Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Add It Up Online Now With Charting!

It's still in Beta, but the Add It Up activity from Brainiversity is now online to play and includes charting functionality.

What this means is that you can play the game every day and chart your progress as you get better (or worse) with your math skills. Check it out here.

As I said it's still in Beta and may have bugs. Please let me know if you find any!

Oh, and if you like the online version then you should download the Deluxe version - it features a lot more nifty features like full screen graphics, animation, more user profiles, the ability to compare charts, Daily Exam mode, etc. and 15 more activities.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

How cool is this?

Comic creator Michel Gagné working on a cool game based on his beautiful artwork - called Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. It appears to be a quirky side scroller with lots of UFO action. Nice.

His web site says that he's currently seeking a publisher... surely it's the sort of game that Microsoft or Sony would snap up for XboxLive Arcade or Playstation Network?

I got a few copies of his Zed comic signed at comic con a few years back, as well as a copy of his animated short, Prelude to Eden, on DVD. His stuff is really beautiful and the animation and visual style of the game looks great!

Watch the game in action here.

Big thanks to local comic luminary Frank L. Weber for pointing this out to me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Add It Up Flash Game Live (BETA)

Well, the first of the 16 activities from Brainiversity is now playable online at Casual Games Arcade. I literally finished the code about 10 minutes ago, so it hasn't had the most thorough of testing - but that's where you come in! If you get a chance, please give it a go - and let me know if it doesn't work in your browser.

It works on the Wii except for a minor graphics glitch which I'll iron out later. But for the most part I can actually play a portion of Brainiversity on my Wii - I must say it feels weird playing my own game with a Wii Remote.

The online version doesn't have all the features of the downloadable version like charting, stamps and the Daily Exam mode - but online daily charting is something I'm thinking about adding. It would also be cool to be able to see the daily charts of other players too. If it's not too difficult I'll have a crack at adding that in soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Flash Game Coming

Okay, I'm new at this Flash thing... so this weekend I'll be putting my first flash game, the "Add It Up" activity, up on my site for a beta trial. If anyone out there would like to give it a go, do so, and let me know if it works in your browser.

"Add It Up" Flash Version

I'll put the link to the web version up this weekend, so check back then!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Brainiversity in PC World Canada magazine

PC World Canada magazine has an article on brain training games called "Healthy Games: The new face of video games".

They mention Brainiversity as an example of a PC downloadable brain training title along with the new Ubisoft Life Coach series for DS.

Not bad - and the game hasn't even rolled out to the major portals yet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

HP Laptop

I bought a new laptop this week - it's a HP Pavilion dv6000 and it's sexy. It's piano black and silver with a faint smattering of grey curved lines over the casing - the overall effect is really nice.

It's got all the usual stuff you'd expect from a laptop - DVD burner, built in web cam, etc. plus a few other neat things like Altec Lansing speakers, wide screen super bright LCD screen and light scribe direct disc labeling (you flip your DVD and it burns a label onto the disc - which is very cool).

I've just installed Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition and am now installing Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows Server 2003 R2 - which the PopCap Framework requires. It's late and I'm tired, but I want to get this done before I hit the sack.

While waiting for the installs to finish I've been working on the first Brainiversity Flash game which is the Add It Up activity. Expect to see this online sometime soon!

Monday, August 13, 2007

V1.02 live!

I just finished uploading version 1.02 of Brainiversity to As I mentioned yesterday this version has a few minor tweaks, but nothing too major.

Now that that's done it's time to get back to the Flash version!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brainiversity 1.02

I've been making a few updates to Brainiversity ready for the release of version 1.02.

It's mostly minor stuff like changing the date format to be MM/DD/YYYY, fixing up some spelling to match the US spelling standard, and doing some internal changes so the dialog box system works better. You probably wouldn't notice the changes.

That's what I like about online distribution - you have the ability to take feedback from end users and implement them in a timely manner. If anyone has the original game they simply have to download and re-install - and voila! they have a new version with the changes in place.

I've also been moving forward with my Flash development and have some cool ideas for my new improved site. As I mentioned I'll be wrapping all of my web sites together under one banner in the hope to make it easier for people to find all my games and stuff.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

One Step Closer to an iMac

When I upgraded my PC just before Christmas I was seriously considering getting an iMac.

I love Apple's design and how they integrate a lot of cool software into their systems... but as I spend most of my time coding for PC I decided to go for a Windows machine. I did some research into Bootcamp and it seemed like a lot of effort at that stage to make it work (I think it was still in Beta).

But now the new iMacs are out and they look damn sexy (and I believe Bootcamp is out of Beta) so I'll definitely be making the switch when I upgrade again. Of course by then the iMac will be even thinner and have way more cool stuff.

In other news, my boxed copy of Flash CS3 Professional arrived yesterday - and just in time as the free demo version was about to expire. Working through my tutorials I've so far managed to write a simple breakout game and a small space invader clone. It takes a bit to get your head around the concept of movies and timelines, but it's quite powerful and easy to use.

I just wish ActionScript had a better error checking system - it's painful to have a variable called enemyTimer in your code only to mistype it as enemytimer and not have the compiler pick it up. The game will run but won't work as you expect. So you have to be very, very careful. If anyone knows of a way to get around this please let me know!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

High Score

Right now I'm learning how to make games in Flash. And I'm loving it.

Playing a game in a browser is a bit like magic to me - I was never really quite sure how it was all done. But now I know! I'm quite excited about building a game that people will be able to play online... as soon as I get a game up and running I'll launch it on Casual Games Arcade.

While I've been delving into Flash I decided to try and understand that other black art - PHP. I want to add an online high score table to my games - doing online stuff is something that I really do view as magic and PHP seems to be the answer. Thanks to the interweb I've managed to find the necessary information and have gotten a test program up and running.

So now I'm doubly excited!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gamezebo review of Brainiversity

Gamezebo has just reviewed Brainiversity and they liked it. My favorite quote is "Hey! This game is making me smarter already!"

Click here to read the rest of the review.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Flash - a-ah - saviour of the universe

Right now I'm getting my head around programming (or should I say "building") with Flash. It's quite different to writing games in C - I think the biggest hurdle is getting used to the idea of movie clips and converting graphics and stuff to symbols.

Anyway, I'm sure it will all be second nature within a week or two. First up I will be converting a Brainiversity activity over to a web playable game. This will coincide with some changes to my site - I want to make it a little more central for all the stuff I have floating out there on the web.

At the moment I have a number of different web sites and not much cohesion between them. So I will be making an "all things John" portal. That's a little while off yet, first things first is getting my Flash game up and running!