Piga's Santa Drop Down

Piga's Santa Drop Down:

  • System(s): GNU/Linux, Unix-like
  • Type(s): Action Arcade Game
  • Engine(s): Gambas Arcade Engine
  • Genre(s): Holidays
  • Designer(s): Graham L. Wilson
  • Coder(s): Graham L. Wilson
  • Artwork: Openclipart, MWM
  • Soundtrack: Kevin MacLeod
  • Version: 1.5.0
  • First Release: December 25, 2010
  • Latest Release: December 25, 2011
  • Code Base: Gambas 2.x
  • Middleware: Qt/GTK+, SDL
  • License(s): GNU General Public License 3

Piga's Santa Drop Down (also, accidentally, known as Piga's Santa Drop) is an arcade game with a Christmas theme. Contents


The game begins with Santa Claus standing on top of a red brick building, looking down onto the street below. He sees a vast swarm of children going hither and dither across the pathway. He has two sacks of both gifts and coal on either side of him, and has his elves ready on his sleigh to fly over and drop in additional gifts and coal when necessary. He is ready to get some work done. He loads himself up with gifts and coal, and gets ready to drop what is needed to the naughty or the nice. The player has to move Santa left and right with the arrow keys, and drop coal down to the naughty (disgruntled looking) children by pressing the backspace key, and drop down gifts to the nice (happy looking) children with the enter/return key. When he is out of a commodity, he will shrug and when he is out of both you will have to call the elves to restock his sacks by pressing the up key. In "fetch mode", you have to go and grab them from the edge of the sacks with the down key.

His goal is to give the most coal and gifts as possible to the right people. For every proper hit, you gain a point while for every improper hit, like say you miss and give a gift to the wicked or coal to the good, you will lose a point. If the gift or coal is caught by no child, than it is just wasted and you neither gain nor lose (hence Santa's disinterested shrug). Timing is key here, as you have to factor in the child's forward movement, plus that of the others, as well as falling time before you drop. You have a limited number of times you can call the sleigh, so you must try and make every hit count to get a high score. Although not penalized, it is considered not Santa-like to get your timing set and give gifts or coal to the same type of child over and over again. Also, managing to hit a child from the bottom row is more of a challenge than one on the top, so if you want to try and get skilful it is something to attempt.


Development Shot Version 1.0.0's menu Version 1.2.0's menu

Following work on Piga's Thanksgiving Dinner Hunt in October 2010, Graham L. Wilson decided he would continue writing holiday-themed games as each notable event came by. In November he even worked on a game with a First World War setting for Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the United States) but was not able to complete it that year. After the release of Dinner Hunt in late November, he started to envision his chosen Christmas game. Inspired by a Flash-based game he once played online, he chose a game where Santa would stand atop a ledge and drop gifts to good children and coal to bad children. On December 4 he began work on the game engine and drew out the initial "programmer art" that would form the basis for the final Malcolm Wilson Multimedia designs, as well as selecting a few graphics from Openclipart and music by Kevin MacLeod. Work on it continued sporadically for most of the rest of the month until December 21, when MWM started its multimedia make-over of the project.

Whilst the multimedia was retouched, Graham worked on debugging, optimizing and expanding the codebase. He also added in the last few features, such as fixing a bug with the multiple coal and gift dropping function and increasing the number of children in the game. He added in a menu interface reminiscent of Dinner Hunt, and modified the high score and license information forms from the earlier project to fit in with the program (thereby defining the staples of the Gambas Arcade Engine). Considerable work was also put into searching through free audio sites to increase the amount of sound effects and cues in the game, to encompass such important events as gift throwing to more mundane efforts such as Santa and the children's footfalls. In an effort to improve beyond the rather low-quality children's voices that were presently in the game, Laura Warman, Graham and Malcolm's mother, was brought into the MWM recording studio to create some more creative quips. The new MWM graphics were also placed into the game code earlier that day. Taking cues from the original Flash game, the art style is vector and cartoonish. The game was polished and packaged on December 24, Christmas Eve and also Malcolm's birthday, and the upload was finished on the 25.

After the game was released it was played and decently well received by several members of the Gambas Forum. Through this testing, several bugs were found in the initial version. None of these were major gameplay or engine bugs but just slight annoyances. Nevertheless, Graham L. Wilson decided that he would write a bug fix release and send it out on Eastern Christmas of Orthodox or Coptic tradition unlike the conventional Western Christmas of Catholic and Protestant tradition that the first version was released on; knowing about this date due to a partial Polish Ukrainian ancestry and understanding full well the irony given Santa does not feature that culture. Work began on it shortly after the release of Piga's New Years Dodge 'Em and, with only occasional effort, he managed to get the version completed by the evening of January 6, 2011 and sent it out by January 7th. The new version was primarily small fixes like correcting a top bar titling bug and correcting the placement of the holding sacks. The most important change was the introduction of a help and information window, after an issue was raised as to how one would learn the game controls.

Work on version 1.5.0 began on December 21, 2011, and work continued over the next four days. The high score table was made to save in the "~/.piga/" convention established with Windys 1.5.0, the code segmented similar to Lamp Refugee Source Release 2, and two new modes: fetch and timer. Timer mode was added to allow players to compare their play times to each other or to their own prior plays. This also necessitated the inclusion of a pause mode accessible with the pause key. Fetch mode is now the default, and requires the player to manually restock on coal and gifts after each drop by walking up to the edge of the sacks and pressing the down key. When fetch mode is off, a magic sound plays to explain how Santa gets a hold of the items. A few bugs were also fixed or worked around, and some parts of the program were tightened or tweaked - including one or two new sound effects. A snowfall mode was also worked on, but the graphics were not ready for by the time of release. It was sent off on December 24, 2011.


External Links

  • White Island Software entry


  • SUSE RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.5.0)
  • Mandriva RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.5.0)
  • Fedora RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.5.0)
  • GNU Autotools: CLICK HERE! (1.5.0)
  • Gambas 2.23 Project: CLICK HERE! (1.5.0)
  • Readme File: CLICK HERE! (1.5.0)

Older Versions

Version 1.2.0:

  • SUSE RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • Mandriva RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • Fedora RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • GNU Autotools:CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • Gambas 2.1.9 Project: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)

Version 1.0.0:

  • SUSE RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • Mandriva RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • Fedora RPM: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • GNU Autotools: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)
  • Gambas 2.19 Project: CLICK HERE! (1.0.0)

Tested on Fedora 12 "Constatine", Fedora 14 "Laughlin", openSUSE 11.2, Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" and Mint 9 "Isadora".