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  • Writer's pictureBruce

Let's create an MPAGD game - Part 24: We're going to need a bigger window

For me, game development is quite an organic thing, I start off with a basic idea of the type of game I want to create, but as I progress and test my work in progress I'll inevitably have new ideas or things that just don't work and the game evolves.

That's why this series seems to shift focus and move around a bit. I really have no idea of what 'Stinky Dog' will end up like as a finished game!

I mentioned before that, in my opinion, it's best not to spend loads of time designing graphics and screens at the outset, your time is better spent getting the mechanics right, player movement, enemy movement, objectives and so on.

We can add the polish later when we know we've got a decent, playable, and fun game mechanic together.

I'm now thinking that we need to add some more ideas to the game play. With what we've created so far I reckon Stinky Dog could play best as an arcade type game where you progress from screen to screen, the game getting more difficult and introducing new challenges.

We have some core mechanics, Stinky Dog can fart, fart's can stun Sideways Clive, we've got bones to collect.

So, maybe we could add a further challenge. How about the more Stinky Dog farts, the more toxic the air in the room becomes, if the air becomes too toxic, Stinky Dog dies.

We could then introduce bonus objects that perhaps build up Stinky Dogs level of flatulence (food etc.) and have a toxicity meter that shows how toxic the air is. The game becomes a balance of farting to achieve our objectives, but not so much that we poison ourselves.

( oh dear god, I may be setting myself up for a fall here....but we'll give it a go)

First things first, were going to need some additional real estate on the screen to show more information than just the score and the number of lives left.

Fortunately, we should be able to use MPAGD's Window Size Editor to change the screen layout.

At the moment it looks like this:

At the top we have our current score bar, the grey area beneath is the play area. Click the play area and it will turn red:

To re- size it we first click where we want the top left corner cell to be:

Next we click where we want the bottom right corner to be, I want to keep three rows clear at the bottom of the screen to display other information like air toxicity and so on...

Click Yes to make the change.

Then go back to the Screen Editor:

Oh dear... we've lost the bottom three rows of our screen, we'll need to do a little re-design to make it playable again...

That should do.

Now go to the Sprite Positions Editor:

Oops, Stinky Dog is stuck in the floor. Click him one to make him active then click where you want to reposition him:

That should work.

Bet you're glad you didn't design all 30 screens of your game first now :) That would be a lot of redesigning and repositioning and testing to do!

That's now given us three blank rows at the bottom of the screen to add more information. I think it would be good to have a go at putting in a 'Toxicity Meter'...we'll have a go at that next.

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Hello, I'm Bruce and I write games for old 8bit computers using Jonathan Cauldwell's excellent Multi-Platform Arcade Games Designer (MPAGD)

I've written a few successful* games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and MSX platforms that have been (largely) well received including Twenty Four Hour Parsley People scoring a 10 out of 10 on Planeta Sinclair.

In my blog I am sharing lots of the code that I wrote for my games, in a way that you can use in your own games.   I've commented it so that you'll learn some of the techniques I use to create interesting new mechanics and help your games stand out from the pack.

MPAGD includes lots of standard scripts, they're great to get you started, but if you're new (or just rusty) when it comes to writing code, hopefully my tutorials will help you get started and  turn your imagination into awesome 8 bit games!

All my code is free to use and do with as you please, but if you find them useful please feel free to buy me a coffee ...or better still - buy or download my games :)

*successful is a very relative term in 8bit computer games

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