Alex McGilvray

Update for May 2010 : What I’ve been up to

May 7th, 2010

Long time since my last post. Been finishing up school and havent had a lot of time for getting things done. Looking forward to finishing up a lot of projects this summer, some that have spanned 4 years. Here is a breakdown of where I’m at:

Firearms|Source : Valve Source Engine mod

I’ve been involved with this mod (and it’s previous mods before the merge) for over 4 years now. I would have never guessed it would take this long but then again I didnt know a lot about game development at the time when I joined. One of the best things about this project is due to necessity I ended up learning a passable knowledge about many aspects of game development, from character rigging/animation to code to general engine function. I would agree with the people who say that working on and completing a mod is probably more important to learning game development than taking some kind of game development course (and a hell of a lot cheaper). It’s good for training yourself to find answers to problems yourself rather than rely on a superior.

FAS should be released sometime in the month of July 2010! As per the timeline we posted here :

The Loop : Flixel Game

I’ve been working on this game in short 4-6 hour bursts when I have a brief moment or can’t take any more mathematics homework.  The gameplay is done, I’m having trouble writing the story though. I have a LOT of trouble with writing, I have the ideas in my head but I can’t articulate them well ingame. Hopefully a large bag of summer reading novels will help me get into the spirit.

The Loop should be released in June. After working on a 4+ year project it’s insanely satisfying to be able to make a whole game with all my own art, music and code in a matter 3 months on a very part time basis.

I can see Flixel being a part of my game development life for a long time (assuming flash doesnt get killed by HTML5) . Working with it is what I might consider game development stress relief.

Willow Engine : XNA Engine

I’ve begun developing the Willow Engine for fast XNA 2D game prototyping and development. I’ve been working on 2D game libraries for the last year on XNA but I had also been learning .NET and C# at the same time so naturally I made a lot of questionable design decisions while learning. Now that I have a much firmer grasp on C#/.NET/XNA I’ve begun to pursue something far more “professional” in nature.

The Willow Engine will consist of a few things:

  • The Game Library DLL
  • A Tilemap editor
  • A sprite editor

So far I haven’t begun on the tools, I’m currently in college learning .NET winforms development, so I plan on taking that on once I’m further into my winforms studies. As for the DLL, here is what I’ve completed:

  • Input management : Basic input management
  • Tile Engine/Tilemaps : Pretty basic tile engine
  • State Management : There is an emphasis on making this very easy
  • A Base -> Sprite -> Entity class heiarchy for game objects
  • SpriteLayers : for managing rendering more easily, everything must be committed to a sprite layer, currently no object has the ability to draw itself, I’m trying to keep it that way.
  • Animations : I’ve written a 2D animation system about 4-5 times and have a good idea of what I need. Easy submission and use of animations.
  • ToolBox : A Set of tool functions that exist in a global class. Some features include a texture repository to avoid duplicate textures in memory, housing for the input manager, & sound management.
  • 2D camera system : This has been fun to implement, it’s interesting to see how linear algebra is interpreted in programming code.  Currently only supports translation but rotation/scale is being worked on.

A short list of features I plan to work on

  • Entity > Physics : A physics adhering sprite for simple collisions
  • Particle Emitters : self explanetory
  • Defferred Rendering

I’m still deciding on whether to release this to the public. I think once the tools are done and I reach alpha I’ll release the engine for others to use.

Big thanks to Cale Dunlap & Venom Game Labs for providing SVN space and coding advice on this project. My singletons would still probably be not working if it was for his help. You can visit his site here :

Cult Retribution : XBLIG Game

I have teamed up with artist Shea Lane to make our first XBLIG release. It will be a top down shooter with light RPG elements in the vein of a Diablo skill tree. It will have a fairly dark artistic style which Shea is doing entirely.  Concept and design has REALLY ramped up over the last couple months and Shea has been banging out concept art and game art. I will be posting up some concept and possibly in game shots in the very near future.

PS_Caliber : Source engine map (I’m still mapping!)

While I have been coding a lot, I never plan to give up on level design and mapping, I have too much of a passion for it. I’ve now taken on the adage  that all my future maps should have ideally 100% of the assets created by me. So everything you see these shots, models, textures etc are all custom stuff I did the last month or so.

The map aims to fill the void FAS currently has for outdoor open maps. Historially it’s been very hard to get a outdoor map that both feels open yet doesnt alienate the FAS style of gameplay. I hope that this time around I achieve the right balance.

I’ve attached a few screen of it’s current very early state.

The Loop Dev Video #2

March 14th, 2010

Been working on fleshing out The Loop and am getting there.

New features and changes:

  • Sphere/Goal tracking system
  • player movement refined
  • new gameplay model. Player must collect souls, the amount he collects affects the ending and paths in the game.
  • Lots of new tiles and level content