A Retrospective on Stardocks Holiday Games (2000-2001)
Published on October 28, 2003 By ScottTykoski In PC Gaming
As work steadilly progresses on our newest XMas game installment, I'm going to take a look back on some of the previous game's we've whipped up (and hopefully stir up some excitement for the new game, which I hope will turn into a solid little title).



My first adventure in holiday gaming, "Stack 'n Sac" was a throwback to the simpler days of interactive electronic entertainment. The premise was simple...you (Elfington) and your elderly elf buddy (Panza) were put in charge of loading up the gifts for Santa's midnight outting. You had an hour to catch the presents as they fell from the conveyor belt and fill Santa's big red bag 'o gifts.


I used director, since Flash4's scripting meathods didn't allow for enough interactivity (IMO). You could get combos by stacking same-color gifts, and "mystery gifts" (containing powerups and traps) added some variety to the gameplay, but looking back the code was HORRIBLY written. Constantly calling functions to check for collision detection, my code would crawl on slower machines dispite the simplicity of game (at tops there'd be about 10 gifts on the screen at once).


The size was also an Issue. While most XMas games at the time were easilly under a meg in size, SnS was coming in at a beefy 3 megs, forcing an overhaul in the storage of images. This change in storage fixed the size problem, but introduced some more frame rate issues. I never had the time to fix those issues, thus the slightly sluggish gameplay. Luckilly, if you have a 2.8mhz P4 with an ATI 9800PRO the game should run like a DREAM!
Well, not that extreme, but pretty much unplayable on machines slower than 300mhz, a common processor speed for our target audience (3 years ago).

Stack n' Sac got some good reviews on Download.com, but has since been removed from their listings. It's available on "Stardock Central" for anyone who wants to boot it up for some pre-Holiday Gift Sacking excitement!

http://www.stardock.com/products/sdcentral/
Comments
on Oct 28, 2003
That was a fun game. Hopefully it will get publicity again around Chritmas time.
on Oct 31, 2003
I personally want to see more automatic present wrapping weapons in future installments of the SNS series....and body checking...best back of the box feature ever;)

P.S. jumping headbutt = second best back of the box feature ever;)
on Oct 31, 2003
Next Week I'll be taking a trip back down "Elves Inc." lane (which I beleive both you and I remember fondly, especially for the body-checking and butt stomps). Then during the 2nd week of November I'm gonna give a look into the side scrolling monster I couldn't quite tame last year (Map editor and all) and try to export some running exe's that people can mess around with.

Hopefully, come the 3rd week of November, the new XMas game will be finishing up and I can start getting the "Hype Train" working on that bad boy. And yes, body-checking IS on my to-do list for this weekend.
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