Even though I’m an artist, I can’t deny my love for coding. Unfortunately, I also can’t deny my lack of skill in coding! It’s not that object-oriented programming languages like C++ are beyond me, it’s just that it’s always a hard and slow process for me. Because of this, Dark Basic Professional has always been my favorite programming language because of its balance of powerful options and easy syntax. I recently had the opportunity to interview Richard Vanner, the Co-Founder of the company responsible for the software. After he announced The Game Creators was having a 93% off Winter bundle sale, I had to dive in. Here’s an overview of everything that they’re offering for $20.
I’ve talked about DB Pro before, and since then the 7.61 update has been released. It’s worth pointing out that the $20 bundle gives you an extremely old version of Dark Basic Pro, but the online upgrade is a completely free download. I forget which version it was that redid the entire graphical user interface, but if you’re completely new to coding you may want to stick with the outdated version, while everyone else should immediately upgrade since it’s enhanced layout is extremely different now. The commands are still mostly the same, but thankfully several bugs have been fixed.
FPS Creator & 10 Model Theme Packs
My only complaint with this bundle is that, like DB Pro, FPS Creator is also given in an outdated version, so for FPSC you’ll have to get the June 2011 update on your own, but note that FPS Creator X10 is a separate piece of software. With FPSC you can literally open the program in 5 seconds, create an entire 3D level in under 5 minutes, and be playing that level after a few seconds of load time. Yes, the level editor is that easy to learn and use. What’s even better is that there’s a quick preview function built into the editor that lets you look at your additions within the game without having to load the whole level.
However, I don’t want to mislead people into thinking FPSC levels will be anywhere near as impressive as what you’re playing on PS3 and Xbox 360; it’s over 5 years old and it shows, but the possibility of creating a simple 3D level (think Quake 3 and Counter-Srike 1.6) in one night for you and your friends to play together online is just too cool to pass up. To help it compete with Valve’s Hammer Editor and the Unreal Editor, The Game Creators periodically releases new model pack bundles that contain themed prop pieces, textures, enemies, and even sound files to add to your levels. Another nice thing about this sale is that it comes with the following model packs bundled in as free downloads:
- FPSC Model Pack 1. Modern day objects and characters.
- FPSC Model Pack 3. 526 new assets!
- FPSC Model Pack 7. Extra sci-fi and world war segments, as well as new ramps and walkways.
- FPSC Model Pack 19. Medieval cartoon themed pack.
- FPSC Model Pack 27. Ancient Rome themed pack.
- FPSC Model Pack 29. Tropical Foliage themed pack.
- FPSC Model Pack 35. Medieval Interior themed pack.
- FPSC Model Pack 37. Castle themed pack.
- FPSC Model Pack 43. Subterranean mine themed pack.
- FPSC Model Pack 45. Historic science characters themed pack.
Those that are extra ambitious can also tweak every editor entity to their liking, which allows for a great deal of customized physics, AI, lighting, event triggers, and clever object manipulation. The last thing I have to recommend is that 3D and/or code veterans ignore the small booklet that comes with the game and instead find the digital “FPS Creator Manual.PDF” guide that gets installed along with the editor. It gives many more details, including the much desired hotkeys and also confirmation that you can add your own custom made 3D objects (from 3ds Max, Maya, etc) to levels, although doing so is never easy in any editor.
I’m assuming this nice bonus was added because it showcases the kind of game DB Pro can easily create. It’s a fun little soccer game (“football” to non-American readers) that doesn’t have multiplayer, but does have a single player World Cup campaign to it. The AI is pretty good, but the controls take a few games to get used to.
This cartoony puzzle game is mainly targeted at kids, but the concept of drawing your own platforms into the 2D level for your character to jump on can be addicting. It’s no Scribblenauts, but with 63 total levels to play it definitely provides a lot of content for the price!
My Doodle Game
You know what goes good with FPS creation software? A 2D game making tool! You can literally draw out your own sidescroller shoot-em-up games or even make a Mario styled platformer game from scratch. This is a must have program for game artists who aren’t good at coding.
You can view and purchase the Winter Fire Sale here. Make sure to make the purchase before the sale ends on Christmas! $20 for $286 of software is just too good to pass up! If you purchase the bundle you’ll receive the FPS Creator disc in the mail, and the rest will be unlocked as free downloads online in your account settings. Lastly, please note that I used all of the above software using a Windows Vista PC.