SFML News – Week 34-38 (2013)

I’m back from my relaxing vacations in the city Lisbon and the topics are piling up, so get ready for a longer read! But first a picture from my vacations to make everyone jealous. 😀

New Projects

Impdude

Quite out of nowhere cmbrgames has shown up on the forum and first presented us a preview video and a bit later even released the first alpha version of his Contra-style shooter with the amazing procedural generated maps. The alpha currently really just shows of the game mechanics and some of the enemies. Personally it seems a bit hard as of right now, but player “drag effect” and the over-all feel makes me want to follow the development a bit closer. As a few others in the past cmbrgames is using the TIG Forums as his “home base” and you can find more info on how Impdude works behind the scenes over there or on his tumblr blog. Though I’m not sure what he means with “The graphics are terrible“, because to me the graphics look quite nice and working great with everything.

Pong

Yes it’s time for yet another pong clone! This should not be seen as something bad, but rather as something good, because often people new to programming start trying to get some huge game done, which is just impossible, thus it’s always better to start small and learn all the ins and outs of game development, before moving on to a bit bigger projects. As for the game, well it’s Pong with quite a fast ball and the possibility to play against the computer or against some other player. The font makes navigating the menu a bit cumbersome but you’ll quickly get used to – I just don’t get why people often write a keyboard based game and then make the menu mouse only… As (nearly) always you can get the game from the forum.

Memoria

DarkYoung was inspired by a video about apes, he created a memorization puzzle game with a very simple concept. You’ve a grid with numbers that disappear after a while and you’ll have to click the correct field in the correct order. The number count increases with every successful guessing. The inspiring video and game can be found on the forum. I guess for people with a photographic memory this could turn into a boring game and for the rest of us it will always be impossible.

HexaPong

What happens when you take Pong or Breakout and mix it with a hexagon? Well you’ll get HexaPong. It’s a quit interesting idea where a hexagon in the middle of the screen is use a paddle and is surrounded by blocks to shoot at. It’s currently just a prototype and is constantly further developed by fuerchter and you can follow the development on his blog. If you have some further ideas or suggestions or just feedback make sure to create a post on the forum.

Pong, Snake, Arkanoid, Tetris and Pacman

You read right – get ready for a whole package of games, all made by JuDelCo. Already as mentioned with the Pong clone above, the aim should always be to start small and increase step by step. Each game was apparently made within a few hours based one some patched together “engine” code. What amazes me the most, is that JuDelCo actually learn a very important lesson, that one should make games and craft the engine around that game and not the other way around. It’s a very hard task to make a general purpose game engine, especially if you have no prior game development experience, i.e. you actually don’t know what you need and what not – Write Games, Not Engines! The games are held really simple and they don’t have much special touches but they all work nicely. I’ve already written a short feedback on all the games on the forum, if you’re further interested.

Serpent

While we’re already at simple games, why not throw the nice looking and feeling, but already a bit older Snake clone in here. I really like the art style and with the mechanics adjustments, the game really feels snappy and fun to play. – Fun fact: Did you know that with the 2010 YouTube player you could play snake while the video was buffering? So instead of looking at the boring rotating circle you could unleash it and hunt some dots until the video finally loaded. – The game can be grabbed via forum and the source is also available on GitHub.

Reda’s Snake

If you’ve thought we’d be done with Snake clones, thank again! Reda Lahdili has created his own version and it looks really great and has some smooth movement. Not much to say about the game, since it’s really just another Snake clone, but I quite like the Game Over screen. The forum post can be found here.

MParticles

Welcome to the C#/.NET world of SFML. What started as a general question about a particle system in C# with SFML motivated two people to work on their implementation, one of which was Mister, who created MParticles, which essentially even works with other C# libraries such as XNA or SDL. The demo and screenshots which can be found on the forum look really nice. I haven’t looked at the code or anything since I’m not using C#, but I guess it should be fairly simple to use.

NetEXT

The second person pushing his code further because of the mentioned discussion above was zsbzsb. He finally got around to release his .NET library NetEXT which is heavily based on the C++ library Thor. The interfaces between the two libraries are in general the same, but NetEXT currently only holds a few features compared to what Thor offers. Surprisingly Nexus added NetEXT as official port of Thor to the download page. The full source code can be found on Bitbucket.

Ludum Dare #27

Yes it’s already a few weeks old again, but like last year we got a few people from the SFML community that participated and created a game with SFML. The theme of this year’s Ludum Dare was “10 Seconds”.

10 seconds barrier

If you remember the Ghost Buster game from the SFML Jam, then you already know the author Lo-X, who created a sport like game where your character runs and you have to press the corresponding keys to accelerate it further. While the gameplay is not that special or difficult the interesting and the thing that Lo-X focus most on is networking. Even though I haven’t found anyone to try the networking part with, I’ve no doubt that one can play against each other over the network! You can find more details on the forum or the Ludum Dare post. Not to overlook is the nice retro-style art and then keep in mind the time constraint this project had.

10corp

Ever played Open Hexagon? No?! Well you definitely should! 10corp was created by Vittorio/SuperV1234 (or however you want to call him) and is reflex-based platform puzzle game. The game was built using SuperV1234’s SSV Framwork which can handle quite a lot of AABB bodies! The goal is to grab boxes and move/throw them into a certain location and the hard part is, that the clock will constantly be counting down starting with 10s and only a successful stow away of boxes will give you more time. Some interesting information can be found on the forum, the LD page and on Vittorio’s YouTube channel.

Speedungeon

This is an awesome game where for whatever reason you’re carrying a bomb from one level to the next one and you’ve only 10 seconds to do so, while moving through labyrinth or avoiding spikes and arrows. As fun as it is, as frustrating it can be. Luckily there are some way points, but nevertheless you’ll have to do same levels over and over again. The graphics are prefect and I totally love the “personality” of the thing talking to you on the bottom, especially when you die. It apparently has 25 rooms, of which I haven’t seen most. Xaychru04 has done a really great job, especially if you keep those 48h in mind! Give him some love on the forum and on the Ludum Dare post.

Project Updates

Given the sheer amount of posts, I decided to split New Projects and Projects Updates and to make things even easier for me allow me to not always post an image/video for the updates.

Dwell formerly Colonies

I bet some of you remember the nice looking screenshots of “Colonies – A Retro Sandbox Survival MMO”, well the project got renamed to Dwell and has its own site/forum now. I’ve also wanted to link a blog post by Jungletoe, the developer behind Dwell, but it seems his blog is currently missing a domain renewal.

Project Blastorium

The very nice Bomberman clone with its own twists has seen two updates in the meantime. The first one added three new weapons and certainly some further graphics and logic changes. The second update mainly added medic packs to the game, so you can now actually heal the players. As always you can check out his development and the project itself on Vot1_Bear’s blog.

Tiled Map Loader

Tiled is a very powerful and still easy to use tile map editor. It produces its own format with the extension tmx. Matt aka fallahn has taken the loader once written by Walker and completely renewed it. The latest update to version 0.6 has fixed some bugs and added a few more features, as stated in his blog post.

Loloid-Attack

Even though we haven’t gotten a new build to play (and make Grimshaw happy again), the development of Loloid-Attack hasn’t stalled and arkus has been reading up on better C++ coding. He’s now already implemented a state-based menu.

Zombination

The zombie survival game by Estivo is also far from dead and has just recently seen a brand new map editor. If you speak Polish feel free to pay him a visit on the “original” forum.

sfeMovie

Yes, you read that right! sfeMovie is some more love after quite a while, but not only that Cylon is looking for more people to help him work on the project. In case you don’t know what sfeMovie is: It’s a library that uses FFmpeg to play movies directly with SFML. Thus if you’re interested in helping with a really nice project and feel you’ve got the skills to actually be helpful, then don’t hesitate and talk to Cylon.

Black Wolf

The Chesse front-end UI has seen a bit of polishing and now should even work with FICS (Free Internet Chess Server), which probably means that you can now play against other people, while still using your own interface.

Zloxx II

If you don’t know Zloxx II, you’ve definitely missed something! It’s a platformer game by the great and awesome Nexus himself. It’s really fun to play, but it’s also not that easy. I wouldn’t have thought that we’d ever see an update on this, since it felt quite finished, but Nexus had quite a busy year and has only now found time to work a bit more on it. He’s currently focusing on polishing the graphics and finally creating the long demanded Linux port. Looks already great!

Chesster

This could’ve essentially made it into the “New Project” section, since I’ve never introduce it and since it’s a very solid game. As the name suggests the puzzle game is built around Chess, namely it plays on a Chess board with Chess figures, which follow the movement rules of Chess. It’s sad to see the failed Kickstarter project, but well Kickerstarter is also a rather hard business nowadays. On the other hands it’s very nice to see, that the devs didn’t just give up, but still pursued their game idea. The graphics look really professional and the music is awesome. The game play needs a bit of figuring out and requires a lot of your grey brain cells. If you’re further interested in the game, make sure to look at the current discussions on the forum, give some love on their Facebook page and follow the news on IndieDB.

Discussions

New Member for the SFML Team

It’s essentially already old news, but maybe some have missed it anyways. Sonkun got officially added as developer of SFML. This is not because Laurent couldn’t handle things anymore, but it’s because Sonkun has already created an SFML port that supports OpenGL ES, which is required for moving on to Android and iOS. SFML is trying to reach those two mobile platforms for version 2.2 and with esfml it’s now already possible to use it for Android. Thus let’s all say Hi! to Sonkun!

C++ ISO Standard Committee 2D Graphics Library

I’m not sure if you’ve been following some C++ related news/development but it seems like the C++ ISO Standard Committee is considering to add 2D graphics capability to C++ itself. They idea was formerly to add some kind of UI, but given the complexity and the fact that everyone expects something else from a GUI system, the idea was dropped and instead one pursues now to add 2D graphics, so people can more easily create their own GUI with C++ itself. Now how is this related to SFML? Herb Sutter has called out for all well-known graphics library creator to discuss things. Interestingly enough he’s listed SFML as the first library. You can also see some reactions and comments from the community members on the forum.

Nightly Builds have been updated

After Laurent has started to question whether I was still maintain my Nightly Builds, I reacted quickly and updated them all. I’ve also updated some of the compilers, since being on cutting edge with SFML usually also means one tries to stay as updated as possible with other things. I’m still waiting for the official release of Visual Studio 2013, even though I’m not sure if I’ll be able to install it in parallel with Visual Studio 2010 and 2012.
Given the fact that SFML received two new commits yesterday, I’ve now already updated the builds again. Overall I have to mention the my Nightly Builds do contain builds for SFML and Thor.

Changes to SFML

I haven’t done this in a while, but I’ll only cover the changes since my last news post.

  • As requested by Tank, SFML now has functions to create SFML strings from different encodings, e.g. fromUtf16() will take an UTF 16 string and correctly convert it to a SFML string.
  • The joystick detection on Linux is now improved to avoid endless calls and thus creating a rather big impact on performance.
  • There seem to have been a bug, that the texture matrix wasn’t reset when calling bind() on a texture.
  • SFML doesn’t have support for HTTPS yet it didn’t spit out an error when trying to create a connection to an encrypted website, this is now fixed.

Final Words

It amazes me more and more at how much stuff gets created with SFML, even though it still seems like a rather small library and has seen a lot of coverage in the commercial world. I suppose over time things will grow faster and faster, not to mention what could happen when SFML finally sees its light on mobile platforms!

I hope you’ve liked this rather lengthy news post. If you enjoy my more or less regular posts feel free to use that orange “Donate” button on the right side to support and motivate me! Thanks!

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