Category Archives: Novashell

Related to Novashell, my game making thing.

Mind Wall wins the 14th LD48 Competition!

My game Mind Wall wins the LD48 2-day game making competition!  You can see the final results here. (I’m mrfun)

Also, I sort of forgot to announce it when it happened but I also won the 11th LD48 last year, which means two in a row for me.  (Well, skipping the two LD’s I missed…)

Ok, done bragging.  Big thanks to the LD crowd, it’s always a (very hectic) blast.

Special  thanks to Clanlib and my game making thingy Novashell which both games used for rapid cross platform development.  48 hours rapid, yo.

But now I’m thinking… Mind Wall on the iPhone??? Hrm.

New Free game: Mind Wall for Win/OS X

Twist your brain into unlikely shapes as you dare to engage the Mind Wall in battle.  Will you be the first to work your way through its labyrinth of pain, and at what price, your SANITY?!

Yes, this is my Ludum Dare 48 hour game entry:  Mind Wall!

No two games are alike in this easy to learn and strangely harmonious and gripping experience.

Downloads (Last updated 9-2-2009, gamepad support and game installer/uninstaller added for windows version)

Windows Installer (98, 2000, XP, Vista)

OS X version (universal binaries)

The iPhone/iPad/Android/Palm WebOS versions (New stuff!  With new game modes and global high scores)

** HINTS **

No matter how impossible a level looks, I guarantee you there is ALWAYS a solution.

You can use Alt-Enter (Command-F on the mac) to toggle windowed/fullscreen mode.

Automated sprite rendering and cropping from 3DSmax

If you’re as lazy as me you want to be able to press one button (or run one .bat file) to get your game sprites rendered and processed right into the final format and directory, so you can see them in the game.

First, you need a model with animations. In this example, I’m using “Male NPC Pack” from Cubix Studio.

They make excellent stuff, easy to work with and very reasonably priced to boot.

Next, get Sprite Render Tool. It’s a neat little max script utility that automates the rendering of different angles.


I made a few additions to the script for my specific needs:

  • Always renders 0,1,2 etc even with frame skipping
  • Restores default settings upon most errors now (how they were before the script was run)
  • Added direction in text option (uses “left” in filename instead of the degrees)
  • Added “ignore directions that can be mirrored” option
  • Added way to reverse the rotation
  • Added “set_target_dir” command to batch commands
  • Add batch commands to change directions, nth frames, etc flexibly for certain anims
  • Automatically sets up batch.txt as the batchfile if found in the same dir as the model
  • Added dos_command_in_target_dir batch command, so I can do various dos-things on the fly

Here is my hacked up version if you want it:

Here is the Sprite Tool batch file used to render our three animations (walk, attack, idle) in all directions (actually 5, because we mirror some of them):

#help_batchfile usage: (outputfile) (startframe) (endframe)
set_target_dir "../../../bin/worlds/RT_TopViewRPGTest/script/char/man/art"
#Sure, I could just do *.png but who knows when a dir won't exist or something and it will run this in the
#wrong place  Safety first.

dos_command_in_target_dir "del walk*.png"
dos_command_in_target_dir "del idle*.png"
dos_command_in_target_dir "del attack*.png"
dos_command_in_target_dir "del die*.png"

nth_frame 13
directions 8
idle_$.png 6 65
dos_command_in_target_dir "smartcropper idle"

nth_frame 3
directions 8
walk_$.png 67 99
dos_command_in_target_dir "smartcropper walk"

nth_frame 3
directions 8
attack_$.png 406 424
dos_command_in_target_dir "smartcropper attack"

Note: My script requires that you install the free Max plug-in HiddenDOSCommand. If you have 3DS Max 9 64 bit, here is a 64 bit version I compiled.

Now, one issue with my particular game engine is all the sprites in a single animation should all be the same size, yet be small as possible.

In the example batch file above, the “smartcropper attack” command does this.

SmartCropper is a tiny command-line utility that scans a sequence of images, then crops them all at the smallest combined enclosing rectangle.

That way, you don’t have to worry about making the camera tightly fit the subject in Max.

Looking at the output, you can see it cropped the images to the best fit per sequence.


Here is SmartCropper with source (with a MSVS 2005 project), you’d need ClanLib if you wanted to modify/compile it.

Download Smartcropper with source

And here they are in the test RPG level, “Smart shadows” have been enabled for them.