Click in the box and Control the car using the arrow keys.
(For some reason in Chrome, the down arrow key will scroll the page. So, if you want to play the game in Chrome, go to this link: Game)

I’m working on a top down car game using libGDX, the Desktop/Android/HTML5 Java game development framework. I am new to all this, so the idea of creating a car with the correct physics from scratch seemed daunting. Rather than reinventing the wheel (or car in this case), I set out to to find someone who had done something similar and use that as a foundation.

Lo and behold, I found exactly what I was looking for here: Top Down Car Example using Gamejs and Box2D. This demonstration was created by Domas Lapinskas using Gamejs (a JavaScript game dev library) and Box2D (a popular 2D physics engine for games). Based on this earlier example, the car was built for a cool racing game called Bandit Racer. The source code for the whole game is open and available under MIT license, so check it out.

Domas created a nifty little car that will work perfectly for my game and he has simple, well commented code describing how to do it. I only needed to convert it to libGDX. His example uses Box2D. libGDX has its own implementation of Box2D built in which made the conversion pretty easy. Since Domas and team were so kind to release the code for BanditRacer and this Top-Down Car, I felt I should share the code for this conversion.

I have included a link to a zip file of the code. I’ve kept it pretty simple and have just included the four java files. You can just plop the four java files into a new libGDX project. If anyone is interested, I can put the complete libGDX Eclipse projects online somewhere, so that you can just import them into Eclipse and you’d be up and running. I just haven’t gone to the trouble to do that.

I hope you can make use of this code in your own project. Enjoy!

Here is the code >> TopDownCar-Code

I finally got around to updating my Get Started with Dungeons & Dragons guide. It has consistently been my most visited page and I have gotten a lot of great feedback from it. I still get comments on the post over two years later.

Since some much has changed with D&D over the past two years, the D&D Essentials line, the rise of Pathfinder, and the next edition of D&D looming on the horizon, to name a few, I felt the need to revisit the post. I added a section on starter sets since there are a couple of great options out there.

I am going to have to revise this post again once the next edition of D&D (This year? Probably next.)

It has been far too long since I have posted on this blog. The long gap in posting is due to a litany rather mundane reasons, so I will not bore you with them. Instead, I’ll just give an general update with this post.

Creative Commoners, the podcast I host along with two of my friends, is still going strong. It is a podcast about how to be creative while juggling the demands of everyday life. Episode 45 came out last week. I’ve had a blast doing it. Check it out if you are so inclined.How awesome is this?

My gaming group is still going strong. We’ve taken a long break from our Swords & Wizardry Campaign this year. Instead, we’ve been playing the superhero RPG ICONS. Furthermore, our fantastic GM and host, Paul, has come up with the idea to trade-off who runs the game. He started things off as game master, but I took over few sessions. I had a blast running the game. ICONS and our sessions with it could fill up whole post, so I’ll have to tackle that at a later date. In the meantime, you can check out Paul’s session summaries at his website. Also, Paul set up a blog that serves as an in-world newspaper for our game, the Shore City Chronicle.

I just started playing in a play-by-post Pathfinder game. This is where you play an RPG through a message board. We’re following a pirate themed adventure path. I’m playing with guys from regular gaming group. I’ve never played a play-by-post game so this should be interesting. I’m hoping to appreciate Pathfinder (and D&D 3.5 by extension) a little more. The last time I played Pathfinder, it left me a little cold. We just go started, so I’ll have more to report in the future.

One of the last posts I did, I talked about getting into game development. I haven’t moved a whole lot on that front for a litany rather mundane reasons, so I will not bore you with them. I did participate in a Google sponsored AI Challenge last fall which was a lot of fun. I am currently reading a book called Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form. It’s all about how it is getting easier to make your own games and how that will revolutionize games. It is putting a fire under my butt to get back to writing video games. I highly recommend it.

I wrote short story a while back called The Creeping Invaders. It is going to be published soon! Tales of High Adventure: Issue 2 (with a cover inspired by my story) will be out in the next month or so.

I hope to blog here more frequently. First on my plans is to update my Get Started with Dungeons and Dragons guide. Be on the look out for more from Level1Gamer.

My friends and I started a podcast! After much hard work and planning we launched our first episode Thursday. Creative Commoners is about the creative process and creative pursuits while balancing busy work and home lives. It’s part creative round table, part creative support group for ourselves (and hopefully soon, the audience).  There is plenty of talk about pop culture, games (including tabletop games), movies, and other silliness, too.  I hope you can check it out.

We had a lot of fun making it. I hope you enjoy it. We plan to release episodes on a weekly basis. And I’d love to hear feedback.

You can go to our website: or find us on iTunes by searching for Creative Commoners.

As I said in my previous post, I’ve recently taken up game development.  My interest in game development was sparked when I attended the Google I/O Developers Conference earlier this month. At the session entitled Kick-ass Game Programming with Google Web Toolkit (they had me at “kick-ass”), Google announced an effort to develop a cross-platform game development library called ForPlay.

The suggestively named library was of interest to me for several reasons. It’s all written in Java, which is my programming language of choice. It uses Google Web Toolkit (GWT), which is development kit that makes it easier to develop complex web applications. I’ve been using GWT for the last several months at work. Finally, ForPlay is mainly designed to be cross-platform abstraction library. That means that I can write a game once and with one line of code compile it as a web application or a flash application or native Android application.  That’s pretty powerful. I just want to write a game. I don’t want to worry about vagaries of a particular platform. I especially don’t want to worry about it since I’m doing it for fun.

The library currently supports the platforms (or will soon): Java Desktop (mainly for testing), HTML5, Flash, and Android. There are even plans to look at support iOS (to run on Apple mobile devices).

The other thing I like about ForPlay is that I’m getting in at the ground floor, so to speak. It’s only been available to the public for less than a month. Before that, it was apparently used to write Angry Birds for the web and was an internal Google project. It will be nice to watch it as it grows. It will be a good learning experience for me.

ForPlay’s newness is also its biggest problem. It is still very much in an alpha state. It doesn’t work properly with Android and Flash, yet. There are fairly significant code changes on a daily basis. I’ve already had to do some minor refactoring after a recent update. Documentation is sparse as well. If you want to get something done in a hurry or on any kind of deadline, I wouldn’t suggest ForPlay. You’ll want to wait for it to mature. I’m certainly not in any hurry as I’m working this in my spare time which is unfortunately in short supply.

That said, there is already a pretty lively community springing up around it and there is a lot of activity going on with the code. So, I don’t see this library going away anytime soon, especially when consider how powerful this could be.

If you’re interested in ForPlay, the code is located here:

The community and ongoing discussion is located here:

On my next post, I’ll take about the game I’m developing. I’m working on a simple asteroids game. I’ll describe the process I went through to create it and lessons learned.

I am going to shift the focus of this site to a certain extent. I am still planning to write about tabletop games. I haven’t lost interest in tabletop games at all. My regular gaming group is still going strong. We’re currently taking a break from our Swords & Wizardry campaign and playing a fun 1920’s pulp game using the Savage Worlds system. So, I still have plenty of stuff to say about tabletop gaming. Hopefully, I’ll write more frequently about gaming in the coming months.

The change in the site actually comes from a broadening of my interests. As I wrote about in a previous post, I wrote a short story that will be published soon. I’m also working other stories. It would be nice to be able to write more about the writing process here on this site.

The big impetus for the change to the site is I have recently (very recently – as in last week) gotten interested in video game development. I was lucky enough to attend the Google I/O Developers Conference. I attended the session Kick-ass Game Programming with Google Web Toolkit. You can watch it yourself at this link. It inspired me to attempt writing one of them newfangled video games. It already fits in with the main themes of the site: 1) gaming and 2) I barely know what I’m doing. It works out nicely. I plan to use this site to chronicle my efforts. For the time being, that will be the main focus Level 1 Gamer.

I am also working on another project that is still in its infancy. (Like I need more to work on.) I’ll have more on that soon.

I really just have the urge to open up what I write here on Level 1 Gamer to other topics as my interests broaden.