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The blog is being migrated and merged with multiple Imphenzia blogs so the format and content will be inconsistent for a while.

Beat Ball 2 1.2.1 Cracked in a Week

Beat Ball 2 ScreenshotLast week I had to release a new version of Beat Ball 2 (version 1.2.1) because a recent move from Lightspeed to Apache at my web hotel resulted in the Internet Highscores feature breaking.

Following delivery of HTTP headers, Apache starts off the content by telling a browser how many bytes the content contain whereas Lightspeed did not provide such a figure. The internet highscore feature wasn't expecting the content length so it interpreted the number as an error message instead. I should have intepreted HTTP response better from the start, but you live and learn.

Anyhow, moving on to the topic of this post. Less than a week following the release of Beat Ball 2 (v 1.2.1) a friend of mine spotted it in a 0-day warez release. I haven't put a lot of effort into protecting the game because I suspect it would get cracked regardless of what length I go to in order to prevent it.

Here is part of the Crude .NFO for the warez release:
          ÜÛÛßß             C.R.U.D.E               ßßÛÛÜ
ÞÛÛÝ° P.R.O.U.D.L.Y P.R.E.S.E.N.T.S °Þ²ÛÝ
²ÛÛÜ Ü Ü Ü²ÛÛ
ßßÛÛÛÜÛß ßÛÜÛÛÛßß

Beat Ball 2 v1.2.1

Ü ßÜ Üß Ü
ß²ß ²Ý RLS.DATE.........2012/03/07 Þ² ß²ß
ÜÛß RLS.SIZE..........06x5.00MB ßÛÜ
ÜÜßßß ßßßÜÜ
ÜÛß Ü RLS.TYPE..............Crack Ü ßÛ
²Ý° ßßÜ PROTECTION......Serial+Auth Üßß °ÞÝ
ßÜÜ °Þ² ²Ý° ÜÜß
ßß ÜÛß PLATFORM.............WinAll ßÛÜ ßß

I'm not too bothered about it because I think that those that really enjoy the game support the development by registering a legit copy. If someone downloads the cracked version, I doubt they would have ever considered to buying the game in the first place.

On the other hand, one feature the crackers won't be able to solve. The Internet Highscores will never work on the cracked release =) This is because it requires part of a registered key (that must exist on the web server that hosts the internet highscores) in order for any highscores to be registered. With a cracked version you don't have the key to post the highscores.
              ÝÛÛÞ  NOTE: Remember to turn off www hiscores  ÝÛÛÞ
ÝÛÛÞ from options and block app from the ÝÛÛÞ
ÝÛÛÞ internet with traditional way if needed ÝÛÛÞ

For competitive individuals, like myself, the world wide highscore system is a big part of what makes games fun so it's still worth getting the real deal.

The price of $10 for registering Beat Ball 2 is quite cheap for hours worth of fun as well. About a year ago I added the feature to count the duration of games played. At the time of writing this post the total number of seconds played is 13'222'416 which equals 3673 hours which also equals a 153 straight days and nights.

 

 

Performa Cars released as Freeware

The old 2D top down racing game Performa Cars (previously known as Computer Touring Car Championship, or CTCC) has been released as Freeware =)

The game features 18 cars which can be tuned between races by purchasing parts such as turbos, performance chips, intercoolers, suspension, tires, etc.

Cars will take damage upon collision affecting both the visual look of the car as well as performance. If you don't visit the pit lane for repairs before it's too late you risk blowing up for a DNF result.

Play it as a single player against up to 7 AI controlled computer cars or two players locally using split screen with up to 6 AI controlled computer cars.

12 different circuits ranging from small sand tracks to large race tracks allow for a lot of fun and tight racing. The track design was inspired by the 90 degree angles of Supercars on the Amiga. Some tracks also features hazards such as trains that I suggest you either beat to the train crossing - or stop until they have passed unless you want your car to be permanently destroyed.

The long story


I originally started developing the game following a motocross accident where I broke my collar bone back in 2001. Initial progress was great and I had a lot of energy and passion for the game. It was one of my first attempts to make a game and I learned a lot of useful stuff in the process.

I still have a lot of passion for the game genre (top down racers) but I feel that it is not worth to put any additional efforts into this particular game any more due to a number of reasons.

First of all, the game uses non-accelerated 2D graphics and it was designed for computers made in the mid to late 1990s. Modern computers of today have awesome performance, but the 2D engine in Blitz Basic (the language used to develop the game) don't take any advantage of this new performance unless you re-code the game to use 3D accelerated 2D graphics - and that requires a fairly large rewrite due to how Performa Cars was designed.

Secondly, I always wanted Performa Cars to be a multiplayer game playable across the internet and LANs. Unfortunately I went deep into development without first researching multiplayer gaming and by the time I nearly had a finished game it turned out that it just wasn't possible to make it into a networkable game.

Why you may ask? Well... As I mentioned above, I was new to game development at the time and I based the logic updates on the assumption that the game would run at a constant frame rate of 60FPS. As it turned out, of course, computers run at different refresh rates which then meant the game would run at different speeds on different computer. That's NOT good =)

Another problem basing the logic engine on the screen refresh rate was that the game would not only run at different speeds on different computers, the cars also behave differently - skid more on some machines - a lot of grip on another machine.

I tried to fix the problem by analyzing the refresh rate by calculating a multiplier value for the game logic. That sort of works, but that's not how you do it =)

Today I know better. Keep the game engine running at a set frequency, say 100Hz, and tween the graphics to make it smooth. Making that happen for Perofma Cars would mean a large re-write again.

All this in mind; I decided to release the game as a freeware for everyone to enjoy despite the glitches being an alpha version.

I will now be focusing on AstroFighter.net - a game where I avoid all the pitfalls I learned about during Performa Cars. It runs with a separate logic engine and 3D accelerated 2D-style top down graphics and, most importantly, I had it running in multiplayer from the very beginning to ensure the entire game is developed for that purpose.

My plan is to develop AstroFighter.net with a clear conscious that Performa Cars at least is available as a freeware for everyone rather than aging year in and year out on my hard drive.

If all goes well - I will also take my knowledge from AstroFighter.net and reboot my passion for top down racers and make a modern version of Performa Cars designing it the right way from the start.

But for now - enjoy Performa Cars =)

New Site for AstroFighter.net

Just a very quick note to say that the game AstroFighter.net has a new dedicated web site where you can follow the development.

http://www.astrofighter.net/making-of/

Kickstarter Disappointment

Last night I found kickstarter.com through a Twitter post. I visited the site and fell in love with their idea. At Kickstarter you can register a project that in turn is funded by fans. Any funding put into a project will be rewarded based on how much you pledge.

An amazing success story unfolded before my eyes. The project Double Fine Adventure launched a quest to raise $400'000 to create a fan funded click and point adventure. When I first had a peak they had already pledged $250'000. Amazing.

Less than 24 hours before the project launch they have surpassed their goal and they are now closing in on $1'000'000. Even more amazing. I love a good success story, and I also love click and point adventures.

Today I spawned the idea that maybe I can fund further development on my game Astrofighter.net this way. Making music and developing game is what I am passionate about and it could give me the opportunity to dedicate 4 months which is what I estimate is needed to complete the game.

After some mental exercises of how to plan and present the project - I went back to Kickstarter to fund the Double Fine Adventure game. I was first a bit disappointed that they didn't support PayPal payments, only Amazon payments. I guess I could live with that.

Then... disaster...

I also found out that only US residents can start a project at Kickstarter. Apparently it is because they are forced to use Amazon payments due to lacking features in Paypal to support their payment and refund process. Regardless of what the cause is, I am truly disappointed as this means it's a no-go for Astrofighter.net =(

Oh well. Better to have a dream and lose it than not to dream at all I guess.

Weekend

First week of "normal" work following my paternity leave is now in the past and I am enjoying a very welcome weekend.

Motocross practice at Uringe


Today I spent a few hours at Uringe, a great sand track south of Stockholm, where I tried to improve my motocross skills. It went fairly well with only one minor crash but plenty of fun. Bike collected some sand as you can see in the picture below - quite easy to clean with the pressure washer though....

Making Exlusive Music for Three Games


I've also recently had requests to create exclusive music for three different games. Two games for the mobile platform (Android + iPhone) and one game is aimed at computers and consoles.

Quite exciting because the music needed is of very different genres and it's a lot of fun to let the creativity take over and see where it leads.

Astrofighter.Net


As for Astrofighter.Net I've managed to make slight progress here as well. I've imported the low poly ship versions into Unity and I'm currently placing all the thruster and weapon mount points. Next will be texture mapping the ships and adding script code for the remaining weapon types.

The ships of Astrofighter.Net

Today was my first day back in my "normal" job as an IT Security Consultant and I'm coming back from a 7 month long paternity leave. It is with mixed emotions that I return because I've really enjoyed spending the time with my family and it has also enabled me to focus a lot on Imphenzia Music/Soundtrack/Games. But then again, you have to earn a living...

Anyway, I've finished creating the 8 types of spaceships to be featured in the game ranging from a light scout to a heavily armored and well equiped beast. The 7 weapon types I'm considering for the game is Blaster, Cannon (Gatling Gun), Plasma Gun, Rail Gun, Laser, Missile Launcher, and Mortar. Here is a preview video: