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Game Jolt’s Indies VS Gamers Jam

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 2:12 am

Hey Ludum Dare-rs! I heard you guys like game jams.

Indies VS Gamers

You might have heard of Game Jolt. In case you haven’t, it’s the largest indie game portal on the web, boasting nearly 900k members and a community that absolutely loves game jams.

Game Jolt is hosting a game jam called Indies VS Gamers, which takes your standard game jam to the next level. First off, they’ve teamed up with some huge YouTubers: PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye. These three big shots will play the top five games from the game jam. Holy publicity.

Before we get to the next bulletpoint on why you should already be foaming at the mouth, let’s take a moment to clarify one of the rules: all games for this jam must incorporate the Game Jolt scoreboards API. “Ugh, really?” Yes, REALLY! This is because the game jam is going to include the other side of the equation: the gamers!

Players not only get to choose who wins the jam by voting on the Game Jolt website, but can compete against each other (and the YouTubers!) in each of the games, with the top 10 high scores of the five winning games being showcased on the jam page. Hashtag braggingrights, am I right?

It’ll start on July 17, 2015 at midnight Eastern Time EST (US) and end at midnight Eastern Time on July 20, 2015. The theme will be announced at the start of the contest. Voting will end July 27, 2015. More details can be found here.

Unused assets/ideas for To Fight The Sea

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Saturday, December 13th, 2014 9:00 am

As the jam neared the end, I realized I needed to get the game in a fully playable state, finish the menu, and make sure the win/lose conditions worked. As a result, we weren’t able to get a few things in. Cameron had even made the assets for the next enemy we were going to put in the game, but ultimately failed to do so. I decided I should release our ideas and talk about what we were going to do, because that’s interesting, right? Eh, maybe.

Play game


Early draft of the game, getting core functionality in

eggball moonfish

The next two assets to be put in were these two. The fish is a moon fish, and the image on the left is a collection of eggs. The goal of the moon fish was to wander the screen aimlessly, occasionally spawning this ball of eggs. If you fail to destroy the ball of eggs before they hatch, a school of baby moon fish erupt from it and swarm you. We’re talking 30-50 mini moon fish, with one goal in mind: attack that jellyfish because it’s after our momma. The light for the moon fish would most likely end up being a bright orange, fading to white, then back. Not too intense, more of a dimmer light, to help express the notion that it’s not a threat.

We also wanted to add some lights to the salp, but I knew that was going to get messy with the way I imagined it (only have lights the connections of salp, rather than the salp nodes themselves), and I never got around to implementing that feature. But you can see the salp above, they were pretty interesting by themselves without having to put any lights on it. Speaking of lights, I implemented a system that we hardly scratched the surface of. Lights have three properties in this engine: radius, intensity/alpha, and color. You can assign as many of these as you want to a single light, as well as a time, and it will linearly interpolate between the values, allowing for a range of effects. We did end up utilizing it in a few spots, but overall was a pretty big waste of time for what could have been a great addition to certain spots in the game.

The boss introduces itself with a ripple effect (thanks Kyle Pulver for the shader!) and pushes the player out of the way (one of those little extra polish things I put in there that makes me feel all giddy inside). I wanted to do it for all enemies, but unfortunately I added it to the boss and not the base enemy class, and didn’t feel like ripping apart the code to add it to all of them. Everything worked fine, so why break it even more? Plus, I did try adding it to salp, and it looked awful.

We originally also planned for multiple bosses. The second boss was going to be a multiple portion boss, as I like to call it, where it has armored body parts, and the body parts become vulnerable after a while, and then you can shoot one of them off, revealing a little nest of enemy fish that swim from the newly created wound.

Another enemy we were prototyping was the starfish. We found this really cool starfish and wanted to dynamically create starfish with 3-6 arms, each of them shooting bullets out. This enemy would just wander aimlessly, bounce off of other enemies, and add a new dynamic that I feel was missing from the finished game. The starfish (typo’d it starwish at first, which is a pretty neat name) would have been broken into two images – one that would be the base body, and then another with the arms. I really like the inside design in this starfish, which is why I chose it. Not too sure we’d have the additional tentacles coming out of it, though.

The above jellyfish was our original reference art for the jelly. I was going to program some sort of tentacle script that would allow me to create some nifty tentacles coming out from this jellyfish. In the final version, it’s obviously not there, mainly because I realized I had no idea how to do it in a way that would look good. Or even exactly how to draw something like that using the Otter engine. It would have been an amazing addition to the game, especially if I would have gone all out and made the tentacles themselves glow, illuminating the area around it. The jellyfish also had one other thing I wanted to add, which would have made aiming even more impossible than it already was, and that was to have it swim in a sin wave-esq shape, to give it more of a swimming motion.

That’s it for this post! Check out the game if you’re interested, and I’ll try doing another post next weekend if I can think of anything. Happy Saturday!

To Fight The Sea Post-Mortem + Timelapse (Ludum Dare 31)

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 10:21 am

So I finally finished a Ludum Dare without having any issues, and ended up with a game I’m pretty proud of. I worked with Cameron Erickson (art) and Mike LeRoy (music).



Slow start

The jam started off for us pretty slow. At first, we had no idea what to make, but I saw a video of a man helping a dead shark give birth to its three babies. I instantly knew that our game should be underwater, and I continued thinking about it. The original idea Cameron and I brainstormed together was to make a game revolving around a similar mechanic to Lost Woods in the original Zelda, minus the screen transition. So you’d wrap around the screen and the rooms would morph slightly and new enemies would spawn. We wanted enemies, bosses, and puzzles. We ended up only being able to fit in enemies and bosses.

Cameron and I continued trying to come up with ideas for enemies, and what the game was even going to be. Cameron worked on the background and character art while I tried getting character movement in. It took me a few hours to get all the math right, and that was about all we got done the first night. However, it already felt smooth and polished. I tried making the code easy to expand and overused the glorious coroutines that are available in the Otter engine.

Day two

I didn’t get a chance to start on Saturday until 3:30 PM, so we were already out a bunch of hours. I had interviewed Florian Himsl (Binding of Isaac) on indie(Radio); Broadcast #50 and that took up a majority of my morning. So we were already pretty far behind, since the jam was nearly 1/3 over at that time and all we had was this jellyfish moving around. The rest of the night consisted of me programming the start of the squid enemy, getting lighting effects working, and learning how surfaces in Otter work. This was one of our major downfalls, that we tried to do a lot of things we didn’t know how to do. Cameron had never done this art style before, and he isn’t experienced with animating (more about this later). I had only tried doing lighting once, and it was awful. The way I was doing certain physics were also different than I had done before, and ended up giving me a lot of trouble at first until I completely wrapped my head around what I was trying to do. Another huge time waster for me was all the special features I added to the lights; you can (in code) specify a series of colors, intensities, and sizes, as well as timespans for each, and the light will loop through these. It is used a little bit, but there were features that weren’t used that could have saved me programming time had I not gotten carried away. We had a lot more effects we had originally planned on putting in the game, but ended up not adding them because everything little thing takes a lot of time when you put it all together. I also should have brushed up on vector maths before the jam, because I’m a bit rusty with them. Before I went to sleep, I hit a friend of mine, Mike LeRoy, and left him a build, asking if he’d be interested in making some tunes for us.


LD31 Update 1 – Jelly jelly jellyfish

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 10:42 pm

Cameron Erickson and I have once again teamed up for Ludum Dare, and this time we plan on finishing. The last time we did the jam together was LD26, which ended with my custom built C++ engine collapsing upon itself (I didn’t understand that you needed to call delete for every time you called new… yeah…).

Anyway, we’re making a simple-ish game revolving around fighting enemies, boss battles, and small little environmental puzzles. You play as a jellyfish. We have a wrapping mechanic, that allows you to wrap around the room (Lost Woods-style, without the camera transition) where each time you wrap around the room, certain things happen, such as the room will morph, enemies will appear, you get power-ups, etc. We’re not 100% sure what all these will be at this point, but we’re figuring it out.

Glowing Jellyfish

So right now I’ve built the base engine, played with Coroutines, and started a little lighting engine that’ll allow me to create glows like that one above on the jellyfish. It also has functionality to ping-pong between colors, sizes, and intensities, allowing for some unique effects on the player, enemies, and other stuff. I have added a squid, however, it is not programmed yet. Cameron’s been doing some fantastic work on the art and animations. Hopefully we’ll have more to show tomorrow, as well as some gifs!

LD30: Six hours in

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 12:24 am

Whelp, it’s 3 AM and we’re six hours into the jam. I think I’m going to be heading to bed pretty soon, but here’s the results of the first 1/12 of the jam.

Team: Bret Hudson (me), and Dan Fessler

We didn’t start until about 2.5 hours after the jam started, since we had a bit of a difficulty coming up with an idea (which I’ll go more into tomorrow), and then both of us decided to grab some food. Here’s my work thus far: (click the links to watch 6 second vine videos of the thing in motion!)

Centripetal motion

This was a bit interesting to get working, as I went through a few iterations. I wanted to make sure I didn’t do my typical Cos/Sin method with an angle, because the planets are going to be affected by outside forces, so it was important to make sure we were using real physics. I ended up using the cross product of two 3D vectors to get the result.

Chain physics

I had never tackled chain physics before, but understood the basic concept. You need points and then the springs between them. The points have a mass and it determines how the springs interact. Thanks to a tutorial by NeHe (link here), I was able to get it up and going rather quickly.

There’s something else I’ve been working on regarding the chain physics, but it’s buggy, and requires me to do some more thinking on how exactly it all interacts. I’ll be uploading a video of the final result when I’m done. That’s about it!

Also, Dan is still working on concept art as we speak. No pretty pictures for you yet, but soon!

BretHudson->participate(Jams::find(“Ludum Dare”, 30));

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Thursday, August 21st, 2014 1:24 am

I’ve been “doing” Ludum Dare ever since LD #23. Have I ever finished? No. Either I don’t like my project, the weekend becomes busy, or that one fateful time, my game became unplayable due to a memory leak (I used to not know how to debug).

This time? Oh ho ho, you all have another thing coming. I’m joining, and finishing the game.

Otter2D or FlashPunk, possibly Unity (all depends on what the theme is and what we decide to make)
Dan Fessler (he’s not a tool (in both literal and metaphorical sense), but he will be my team mate and make the game more than single colored polygons)
– Audacity (sound effects)
– Google (to get code help, find music, and entertain me when I get stressed out)

There you have it, I’m in it this time 100%.

I’ll be jammin’!

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 6:19 am

Hey everyone, Bret Hudson here, I’m planning on doing Ludum Dare again and finishing for the first time.

My tools are:

  • Programming: FlashPunk or Otter2d, depending on if I want to make it playable in browser or not
  • Graphics: Paint.NET
  • Sounds: Sfxr/Bfxr
  • Timelapse: Chronolapse

If I’m feeling up to it, I might also stream development. Can’t wait to see what comes of the 29th Ludum Dare!

Indie Power Magazine Issue #2

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Sunday, August 18th, 2013 6:58 am

Hey Ludum Dare!

This month’s issue was a bit smoother, but still not quite what Issue #0 was. We know for sure we’ll get there in Issue #3, but in the mean time, check out the meat that’s contained within Issue #2!

I hope everyone enjoys the latest issue, and comes back for more. :) If anyone’s interested in joining the team, hit us up at contact (at) indiepowermag.com.

Check it out at http://www.indiepowermag.com!

Indie Power Magazine Issue #1

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Sunday, July 21st, 2013 2:16 am

Hey Ludum Dare!

It’s that time of the month – oh god, not that. I meant the time that Indie Power Magazine is released. We’ve released a smaller issue this time around, which is due to time management issues. Hopefully it won’t repeat itself, as the magazine was drastically cut in size to make sure quality was obtained over quantity. While the issue isn’t quite as great as the beta issue, there are some pretty looking pages inside, and the Pixel Purge article is a fantastic read, I must say.

I hope everyone enjoys the latest issue, and comes back for more. :) If anyone’s interested in joining the team, hit us up at contact (at) indiepowermag.com.

Check it out at http://www.indiepowermag.com!

I also copied this from the post for Issue #0, to let everyone know some basic background on the magazine:

“It’s been a while, and many of you might remember me as the guy running indie(Function);. We used to have a magazine, called indie(Magazine);, which was an okay publication we used to put out every other week. However, the team fell apart due to poor organization and my lack of contribution to the team. So, over time, I thought we’d try launching a new magazine, Indie Power Magazine – a fresh new start.

This magazine had to be the last magazine’s quality  times 5, dosed with steroids. I think we might have achieved that goal. As an added challenge, since I was the only one left on the writing team, I decided to design and write the entire thing myself. So, after two weeks of work, the 60 page magazine is available for our readers. It launched officially on June 15th, but I haven’t had a chance to get over the Ludum Dare yet.”

Indie Power Magazine Issue #0

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Friday, June 21st, 2013 4:49 pm

Hey Ludum Dare!

It’s been a while, and many of you might remember me as the guy running indie(Function);. We used to have a magazine, called indie(Magazine);, which was an okay publication we used to put out every other week. However, the team fell apart due to poor organization and my lack of contribution to the team. So, over time, I thought we’d try launching a new magazine, Indie Power Magazine – a fresh new start.

This magazine had to be the last magazine’s quality  times 5, dosed with steroids. I think we might have achieved that goal. As an added challenge, since I was the only one left on the writing team, I decided to design and write the entire thing myself. So, after two weeks of work, the 60 page magazine is available for our readers. It launched officially on June 15th, but I haven’t had a chance to get over the Ludum Dare yet.

I hope everyone enjoys the issue, and comes back for more. :) If anyone’s interested in joining the team, hit us up at contact (at) indiepowermag.com.

Check it out at http://www.indiepowermag.com!

Top Indie Platformers

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Saturday, May 25th, 2013 9:45 pm

indie(Function); is in round TWO of the top indie platformers, and we need you to vote for your favorites:


Vote for as many as you like, the top ten will be featured in the upcoming issue of indie(Function);’s magazine. Thanks!

Calling all Minnesota game devs

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 2:36 pm

Upon reading through the LD 26 responses, I saw “April 19th-22nd conflicts with the Minnesota State High School Speech competition, which is a HUGE conflict. U kno?”, which leads me to think there might be some other game devs out in my area. If anyone in Minnesota sees this, definitely put a comment on here or send an email to Bret@indieFunction.com. I’d love to mingle with some other game devs and possibly start up a community in the area.

Thanks, hope to hear back from someone soon,
Bret Hudson

Game Jolt Weekend Jam #3

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Friday, November 30th, 2012 5:15 pm

I’m here to let you all know that Game Jolt’s throwing it’s 3rd Weekend Jam this weekend and is looking for spectators and participants!

We’ll be having lots of live updates (including livestreams/screenshots/blog posts/demos) of our developers as they work on games, so it’s a good chance for you to either join in and work on something yourself with an audience watching or become part of the audience and give feedback on games that look cool. If you’re interested, take a look at the official page and check out whether you like what you see.


indie(Magazine); Issue #19 Released!

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 10:30 am

indie(Magazine); Issue #19 is the first indie(Magazine); issue in almost a year! Inside lies ten game reviews, an interview with Steve Swink, a new section called “Developer’s Critique” (written by Connor Ullmann this week), a review on the Fez soundtrack, a dynamic camera tutorial, and a bunch more! Check it out here.

Also check out indie(Radio); Broadcast #33, featuring an interview with Steve Swink: Broadcast #33

indie(Magazine); looking for a designer and new writers

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Monday, October 1st, 2012 5:36 pm

Hello Ludum Dare, I’m somewhat active in the IRC, but not so much in the competitions or on the site. For those of you who don’t know who I am, I’m Bret Hudson, an indie game developer from Minnesota. I run indie(Function);, an indie game development media and education group. indie(Function); primarily consists of a radio show, and a currently dead magazine.

indie(Function); is low on members right now, consisting of myself, the co-founder Ian “Halfrican” Jones, and Mike LeRoy. We’d like to revive indie(Magazine);, but in order to do so, we need a designer and possibly a few more writers since Mike and I have a hard time putting together 20-30 pages of content by ourselves. However, with the proper team, I’m sure indie(Magazine); can come back to it’s old self and possibly beat the records we currently have placed (most viewed magazine has 1,100 views as of typing this up).

Here’s a list of different positions that are available:

  • Magazine designer
  • Magazine writer(s)
  • Social Media Helper (Post updates to our Facebook, Twitter, forum topics, RSS feed, etc)
  • “Gatherer” (Finds topics to talk about, thinks up interesting topics, etc)
  • Recruiter (Finds both new members for the team, as well as contacts people for interviews)

None of the above positions are pay-jobs, we currently have no income. The team in the past has always been friendly, and I can imagine it will continue to be with any new members we receive. The positions are great for experience and offer opportunities to talk to some bigger developers (past interviews have included Edmund McMillen, Alec Holowka, Chevy Ray Johnston).

If you want to preview the magazine to know what a common issue consists of, click the following link to be brought to a list of issues: http://www.indieFunction.com/magazine

Thank you for your time, and I hope to have some of you join us in bringing the indie gaming community indie(Radio); and indie(Magazine);.
-Bret Hudson ~ indie(Function); CEO/Editor in Chief

Game Jolt Game Achievements API Released

Posted by (twitter: @BretHudson)
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 1:03 pm

Hey Ludum Dare…ers? Dare-ies? Ah, DEAR PEOPLE OF LUDUM DARE,

Game Jolt has just released their long-time-in-beta Game Achievements API and libraries. They want the members to spread the news, and I thought I’d be the first to bring it the Ludum Dare community.

It works on most platforms (Game Maker, Construct, Unity) as well as with most languages (C++, Java, AS3). If your platform is not in the list on their landing page though, their community is really nice and they can probably help you out with making one – just have to ask on the forums. The system is stable, secure and scalable; a newly popular game – Kayin’s sequel to I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden – was released recently using their system. Game Jolt supports high scores for both users and guests, trophies and even data storage (which is only limited by your imagination!).

Here’s some links:
Landing page: http://gamejolt.com/…s/achievements/
Forums: http://gamejolt.com/community/forums/
Signup Page: http://gamejolt.com/auth/sign_up/

If you have any questions feel free to ask here or on the gamejolt forums in the link above!
-Bret Hudson ~ indie(Function); CEO

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