Posts Tagged ‘Programming’

Re-coding complete and then some

May 4th, 2012 2 comments

I’ve completed re-coding my game from scratch and the code is much cleaner and much more reusable this time. I managed to add some background music and sound effects during attacks. I’ve also got a stage selection page working (though admittedly it’s not much at this point). I think it’s much more obvious now which units can still be moved, and the flow of each turn is much smoother (though you’ve lost the ability to attack before moving). The music and sound effects are just filler at the moment, I’m going to try and compose my own bg music at some point. As promised, here’s the video:

Please ignore the 2 spots in the video where the music skips forward. I had a couple bugs pop up that required me to review my code midway through the videos and didn’t have the time to figure out what was causing the errors.

I need some feedback on the control scheme. Currently, you choose to not attack anything by clicking on the unit again or by clicking on an empty attack square. I forgot to show it in the video, but if you click outside of the highlighted move/attack area, you cancel the turn (this can’t be done after an attack is completed). Should I change this? I found myself accidently choosing not to attack a couple times during testing. Would a menu that gives you the option to attack, end or cancel be more useful after the movement selection is complete? Your feedback is appreciated!

Decompilers Good, Hibernating Bad

February 11th, 2012 No comments

So I haven’t done any work at all on my game since last weekend. Mostly because losing a week’s worth of work on it was depressing me. I believe I’ve found a way to fix it, but it’s still a pain in the butt.

Hibernation Fail
Here’s what happened. I loaded up my computer on Tuesday night to start doing some coding. FlashDevelop was open when the computer put itself into hibernation due to a low battery. I pulled it up to see this:

FlashDevelop post hibernation

There might not appear to be anything wrong with that at first. The only problem is that when I shut down my computer on Saturday night, I had about 14 classes and there’s only 6 in that picture. I figured, “Well, that just must be because that’s what I had open.” So I browse to the folder where I had been saving all my files. Which I had been saving regularly. And what did I see? 7 files with the last modified date listed as 1/29/2012. Even though I had been working on my code as recently as 2/4/2012.

Looking For The cause
Now I can’t say for sure that it was the hibernation file that caused the issue. I don’t see how loading the contents of RAM should affect a folder full of files saved on the hard drive. I suppose it’s possible that “Saving” was only occurring in FlashDevelop’s memory, but that seems unlikely.

The odd part about it all, was that the compiled swf file – the one that’s created every time I try to debug the game – was still showing a last modified date of 2/4/2012. I loaded it up and, lo and behold, it was the same file I had pulled screenshots from last Saturday.

I still don’t know for sure what happened. But I’ve turned off all hibernation on the laptop just in case. I really don’t mind shutting it down every night when I’m done working. It forces me to save more often anyways.

Finding a Fix
I did try downloading a trial for a deleted files recovery tool. But it acted as if the files had never existed as well. I knew about the importance of securing your code before releasing it into the public. This is because it’s supposed to be really easy to decompile unencrypted flash files. I figured I would look for a decompiler and see what my finished swf file could give me.

I can tell you to NOT try sothink’s swf decompiler. It will let you see your code, but the local variable names will be changed and you can only copy out the code if you buy the full version.

I knew there had to be a free decompiler out there, so I googled “free actionscript 3 decompiler” and was led to F.L.A.S.W.F.. He had links to several decompilers and the one I decided to try was ASDec. Looking at the output I was surprised to find that every variable name is identical to the original version.

My Code Is Reborn!

The decompiler isn’t perfect though. It still has to leave out all the comments because those aren’t compiled at all. It also has many extra lines added in declaring variables and then initializing them on separate lines. Fortunately, it should recompile fine for now and I can update it as I go. I was really concerned for a couple days, but I’m ready to return to coding my game once again.

I’ve learned to appreciate decompilers, so long as they aren’t used to steal my game and pass it off as someone else’s. Anyone else every have computer nightmares resulting in lost code?

Move Engine Recompleted

February 4th, 2012 1 comment

Once again I can move my units as I desire. Next is the reprogramming of the AI. For now, enjoy this screenshot of the movement area, recreated.

3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back

Well, time to tuck into bed for the night. While it’s disappointing that I haven’t gotten back to where I was 2 weeks ago, I think I’ll be much happier with the code once it’s done. Just about every variable is private now and the classes are properly encapsulated.

Programming A Click and Drag Function

February 3rd, 2012 No comments

Last night I decided to program in a function to allow easier map scrolling when using mouse controls. Previously I had made it similar to the Wii’s turning functionality in first-person shooters. When you got near the edge of the screen, the game would start to scroll in that direction.

The problems arose when you were just trying to access buttons that were off screen because the game would try to scroll in the direction of the buttons. It was just too easy to accidentally scroll. And if you wanted to scroll to the other side of the screen from where you were, you needed to move your mouse all the way to the other side.

Enter Click and Drag
So last night, I decided I was going to make my game scroll when I clicked and dragged. This was a more intuitive interface, similar to the iPhone’s scrolling functionality.

My first attempt at setting this up had mixed results. The scrolling was jittery and it wasn’t 1:1 for some reason. Check out my code below to see if you can spot the error. For reference, the mouseDown function is called when the user presses the left mouse button while on the map, the mouseUp function is called when the user releases the left mouse button while on the map and the mouseMove function is called when the user moves the mouse around the playField, but only after the mouse button is pressed.

private function mouseDown(e:MouseEvent):void {
	this.startMouseX = this.mouseX;
	this.startMouseY = this.mouseY;
	this.startX = this.x;
	this.startY = this.y;
	this.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, mouseUp);
	this.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, mouseMove);
	Main.stageSprite.addEventListener(Event.DEACTIVATE, mouseUp);		

private function mouseUp(e:Event):void {
	this.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, mouseUp);
	this.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, mouseMove);
	Main.stageSprite.removeEventListener(Event.DEACTIVATE, mouseUp);	

private function mouseMove(e:Event):void {
	this.x = (this.startX - this.startMouseX + this.mouseX);
	this.y = (this.startY - this.startMouseY + this.mouseY);

Ignore the fact that the game will keep scrolling if you happen to release the mouse button while your mouse is outside the flash screen. I haven’t yet figured out how to fix that, so anyone that has a solution should let me know. If you can spot the other error in my code, then you’re a better programmer than I was last night.

The Solution
The problem, it turned out, was caused by my use of this.mouseX and this.mouseY. You see, as you move a sprite around, it’s mouseX and mouseY coordinates change to reflect the relative position of the mouse from the sprite’s (0,0) point, usually the upper-left hand corner.

What was happening was the game would update the mouse coordinates at the same time it tried to update the map’s coordinates. Resulting in what some would call hilarity, but what I called annoyance. To fix the problem, all I had to do was update the references to this.mouseX and this.mouseY to Main.stageSprite.mouseX and Main.stageSprite.mouseY.

Main is my initializing class and stageSprite is a static reference to a sprite that never moves. So as the map scrolled around, the stageSprite stays where it is and provides an accurate reference point to calculate how far the mouse has moved. Here are the results:

Starting Position

The ending point after one click and drag

So overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. I’m trying to reintegrate my old classes for moving units around and attacking other units now. The only problem is that I changed many of the variable names for my units and actually implemented private variables instead of public variables, so I have a lot of updates left to make before I can even run the game without compiler errors. Maybe I just need to program those classes from scratch too. As I write this I’m buzzing from my 2nd coffee this week (I only drink coffee 2-3 times per week to avoid developing a tolerance) and I’m probably feeling way too ambitious. Maybe that’s for the best.