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Next Year (2006)

Tuesday January 4th

This Tuesday's game is a variation of the Cribbage Square game. As before, you have to try and form the best Cribbage hands possible in a 4x4 grid. This time, however, there is no start card, so all hands are four card hands. There is a third variation of this game that uses a 5x5 grid. I will be releasing the 5x5 variation of the game sometime before April's big news.

Speaking of scheduling, the schedule page has finally been updated. A link to the 2005 preview has been added to the top of this page. And for those who didn't notice, the next release is this friday, which is only 3 days away. That's right, I am going to be updating the site every third business day. Don't get overly excited, though, as about half of the updates (at least until April 1st) will be game development articles. Of course, a couple of you will think this is absolutely fabulous news.

Friday January 7th

Over the holiday's, I've postponed releasing chapters from my Flash Game Development eBook in favor of releasing holiday theme games. For those of you who were waiting for the book chapters to be released, I hope you understand the delay. For those of you who don't care for the book chapters, I hope the increased frequency of site updates will help. As the book is free, those who aren't interested in programming or game design could still skim over the book to gain a greater appreciation of what goes into making even simple games.

I suppose I should be using this space to add to my FAQ section, but none of the few questions I have to answer are overly thrilling. So instead I will put that time towards OotW, as the next episode (to be released later this month if nothing drastic happens) will not only end the day, but will also put the future direction of the series in your hands. As regular visitors know, I like to ask questions of my visitors and do things based on the few responses I get.

Wednesday January 12th

I'm really running late today, so I will keep this posting short. Today's release is the Open Source Release of Episode 1 of One of those Weeks. This means that you can now download the game and play it offline. If you have Flash, you can even modify the game (just be sure to follow the GPL license if you are going to distribute your changes). My Flash Game development book is going to cover the creation of this episode, so if you want more details about how the game works, wait for the soon to be released chapter.

Monday January 17th

Another installment of my Flash Game Development EBook, but game fans shouldn't worry as this thursday will be a new game release. Today's chapter is from the Arcade part of the book. This should be obvious as today is monday, meaning that any releases today are Action game related. This chapter takes a look at some of the common concepts used in the creation of arcade games.

Today's question is "When are you going to update the link section?" While nobody has emailed me this question, so it will not be added to the FAQ section, I am sure some people are asking it. The answer is as soon as I have time. Remember that updating the site is done in my spare time so I tend to try to focus on releases rather than sections of the site. With my plans for April 1st under way, I don't think I will have much spare time for fixing the link section until April. I know I wanted to have it done this month, but a couple of months probably won't hurt.

Thursday January 20th

Today is thursday so today's release is a Brain game as thursday's are Thinking Thursday. The release for today is the final game play mode for Deadly Doors. This mode adds a slight bit more challenge to the game (though not as much as I originally expected) by randomly choosing your respawn room when you choose unwisely. Also added to the game is sound. There are a few more minor changes I wouldn't mind making to the game, but those will have to wait until I decide to OSR the game.

Next friday I am hoping to release the 10th episode of One of those Weeks. It is always possible that something disastrous will happen which will prevent the release from happening, but so far the release is on schedule. This release will end with a question for the gamer which will determine the future of the game. The question will only be reachable by finishing the game, so only people who actually finish the game will be able to answer the question. My logic behind this decision is that the decision concerns fans of the game, so I only want fans of the game to respond. Having the question as part of the game makes sure that people have to play through the game therefore insuring that they are at least potentially a fan of the game.

Tuesday January 25th

There are holes in my Flash Game Development ebook due to the fact that I am now covering different sections of the book on different days of the week. Today I will close one of those holes by releasing the final chapter of the Table Games section. This is a summary chapter that summarized that section. This friday will be a new game release so those of you who aren't interested in the book should try to make sure to tune in friday.

Today's FAQ question isn't asked that frequently but is important so I am answering it today.

Question: Why didn't you answer my email?

Answer: As I don't get that much email, I try to answer any email that requires a response. There are 3 reasons why I may not have answered a particular email.

1. I never got the email or the email has an invalid return address. This could be because the mail never got to me due to mail problems, spam blockers, or black lists. It could also be that it looked like a spam message to me so I erroneously deleted it.

2 If I feel that an email does not need a reply, I may not write a reply. Likewise, sending me a huge list of questions or a survey is not likely to be answered (though I might reply saying that I don't have the time to answer all those questions).

3. Sometimes I may take two or three business days to answer an email, so I may have just not gotten around to writing a response.

I should also point out that it is possible that my email will be detected as spam (as my mail is sent through a different ISP than the ISP that hosts Blazing Games, not to mention that in the past a spammer spoofed my domain) so if you are expecting me to reply to the email (and the email clearly requires a reply) then be sure to check your junk email folder.

Friday January 28th

At last, the tenth episode of One of those Weeks is finished. After being forced to drive to the docks in a stolen police car, the crooks are about to steal a boat and take you for a cruise. You better find a way to get away if you know what is good for you!

In case you haven't been reading the news, this release will end with a question for the gamer which will determine the future of the game. The question will only be reachable by finishing the game, so only people who actually finish the game will be able to answer the question. So, if you care about this series, please play through the episode and email me your opinion.

Wednesday February 2nd

It seems that there are a lot of One of those Weeks releases lately, and this week is no exception. In an attempt to speed up the release of the remaining chapters of my Flash Game Development book, I am releasing chapter 23 today. This chapter covers the creation of the first episode of One of those Weeks. While this is the only release this week, and I probably should have more news, I think I will keep the news short this week.

Monday February 7th

I know last update I put down the wrong date for the next update. This week, before officially introducing today's release, I am going to answer another Frequently Asked Question which is quite timely.

Question: With your rather ambitious release schedule, how do you make sure that the releases are ready on time?

Answer: One of the reasons my schedule doesn't list specific dates is because sometimes I simply can't get the game I want to release out in time. This can be because of a number of reasons. One reason is the game taking more time to create than I originally anticipated. More commonly, the reason is that I have been spending my time focused on other projects, and the planned release date sneaks up on me so I simply haven't spent the time on the project. This site is done in my spare time, so I tend to work on the projects that most interest me.

Still, I like having a consistent schedule (more about that issue next update) so instead of having updates at random whenever I finish one of the projects I am working on, I hold off releasing games until the scheduled site updates. Sometimes I have quite a buffer of games (such as the case with the table game category), while other category's (Action and RPG) seem to always be low on material. Still, with all the titles that I have yet to open source, in a pinch I can release an Open Source Release.

Now onto today's game. In case you haven't guessed already, the game I was originally planning to release today is not quite ready. The reason for this is that I just haven't been able to get into creating the game so have been focusing on other projects. So, as the Flash Game Development Book is covering the creation of this game anyway, I am going to release the Open Source version of String Along. For those who aren't interested in the source, the .swf file is included in the download so you would still be able to post the game on your own site or play the game offline.

Thursday February 10th

This week's article is the first of two articles on the creation of the Deadly Doors game. This article covers the origin of this game and looks at my logic as I worked out what the game would include. While I don't like spoiling surprises, the article also covers the creation of a HTML game which provided part of the inspiration for the Deadly Doors game. The game is downloadable, so reader's of the article will be able to download a complete game.

As I said last update, today I would like to talk a little bit about my update schedule. As much as I like tying days of the week to categories of games, new visitors to the site seem to be confused by the update schedule. Even the regular visitors who have emailed me on the subject don't seem to like the shifting release days. So, on April 1st, I will be changing the way the site is scheduled. My current plans are to have a new game release every friday, and a new article release every tuesday. This way people would be able to enjoy a new game release every weekend, while those who are interested in making games would still get articles. More information on these plans will be presented over the next month and a half.

Tuesday February 15th

Today's release is not what I was originally planning for today. I have decided to delay the game that was going to be released today until April for the new schedule. In it's place is another slot machine. This time, the machine's theme is card games. The winning combinations for this machine are related to the winning combinations in a poker-like game. The decision to delay the planned game has a bit to do with the following question. This question will not be in the FAQ as it is very time relevant.

Question:You have mentioned in your news section that you had plans for April. Is the switch to tuesday/friday releases those plans? If not, what were those plans?

Answer. No. The decision to switch to set days for releases came about as a result of email complaints that I was getting. My plans for April were to switch to a seasonal release format. In other words, I would take advantage of the 10 distinct release days to release ten separate series (5 articles and 5 game). Obviously, this is not possible with the new format, though something similar to that plan can be implemented. In other words, April will certainly be an interesting month.

Friday February 18th

It is interesting that this week is exactly opposite of how I will be doing all the releases starting April 1st. Tuesday had a game and today is another chapter from my Flash Game Development eBook (starting in April , tuesday's would always be articles and fridays would always be game releases). As we are still using my release format that ties days of the week to categories, today's article is about the creation of the Dragon and the Sword Flash game. The game created in the book is a bit different from the one that is on the site, as the one on the site has all the movies combined into a single Flash file, while the one we are creating on the site has each room as a separate movie.

While it was certainly tempting to start the new scheduling system early, April 1st seems the more appropriate time to start the new format. How long is the new format going to last before I change it again? I am hoping that it will be the last change. The format does everything I desire, but it is quite a lot (the three day format had only 87 updates, while the new format has 104). Half of the releases are articles, so I should be able to meet my writing desires. Lets just hope my writing skills improve over time.

Wednesday February 23rd

Until April 1st, wednesday releases are whatever I want to post. As this article is between two article releases, I am thinking that this release should be a game. Even though I recently released a slot machine (as it is on the same page as today's game I have removed it from the recent releases list), I have a bunch of them so figured I would release another one. This one features my third favorite thing. Food.

While the monday release is an article, it is not going to be from my Flash Game Development book. It is, however, going to be including a simple game element to it. It is also going to be introducing a new type of article that I plan on making more common once the weekly articles start happening. I think I will leave the specifics until Monday.

Monday February 28th

Today's release is two releases in one. First, a game component, which consists of a new set of levels for the Mr. Holeman game. To go with this set is an article that teaches players how to play through the tutorial. For people who have played through the existing Mr. Holeman levels, the tutorial set is extremely simple. If you have never played Mr. Holeman before, though, the levels and accompanying article make learning the game really easy.

The tutorial set was actually created to be released as part of the construction set. The construction set will be released later this month. As part of the weekly articles, I plan on having tutorials and walkthroughs for my more complicated games. Let me know if there is any particular game that you want a tutorial or walkthrough for, and I will make that a high priority on my article list. Of course, I am also going to be finishing off the Flash Game Development eBook and having additional game creation tutorials so the article aspect of this site seems to be quite exciting.

Thursday March 3rd

I suppose the game release for this week shouldn't be much of a surprise. The Deadly Doors series has already completed it's regular releases and the first of two articles on the creation of the game has been released. The open source release does add some new features to the game: an exit button and a mute button.

This leads to the question of how am I going to handle the release of open source games under the new schedule system coming in April? The answer is that I am not quite sure at the moment. I am thinking of using the four months a year that have an extra friday in them. Some of the new projects I am planning may be using a third party engine which would prevent me from releasing those games as open source, but I still have a huge number of games that can be released as open source.

Tuesday March 8th

This week is just like what a week in April will be like. On Tuesday (today) we have an article, while on Friday we have a game release. There will be two types of articles, which will run on alternating weeks. We will have game related articles, and design related articles. Game related articles will include tutorials, walk-though's, strategy guides, and game related downloads. Design articles will be about the creation of games from both a design and programming perspective.

This weeks article takes a look behind the money of the Casino industry. I tried to keep the math required to explain things to a minimum, so you should be able to get something out of the article even if statistics scares you. I should also point out that this article is not telling you not to gamble, but instead explains why you will lose in the long run, even if you use one of the many betting systems out there. Feedback on this article would certainly be appreciated.

Friday March 11th

Today's game is going to be the open source release of Dragon and the Sword. OSRs are downloadable versions of the game which you can play offline or use on your own web site. The OSR version of Dragon and the Sword is slightly different from the version on the site as it is the multiple-movie version that was created in my Flash Game Development eBook. For those of you who are not interested in downloading open source versions of my games, there will not be another OSR until the end of April, and likely only once every four months.

Next week I am planning on releasing an updated version of my 2005 plans which reflects my upcoming change to my schedule. As regular visitors know, starting April 1st I will be releasing an article every tuesday and a new game or episode every friday. Speaking of my plans, when I was checking my logs this week I noticed a huge spike in visits to my One of those Weeks pages. While I like this series, it is not one of my more popular series, so this spike is a bit of an anomaly. I would assume another site linked to this particular game (thanks). This leads to the dilemma of what to do with the Story game category. I was originally planning on finally releasing the updated version of Coffee Quest 4 (which will consist of three episodes) before starting the second day of OotW, but now I am considering alternating between the two series. Opinions on which route is preferable are welcome.

Wednesday March 16th

I will keep this week's news to a single paragraph as the article being released covers what is happening in April so no additional preview paragraph is needed. In addition to explaining the new release format, it goes into a bit more detail about the specific games that I am planning on releasing over the year. I should also point out that I am always interested in hearing from people about how the site could be improved, but do remember that this site (and most the games that appear on the site) is updated in my spare time and has a very limited budget. I should also remind you that all the content on this site is created by Blazing Games inc. as we do not use any third party games or articles on this site.

Week of March 20 to March 26

I am going to try something a little different this week. Instead of having a news update on both monday and again on Thursday I am going to only have one news update a week which will appear every tuesday (remember that as of April 1st, I will be having an article released every tuesday and a game released every friday). This news will cover both releases for that week and if I am feeling energetic will have some additional site information. Of course, this week is using the old scheduling scheme that nobody but me liked so monday's release is a game, while thursday's release is an article.

Monday's release is a game, but one that needs to be downloaded. More than a game, the Mr Holeman Construction Set (HMCS for short) both lets you play Mr. Holeman sets as well as letting you build your own level sets. I never had time to put together a proper manual, but the program is simple enough to use that you probably don't need one. I will be writing a manual (if only for the sake of completeness) which will be released on one of the article days.

Thursday's article is the second of two articles on the creation of the Deadly Doors Game. This article covers the coding aspects of this game. The game has already been released as Open Source, so if you are interested, you can download the OSR version and look through the code as you read the article.

Week of March 27 to April 2

Tuesday's game is the last game released using my disliked scheduling system. As Tuesday is Table Tuesday using the old system, it is a table category game. More specifically it is Planet Slots (Final Frontier according to the artwork, but I am use to the working title). This time, the symbols are made up of the nine planets of our solar system. The most interesting aspect of this design is that the game actually pays out over 100% though playing the machine seems like the opposite is true. I'll skip the anti-casino speech this week.

While Friday is the first day of April, something is happening so there will not be a site update on April first. Details about what is going on will be given in next week's news section (which may be released on the third). I apologize for any inconvenience and for the fact that there is going to be only one release this week.

April 3

Long time visitors will remember that back in 2000 my then game of the month homepage was put on an extended hiatus due to a potential conflict of interest with some game development related contract work that I was doing. When I restarted the site, and eventually started the website, I said that in the future I would try to make sure that any contract work that I took would not cause an extended hiatus. That being said, my new contract isn’t computer game related nor is it being done through Blazing Games. While this means that there is no conflict of interest, there is a conflict of time. This website is being done in my spare time, which now has to be devoted to Blazing Games real projects. While I can divert some of my project time to the site, I certainly can’t spare enough to have the twice a week schedule system that I was planning for this month.

Instead, I will be switching back to a weekly format, alternating between articles and games. These releases will be made every Friday starting on the eighth. I will have games from all four categories, but will not have a specific order for release. Open source will count as articles (though downloadable games and levels will count as games), so you will not have to worry about OSR releases eating into new game content.

April 8, 2005

Some of you emailed me saying that while they understand the need to cut back to weekly updates, they didn't think it was fair that I skipped the April 1st update. Others emailed me and complained that the HMCS download only has one level set and that the eight levels that make up that set are the very simple tutorial levels. I have decided to solve both complaints at the same time. This week I will release two things at once. The downloadable Mr. Holeman levels (four sets of eight levels, with the fifth bonus set of levels being reserved for the eventual OSR of Mr. Holeman) represents the game release (I did say downloadable levels and games would count as games, though this wasn't what I had in mind) and the HMCS Manual counts as the article.

This leads to the question, next week when I am releasing something, is it going to be a game or is it going to be a chapter of Flash Game Development? I will leave that up to visitors to decide. While the results seem obvious already, there has been a lot of interest in FGD lately, and few people actually do bother answering this question so article fans do have a chance! The results will be announced April 15th.

April 15, 2005

The response to last week's question was very one sided, though a few people did say that they wouldn't mind either option. As you can see, this week's release is a game release. I had a tough decision to make deciding which game to release, particularly because I know that game releases are only every second week, so text games probably won't go over well. The Ultimate Retro series has six games per volume. Each game is presented in an original text version (like the game would have been in the early days of teletype machines and early micro computers) followed by a modern release that has the graphics that everyone wants to see. While I could skip over the classic release, that would destroy the whole concept behind the series. For those of you who need to have graphics to play a game, the modern version will be released either in two weeks or in four weeks based on the status of the game that I want to release in two weeks.

With that rather large introduction, lets describe this week's game. It is Classic Word Scramble, which contains four dictionaries. The game presents you scrambled versions of words from the selected word list which you must attempt to unscramble as quickly as you can in order to accumulate the highest score possible.

April 22, 2005

As I set down today getting ready to post Chapter 26 of the Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development, I realized that I had not posted chapter 25 yet. I am not sure why I thought I was further along in posting the book than I am, but it has been a while. With Adobe purchasing Macromedia, the requirement of posting the book out while it is still relevant has increased, so I will be skipping any game strategy material until the book has been fully released. This means that a new chapter from the book will be appearing every other week (remember that I do have to release games too).

This week's chapter is the first half of a two chapter portion of the book that covers the creation of the Dragon and the Sword adventure game. It covers the creation and scripting of four of the eight rooms in the game. I am hoping to make time this weekend to finish the game I want to release next week, but that may not be possible. If I don't have the time to finish the game, then I will release the modern version of Word Scramble.

April 29, 2005

This week's game is the modern version of the Word Scramble game that was released a couple of weeks ago. In a way, it is appropriate that they are released back to back (well, game release speaking at least). The modern version features a drag and drop interface where you drag the letters to the appropriate locations.

While I did do some programming for site related content last weekend, it wasn't for the game I wanted to release this week. I am not sure why I can't get motivated to finish the game I wanted to release, but for some reason I can't. Hopefully it will be ready for next month.

May 6, 2005

I still haven't heard any information on what Adobe's plans are going to be. My plans are still to focus on finishing releasing the Flash Game Development book every article week until it is finally fully released. This week's chapter we have the second half of the creation of Dragon and the Sword.

Next week is a game week. It is also Friday the Thirteenth. I am not sure why it is considered an unlucky day, but friday's are when new content is released on the site so I am going to have to release something for that day. Technically speaking, I release my material late thursday night so any bad luck shouldn't have any impact on me, even if it was real. Still, I am thinking that it might be a good idea to have a game somehow related to the date in question. As it happens, I have a game in development that would be perfect for next week.

May 13, 2005

As it is friday the thirteenth, I decided that today's game should reflect the date. You move a balloon through thirteen rooms. Each room has thirteen spikes. Only one spike in each room is positioned so it will not reach the ground.

With my workload as heavy as it currently is, I never had enough time to fine tune the game as much as I would like. People who have been following the news section of this site know that I had planned on going to a twice a week update schedule but was forced to drop those plans shortly before there were to go into effect when I got a third party contract that would eat up too much of my time. When I am finished with that contract, I was going to revisit the content increase but am rethinking that idea. I am thinking that it might be better to keep my current release format and put more time into the individual releases.

May 20, 2005

I am running late so I will be quick about my description today. For those of you who have been following the site, you know that the Flash Game Development series has had a few chapters released out of order. Today's release, while only a summary chapter, fills in the gap meaning that chapters 1 through 29 are now available. Next week, will be a game release, though I haven't decided which game yet.

May 27, 2005

Another short update as this week's release is one of my buffer games. I just haven't found the time to finish up the games that I do want to release. Though there is really nothing wrong with my buffered games, I would prefer to release more exciting content. This week's game is the third variation of my Cribbage Square game.

June 3, 2005

This weeks release is Chapter 30 of my Flash Game Development ebook. This chapter covers the creation of the String Along game. String Along has already been released as Open Source, for those of you who are interested. It sure is amazing how quick time goes when your workload gets heavy. Thankfully, the Flash Game Development chapters are all finished so I don't have too much pressure putting this week's update together. Next week's game, however, may be another matter. A filler game is a possibility, though I am close to finishing one of the new games that I am working on (though the game I was hoping to release in April is still ... well you get the picture).

June 10, 2005

At last the sports game I have been promising for a while. Darts is a fairly traditional game and is actually a variation of archery. There are many variants of the game, though initially I am only going to support the variation I was taught. Other variations will appear in future releases. Once I have released a few more variations, I will eventually be releasing the game as open source. I currently have no plans to write an article about the creation of the game as it is not significantly different from the games in my Flash Game Development eBook. If there is interest in an article on how the game is created, however, I may change my mind.

June 17, 2005

Chapter 31 of my Flash Game Development book looks at how to create levels for the String Along game. As String Along has already been released as Open Source, anyone who has Flash and wants to create new levels for String Along can do so. So far no one has emailed me about being interested in articles on the creation of the darts game, though I did get an email asking when I would have articles on creating Java games. All I can say at this point is that I do have plans for such articles, but finishing the release of the Flash Game Development eBook is a higher priority.

I have a very firm idea of what next week's game is, though it may not be ready in time. In an attempt to not curse my work on the game, I will only say that the game belongs in the Story category. An alternative semi-original casino game is ready to be released in the case that I am unable to finish the game for next week.

June 24, 2005

I have finally started putting together the second day's worth of One of those Weeks episodes. The first day ended with the boat you were on crashing into some rocks and you floating away. Now you are half (fully?) asleep and must guide yourself to shore. I plan on releasing a new OotW episode every month, but also have another story series that I hope to have ready.

Next week is suppose to be another chapter of my Flash Game Development eBook. It also happens to be a holiday here in Canada. As both items I am considering releasing are already done, you don't have to worry about the site taking a week off. The question is what am I going to post? I'll decide on the 30th.

July 1, 2005

I am going to take a brief break from the Flash Game Development eBook and instead take advantage of this Canada Day long weekend to release an appropriate Open Source Release. In case you haven't guessed (and look at the news before looking at the big icon at the top of the page) this week's release is the Open Source Release of the Canada Day Flag Game. The flag game was originally released for last year's Canada Day so it is sort of appropriate that it be released this year. The OSR of the Independence Day game for my American friend will hopefully be released next year.

The next three months will continue with my alternating article/game format (I count open source releases as articles), but I am thinking about trying a more frequent release schedule in October. This will depend on all sorts of factors, so I will not officially announce this until I am sure I will be able to handle the extra releases. One thing I would be doing if I did decide to do this is have more games that are released incrementally (multiple versions of the same game, with each iteration adding new features and improving the game) and more multi-episode games. I also hope to eventually find the time to overhaul my link and schedule pages.

July 8, 2005

This week's game actually started development years ago but was finished recently. The game is called Big Wheel and consists of a big wheel on which you bet which coin will come up. It is an original version of a common carnival game. While the odds in this game have a house edge, the edge is not as bad as the odds on the real versions of this game, so if you are going to play this type of game, play this version as it won't cost you any of your hard earned money.

July 15, 2005

The Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development chapter this week covers the creation of the Lights Out game. It is a fairly large chapter as it covers the entire creation of the Lights Out game. As Lights Out has not been released as open source, I will be releasing that in two weeks.

The game I hope to release next week should be obvious to those who are following the news. The game is in a playable state, but some tuning and graphics have to be finished. I am very confident that it will be ready for next week's release.

July 22, 2005

Before I get to the description of this week's game, I would like to first wish my Father a happy birthday. He is now officially over the hill. If you have been following the news, you already knew that this week's game was going to be One of those Weeks episode 12. In this episode, you awake on a beach freezing and worried about hypothermia.

My problem is that there are so many games I want to work on but so little time to work on them. That is why I am seriously thinking of going with a more incremental approach to game releases on this site. More frequent releases, but with the releases being incremental improvements. I will make up my mind by October, but if any visitors have strong opinions of which direction I should take the site and my games, feel free to email me.

July 29, 2005

As I promised a couple of weeks ago, this week the Lights Out game is being released as open source. As the game has been described in the Flash Game Development eBook, it should be fairly simple for people who want to enhance the game to do so. Likewise, for those of you who don't care about the source code, the zip file includes the compiled flash applet so you can play the game offline or put the game on your own web site.

August 5, 2005

I had plans on releasing the last three video poker machines earlier this year, but when my planned schedule change was delayed (until at least October) the release dates for the games vanished. I figure with my push to finish releasing the Flash Game Development eBook, I should also quicken up the release of the final three video poker machines. While the games are not directly related to the book, the first machine was created as part of the book.

While I have tested the new version and it seems to be working fine, my limited resources and time prevent me from testing as thoroughly as I would like. If you do seem to encounter a bug please email me letting me know what the cards were and what the result was. Do try to keep in mind that in this game deuces can be any other card, so the suit of the deuce is not taken into consideration.

August 12, 2005

The Flash Game Development eBook is almost finished. Just a couple more chapters after this week's entry and the entire volume will have been released. Next week will be the next episode of One of those Weeks. That covers the news for this week.

August 19, 2005

As promised last week, the thirteenth episode of One of those Weeks is this weeks game. After you started a fire, this strange hermit who resembles a millionaire that went missing a few years ago appears with his companion, Mr. Puck. I should probably point out that it is possible to die in this episode, so be careful about what you say unless you want to see the death sequence (which I personally think is worth dying for).

The flash game development book will start it's wrap up next week. It is interesting that Flash 8 (which has some really cool enhancements) will be coming out shortly. You can actually download a beta version of the Flash 8 player from Macromedia's web site for those of you who don't mind using beta software. While the new features obviously weren't covered in my Flash Game Development eBook, the book is still quite relevant which means that a common request will be fulfilled in October if I decide to increase the frequency of site updates.

August 26, 2005

I am quite surprised that I never got any complaints about the death sequence in last week's One of those Weeks episode. This week I am releasing the second to last chapter from my Flash Game Development eBook. This chapter is more a look at what can be done with the knowledge gained from the rest of the book. Certainly, the ideas could be applied to any language.

Next week is a new month which means I only have one more month to decide if I am going to try to increase the number of site updates starting in October. Part of the decision will be the amount of material I have ready for release as if I don't have enough material fate will make sure that something comes up to spoil my plans as it always does. If I don't make the change in October, the next logical time for the change would be January and then April. It is a change I want to make, and some of the plans will help make sure the games that do get released will eventually be much better than they currently are.

September 2, 2005

This week's game is fourth of the five video poker machines that I created. This version adds a couple of jokers to the deck. I'm not sure I have proper odd tables for this game so it may actually be paying out greater than 100%. My problem with the payout is taking into consideration that there is a user choice in making a determination and how such a choice should be handled in the calculations (not to mention the additional complexity of having wild cards in the deck). If any of my visitors understand statistics enough to explain this to me, please feel free to do so.

I have been giving a lot of thought to my scheduling problems. I think that I may have come up with an even better way of handling site updates, though it would be a rather dramatic change. What it comes down to is that I only have about 10 to 20 hours a week to work on the site and probably shouldn't even be putting in that much time. Still, I consider updating the site a bit of a hobby so am willing to put in the time. My ultimate goal is to have higher quality material on my site which is why part of the increased updates I was thinking about would be issuing beta releases. This new plan takes this idea much further but I do need some time to work out the details. Just don't be too shocked by a major change in October.

September 9, 2005

This is the final chapter of my Flash Game Development eBook. This takes a look at a variety of topics, with perhaps the most interesting being what I am going to be doing with the second volume of the book. I think a lot of people may be surprised by what I am planning on doing with the second volume, though it is the logical direction for this series.

The subject of the second volume may be interesting, but what may be more interesting is that as of October, the speed that that book (and the Java Game Development book that use to be on hiatus) as well as the various games for the site that I am working on will be in your hands. Starting in a couple of weeks, when I reveal my plans for the site, visitors will get to vote on what will be worked on. In fact, you will be able to start voting in a couple of weeks.

September 16, 2005

I have been busy reading the HUGE amount of documentation that comes with Macromedia Studio 8, so this week's game is going to be the final video poker game. This is perhaps for the best as I wanted to get all the FGD stuff out before the site change. This will be the last game release this month, as the scheduled update on the 30th will be delayed one day and become the official unveiling of the new site format.

While I was not planning on adding any links to my link page until I overhaul it (which I was hoping to do months ago and still haven't gotten around to), one of my regular emailers (and biggest bug finder) has asked that I add his site to the page. The site is and I will properly update the link page for the launch of my major site change that will be officially announced as next week's article. Voting will also start next week, but you obviously will have to wait until next week to know what I am talking about.

September 23, 2005

This is the final weekly update, with this week being the unveiling of my plans for October. To summarize the article, updates are going to be happening on a daily bases at least four days a week. Updates will not necessarily be finished games, but progress made on the development of each category's game will be posted to a rss feed so people who don't want to continually go to the site can be notified about the progress of the games. Whenever possible betas will be made available for testing.

The bigger change comes to the coming soon page. Here you will be able to vote on which project you are interested in. One vote per category is allowed. In fact, I urge you to go to the page and email me with your choices. The initial four projects that will be worked on will be announced on October 1st.

September 29, 2005

I am updating this site early if only to say that it has been a really bad day (more about that later). There have been only 4 votes cast and all of them from regular emailers. This means that either my voting idea simply isn't going to work or that people don't like the effort required to email me. I am hoping it is the later problem, so with the plans for the first seven days of October decided I have decided to let whichever visitors can be bothered to vote to determine the future of the site.

Today started off with a nightmare about me dying before the day is out (so if you don't see future updates then you know what happened). Death was certainly a factor today as my internet machine finally died. At least the hard drive did. It is a very old machine so I'm not even sure that the hard drives that are available today would work with it (but as I haven't built a computer in about five years, I am a bit out of touch with the hardware side of computers). For now I am using my main work machine for accessing the internet. For extra security, I like keeping it offline. As I am not working on anything that requires that much security, it is not that big of a deal.

There were four votes emailed to me. Two were for the pdf version of my flash book (with one of them begging me to release the book under a open source document license - which I am considering). As both people who emailed me for the book have both requested such a thing and are largely the reason I decided to do such a thing, this is not much of a surprise. The other two voters were for game but only agreed on two games. While I could use my tiebreaker vote to side with the games, I have been considering other changes to my plans so decided for the first week in october I would update all seven days releasing a downloadable part from my book for each of those days. Articles will in the future be tied to open source releases whenever possible. Likewise, the vote has three questions that will determine how the site will be updated in the future, including if there will be any further voting! Now that the vote is being submitted via a form there is no excuse not to vote so BE SURE TO VOTE!

October 1, 2005

If you haven't been to the site since spetember 23 and don't have the rss feed then you may want to read the september 29th news for an update of what is going to be happening this week. The first part has been released today, and I will release an additional part of the book each day until the seventh. On the seventh I will post the results of the vote. The book is being released under the GNU Free Documentation License so you may freely distribute the book.

October 2, 2005

In case you haven't noticed, the posts are going to be done at the end of the day which means most of the world will actually be the next day. The date of the post happens to be the date in British Colombia when I did the work. A significant number of people have voted this time, which probably means that people prefer not to email me (I suppose filling out the form is also much faster than typing, which is also a large factor). The second part of the Flash Game Development book has been posted!

October 3, 2005

One advantage of updating more frequently is that I am able to correct minor mistakes that are pointed out to me while the mistake is still in my mind. While I am sure most people know that pfd is just pdf misspelled, it is still a mistake. While I don't like making mistakes, I do like being told when I make a mistake so do appreciate the emails. It is the third today so this evening I posted the pdf version of the third part of the Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development ebook.

October 4, 2005

The fourth part of the Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development ebook has been released in pdf format for your download. The book is being released under the GNU Free Documentation License so you may freely distribute the book. I chose the FDL over the Creative Commons largely due to the code intensive nature of the work which makes the book more like a manual (which the FDL was designed for) than a textbook.

October 5, 2005

The fifth part of the Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development eBook has been posted. The big problem I have with the pdf version is quite simply the size of the files. While I suppose the size of the files are not that great, they do add up very quickly. Also, I should remind you that the time to vote is almost finished so if you haven't voted yet you should do so as soon as possible. It is simply the mater of clicking on 7 radio buttons and one submit button so it won't take you much time.

October 6, 2005 - Part 6 pdf download released

The sixth part of the Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development eBook has been posted. Only one more part to post, along with the results of the voting. If you haven't voted yet, you better hurry!

October 7, 2005 - Vote Results

The final part of the Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development eBook has been posted. A new vote related to Coffee Quest 4 and how categories should be represented has been added to the vote page (Coming Soon until I get around to fixing the graphics). The subject of the vote should tell you the game that I will be starting on the 11th (it is the thanksgiving long weekend in Canada) but here are the winning votes from all seven questions:

1. Number of projects: Single project at a time (almost unanimous)

2. Category of first game: Story (surprisingly the Brain was a close second)

3. Arcade game: Escape Pod (Anvil drop a close second)

4 Brain Game: Tanks for the Memory RT

5. Story Game: Coffee Quest 4 (very large majority)

6. Table Game: Mah Jongg solitaire

7. Keep the vote: Yes (almost unanimous)

Be sure to vote in the new vote, and be sure to come back on the eleventh when the first beta of the updated CQ4 will be released!

October 11, 2005 - Coffee Quest 4 beta release #1

I'm running late so I have posted the beta of Coffee Quest 4. Remember that this is beta software, so there are bugs and changes that are going to be made. If you discover any bugs, please email me with them so I can fix them for the later releases. While I won't necessarily be releasing a new beta every day, I will update the news section with what changes are being made. New betas will be released when there are enough changes to warrant a new release.

October 12, 2005- Is the end near?

I have written a short article on the coming soon page as a replacement for the vote. The site will not be updated for the next few days as explained in the article.

October 17, 2005 - A new direction

A quick note before noon as I have work this afternoon and want to get this news out asap. After talking with the other two owners, and taking a few days to think about things, Blazing Games Inc. is going to be heading in a new direction. We are going to focus more on the site, with our "commercial" games actually being developed live on the site using a shareware like approach (only one third of the game levels released on the site). When a game is done, a full version will be made available. Not all games will be done this way, many games will still be fully free. The site will be updated at least once a week (if only to change the weekly poll which will be posted later) but may be updated more frequently. I still will have other third party work to do (though if by some miracle I do get the site/products to the point that I can pay myself a wage this will stop) so expect the frequency and quantity of the updates to vary. I will post more information later this evening.

October 17, 2005 - Projects

Observant visitors will notice that the navigation images have been updated. The site is going to be going through an overhaul to make it easier to read. Other planned changes should make the site easier for newcomers which will hopefully help to grow the user base. This new look and features will be slowly introduced to the site.

The other change is on how projects will work. The coming soon page will be where the currents project will be tracked. I will have one primary project and at least one secondary projects (though if there is something I really want to work on, this could be increased), with one of the secondary projects being selected by this sites visitors. I plan on having project pages devoted to all the projects in progress, but I may hold off on adding these until the new look of the site has been decided.

October 18, 2005 - Minor notes

Nothing major to announce today, though we have finally decided on a better naming convention for our un-named projects. In fact project C3 has been renamed Q7. That was a joke, actually it is being renamed Phobos after a certain moon in our solar system (it's better than using cities, mountains, or rivers like some other companies do). I know most people don't really care what the working title of a project is, but you have to call them something. Besides, there is a bit of a link between the game and the moon (very small, but it is there). I don't want to give any details about the game until it is further along. Right now it is just bits of C code for the palm that have to be ported to java.

To be honest, the primary project really should be the site re-design as that is where a lot of my current efforts are going. I hope to have a mockup of the site up later this week once the details have been worked out. I am thinking about using CSS for the layout (which means I am in the process of learning CSS which is why it is going to take so long to get the mockup) but may stick with tables (though I find that Firefox doesn't seem to lay out the tables properly but that could be the fault of the code that Dreamweaver is generating for the tables). Obviously, the next vote will be on the new mockup.

Don't expect an update until later this week, and if you hear someone shouting "Why can't these writers write in English" then you know that I am having problems with CSS (or at least the tutorials that I have downloaded).

October 23, 2005 - To feed or not to feed?

Mary is still working on the artwork for the new look of Blazing Games, so my plans for having you vote on the new look is not going to happen this week. Instead, at the top of the home page you will find that this week's topic is the number of RSS feeds that I should have. Some people are only interested in a few projects, so is it fair to make them suffer through other announcements? I personally don't think it is that big of deal and would opt for a single feed. Still, I have found that my visitors often have different ideas than me (which is why there is only one secondary project instead of four) so I will leave this issue up to you! As for those of you who want a sneak preview of what the site may look like, you can head here!

October 24, 2005 - CSS Vampires

I put together an open source release of Vampire Attack so it would be ready for halloween using my new pages. Right now the CSS code doesn't seem to be working properly, but you can still download the release (just the placement of the ads is wrong). I will try to solve the problem tomorrow, but for those who can't wait, the link at the top of the home page is active.

October 26, 2005 - Fixing Links

I actually fixed the CSS ad problem yesterday morning before heading out but never had time to post the news about the fix. As it is a fairly minor issue anyway, I am not sure it warranted a report and I still had problems with the links. While the links worked, there were display problems associated with the links which I could not figure out. As it turned out, CSS doesn't quite work the way I thought it did and link changes that I thought were being applied to the classes and ids were actually being applied to the whole page. Still, the best way of learning is by doing, and I find that CSS seems to be well worth learning. Sadly, though this site related work does take away from site coding. I am hoping that I will be able to spend some time this weekend working on CQ4 which I will post on Tuesday . I want to leave the Vampire Attack page as the main page until after Halloween is over, and may even have a making of article added if I have time Tomorrow and Friday evening (as I have said many times before, Blazing Games Inc. is run in my spare time which for the most part is evenings and weekends).

October 30, 2005 - Happy Halloween

I know that halloween isn't until tomorrow, but as I am probably not going to be posting tomorrow, I will wish you a happy halloween today. Observant visitors will notice that the making of Vampire Attack documentation has finally been posted. It is using my new site format (which has had a few tweaks made to it) and is using a slightly different page navigation system. Let me know what you think of the changes. I noticed that it was much easier to write in the evening then do any coding so in addition to a site selected game, I am also going to start having a site selected article that I will work on. This week's vote is on which article you want me to work on when I am too tired to write code. Last week results were for a single feed only by 100% of the voters.

November 1, 2005 - Minor Coffee Bug Fix

I was hoping to have a lot more done but things came up over the weekend. Thankfully, before I started making changes I backed up the bug fix that I did make so I do have something to release today. The Fire Arrow bug has finally been extinguished. For those of you who never discovered this bug, play the first beta and press the g (get) key when there is nothing to pick up and you will notice that fire arrows have been added to your inventory. I have also remembered to add documentation to the zip file, though the screen shots are from the original version of the game so the main screen layout is quite a bit different (as will the inventory and status screens once I actually am not interrupted when I finally do start doing CQ4 coding). I am not going to even speculate when the next update of the beta is coming as every time I do, something comes up. Speaking of which, I am thinking of putting the current primary project on hold (as I haven't started porting the C code yet anyway) and change the project to CQ5. More importantly, I am considering using a more modern version of Java and OpenGL bindings (and possibly even a third party Java game engine). Feel free to email your thoughts on this, but I will probably have a vote on this next sunday so those of you who hate emailing me can also comment on the decision.

November 6, 2005 - Bigger Coffee Fix

I still now playing through CQ4 to make sure everything works properly as the second beta (1.1 doesn't count) has been released. There are a few minor changes I have to make but those are cosmetic. If any major bugs are discovered and reported to me, I may have to have a beta 3 otherwise the next release will be the final release. Along with the next release will be a rather large announcement which may be of interest to Coffee Quest fans. In the mean time, this week's poll is which game should be worked on next. The results of last week's poll show that Making of One of those Weeks (introduction chapter) is the next article I will be working on. It won by a slightly larger than 2/3s majority.

November 9, 2005 - Coffee Quest 4 goes Gold

I've finished going through the game, cleaned up the couple of things that needed cleaning up, and received no new bug reports so I am releasing the final (I hope) version of Coffee Quest 4. One warning to the people that are upgrading from the beta releases, due to changes made to the map, the save games will not work so you will have to start the game over from the beginning. Sorry for the inconvenience. I am not quite ready to announce Project Libra, which will be replacing Project Phobos as Blazing Games internal project but will say that it will be of interest to Coffee Quest fans even though it is not Coffee Quest 5.

November 13, 2005 - New Poll

I was going to announce project Libra today, but realized it was the 13th so am going to hold off until monday or tuesday. While I don't think there is anything unlucky about the number 13, I am just not going to take a chance. The poll results were rather strange last week, until I discovered there was another strange One of those Weeks spike which could account for the sudden increase in votes for that game. One of those Weeks episode 14 will be the next site selected game that I will work on, so now it is time for you to select the next article. I am going to make some changes to the voting system which I am working out right now and which will apply to next week's vote. I will announce these plans the same time I officially announce project Libra.

November 15, 2005 - Project Libra

It is now official. Project Phobos is going to be put on hold. In it's place the internal project at Blazing Games is going to be Project Libra. This project is a multi-task project with the ultimate goal of developing an advanced game engine that will be used for Coffee Quest 5 and Coffee Quest 6. More information about this project can be found on it's project page which is using the new format that will eventually be used on the whole site (still working out details).

November 20, 2005 - Sunday

It is Sunday but I nothing to post other than the voting article I forgot to post on tuesday (sorry) and this week's vote. One of those Weeks episode 14 is coming along pretty good considering how little time I have had to work on it the last week. Time wise things are getting worse, but my time-drains are slowly being plugged so this may change. This week's vote is on the game that I will work on once One of those Weeks episode 14 is finished. The Coffee Quest Strategy Guide is going to be the next article.

November 27, 2005 More time drains

The holiday season is always filled with things that suck up my spare time, so it should come as no big surprise that I am falling behind in my releases. Both the game and the article are so close to being ready and at least one of them would have been released if something drastic didn't happen. But this is not the forum to discuss that, so lets just say that this week I had way bigger time drains than I planned for and these time drains also had emotional impacts which reduced my productivity when I did work. I could release the partially completed article, but am not sure if that is what my visitors want. Instead, I am asking my visitors to vote on how often to update the projects I am working on. Last week, One of those Weeks episode 15 won the vote, with Tanks for the Memory RT barely beating out Cribbage for the second place spot.

December 4, 2005 - Making the week begins

Finally I am releasing the introduction and first chapter for Making One of those Weeks. The format of this book is a bit different from the first volume of Blazing Games Guide to Flash Game Development, but I think it will be better. For people who are having trouble finishing an episode, the beginning of every chapter will have a strategy guide for the episode it covers. Now I am going to cheat a bit. Normally for a new article poll I would have four choices (two of which would be book chapters) but this time I want to make sure that at least one of my Christmas articles are created so the choice is limited. Last week's poll was on how often the site should be updated, with the majority of the voters choosing Major updates, which is pretty much how I have been releasing things.

December 11, 2005 - Fun in the Forest

Well, I have finally finished episode 14 of One of those Weeks and have started on episode 15. With everything that is going on, I don't have too much spare time so I don't know if it will be released this year but I will try. At the same time, I expect to have both the CQ4 strategy guide and Making Santa's Snowball finished well before Christmas. Yes, in a rather surprising (to me) upset, Santa's Snowball was the winner of the previous poll.

December 17, 2005 - Throwing Snowballs

Writing the walk through portion of the Coffee Quest 4 Strategy Guide took a lot longer than I figured. I still have to assemble all the HTML pages for it so instead of rushing to get it out before sunday (not that saturday is rushing it) I will post it sunday. I did want a second release this week, so I am releasing the open source version of Santa's Snowball. This way anybody who wants to can put the game on their site in time for christmas. I will try to have the making of document released before christmas as well. That said, don't be surprised if tomorrow's update is done in the late afternoon or early evening as the strategy guide is quite large.

December 18, 2005 - Apprentice Journal Released

Due to the timing this week's poll will be the last poll of the year, but this will not be the last update of the year! I am in a bit of a dilemma regarding how I should release the new look of the site. Doing it all at once will delay the release until April, but slowly updating the site will result in different looks for different parts of the site. I figure it is a decision that my regular visitors should have some say in. As promised yesterday, here is the finished release of the Coffee Quest 4 strategy guide. Last week's results were obviously One of those Weeks episode 16, followed by Tanks for the Memory and Cribbage.

December 21, 2005 - Making Snowballs

I have finally finished the Making of Santa's Snowball article. The open source release was on the 17th, so you may want to grab a copy of that as well if you haven't already. I don't know if there will be any more site updates this year, but probably not. So, I hope every one has a happy holiday (whatever holiday that may be) and a happy new year!

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