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New Needle in a Neighborhood WebGL version

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 3:43 am

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We have added a new WebGL version of Needle in a Neighborhood here. It’s not our recommended version (that would be the Windows one) but it works well enough. If you play it, please remember to give it a score and a comment on our Ludum Dare page! Thanks!

Needle in a Neighborhood is Complete

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Monday, December 12th, 2016 4:37 pm

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Thanks to everyone who pitched in, our entry is complete. Try Needle in a Neighborhood today! Here’s a short summary:

Inspired by the saying, “looking for a needle in a haystack,” AAGH Games brings you Needle in a Neighborhood, a fairly casual exploration/searching game. You have to search through the houses of a small residential neighborhood for the One Room containing a giant golden needle. There are ten separate houses with 80 total rooms to explore. Only one contains the needle, and since the rooms’ contents are randomized on each play, you get endless replayability.

Give it a play and a rating, won’t you?

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Needle in a Neighborhood Progress Report 2

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Sunday, December 11th, 2016 11:59 pm

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Needle in a Neighborhood is nearing completion (except for, like, all of the audio) and it’s looking fairly good. More rooms have been added, the titular needle is now in the game, the mouse look is finally all done, and we have proper title and end screens.

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We could still use more unique rooms to search through to find the One Room with the needle, and my (Budaniel’s) 3D modeling skills could still stand improvement, but thus far we’re pretty pleased with our entry. With less than 24 hours to get all the music and sound effects recorded and in the game, it could be a hectic last day for us, but with the mechanical and visual aspects of the game nailed down already, that frees us up to focus on just those last pieces tomorrow.

Needle in a Neighborhood Progress Report 1

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Sunday, December 11th, 2016 12:23 am

Our game, now entitled Needle in a Neighborhood, is coming along well. We redrew the houses, so instead of being just white cubes they have a little more definition. They need to be customized individually still but at least they *somewhat* look like houses now.

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We attempted to make this a co-op game, but that failed rather miserably so we’re sticking with it being single player. We’re adding more spare rooms to populate our neighborhood with, including what I personally like to call the Card Room.

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We really need to get around to texturing the various walls and floors soon, and more spare rooms are necessary to make the design-mandatory exploration worthwhile, but so far, so good.

A quick look behind said design: the rooms themselves are stored individually and loaded into the houses in a random (but fixed per play session) arrangement, so one time you might find the card room in this particular room of the house with the brown carpet (we’re currently identifying houses largely by their varied carpet colors), and the next time it might be a living room, or a dining room, or even… well, I don’t want to spoil all the surprises quite yet. You get the idea, though.

I’ll post more updates over the next couple of days. Until then, have fun everyone!

When One Room is Not Enough, and yet Just Right

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Saturday, December 10th, 2016 5:43 pm

We’re doing well mechanics-wise on our entry (the graphics are another story). Looking for a different way of handling the theme, we took “One Room” and hid it in a small residential neighborhood.

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The graphics have miles to go, but the interiors of the houses (currently represented by white cubes) are all done, and the game’s main hook is in, so now we’re going to work on some of the individual room details before adding the interface and polishing the visuals. Here’s an example of one of the (incomplete) spare rooms.

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AAGH Games is in for LD37

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Friday, December 9th, 2016 6:11 am

It’s jam time again and we – AAGH Games – are in again. We will be using Unity again, and we’ll also be live streaming throughout the weekend on our Twitch channel. What will we make this time? There’s only one way to find out!

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Good luck to everyone, have fun, and jam safely!

CaveKillers is Done!

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Monday, August 29th, 2016 7:52 pm

We finally completed and turned in our game for Ludum Dare 36, CaveKillers.

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In CaveKillers you lose your money while in space to a planet full of cavemen before crash landing on the surface. You take your rifle and and RPG and set out to get your gold back.

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You can play it here, and we’d love to hear some feedback on CaveKillers.

Streaming Again

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 1:50 pm

We’re making progress, and doing it live on Twitch again. Come say hi!

AAGH Games is In Yet Again

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Sunday, August 21st, 2016 11:18 pm

After what was probably our most successful Ludum Dare yet, we at AAGH Games are back for our 6th consecutive jam. As per usual, we have myself, Budaniel as artist and programmer and Floata on audio and design. We’re going to live stream our progress on our Twitch channel like we always do, so over the course of the weekend if you’re taking a break from working on your own game, we’d love for you to stop by and say hi.

Good luck to everyone this coming weekend, and have fun.

ShiftyBalls Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Saturday, April 30th, 2016 9:01 pm

Here is our ShiftyBalls postmortem. It’s a little on the long side, but we hope that you enjoy it. If you want to try our game, ShiftyBalls, you can do so right here. Thank you, by the way, to everyone who has rated ShiftyBalls and provided feedback!

Day One:

When the theme was announced at 9 PM Friday night, Floata (our musician/level designer) immediately suggested an exploration/treasure hunting game where the player had to shift elemental form to survive hazards. Sounded straight forward enough, so off we went. I (Budaniel) do the programming and art, and shortly after we got the movement in, I moved on to try and create a humanoid avatar. The issue is that I’m primarily a 2D artist, and our game was going to be 3D. The resulting 3D model wasn’t bad. The rigging and animation, on the other hand, became the stuff of nightmares.

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So, with that horror set aside, I made what was intended to be a temporary avatar – a smiling red ball. We liked it enough, though, to keep it and build the rest of the game around it. We added ice-, fire- and rock-based forms and tied them into the game play: ice freezes water, fire is fast but dies in water, and rock can survive trips through lava. At this point I forwarded Floata the game and he built our first level.

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The level, once completed worked well as a tutorial to introduce the basic mechanics to the player. The hardest part, surprisingly, was getting the block to rise out of the lava. For whatever reason, we fought that one piece for almost an hour. We could have worked around it, we could have removed it, we could have come back later, but nope – we had to finish it right now, darn it. We did eventually finish it so we could move on with a clear conscience.

We eventually finished up laying out level one and half of level two before day one drew to a close Saturday night. Our vision was coming together, and we still had 48 hours before the deadline.

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Day Two:

I began day two by working on key graphics. Specifically, I made the key for unlocking the gate in the levels. For all my desire to learn 3D graphics, I’m still not really there, so thankfully a key isn’t too hard to make.

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Once that was completed we moved to complete the design on level one (we’d left the end point unfinished earlier). Floata wanted the level to finish on a sailing ship, but I failed at making a serviceable sailing ship, so that ship sailed and we went a simpler route. It was about this time that I noticed a bug in our player movement.

Apparently I had set the player to detect as being on the ground if their vertical velocity was less than zero. What that meant was that as long as the player was falling they could jump again, resulting in the ability to bounce through the air. How on earth we got this far without noticing that is beyond me, but it was quickly fixed – fun as it was, it kind of ruined any challenge the game had.

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Taking a break from level design, work began on the title screen, which meant we needed a name for the game. After some deliberation we settled on ShiftyBalls. It may be kind of juvenile, but we’re ok with that. While I was posting a progress post on the Ludum Dare site, the tagline of the game came to me like an epiphany.

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With that out of the way we went to work on level three. Working as a team over Skype went well and the level came together in no time. We had originally intended for this to be a large, multi-path level but we pared it back down after a discussion as to its relationship in scale to the rest of the game.

We had been discussing up this point adding indicators for the various forms and a timer of sorts, so when better than now to add them? I toyed with various styles and settled on an seriously boring “colored circle with a number in it” look after failing at multiple flashier variations. Looking back, I wish I’d used pics of the ball in its various forms for the buttons, but I am not a very smart person sometimes.

The timer turned out to be the biggest headache so far, as tying it to the forms and their transformations turns out to be a little harder than I’d expected. The problem was as simple as me misunderstanding how to use a single line of code (InvokeRepeating, to be exact), but it delayed progress for over an hour. That led into the evening, and the end of day two.

Day Three:

Most everything we’d aimed for was in the game now. We had three levels (more is always better, but we liked the three we had) so day three was bug-fixing and graphics-polishing day. The first order of business was doing away with the gray boxes that had stood in for textures throughout the game. Originally intended to look like tiled flooring, the way it got stretched all over the place gave it a really chintzy, low-res look. We opted to go for a simple two-piece approach, with a darker body of the surfaces with a shiny, lighter top surface. While this meant I basically had to go back and double up every single surface in the game, the results (combined with a starfield skybox) were a positive step.

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We tested the hell out of it in the morning, but one issue stuck out: the ice kept blinking back to water for a half second while you were freezing it. This began a small odyssey that nearly derailed the entire project.

I told Floata I would fix the issue, and then sat down on my own to do just that. I figured it would take 30 minutes, tops, but in trying to isolate the problem, I broke the freezing mechanic entirely. We were only about 6 hours until deadline and I had just destroyed a core part of our game. I tried to put it back together, but in doing so, it didn’t work anymore. Panic and stress began to set in, knowing that I had to find and fix the problem right now. Here’s a small rundown of the events as it went all wrong.

  1. The water stopped freezing on contact
  2. The water froze on contact, but then immediately unfroze
  3. The water started as ice and became water instead of vice versa
  4. The water froze as soon as I turned to ice, even if I wasn’t touching it
  5. The water froze but never unfroze
  6. The water turned to ice but didn’t become solid
  7. The water rapidly blinked frozen/unfrozen

None of these were ideal. It took me probably two hours or so, but not only did I get it working again (the issued turned out to be three different, conflicting scripts all trying to do the same thing), I also fixed the original issue in the process. Hooray for success! I’m glad that I fixed it and I didn’t have to be guilty of ruining our game at the last minute.

With deadline rapidly approaching, we ran the game through its paces a few more times and finally posted it, and now its fate is in the hands of you fine people for judgement.

ShiftyBalls Wrapup

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Friday, April 22nd, 2016 3:05 pm

I’m Budaniel from AAGH Games, and I wanted to post a quick look at ShiftyBalls and what went well, plus what didn’t. I have written a long postmortem for some other time, so for right now let’s just focus on the positives and negatives from our experience in Ludum Dare 35.

What went well:

  • The controls turned out better than planned. We originally had tank-style controls, which (as you’d imagine) did not feel intuitive and were unnecessarily difficult.
  • The way the elements interact came off pretty much as intended, with each having their usefulness.
  • We did pretty well on time. We were wrapped up on mechanics (for the most part) by Saturday afternoon and by Monday it was just bug-fixing.

What went not-so-well:

  • The art could have been so much better. I’m still learning as a 3D artist and my attempts to make a decent animated, humanoid main character fell flat, leading to the ball we have now.
  • We could have explained the elements a little better instead of just dropping the player into a level with all three at once. For example, we’ve heard that the Fire element should survive lava like the rock does, but in this case you’re not a fireball – you’re on fire, and that’s why you’re running faster (because it hurts).
  • We could have used more  sound effects. We often struggle to nail this element in a Ludum Dare, but this time I felt their absence to more than usual.
  • The new web version seems to be giving some people issues, which I don’t think we can fix at this time.
  • I nearly broke everything on Monday afternoon. I was trying to fix one small bug with the ice and broke that mechanic completely, resulting in a few hours of trying to fix the game.

That’s all for now. Thanks to everyone who’s tried ShiftyBalls, and to those that haven’t, give it a shot and leave us a comment – we love feedback!

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ShiftyBalls is now in your Browser

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 10:35 am

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Now you can play ShiftyBalls in your browser via WebGL! Click here for the new web version, and then please go here to rate it. If the web version gives you trouble, then please try the Windows one.

ShiftyBalls is Up!

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Monday, April 18th, 2016 6:23 pm

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Now you can play (and rate) ShiftyBalls! Take your ShiftyBall and change elements to survive a handful of fun levels involving various hazards like lava pools and cannons. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our livestreams this past weekend, and good luck to everyone.

Here’s our entry’s page. Give it a look!

Edit: Fixed the link

ShiftyBalls is pretty much complete

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Monday, April 18th, 2016 2:14 pm

Our game, ShiftyBalls is about done – just some final testing remains. Here’s a few quick snapshots of it until then.

ShiftyBalls Preview

With any luck the finally build will be ready in just a few hours.

Progress and Fire

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 8:41 pm

Sometimes you’re on top of the world, sometimes you’re on a tiny platform above a pit of lava. Stuff happens.

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Just remember to keep smiling

Our game is coming along pretty well, surprisingly. There are always more graphics to do, more sounds to make, and so many more details to hammer out, but the essential mechanics, physics, and gameplay are all in now. We have three fun (we think) levels in as well, and we’re debating adding more – and if so, how many. It’s a strayed from our original vision but we’re happy so far.

We – AAGH Games – are in again

Posted by (twitter: @aaghgames)
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 7:39 am

I’m Budaniel of AAGH Games, and this will be our sixth straight Ludum Dare. We hope it will be our best yet!

We plan on live streaming again this time on our our Twitch channel, which is always fun for interacting with people and sharing our work. Last LD was our first attempt with Unity and we will likely be using it again this time. Here is our team, their roles and their most commonly used tools.

Budaniel (art, programming)

  • Photo Impact
  • Visual Studio 2013
  • Sculptris
  • Blender
  • Tile Studio (if we go 2D)

Floata (music, game design)

  • LMMS
  • Anvil Studio
  • Audacity

We even have a few new toys to try out this time (I got a new graphics tablet and we received a MIDI keyboard) so we’re looking forward to getting this Ludum Dare underway. Good luck to everyone!

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