A history of Ctrl+Alt+Del games. Part two.

August 28, 2009

A while after it was clear that I wasn’t likely ever going to bother going back to making the original Ctrl+Alt+Del game I started working on a skateboarding game because I like skateboarding games and I wanted to make one. I didn’t want to have to create all new character models and I was (and still am) feeling a bit dissapointed that I spent so much time on the previous Ctrl+Alt+Del game without having anything to show for it so I figured I could save some time but making the skate game set in the CAD universe. A lot of things where modified (I dont think i reused any textures) and most of the art assets where still made from scratch anyways but at least it gave me something to start with.

In the end the menu system was once again really the only thing that I was happy with. The video really doesn’t do it justice but I think its the best menu I’ve ever made. Its a sad and small accomplishment but at least its something. I really do think its nicer then the menus you would find in most professional games and it fits well with the style of the game and its web comic source material.

The games mostly shit though. Far better then the original game but I never got to the point of building in any real goals and as for the basic function of being able to skate around it works but never got anywhere near the point of being at all comparable with something like even the original Tony Hawk games. It did have a few small things that where nice. It was going to have simple platforming and brawling elements (like Simpson’s hit and run for example or how the first CAD game was planned to) so well I never worked in on foot jumping or the ability to swing your board like a bat you could actually get off your board and walk around (keep in mind that this was done well before Skate’s sequel was even announced let alone before it was made known that you would be able to get off your board so being able to walk as at least a minor brag able feature). It was also another example of poorly planned programing. I was still figuring out how to do things as I went along and in lots of ways it seemed to become more convoluted and glitchy as I progressed. I restarted from scratch near the end (when I re-did the menu) but it didn’t really help to fix any of the problems and just resulted in once again earlier versions having things that where lacking from later ones. Trying to retroactively force in a proper physics engine at the last second didn’t help either.

This download includes five pre compiled playable versions of the game. Two of which where never released previously. Those two also include the dba and dbpro files (the DarkBasicPro project and source files).

Also if you want to in the latest version (the one in the folder labeled “new game”) by deleting the top layer folder (located under) textures\menu) and renaming the top layer 2 folder to replace it you can use a crisper higher rez version of the menu.

CAD Forum Thread

A history of Ctrl+Alt+Del games. Part one.

August 11, 2009

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that at one point in my life believed that the web comic Ctrl+Alt+Del was good. Not mediocre but actually really good. Clearly I was delusional. Regardless of my mental state though this fandom resulted in a few unfinished (I’m beginning to see a trend in the kind of content I post here) games.

The first game was intended to be a third person sand box adventure game. The core game play would consist of walking around, talking to people and triggering scripted interactions. Anyone, everyone, everything, and every place ever depicted in the comic were going to be included and for the most part I was fairly well prepared to deliver on that plan. Regardless of there quality it still saddens me that I created so many models and textures which will never be put to use. There would also have be some simple platforming and what you would expect from a bare bones brawler but it was going to be primarily dialogue driven. That was really all just going to act as a hub world though. Within it there would be retro inspired mini-games (Frogger, Tetris, ect).

The community was actually really great about the game. The initial response to it on the forums where accusations that it was a virus (that seems to be a common response). But people where really cool after they realized that despite its low quality and lack of completion it was legit. Along with a reasonable amount of offers from different forum users looking to help on the game (none of which I accepted since I wanted to do the game myself and didn’t have a script yet for anyone to get started recording voice work) I also got a ton of people offering up free web hosting and that kind of stuff.

The main site for the game was and still is http://cadgame.ga-servers.com/ with hosting provided by Xtrife. There was also a mirror of the complete site but I’ve lost the address for it and the name of the user who set it up. A few other users chipped in by hosting mirrors of the early builds of the game as I released them. At one point someone even registered the URL http://www.cadthegame.com and had it redirect to the site but that address doesn’t seem to be usable anymore.

Even Tim Buckley (the person who makes the comics) was pretty awesome about it. He posted blue prints of the main characters house which hadn’t been available previously (when I first started I had worked out a somewhat nonsensical layout for the house based on the colours of the rooms and the colours of the adjacent rooms you could see through open doors). He also mentioned it twice on the sites front page which did a lot in terms of drawing attention to the game. The first mention actually resulted in Xtrife’s site being shut down for a while because of the bandwidth usage from people downloading the demo (despite whatever company he was getting his hosting from having apparently advertised uncapped bandwidth).

It never got anywhere that resembled a game though. If anything the fifth and sixth versions where even less complete then most of the releases that proceeded them. The main menu looked nice and would have made an alright screen saver. I’m still in love with the settings menu that I setup for the fifth/sixth release and the original settings menu before that wasn’t bad either. The character models and the textures in particular where by no means perfect but I still think I did a great job of translating those characters (which in the comics only ever existed at forty five degree angles) into. As I said before I made a frack ton of other graphical content even if most of it was never used. But as a game it never evolved. From how many times I remember reprogramming everything from scratch you would think I would make some changes to either add new functionality or perfect what was already there but It never really progressed beyond where it was in the second release (which I put out pretty quickly) with it just consisting of pointlessly wandering around a small area with nothing to do well struggling under a camera system that never really worked well enough for a third person game set in such a small and odd space and a collision system that never really felt smooth or correct whenever walking up against walls or through doorways. The camera especially haunts me. The way walking worked was just a result of me not knowing things that I do now. But spent ages working on the camera and I’m not sure I could do much better even if I did it now. Everything I changed seemed to somehow make it worse. Maybe it was all in my head. I don’t remember complaints about it. But people really don’t realize how difficult it is to make a third person camera that works well in a closed in and fairly complex environment. A first person camera? Stupidly simple. Third person in an open area where nothing can obstruct your view? No problem. Third person in a simple box room? Not a big deal. But when you bring doors and other things like that into the equation it’s impossible not to have the cameras view either obstructed or placed somewhere it shouldn’t be or feeling like it’s constantly jumping around and changing distances. Anyways the game sucked. Also well I’m not sure if my computer is just acting weird (I definitely didn’t use to have this problem) but for some reason several of the releases have Ethan (the main character) constantly walking in a certain direction and not fully responding to keyboard controls. There’s more shit I want to say but this going on forever so I’m just going to stop for now.

Download all 6 of the original releases.
The game’s site.
CAD’s official site.
The first cad news post about it.
The second news mention.
The now closed forum thread.