Mar 19, 2005

This is the home of Mr. Phil Games, a startup independent game developer. What is an independent game developer? Like independent films they are typically small budget, big-hearted creations whose creator has chosen artistic control and vision over big budget support and distribution. In Mr. Phil Games’ case, Indie means it is all done by me: Philip J. Ludington.

I’m working in my free time to create a science fiction strategy game. A sort of Star Trek meets Risk meets World War II, a genre sometimes called 4X or empire builder. The player is put in charge of a fledgling spare-faring civilization and he must shepherd it through the hostile galaxy to victory. Naturally victory is a complicated condition and so it can be achieved in many different ways. Hear more about my on going work in my blog.

Bzzzzz dump

Last .Plan’s Results:
So I’m definitely a T2D convert. I’ve halted all work on my custom engine and am going 100% T2D. I did the tutorial and liked it a lot. Here’s a small screen capture of my game’s starmap in T2D (can you find the fleet icon?)

And here it is zoomed out.

I also added a splash screen.

I’ve stopped my work on adding Torque script as a language to Visual Studio. It will take a sizable effort to accomplish and I’d rather work on my game or website.

I’ve picked UltraEdit (v11) as my Toque Script editor because it is inexpensive, has the best smart indenting, allows me to add Torque Script as a language pretty easily, and I can customize the highlighting colors. The one feature it has that stands out among them all is the function jumping/listing tool. Navigating using this make life SOOOO much easier.

The only thing I wish it had was the magic formatting feature you get with Visual Studio .Net. Oh well, maybe that’ll be in the next version. Here’s a list of why I eliminated all the other options (note the list is rough because some things I scratch off the second they where unintuitive or missing a feature I wanted):

[url=]EditPlus[/url] – No smart indenting and for $30 might as well get UltraEdit and get smart indenting! (To be fair this was my third choice)
[url=]jEdit[/url] with [url=]TIDE[/url] – Slow, function jumping system stupid, no brace formatting and no projects of course this will come back to haunt me when I want to debug.
[url=]NotePad[/url] – Name a feature. It doesn’t have it.
[url=]Eclipse[/url] with [url=]TorqueEdit[/url] – My Microsoft centric brain can’t comprehend your advance Java GUI concepts
[url=]Brain Editor Professional[/url] – Demo was expired when I installed it, didn’t take time to fight with it
[url=]ConTEXT[/url] – Good file browser, semi-auto-indenting, Free! I almost picked this one.
[]MultiEdit[/url] – $495!!! You realize what that kind of money that is? You can freaking get a new computer for $500! I doubt Microsoft’s Visual Studio Express will costs more than that!
[]SlickEdit[/url] – an eclipse plug-in, see My Microsoft centric brain above.
[]Vim[/url] – nice in that command line, telnet kind of way
[]Emacs[/url] – didn’t bother, see Vim

[url=]Textpad[/url] – no brace matching formatting, or auto complete
[url=]Crimson Editor[/url] – looked like so many I had tried already so I didn’t bother
[url=]Jens’ File Editor[/url] – according to website is doesn’t have brace matching, function jumping or auto complete so I didn’t bother downloading it, but it was a clever idea to give it a girls name.

I also figured out a cool way to make UltraEdit help me find compile errors in the console log. I added the log as a syntax language and defined the error messages as functions. This way they show up as a list in the function-jumping window. I promise to add it as a resource down the road when I’ve ‘dog fooded’ it for a while.

My new tasks:
– Add simple main menu screen with new game button
– Add short command line switch to by-pass the tedious splash screen and main menu I just got done adding. 😀
– Get object picking so I can place more fleets
– Add Purchase
— Allow user to click on icons of items he wants to buy
— Allow user to click on items in ‘shopping cart’ to change mind about buying that ten billion dollar Battleship with full compliment of fighters
— Guess they’ll need a commit or next button to finish the phase.

Torque 2D Stealth Launch

The big news last week was the stealth release of Torque 2D, more affectionately know as T2D. I’ve already started a parallel version of my game using it and I feel certain that it is going to overpower my current version by the end of the month.

I’ve enjoyed working with and learning T2D so much that I wrote a review for the product:
“T2D is a great introduction to the Torque family. It quickly gets your hands dirty with Torque Script, and the architecture of the core engine. I personally had trouble getting into the groove with the Torque Game Engine (TGE) but with T2D I immediately started making progress and understanding how the engine worked.

One thing I like about working with T2D is that the skills you are building are directly applicable to the TGE. So down the road I can tackle a 3D project without having to start all over again.

Another great aspect of T2D is the energy of the community. The boards are buzzing with helpful and cooperative people and everyone is helping each other fix their problems and improving their understanding of the engine. It is a no brainier win… buy it NOW!”

My review is weaker than I’d like it to be, but I wanted to support the creator as much as I could. So this is my quick and dirty but positive review for now. Luckily, the Garage Games site lets you update (edit) reviews. So down the road when I have more details to spill I can improve it.

One of the less talked about things regarding T2D is its creator Melv May. Melv is a start-up Indie too, meaning he has a ‘normal’ day job and then works on T2D in his spare time. It is really inspiring to see someone achieve what he has while holding a day job. (Not to mention he has a wife and new born.) It is a good example of what can be achieve by perseverance, commitment and love for a project. It gives me inspiration and hope that I can bring my game into reality.


When I am not writing about making games, procrastinating or watching movies I’m working on a science fiction strategy game (sometimes called 4X or empire builder.) Email me questions, ideas and jokes at mrphil (at) mrphilgames . com