Saturday, August 24th, 2002
For those of you who have actually tried to use the Message Boards, I just came to realize last night (thanks Tim), that they DON'T WORK. Well they do, but only for me. They were set to "public" though, and I even made sure again last night. Though anyone who tries to see'em gets a "don't have permission" thing. I don't understand it. After much fooling around, I considered emailing Tripod to ask them what was up, but blah. I'll just find another message board service. If anyone has any good ones to recommend, let me know.
As for the game, at the current rate, it will be done ahead of schedule. If I went ahead and added the ability to type in your high score (the loading and saving scores part is already added), it would basically be done (minus music). Though I'll probably spend the extra time I end up with touching up some things. I still have to add the music, but aside from coming up with the music itself, it shouldn't be a problem to add.
I thought I would mention that Transformers: Armada turned out better than I expected. It's better than "Robots in Disguise", but still doesn't seem it will ever meet or beat "Beast Wars". I missed the first 10 minutes, but I think that mostly just involved those kids going up to the mountain and looking around. I'm sure it'll be on again though, so I'll catch it from the beginning. I just hope they never give the Mini-cons voices, because I have a feeling they would end up sounding stupid.
Thursday, August 22nd, 2002
I'm looking for beta testers now! Either email me (look in the Contact Me section for the address), or post something on the message boards. I'm not looking for many, but the ones I do choose will get a free copy of Electris when it's complete. The biggest thing I'm interested in is cpu speed, so make sure you tell me that when you "apply" beta test. I'm also curious what your video/sound cards are, but if you don't know, don't worry about it. You better apply soon, because first come first serve!
As for system requirements... I guess I would say any model Pentium. That's about it. You really should have a DirectX compatible sound card, because otherwise you'll notice a nasty delay in the sound. I still want to fix this for all you folks with slower machines and/or older hardware. So if you have a Pentium or greater class machine, and enjoy a good game of Tetris, give me a hollar.
I added a new screen shot... the title screen. It looks pretty professional if you ask me. ;) I had to write the button routines from scratch, since DirectX has no built in support for anything like that. It was a learning experience, and something I'll be able to put to good use in future projects. The biggest part left to add right now is the ability to save your scores, view them later, etc. I also want to add music, so hopefully I have enough talent to peck out a good loop or two. If anyone has any original music they would like to throw in as well, let me know. It can be wav or midi, I don't care at the moment, until I actually write in the music routines.
Wednesday, August 21st, 2002
Well naturally it's 3am. But as you might have noticed, there's a perdy new flash animation up above. I thought I would finally switch over to calling this place "Planet Zentax" instead of "The Official Website of Defenders of Zentax". Much easier, eh? Plus, I plan to stick up some art, old stuff I've made (programs, games, stories, etc), and current games/applications. So the title needed to be a little broader in scope. And who knows what kind of snazzy stuff you might find available on here soon..... ;)
Tuesday, August 20th, 2002
Woo it's just 1:19am this time. Maybe I'll get to bed at a reasonable time tonight! But then that's how it always starts... when the evil claws of programming take grip, and before you realize it, the thing that was "just gonna take a minute" to add or fix, becomes many things that just take one more minute, and then it's 3am again! Damn those claws of programming! BAD hands!
Since I obviously need to go to bed, I'll make this short. The Electris link now works, so you can go check out the screen shot I snapped a few minutes ago. The little viewscreens on each side were originally tilted and looked really cool (and used a different frame design), but that was before I took in to account that I had to DISPLAY stuff on them. Since it's a fully 2d engine doing the drawing, I don't think I should spend another month converting it to 3d just so I can draw some text on the little viewscreen to show your score at a pretty angle. The "next piece" viewscreen is more easily fixed, but that means rendering/cropping/coding in the extra stuff, so that's not a priority. But I may still come up with a cool way to do the score viewscreen at an angle too, so keep an eye out for new screenshots.
Any hey, any questions/comments? Email me, or put those message boards to use! Yeah I know, you have to sign up with Tripod to use them, but what do you expect from a free web page host? It looks pretty though. And looks are everything, right? Eventually I'll add a different message board, preferably when I have a "real" website. Until then, tell Tripod how much you love them by signing up (if you don't already have an account), and let those fingers start talkin.
Oh on a side note... a new Transformers series is gonna start Friday on Cartoon Network! Transformers: Armada is the name. The premise sounds promising, so we'll see if it's any better than that "Robots in Disguise" thing on Fox. I never could get into that show. Though if they would only make a new series that looked like season 3 of Beast Wars... And oh yeah, they're gonna have a new He-Man on as well, though I didn't really look around to find out what the deal is with it. From the pic on Cartoon Network's site though, it looks pretty darn good!
Sunday, August 18th, 2002
Just a quick update. I re-added the frame on the left to switch around to different parts of the site. I'll add some fancy buttons and such at some point. I also need to update the name of the site. "Official website of Defenders of Zentax" doesn't roll off the tongue very well, nor does it indicate anything other than just the one game being here.
My only gripes for today are that: Win98 should be more stable (though that's one of those every day complaints I guess), and that Photoshop and Paintshop Pro need to have a baby, because they both have features the other needs. The latter isn't that big of a problem, but having programs in Win98 crash on you when you've been drawing something forever isn't fun. Considering it's 3:30am (and I'm up late yet again), I'll just re-do it tomorrow.
I thought I might stick some old stuff I've programmed on here too. If anyone has ever played the old BBS door game "Legend of the Red Dragon" from RTSoft, I made a little program to let you play it with friends via email. Hmm actually, he sold it over to Gameport, so maybe you should run over there for a copy of the game. Not sure if my old program is still compatible with it anymore though.
Anyways, that's it for now. Maybe I'll make it to bed before 4am tonight!
Saturday, August 17th, 2002
Considering it's 3am, I thought I would go ahead and put Saturday in the date. Depending on how you look at it, it's 3am Saturday, or way too late to care on Friday. I'm a little in between there I think. hehe. Anyway, the game is coming right along. I guess I'll go ahead and give away the title... Electris. Tada! Aren't you glad the wait is over? Of course you are.
I managed to get sound implemented in just a day's work. The part that takes the longest is actually coming up with the sounds. I've done some tweaking and playing around, and come up with some decent stuff for now. Not sure what I'll do about music yet. I'm still swaying between using midi or digital.
DirectSound isn't as complicated to use as I originally assumed it would be. They included a nice wrapper class (if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you're probably better off). They had no documentation for them though! But I figured out how to use it.
It's funny how things turn out though... I thought I would do all my development in Windows XP (which I have been), since it's a lot more stable than Win98 (which comes in very handy when running freshly compiled programs). Though after implementing sound, whenever I would rotate one of the game pieces, the sound effect would kick in maybe a fourth of a second later, instead of right on cue. It made the game seem pretty lame while playing it. After much tinkering and searching news groups for solutions (and a reboot into Win98 instead), I came to realize that it's my sound card's fault. It's old, and the only drivers that will work in Windows XP aren't hardware accelerated and such. Though in Win98, the sound pops in exactly when it's supposed to. So as of today, I fixed all my development stuff to work in Win98 as well. I'll probably still do some of the work in XP, though if I'm testing it for speed, it'll be easier to just change a line or two and recompile it while I'm already in Win98. It's just weird though, because other programs and games that use sound run in Windows XP just fine. Oh well. I'm thinking of tinkering with something else to see if it would run better when I get around to it.
Anyways, that's enough yacking for now. This geek is going to bed. *yawn*
Monday, August 12th, 2002
I'm currently working on my first full DirectX game. It has nothing to do with Defenders of Zentax, but I decided I would start with something simpler, so that I could learn a few new things as I go along, which will come in handy when I do write the big game I've had in my mind for years. But anyway, the current project is basically a Tetris clone. There's been some twists I wanted to add, but so far I haven't been able to do many of them, due to my hardware limitations. Not having a Direct3D compatible video card just sucks. lol.
Actually, I did have a 3d video card a couple months ago. I went over to Circuit City and bought what I thought was going to be a TNT2 for $50. But it turned out to be "upgraded" to a PNY Geforce2 MX200, which I assume is better than the particular model of TNT2 it was supposed to be. In other words, they just ran out of the others, and stuck the better one in the box. But anyway, I brought it home and popped it in, all excited that I finally had a "good" fully 3d video card. It definately made a lot of my games look better, such as Half-Life. But I quickly started to notice that I was getting LOWER frame rates than I used to get with my ancient Voodoo2! I was pulled in both directions as to return it or not. To make a long story short, I took it back, thinking I would get something better, such as a Voodoo3. But in my attempt to get something different for a change, I ordered an old 486 laptop, so that I could still do some writing and such and wouldn't be stuck sitting in here so much (especially since it's always hot in my room in the summer). Well the thing died after a day of using it, and since I wouldn't get the shipping back, not to mention the shipping it would take to return it, it wouldn't be worth fooling with. I do give the guy from Ebay credit though.. he sent me a partial refund of $10, and let me keep the broken laptop. So overall, I pretty much just ended up with a 200 meg laptop hard drive for $40. Maybe I can put it to use one day. The moral of the story is: the PNY Geforce2 MX200 is a piece of junk, but I should have just kept it!
But anyway, I do have a Voodoo2 3d accelerator, but it doesn't do me a lot of good since I do most of my programming and graphics stuff in Windows XP, and support for the Voodoo2 has long since been dropped. It will run in GLIDE and OpenGL in XP, but I don't want to have to start learning another API when I've just started to get a good grip on DirectX. Plus, the Voodoo2 will only work in full screen mode, and I was wanting to stick to windowed mode for this game if at all possible. I can get a Voodoo3 off of Ebay pretty cheap, so maybe I'll make a few bucks off my current project to get one. Then I can really get into the fun stuff (including a 3d Defenders of Zentax).
I'll put up some screen shots before long of my current project. The game itself is pretty much all there and working. The biggest thing to work on right now is just the graphic elements. Hopefully I'll still be able to throw in some 3d rendered cut scenes if possible.
And I hope you enjoy reading, cause this entry was a long one. hehe
Monday, July 12th, 2002
Yes, I've redesigned the site yet again. It's not really that much different, but I just started from scratch this time. The only thing I took from the old site was the previous news entries. I've started trying my hand at Flash animations though, as you've probably noticed already by the logo. It's actually not that hard, though my slow computer kind of hampers my efforts. I could probably make some pretty spiffy things if I had a computer fast enough to handle it. 200mhz just doesn't cut it anymore. That, combined with the fact that I just don't have enough disk space to spare anymore, is why I've given up on 3DSMax for now. Like I've said before, I'm not the best of artists, though I enjoy playing with animation and image manipulation.
Friday, March 1st, 2002
For anyone who's visited the site before today, you'll notice I've redesigned it. For the most part, at least. I didn't change the files page. But the link is still there to get the game if anyone still wants it. I'm going to add some 3dsmax art soon, and maybe some fiction I've written over the years. I might also add a blog instead of this current method of adding news.
Friday, February 22nd, 2002
I think I might start updating the site on a regular basis, just with what's going on regarding programming and such. I want to redesign the site as well, but for now, I'll leave it simple. I've been tinkering with DirectX programming lately... both DirectDraw, and Direct3D. I started a simple little game in DirectDraw(which I may start posting here for people to play with as I go along), but then I started playing with 3D modeling and animation, which I find a lot of fun, so I might go for a game in 3D. I have some good ideas in mind, too. One of which based on part of the Defenders of Zentax story. I'm not the greatest artist in the world, but at least 3D modeling doesn't require tons of talent in the drawing department. ;) I might start putting some rendered art up soon, so keep an eye out. I also added a message board, so give it a whirl!
Saturday, February 2nd, 2002
I haven't updated this page in I don't know when. Mostly because I haven't worked on the game in a long time. I still see it floating around out there on the BBS file lists, so maybe somebody's using it. In any case, if anyone actually IS using it, and would like to possibly see a finished version, let me know. The email at the bottom should work. If enough people are interested, I might start working on it again. Or port it to Win32, or who knows what. The game may have stopped production, but the storyline has evolved over the years, to the point I want to do something with it. Even if that's just to write a book out of it(which I've already started). But a lot of work was also put into developing the door itself, so I hate to let all that time spent go to waste. I'm pondering releasing the source code, or just selling the rights of the door engine to a single developer if there's actually any interest. Feel free to email me your comments/suggestions.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org