Welcome to The Dreamwriter's Blog


Follow along as the most famous game-developer in the world comes into being and creates its first game! This is how history unfolded, how through many trials and tribulations, the Dreamwriter took many risks and in the end made Dreamzle a household name. Let's begin!

May 2, 2014
Wow, been just about a whole year since I posted in here! What happened? Well, obviously the OUYA didn't take off as well as I would have hoped :) I had to put Dreamzle on hiatus and head back to the working world, where I could continue to have fun but with a steady paycheck instead of...hopes and dreams :) Well, fear not, Dreamzle isn't done with! One day Dreamzle shall return and the heavens will tremble!

Eh? You want proof? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE PROOF!

UNIVERSE ALPHA 2.0 NOW AVAILBLE ON THE AMAZON FIRE TV!

...is what I'll be saying once it gets approved...


May 15, 2013
Come and get it, Version 1.3 is up! Turns out the game didn't control very well on actual shipping OUYA controllers, though it was just fine on my development controllers, so this version fixes that, and adds Xbox 360 controller support too. Oh, and if you haven't seen it, here's the official trailer!




May 1, 2013

UNIVERSE ALPHA 1.2 NOW AVAILBLE ON THE OUYA APP STORE!


Time to update! Universe Alpha 1.2 is up and running. The game controls are much improved (especially on OUYA controllers), the PS3 controller is now officially supported, there are MANY bug fixes and improvements, and best of all, now you can use full twin-stick shooting controls if you desire (and if not, the main shooting is now hold-to-shoot). So have it it!


April 4, 2013

UNIVERSE ALPHA 1.0 NOW AVAILBLE ON THE OUYA APP STORE!


Break out your internets and your pipes and your downloadz, because The Secret of Universe Alpha is now officially on sale! On April 1 I submitted version 1.0, and it was approved today. Now you too can experience the exploration, the shooting, the bosses, the core of the universe! So now that the game is finished and on sale, what's next for Dreamzle, you ask? Well, more Secret of Universe Alpha :) Version 1.0 is in the store, but it's not perfect - there are some bugs here and there, and some small things I'd like to improve, such as adding support for PS3 controllers. So today begins work on version 1.1, and when THAT ships, then Dreamzle moves on to Game #2, Electric Boogaloo. Laters y'all!


March 10, 2013
Yeah, a month with no updates, for all the people so wildly following this blog, sorry :) I'm still alive, the game is still being developed, and I'm no longer getting distracted by silly issues such as "money to buy food with". I'm really just feverishly finishing up the Secret of Universe Alpha, getting as much content in the game as possible before the OUYA launch. The game is really coming together, I think people are going to like it. And same with the OUYA itself too, my dev kit recently got updated with a near-final firmware, I'm really digging it. This is probably the last blog post until I ship the game, since I'd rather work on the game than this blog :) But I figured I'd let y'all know what's up. Oh, and for the time being, here's a fairly recent, full resolution screenshot of the first area in the game, as seen in my development pic at the top of this blog:






February 13, 2013
Here we are in February! Unfortunately, I've been spending more and more time working on financing my project, which takes time away from working on it, but it can't be avoided. But there has been some good progress nonetheless - I implemented the ability to purchase the upgrade from the demo to the full game, so now people won't be stuck playing the demo over and over again and I won't be living on the streets as people don't pay me for my game :) Gameplay-wise, I added a conversation dialogue system, and NPC's, and used all of that to create a town with quests in it. I also went back to an earlier dungeon that got replaced and revamped it to play better and have a new purpose - there's still some work to do on it but it's coming along really nicely. I've placed more objects and secrets in the overworld, and created a little mini-tutorial for one important concept at the beginning of the game. And I've done a little bit of rebalancing to make the second dungeon less annoying. Until next time!


January 30, 2013
The overworld is now larger, possibly as big as it's going to get (though I have yet to put any actual content into the new overworld areas yet). I did more work on the usable items, tweaking existing ones and adding a couple new ones (there are now six actively-usable items and two passive items to collect in the game). Now that I have those items implemented, I have a good idea of the order you will collect the new ones in, and how they will let you explore the game (and using that knowledge, one of the "dungeons" that was barely started is now much more functional, and I know what I want the player to do in it). In addition, I improved the look of the game in a number of small ways (that ended up dropping the framerate a little, but not much).

I also spent some time this week working on financing, so I can afford to complete the game on time (and start on Dreamzle's second game). There's about a month left to finish the game, but there's also about a month left until my money runs out and I'm living on the street :)


January 22, 2013
I've added a couple new main items for the player to get, along with new objects in the world to interact with using those objects. And I tweaked some things in the first few maps to look better, as well as make it more clear to new players what they are supposed to do and how to control the game (don't worry, there's no boring tutorial, I just clarified a few things). There's also a new song for the very first map you start out on, since that's an overworld map and the music that was playing on it was more a dungeon-style song. And finally, I added in the end of the demo - good news, the demo is now a little bit longer than I planned! Rather than just ending when you finish the second dungeon, you can now explore a bit more of the game's overworld, see the sights, before paying for the full game.


January 17, 2013
Hi ho, neighbors! Still trucking away at the game, it's still on track (though I still have no funding to finish it...) I've populated the new overworld areas with cool stuff, and tweaked some engine things to make it flow better. I completed an all new dungeon (there are now three) with its own boss fight and all, tweaked the existing dungeons a bit, and started work on a fourth dungeon. I also spent a couple days working on the game's performance - on hardware it now runs around 50-60 frames per second with anti-aliasing. Oh, and the save-slots on the save/load screens are now fully functional (previously you could choose a slot to save/load to, but the slot didn't visually update with that save's information).


January 6, 2013
I've now added a few interconnected overworld areas, linked up to the one the player starts in (you'll have to buy the full game to explore them, though!) I still have to populate the new areas with walls and enemies and hidden stuff and whatnot. I've also revamped the map scrolling system to be simpler, smoother, and a lot less processor intensive. I increased the size of your ship (*everyone* who has played it complains about the size of the ship) and tweaked the cameras so you can see a bit farther. Oh and you can shoot a bit farther with the default gun now. Have fun out there!


January 4, 2013
Today we have...The Unveiling! I got tired of seeing Android games being demoed on OUYA hardware, so I decided to video a *real* OUYA game making full use of it. So here ya go!



Here's the straight dope: The Secret of Universe Alpha is a top-down space shooter with Zelda-style exploration. In this video you can see a new thing I added since the last update: an early intro sequence, revealing some story (the game isn't going to be a story-filled RPG, but there will be *some* story, enough to give you a reason to play through the game).


January 1, 2013
Big happenings in Dreamzle-land as of this new year! I'll be getting my OUYA within the next couple days, and in preparation, I've been able download the official OUYA SDK (the "ODK"), and I've gotten my game using it for game controls and stuff. This means I should be able to just burn the game onto the OUYA and it'll just work. And due to the lack of a Start Button on the OUYA, I removed an item-use button, and made that bring up a Pause Menu. Speaking of which, the Pause Menu is now a snazzy 3D rotating menu. I also implemented checkpoints, so you won't lose *all* your progress if you die, and you can't keep getting cool stuff again and again. Better, you can now save that progress to internal storage, and load it, complete with save and load menus (from the Title menu and the Pause menu), with 4 different save-slots. I've tweaked controls (again) to make the ship easier to control for people who aren't me :) I'm thinking this may be the last, or close to last, control tweak...we'll see, controls are key to the game's enjoyment, since the player moves at an extremely high rate of speed.


December 23, 2012
A quick update for all those obsessive people keeping rapt attention :) I did a lot of work on the "hub" world, and started implementing actual exploration mechanics. We now have a second dungeon, a new enemy to go with that dungeon, and the third piece of equipment (and places to use it). I also tweaked the game's controls, camera, some visuals, and audio, in part due to feedback (hopefully I can get more feedback soon). And I improved the title sequence, made it more interesting. Oh, and the enemy locking-on mechanic is now an item that you collect early in the game rather than just starting with it.


December 17, 2012
A few things I've done since the last update: The first boss fight now has an intro, boss music, a life meter, and the boss's difficulty has been tuned. I licensed and setup an official font for the game's menus, and came up with a menu style that I like. I created a popup that describes the item you picked up, as well as another one that lets you buy things (for the store). I implemented a pause menu, that lets you equip your items and change the button layout. The minimap is back, now with no noticable performance hit, and the game no longer processes enemies that are too far away from the player. Oh, and I fully implemented the second piece of equipment, that you pick up at the end of the first dungeon (the first piece of equipment was your basic shot weapon). Until next time!


December 6, 2012
I did a lot of polishing since the last update - a lot of things look quite a bit better, some things work better. The maps in particular look a TON better now, giving a better feeling of being in space, and I adjusted them so you can see further "north" and "south". The enemy locking-on mechanic works better, and now has an effect that plays over the enemy you lock onto. And I adjusted your shooting so it works like you'd expect for ther basic first weapon. Dungeon entrances also now suck you down into them and spit you out on the other side (though someone at Thursdayparty discovered a bug with that! Fixing it now...) Speaking of which, I finished implementing the first dungeon, and in the process made the first boss fight! He's tough but doable. Dungeons also now have locked doors that require keys, which can be placed directly in maps or set to drop off of enemies. Oh, and stores are now in the game, though they aren't finished - they function, you can buy stuff with the crystals you collect, but I need to describe what it is you are buying, since Universe Alpha isn't shipping with a detailed instruction booklet. Josh out!


November 26, 2012
Time for a big blog dump! I implemented a player GUI, showing equipped items, crystals collected, and lifepoints. And now you can get hurt and die! I licensed some great explosions for when you and enemies are killed.

Space stations in Universe Alpha are where you get hints, tips, story, and new weapons. Previously you touched one and text just blinked onto the screen, now touching one sends you into an actual room inside that you can fly around in, see who you are talking to, read the text as it is drawn onto the screen, and fly over to pick up the item you want. The Space Station code is also no longer placeholdery/hard-coded, so new stations can be easily added.

I also tweaked the first enemy's AI, added a second enemy, and added a new lock-on feature (basically a strafe where you are always facing your enemy). The new enemy is easier to kill than the first one, he was added after some family feedback this Thanksgiving, where the first enemy was just too hard for the beginning of the first dungeon.

Oh, and I improved the map editor to be more flexible, so items placed in the map can have customized scripts running on them.


November 10, 2012
There's better official support for dungeons, including lockable gateways, and the first dungeon has a very good start to it. But the big news is, the game now has enemies! And a new menu to place them into the game.


November 1, 2012
Been a while since the last update, here's what's been going on: I removed the minimap for now, it *killed* performance on hardware (I think I can fix it later, though). I added the ability to "strafe" by holding one of the shoulder buttons (a feature requested by a group known as ThursdayParty), gives you MUCH better aiming when shooting. I added Crystals (game currency) to pick up, and sub-map (dungeon) entrances along with the first sub-map. And did more work on the map editor, it's easier to use now. In less interesting (but important) news, I started the tedious task of getting a small business loan, so the game can actually be completed without me being homeless. Fingers crossed!


October 21, 2012
The player now not only gets damaged by running into things, but he now physically stops moving, and if you turn your ship a little it starts sliding along the thing you ran into. It's not perfectly polished, but I've been trying different methods to make walls act like walls, and I'm finally happy with a solution. And I added a mini-map in the corner, I'm not totally sure I like it or it's all that useful, but for now it'll live there. I also expanded my "office" - you can now see how my "desk" is expanded to the left in the picture above, makes a BIG difference, I no longer feel cramped for space.


October 18, 2012
Welcome to the new Dreamzle! Now that I am working on this fulltime, and I have a real logo and business-license application and everything, it's time to reboot the blog! I left the first couple blog posts up just so the dates when Dreamzle became more than just a cool idea would be recorded for posterity, but I cut out all the boring posts. Anyways...

To catch all you newcomers up, I'm working on a space game called "The Secret of Universe Alpha" for the Ouya game console - that's a sneak peak in the picture of my workspace at the top of this blog. At this point the prototype just has the player flying around and shooting asteroids, but it's already fun to me, just because of the speed and control you have over your flight - my philosophy is, make sure the game mechanics are fun, and THEN create a game around them. To develop it I'm using the "Unity" game engine / dev kit, version 4.0. This way I don't have to write my own engine in the short time I have before Universe Alpha has to ship, and I've been using Unity for the last year so I've got experience working around its quirks. Unity can target Android, which is the OS that the Ouya uses, so it should take very little work to move the project to Ouya once I get the real dev kit in December (can't wait!)


August 21, 2012
Today I made a silly logo for Dreamzle and put it on the website....


August 19, 2012
Today I took the Dreamzle placeholder website and put some real info on it, creating the About and Blog pages. Right now I'm creating this website, including this blog, completely in Windows Notepad, but some day I hope to get a real web designer to make me a more professional page.




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