About AdventureIslands (twitter: @@AdventIslands)

I'm AdventureIslands, a professional graphics artist, indie gamedev and huge videogame fan! Check out my works: http://simpanen.carbonmade.com

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Ludum Dare 31
 
Ludum Dare 30
 
Ludum Dare 28
 
Ludum Dare 27
 
Ludum Dare 26
 
Ludum Dare 25
 
Ludum Dare 24
 
Ludum Dare 23

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Tightrope Theatre on Newgrounds!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 11:55 am

Tightrope Theatre Header

Check out the game’s Ludum page here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=11391

Cool stuff, my LD31 entry is in featured games on Newgrounds’ front page:

Tightrope Theatre NG Frontpage

And yesterday it received the Daily 3rd Award! This has been a good week.

Tightrope Theatre 3rd Daily

Tightrope Theatre Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 6:23 am

Tightrope Theatre Header

Check out the game’s Ludum page here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=11391

This was pretty fun Ludum Dare disregard that it started a bit grim for me. Fortunately I managed to find the spark to finish a game on time. It turned out much better than I expected.

I think I spend the first 12 hours mostly just sleeping and brainstorming for ideas. At first I was thinking of doing a top down shooter on a once screen arena, with bad guys trying to rush you, and you would have to fend them off with various weapons as long as you can. I scrapped the idea because I thought there would probably be dozens of games like these coming out for this LD, and I wanted to go with something that used the theme in gameplay.

I came up with the theatre concept after some more brainstorming, I tried to use the theater aesthetics/curtain to simulate all levels being on the same screen. Single show stage, only props change. I come up with a clown character and the game was originally supposed to be pretty basic platformer where you just need to survive through the stages. This wasn’t interesting enough in my opinion, and I was struggling through lots of motivation problems through the beginning of development, but then I came up with the idea of unicycle. What if the character had to navigate the levels while trying to balance on ropes? It would fit the theatre/circus theme well too. After some testing and making the character purposefully very slippery, I got the inspiration to finish the game.

Some of my earliest platformers got criticism for the characters slippery controls. Now I ended up making a game where the character is purposefully very slippery. And it works, making the game more challenging and fun to play. Go figure.

Tightrope Theatre Screen 4

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Disregard the late start, I managed to finish my game on time, and with whopping 24 levels too. It might be my biggest Ludum entry yet. For the sheer amount of levels alone. Feedback has been very good and people have really liked the unicycle riding, it’s hard, but works well.

– Build the game straight to mobile resolution, the game can be played on mobile by just slapping on-screen buttons on it. Works like charm on all my devices. I’m planning on continuing the game with bigger version with more polish, improved and new levels, and new music, after I’m done with my ongoing, bigger projects first.

Tightrope Theatre on Mobile

WHAT WENT WRONG:

– Too much moping, not enough deving. I had huge problems with motivation because I didn’t want to create anything half finished or too generic. I almost considering skipping this LD before I came up with the unicycle idea. I need to stop trying to tell myself to give up early. I’ve had huge self-confidence issues lately.

– Time management, had I just focused on working right away instead of moping around, there could have perhaps been bit more polish, levels, new objects and traps. Fortunately I can save those for the improved version.

– Theme: The theater aesthetics have shared some opinions, some think it’s brilliant, some thinks it’s really stretching it. I should have perhaps added more effects to the transitions, have some dust to fly from beneath the curtain with sounds of construction happening for example, to simulate better the idea that things are changing behind the curtain.

Lessons learned: Don’t give up too early, even if you start late to the LD. Even with tight schedule you can still finish something pretty good when you are just dedicated enough and manage your time well.

Tightrope Theatre Screen 3

Play Tightrope Theatre!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 8:35 pm

Tightrope Theatre Header

Check out the game’s Ludum page here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=11391

Welcome to the Tightrope Theatre! it’s showtime and you are the main star, so hop on a unicycle and start performing! Watch out though: The unicycle is hard to control, and the stage keeps getting more and more various traps, err, props, the further in act you get! Tightrope Theatre is not responsible for death or dismemberment.

Phew, compo is finally over! Managed to finish my game on time with whopping 24 levels! This might be my biggest LD entry yet. I am very content how the game turned out disregard that I started it very late to the compo and not very motivated. Fortunately I found the spark to finish the whole thing early enough. It was fun and kind of refreshing to make a small game again.

Check out some screenshots of the finished entry:

Tightrope Theatre Screen 1

Tightrope Theatre Screen 2

Tightrope Theatre Screen 3

Tightrope Theatre Screen 4

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Friday, December 5th, 2014 10:55 am

Iminpost

Adventure Islands joins for the 9th time! Let’s roll!

My tools of trade:

  • Stencyl as the game engine
  • Photoshop for graphics
  • BFXR.net for sounds
  • CgMusic for random music generation
  • Audacity for music editing

My previous LD games:

Heart Star
Shine

Duke Dashington
Persist
Mad Princess
Tiny Evolution Adventure
Tiny Island Adventure

Duke Dashington Trailer!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 5:25 pm

LD Banner Duke Dashington

 

Hey folks, remember Duke Dashington? My entry for Ludum Dare 27 and Overall 5th ranker? it’s been a while, but I have been slowly developing the game since that Ludum Dare and the finished game is finally getting a full release on mobiles! The game will first come out on iOS, with Android version coming little after. Unlike the compo entry that had single temple and 11 rooms, the full game has 4 different temples to explore and over whopping 100 different rooms of fast-paced puzzling and dashing! The game will be out the 4th of September, in the meanwhile, check out the game’s trailer:

Heart Star Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 1:55 pm

Heart Star title

Check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=11391

It was pretty close call, but I managed to finish my game for the 48 hour compo and I am really glad how the game turned out. In my opinion, it might be my best usage of Theme so far. The development was off a rough start though:

While I woke up for the compo’s start, it took me the first 12 or so hours to just come up with and idea. This was really difficult theme, and my first idea for a game was rather uninspired: It was going to be a small metroidvania like adventure, where the boy and girl lived on small floating islands next to each other. They would be looking out for each other, sending paper plane messages, and one day deciding they want to meet, so they start to plan and build a bridge in between the islands. You could swap between the heroes and search their island for collectable junk that could be brough to the bridge to make it longer. The islands would have had their own settings and puzzles, and some things like flipping certain switches could cause something happen to other’s island, allowing them to move forward.

However after starting drawing the character sprites, I realized the idea would simply be way too ambitious for such a short time, and remembering how badly I failed with my previous (unreleased) LD entry Ikan the Little Fisher, I decided to scrap the idea and go back to the drawing board. I had to go with something much simpler. My previous games like Duke Dashington and Shine were level based games, so I decided to make a game like them, but how could I use the theme in the gameplay itself?

The original designs the heroes of Heart Star were based on.

The original designs the characters the heroes of Heart Star were based on.

After brainstorming for couple more hours I remembered how I had once participated in pixel art challenge by Darkest Kale long time ago, where I had drawn couple of robot characters. I recalled how I was once planning to make a puzzle platformer about them, where the bots had to teamwork their way through the levels, but I had scrapped the idea because I couldn’t figure out how to make the game interesting enough. Then it hit me: What if both characters lived in separate worlds, and you had to switch between them so they could help each other to reach a goal of every stage? I got a huge boost of inspiration and started to work on new designs for the characters, this time more human-like.

The final designs for the player characters of Heart Star

The final designs for the player characters of Heart Star

What Went Right:

While making the sprites I was filled with doubt if the game would turn out so well after all. The failure of my previous LD entry was a huge blow to my trust in my own skills. However,  the development was surprisingly painless overall, and against all my expectations, I didn’t have any major troubles adding in the dual world mechanic.

There are several big gambles I took with making this game: First, I was going to use Stencyl 3.2 beta nightly build, because it had recently added feature of altering background speeds in run-time. I have had pretty bad experiences using nightly beta builds in previous Ludum Dares like when making Duke Dashington, where stuff kept mysteriously breaking for no reason. However, for my delighted surprise, this version of Stencyl stayed stable and working during the whole time.

The second big gamble was the character animations. I usually aim for very simple couple of frame animations for my characters so I can finish them faster, but for this game, I decided to give the characters way more animation frames with bouncing hair, different poses when not in use or when carrying their partner. I think the gamble paid off, because while it took me valuable development time, the improved animations added cute charm to the otherwise static game.

Since last Ludum Dare I’ve been part of Skype chat group full of awesome and talented indie game developers, I got lots of help with playtesting plus feedback on difficulty and improvement suggestions. The game wouldn’t have ended up being anywhere as good and polished if it wasn’t for my game dev pals.

Carrying your partner over spikes

Carrying your partner over spikes

What Went Wrong:

– The actual development of the finished game idea started quite late. There were surprisingly many little issues that had sneaked past my radar, and it took me a while to fix everything. There were tiny issues like when carrying your partner, you could hit jump repeatedly to fly! Fortunately that was quickly fixed by just disabling jumping when carrying other.

– Short length: I had originally planned there to be around 20 levels, but starting development so late and fixing all the small issues took so much time that I managed to rush in only 10 levels. They are pretty fun and showcase the swapping pretty well, but if I had just started working earlier and had not doubted my ideas so much perhaps I could have finished many more levels.

– Poor tutorial: The game does only a quick off-hand mention that it’s possible to carry your partner over spikes. lots of folks get stumped on level 7 where you meet spikes for the first time. I didn’t realize it wasn’t obvious until it was too late, I blame rush and tiredness. I don’t know if anyone has actually stopped playing on that level but I know many who have said it took them a while to figure out what to do. For the post-compo version, I’m adding improved tutorial levels. Also with less engrish.

– Name: This wasn’t so bad, but I didn’t come up with a name for the game until the final hours. I wanted something clever that could also explain what you do in the game, like my previous LD entry Shine. However, I lack imagination in these things and just decided to settle with Heart Star.

Aftermath:

This Ludum Dare was very fun and I am overwhelmed by the positive reaction the game has gotten disregard that it’s little rushed. I’ve been rating entries and working on Post-Compo version of the game, with plenty of improvements, readjusted levels and many more completely new ones. At the moment the current Post-Compo build has whopping 20 levels, and there is more coming. So stay tuned! And thanks for the fun Ludum Dare.

 

New level from Post-Compo version of Heart Star

New level from Post-Compo version of Heart Star

Play Heart Star!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 5:55 am

Have you played Heart Star yet? Give it a go and leave a rating and I’ll check out your game too! I’m working on Post-Compo version of the game with more polished tutorial levels plus heaps of completely new stages. I’m planning to finish at least 30 levels total for the post-compo. Hopefully I’ll have the game done sometime this weekend, or maybe earlier.

Click to play Heart Star!

 

Introducing Heart Star!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 6:37 pm

Heart Star title

Check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=11391

It was a close call, but I managed to finish a polished package of little game in under 48 hours!

Help two friends reach a common goal! There is one problem however: They live in completely different worlds! Swap between the red and blue world and help the friends move forward! They might not be able to see each other’s worlds, but they can act as platforms or carry each other around!

Heart Start Screenshot1

Heart Start Screenshot2

Heart Start Screenshot3

Heart Start Screenshot4

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 11:12 am

Timmy I'm In!

 

Adventure Islands joins for the 8th time now, whoa! Last time I failed to finish a game in time because my project was too ambitious, but this time I’m going to aim for more reasonable entry!

My tools of trade:

  • Stencyl as the game engine
  • Photoshop for graphics
  • BFXR.net for sounds
  • CgMusic for random music generation
  • Audacity for music editing

My previous LD games:

Shine
Duke Dashington
Persist
Mad Princess
Tiny Evolution Adventure
Tiny Island Adventure

 

 

 

Crash and Burn (and rise from ashes)

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Friday, May 16th, 2014 1:43 am

So I have had people asking me where my LD entry this time is. It’s a real shame but I simply couldn’t finish my entry this time and it was in too early and buggy state to submit to either compo or jam. You can test the very alpha build here though: http://www.stencyl.com/game/play/26130

Ikan The Little Fisher Title

 

ABOUT THE GAME:

Ikan the Little Fisher is a game about a small girl Ikan, who wants to be a famous fisherman, but is not taken seriously by her peers. “You are just a little girl!” they say. Ikan decides to show what she’s made of and sets out on a quest to fish the Lake King, legendary, giant fish rumored to be living in the bottom of the lake near Ikan’s home village. Help Ikan catch fish, earn money and upgrade her rod so she can reach the very bottom of the lake!

You control the sinking hook with arrow keys or wasd, and try to get as deep as you can. If you hit a fish, you start a fishing battle where you need to keep the fish on the screen while it tries frantically escape. Managing to pull the fish up you earn cash you can use to upgrade your fishing pole to make your hook sink and move faster, or make you pull the fish back harder and reel ’em in faster.

Ikan THe Little Fisher Screenshot1

So what went wrong? Simply put: my idea was too ambitious and I greatly overestimated my own skills.

Because the game is about fishing, making the behaviors how the fishes move and fight back when reeled in take lots and lots of value tweaking and testing. I spend most of the time making the art as usual, but even if I had started from developing the game part itself I still wouldn’t have be able to finish the game on time even for the jam.

I had rested enough, stocked food and drinks and took breaks in form of walks outside and shower, but I simply did not have the time to create everything I wanted. I really should have gone with something Duke Dashington and Shine simple, but I felt like I really want to do something else than a platformer for once.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I made a working shop system and I’ve gotten the fishing part sorta working now. I learned quite a lot about my own skill and limits and new things about Stencyl. Also it was otherwise very fun and refreshing to make something truly different than my usual stuff and I was in an awesome skype chat group with some truly talented folks. It was a blast LD even if I failed to finish a game.

Things to keep in mind when participating in game jams:
1. Keep your idea simple, it’s easy to get carried away with features.
2. Realize that 48 hours is really, REALLY short time to make a game.
3. Know your own limits.

Ikan THe Little Fisher Screenshot2

 

I’m also experimenting with perhaps bringing the game on mobiles after I’ve finished my current, more urgent projects. I’ve gotten the game run on my devices and it’s working really well with simple touch controls taking place of arrow keys. I have had much more success making the fish behaviors and gameplay work now that I don’t have tight time limit breathing on my neck. Maybe we will see a finished Ikan someday?

Ikan the little fisher mobile

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 11:50 am

LDshineImIn

Adventure Islands joins for the 7th time now, whoa! My two previous times with Duke Dashington and Shine went very well, hope I can keep this up!

My tools of trade:

  • Stencyl as the game engine
  • Photoshop for graphics
  • BFXR.net for sounds
  • CgMusic for random music generation
  • Audacity for music editing

My previous LD games:

Shine
Duke Dashington
Persist
Mad Princess
Tiny Evolution Adventure
Tiny Island Adventure

Shine – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 1:16 pm

Shine Logo
Play Shine here!
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=11391

 Phew! The Compo is over and I’ve finally gotten some sleep! I found this theme really difficult and I spend way too much time thinking of idea for a game, but fortunately I managed to get the whole thing done on time without having to leave out anything. Here’s a small tale of the game’s creation:

What went right:

The game overall! I am extremely happy how the game turned out, I got 8 full levels of platforming and everything is working just fine, there should be no major bugs. In my previous entry Duke Dashington controls were bit clunky, but I think I perfected the gameplay for this one. Funny enough, the game turned out to be much more different than I had originally planned.

When I was first brainstorming game ideas, the original version of Shine was called Single Spell, the game was more traditional platformer, where in the beginning you could have chosen from one of three spells: Fire, Ice and Wind. There would have been Forest, Cave and Castle levels with puzzles for each magic and you would have to clear the game with the one you picked up in the beginning. Gameplay would have been different with each playthrough. Fortunately I realized how short time 48 hours actually is to make levels for 3 different magics and how huge amount of work testing them all would have been, so I decided to scrap the idea.

Unfinished graphics for the first level of Single Spell, before I scrapped the idea of multiple different levels and changed the name to Shine.

Unfinished graphics for the first level of Single Spell, before I scrapped the idea of multiple different levels and changed the name to Shine.

I decided to simplify the idea to just one magic instead. Then I remembered my old plan for a game where a girl tries to find her way out from the darkness carrying a lantern. I decided to change the game to focus on lighting your way in the darkness.  I had already drawn some forest stuff, but I decided to change the setting to only take place in single location, the Castle, to keep things simple and not waste too much time on different level tile graphics.

 

Lucia's original design vs. her new one

Lucia’s original design vs. her new one

I was thinking of ways of controlling of the light and came up with a magical light orb that you could control with your mouse. That would be both simple to make and control in gameplay. I made the orb to explode if it ever hit walls, platforms or went off screen. This gave the game nice puzzle element, as you are now controlling two characters with their own restrictions. I also changed the game’s name from Single Spell to Shine, because I like simple names and it was more fitting considering what you do in the game. Next I was trying to design a look for the game’s main heroine. Quite some time ago I took part of Noble Kale’s pixel challenges and one of the characters I drew for it was black haired magician girl. I decided to base Shine’s heroine’s looks on her, but changed the new character to blonde to make her stand out better from the dark background. I decided to name the girl Lucia, after Saint Lucia, because the name made me think of light. Then I wrote a small story trying to justify why she is traveling through such a dark place.

Screenshot from the finished gameplay of the first level of Shine

Screenshot from the finished gameplay of the first level of Shine

 

What went wrong:

I started this Ludum Dare extremely tired, even though I had slept pretty long in previous night. I couldn’t think properly, so I went back to sleep and woke up to brainstorm some ideas maybe 8 hours after LD has already started. I spend about 12 of the first hours just sleeping or trying to come up with Shine’s concept, didn’t end up using any of the graphics like the forest I had drawn and I ended up with battling with some really basic stuff like how to make the orb collide with platforms while allowing the player to pass them with no problems. I also spend way too many hours trying to make the light orb follow mouse smoothly, just to discover that making it was actually very simple after all and I had been making it overly complicated way for hours. Sigh. I probably spend way too long on the intro sequence too than I probably should have had.  If  I had started earlier, there could have been many more levels.

I was originally going to plan on streaming my game deving, but because I started Shine so late and I was not sure if the game will turn out well at all, I was too nervous to actually stream. I was trying many new things and streaming can be very distracting, so I wanted to just fully focus on my game. I did get my game done nicely on time, so in retrospect maybe I really should have streamed, my game would have been much more known.

 

But other than that, the game turned out very well, huge thanks for my friends who were online most of the time and were around to test the thing and report bugs they found. I highly doubt the game would have turned out as well as it did if I didn’t have them report various issues they found during their playthroughs. Lesson of the story: keep your ideas simple, because 48 hours is VERY short time to make a game and have people playtest your game if possible.

Now I am resting and rating some entries, so go rate and leave comment on Shine, so I will get to check out your game and rate it back!

 

11

Shine released!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 6:42 pm

Shine Logo

Check it out here:
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=11391

 Control tiny wizard Lucia with your WASD or Arrow Keys and glowing orb of light with your mouse and face the dark! Can you survive all the deadly traps and save the kingdom from eternal darkness?

Shine Screenshot2

Shine Screenshot3

Shine Screenshot 4

Introducing Shine!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 6:34 am

Shine Logo

 

My 6th Ludum Dare game is about a tiny sorceress on a quest to save her world from eternal darkness!

The protecting lights of the holy lighthouse of Solaria have disappeared and the kingdom had plunged into darkness. one young wizard Lucia arrives and uses all her strength for a single spell: She creates a powerful orb of light that she can use to light her way and reignite the lighthouse!

However, while the orb is very powerful, it’s also very unstable. A slightest bump can cause the orb to destabilize and explode. You must move Lucia with WASD and Arrowkeys, and light her way moving the orb with mouse. If the orb ever hits walls, platforms or goes off screen: Kaboom. Can you reach the top of the holy lighthouse and end the age of darkness?

Originally the game was regular platformer where in the beginning you could pick just one spell and had to use it through the game, but I realized that would require lots and lots of testing, so I decided to simplify the idea and go with just one spell and build the game around lighting your way in the darkness. I also decided to rename the game from Single Spell to Shine, as I like simple names and it was very fitting.

The game is proceeding well and I have all the menus, intro and couple first playable levels ready. I’m confident I can get the game done before the deadline passes.

Some screenshots:

Shine Screenshot1
Shine Screenshot2

 

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Thursday, December 12th, 2013 2:25 pm

Duke Dashington
Adventure Islands joins for the 6th time now! Hoo boy. Hopefully this time will be as successful as last time with Duke Dashington!

My tools of trade:

  • Stencyl as the game engine
  • Photoshop for graphics
  • BFXR.net for sounds
  • CgMusic for random music generation
  • Audacity for music editing

My previous LD games:

Duke Dashington
Persist
Mad Princess
Tiny Evolution Adventure
Tiny Island Adventure

 

Duke Dashington – Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@AdventIslands)
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 12:02 pm

LD Banner Duke Dashington
Play the game here!
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=11391


Ludum Dare compo is over and now that I’ve rated near 1oo entries, I’m going to start working on post-compo version of my entry Duke Dashington! But first, let me tell you a bit of the development progress.

Duke Dashington has been my 5th Ludum Dare entry and I started it largely unprepared. I had a hunch 10 Seconds would win, but I had not come up with any game ideas for it. It didn’t help that I was increasingly nervous if I could top my previous entries Persist and Mad Princess, which had both been huge hits. Most of the first LD day went being in panic about what I could make a game of. At first I wanted to make a top down style Zelda game, where you need to save the world in 10 seconds, and you could do various things that halt the time passing temporarily. I scrapped the idea because I felt it was too similar to PSP and PC game Half Minute Hero, and it wasn’t all that original, so my motivation wasn’t very high.

I have made many platformers in my game dev career, and I wanted to avoid making yet another one like a plague, and I wanted to use the 10 seconds in some clever way instead of of just time limit. But what do you know, that plan didn’t work so well either, I had already spend near 6-8 hours pondering an idea, I thought “screw it”, and started to design the character.

However, while my games might be bit samey, I always try to do something new with them all. While drawing the first character design, I remembered how few days ago my fellow irl game designer friend complained that while he found my previous LD entry Persist very good, it was too slow paced for his tastes. Then I got an idea: what if I made a game where you had to be constantly on the move instead of careful hop and bobbing? What could be a good way to keep the player character constantly moving? Then it hit me: Dashing! I got super excited and started to design the character around that ability. The player character could start dashing to left, right and up, but he could not alter the direction while moving, so player would need to navigate mazes by using the dashing cleverly and bouncing from walls.

Duke Dashington, the first and final design comparison

Duke Dashington, the first and final design comparison

I started to think how I could use the 10 second theme in my game, and came up an idea of bumbling gentleman adventurer, who accidentally causes the temple he is going to explore to collapse before he has even entered it! I originally didn’t want to use the 10 second theme as a time limit, but it was simply too fitting to the character to just pass. His brawn is inspired by one of my favorite video game series Wario Land and his clothing was inspired by Disney’s Tarzan antagonist Clayton. His British look and mannerism is based on one of my favorite Nintendo DS games Henry Hatsworth. Unfortunately his British gentlemanlyness doesn’t really show in the game, because I had to rush in the what little dialogue there is to get the game finished on time.

As seen on the first sprite, I usually make my sprites have completely black lines, but this time I wanted to try something new, and tried to keep the outlines dark, not black, and any outlines inside the character sprite would be light colored. The end result looks super nice in my opinion, very smooth. I’m definitely keeping this style when pixeling characters from now on.

After I had made some music and finished the character’s final design, my good friend BFlorry, who has been suggesting me to stream my game developing for couple of Ludum Dares now, asked me once again to stream, offering to help me set it up. At first I was reluctant, because I’m not very social person: I’m shy, I don’t like huge crowds of people and I don’t like being center of peoples attention. But after he insisted I gave in and thought: why not? I have never streamed anything before, might as well as give it a go, it could be interesting.

1

After setting the stream up, I was super nervous at first, my friend shared the link to the stream and more and more people started to follow it. All these people watching me draw and fight with bugs when programming! At first I was going to close the stream, saying I can’t handle this, because in real life, I can’t focus on drawing if I know someone is watching me, and at first the stream was really hampering my progress. I fought against my nervousness and kept going and eventually it was starting to feel kind of nice.

People were really excited of what I was doing, praised the pixel art, gave me good feedback and suggestions, were really encouraging telling me they couldn’t wait to play the finished thing. I had nice time chatting with bunch of cool people and and their enthusiasm was really inspiring, motivating and a huge confidence boost. I’m used to working alone, but chatting with all these people while making a game was really fun and nice change. I’m definitely going to stream again on other Ludum Dares now on!

Dink Dashington 6

Because I was making a whole new type of gameplay I had never done before, and programmed a highly complex dashing based control system, I was of course prone to run into some huge obstacles. The first one being was very weird collision bug: if you are already colliding against a wall, then try to dash against it, nothing happens! which is normal of course, but right afterwards if you dash to the other direction, Duke would slide on the ground with this regular idle animation. I spend way too many hours fighting this  bug, only to figure out a simple fix that took maybe a second to do: change his Idle and Dash stances collision box sizes. I felt like an complete idiot for not figuring it out earlier. I blame lack of sleep.

I was using the very latest version of game engine Stencyl, which just had rolled huge update which changed many of it’s internal workings to improve game performance. Old stuff like animated tiles stopped working because of it, and I am not sure if it was caused by the update, but game scrolling wasn’t working either. I wanted the game to originally have one screen and two screen long big rooms, but making the camera follow the player caused huge and ugly distortion in the graphics and looked hideous. I ended up having to scrap the scrolling levels, but I think it worked in the games favor: I tested a new way to switch game scenes and included old Zelda style room switch, which really adds to the feel of the game! Also designing smaller rooms was highly entertaining and easier to test.

The last problem was the number of levels. Every room is designed to be completed in under 10 seconds or the ceiling collapses on you, so I had to design lots of different short rooms, which wouldn’t had been a problem, but I had wasted too much time trying to come up with this game idea and fighting with the collision bug, that I didn’t have enough time to design more then 11 levels, and I didn’t want to add too much easy filler rooms. 4 hours before the deadline I decided that I would rather want a short but finished game, than long but unfinished one, so I started to work on the game’s ending, and wrapped the game up 2 hours before the deadline.

One of the not so serious problems was the game’s name. Originally his name was called Dirk Dashington, but then I found out that Dirk Dashing was already a name of some other developers super agent character. I then changed the name to Dink, after one of my childhood favorite pc games Dink Smallwood. It’s only after I had gotten good long sleep when I realized I could have named him Duke, which fits his character and sounds badass. I changed the name of the game and his name from game descriptions, but felt little bad that most people, especially the ones who had followed the stream, who had known him as Dink and were suddenly offered Duke.

Some of the game's tiles, drawn in 16x16 size.

Some of the game’s tiles, drawn in 16×16 size.

Overall, I think this was a very successful Ludum Dare, I had created perhaps my most polished game jam game yet and had got over of my horrible stage wright. I streamed for the first time in my life and it was very positive experience, over 1000 unique visitors and at the best times near 25-40 constant watchers. I’ll be working on Duke Dashington post-compo soon, and I will be streaming it again, this time aiming to create somewhere around 20-30 rooms total, depending how many ideas I can come up with. I want to give special thanks for BFlorry, my stream watchers, and anyone who was encouraging me and looking forward to the game! I could go as far as say this would not have been possible without you.

Many people have pointed it out and I noticed it too while looking at the various screenshots of the game on my phone: This game could work pretty well on mobile phones! After I have finished the post-compo version, I might look into mobile version of the game. More different ruins for Duke to explore (and accidentally destroy)? New levels, tiles traps? I need to do some control tests and experiment…

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