Author Archives: Matt Roszak

Pink Crosses!

Found out today that using the red cross in video games violates the Geneva Convention and that they’re going after some devs who do.  So I updated my red crosses to pink crosses!

This is such a ridiculous story though. The law is beyond common-sense crosses

EBF5: Equipment Code

Hey guys, I’m entering all of the equipment data, so I thought I’d share a bit of the process. Here’s a list of all of Natalie’s weapons; as you can see it’s over 600 lines of code!


Let’s open one of those equipment sections up, here’s one of Lance’s guns. It’s quite verbose but I think it’s reasonably readable this way. Inputting all of this data is exhausting.

I think I’m coming up with more interesting effects for equips now, and even if they’re not balanced, they will hopefully be fun to try out just for the different effects. Also I’m back to the EBF3 style of upgrades: you don’t know what specials equipment will have until you upgrade it, so it’s a secret again!

The equipment that’s returning from previous games isn’t being changed much stat-wise, but many of them will have slightly different specials this time.


Mid-Project Crisis

Update: I think I’ve found a solution to my problem. With the help of HTMLLoader and LocalConnection, I can get Flashplayer running inside AIR, and I can get the best of both.

Hey guys, with Epic Battle Fantasy 4 being in a Humble Bundle and having a lot of new eyes on it, I once again had the horrifying realization that I’m still making games in Flash. I thought a bit about this when I started working on Epic Battle Fantasy 5 a year ago, but pushed those thoughts to the side and decided to wait and see how things might develop. Well, things haven’t gotten much better.

Here’s the problem: Adobe suck. 

Adobe AIR is their cross-platform solution for running Flash apps on Desktop, iOS and Android – and it would be perfect for my needs EXCEPT that the Desktop version doesn’t have the same performance optimizations that the mobile versions have. It doesn’t have the Stage Quality setting that Flashplayer has – this let’s you change the anti-aliasing of vector graphics and is a huge factor on performance. HUGE. My games always have this set to MEDIUM by default, with lots of users setting it to LOW. But in AIR, it’s permanently set to HIGH, making my games run 50 to 100% slower in AIR compared to the web Flashplayer! What the hell!

Another missing feature is GPU rendering for bitmaps. If I convert all of my vector graphics to bitmaps, they’ll run quite well on a phone! Not on my desktop computer though! Madness!

Word from Adobe is that they’ll consider features that are often requested, like these. But after waiting for a year (and hearing how other developers waited much longer than that), I think it’s time to assume it’s not a priority for Adobe at all.

I used Adobe AIR for my release of Epic Battle Fantasy 3 on Steam. And everything works very nicely, except that the performance is terrible! Many users pointed out that it ran noticeably worse than the web version, and that’s because it does.

My shooter game Bullet Heaven 2 worked well in AIR, but it didn’t use vector graphics very much, so this wasn’t an issue. It was made with Starling and Stage3D, which performs very well, but makes animation much harder than it is in regular Flash games, and there’s no way I could make an EBF game like that. There’s just too much complicated animation involved.

For Epic Battle Fantasy 4, which came out on Steam almost 3 years ago now, I used a Flash wrapper called MDM Zinc, which is similar to AIR but uses the standard Flashplayer, and therefore runs my games better. This worked well, but it had serious compatibility issues with a few users, and the company that made it is gone now, so I can’t use it anymore anyway. There’s a DRM-free build of it left over, but as far as I can tell there’s no way of getting rid of the “trial version” splash screen now.

Publishing on Steam using a simple Flashplayer Projector is an option too. The performance would be better, but I’d be restricted by not having common application features like being able to create save files wherever I wish, or controlling the size of the application window. Adding Steam features like cloud saving and achievements would require inconvenient work-arounds.

So what other options does that leave me with?

I could convert my animations to Unity files using something like GAF or UniSwf, and port all of my code over to Unity too. That could lead to great performance, and Unity is super popular and well supported now, unlike Flash. Downside is I’d have to learn Unity very well, port tons of work over, and overall I’d probably have a much slower workflow than I do in Flash. EBF5 was meant to be a 2-year project, if I switch to Unity I could easily see that being 3 years or more, with tons of unforeseen problems thanks to my lack of any experience with Unity. Not a risk I’d like to take with my biggest project ever.

Also the chances of releasing a web version of the game would go down drastically if it’s not made in Flash. Steam’s my main market now, but I still have tons of fans there who would lynch me if I didn’t release a web version. Sticking to Flash also makes any future mobile ports easy – Adobe AIR does work fine on mobile after all, it’s just the Desktop version that’s causing me grief.

Apparently Scaleform is a cool technology for running Flash content fast – it’s used for GUIs in AAA titles and also some mobile games. But it doesn’t look like they’re interested in the Desktop indie market, and I couldn’t even get permission to try it out.

OpenFl is another framework I considered, as its workflow is supposed to be similar to Flash. But it still feels like it’s in its infancy, not being fully implemented or documented yet, and would still require a lot of porting pains, much like a move to Unity would.

None of this really threatens EBF5′s development. I just think it’s likely that I’m going to have to make some compromises when it comes to Steam features or performance. Maybe I’ll make 2 launchers on Steam, Flashplayer and AIR, and users can decide which one works better for them.

Oh well.

Thanks, Adobe.
For not developing Desktop AIR, and for leading me on.

EBF5: Fancy Textboxes

Undertale has inspired me to give monsters more personality, and I figured the easiest way of doing that was through text effects! Expect a bit of dialogue from some foes. I already did this with the final bosses, but I’ll expand it to all bosses and maybe some common enemies too.

text1 text2

2016 in Review

Hey guys, here’s a summary of my year. Most of it was taken up by Epic Battle Fantasy 5 and learning how to live away from my parents. A lot of people felt 2016 was a terrible year news-wise, but nothing in the news really affected me at all. Anyway, here’s a list of important stuff that happened:

• Me and Ronja moved into a flat together! Had to learn how to do house chores and boring stuff.

• Upgraded my battlestation with new monitors, graphics tablet, webcam, and mugs! Should last me many years.

• Played a lot of indie games this year, but I think my favourite by far will have to be Undertale.

• Ronja got Rheumatoid Arthritis and was totally incapacitated for a few weeks. After a few months and hundreds of pills, she’s almost normal again, but still a bit feeble. She’ll be on meds forever and we’ll just have to see how much of her strength she can get back. Lots of visits to the hospital this year!

• Went to the Play expo in Glasgow. First time at major-ish gaming event like this. Tried out a bunch of arcade machines, pinball, and old consoles like the Vectrex.

• My family dog, Maxi, died. Had her for 15 years.

• Found an old sketchbook of mine from when I was 8. It’s full of hundreds of monsters. I scanned it all and stuck it online, and have decided to continue drawing monsters in it.

• Took 3 or 4 days off to play with Lego for my birthday. Managed to build some sets from my childhood, as well as getting a bunch of new ones.

• Ronja’s birthday party was good too. We broke in the flat and brought our friends round. Got more novelty hats for my collection. Later went to the local pub and there was a crime scene outside!

• Me and Ronja went on a quick road trip to Ayr by the coast. Found a cool pub called the Smoking Goat.

• Went on a Road trip with Ronja, my brother, his girlfriend, and a friend from Poland. We aimed for the island of Arran but missed the ferry and went to Bute instead. Hiked a bit, saw some beaches, and there were seals! Seals are really funny.

• There was a big power cut in my area! Never seen a city so dark before. It was spooky.

• I talked to a bunch of developers and got some cameos lined up for EBF5, including Chibi Knight, Sushi Cat, and the guys from Sentry Knight. Matt and Natalie also appeared in the new Sentry Knight game as NPCs.

• Me and Ronja went to Birmingham for the EGX expo. We hung out with the Massive Monster devs who we’ve met before, and also made some new friends. Hype intensified for Yooka Laylee, Snake Pass, and other games. Also saw a bit of Birmingham, including the impressive library and some random film set.

• I think my favourite book this year was So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Very relevant in the age of outrage on the internet, and a fun read.

• Found more of my old sketchbooks, but they were all pretty lame. I had a habit of only filling the first page or two.

• The UK voted to leave the EU and no one expected it. Everyone lost their shit over this and I’m indifferent. A weak £ is even good for me since I get paid in $. Sucks for Europeans living in the UK and sending money back home though!

•  Started playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. It’s a lot of fun but also a huge time investment, so I don’t join in too often. I play as a racist druid named Salazar Ratkin. Ronja’s a bard.

• After a few visits to some dog shelters, my brother and his girlfriend got a dog! It’s a Staffy, so it’s very bulky for its size and tends to bruise people while trying to lick their faces.

• Not long after, my parents got a Labrador! She’s really dumb but also very young so maybe she’ll get smarter. She also wiggles a lot when she sees people.

•  Mostly stopped pirating TV and migrated to Netflix and Amazon instead. Black Mirror, Mr Robot and Stranger Things were some great shows this year.

• I went on a road trip around Scotland with Ronja and some of her friends from Finland. We saw Glen Coe, Skye, Loch Ness and Cairn Gorm. Climbed some hills, saw some waterfalls, got stampeded by sheep, drove over a lot of cattle grids. It was good and I’ll have to do something similar again soon.

•  Got a huge pumpkin for Halloween and ended up making cake, salad and soup out of it. Took way too long.

• Stayed up all night with friends watching the American election results. What a rollercoaster of an election. Better entertainment than any work of fiction.

• Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is almost 3 years old on Steam and thousands of people are still buying it somehow.

• Made about 40% of EBF5 this year. Would have liked that to be closer to 50%, but not bad considering the circumstances.

• Celebrated Christmas with dogs and Lego. Ronja was away in Finland while I stayed with my family. It was nice.


Christmas of Dog

Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas!
I spent 3 days playing with Lego and dogs. I can’t really ask for anything more than that.
My parents and my brother each got a puppy, and they’re all temporarily living together, so it’s crazy over there.

Our landlord gave me and Ronja a big box of snacks and wine, which was unexpected. I guess that’s a good way of getting us to stay around. Only got a Christmas card from one of the neighbours despite giving them out to everyone, so it looks like only our nextdoors are cool people. Everyone else is obviously a scumbag.

The Steam Winter sale has also been treating me well. EBF4 is 3 years old on Steam, and thousands of people are still buying it for some reason. Thanks everyone!

I’m gonna start reading all the comments on the Christmas giveaway, and emailing the winners. It might still take a few days, as there’s a LOT to read there.

lego ages

I got all sorts of Lego, from up to 20 years ago! Look at the difference there

Christmas Steam Key Givaway 2!

This competition is now closed!

Hey guys, it’s time for another giveaway!
I’m giving away free Steam keys for Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and Bullet Heaven 2.

If you’re interested, leave a comment about why you like the Epic Battle Fantasy series and what you’d like to see in the next game. How winners are chosen will be a secret again, but honesty is quite important. You should also mention which of the two games you want.

Make sure to fill in the email field correctly so I can email you the prize if you win.

Last year I got 722 entries and I think I gave out around 30 games. The more people that enter, the more I’ll give out, so get your friends involved!

This giveaway will probably run until the 26th, so you have until then!

EBF5: Equipment Effects

I’ve finished programming new equipment effects, here’s some of them:

• Some equips boost the effect of buff or debuff skills by 10%, and this is stackable – having a dedicated buffer might be a good strategy on higher difficulties.
• Some armor gives extra effects to the defend action.
• Some equips steal items when you attack with melee attacks.
• Some weapons now scare certain enemies. The spear with a slime impaled on it makes small slimes flee, and makes big slimes angry.
• And there’s some more that are secret for now.