Saturday, August 10, 2019

Creating the Card Class

We will place all the code for the Card movie in an external JavaScript file. For some strange reason, Animate CC 2017 does not let you edit external JavaScript files (hopefully an over-site that will be fixed in future versions) so another editor will have to be used for editing the JavaScript file. There are numerous editors available that support JavaScript, with Notepad++ being the editor of choice for me when I am using a windows machine.

Before we can create the card class, however, we are going to want to create a separate namespace for holding our classes so that there are no conflicts with any other code that we are using. The easiest way of creating a namespace is simply to create a root object with the name of the namespace we wish to  use. This can be done as follows:

spelchan = spelchan | {};

You should already be familiar with the new operator, which is used for creating instances of a class. The format for this is

 new constructor([param1,...,paramn]);
 
What is happening is the new operator is trying to find a constructor function named whatever name was provided with the number of parameters indicated. Some constructor functions, such as Array, are built right in to JavaScript. It is, however, possible to create new Constructor functions by simply having a function named whatever it is you want to call the constructor. Convention has it that you start constructor functions with a capital letter. This is a good idea as it distinguishes them from other functions.

Constructors can have no parameters, or as many parameters as you desire. Here is the constructor function for our card class. Notice that it takes a reference to the movie clip that it will be controlling. We could have had the class create the movie clip but by passing the movie clip we make it easier to attach objects from the Animate CC editor to our class.

spelchan.Card = function(cardMovie) {
this.cardMovie = cardMovie;
this.cardID = 0;
this.faceShowing = false;
this.cardMovie.gotoAndStop(9+this.cardID);
}

As a class consists of data and the methods used to manipulate the data, the above constructor sets up a holder for the card movie, the id of the card, and a Boolean flag that indicates if the card is being shown. By default, the card is blank and is not being shown to the user. To set the card and show the card, we need to have some methods. This is where JavaScript gets kind of weird.

All classes are given a prototype object that holds functions and other variables that are available to any instance of that class. To add a function to a class, you need to add the function to the prototype object. This can be done two ways. First, you can create the function directly in the constructor by assigning the function name to the code for a function. The other way is to assign a function to the prototype, by using classname.prototype.functionname = function(...) { ... };

Let us implement the setCard and getCard methods. When the card’s value is changed, the card has to go to the proper frame of the movie and stop. However, if the card’s face is not showing, we show the back image instead. Getting the card value is simply the matter of returning the cardID variable.

// n is the cardID for the card
spelchan.Card.prototype.setCard = function(n)
{
if ((n < 1) || (n > 52))
this.cardID = 0;
else
this.cardID = n;
if ((this.cardID == 0) || (this.faceShowing == false))
this.cardMovie.gotoAndStop(1);
else
this.cardMovie.gotoAndStop(9+this.cardID);
}

// returns the cardID for the card
spelchan.Card.prototype.getCard = function()
{
return this.cardID;
}

We now have the ability to change the card but as the face is not being shown, we have no way of verifying this. Showing a card is simply a matter of setting the faceShowing variable to true and going to the appropriate frame. The only complication is the fact that we need to handle a card that has yet been assigned a value. Hiding the face is even easier as we set faceShowing to false then stop on the blank card frame.

// shows the face side of the card
spelchan.Card.prototype.showFace = function()
{
this.faceShowing = true;
if (this.cardID == 0)
this.cardMovie.gotoAndStop(1);
else
this.cardMovie.gotoAndStop(9+cardID);
}

// shows the back of the card
spelchan.Card.prototype.hideFace = function()
{
this.faceShowing = false;
this.cardMovie.gotoAndStop(1);
}

This is all that is needed for a card class, but creating a couple of utility methods for getting the face of the card and the suit of the card is easy enough to do. This is done using math. The modulus function, which uses the % operator,  gives you the remainder of a division. Had we started counting from 0, this would work great, but as we didn’t subtracting one from the card id lets us use modulus to get the face value from 0 to 12 and adding 1 corrects this. A similar technique can be used to determine which of the four suits are being used by seeing which group of 13 the card falls into.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

7-1 Creating the Card Movie

As you already know, a deck of cards consists of 52 cards (54 if you count the two jokers, but for now we won’t worry about those). Obviously, this means that we are going to need 52 images. In addition to the images for every card, we are also going to need an image for the back of the cards.

There are two ways we can create images for the cards. One way, if you already have a set of bitmaps for the cards, is to simply import the 52 bitmap images. The advantage of this is speed. The disadvantage is that the resulting images are not vectors and will not scale well. One way to get around the vector problem would be to convert every card into a vector image. This only takes a slight bit more time and you end up with better scalability.

The other way is to build the cards in Animate CC (or a vector drawing program that lets you export images to Animate CC). This can potentially reduce the overall size of the deck by a fair amount. Having the cards being proper vector images also enables very good scalability. If you don’t already have a set of bitmap card images, then creating the cards in Adobe Animate CC will take just as long as it would to create them in a bitmap based paint program.

For this book, we are going to build all the cards in Adobe Animate CC. One way would be to simply create 53 graphic images. This works, but when you look at a deck of cards you will quickly notice that the cards are only made up of a small subset of images. If we create a series of symbols for the components that make up a card, we will easily be able to create the entire deck by assembling our components. This helps reduce both the time it takes to build the deck of cards and the amount of memory required for the cards at the cost of taking a bit more time to draw the cards but as card games are not fast-paced games this is not a huge concern.

When you think about it, a set of cards can be broken into 34 components. Making this even better, most of these are small components that only take a few curves to represent. The components used in this are shown in figure below.



Now, the top line consists of “Blank Card”, “Jack”, “Queen”, King. The Blank Card symbol is the background symbol. Notice that we surround the card with a hairline box. The card is 100 by 140 as that is the resolution I had in the bitmap deck that I created for my Java card games. The cards could be any size you desired, and because they are vectors the cards will look good scaled up or down.

The second line Consists of the suits, named “Spade,” “Heart,” “Club,” and “Diamond”. The third and fourth lines consist of the card face value text. There are two versions, one for black cards and one for red cards. The symbols are named, “Blk A,” “Blk 2,” “Blk 3,” “Blk 4,” “Blk 5,” “Blk 6,” “Blk 7,” “Blk 8,” “Blk 9,” “Blk 10,” “Blk J,” “Blk Q,” “Blk K,” “Red A,” “Red 2,” “Red 3,” “Red 4,” “Red 5,” “Red 6,” “Red 7,” “Red 8,” “Red 9,” “Red 10,” “Red  J,” “Red Q,” and “Red K.”

Once we have created the components, we are going to need to create a card movie. The purpose of this movie is to hold the images for all the cards and go to the appropriate image based on what value is assigned to the card. I have decided to give each card a numerical ID, which is as follows. The ID of 0 represents no visible value (in other words the card back is shown). cards are then given ID in numerical order, with Aces being the first card and kings being the last. We go through the suits in alphabetical order, so we have the Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, then Spades.

As the ID can be simply calculated based on the value of the card (Aces being valued as 1, Jacks valued as 11, Queens valued as 12 and Kings valued as 13), it makes sense to take advantage of this fact. We do this by mathematically determining the position of the card. How? Every card is a single frame. We have the card back on frame one and start the first card on frame 11. We then simply need to add 10 to the ID to find the correct frame for the card face. Note that Create.js uses 0 based indexing instead of the 1 based indexing that non-canvas animations use. This will mean that the frame numbers will be off by one so care needs to be taken when writing the JavaScript for going to specific frames using the frame number.

Now, a bit of code is going to be in order. We are going to need to get and set the ID of the card. We also want to be able to show the back or the front of a card. While neither of the games in this part of the book use this feature, it is simple enough to implement and will be of obvious use with many other card games. This will be covered next fortnight.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Chapter 7 Overview

One nice feature of card games, is that once you have created a card game you are able to take advantage of existing assets and code to handle the cards so that creating other card games in the future is easier. In this chapter we are going to take advantage of this in two ways.

First, in ``Creating the Card Movie'' we are going to create a card movie. This movie will have frames for all the cards in a deck and will be able to display any specified card. While fairly simple to build, creating a deck of cards is a time-consuming process. Thankfully, we only need to do it once. After the card movie has been created, you simply need to drag it into the new Animate CC project to use it in other card games. You could also place it into a common library.

Next we are going to create some JavaScript classes. For the most compatibility, which probably is not that big of a deal as most browsers in use support ECMAScript 6 JavaScript code, we are going to use the older and most compatible way of creating classes. In ``Creating the Card Class'' we create the class for handling the cards while in ``The Importance of Testing'' we test this class.

Test driven development, which is a very common practice now, does things the opposite way so in ``Test Driven Deck'' we create the tests for a deck class and with the tests ready to go actually create the deck class in ``Creating the Deck Class''

Once we have these classes created we will be able to build our Video Poker game.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Spelchan.com Summer 2019

Blazing Games has been closed, at least the home page has. For the moment I am leaving the other pages up so if you know the link to a game then you can still go to the page. This will be eventually changing but I'm in no rush here. I produced a lot of Games so there is a huge amount of porting work to do. I have reviewed the  results of the poll and as a result have made changes to my release plans for this year.

Coffee Quest was released a month early. My holiday games seem to be slightly more popular than I expected.  For this reason I am going to make sure that I have holiday games ported as appropriate. This decision has me in the process of porting my Canada Day flag game for release this Canada Day (July 1st for non-Canadian visitors). Next year I will release my Independence Day game for my American friends.

I have decided that, in memory of my Mother, I am going to only release Color Collapse episodes on Mother's Day but do plan on creating related games once the remaining two episodes have been released. 

I noticed that the voting list of games missed some of the games that were already in HTML5 so those will become filler for when I am too busy to finish porting other games. The first of these will be Sudoku which will be released in August as my card and dice collection are very low in popularity. A beta of Coffee Quest 2  will hopefully be released this September with a Halloween game for October. November’s release is not yet determined yet and will be dependent on my time in September and October and I plan on creating a unique Christmas game this year.

I am not going to have any official release schedule for 2020 (other than a game every month) but do plan on showcasing the games I am working on in whatever game I am going to release in January. Hint, it will not be an updated Calendar NIM game this time.

So hopefully you will enjoy the site. Next fortnight I will start the next chapter of my Creating HTML 5 Games with Animate eBook so hope you continue reading.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Final Touches

As is quite often the case with my games, the last part of the game that is created is the title screen. The first part of the title screen is the game's logo. My One of the Weeks logo is not really appropriate, even though this game is part of that series, so to make this a stand-alone game I created a new logo. For the start button, I opted for a door as that is emblematic of the game play. As always, the code to control the button is very straight forward.



spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.startTitle = function() {
this.playButtonHandler = this.playButtonClicked.bind(this);
this.stage.playBtn.addEventListener("click", this.playButtonHandler);
this.stage.stop();
}

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.playButtonClicked = function(e) {
console.log("Play Button Clicked!");
this.stage.playBtn.removeEventListener("click", this.playButtonHandler);
this.stage.gotoAndPlay("Intro");
}

One problem that I had with the game at this point was the fact that someone who started playing the game without reading the instructions would be totally confused by what was going on. While confusion may actually add to the story, it can also turn a lot of people off the game. As this is the first episode of a series, one thing I don't want is to turn people off the game.

While I would like to think that people read the instruction pages that I put a some effort into creating, the reality is that a lot people just start playing the game.

One solution would be to have a link to the instructions on the game's title screen. The problem with doing this is that the people who skip over the instructions page are likely to not bother clicking on the instructions button either. This means that I would end up putting more time into creating the instruction pages - which is more time consuming then writing an instruction page - which few people are going to read. This is obviously not a good solution.

The solution I did for this episode is to incorporate the background portion of the instructions into the game by starting the player at an explanation screen. This is simply a looped animation of the text bubble growing then shrinking. The code for handling the button is also very simple.



spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.setIntroButton = function(e) {
this.introButtonHandler = this.introButtonClicked.bind(this);
this.stage.con_btn.addEventListener("click", this.introButtonHandler);
}

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.introButtonClicked = function(e) {
console.log("Intro Button Clicked!");
this.stage.con_btn.removeEventListener("click", this.introButtonHandler);
this.stage.gotoAndPlay("enterRed");
}

And that is all there is to the game. Next fortnight we will look at changes to my Blazing Games porting plans and next month we will start chapter 7 which sets the foundation for the creation of video poker.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Losing and Winning

In the previous section we introduced the BSoD. This leads to the problem of what to do when the player loses the game. My first thought was to have the BSoD claw the player to death. This would reflect the feeling you get when you have an hours worth of unsaved work and the real blue screen of death shows up. Not that I’ve ever had that happen to me as I always save my work frequently. Mind you, the reason I always save my work frequently is because of learning what losing hours of work because of a computer crashing feels like.

Having someone being clawed to death is not really appropriate for a family friendly game so instead, I decided to have a bit of fun and generate a nice error message.



There is a button on the screen which returns the user to the title screen that we will be creating in the next section. To have the button do something we have a method in our Nightmare class for dealing with returning to the title screen. This method is called using nightmare.registerTitleButton(this.losecon_btn);

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.registerTitleButton = function(btn) {
console.log("registering toTitle called! " + btn);
this.toTitleButton = btn;
this.toTitleHandler = this.toTitle.bind(this);
this.toTitleButton.addEventListener("click", this.toTitleHandler);
}

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.toTitle = function(e) {
console.log("toTitle called!");
this.toTitleButton.removeEventListener("click", this.toTitleHandler);
this.stage.gotoAndPlay("Title");
}

This code simply sets up a button that is passed to it to call an event handler that simply returns the game to the title sequence.  To remove an event listener, however, you need a link to the event that is to be removed. Binding objects end up creating something new so to properly remove the event handler we need to keep a reference to the binded version of the handler. The actual handler code simply uses this binded reference to properly remove the event handling reference and then goes to the title sreen frame.

Now that it is possible to lose the game, perhaps it would be nice to allow the player to win the game. The winning scene was designed with two purposes in mind. First, as a distinct way of showing the player that they have completed the game. Second, to preview the next episode of the game. The number 666 has certain significance with my upbringing and to this day I still consider that number to be a bad omen. As you can't have that number on a clock, at least not legitimately, I opted for 6:36 for the time. The code for handling the “To be Continued...” button, as with the lose screen, is simply a call to nightmare.registerTitleButton(this.wincon\_btn);


Now we just need the title and intro screens and we are finished.These will be completed next fortnight which will conclude this chapter.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Enter the Nasty

To add a bit more pressure on the player, I have a villain that pops up after the player has stayed in the room too long. Being a programmer, the first villain that came to mind is the dreaded Blue Screen of Death that occurs on Windows machines. Linux and Macintosh OS X don't have this problem (and are extremely stable operating systems) but most people have windows, and a lot of my programming happens to be for Windows machines. To be fair to Microsoft, the blue-screen problem has largely gone away.



In addition to the BSoD image, we also need a movie that controls the BSoD. This movie consists of nothing for the first few frames (labeled hide) with a stop on the second frame. There is also be a block labeled show which is a two second sequence of the BSoD appearing. For control purposes we have the button code in the previous section call the hide method which shows nothing. There is a flag that is set indicating that there is no BSoD yet. A timer is set up to 0 and when this timer reaches 3 the BSoD will appear. What are we timing? We already have a loop for growing and shrinking the room so we will use the end of that loop as the timer. So instead of having a gotoAndPlay on the last frame to loop the animation, we instead have nightmare.updateBSOD("blueLoop"); with the string being the name of the label to go to for looping the room animation. The BSOD update code is as follows:

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.updateBSOD = function(loop) {
// BSOD calculations
if (this.bsodAppearing) {
this.stage.gotoAndPlay("loseGame");
return;
}
++this.bsodTimer;
if (this.bsodTimer >= 3) {
this.bsodAppearing = true;
this.stage.bsod_movie.gotoAndPlay("show");
}
this.stage.gotoAndPlay(loop);
}

The function simply keeps track of how many times it has been called. As the function is called every 2 seconds, we simply figure out how long we give the players before the BSoD appears and then start the appearing animation. If another tick happens after the appearing animation has occurred then we know that the player has bit the bullet. This simply goes to the loseGame frame which we use for losing the game. Which leaves us with the task of handing the winning and losing of the game.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Linking the Rooms

Now comes the task of assembling and linking the rooms. I create a block of frames for each of the six rooms with each room being broken into three animated sequences. First is the Enter sequence (labeled enterColor, with Color being the color of the room). This sequence shows the room zooming into view. Next is the main room loop (labeled colorLoop, with color being the color of the room). I want to have an additional disorienting effect added to the room. Therefore, I set this block of frames to loop. The room will slowly grow and then shrink back to it's starting size. Finally there is an exit sequence (labeled colorExit, with color being the color of the room). This shows the room shrinking into nothing.

As animate likes to tie code to the frame it is written in, we are creating a globally accessible class that we will be using for tracking the state of the game. This class will be added to throughout this chapter but to start with we have the following initialization code.

if (typeof(spelchan) == "undefined") spelchan = {};

spelchan.Nightmare = function() {
this.registerStage = function(stage) { this.stage = stage;}
this.dirButtons = [null,null,null,null];
this.dirClickHandler = this.directionClicked.bind(this);
this.exitTarget = "exitRed";
}

This sets up a spelchan.Nightmare class that holds the list of buttons that are used to control the navigation between rooms. We need buttons for the four directions that the player can go. Quite simply, I will label the directions North, South, East and West. The four buttons will be invisible buttons. These are buttons that have a hit box but no image. Actually, when the player is over the buttons, we will have a "Go Direction" message appear. This is done simply by having the over and down frames of the button have the desired text in them. In the editor the invisible buttons have a cyan color and are placed over the doors in the image. Due to the animation of the room this placement isn't exact.



Every room will have it's own set of four buttons. I use the convention of naming the button instances colorDirection_btn. As the logic for the buttons is similar for all the rooms we can create a general method for setting up the buttons for a room as follows:

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.setDirectionTargets = function(
btnNorth, targetNorth, btnEast, targetEast,
btnSouth, targetSouth, btnWest, targetWest, exitTarget) {
this.dirButtons[0] = btnNorth;
btnNorth.directionTarget = targetNorth;
this.dirButtons[1] = btnEast;
btnEast.directionTarget = targetEast;
this.dirButtons[2] = btnSouth;
btnSouth.directionTarget = targetSouth;
this.dirButtons[3] = btnWest;
btnWest.directionTarget = targetWest;
this.exitTarget = exitTarget;

for (var cntr = 0; cntr < 4; ++cntr) {
this.dirButtons[cntr].addEventListener(
"click", this.dirClickHandler);
}

this.bsodTimer = 0;
this.bsodAppearing = false;
this.stage.bsod_movie.gotoAndPlay("hide");
}

This code simply sets up the buttons and gives each button a target frame to go to when it is clicked. It also provides the frame to goto to start the exit room animation. The buttons are then assigned an event listener to handle being clicked. We will be covering this handler later in this section. Finally the code sets up the timer for the villain. We will cover the appearance of the villain in the next section. Each of the six rooms needs to call the above method when it is appearing with the code being on the frame where the room starts appearing. This code is something like the following:

nightmare.setDirectionTargets(
this.redNorth_btn, "enterCyan",
this.redEast_btn, "enterGreen",
this.redSouth_btn, "enterCyan",
this.redWest_btn, "enterYellow", "exitRed");

As you can see this is simply a function call to the method we created above. The parameters would be the appropriate buttons for that room and the labels of the frame the program should go to when the button is clicked. The button variables are self-evident while the target frames require looking at the map to determine the appropriate room to go to.

Handling the click is the next thing we need to do. This is done by the event handler we hinted at above.

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.directionClicked = function(e) {
// make sure button has valid target
if (typeof(e.target.directionTarget) == "undefined") {
console.log("ERROR - Missing target in button");
this.directionTarget = "enterRed";
} else {
console.log("Button target is " + e.target.directionTarget); 
this.directionTarget = e.target.directionTarget;
}

// clean up buttons
for (var cntr = 0; cntr < 4; ++cntr) {
this.dirButtons[cntr].removeEventListener("click", this.dirClickHandler);
}
this.stage.gotoAndPlay(this.exitTarget);
}

This function first sets up a class variable called directionTarget to be the name of the frame to go to once the room has been exited. We can't go to this frame right away because we have to play an exit animation first. To be good citizens, we need to clean up our event handlers so we remove the event listeners. Finally we start the animation for exiting the room.

To finish our navigation system we need to go to the appropriate room when the player is exiting the room. Each of the exit animations will have a call to nightmare.nextRoom() on the last frame. This is a simple method that simply goes to the frame indicated by the button that was clicked on above.

spelchan.Nightmare.prototype.nextRoom = function() {
this.stage.gotoAndPlay(this.directionTarget);
}

This code simply goes to the appropriate frame for the next room. And that is all that is required for a navigation system. Now we need to implement the villain of this game which we will do next fortnight..


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Building the Rooms

The idea behind this episode of the game is that the player is dreaming that they are in a maze of rooms being chased by something. The rooms are connected in a non-linear fashion, but the rooms each have their own color. Thinking about this, all the rooms in the game will look the same except for their color. This means that all we have to do is create a single room and then duplicate it five times changing the colors in the duplicates! There, however, is an even better way of handling the creation of the rooms. Tinting!

To make tinting work the best, it is best to create the non-tinted image using gray-scale. I am going to keep the game in third person perspective so that we don't have all the work required to move an animated figure around. This means that the room needs to be drawn to look three dimensional. To better add to the three dimensional look, I created a tiled floor. This was done by drawing receding lines, then by drawing lines in the distance and angling them so that there is a larger distance between the closer points than the further points. Had I been really ambitious I could have created a far off point (a vanishing point) and having all the horizontal lines coming from that point. I then filled in the squares and finally removed the lines.

The ceiling I wanted to be stuccoed. This would have required a huge amount of work to accomplish using vectors, so I opted to use a texture for this image. The texture was generated in fireworks, but all high-end paint programs (and many low end ones as well) have texture creation support.

The three doors that are in the scene are actually all the same. I drew the far door and then used the distort command to alter the other two doors. While I could have been picky and tried to get the doors to look perfect, to keep the dream motif, I wanted the doors to be a bit distorted.



There are a number of ways of dealing with the room once you have the gray-scale done and want to apply tinting. This could be done within the program. Though tinting is a very costly operation, you would only have to do it once when you entered the room. Another option, which is the approach I took, is to create copies of the gray-scale image and individually tint those symbols. The advantage of doing this is you can get a bit better result from the tinting by tinting different parts of the room with different shades of the room color. The floors and ceiling were tinted a slightly different shade then the walls and doors, resulting in nicer looking rooms from the original flash version of this game.



Now that we have the rooms ready, we need to link them together which is what we will be doing next fortnight.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Planning the Adventure

The basic theme behind nightmare maze is that you are lost in a maze and must move quickly from room to room before the evil Blue Screen of Death reaches you.  The maze in this game is consistent in the fact that the same door will take you to the same room, however it is not commutative meaning that the door from A to B does not necessarily go back to A. This means while there is a structure to the maze it works different then the real world, which is typical of dreams.

Mazes are fairly easy to implement. This maze, however, is not a linear maze. With a linear maze, you can use graph paper to plan out the maze. This is obviously not the case with a non-linear maze. Instead, a different type of graph is used for creating a non-linear maze. This graph consists of the rooms drawn as boxes with arrowed lines showing how the rooms connect. I used a variation on this having colored lines corresponding to the room the line is from.



As you can see by the above map, the links between rooms are fairly complex. However implementing the links is actually very easy. You can also see that there are a lot of ways of reaching the exit, but do to the fact that there is nothing highlighting the exit, a player could end up being stuck in the maze for quite a while.

The room approach is very common in adventure games as travelling between locations is a very common activity. Generally, when designing an adventure game, each location will be considered to be a room even if it is an outside location. This allows for rooms to be worked on independently of each other and for earlier computers that had a very limited amount of memory would allow for the computer to only have to load the drawing data for the room that the player was currently in then having some type of transition animation between "rooms" when the player left a room and the game had to load in the image for the next room.

From a programming perspective, having rooms that are connected together with lines allows us to represent the map as a mathematical graph in which each room is a vertex of the graph and the connections between rooms are the edges of the graph.  Graph theory, however, is not necessary to build an adventure game. All that really matters is that you are able to create a basic map of the locations within the adventure so that you can move between them. The map can also be used to plan out where objects are located in the world and what obstacles or puzzles there are in the game. This allows for a walk through of the game before you have even started any real work on building the game so that you know that the game is solvable.

Once the map is planned out you then have the ability to itemize all the assets that will be needed for the game and can start work on building the art needed for each of the rooms. Building the rooms is what we will be doing next fortnight, but thanks to the nature of our maze this is a lot easier for this game than it would be for most other adventure games.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Nightmare Maze Overview

In the flash version (as well as my original draft) of this book, the adventure game material was near the end of the book but as the game is fairly simple from a programming perspective, I have decided to move it to here. Nightmare Maze is actually the first episode of a 46 episode series called One of those Weeks, which I hope to be redoing using a 3D engine sometime in the future.

In "Planning the Adventure" we take a look at how the game was designed. Adventure games tend to break areas that the player can visit into rooms, with the word room being a generic concept so outdoor areas are also referred to as rooms. For this game, all the rooms in the game are in fact rooms so the next step to the creation of this game is "Building the Rooms" which covers the techniques used to build the rooms used in this game. While it is a little but unconventional, it works for this game and the basic concepts are the same for other adventures.

While it is possible to have an adventure game that exists in a single room, such as a puzzle room, our game requires movement between rooms. I am not taking about adding doors to the room, though they are what the players use, I am taking about the underlying code for moving players between rooms. This is covered in "Linking the rooms"

While mazes are often enough, for this game we have a villain, who also happens to be in all the other dream sequences in this series, so in "Enter the Nasty" we cover the mechanism for getting the villain to appear. This obviously leads to "Losing and Winning" where we cover how to handle the nasty getting the player as well as the opposite but related player escaping from the nightmare.

With the game finished, this only leaves "Final Touches" where the title screen for the game is added. This covers what we will be doing over the next six fortnights, but the game is already on Spelchan.com so feel free to play the game while you wait for my sections on how the game was created.



Saturday, March 9, 2019

Blazing Games Life after Death


It has been no secret that the Blazing Games site is going away in April. This may lead to the question about what I am going to do with this blog after the site shuts down? I have been thinking about dropping this blog keeping only my Homebrew Gamejam blog but I am slowly porting the Flash and Java games from BlazingGames into HTML5 and hosting the new versions on Spelchan.com. There are a lot of games that I had created on BlazingGames so this process will take a very long time so it makes sense to continue to keep this blog running. Besides, I have to finish posting the chapters from my Making HTML5 Games using Animate eBook.

I will continue posting the sections of the book each fortnight with updates on game ports made between the chapters. In addition to Spelchan.com, I also have my 2600Dragons.com and will soon have TarotRevealed.com which is where I plan on hosting my tarot games. There are a lot of pages that make up the site as well as a lot of features that I would like to add to the site so this is going to be a process that will take a fair amount of time. I am going to spread this work out adding new layouts or features every month with the site being updated on the 15th of each month.

Right now I am running into some issues setting up the site (adding it to my hosting is still pending) but hopefully the site will show up shortly and I will be able to have the first version of the site ready by the 15th of this month.

I would like to be porting games much quicker than I currently am but at the moment am working on my Masters degree so my spare time is very little. The few hours a week that I allocate to working on both blogs, porting games, and developing my emulator should probably be used for study but I consider this my time so try to allocate some time for these projects. Naively I was hoping to get ahead of the release schedule so that I wouldn’t need to worry about hitting release dates but that has not been the case. My summer schedule is lighter but as we are expected to work on our thesis at that time I suspect that my tune situation will be just as bad in the summer. The Coffee Quest engine isn’t too bad so I should have no problem releasing content for that series but I was really hoping to do my revamped One of those Weeks and Ultimate Retro Project games.  

Needless to say, my focus for the larger project will be Coffee Quest  and once that project is done I will have to make a decision between Ultimate Retro Project and One of those Weeks. What I want to do with OotW is very time consuming but I should be finished my Masters degree so unless I decide to go for a PHD I should have more spare time. More on this once I have finished posting the next chapter of the eBook, which will be starting next fortnight.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

5.7 Closures

The bind function takes advantage of something in JavaScript known as a closure. This takes advantage of the way that scope works within JavaScript and can be used to hide variables within a function. For binding it is making sure that the reference to the object that created the object is tracked.

Scope simply is a term that describes which variables are known to a particular piece of code. The visibility of a variable depends on where it is declared. When declared outside of a function it is global and is visible to everything, including other scripts running on the same web page, which is why you do not want to have global variables in your code if you can help it. Variables declared within a function are only visible to code within that function. Variables declared within a loop are only visible to code within that loop, and so on. The code within the loop, however, can see all the variables in the scopes leading up to it.

The purpose of scope is two-fold. First, each layer of scope can be considered it's own name-space. Second, and more importantly, this allows JavaScript to know which variables are no longer needed and can be garbage collected so that the memory it used can be reclaimed for use by other things. There is an exception to this garbage collection rule, any variable that is still being referenced by another variable that is still in scope will not be garbage collected.

Functions within another function have access to the parent function's variables. This information is stored in a scope chain, the details of which are a bit beyond the scope of this chapter but the nutshell is that the function has access to the information contained within the function that created. This means that if we have a case where there is a reference to the inside function then even if the outside function goes out of scope, the outside functions data will not be garbage collected as it is still referenced by something that is still in-scope.

Here is a simple demonstration:

// General function for printing to the web page so results can be seen// without requiring the console
function printTestLine(s) {
// we are grabbing an html element
var results = document.getElementById("testResults");
// now append the new line to this element
results.innerHTML = results.innerHTML + "
" + s

}

function HiddingVariables(p, v) {
this.publicValue = p;
var hiddenValue = v;

this.getHiddenValue = function() {
return hiddenValue;
}

this.bindPrint = function() {
var owner = this;
return function() {
printTestLine("The hidden value is " + owner.getHiddenValue());
}
}
}

var hiddenVar = new HiddingVariables(21, 42);
printTestLine("Attempting to read public variable: " + hiddenVar.publicValue);
printTestLine("Attempting to read hidden variable: " + hiddenVar.hiddenValue);
printTestLine("Getting through method: " + hiddenVar.getHiddenValue());
setTimeout(hiddenVar.bindPrint(), 1000);

When the HiddingVariables function runs, the public value is stored as part of the object. The hidden variable is a local variable which means that it will go out of scope as soon as the function finishes running. As the function has a reference to this value, it is still visible to it. If you still don't quite understand how a closure works, don't worry too much as it is not necessary to understand them to use them.

Now that we have a basic understanding of classes we use some of these concepts in the next chapter when we create the Nightmare Maze game.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

5.6 Binding Events

The one really nice thing about classes is that they are a nice way of grouping data with the code that manipulates that data. This leads to a very common situation in programming where you want to do something with the data when an event happens. Event-driven programming is where the behavior of a program is structured around events instead of sequences and is the way you typicality approach user-interface related tasks. Combing objects with events seems like a no-brainer but this is where JavaScript starts showing some strangeness. To understand lets write a simple event.

// General function for printing to the web page so results can be seen
// without requiring the console
function printTestLine(s) {
// we are grabbing an html element
var results = document.getElementById("testResults");
// now append the new line to this element
results.innerHTML = results.innerHTML + "
" + s

}

// The timeout method uses a callback which gets called asyncronously
function tickTest(){
printTestLine("Tick Test was called!")
}
setTimeout(tickTest, 1500);

Timing events in JavaScript can be controlled by using a timeout. SetTimeout simply takes a function and a duration in milliseconds which are thousandths of a second. After the duration has expired it will call the function. Note that the timer is not precise and that the delay can be more than the specified amount bur for general usage timeouts are adequate. Running the above would result in a second-and-a-half delay before something was printed.

Now lets write a simple class that will store a value and when a function is called will display that value back.

// A simple class that stores a value and can display the currently stored value when asked to.function Demo() {
this.setValue = function(n) {
this.storedValue = n;
}

this.displayValue = function() {
printTestLine("Stored value is " + this.storedValue);
}

this.displayWithMessage = function(s) {
var str = "NO MESSAGE PROVIDED ";
if (s !== undefined)
str = s;
printTestLine(str + this.storedValue);
}
}

// as this shows, the class works as expected
var demo = new Demo();
demo.setValue(42);
demo.displayValue();
demo.displayWithMessage("Custom message before value ");

This works just fine so using it as part of an event seems trivial but lets try that.

// however, the value does not seem to exist if used as a callback.
setTimeout(demo.displayValue, 2000);
\end{lstlisting}
}

After a couple of seconds delay we get a rather interesting result. This is a byproduct of the way JavaScript calls methods within a function and is something that we will discuss in detail next fortnight. Obviously, this means that we can't use events with classes. But, as this is an obvious necessity, there is a bind function that browsers provide to solve this problem. By simply adding the bind function to the end of the function you are calling you will be able to specify which class the event is for. The function takes the instance of a class to use as it's parameter and does not need to be the calling instance but I can't think of any situation where I wouldn't want to use the same instance.

// this is where binding comes in
setTimeout(demo.displayValue.bind(demo), 2500);

// Binding also helps with parameters.
setTimeout(demo.displayWithMessage.bind(demo), 3000);
setTimeout(demo.displayWithMessage.bind(demo, "Message added in Binding "), 3000);

As can be seen from the demo code, binding can also be used to add additional parameters to a callback function. When dealing with situations such as having multiple buttons being handled by the same logic, this is an incredibly convenient feature of the bind function. But what exactly is the bind function doing? Tune in next fortnight to find out!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Polymorphism and Duck Typing

Polymorphism is just a fancy way of saying that we can use an inherited class in place of a base class. This is a very important concept in typed languages, but is automatically handled for you in dynamically typed languages like JavaScipt. One of the nicest features of JavaScipt is that you not only can use a child class in place of a parent class, but you can use any class that has the methods and properties that you want to use. This is known as duck typing and is called that from the saying "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then it is probably a duck."

The power of polymorphism comes from the ability to call a function that takes a base class with any class that is inherited from that class. For example, lets say we create a function for playing with the pets that we created last section.
 
// Note - See previous section for the Pet classes 

// function for pet class objects
function playWithPet(pet) {
printTestLine("Playing with " + pet.name);
pet.makeNoise();
}

// Pet polymorphism test code
printTestLine("Class polymorphism using inherited pets:");
var cat = new Cat("Abby")
var dog = new Dog("Smokie")
var fish = new Pet("Dora", "Fish")

playWithPet(cat);
playWithPet(dog);
playWithPet(fish);

Notice that we can call this function with any of the pet classes that we created. This is a very important concept as it means that we can create functions that use base classes and they will continue to work with classes that we create in the future giving us a lot of flexibility. Duck typing takes this a bit further by not even requiring the same base type. Lets test this by creating a non-pet duck class.

Duck = function(name) {
this.name = name;

this.makeNoise = function() {
printTestLine(this.name + " Quacks!");
}
}

// Testing duck-typing
printTestLine("---------");
printTestLine("Duck-typing test:");
var duck = new Duck("Daffy");
playWithPet(duck);

As you can see, the only requirement JavaScript has is that the method being called exists. The Duck class did not need to inherit from the pet class nor did it need to implement all the methods in the pet class, just the methods and properties that any function it was being called with requires.

For smaller programs, duck-typing is a very handy feature, but it can result in problems with larger projects. This is why interfaces are often used in place of duck-typing in languages like Java.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

5.4 Inheritance

One of the most powerful and most over-abused features of object oriented programming is the use of inheritance. The basic idea here is that there are a lot of classes of objects that have a lot of features in common. Instead of re-writing the same code repeatedly for similar objects, a hierarchy of related classes can be created. You start with a base class, also known as the parent, that has the base functionality it's children will inherit. To demonstrate this, lets create a base class for pets.

The pet class will have a name for the pet and a species for the pet. Pets will be able to greet their owner, and make a noise. First, lets take a look at the more modern ECMAScript 6 way of doing this. This is set up just like any normal class that we would have created in the previous section.


class E6Pet {
constructor(name, species) {
this.name = name;
this.species = species
}

greet() {
printTestLine(this.name + ", the " + this.species + ", comes to greet you");
}

makeNoise() {
printTestLine(this.name + " makes a noise");
}
}

var fish = new E6Pet("Nemo", "Fish")
fish.greet();
fish.makeNoise();


The old way of creating the base class is also the same way you would create a class using older versions of ECMAScript.

function Pet(name, species) {
this.name = name;
this.species = species;

this.greet = function() {
printTestLine(this.name + ", the " + this.species + ", comes to greet you");
}

this.makeNoise = function() {
printTestLine(this.name + " makes a noise");
}

}

var oldfish = new Pet("Dora", "Fish")
oldfish.greet();
oldfish.makeNoise();

Once you have a class that can be used as a base-class, you can create a new class that inherits the methods and variables of it's parent. This effectively gives you all the code that you have written in the base class. You can then add additional methods and variables allowing the new class to have the functionality of the base class while adding new features to the class. This alone would make inheritance worth doing, but it gets even more powerful. It is possible to override an existing method and replace it with another method that is more appropriate for the class you are creating.

In our example, different pets make different sounds so by overriding  the makeNoise method, we can create species specific noises. We will create a dog and a cat, with each of them having a unique noise and the dog being able to wag it's tail.

ECMAScript 6 makes inheritance very easy as you just use the extends keyword when you are creating a class. Sub-classes can have a different number of parameters, with the super method used to call the original code. Overriding the method is simply the matter of using a method with the same "signature." A method's signature is simply the method name and the particular parameters that make up the method. finally creating a new method is done by having a new method in the class.

class E6Cat extends E6Pet{
constructor(name) {
super(name, "Cat")
}

makeNoise() {
printTestLine(this.name + " Meows!");
}
}

class E6Dog extends E6Pet {
constructor(name) {
super(name, "Dog")
}

makeNoise() {
printTestLine(this.name + " Barks!");
}

wag() {
printTestLine(this.name + " wags his tail!");
}
}

var cat = new E6Cat("Lexi")
var dog = new E6Dog("Scruffy")

cat.greet();
cat.makeNoise();
dog.greet();
dog.makeNoise();
dog.wag();

The old way of inheritance is a bit more confusing as older versions of ECMAScript does not have a way of directly indicating inheritance so the programmer must manually set this up. JavaScript use prototype based inheritance where every class has a prototype that determines which methods it has. This prototype is used by the new operator to set up the class, but the prototype can be modified manually. The result is that there are many ways of setting up inheritance in JavaScript. The most common way is simply assigning the prototype of the class to the prototype of it's parent by using the new function.

function Cat(name) {
this.name = name;
this.species = "Cat";

this.makeNoise = function() {
printTestLine(this.name + " Meows!");
}
}
Cat.prototype = new Pet();

(Dog = function(name) {
this.name = name;
this.species = "Dog";

this.makeNoise = function() {
printTestLine(this.name + " Barks!");
}

this.wag = function() {
printTestLine(this.name + " wags his tail!");
}

} ).prototype = new Pet();

var oldcat = new Cat("Abby")
var olddog = new Dog("Smokie")

oldcat.greet();
oldcat.makeNoise();
olddog.greet();
olddog.makeNoise();
olddog.wag();

You will notice two slightly different styles for doing this. The cat way is the textbook way while the dog way is the way JavaScript code generated by Animate CC does things. You could also manually copy just the methods you are interested in, which can be a handy way of inheriting functionality from multiple different classes.

Inheritance is not just for reducing code duplication, but allows for a powerful technique known as polymorphism which we will be covering next.