In the beginning..



Hi. welcome back to the pixeljam game blog. I’m your host
Rich Grillotti. Today, I’m going to be giving you a tour of the original files that Miles began his game programming tests and experiments with. A little glimpse of how it all began.

But first, I’ve got to mention Gamma Bros progress briefly. to be honest it becomes more and more amazing to me every time Miles programs new stuff for it, and last night I came home to a Gamma Bros with SOUND FX!!! Oh my god. I can’t even explain how incredible it is to play with the awesome sound fx Miles added to the game. They’re amazing, and mostly based on sound fx and an 8-bit jam session (or two) by Mark DeNardo. Mark provided the raw material, Miles finessed them and added them to the game, attaching them the the most appropriate events and actions. The background space ambience is such a nice effect. He’s made it through Level 1 with sound fx, and he added Mark’s 8-bit instrumental song “Motherbox” (I’m pretty sure that’s the name) to the first boss battle. It rocks!!!! I was pretty amped playing the game before, ’cause it’s constant action, but the music and sound fx in that battle made it feel epic! I was really pumped up and blew them away with joy. ahh.. you’ll see. It will be FREE and It will be ready for beta testing very soon. 🙂

So, now let’s go back in time, maybe 2 years? or a year and a half? A while ago, when I first had this impulse to design an alternate version of the old Atari 2600 game Adventure for fun. I used to LOVE adventure. I still do. It’s amazing, and maybe the first game ever with a secret and a hidden area. The first role playing video game too. It really stuck with me, and I wanted to expand the universe of Adventure, so I started to design some new areas for the game, and Miles was going to use it as an opportunity to try to program a simple game for the the first time, using Flash/actionscript. The following are the first few experiments of his, in order. You can move the little block/character around with the arrow keys, however once you click on a thumbnail below and a new window pops open, you’ve got to CLICK IN THE GAME AREA WITH YOUR MOUSE. Otherwise the arrow keys will not do anything. It has something to do with defining the “focus” to what’s in the browser window.









make the block go into the other room.
don’t forget to click in the game area first.


pick up a key! move around with it.
don’t forget to click in the game area first!
how annoying.

this one doesn’t work so well..

pick up keys, watch one disappear.

similar to the last one.

pick up a bunch opf keys.
They don’t disappear.

pick up keys, drop them with space bar.
yellow key doesn’t open door yet..

yes! Open the yellow door with the yellow key!
drop keys with the space bar.

open the yellow door again..

attack of Miles’ first enemy!

There you have it. that’s where it all began. The idea of a sequel to Adventure was eventually dropped in favor of doing our own original game instead. 🙂 At the time I started to design characters and character animations, and “Game 01” was born. I will definitely write about that one in a future blog. it’s unfinished, but still a great game, similar to Adventure, but with robotron 2084 playing/shooting style, and more detailed characters and game area.

well, that’s all for now. I would love to share some of Gamma Bros with you, but maybe in a couple weeks, and you can see some screenshots in my previous blogs here. If you want to request to be a beta tester, you can email us at games@pixeljam.com. Maybe describe a little about why you think you’d make a good beta tester.

See ya!
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Gamma Bros is a good time


Hi! Today I’ve got a couple things to mention and some images to show, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I should be spending my time on making games, not talking about them! But, I suppose I can take a few minutes to keep people updated..

1) Rat from Ratmaze has been bugging me to help him create a myspace profile, so I went ahead and set one up for him. check it out if you want! http://myspace.com/ratmaze

Add him as your friend, send him a message or leave a comment. He’d love that. He’s pretty good at replying too. And he’s recently gotten into blogging.

2) Ratmaze stuff! I’m going to be setting up a whole selection of artwork based on Rat and Ratmaze soon on Cafepress.com. I’ve got one shirt up there so far, a “baby doll” womens T-shirt, which I actually made as a surprise gift for the person who motivated us to finish ratmaze in the first place, after I wrote the blog about how Ratmaze wasn’t going to happen. The URL to the shop is http://cafepress.com/ratmaze, and here’s what the first shirt looks like:

Check it out soon! I’ll be making a bunch of stuff available, including a mousepad 😉

3) Gamma Bros! It’s coming along so well! I’m officially addicted to it. It’s a lot of fun, and really wakes me up if I’m feeling tired. It’s kind of constant action. Miles thinks we’ll have it ready for beta testing in a couple weeks. If you think you’d like to request to be a beta tester, email us at games@pixeljam.com.

So, if you’d like to see, I went ahead and took some recent screenshots of the game in progress, and here they are! Brand new, exclusive screenshots just for the readers on my games blog. Actually, we give permission to use these screenshots for review and other press related purposes. Just please give credit to Pixeljam Games, and a link to games.pixeljam.com please. And let us know too, so we can see where it winds up. Thanks! Now for the screens. Click for larger versions:



Oh, and there’s one more.. I feel like I’m giving too much away, but I suppose if you’re taking the time to read this blog I should make it worth your while! Check it out, you can upgrade to better ships throughout the game! You’d better collect those space coins or you’ll be sorely disappointed. New ships are faster and have better armor than the one you start out with. You’ll also be able to purchase power-ups from that little orange guy when he comes by. He’s actually the “mini orange boss” from “Game 01”, which I’ll write more in depth about another time. In Gamma Bros, he knows how hard it can be to commute home sometimes with all those unreasonably hostile enemies attacking the whole time, so he tries to help the Bros. out.. but he’s also looking to make a buck, so you’ll need to have enough cash on hand. He doesn’t care THAT much. only as much as your wallet is large. And trust me, you’re gonna want to buy everything he offers.

That’s all for today! Visit Rat’s profile if you like and say hello. He’d be glad to hear from you.

Rich
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Ratmaze 0.5 exposed



Hello & welcome back! It’s time to lend a helping hand to all of you
Ratmaze players out there. I know, Ratmaze isn’t necessarily easy to beat with the “BEST” rating (under 127 seconds) but I’m here today with some assistance. I’ve created a Map of the game, and I’ve also created a version of the map with the route I took to get my best time of 102.3 seconds. It’s the best time I know of so far, but once you get a look at what I’ve got here, I’m sure it will be beaten promptly. After that, I’m going to reveal the original graph paper & pencil sketch of the Ratmaze 1.0 map that Miles created in the first place. A little “making of” type of stuff is always interesting.

So, Here’s the Ratmaze map, and then the map with the route that seems to work best for me so far. click thumbnails for a larger view:







Ratmaze map normal


Ratmaze map w/ Rich’s route

There you have it. I’ve even revealed one of the two secrets in the game. If you can’t get a better time after reviewing those maps, then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. keep practicing & I’m confident that eventually you will get a “BEST” time and see Rat do backflips!






And for anyone who is interested in the behind the scenes stuff, here’s a scan of the original maze design for Ratmaze. Click it for a larger view:




Pretty cool! I’m glad he dug it up recently. Very good timing for this blog. If anyone wants to use it for a background on their computer for some reason, I’ve also uploaded a 1240 x 1024 pixel version of it for monitors with that resolution setting here.

In other news, Gamma Bros. is coming along amazingly well. It’s great fun to play, and is becoming a game that I find myself really wanting to play! That’s a good sign. It’s like the space shooter we’ve always wanted. We totally revamped the weapon upgrade capsules last night and I think they look great! We’re getting close to having a finished beta version too, so if you’re interested in beta testing, send us an email. We’ve still got room for more beta testers.

More of something next week, and with any luck the end of March will be all about the release of the beta version of Gamma Bros 1.0b! woohoo!! That’s the hope, but don’t hold me to that.. this is all a voluntary labor of love and our time is subject to being stolen away in an effort to actually support ourselves.

for now, good luck getting better times on Ratmaze!
-rich
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Embed a half sized Ratmaze


Hello retro game lovers! Hope you all enjoyed the interview last week. Rat and Burger Boy are still on good terms. I think Rat already forgot all about Burger Boy’s cheesy transgression..

This week we’ve been working hard on Gamma Bros, and it’s getting closer and closer to being kinda done! It’s great fun to play so far. We’ll be Beta testing in a few weeks, so if you want to seriously help us test it out & make suggestions before most people will ever see it, please email us at games@pixeljam.com. First come first play.

So, Ratmaze! I’ve recently created a map for Ratmaze, and have outlined the route I took to get the best time I know of,
102.3 seconds. I’ll probably add that map and route outline to a new blog here in a few days. I have some finishing touches to make on it so it’s easier to follow.

Here’s something Miles put together for anyone who might like to embed ratmaze in their own web page or profile , etc. It’s a tiny, playable version of Ratmaze (without the music) and, well, ths is it right here. try it out:







Cute, huh? There’s even a RESET option now, (however it seems that if you actually finish the game and hit reset, it kinda breaks), so just reload the page if you want to play again after finishing. If you’re interested in adding this to your page or site, just add this code exactly as it is to your HTML, where you want the game to appear:


<embed src=”http://www.pixeljam.com/ratmaze/ratMazeEmbed.swf”
quality=”high” bgcolor=”#444444″ width=”248″ height=”240″
name=”ratMazeEmbed” align=”middle” allowScriptAccess=”sameDomain”
type=”application/x-shockwave-flash”
pluginspage=”http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer” align=”center” height=”240″ width=”248″> <!– Ratmaze copyright 2006 Pixeljam Games (Miles Tilmann & Richard Grillotti). http://games.pixeljam.com. Embed and play at your own risk. While this code is simple and shouldn’t cause any trouble, By using this code and playing this game you agree that we are not responsible for any errors, problems or performance slowdowns that may result from your use of this game and embed code. That said, enjoy it and thanks for playing! –>

So, there you go! I hope it works. Let us know if it doesn’t and I’ll add the code to an external text file instead. Also, watch out that you don’t already have a bunch of other stuff embedded in your page. There’s only so much some people’s browsers and computers can handle. If you do embed it, please add a visible link/credit somewhere near the game to our site “http://games.pixeljam.com”. That would be great. Thanks!

Okay, Ratmaze cheat map coming soon…

-Rich
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Interview with a Rat


Hello World! This week I’ve got Burger Boy with me here in the studio. He’s going to be helping out since Miles and I are spending most of our time working with the Gamma Bros to get their game finished before the end of March (2006). It’s going to be tough but we think we can do it. Let me quickly introduce Burger Boy and then I’ll be off to create some nice gems for Buzz and Zap to collect on their journey through space! We’ve also got an interview with Rat from Ratmaze coming up later.

Rich Grillotti: Hi Burger Boy. How’s it going?

Burger Boy: Great, thanks. Do you mind if I eat this while we talk?

RG: Not at all. I kind of expected it.

BB: [munch, munch..]


RG: So, Burger Boy, Do you mind being called “Burger Boy”?

BB: Nah, it’s o.k. It’s a nickname people call me for some reason, but I don’t really care. [munch, munch.. chomp]. As long as I’ve got burgers!

RG: Ha ha, great. It seems to work for you, & your… um .. interests..

BB: Huh? [munch, gulp].

RG: here, have another.

BB:Thanks! [grab].

RG: Now, I realize most people out there don’t know who you are yet. Let me briefly explain how I know you. Burger Boy here had a somewhat major role in our first game, the other one that we half finished and had to put aside due to lack of time and $$, and as well, because it was far too large in scope to finish in any reasonable amount of time. Referred to thus far as “Game01”, it’s the same odd, epic action/adventure game that the Gamma Bros first appeared in, as well as Rat, Dude, little pooper, Guy and the Mini Orange Boss. I’ll probably write a blog about Game01 one of these days, so keep an eye out for that one folks. With any luck (and help) we’ll revisit the game itself in a year or so, but it’s really going to depend on if we have the support of our fans/audience in 2006, or find other opportunities that allow us to keep on making games AND paying our rent & bills. We’ll see what happens.

BB: Cool. I hope you make it. I get to eat lots of burgers in that game, and there’s that one REALLY BIG burger that kept running away from me! That was great. I’m getting hungry thinking about it. [munch munch munch] ….

RG: Yeah, that was cool. I’ll tell you something you might not know.. Miles and I might just make a mini-game you can star in before we get back to Game01. no promises, but we’d like to do it.

BB: Awesome! Would there be Burgers?

RG: Of course! Lots of them.

BB: Yeah!! make it happen, please! [drool..]

BB: Do you mind if I grab another Burger?

RG: Not at all. They’re all for you.

BB: yes!! [grab!] ..[chomp..]

RG: Um.. you, uh, might want to take a drink once in a while, no?

BB: Huh? Oh yeah. [munch, munch] ..[slurrp]

RG: Okay, well it’s time for me to go. Mr Rat is now here with us as well. Hi Mr. Rat!

Rat: Squeek!

RG: Oh! Oops, let me hook up this rat/english translator..

RG: Okay, done. Say hello to the world Mr. Rat.

Rat: Hi!

Rat: You can just call me “Rat”, no Mr.

RG: Okay Rat. And you guys know each other already from Game01, right?

Rat: Yup.

BB: Uh huh. And I played Ratmaze as well. That’s a great game. I can really relate to the storyline.

RG: I bet! Okay times up for me guys, have fun. See you both later on.

BB: See ya.

Rat: Later !


BB: So, what do we talk about?

Rat: I don’t know. You mind if I eat some cheese while we do this?

BB: Nope. [Munch munch..] I’ve got burgers myself.

Rat: I love Cheese. [..nibble..]

BB: Oh yeah? I like Burgers. A lot!! I really really like burgers. [chomp.. munch.. munch]

Rat: Oh. I really love cheese. I can’t get enough! [..nibble]

BB: Hmm..

BB: So, Rat, have you ever had a burger?

Rat: No. I like cheese. [nibble.. nibble]

BB: They’re great. You should try one some time. [Munch.. Munch]

Rat: I don’t know. Maybe. [nibble .. nibble, chomp..]

BB: I liked Ratmaze a lot! It made me really hungry. I wish I was in a game like that with Burgers!

Rat: Ratmaze is my most fun ever! I love eating all that cheese. What nice guys Miles and Rich are to make all that cheese for me.

BB: Yeah, I’m jealous.. I need another burger. You want me to grab you some more cheese?

Rat: Yum!! Thanks!

BB: [grab] [CHOMP!!] Yummy.

Rat: [swipe.. nibble nibble..] Mmmm.. squeeeek!

BB: You know, I like cheeseburgers too.

Rat: Yum. Lots of cheese on it right?

BB: I like mostly Burger on my burgers, but the cheese is good. I like ketchup too. Or Bar-b-que sauce. I want a cheeseburger now!

Rat: [nibble.. chew..]

BB: So, what else?

Rat: More cheese!

BB: Yeah, and another Burger.. [swipe.]

BB: [munch .. munch..] So, Um, What would you think would be the coolest thing ever?

Rat: Wow. I guess It would be maybe a mountain of Cheese! I could live on it forever and it would never run out, and have all kinds of different parts and caves with different cheese. Oooh, or maybe it would be a volcano, and it would erupt lots of hot melted cheddar cheese, or nacho cheese!! Oh wow!! Wow wow!! [nibble.. nibble.. chomp.. chomp chomp..]

BB: For me it would probably be the hugest burger ever! Or maybe a whole warehouse filled to the ceiling with regular burgers!! And I’d have to eat my way to the door, but I couldn’t leave until I finished every last burger! [..drool..] And the next room was the same thing!! Maybe a huge mansion or skyscraper or something like that so the burger would never end!

Rat: Dude, I think the burgers in other rooms would get moldy and bad.

BB: well, so would your cheese mountain! Cheese goes bad too I think.

Rat: I’d eat it all really fast then.

BB: well, me too.

BB: Hey Rat, I think the cheese delivery guy is here, can you check the door?

Rat: Really! Wow, okay!

BB: [Swipe!] [lift .. place..]

Rat: Aww, no one was there.. HEY!! Where’s my Cheese??!!

BB: I don’t know..

Rat: [Sniff.. Sniff] Huh!! There it is, in your burger! You tricked me!

BB: Ha ha, yeah. Sorry. I really wanted a cheesburger.

Rat: well, I want to eat some too.

BB: Okay, you can have a little.

Rat: Hmph.. thanks, I guess.. I’ll try it. Then I’ve got to get back to the maze.

BB: Okay. Let’s eat it. It was nice talking to you.

Rat: I guess. You stole my cheese.

BB: yeah.. whatever.. Let’s eat!

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