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Quick Guide: Hosting Games

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Friday, December 9th, 2016 8:15 am

There was a short conversation in Twitter about submitting games for the Dare, and it seems it’s not always apparent that you’ll have to provide your own hosting for the game. Inspired by this, here’s a short guide to submitting your game to Ludum Dare.

When do I submit?

Both Compo and Jam have one hour of submit time after the end, but I would strongly recommend trying to be early, as there are often all sorts of technical issues with building, uploading files, etc, so you want to spare at least an hour for the submitting process.
Note: the new site has the times on your own time zone, check it out!

Where to host?

You need to provide your own hosting, but fortunately there are a number of free options. Here are a few:

  • Itch.io is a very common solution and comes with a nice and easy UI for uploading the content. It has a list of LD games, which gives your game some extra visibility.
  • GameJolt also allows free hosting and easy uploading, but the site is a bit heavy on ads.
  • Loomhost.com has a free hosting option. You’ll have to handle the uploads via FTP or the site’s own web interface. It gives more flexibility, but it’s also a bit clunky to use.
  • Github Pages allows you to directly host the game from your GitHub repository.
  • Dropbox.com is a good and simple way to share files, but it doesn’t support WebGL builds.
  • Google Drive is very similar to Dropbox, and supports WebGL, though it needs a bit of work: https://yal.cc/hosting-html5-games-on-google-drive/
  • Your own website. If you have your own website which supports uploading files, great!

Here’s a few that were suggested to me, but I don’t have any experience on them so I can’t say much about them. Please let me know in the comments if you do.

After submitting the game on your chosen host, head over to ldjam.com to submit it to Ludum Dare –– NOT ludumdare.com.

Which platform(s) to use?

I would recommend to make a HTML5/WebGL build if your engine of choice supports one, as it’s the easiest way to access the game and as such increases the number of ratings you get. If you go for WebGL, make sure to test the game at least on a couple of browsers and try to choose the resolution so that the user doesn’t need to scroll the browser window. Some hosting platforms, such as Itch.io also impose limitation on the size of the game window, so be sure to check them out before hand. The ludumdare.com website supported embedding the game into the page (again, with limitation on the game window size) , but I have no idea whether that feature will be available at ldjam.com.
Windows builds are the next best option (if possible, including a Mac and Linux version is a good way to get some extra ratings). I would recommend to use .zip archives, as some users may not have the ability to open .rar.
It’s always a good idea to avoid platforms which require users to install additional runtimes, as that may drastically reduces the number of ratings your game gets.

Hosting the source code

Ludum Dare Compo requires you to also share the source for the game. While it’s certainly possible to zip the source and host it in any of the above sites, it’s recommended to use a source repository site. The source repositories are also very useful (if not mandatory) for Jam teams for collaborating on the project.

  • GitHub is a popular option and provides everything needed to host the source. It’s the most popular choice and good for public projects as it doesn’t limit the number of contributors.
  • BitBucket is a another option. The basic functionality doesn’t differ much from GitHub, but it supports Mercurial in addition to Git and doesn’t limit the number of private repositories one user can have.
  • GitLab is a bit newer than the two above, and thus less popular, but it also provides the same functionality. It’s also completely free and doesn’t limit the number of collaborators or repositories you can have.

Post Mortem: Arnold Stallion’s Pump or Die

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 3:24 pm

Arnold Stallion’s Pump or Die was probably one of the hardest Ludum Dares for us. It took longer than usual to come up with and idea that fit the theme, even though the theme itself wasn’t that hard. Afterwards we came up with lots of new ideas, but stuck to the original. One of the reasons was that we’d already made Werewolf Among Others, which also had a shapeshifting mechanic, so we wanted to come up with something new.

Pumpin' on the beach

Pumpin’ on the beach

What got us started was the pun that ended up in the game too: “Press Shift to get in shape” – although in retrospect shift wasn’t a very good key to use in a web game (on Windows it opens sticky keys dialog). We stuck to the default Unity input keys, which caused other problems too, as alt keeps opening the browser menu and on OSX ctrl+arrow switches desktop. We ended up doing a small fix (no coding needed, we just changed the settings from Input) to add z/x/c alternative controls – and a support for Xbox 360 controller (even that didn’t require any code changes and it probably would have worked on Windows with the original build too!).

I can’t really recall what got us from bodybuilding to beat ’em up, but as perceived by several commenters, we decided to use River City Random as a reference. The art style was simple enough so we could produce enough sprites and it worked well with the bodybuilder theme.

LOL - Lots of Love!

LOL – Lots of Love!

We had some frustration especially on Sunday, as the game wasn’t shaping up good enough, there were a lot of problems with bugs and controls and the gameplay just didn’t feel that fun. It was on Monday evening, after work when we were polishing the game and adding the final features everything came together. We had planned the ‘magic girl’ feature in the beginning, but seeing it in action really made the game feel right.

Another thing we had some doubts on was the humour; it felt a bit too crude, but we decided to stick with it (you know, no time to change it) and judging from the comments so far I’m glad we did!

We probably should have made a bit harder, but I think it’s nice if you can play through a Ludum Dare game in a short time. Originally it was too hard, and we might have overcompensated a bit.

This was the first time we had a second artist, and damn that helped a lot!

In retrospect, we’re really happy how the game turned up and so far the feedback has been really good too!

First Screenshot!

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 10:33 am

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 18.31.44

Umm. Yeah.

We Just Released Our Ludum Dare Game on App Store!

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 7:51 am

In the last Ludum Dare we made a small snowball rolling simulator called Super Snowball Roller Mayhem 3000. Now we have decided to release a mobile, enhanced version of the game: SUPREME Snowball Roller Mayhem 3000!

While the core gameplay is pretty much the same as in the original LD version, we did some polishing and added a few new features to the game. It turned out the ‘two button controls’ theme made the transition from PC to mobile pretty easy.

It’s of course free, but we do show a small video ad every now and then to earn some lunch money.

You can download it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/supreme-snowball-roller-mayhem/id1082637475

We’re super SUPREMELY  happy if you like it and decide to tell your friends about it too!

20160304_131335_main_1136x640

 

The Werewolf Among Others – Short Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Friday, August 28th, 2015 9:13 am

The Werewolf Among Others was the third Ludum Dare game I made with Tarkko, and the one I’m most satisfied with. While Bear With Me was simple and well focused, I though it could have had more variety. Tweeds And Darts was way too ambitious and we had a lot of technical problems during the weekend, which ultimately made the game unplayable as the server didn’t work and you couldn’t find other players.

TWAO is quite simple at its core, but we managed to cram in some fun features, like the villagers chasing you during daytime if they see you change, and the simple AI was able to create unforeseen situations (such as two hunters shooting each other). It was also the first game we did in 2D and the pixel art was a time-efficient way of creating really good looking art. I was surprised how good the levels ended up looking even though the amount of tile variations was minimal.

I also experimented with some other designs during the LD, such has having quests you were supposed to complete. In the (only) quest I made, you were tasked with finding a murderer among the villagers. You’d talk to villagers and try to deduce who the murderer is from the dialogue, and during the night kill the correct villager. The murderer was randomised, so there was also some replayability. Although I managed to implement the feature, it would have needed so much more work we decided to go with a simpler design.

Another idea we had in the beginning was that the villagers would always chase you during the day, but that didn’t feel different enough from the night gameplay. We also though that the villagers would go inside during the night, and if two villagers enter the same house, three villagers would come out, but that was a bit too complex to implement with the time we had (especially with the crappy AI).

One thing I’m not entirely happy about is how boring it can get during the day, and we should have designed a mechanic to give the player something to do in the case there’s no villagers chasing him. Speeding the time while inside buildings helps this a bit, but it’s also a feature that can be abused easily.

I would have also liked the game to serve as a prototype for a larger game (though I doubt we’d ever have time to expand it), but in its current form I don’t see how to take the design further. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know :)

TL;DR:

What went right:

  • Core gameplay
  • Art
  • Level design and “story”

What went wrong

  • Days can be too boring
  • AI get stuck too often
  • Design is hard to expand to a larger game

Spoiler Alert! There’s also a “secret ending”. (I actually wanted to make a real secret ending, but didn’t have the time)

I May Have Lost My Mind

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 4:28 am

Inspired by the keynote, I’m planning to make an online multiplayer game for this LD. It sets a lot of limits for the game design, which, of course is a good thing. Here’s a few points I’ve though of.

– The multiplayer component should be at least partially asynchronous. There’s no telling if several people play the game simultaneously, so the game should feel like a multiplayer game even if there are no concurrent users.

– I’m using HTTP and a PHP/SQL server as an architecture, so the multiplayer can’t be really real time. I tested the connection and a simple message seems to take 0.5 – 1 seconds to come back. So no player-player collision detection.

– A single session of the game should be short. Normally, I’ve aimed for around 5 minute sessions in LD, and this game should support it too. There can also be mechanics that support multiple sessions for players, though.

– Players should have ways to make permanent changes to the environment. Easiest way to accomplish this is to use a tilemap, but there are other possibilities too. E.g. the game is set in a house, and some elements can be interacted with (open doors and windows, move furniture, etc).

Finished! (with hours to spare)

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Monday, December 8th, 2014 4:09 pm

Overall, we’re quite happy with the game. We went for a small enough scope and had time to polish things a bit too.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 22.48.37

 

Play the game HERE.

Aand we have a menu image!

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 4:12 pm

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 01.11.30

Screenshottie!

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 8:30 am

We’re slowly getting there. All the main features are in place, and it’s time to polish and add new (crazy) stuff!

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 17.28.50

Space Horror Alpha 2 Build

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Sunday, August 31st, 2014 8:39 am

I decided to continue working on the game since the LD version was pretty far from what I planned to do. Here’s the updated build that addresses a number of issues mentioned on the comments and adds features missing from the original.

One of the issues addressed is balance, as the original version was pretty much impossible to beat. The new one might be a bit too easy, or at least it feels like that to me.

Alpha2 Release Notes

– Modified game balancing, now the game should be completable.
– Added missions. They can be acquired from planets and yield rewards upon completion. You always start with a ‘Build Portal’ mission.
– Added a clear notification when the Horde Strength grows.
– Added an end of turn summary.
– Added a battle end summary.
– Added a particle effect to planets that already have portals.
– Navigation buttons now hidden when inventory is open.
– Added a button to view instructions during play.
– Added an exploration panel for choosing whether to explore or end turn.
– Added end of turn events, which can yield good or bad things.
– Added a menu (press ESC to access) for quitting / restarting.
– Normal enemies do not generate Horde Strength anymore (except if they defeat you).
– Types of enemies spawned are now tied to how many portals you have.
– Lots of small fixes.

Future Releases

I still have a lot of ideas on how to improve the game, including new events, randomised planets, new scenarios (meaning different win/lose conditions), explaining the backstory, etc. Whether or not I will continue working on the game depends a lot on the feedback I get, if there are people who’d actually want to see a further refined versions, I’ll have some motivation to keep on making them (so let me know!).

Another thing I want to do is take the game further away from the Arkham Horror design, as it currently feels a bit too much of a clone.

Downloads Links

Windows

Mac

 

 

First Screenshot!

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 12:21 pm

It’s about time to post a screen, me thinks.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 22.19.37

 

 

About 50% done.

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 5:10 am

Here’s how my task list looks currently:

X Battle placement
X Win/Lose floater
X Notificator
X Crew
X Random events base
X Portals
X Doom track
X Game win / lose
X Inventory
X Items to battles
X Enemy types
X Battle Rewards
X Crew

X Item requirements for events

* New ships / shipyard
* Enemies should get more difficult over time
* Enemy special effects
* Item special effects
– After attack/hit
– After battle
* Rest of the random events

The ones marked with X are done.

Coding and pulled pork.

Here we go!

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 12:05 am

For once I’m feeling quite good about my idea. It may not be the most original, but it’s based on something I’d like to make for years.

Start of the first script!

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 10.01.41

 

 

Morning Villainy

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 2:26 am

For probably the first time in my personal LD history, I actually got a concept from which to start working very early on. I also managed to decide on an art direction I should be able to handle, even though I’m certainly no artist.

So far, some tea and notes:

astafg

Here we go

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Friday, December 14th, 2012 2:52 pm

It’s that time of the year again, and this time I have ideas for each of the themes on the final round, which should help getting the game done.

Tools of trade: Unity, Pixelmator, Blender and SFXR. Maybe Garage Band for the music if I actually get that far..

It’s dangerous to clone alone

Posted by (twitter: @arzi42)
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 1:54 am

I have to say I’m pretty excited about the theme this time. Legend of Zelda was the game that originally got me interested in game development, and I’ve been wanting to make a Zelda-like game ever since. Making a Zelda “clone” might not be the most inspired choice, but, well, at least it will be fun!

(And yes, it’s going to have a twist to it)

 

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