Urban Interactive – Project Development Blog

Reporting in…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on January 27, 2010

Been busy with the boring side of game development – making editors.  Since I’m writing the engine from scratch I needed to rework the editors to take into account the new optimised way of rendering.  Im also planning on releasing the whole engine as a framework for other people who may be interested in writing similar games.  With this in mind I taking a little more time over developing the editors as it has to be robust enough for public use.  Right now I have nearly finished the 2D shape editor.  Next will be font editor, and then the 2D screen layout editor.  Once this is done I will work on the 2D part of the engine and knock up a quick demo and release the source.

Still on the topic of programming, there was an interesting article over at … http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2010/jan/26/casual-gaming-indiegames Its worth a read, and has been contributed to by Robert Fearon and Charlie Knight who have both released some great games in the past year.

Also whilst hunting around on the internet for all things vector related I noticed a very nice update to the Vectrex emulator ParaJVE Its still in beta stage at the moment, but those vector glows look fantastic.  I hope to replicate something similar myself 🙂


So fari, So Goody as Christopher Biggins would say…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on January 6, 2010

Just a quick update… I’m a fews days in now writing my own OpenGL engine and all is well.  I’ve managed to load in some vector models and tonight I have the camera pick working.  Which basically means I can draw objects in 3D space and select them with a mouse.  The speed improvement so far is excellent even on my low spec Mac.  I had about 500 Tie Fighters flying around with an FPS of around 270.  When I ramp it up a bit and have a 1000 ties, it drops to around 113 FPS.

Tomorrow hopefully I will upgrade to OSX 10.6 which should bring my OpenGL drivers upto 1.4.  Its quite annoying that there doesn’t seem to be any other way to upgrade these drivers without an official Apple upgrade.  With Windows it simple (and free).  Anyway once Im up to OpenGL 1.4 I can start on adding some nice effects like blur and glow shaders.  This will be optional as not all cards will support it, but most now should.

Change of plan…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on December 31, 2009

After spending a bit of time working on the code for the game I still wasn’t happy with the performance I was getting.  When I had more than 3 hidden wireframe objects on the screen I saw quite a bit of slow down.  I revisited the code and couldn’t see any way of making it faster, so I had to think of a new solution.  The new solution is quite drastic.  Im going to ditch the MiniB3d engine and write my own OpenGL graphics engine. MiniB3d is very good but I think the way I am using is not the best.  Also it includes a lot of code with I’m not using and I don’t fully understand how it is all linked together.  Therefore I think its best if I start it fresh and write my own specific / streamline engine just for vectors.  There will be quite a few advantages…

  • Speed should increase (using VBOs)
  • I will understand fully the code and can therefore optimise it
  • I should be able to also apply my own shaders, so perhaps I can have glowing vectors after all.

Another downside of how I am doing things today is that I am having to loop through all the vertexs of an object even if they aren’t used.  With my engine I will be able to elimate this and therefore should be only processing a smaller amount of vertices (giving more speed).  Also the current code uses both Max2d commands and OpenGL, so it can be confusing.  I want to make everything OpenGL.  Overall I think this is the way to go.

Cab finished, now back to some coding …

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on December 27, 2009

Happy Christmas all.  I’ve been enjoying some time with the family and really enjoying my little boys first Christmas.  He was feeling under the weather for the past 10 days (teething and a bad cold) but on Christmas day he woke up happy and started babbling again.  Now he back to his normal cheery self.  I was cheery as well as my wife bought me a nice Vectrex console (I’m sure you know what these are but if you don’t then look it up on youtube).  Anyway it needs a little work to restore it back to its former glory so thats my new little side project.

So finally the cab is finished and has been used by most of our xmas visitors who all seem to love playing on it.  At the moment it has my PC in it but I will replace it later with another one as I need my PC back.

You can see it in action here…

In the meantime I have set up my Mac so I can continue to code ROTJ.  I’ve been thinking a little more about how I can speed things up as my initial tests with hidden line drawing is a little disappointing speed wise.  I’m going to rewrite some of the code and do a batch rendering system.  Basically all this means is that I will save all the points I need to draw in memory and the draw them in one go, instead of drawing each object individually.

In from the cold…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on December 13, 2009

Today I brought the cab into the house and to its final home.  I had to take off a couple of doors to get it in, and then had to re-arrange my office to find a space for it.  I’m really pleased with it though and it’s now really starting to look like a proper arcade machine.  Not bad considering my lack of woodworking skills prior to starting this project.

As you can see its been painted, and I’ve attached the t-moulding.  I’ve also started to add some of the graphics.  I’m leaving the side art till last and its the biggest and trickiest 🙂  I have cut the perspex screen cover as well and will fix that in over the coming days.  After that I only have internal work to do i.e. fixing in the monitor and hooking up the computer.  I hope to have the machine fully functional by Christmas.

Sometimes the solutions are in front of you…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on December 3, 2009

I did a little more work on the cab last night.  During the day I was thinking again about how to do the round joints which link the two sets of pipes together.  Originally I thought I would make them from scratch using perspex, but decided against this as I thought it wouldn’t look too good.  So yesterday I started to think about what was laying around the house that was round and could be cut into shape.  I went through various things but nothing was really suitable so I went back to desk and there in front of me was the answer…  I had a stack of blank CDs and the cover for these was perfect.  It had an interesting shape and was easy enough to cut.  After a little tinkering here are the results…

Tonight I hope to do a little more filling to smooth the edges, and then I will start the last bits on the bezel.

Near the end than the start…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on November 29, 2009

After striking a deal with my wife I’ve managed to have a whole day in the garage working on the cab.  I first fixed in the speakers which is cool as it means I can now hook it up to my iPod and have music while I work.  Then I fitted the speaker grille which I had previously painted.  Finally I started to add the bezel decals.  These are made out of various plastic pipes I found laying around.  Once I’ve applied a healthy amount of filler and paint it should look ok I think :).

Rising Damp…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on October 29, 2009

Hhhmm just discovered that my garage isn’t very water tight. It rained a lot here over the past few weeks, a lot more than usual. Anyway I noticed that a very small part of the cab came into contact with water. Thankfully its at the back and out of sight, but it has swollen a bit. I don’t like the idea of having the cab now in the garage for much longer as winter sets in. In the meantime I have raised the cab off the floor and swept the floor to dry it out as much as possible. Will try and seal the areas where the water came in as well. So the plan is to get the thing at least assembled, painted and in the house before Christmas. I will then carry on inside the house with putting in the electrics and applying the art work.

In the meantime I have pretty much finished cutting all the wood I need for the shell of the cab. I will fix it all in place this week, and then start filling any gaps. I also cut the slots for the T Moulding. This went much easier than I thought. I simply lay the cab on its side and whizzed around the edge with a router with a slot cutter bit. It made really easy work of it and the cut is really nice. Below is a picture as of last night. The two holes in the top are for the speakers. That board will be covered with black material and then a speaker grill. Im still on the hunt though for the best matching grille.

The lights are on

For the next two weeks Im away in Brussels, and will have a few free evenings. Hopefully in that time I do some coding on the actual game 🙂

Bezel finally underway…

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on October 18, 2009

I had the weekend to myself as my wife was in Edinburgh.  I decided this would be the weekend when I would get past the roadblock that was the bezel, and think I have got past the worst now.  Here’s what the cab looks like at the end of play today…


The bezel isn’t fixed yet in place (hence the gaps around the edges).  I will fix it down  properly once I cut the upper roof and the speaker panel.  Then the next step is to start adding all the little decal bits.  My aim is to complete the cab for Christmas.

So whats going on?

Posted in ROTJ by urbaninteractive on October 15, 2009


It’s been way too long since my last post, so sorry about that.  Here’s a quick summary of whats been happening since the last post…

1) On the cab I have tried 2 methods to make a nice bezel, both of which I wasn’t happy with so they were scrapped.  I now have a different plan and will be working on that this weekend.

2) I’ve been distracted by looking at iPhone development, and have been working with a few good guys on some ideas.  This is coming along nicely and hopefully we will have some stuff out soon.

3) Finish University work for this year 🙂  Had my exam yesterday… It wasn’t brilliant, but hopefully enough to pass.  Really don’t fancy resitting that one.

Right so as you can see I haven’t been super productive on this project, but now as the winter nights draw in I will have a little more time to devote to it.  Another spur was this article…


Stu for Ovine sent it to me, and when I read the article I thought hey thats me!  No, unfortunately Im not the duct tape programmer, but more the opposite.  I spend way too much time procrastinating, and thinking about the best way to do things.  This is probably why my last project too so long.  Anyway I thought I would set my self a challenge and see if I can change.  I’ve been thinking about the first level of this game and have been getting hung up on how to do a few things.  Well lets see if I can come up with a duct tape solution 🙂  Will let you know how it goes next week.  Now its time to fire up the IDE and get coding.