Piga's Santa Drop Down

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


Development Shot
Version 1.0.0'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.


Version 1.2.0's menu

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 typo 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.


Version 1.5.0's menu

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.


Four years later, Graham started work on a new version of the game, inspired after relaunching PigaLore onto its current Miraheze host. Given all that he had learned in the past several years, he opted to virtually rewrite the game from scratch, mostly just retaining the game multimedia assets and menu forms. The new build is based on Gambas 3, with updates also to work on Qt 5 and SDL 2. The new renderer is based entirely on picture boxes and is much faster running than the previous drawing area one, and the game now features much smoother movement and physics. Pursuant to this new fluidity, the animation was enhanced, with a walking bob added to Santa and a full walk cycle for the children. The position of the children, and their types, were also randomized upon each area warp. The fetch and timer modes were now made compulsorily, and a proper score board was added as the optional feature instead. Bonuses are now awarded for correctly hitting children in the lower rung, and misses are now also recorded. High scores are now stored in "~/.local/share/piga/Christmas-HS.txt", and scores are also now denoted as pictographs on the table to make room for the new values.



Older Versions[edit]

Version 1.5.0:

Version 1.2.0:

Version 1.0.0:

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