Hi there! You've probably reached this page from the Freeplay website in search of the elusive 'Up Down Ready' which took Best Design in this year's awards.

UPDATE: Hello! If you've arrived here from StumbleUpon, why not go play the game now on Kongregate! With high scores and EVERYTHING.

The versions of the game that were on this page were hosted on Dropbox. Since the recent spike in traffic, Dropbox has cut off access to my public folder. I will hopefully be migrating this stuff across to an actual server, but the version on Kongregate is the official release.

I'm Delia, the Sword Lady half of Sword Lady and the Viking. You can find my teammate over here. We are third year students in the Games Design course at Griffith University, and Up Down Ready (previously known as Horse) is our first semester project from this year, made using Adam Atomic's free Flixel library.

We entered it in the Freeplay Awards for a lark, and were incredibly surprised and excited to make it to the finals and take away an award. We hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed making it!

- Delia

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Also also

Before I go to bed, the current build of Horse. The code has progressed a long way since the last build (hey, don't knock it, it got me a job), but the inclusion of assets has gone backwards. Lots of placeholders here - squares in the background will be randomly spawning stars, stuff like that. Asset handling is still a little messy, hence the large filesize. I'm a-working on it, as per my previous posts. Apologies to Henrik and Kai for not having all their rad art in at the moment.

There's a new mode though!

You guys! It's going to be SO RAD SOON.


Okay so this is mostly a note for myself so that I remember when I go to work on it later.

But I SHOULD be able to fix some performance issues with the sound system by using UnityEngine's Object.GetInstanceId(), which returns a guaranteed unique id for every object. I can concat the unique gameObject id with the name of the soundEffect that has been paired with it and use that as the key when I want to lookup that specific soundEffect instance again.

Which in turn means I can eliminate the Transform.FindChild() call I am making in startLooping and stopLooping.

Which, gentle readers, should make it run faster since I am not searching a gameObject hierarchy every time a sound system method is called.

That said, you should still only be calling startLooping or stopLooping once on a state change, not every frame the object is in a state that needs a sound effect.


News from the northern front, at last! Also: using SWC files with Flixel in Flex Builder 3

Ohai there.

Apologies to anyone reading for the lapse in posting over the last couple of weeks. THINGS have been HAPPENING.

The main thing being that within the space of the last week, I put together a resume and folio, went to an interview and got offered a job as a Flash programmer and game designer at 3 Blokes Studio. I'm to start next Thursday, so everything is a bit of a scramble at the moment.


I have been looking into better ways of importing assets in Flixel. It is kind frustrating and there aren't many good ways to do it, because Flixel really is designed to use embedded graphics. Which in the case of Horse will mean a zillion frigging lines of embedding all the sprites. This is not code which I want to have to write. And anything that involves reading files from a folder makes it a pain in the butt to put on the interwubs.

I just spent several hours looking into using an SWC exported from the Flash IDE as mentioned here. The linked post discusses how to do in a regular AS3 Project in Flex Builder, where you can happily access Flash's MovieClip or BitmapData classes with no problems.

Unfortunately it's not quite as simple for the Flixel library. In order to be useful, a graphic must be loaded into a FlxSprite instance so that all of Flixel's clever collision magic can happen. As far as I understand it (and I might be wrong), to do this, you need pass in a class that inherits from Bitmap - which is exactly what gets created when you embed an image directly in an AS3 file, thus:

[Embed(source = "data/bg2.png")] protected var ImgBG2:Class;

The Flash IDE, however, exports JPEGs and PNGs as extensions of the BitmapData Class, which Flixel's FlxSprite can't use as input.

I spent some time grovelling over these threads trying to figure out what to do - it seemed like the only way to use these BitmapData classes was to directly modify the .pixels property of the sprite, which sort of defeats the purpose of handing Flixel a spritesheet and telling it to go do its stuff.

But then I found THIS, which solves everything magically with a few lines. So thanks to Flixel forum user L_O_J for that fix.

Ok, so there is still some faffing around that needs to be done with loading the sprites. But I am content with the amount of embedding and related horrors that this will save me.

SO. Here is how to do it.

1. Open up Flash and import all your graphics into a new .fla file. (I'm going to assume you're clever enough to not need screenshots for this bit).

The next part unfortunately could be a bit of a grind, depending on how many assets there are.

2. Export the graphics for ActionScript. EDIT: Export in frame 1 MUST be ticked, or Flash won't export the files to an .SWC when you publish.

2a. Make sure the ActionScript class names DO NOT include a filename extension, such as .jpg or .png, because that makes ActionScript explode when you try to access the class. There doesn't seem to be a way to get flash to import files without including the extension, so yeah, this bit is not so great if you're doing it in bulk.

I would recommend taking the file extension off the end of the library item name and then selecting all the items and exporting them all in one go, rather than exporting one by one.

There's always this extension for Flash which you could use, but it's only useful if you don't need specific naming conventions.

3. Go to Publish Settings and make sure it is set to export an SWC file when it publishes

4. Publish the file

5. In Flex Builder, go to the properties for whatever project you want to use the assets in. Under ActionScript Build Path, click on Library Path and Add SWC, and point it to the SWC you just created.

6. This bit is crucial for use with Flixel! Add the following code to the FlxG.as file of the Flixel library, as shown here:

This at the top of the file:

// needed for processing bitmapdata

import flash.utils.getQualifiedSuperclassName;

And this in the addBitmap() function:




/*replaces/adds to the following line:

_cache[key] = (new Graphic).bitmapData;

code found at http://flixel.org/forums/index.php?topic=628.msg4563#msg4563

thanks to flixel forum user L_O_J*/

var classType:String = getQualifiedSuperclassName(Graphic);

if (classType.indexOf("BitmapData") == -1)


_cache[key] = (new Graphic).bitmapData;




_cache[key] = new Graphic(0, 0);



if(Reverse) needReverse = true;


And there! You should now quite happily be able to access the files by class name as if they were embedded in the .as files, without the hassle of copying filepaths and assigning new class names.

Friday, May 14, 2010

For certain values of progress

I am currently (still) working on refactoring the code for Horse. Because it is a mess.

This is largely due to the fact that we are on such a tight schedule - I never got the time to throw away my original prototype and rebuild the game on a more solid base. In addition to this, we didn't have a full design treatment before we had to start producing working builds, so I couldn't account for what was going to go into the game.

The net result is that there are hacks on top of hacks and weird bits of redundant code, which I am in the process of fixing up.

I'm a bit behind on the sound system. Hoping to get some more stuff into that over the weekend and have a preliminary music handler built this coming week so I can focus on producing the actual music and sound effects for the games.

Friday, May 7, 2010


On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to actually integrate the early sound system build into a few projects to see if it would explode horribly. So far it hasn't, although a number of inevitable bugs have been revealed by the in-project testing, which were fixed on the fly.

The current version of the sound system is now active in Blockets, Bullet, and the non-GFS project Migration. It went straight into both Blockets and Bullet with no real problems, and the coder on the Migration Project (Michael the Machine) is currently working to allow the system to talk to the gameplay engine he's written (most of which sits outside Unity and interfaces with the scene through a single class).

There was some good feedback from my fellow developers about what other kinds of functions they would like to see in the system, as well, which I diligently wrote down on my list.

I also had a chat to the Islands team about sound for their game, and this was what really got me thinking - their game has five unique areas with distinct soundscapes, which means I need a bigger and more complex class structure to contain this stuff and allow things to be called when required.

Without further ado, this is a list of ideas that I will be considering for the next build of the sound system, in no particular order.

- functions to fade sounds in and out and set volume

- functions to set up sounds that need to be attached to gameObjects (and possibly functions to kill them if they are no longer needed)

- "Sound Scape" objects, which contain all the sounds for a specific area of the game, with master play, stop and fade functions

- "Sound Sets", which contain arrays of related sounds (eg. various similar explosion sounds), so you could do things like this:

  • play the sounds from the array in a set or random order at a set or random interval
  • play a random one-shot sound from the set
-"Paired Sound" objects, which contain an 'initialisation' sound (eg. a jetpack firing up) and a looping sound that seamlessly follows it

That's my thinking so far, and what I will be working on with regard to the sound system over the next week or so. Other suggestions for useful things to do with sound are most welcome!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Who put this milestone here? I could have tripped!

Behold the milestone build for Horse. May take a while to load, it has music in it. Probably should start thinking about a preloader for it:

Arts are by Henrik and Kai. Music is either written and arranged, or just borrowed and arranged, by me. Also I scripted it. Controls are still only and ever up and down.

It has shiny! Also, more bugs. While I was busy trying to make it more milestoney, I uncovered and created a variety of weird behaviours that I need to fix in the next iteration. But it has pictures! And a new mode! And bad jokes!

Contains retarded Musagi renditions of part of the Amazing Horse theme from this video (NSFW), and also 'U Can't Touch This'.

Apologies to both Weebl and MC Hammer for butchering their music! I'm pretty sure since this is non-commercial and educational use that it falls under 'fair use', but if not I can just take it down.