About atomic_swerve (twitter: @atomic_swerve)


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Stellation – Final Update

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 7:00 pm

Hey all!

They said it couldn’t be done-

Well, not really. No one said it couldn’t be done, but they did make exasperated faces and sigh knowingly as they wished me luck. My plan for a 48-hour MMO was pretty ambitious, considering my lack of experience with netcode and server administration in general. But, well, here it is! What a way to spend my 1-year anniversary of LD!

My only disappointment with Stellation is that I wasn’t able to get it working in the browser. There’s this whole thing about cross-domain exploits and…I just wan’t able to figure it out in time. So we have an executable instead, sorry.

Anyways, download the game and just leave it open! The more the merrier, until we reach the hard-coded limit of 5000 players of course. I dare you to reach that limit. Double-dare, even.

Stellation – Sixth Update (Almost Live)

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 4:30 pm

Hey all!

GIF time:

Stellation_DancingThat’s 4 players on the current build of Stellation. Hypnotic, isn’t it? Now to finish the background and add some SFX/Music.

You can playtest as well at http://atomic_swerve.itch.io/stellation if you’d like, but feel free to finish your own games first :) This is DEFINITELY a time sink.


Stellation – Fifth Update! Stress test

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 11:30 am

Hey all!

Please try and break my MMO’s capacity! Server should be live for at least another hour before the next build.



Stellation – Fourth Update! (it’s working)

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 12:43 am

Hey all!

GIF time! Witness the glorious netcode:


Doesn’t look like much, you say? That, my friends, is 3 players (one went offscreen during filming) communicating via a remote server in-game. The small dot is the filming player’s cursor, not one of the players.

I am super psyched to have made it this far with my first networked game, and with ~18 hours still to go. I am maybe an hour away from having a build available for capacity/stress testing, but I am going to take that hour in the morning after sleeping.

It’s still unclear how far I’ll be able to get with gameplay, but I’m pretty sure dancing with strangers online counts as having fun. I look forward to having a build available to share tomorrow!


Stellation – Third update!

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 2:39 pm

Hey all!

GIF time:


What we’re seeing here is the player and a simulated network player following the mouse (network player at an offset) over a test backing wall. The little lightballs drift around their root position, and flicker slightly. I currently just have the network player smaller and darker to distinguish it, but I’m thinking of a more obvious recolouring before release.

I have the players hooked up to a mock network service for now while I finalize the netcode, but once that’s done I’m gonna start a live stress test! So look forward to that in the next few hours.

Stellation – Second update!

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 10:54 pm

Hey all!

No fancy images for this post, but I wanted to share before going off to bed: I have my full environment set up and have achieved client/remote server communication! I’ve also got half of my netcode set up, but I figured sleep will do me better than trying to power through for a few more hours. Night all!

Stellation – First update!

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 8:06 pm

Hey all! In case you missed it what with the post-theme-announcement site crash, here’s my click-baity first post for this LD: 8 Reasons I’m Doing the Ludum Dare

So, yeah, MMO-ville. What’s that going to look like? Here’s a cell phone picture of my plan so far:

Dat handwriting.

Dat handwriting.

For those who can’t read my scrawl: The game is called Stellation, and it’s an instanced MMO where players (as balls of light) work together to illuminate areas of darkness and form shapes. As puzzles are solved and the walls in the game break down, players are joined from their separate instances to form larger worlds.

Tonight, I’m going to finish planning in Trello and work on getting a basic one-room server running in AWS to see if this is at all possible (really should have done warm-up weekend). If everything goes as swimmingly as I plan for it to, I will actually get enough sleep tonight to make something lovely and testable tomorrow. Again, best of luck to all participants, happy LD!

Hey all! This is my obligatory check-in for #LD48 (or is it #LD30? I’ll be 100% right someday). This is my 1-year anniversary edition of Ludum Dare, but for a while it was looking like I wouldn’t be able to participate this time around. However, I made room in my life and was able to motivate myself by making this list of 8 Reasons I’m Doing the Ludum Dare!

  1. I love game development! (duh)

    And compose, and draw, and animate, and-

  2. I don’t have much free time, but a sleepless weekend every 4 months is very doable.

    I’ll just close my eyes for a while, until the theme is announced…

  3. I’ve never worked on a networked game before, so I’m making an MMO.

    This is just a mockup, mind you.

  4. The last time I…Hang on a second.
    Go back.
    MMO in 48 hours?

    Oh you sweet summer child.

Yup. It’s happening. The not-at-all rare MMO claim has been made, but the odds for success are looking pretty good. While I missed out on the chance to do a dry run last weekend, I think I’ve got a good handle on the tools and techniques I’m going to need to use to get 1K+ players on a server. Honestly, the only thing I’m worried about is how high my AWS bill is going to be!

Obviously I don’t know exactly what the game will look like until the theme is announced, but here’s the tools I know I’ll be using:

  • Unity (engine)
  • The GIMP (2D graphics)
  • Blender (3D graphics)
  • Audacity (SFX + music recording and editing)
  • GitHub + GitExtensions (VCS)
  • lidgren (networking library)
  • AWS (server hosting)
  • itch.io (game hosting)
  • Trello (task tracking)

I’m sure I’m going to be ridiculously busy (MMO, remember), but I’ll try to keep all of you wonderful people up to date with my progress with major features. We’re about to start, so…Everyone have fun, and good luck to y’all!

I’m certainly going to need some.

Forerunner Retrospective Blog

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Saturday, May 24th, 2014 10:22 pm

Hey all!

I have finally decided to start a weekly-ish blog, and I have started it off with a post about Forerunner. Please check it out, and let me know if you have any further feedback!

Forerunner: Complete!

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 7:12 pm

Hey all!

First, I’m so glad to have been part of this massive game jam. This is my third Ludum Dare, and my second solo entry. The difference between Forerunner and Suddenly Ninjas (my first game) is…staggering. This competition has driven me to learn more about game development than I would have otherwise, and I hope everyone else feels the same way.

Without any further ado, here is my final submission: Forerunner!

forerunnerscreen1 forerunnerscreen2

I’ll be doing a post-mortem in the next few days, where I’ll go over some of the more interesting features and bugs that came up over development.

Forerunner: First build!

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 3:56 pm

Hey all!

While I am rushing to get some audio in the game, an alpha version is totally live and playable! Thought I’d share, seeing as how it’s running and everything. Back to making music!

Forerunner: I has graphics

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 11:30 am

Hey all!

Quick update before the final stretch: Finally got some finalized textures into the game. Aren’t they pretty?

Forerunner Development GIF

Still have to do the start/win/lose scenarios, then I’ll probably hammer out some audio before submitting.

Forerunner: Fourth milestone

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 11:46 pm

Hey all!

Before I give you the goods, I should let you know there’s 200% more GIF in this post. I know, right? Just yesterday I was struggling to get the one…Anyways, here’s the show:

Forerunner Development GIF

Spherical hazards litter the skies.

Forerunner Development GIF

Who keeps leaving these rotating bars in midair? Jerks.

Forerunner Development GIF

Aaaaaaand that’s a lot of hazards. Damage is almost inevitable, but there’s a handy bit of screen shake to really drive home your suffering!

(remember that these GIFs run considerably faster than the game does, so avoiding those obstacles is not as hopeless as it looks)

Again, I ended up investing time in refining a system instead of getting content done: I am able to create a level/wave simply by specifying the types of obstacles that can show up and tweaking some values for quantity and clustering.

I feel good about my potential for throughput tomorrow morning, though. After adding start/win/lose sequences, I’ll have the rest of the time for creating textures and new hazards. This is going to look ridiculously better once the placeholder art is gone.

18 hours – sleep = ohgod

Forerunner: Third milestone (at the halfway mark)

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 6:03 pm

Hey all!

I’m back with another development GIF (also in the development gallery):

Forerunner Development

What’s going on here is, well, the actual theme in action (Beneath the Surface)! Once I replace the placeholder textures, it’ll make a lot more sense. Hopefully.

What’s not seen on the screen is that I have a full level management system in place behind this, so I can rapidly add new environments simply by specifying a few values through a simple editor component. Honestly, I should probably have left this systems/polish step until after I had some, y’know, gameplay…But I’m hoping that, with the frameworks I’ve added and the refactoring I’ve done, the gameplay will be fairly quick to add.

By the way, I’d show my bugs and stuff too, except that 90% of them are seizure-inducing with the placeholder textures. There have been a lot of issues, so don’t get discouraged that I’m only showing my successful milestones!

(just realized there’s 24 hours left)

Forerunner: Second milestone

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 2:19 am

Hey again!

First of all, thanks to jedeen who linked me to GifCam and enabled me to make the below GIF in about 5 minutes:

Forerunner Prototype Animation 2

Ended up playing back a little faster than the game actually is, but if that’s the difference of an hour of work I’m not complaining.

As you can see, the ground is scrolling with a parallax effect. Aside from the camera rotation and the little swerves of the player ship, there is nothing actually moving on screen. I’m instead manipulating the texture’s tiling and offset values to merely create the illusion of motion. Why am I putting so much effort into illusory effects for this game? Who knows! But I’m having fun.

Tomorrow I’m planning on getting a quick skyline placeholder up, and then spending the majority of my daylight on creating the actual gameplay (imagine that, a game with gameplay). I really have to prioritize my art assets, though, since I’m not a very accomplished artist and even a small texture will take me quite a bit of time…That will probably be my evening and then some.

Oh, by the way, I’ve started collecting my animations in this handy little album. Enjoy!

Forerunner: First milestone (and first GIF!)

Posted by (twitter: @atomic_swerve)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 11:16 pm

Hey all!

Due to inexperience, I spent the last hour and a half making this GIF, I hope you like it:

Forerunner Prototype Animation 1

Before you ask, I did not just scale up a tiny screen capture. I’m achieving the low-res effect in Unity via a RenderTexture and two cameras. The 3D perspective camera is outputting to a 256×256 RenderTexture, which in turn is being captured by a 2D orthographic camera displaying the tiny texture at full-res. Pretty neat!

I also wanted to show off the bit of animation that I’ve completed so far for the player. You might be able to tell what kind of game I’m going for at this point! The player’s possible positions and rotations are stored in a 3X3 array, and I simply transition between them based on user input. The vertical drifting effect is layered on top of the main movement, handled in a separate update loop.

Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear, my game’s name is Forerunner. Look for me on Sunday!

…I can’t believe I spent an hour and a half on that damn GIF…

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