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To be frank, I've been procrastinating several interesting programming blog posts, but I've been quite tired, and at the end of the day (or week) I just want to sleep. Still, I've been able to squeeze in "programming for fun", in an unlikely form.

Think of a sequel to Mario Paint on the Nintendo DS, mixed with WarioWare. If you don't know Mario Paint, it was a game for the Super Nintendo and came with a mouse accessory. While very few other game made use of the mouse, Mario Paint was so fun to use that it made the extra expense worth it. Highlights: playing animations on your TV and recording them on your VCR, music editing, and a very addictive "swat the bug" game.

I actually owned both Mario Paint and the first WarioWare game for the GameBoy advance. WarioWare, again if you don't know, is a series of "micro" games that last a few seconds each. You're given a onle-line instruction, like "jump!" or "avoid", and using simple controls you have to win the micro game. You have 4 lives, and you need to beat enough micro games o get to the boss stage.

WarioWare D.I.Y. ( ) is a game about... making micro games. You draw the background, the sprite animations, add some music, and glue everything together with some "AI" code. The code is quite simple: events and triggers, max. 15 objects, a binary "switch" variable for each object, randomness is limited to timed events and object position, no loop structure of any kind. But there was great care in the design so that it's easy got everyone, especially young kids, to make games, while still giving a bit of freedom for more "advanced" developers. Also, the games includes a section for creating longer musical pieces, and a (heavily Japanese-influenced) comics drawing section.

So, when you're done making a game you can share it to your friends using DS to DS connection in a LAN or through the Internet, or use the Nintendo WiiWare channel (sold separately) as a proxy and to play your games on the TV screen. Weekly software downloads from "star game makers" are also available online.

The cool shortcut if, like me, you suck at drawing is that you can copy images or music from any existing game you've played (dozens of good games are already included). Also, if you got a game made by somebody else that gives you the authorization to copy from it, then you can "steal" that code. Basically, like open-source.

So, yeah, I'm doing open-source game development on my spare time. Kind of.

P.S.: I'm using NoteMaster Lite ( ) on the iPhone to write this, as it's the only text editor that lets you customize the font size to "super tiny", and then I post this to Livejournal by email. I might use Posterous and its cross-posting in the future, but not yet.

Published on April 19, 2010 at 16:29 EDT

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