Panda: Tactical Sniper 2

The second in the Panda series was a more ambitious project. By this time I felt more confident with the code and I had robotJAM on board from the start which meant that we could plan the game together and bounce ideas off each other. The first game had pretty much no story since I hadn’t bothered to plan out any levels from the start and just bunged them together as I thought of them. A story did materialise as I made the game which involved Panda trying to get back his stolen biscuits from a rival gang of Lions.

In this one we wanted to include more characters from Panda’s gang so we came up with a plot that involved assembling a team of bears and attempting to steal a huge diamond. Since the plot is essentially very similar to that of many classic heist films we started coming up with a variety of film references, a feature that we enjoyed so much that they became important additions to all future Panda games.

The last level of this game sees you in a precarious situation lifted straight from the original Italian Job. In the film you never get to see if they make it out or not (apparently due to budget cuts) so we thought it would be fun for Panda to finally find a solution to the tricky problem.

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September 22nd, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

BubbleBot

BubbleBot was a small project that I made as I started to learn a bit more about animation in Flash. Up until then I had been animating frame by frame (or at least attempting to) but I learned from robotJAM that there is a much easier way to animate in Flash, using tweens. Tweens allow you to set the start and end point of an animation and it will fill in the details in the middle. This can be a very powerful tool if you know how to use it properly and you can achieve great results. In this game the menus were animated in this way as well as the movement of the character.

The game itself is again pretty simple but I actually found it really fun so I was a bit disappointed (although perhaps not all that surprised) that it did so poorly. The main complaint is that it’s a very short game but for me that was one of its appealing features.

I tend to prefer casual games that you can just jump right into and don’t have to worry about learning how to play the game, you just know instinctively. On its first play the game will be pretty challenging because you have no idea what to do but you quickly find out and want to go back and get better at it each time.

At least that’s how I felt… perhaps it didn’t leave such a great impression on most people although I got quite a few favourable comments on it from people who had enjoyed playing.

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Panda: Tactical Sniper

This was the first game in what was to become a series involving a character called Panda (yes, he’s a Panda, original I know) who fancies himself as a bit of a gangster. I wanted to make a sniper game (only partly because I was still finding my feet at writing code and it seemed like a fairly easy option) but I decided that I would make it non-violent because there’s tons of violent sniper games. Most of the criticism of the Panda sniper games came from people who got frustrated that they weren’t allowed to kill things in a sniper game, but I like the fact that it breaks the mould a bit.

By this time I had found out about sponsorships and that, apparently, you could make some pretty decent money from flash games. So I knocked up a few levels of a sniper game with some fairly poor artwork in and sent it out to a bunch of sponsors and somehow got incredibly lucky. A sponsor, Bubblebox, saw potential in the game and made me an offer that made me pretty much bite their hand off! Not only that but they also wanted to pay an artist to spruce up the graphics. They wanted a few more levels so I got to work making those while robotJAM did a great job polishing up the artwork.

Rob (yes, it’s confusing, we’re both called Rob) has become a good friend and we’ve made several games together over the years including three more Panda games. Panda: Tactical Sniper is the most primitive of them but incredibly it has actually had the most plays. I don’t know the exact count unfortunately but it’s around the 10 million mark now. It also won Mochi’s coveted Flash Game Friday award :)

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September 21st, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

Salmon Survival

Salmon Survival was only the second game that I made and once again it was a pretty poor effort. By this time my dad, Richard Donkin, a journalist who often writes about a fishing, had become interested in the potential of making games and suggested I make a fish themed one for his website. I was a fan of the classic Copter game and decided that I could make something along those lines without too much trouble. I tried to add something to the Copter concept by adding moving obstacles.

It’s a bit of fun although fairly simple and not much to keep people coming back. Incredibly it has actually done reasonably on plays at just over 2 million which is pretty baffling.

Annoyingly it doesn’t actually work as I had initially planned it because I made a mistake and had published it before I realised it. Now I test my games as much as possible before releasing them but back then I just wanted to get them out there as quickly as possible to see what people thought of them.

In the original game the river got shallower as you swam up it. In this version the water was coded to move slowly down the screen at a rate of a fraction of a pixel per frame. Unfortunately Flash seems to have trouble moving objects by very small amounts and so it doesn’t bother to move it at all which takes a lot of the difficulty out of the game.

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September 21st, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 3 Comments

Pondskater

Pondskater is the first game I ever made. It’s pretty terrible but can be a bit of fun. I made the game while I was still learning how to make games in flash (well, I’m still learning now of course but I mean when I was first learning) so it’s a bit buggy in places I think although generally it works just fine. The game did very poorly in terms of ratings but it was a valuable learning experience and only made me want to do better next time.

A lot of people seemed to find the fact that you had fuel for a pondskater a little strange and suggested that I change it to stamina. I quite liked that it was fuel because it was a bit random but I suppose I would have to concede that it doesn’t make much sense. I still don’t care though.

P.S. Keep playing until you find the chain-gun power-up. When you do press space to fire and use it to make mincemeat out of those bees!

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September 20th, 2010 Games Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

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