  on-the-fly.