Touch table Vegas Showdown

I’ve converted Vegas Showdown for the touch table. Vegas Showdown is a 3-5 player game where the players try to build the best casino by bidding for tiles. The touch table version plays a little bit faster since players don’t have to deal with the money. It also shows you more about the status of the player scores and available tiles.


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Touch table Puerto Rico

My touch table conversion of Puerto Rico is complete. As usual, I will continue to work on the game, but it is mostly done. There are probably still some bugs to fix and some of the animations should be cleaned up. The game is for two to five players and seems to play quite a bit faster on the table.


Unfortunately the owners of Puerto Rico (Alea), aren’t willing to give me permission to distribute the game. I have also talked to the creator of Tropic Euro, and they have given me permission to make a version of their game. It would take a little work to convert Puerto Rico into Tropic Euro, but then I could release the game.

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LeHavre – Complete

My touch table conversion of Le Havre is complete. I am sure there are a few more bugs out there, and there might even be some enhancements I decide to add, but we have played several games and it is working well. We have particularly enjoyed the single player game. With one player, the game becomes an optimization puzzle since other players can’t disrupt your plans.



Unfortunately the owners of Le Havre (lookout-games), aren’t willing to give me permission to distribute the game. I had hoped that they would since there is already a free Java version available online. But it sounds like they may have given an exclusive electronic license to someone else.

Read on for a comparison of this project to some of our other games and a bit of a postmortem.

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Le Havre – Week 3

With a total of 120 hours of work, I am happy to say that Le Havre is playable. There is still a lot of testing, bug fixing, and polish to do; but I’ve played through a full game.

Main progress this week:

  • All the building actions for the normal and special buildings
  • End game

I am still expecting another 40 hours or so of work on this game. I’d like to have quite a few more sound effects and player prompts and some better animation for resources being paid/received. And once beta testing starts, I’ll have usability improvements to make too.

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Le Havre – Week 2

I have put another 40 hours of work into the touch table conversion of Le Havre, so it is time for an update. In the first week, I did a lot of work with the graphics and layout of the game to make sure that the game would fit onto one screen. In the second week, I have been making the game play.

Here are the progress highlights:

  • Created graphics for player areas, offers, supply tiles and added animation of buildings and resources.
  • Incorporated the timeline engine and added save/load and undo to the engine.
  • Built the main menu: players can join, choose their color, pick options and start the game.
  • Player area replication code.
  • Added the “take offer”, “end turn”, “end round”, “buy building”, “repay loan” moves.
  • Added the scoreboard and scoring logic (except end game bonuses).
  • Created “feed workers” and “pay interest” dialogs.

The big things left to do are: all the buildings, end game. I feel like I am about half done with this project. We will see how accurate that estimate is. When estimating for a client, I always double my gut feel (and that is usually still too short). So I probably have another 3-5 weeks of work to go.

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Le Havre – Week 1

I’ve spent about 40 hours working on Le Havre. About half of that time has been spent planning screen layouts and designing graphics for the buildings and ships. Bill came up with the idea to draw all the buildings (even the ones built by the players) in the center area. This keeps the player areas very small and leaves almost all of the screen space for the “town”.

Even with that idea, the space is still quite tight. I’ve had to create a different view of the buildings and ships for each “mode” that they are going to be displayed in to limit their size.

My main accomplishment this week has been coming up with a screen layout that will be able to display everything that the players need to see, and a design of the ships and buildings that will fit into that layout. I am now fairly confident that it will be possible to play this game on the touch table.

Here is the basic layout: Town Continue reading “Le Havre – Week 1”

Adding OGG support to Torque 2D

Prior to being released opensource, Torque 2D supported OGG and WAV files. MP3 support wasn’t included because of licensing issues with the MP3 codec. The opensource version of Torque 2D doesn’t include OGG support. So the only audio support was WAV. This is a problem because WAV is a raw format, so having audio of any length was taking up a lot of disk space. I added OGG support back to the engine and will describe the process in this post. I am not adding it back to the Git project because there are probably open source license issues that caused them to remove OGG in the first place. Continue reading “Adding OGG support to Torque 2D”

Torque 2D goes open source

One question that people often ask when they see our games is “How did you make this?” It is a question asked both by people who have very little computer experience and by other professional programmers. When another programmer asks us how we made a game, what they are really asking is: “What set of libraries and code did you start with?” Writing a game (or really any software) is a little like cooking: There are lots of different levels of “from scratch”. Did you buy a pre-made pie and put on the whipped cream? Or did you buy the can of fruit and a crust and bake it? Or did you make your own crust and filling? Or did you harvest the fruit and grind the flour and refine the sugar? Continue reading “Torque 2D goes open source”

Zilch for the touch table

I have been working on a new game for the touch table. It is called Zilch (or Farkle, Greedy Dice or Dice 10000) and it is a “press your luck” style dice game that we often play at the end of a gaming session or while waiting between games. Players roll six dice and can score some or all of their dice. What scores depends on which rules you are playing by; but it at least includes 1s, 5s, and sets of 3+. The scored dice are removed and the player may continue and roll the remaining dice for more points or bank their existing score. If the new dice can’t score anything, the player loses their points and pass the dice. If all the dice score, the player may/must continue and roll all six again.

In my version of the game for the touch table, you can play more than one game at a time so that lots of people are rolling simultaneously. Here 10 players are playing 12 games:

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Up the River

I have been working on the multitouch games these last couple of weeks. I have started creating a new touch game based on the card games Oh Hell, Get Fred and Wizard. These games are trick taking games where you get points for correctly predicting how many tricks you are going to take. The main goal for this game project is to make an HTML based phone interface for displaying the player’s cards. The player will make their bid and select which card to play from their phone or tablet, while the main screen will show the cards played, bids made, running score, etc.

So far I have the game implemented with the player controls on-screen:

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