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Ugh, stop twitching
software Posted 2000-12-21 08:45:12 by Jim Crawford
I love platform games. Super Mario 64 is the my most favoritest game ever, with Super Mario Bros 3 being not far behind. I've always wanted to make one.

So I did.

The problem with creating a game just because you want to make a game is that there's no driving force behind the design. Which is fine when you're coding the engine, but when it comes time to make enemies that aren't just blobs, you get stuck (though I do have an excellent sense of the FEEL I want out of a platform game, which helps).

And I've actually tried to do design. On-paper design, even. The problem is, whenever I sketch object animations, or lay out levels, or write what happens when you touch the teleport pad, I feel like a seven year old kid who's just played Super Mario Brothers for the first time and really wants to design his own game... it doesn't help that my handwriting looks like that of a seven-year-old.

That's not why I stopped work on Swarm, though. I stopped because I have no attention span. I can't work on a project for more than a month unless there's external pressure somehow (like was the case with Prodly).

In any case, a year or so later I rewrote it, because the old code really was pretty bad and I felt like working on it again. Again, I just got the basic engine done. I never got as far as the game switching between levels, but it's really quite fun to just run around in the one level I made for it. And it has a level editor, so you can play with that, too. It's not documented, but it's not particularly complicated either.

The same situation has come up again -- the code for the latest version really is pretty nasty. I don't know if this means that I'll be rewriting it again, but I can always hope.

Swarm screenshotHere's the latest version, written in March 2000: MS-DOS binary (211k) and DJGPP source (85k) (requires allegro and zlib). If you get the source, you'll probably want to get the binary as well, unless you want to figure out how to use my "utilities" to rebuild the main data file.

And here's the original version, written in February 1999. Watcom source and MS-DOS binary (63k) You can tell that this code was just begging for a C++ implementation -- a lot of it is already object-oriented. Or object-based, at least. I'm really not sure what either of those terms mean.

Incidentally, people have asked me why it's called Swarm. Well, same as Rolf, it's the first word that popped into my head after typing "mkdir". I think it may have something to do with the "this is the level where you have to jump over bees" quote from Gregg Tavares' essay: Game Design Secrets of the Greggman.

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