French Roast Games A robust blend of game development and independence. - page 2

TigerHawks: Missile Lock

Here’s some concept art of what a missileLockmissile lock should look like in-game. Getting PUMPED!

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TigerHawks: Coming Soon

concept TigerHawks is the latest project in development for FRG. It’s a throwback to classic shmups, with a little something new — in particular one-on-one dogfights and evading/outrunning missiles from the rear of the plane. You can fly different planes with different abilities to better handle the challenges of particular levels. Enlist the aid of drones to mitigate damage and increase your firepower. Tons of enemies to fight against beautiful backdrops. A quirky storyline to boot. TigerHawks will be available for purchase on iOS, Android, and OUYA. No release date yet. Keep your ears open.

I’ve decided to start in on this project to help goad me along in learning HTML5 game development using Cocos2D-html5. The clients want me to be workable in this new environment as soon as possible. It’s a new framework, with new syntax and a new API. So the best way to learn is to jump in and get your hands dirty. I may segue this into learning Obj-C/Cocos2d, since Cocos2D-html5 is a JavaScript binding of the native iOS framework. Wish me luck everyone.


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Little Tikes: River Run is live!

My latest client project is complete. It’s a children’s game for Little Tikes. Another fast project, but hopefully this leads to bigger and better things in HTML 5.



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More concept art


I’m working on a new idea, which may end up being my first trip into doing 3D development in Unity. I’ve been doing a LOT of training in 3D modeling lately. In fact, here’s my first textured model.



I know… I have a long way to go. But, it’s happening finally. Been looking forward to this transition for almost a decade.

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A new project in the works

For the first time in a long while, I had one of those moments where you’re suddenly filled with a new and exciting idea. I drew out what I could, and I like where it’s going.



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The Streets of Spooksville is live!



Good news everyone! My latest project went live! I worked as lead programmer on a quick, month long project for the Hub called The Streets of Spooksville. Click here to play!

Fun project! Looking forward to working on more in the near future. This project was a little daunting in the short amount of time I had to complete it. Box2D really helped out in making this production fast, stable, and reliable. Great work on design, artwork,  and project management by my fellow developers over at We Love Butterfly.

As a lot of programmers know, a lot of development goes into the tools. On top of the building the game, I built a editor to make assembling new levels much easier, and wow… what a life saving decision that was. Keeping the client as closely involved in the development of what they’re effectively paying for makes them happy. And happy clients are about as good as it gets. Sure, a level editor takes a little extra time up front. But, at the 11th hour, those last minute client requests and edits come in waves. Lots of waves. A quick turn around is important to keep those waves from turning into tsunamis.

It feels good to work with new clients. More to come. Keep your ears open.


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More concept art

Thought you guys might enjoy some more concept art.

cat_piratesCat pirates are some furry little NPCs and enemies throughout some of the tropical areas in Conjurer. They’re adorable, but don’t let their cuteness fool you. They are bloodthirsty little savages –  Vicious little cutthroat scoundrels!

omen_polesOmen Poles are NPC objects that act as quest points and hints to find secret areas. They’re guarded by Touki Birds, and house the souls of those who betray others in a heinous manner. They speak in riddles, and the taller a pole is, the more complete the riddle you receive.

gomer_the_poetGomer the Poet is a lovable NPC and quest giver that always seems to end up horribly maimed, slashed, impaled, crushed or inconvenienced.  He only talks in rhyme, which is more than likely due to brain damage.

touki_birdsFairy Doors are little doors that are hidden everywhere. If you happen to have a fairy key, you can shrink yourself down and see what’s inside. It might be treasure. It might be a helpful items. It might even have someone inside to talk to. Keep your eyes peeled!

fairy_doorsTouki Birds are tough giant birds that reside in the tropics. They hassle you by acting very territorial and dropping heavy objects on your head. You can trick them into triggering traps and puzzles if you’re smart enough.

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BitmapFont generator Hiero saves the day!

colorCodeFontJust wanted to give a shout out to Hiero, an outstanding bitmap font generator! It will convert any TTF system or file font to a format compatible with LibGDX. It will even apply some minor effects to the glyphs, such as outlines, shadows, and gradients. Use it for other engines as well, provided that you can ready their .fnt format.

For instance, this is Franklin Gothic Heavy at size 32 with a shadow, outline and gradient, squished into a 256×256 square. SUPER helpful!

You can download it here:

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On the move to libgdx

Over the past couple of months, I’ve started the move to another framework. In short, I have wanted to get away from Adobe Flash for a long while. I’ve sampled a lot of other frameworks in the past, including Unity, Cocoa, and HTML 5, but all of them came with overhead or a ‘gotcha’ that ultimately made it unappealing in the long run.


For Unity, it’s an issue of cost: Unity is an incredible strong platform with a wonderful IDE and tool set. BUT… to go pro means that I would have to pay over $4000 in upfront licensing costs, not including the cost of all of the community-written plugins and tools. I do not pirate software and I’m not a student, so there’s not much else I can do. I’m also set on 2D development for the moment, and that isn’t one of Unity’s strong suits without the addition of many other 3rd party plugins. I want to revisit Unity in the future, though, when I finally break into 3D.


For Cocoa, or other native Objective-C frameworks, they present a strong case if I were only looking at developing for iPhones and iPads. Yes, I know that there are some cross compatible frameworks that support Android and PC, but… no. I don’t see the practicality of investing the time to learn a language like Obj-C when it is only realistically applicable to developing applications on iOS devices.


For HTML5, it’s many things. In my opinion, JavaScript is not an ideal language and framework for making large games. Small games, YES! But larger games… the jury is still out. I have no intention of making my game browser compatible, so there goes JavaScript’s  relevant strong points.


MonoGame is a VERY exciting emerging framework that I am going to keep my eye on. I’m a huge fan of the XNA framework, and was devastated to hear of Microsoft dropping support for it about a year ago. It had everything: speed, C#, gamepad support, PC/Console/iOS/Android support, low cost… but it still needs more work. Once the opensource framework is 1:1 in feature sets with the old XNA, and someone figures out how to properly emulate the old XNA graphic and asset pipeline within a single project, I’m going to give it a lot more serious thought!


I’ve decided to move on to libgdx. It’s a fantastic framework which, surprisingly, uses Java as its primary language. That’s good news for me, because that’s the language I was formally educated in while at college at UC Irvine. Despite the negative stereotypes associated with Java in the past, libgdx ends up being quite fast, and supports all of the features that I’ve been looking for in game development for projects like Conjurer, including OpenGL ES, Gamepad input, Box2D, etc.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the thick of it. Putting my project on hold like this feels more like a frustrating waste of time, but I know that it’s for the best. In the mean time, I’ve also begun learning how to compose music! Let me know what you think.

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New races (concept art)

I had the idea of adding new races of characters into the world of Conjurer. I figured that it suits the lore and opens up a lot of interesting ideas in terms of story and gameplay. I like the current concept sketches, and I’m doing my best to stay as far away from furry territory as possible.

Trent and I have been hard at work building out a wiki for Conjurer. We decided to do this after it became apparent that I’d forgotten a large amount of lore that we’d thought up 6 months ago. I’ve never been good at keeping track of that kind of stuff. But, story is going to be a large part of the gameplay, and exploration is hopefully going to be what makes the game interesting. If anything, it gives me a way to allow future KickStarters to participate in the development of the game. Maybe donating $100 gets you written in as an NPC. $200 makes you a quest giver. (Prices may vary). Sounds fun, why not.

Work on the engine has been slow, and the past few months have been hectic. I went through a not-so-positive experience at a software company, and I’ve got another couple of projects for a client that have been eating up the rest of my time. But, we’re still moving forward, albeit slow.

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