Binary Cocoa Turns the Lights On

Vikings is the first game that we have coded a lighting engine for. We have used shaders before but this task went above and beyond and nearly crashed our brains. We went through many jars of bean dip before we were able to figure it out. Our friend Braxton Huggins put his brain to the grindstone and churned out the maths. Joseph gave him much needed help and they were able to make something that looks like this:

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Excellent!

If you look closely you can see the viking ship at the bottom with it’s own light source that moves with it as it climbs through the cave. Having this lighting engine opens up several possibilities for us such as having lit up projectiles, enemies, heroes and even sheep! We have already implemented extinguishable objects which adds to the overall eerie atmosphere within the game. We are more than open to sharing our lighting code if anyone wishes.

We’re all still working full time jobs (except Stephen who has triumphantly returned to Idaho from Virginia) and it doesn’t leave us an enormous amount of time to work unfortunately, but we put in hours when we can. We hope to port the bits of reusable code from the previous vikings build and get it working on mobile phones soon! Keep your eyes peeled for possible testing opportunities and other exciting news.

Check back next week!

Binary Cocoa Pushes Ahead on Collider

Exciting times are directly ahead for Binary Cocoa with their Steam release of Collider! The game is 99% percent complete, and as many developers know that last 1% percent is the hardest part to complete. We are squashing the bugs and introducing new ones in the process. We have perfected the two game modes we have and are contemplating adding a third…but we won’t have you all holding your breathe for it.

Our release plan is to put the game up on itch.io for a prerelease and then move on to Steam and Humble Bundle. We hope you all will enjoy it as much as we’ve had fun testing it! It’s a blast to play with two or more players. Once you get eight players in it gets super chaotic. Use it to make new friends or enemies if you wish!

Vikings has been creeping along smoothly as well. Our friend Braxton Huggins implement a lighting system for us that will light up the boat, flames and enemies while the rest of the cave remains shrouded in darkness. It’s starting to look really eerie. Awesome!

Check back for more updates soon!

How to Animate Sprites in Tiled

When I first started animating for Binary Cocoa I would usually draw my sprites and give them to Joseph hoping they would turn out alright. Sometimes I would check them in After Effects but the process was kinda tedious so I used a trial and error approach. Thankfully the results weren’t horrible all the time, but we might have avoided so many disasters if I just had a simple animation function. Thankfully, Tiled came with one! Here is how I use it:

1. Assemble your sprite sheet so that each sprite is the same width and height. Here is a sprite sheet I created for Hexapod Defense Force:

spritesheet

2. Drop your sprite sheet into Tiled and make sure you enter in the dimensions for one tile. You will see your sprite sheet on the left side of the program and it will divided for you.

3. Select View and Tile Animation Editor. You’ll see your sprite sheet in the middle of the editor. Double click your sprites in the order you wish to have them animate.It’ll show you a preview of your animation in the bottom left corner:

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4. Click close and watch your animation! Make some adjustments as it needs it. Hopefully you’ll find that your animation skills benefit from you have a program that lets you easily check your animations. The initial measuring of sprites can be a little cumbersome to the uninitiated but if you can wrangle that aspect you’ll be soon be flying.

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Check back here weekly for Binary Cocoa updates and game development tips!

How We Establish Collision Zones in Tiled

Recently we have recoded Vikings and have decided to implement maps we built in Tiled. This has been advantageous for many reasons including being able to build larger maps with less art assets. It has also allowed us to establish collision zones by setting a specific layer to be the collision layer. Let me explain this in a a more visual fashion!

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Here is a screenshot from the newest version of Vikings (which is still very much under construction). If you look at the picture you can see we’ve outlined our collide-able objects for testing. You can also see that we’ve outlined the cave walls with squares and triangles that define where the collision zones are. I was able to define these collision zones in Tiled by setting properties:

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As you can see I had my terrain tiles laid out and I gave each piece of each nine tile a property by clicking on the plus at the bottom of the program. I labeled each property “shape” and gave it a number. The number represents what kind of shape it is:

shapes

I labeled each square piece of the nine tile with a 1. That way when you code the game you can say that each tile that is labeled 1 will show up as a collide-able object. I’ve labeled my triangle corner piece 4,5,2 and 3 because they each have unique characteristics but will behave just like the squares.

Using this approach can open up a variety of possibilities for 2D game developers. You can make any shape you would like and at any size! If you code things right you could even have mineable levels or ones that explode, fall apart, or reshape.

Hopefully this short tutorial has been of some help to you, and if you have any questions, praise or jibes please leave them in the comments below!

Binary Cocoa Explodes Into 20,000 Particles

Blender is an amazing tool with capabilities that extend far beyond my meek imagination. Without having a teacher to tell you how to use the tools you kind of have to do some guesswork and dedicate a couple hours to discovering them. Or you could watch a YouTube video and follow the steps they take, and garner Blender knowledge as you go along. This proved to be a success when I followed the steps for making a dissolving text animation from watching a video from tutor4u. Here is what I was able to create:

Boom! Our company name explodes into 20,000 cocoa colored particles. Delicious.

This turned out to be a great practice that helped me understand how to use the camera and adjust the power of the lamp. You too can make your own exploding text by following the steps shown in this video.

As for other Binary Cocoa related things we would like to acknowledge that we are still alive and making games. Collider is on it’s way to Steam and Vikings has some new maps and an almost total art and code overhaul. BOCO has been picking up some attention as well as Hexapod Defense Force and we are very grateful. Thanks for keeping us alive!

How to Make Terrains in Tiled Map Editor

Hey there, humans! Know what’s really cool about using the Tiled Map editor? You don’t have to place every single terrain tile by hand like a goon (like I was doing). Instead you can follow these handy steps to building large terrains within a matter of minutes instead of countless hours. This should save you one or two head slams to the wall.

1. Draw your terrain tile map. For your tile map you are going to draw nine land tiles and four corner tiles. There are several ways you can arrange these but I like to use the format shown in the picture below. The land tiles are the nine to the left and the corner tiles are the four to the right. Each tile should be EXACTLY the same amount of pixels high as they are wide, otherwise it might appear to look off. For this demonstration I have made all of my tiles 100 pixels high by 100 pixels wide.

landscapeMap1

 

The hardest part of drawing a terrain is probably figuring how to draw the corners. Here is what my corner pieces look like:

corners

Note how the grass is in the center of the corners. This represents the top, bottom, left and right corner edges that you will need to complete your terrain map. The easiest way to draw this is to sample the surface colors of your land tiles and put them right in the center of your four corner tiles.

2. Drag your map into Tiled and select the terrain button. You can find this button on the bottom right:

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3. Click the plus button to create a new terrain. Name it something you’ll remember

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4. Outline your terrain. Use the blue outlining tool that will automatically appear when you mouse over your map. Click and mark it like so:

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5. Select the terrain tab and your terrain. Once you have it selected go ahead and draw your terrain on the grid! Try making some interesting shapes and layers to make it have some depth. Here is what mine ended up looking like:

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6. Add some eye candy. Adding objects makes the map look much more interesting:

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Okay! Now we are on our way to making something interesting. I didn’t put as much time as I would have liked into the drawing of these assets, but hopefully this inspires you enough to go out and draw something awesome. Check back in the next upcoming weeks as we go over how to implement maps into games, among other interesting topics. If you have any questions or topic suggestions leave us a message in the comments below!

Openwest 2015 Recap

So the conference is officially over.  After months of preparation, planning, coding and other interesting or not so interesting tasks, everything came together for the event. So here’s a quick recap of how everything went.

On the first day, we started our BOCO tournament.  For those of you that don’t know, BOCO is a turn based strategy game.  We used this conference as a launch event it and had a smartwatch for the winner.  We tried to schedule the tourney games between sessions, but next year, we’ll likely need to do something else.  There simply wasn’t enough time between sessions to do things as nicely as we wanted.  That being said, it al l still went exceptionally well.  People seemed to really enjoy it, with many people giving us excellent feedback.  We hope to have a version that integrates this feedback released within a few weeks.

As the BOCO tourney continued forward, people began to learn more about the strategies and began trying different approaches to win.  The final set of games were very well played with the players staying after the set was finished to continue playing against each other.  There are few things more rewarding than seeing people really enjoying a game that you’ve had a part in creating.

Throughout the conference, we had our arcade cabinet set up to show off Collider.  This was also a huge hit, especially since we could have four people playing at once.  We have a lot of things we’re needing to do to finish it, but we’ve gotten some votes on our Greenlight page and some great feedback. We’ll be moving forward with launching it within a few months on Steam!

So until the next Open West conference we will be hunkering down to develop some really cool games! Vikings is also still in the pipe to be delivered sometime this year we hope. We have our fingers and toes crossed that Stephen will learn how to build 3D assets in Blender to produce 2D sprite sheets. This should make the game look pseudo 3D and set it apart from our other games artistically, but in an awesome way. We should have some art put up here soon so keep checking back for some Blender goodness mixed with Tiled Map Editor! Until then let us reflect on the good times, party hard, and code away.

Collider Has Been Greenlit

Collider has been greenlit by Steam! The crew at Binary Cocoa has been celebrating by buying everyone on the team a new lamborghini. This will probably prove to be very foolish, but nobody ever said we were good at financing.

The truth is we are very grateful to everyone that has helped us out on this great journey. We’ve met so many amazing developers at the past OpenWest conferences that have helped us out and couldn’t be more humbled. We’re determined now more than ever to deliver a product that will shine and not stink. We’ll be implementing a lot of the feedback we recieved at the conference such as adding more juice graphically and updating the sounds and music. We’ve been putting our heads hard to the grindstone to churn this game out and will hopefully be releasing within the next few months! Check back soon to see the final release news, or check it out for yourself on Steam.

OpenWest Day One Recapture

Day one at the OpenWest conference here in Orem, Utah has been a blast so far! We walked away from our booth with barely the power to stand after being swamped all day. We met a lot of awesome people and had a good crop of competitors sign up for the great BOCO showdown tomorrow! Here are some pictures of our booth from today:

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We certainly had a good deal of traffic and are expecting to see some more commotion throughout the next two days. We’ve been working like mad to spread the word about the release of our game BOCO, and getting our other game Collider greenlit on Steam Greenlight. We’ve seen some interest grow and are extremely happy with the results.

Forward ho to tomorrow!

Binary Cocoa Gets Real

The OpenWest conference is coming up in a week now! Everyone at the Binary Cocoa team is working like crazy over this next week to make sure we are fully prepared for the awesomeness. This year we have an event in mind that will hopefully generate some in interest in what we’ve been up to for a while now.

Our main attraction will be our game BOCO that we released last month. We’ll have the arcade cabinet there so that people can stop and play while they’re making the rounds. To make things more interesting we’ll be holding a tournament where the winner will receive the grand prize of a Pebble watch! We know you want the internet on you at all times, and what better way could there be to starting your journey to being an all powerful robot than adding more machinery to your person?

Let the technapocalypse begin!

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Come to our booth to get more information on how to get in the competition! Or just come to hang out with us and discuss game dev. It’s kind of our lives.