Whohooo, I’m done…

This time, I went for Jam. Didn’t get enough time, I even went a bit over the limit on the deadline, and didn’t even get all I wanted. Ok, but it was fun 😉

FIRST DAY (Fri-Sat): Thinking about the theme

The first 24h was spent just thinking about the theme. I actually thought about the theme during the slaughter, so I had some idea about what I wanted to do. I wanted to jump into programming, but I had to attend an open-house the whole day for an art school.

After it got announced, I developed my first idea immediately. It was going to be “You only get one bullet”, and you have a girl escaping a prison. She knocks a guard, grab his gun. Afterwards, the tutorial shows you how to shoot… then you see the title: “You only get one bullet” (I love to frustrate players ;-D). Of course, if you know about it, you can skip the tutorial and try to hold on to your bullet. I was going to make it possible to finish the whole game without ever using any bullet (basically you can use the gun to draw the gun, and you press another key to shoot). Then I just kinda paused for a minute. First, I kinda realize how much AI scripting and level design I would have to produce, and that scared me. Then I also thought more about the theme, and thought “You only get one bullet” is not that uncommon. Not that it’s bad, but I just thought, why not try something a little different. I also thought: “You ONLY get one” means you kinda wish you had more. More bullet would mean more killing I guess. Then I started thinking about this whole side-quest started by McFunkyPants: “Make a game with #NOKILL, no violence”. I didn’t even plan to participate in that, unless by chance my game didn’t have any violence. This time, I actually got swayed by it.

So back to the drawing board.
– You ONLY have something, so you wish you had more of it.
– It should be a situation where you’re supposed get MORE, but you can’t.

I then thought a bit about my warcraft games, where I would play the game with just one unit (hero unit). That’s kinda fun, but I still don’t get out of the #NOKILL thingy. However, it help me to think about the final idea. Instead of an army, you get one soldier… or instead of a team, you get one player!

Done! I always wanted to make a soccer game, now’s my one chance!…

SECOND DAY (Sat-Sun): Programming

Texture + Round Mask = Ball effect

Texture + Round Mask = Ball effect

Ok, I finally get in front of the computer. I start with a mockup for doing things in semi-3D, then scrap that out and go for 2D top view. First goal is to make the ball. Thankfully, I learned some tricks from making a pool game previously for rolling a ball (it’s basically rotating a texture on a round circle with a mask).

 

 

 

DIST < R1 + R2

DIST < R1 + R2

 

Next step was getting collision detection. That’s fine cause I’ve done this in several previous game. The idea is just to turn everything into a circle, then collision between two circles occurs when the distance between their center is less than the sum of the radius.

 

 

Next is the interaction between the player and the ball. The controls of the player and the ball had to feel good. I remember back in the day, there was 2 soccer games I tried on computer. One was FIFA, which was very popular at that time, but I didn’t like it much. Instead, I played this other game (I forgot the title). I just repeatedly have Rudy Voller run with the ball into the goal. I could definitely understand why it was not as popular. ( That game was way too easy.). I did enjoy the fact that the ball just sticks to the player until he/she gets tackled (which never happens with Voller cause you’re to fast!). Anyway, back to the game. I simply implement the equivalent to a magnet on the player, then have a repulsion magnet when we press [space]. As it turns out, if you just play the game pressing [space] continuously, it plays a bit like FIFA, which I actually prefer now.

Then I had to add players. I went back and forth between two ideas:
– Having fixed enemy players in the game, who try to hold position and approach the ball when it gets close.
– Having enemy players generated on the fly, coming in and out of the screen.
It turns out the second version makes no sense, but is more fun. So that’s what I chose.

The highlight of my sunday night was the real-world ludum dare meetup. I got to meet other jammers in person working on their game and presenting them. It adds a lot more to the game, when you hear someone talk about it, and see their face. It’s also nice to know others are Jam regulars, participating in other events like charity jam, 0h game jam, and putting their games on http://www.onegameamonth.com. It feels like you’re part of the community.

LAST DAY (Sun-Mon): Art, sounds, and headache

Until monday, I really got excited. I thought I would be able to achieve a lot, then I realize my head was getting a bit big, then I got a headache. I had to let go of so many nice idea, because I didn’t have time to squeeze them all within a Monday when I’m supposed to work. I did upgrade from the geometric shapes to actual sprites, so that was a plus. I also added ambient noise, but I’m not sure if this was a good idea. For some reason, I thought I would be able to have all the following before the jam deadline (which I had to let go):
– a referee!
– a complete intro showing the good coach (a bunny) getting harassed by the enemy coach (a horse), and the gorillas beating on the other cats
– a crowd, with hidden characters inside.
– replacement players (gorillas => rhinos => T-rex)
– an enemy goal-keeper

The last day was mostly disappointment, but now I realize I should have just kept it real. What I got at the end isn’t that bad for a weekend jam. I finally made my soccer game (achievement checked ✓), got to remind myself of Shaolin Soccer (a good chance to express how much Stephen Chow is an awesome actor), and got a kick out of writing a bunch of silly soccer player names.

I hope I get to improve this game, but I know the reality of things… I always end-up working on another new cool game instead, which is a good thing ;-D

You only get one player“You only get one player”

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