Dearest reader,
Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is a small, private game developer founded in 2007. This site is to share some of what goes on behind the scenes with the creation of our games.

You can click any of our game titles on the right, from Serious Sam Double D XXL to our first, award-winning title Weapon of Choice. There's also categories on the right side if you scroll down some and of course a Search option.

Feel free to contact me if you need more game information!
Nathan

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Casual Connect About to Get Sick

Pig Eat Ball was selected to compete for the Indie Prize Showcase at Casual Connect!

I'll be showing the game next week in San Francisco at the Casual Connect conference. If you're going to the conference please stop by to try it out to see what this whole barfing thing is all about. And I'll have our one-of-a-kind "butt rumbling" RMP SHKR controllers there next week for the 4-player Party Mode!
Each too many barfies too quickly and you'll barf again! Just wait to burp a little after each.


Lecture Time



And at the Casual Connect show, in addition to having Pig Eat Ball there, I've been asked to speak. July 22nd at 3:30pm I'll be giving a talk about transitioning a concept from a game jam entry to a full-fledged commercial product. Come by for an earful!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shake Your Rump at Derby City Comic Con


Pig Eat Ball is heading to the Derby City Comic Con this weekend (June 28th, and 29th), along with our fabulous, butt-rumbling controllers we call "RMP SHKRs".

We've been working hard on the game, improving the 4-player mode, adding more levels, and the Solo mode as well. And I've constructed four new, "version 2.0" RMP SHKRs to take to the show. They now feature 5 motors in a pad, and each light up with 8 feet of LEDs!

If you're in Louisville this weekend, make sure to come to the comic book convention, then find us to play some. We've got some neat goodies to hand out, including these temporary tattoos of Princess Bow from the game!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pig Eat Ball heads to Radius!

Pig Eat Ball won a slot to show at the Radius Festival coming up June 19th in London England!
Radius Festival is a festival of video games, including the best part--the public showcase of new games such as Pig Eat Ball!

Pig Eat Ball International

Who's demoing the game? Well, I looked and would really LOVE to go, but it costs around $1,700 just for the flight! (Indiana to London) That was a bit expensive, so I reached out to some friends and found my old buddy Moo, who lives and works in London. He'll be demoing the game for us. Cool, done!

But it's never that easy.
I wanted to show the game with our one-of-a-kind "butt rumbling" controllers. Called the RMP SHKRs, when you get attacked in the game, your butt vibrates in real life! We use these in the 4-player Party Mode, and it's a really unique experience. I made them specifically for public events like this--I really wanted to make this work!



So now I have to ship them to the UK in time by the 19th. After some crazy confusion at the Post Office sorting out post codes in the London, we got them sent.
Okay, done!


Special controllers, Pig Eat Ball balls, cards, and more!

Four controllers sent by postal mail, and the game was sent digitally, everything's ready.

But wait.. what about voltage conversion? Crap!
I've only made four RMP SHKRs so far, but I've started on a new set. The new set's AC adapters actually already account for 110V and 240V. But unfortunately the current set I've built only handle 110V. 
And with that, it was time to research voltage step-down converters.
The outlet plug shapes are different in the UK, and my friend Moo already has several of those simple converters, but he does not have any spare "voltage step-down converters" that actually change the voltage from the UK ~220V to the US 110V. I found this model, it seemed robust enough, and was fairly cheap, but the shipping was killer.

Approximate cost:
$91 to ship the controllers and box.
$120 for the converters and to ship them.
~$210 is costly, but I believe showing them there is worthwhile and and much cheaper than flying me out!

Special Spot

There's still some kinks to work out but at a minimum, Pig Eat Ball will be showing in some form, a week from today at the Radius Festival. And at a maximum, it will have butt-rumbling controllers with 4-player Party mode!
It's a lot of work to participate in a show like this, but knowing the organizers behind the festival selected Pig Eat Ball from hundreds of other entries feels really good.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recursion Regret and Command Prompt Rescue

Our current game in development, Pig Eat Ball, is written in Java and uses a game development framework called LibGDX (which also uses LWJGL). The game's not been formally announced yet as I'm still getting it's pretty face ready for prime time, but I've been talking about the development along the way.


It's been running at a good framerate and seemed to run fine on many machines, except the one computer on which we really needed run well--our level builder's computer!
For reasons I couldn't figure out, Andrew's computer would crash with *no crash file* saved. We knew it was when he built a very big level and then tried to save it, or if he tried to play a big level from within the game (I can make big levels fine and I've made some which he couldn't run).

I try-catched and wrapped all the Save and Load functions tighter than a Christmas present, but I couldn't get the crash log to save. How was I to fix this if I couldn't get it to happen on my machine, and couldn't get any information out of his machine other than "it crashes here and here"?


Until I had a thought! Probably an obvious thought to some devs reading! I was already printing a log of certain actions in the game (when things saved, loaded, etc). But that was not saving correctly, especially not when I printed the callstack.

Command Prompt Rescue

So instead--I'd just have him run it from the command prompt! Yes, open a command prompt, run the game (set it to our new 'verboseLog' setting) and walla! Information from the game is shown in the prompt that can't be lost.
Except it can! Once I started printing each object loaded by the level, we quickly ran out of space in the prompt. The solution was to right-click the top bar, open the Properties, and select the third tab to the right--Layout. There, we could change Screen Buffer Size - Height to 9999. That gave us enough space to see the callstack during the crash!

Adding more "lines" to your command prompt.

And what was the crash? Well a StackOverflow of course! I think that makes sense now why it wasn't able to catch the crash--if the stack had already run out of memory. The good news was I got to see the callstack now in the command prompt (I had Andrew copy and send me the contents from his computer).

Recursion Abuse


And the problem was, I was using recursion to traverse the tree of objects to save in the level.
I had a nested tree system, in which there could be a 'child' which would branch the tree, and a 'next' which would simply continue the length of that branch.

From our Level Editor--here's how the broken version worked, with the lazy rescursion on every object.


Foolishly I just called the recursion function on both types--Child and Next, and let it do all the work. When a thousand-long branch of Next objects would be processed, that would be where the crash could happen. The callstack would have literally thousands of objects on the stack and on some computers it could crash.

Fixed version, in which I loop through most objects.

Simple Solution


The solution was simple, recurse into the branch (via the child) but simply LOOP through the Next objects! Just handle each one, then progress to the Next object, which means only one of those objects is on the stack at one time! Simple and the callstack is nice and happy.

Why didn't I do that in the first place? Pure laziness, but I wish I had known it was going to cause this much trouble or I'd have done it the more stack-friendly way the first time!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GDC 2014

Last week was 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and I was fortunate to get to take Pig Eat Ball there to impress the press! I was there from Monday to Wednesday and the first, and most important event for me was showing our game in the "MIX" show. The Media Indie Exchange was held Monday night in the IGN office and offered 47 indie devs a chance to directly show their game to a wide range of journalists.

Pig Eat Ball and the Rmp Shkr controllers set up before the crowd showed.
Pig Eat Ball was showing in Multiplayer mode with 4 spots available, and off to the left, there was a Single Player version available as well.
The "Rmp Shkr" controllers are specialty controllers I created to help promote the game at public shows like this. The idea is when a player gets his tail bumped in the game, his "tail" gets bumped in real life. Basically the Rmp Shkrs rumble your butt when you get attacked in the game.
Boys and Girls loved it!



Hey, it's Greg Miller and crew from IGN laughing it up!


Did I mention the IGN office is pretty cool? Yes that's a "Sharknado".


The night was a huge success, with lots of people coming to play the game, then running off and finding press friends and bringing them back with new people shouting things like "I'm supposed to play the butt rumble game?" Destructoid even said they liked the game with *and without* the special controllers (so that was a great sign!)


After Monday night I headed to the actual GDC show. I had bought a 'cheap' Expo pass (cheapest there is, at ~$200) so I could see the show floor, but it didn't get me into the talks. Still worked out okay as they had a variety of exhibits.


One fascinating area was arranged by the Videogame History Museum which put together collections of old, and sometimes rare game consoles and peripherals, and even design notebooks from old companies! Definitely made me think of a few weeks ago at the LAX show.

One talk available to everyone was by UbiSoft and happened to be about the editor for Rayman Origins--one of my favorite recent games! Their tech was very impressive, especially how it allowed for dynamic terrain deformation in 2D, while managing to keep looking gorgeous as it was adjusted.

Just outside the Indie Mega Booth I met the creator of the "Choosatron". It's a fun little game system in which it prints out a choose-your-own-adventure text game, and you press buttons on it to pick your direction. By the end you have a printed record of your adventure! No more peaking ahead to see what page to pick.
On the actual show floor I saw a few neat games. Enemy Mind reminded me of Gaiares--it's a shmup in which you can swap ships by capturing enemies ships, and basically get new weapons.
iPollute was made by Israeli game developers and featured clay-mation and a "reverse" ecology theme. Basically, you do better, the more you pollute, which makes players think about the worst types of pollution.


And finally, my favorite, completely-insane video game controller--the Rolfpillar. I would have loved to play it but didn't get the chance. Apparently you roll back and forth inside the tent to play the game!

Overall GDC was a great trip as I got to visit with Ian Stocker who just released Escape Goat 2, show off our work, meet old friends, and play some fun games!