InterSceptre, One Year On

It’s been practically a year since I started developing InterSceptre in XNA, albeit based on a version I wrote in 2005 in C++ for DirectX 9. Snatching a bit of time on the train here, the odd evening there, I can finally see the finish line. From here it’s just housekeeping – sound, tombstoning, maybe some bonuses – and it’s done. Thanks to Ben and the guys at the XNA UK User Group for giving me the incentive to finish this one rather than just move onto the next (if you’ve heard the one about the engineer, the physicist and the mathematician – well, I’m the mathematician – when I can see the end is in sight, I’m tempted to move on to the next problem).

Work were able to offer me a Windows Phone 7 to test development on, which has been unimaginably helpful and improved the playability of the game no end. There’s nothing quite like seeing the game running on a piece of hardware to spur you on. So the last month has been quite productive. Since the last development update:

  • dual deployment – for Windows & XBox in one project and for WinPhone7 in the other – same code base, same content
  • the menu system has been upgraded to draw button-boxes around the options. This was needed in order for the menus to be usable on the phone. Lots of engineering under the hood to create hot-zones as click-targets, make the text appropriately centred, and so on
  • Added a “brick burst” explosion at the end of each round
  • Various improvements due to more experience with C# (such as Dictionary rather than Hashtable, Properties rather than getters/setters)
  • All movement and positioning code reworked to use Vectors rather than integer co-ordinates
  • Ripped out all frame counting for animation and movement, and replaced with proper GameTime controlled calculations
  • Addition of game effects – shadows, glow-balls – using Textures drawn in the code rather than pre-created as PNGs
  • Reworked title screen sequence

A lot going on. My aim is to demonstrate where I’m up to at next weeks’ XNA UK User Group meeting, garner one last round of feedback, with the aim of having InterSceptre ready to publish at the end of April – or, at least, the first public version of it. No doubt I’ll continue to tinker with it as time goes on, but the call of future projects is becoming too strong…


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