Black Hole

Black Hole by Charles BurnsI just finished reading Black Hole by Charles Burns. It took over ten years (1995 – 2005) for the 12 issues to come out but as of last October it has been collected into one book.

For those who don’t know, Black Hole takes place in Seattle in the 70s, and tells the story of “The Bug” (venereal disease / mutation causing plague / something) that is sweeping through a high school there.

This is one of the most affecting comics I’ve read in a while. The intertwining stories of the kids who’ve got The Bug, the kids who don’t, and the kids who are going to get it frame the story which also dredges up all the horrible high school crap you’ve tried to forget. It’s not just “body horror” along the lines of Junji Ito, where I feel like he’s just trying to see how far he can go (although there is some of that), but a true Horror comic in the sense that both the mutated kids and what happens to them is horrifying.

If you’re looking for something as depressing as Jimmy Corrigan and as disturbing as Videodrome, you’ve found it. This is NOT a thumbs down. I can’t exactly say I “enjoyed” reading it, but it was compelling, and Burns’ stark black and white art is great as always. Definitely recommended – as long as you’re prepared to keep thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading it.

July 23, 2006 | Posted in: Comics | Comments Closed

gp2tanx dev log continued

gp2tanxBack from vacation (lots more on that soon) and did a little work on the game today.

Got the wind working, and explosions cause damage now. Cleaned up the display a little. I’m trying to get through it without looking at any other Scorched Earth clones (which is kind of stupid since it’s already a clone anyhow, but whatever).

Now there’s lots of non-fun stuff left like menus to start and pause the game, detecting end-of-game state, and so on. Probably lots of stuff I haven’t thought of yet too.

I hope to press on to the bitter end though, so I have a finished game when I am done.

gp2tanx Dev Log

Completed on the train home last night:
- added “comet tail” to the fired shot so it shows up better

Completed on the train to work this morning:
- implemented destructible terrain (thank you jnrdev) and falling tanks

It’s almost a real game. Still to go:

  • wind
  • explosion graphics
  • damage
  • menu
  • pause

Haven’t ported it over to the gp2x in several days – I guess I should do that and make sure it still works!

gp2tanx – It’s Alive!!

gp2tanx - work in progressStarted off slow, but made huge progress toward the end of the weekend.

As you can see the tanks are now half the size they were before. The earlier version was good for learning but impractical for an actual game. (Thanks for the tiny tanks, Jim!)

Most of the time was spent trying to implement a fractal terrain-generation scheme (based on this article) and draw that to the screen. Once that came together, I tore apart the old version of the game, put the tanks in their own class and tried to clean up the rest of the code a bit. It’s still a big mess, I wouldn’t want anyone else to try to read it, but it does work!

I’ve got the turrets moving now as the player changes aim, although I think there is some weird rounding happening somewhere that makes some of the angles look weird. Next I will try to re-implement the ballistics code.

Here’s some great links if you’re trying to get started with gp2x development, or SDL development in general. I referred to them many many times this weekend. I’m using Cone3D’s sprite class (which is sort of overkill since nothing really animates but I wanted to learn to use it), and Lazy Foo’s timer/frame limiter class.