About caranha (twitter: @caranha)

Hello! I live in Tsukuba-Japan, and I work in a University!

I do a lot of AI programming for my job, but I have very little experience with UI and game programming.

I love Ludum Dare because it gives me a hard deadline so that I can finish my Hobbyist game projects. I've also "met" some awesome people here.

Here are short comments on my former entries:

Namcap - reverse pacman: My favorite LD game so far.
Maxe Explorers: My first LD game, and not bad at all, compared to later ones. A testament to the KISS principle.
The Fair King - My first Android game, you can find it on the Play store as well!
Dinosaur Rush - This game is full of awesomeness. Rawr!

Feel free to contact me via twitter or through my blog.


Ludum Dare 30
Ludum Dare 29
Ludum Dare 28
Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 23 Warmup
Ludum Dare 22

caranha's Trophies

Top Reviewer With Class Award
Awarded by codeapparat
on April 27, 2012
Quality Reviewer Award
Awarded by SonnyBone
on December 22, 2011
Author's Journal Link Repair Award
Awarded by Dry Tree
on December 20, 2011

caranha's Archive

Let’s Rock!

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 6:13 pm


Progress Report, and Time to Sleep!

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 1:30 pm

5 AM now, and I have to sleep 😛

But I’m happy that I did some good looking progress:


I found a very nice parallax background class for Libgdx, and managed to sort out the back end of sprite loading for my fliers.

Next in the plate is difficulty progression, and finishing out the weapons and basic enemy types, and after that I can start working on polish :-)

I guess things are coming together!


Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 9:03 am


13 hours in, inspiration and reality :-)

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 8:07 am

This is my inspiration for the game this LD:

13 hours in, this is the reality XD:


Well, I will not give up! We will have dinosaurs with lasers before the end of the 48 hours! :-)

As of now, I have finished the main game loop, and the base mechanics (victory, game over, upgrade selection, lives, scores, input selection, enemy timelines, ROAR). Time to start adding art. Let’s see if I can draw pixel dinosaurs!


Ok, got the idea down, now time to get on working!

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Friday, December 13th, 2013 8:04 pm

“You only get one” is not a bad theme at all.

I spent one hour thinking about the different ways that I could tackle this theme, and had quite a few ideas. One thing that came up almost immediately was a “shoot them up” where you only get one upgrade – every level you must choose which upgrade you are going to use for that level.

Now, that seems such an obvious Idea, that I tried to think a few others before setting.

Something that also came up was a “dating simulator” – You only get one also fits very well with that. The problem is that dating simulators depend too much on their art and content to be fun, and that is something that I know I can’t do well in just a weekend. After playing with the idea for a while, I soon tossed it out.

Another idea that came up was “EXTREME GEOCACHING” – basically a dungeon game where you have to find a hidden item, and you can get the help of one friend, who will give you some sort of power. Then I realized that this is just a more complicated version of the first idea (one power), and a variation of my first LD game to boot. To the trash!

Another idea is some variation of “You only get one (try)” – but that seems even more obvious than the first idea, and no good implementation comes to mind.

So I’m going to go with the Shoot Them Up thing. If the idea is not unique, how can I make it an awesome game?

One word: DINOSAURS!

Some pointers for streaming in Linux please?

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 9:48 pm

I’m going to participate in this LD as well :-)

The plan is not going to be much different from my previous Ludum Dares: I’m using LibGDX as the base for my game, with crummy programmer graphics based on Gimp and Inkscape. This time around I plan to use Abundant Music to generate the music and, hopefully, create a consistent music experience around the game that is not Autotracker (nothing against autotracker, I just want to try something different).

My last two games have been simple things with a tablet-oriented interface. Unless I get some very good idea, I’ll probably do the same this time around.

To shake things up a bit, Instead of doing a time-lapse based on still shots of my desktop taken every few seconds, I was planning to live stream my programming. However, I am having problem finding a good straming solution for linux. I have tried a bunch of packages and followed some tutorials on the web, but all of them failed in a way or another.

So if anyone has success stories streaming (or even just recording desktop video) on Linux, please share! I don’t mind paying some $$ on streaming/screen recording software if I have to.


Have some Video Reviews

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Sunday, September 1st, 2013 6:22 am

So, this Ludum Dare, I have decided to do most of my reviews as Video Revews. It is a slow-going process, but I’ve managed to make 26 videos so far. Here are some of my favorites (click on the name to play the game):

Ecostar vs Aeronox – Awesome ‘schmup, with a changing seasons mechanic:

Lost in the Darkness – A 2D “maze” game, where the maze boundaries change every 10s:

– A very unique “survive the boss” game. Great difficulty.

Entropy – 2D platformer with great production value.

Forward Motion – A very charming 2D puzzle platformer.

If you want to see more videos, please check my entire playlist! It was very fun to make those videos, and I’ve learned quite a few things in the process. Pointers and suggestions are welcome.

If you want me to make a video of your game, I’d be happy to. Please leave a message at my game’s page for that 😉

How do I embed an Youtube video into a post here?

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Sunday, September 1st, 2013 1:07 am

I know that it is possible, because I have seen other posts with embedded videos. But whenever I copy the embed text from youtube into the edit post window, the text disappears when I save draft or try to preview.

I have gone as far as trying to copy the html code directly from a post with a video in it, but the end result was the same.

Can anyone help me?


EDIT: Thank you all for the help, it seems that I only need to copy the video link in text form to get the embed automagically. Personally, I think this is a bad solution – what if I DO want just the text link out there? Anyway. Now I know.

I’m doing Video Reviews!

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 11:47 pm

With more than 1500 games + work, I have given up the idea of playing even a significant part of these games. So, if we can’t go for quantity, we go for quality, right?

This LD, my plan is to do a Mini-LP of every game I rate! These videos will be recorded as I play each game the very first time, so all the bugs, surprises, emotions and annoyances will be there :-).

If you want to see my video reviews, just go to this Youtube playlist.

IF you want me to review your game, just leave a comment! I will do what I can (time restrictions pending).

That was a rough one.

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:33 pm

Yay, managed to submit my entry! … barely. Please play it here.

Samurai Cafe Screenshot

Samurai Cafe Screenshot

This time around, I only had a satisfactory prototype at the 40 hour mark. I barely had time to create the Menu/Game Over/Help/About screens, and a lot of very interesting eye-candy I was planning for the game had to be cut (or at least postponed to post-compo version).

This was because of a bad mix of work on weekends + me thinking about the code from the wrong direction. Once I managed to fix both of these, I had already used a very large chunk of time.

But I think the end result was quite fun. And I even managed to get some friends to play test my game and find some bugs. Now is your turn!

Congratulations to all of you for finishing another LD!

A good idea is not necessarily a good theme

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 6:53 pm

Let me put my rant hat on:

Death is useful +426

“Death is useful” is a really cool idea. I’m pretty sure that a game made around this idea would be really unique and interesting.

But I don’t think it is a good theme for Ludum Dare. The reason is quite simple: It directs too much. It points very clearly to a direction, and removes a bit of surprise, a bit of creativity.

Ludum Dare nowadays has upwards of 1500 submissions. With this many games, I think a good theme has to be as open ended as possible. In short, not a “sentence” term (“death is useful”, “you are the companion”, “protect your enemy”), but rather a “noun” theme (“Glitch”, “Illusions”, “Colours”, “Castles”).

A noun theme allow first time LD’ers to make simple games with simple interpretations of the game (A 2D platformer in a castle), while veteran LD’ers can spend their creative juices trying to surprise us out of our socks (A dialogue-adventure game where the end goal is to convince feuding families to collaborate in the construction of a castle to defend against foreign invaders).

This LD, let’s try to choose an Open Ended theme, even if it doesn’t sound cool at a first glance (or because it doesn’t sound cool at a first glance!). You can always use the cool candidates that didn’t make it to further define the open-ended game (A castle-building game where progress must be paid for with the deaths of your workforce!)

Off with the rant hat

Checking in for LD!

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 7:59 am

Argh, life got in the way, and just now I had time to write an “I’m in” post. I’ve been participating since LD24, and this time it won’t be different. The timezone for LD is just perfect for me: The compo starts 10:00AM my time on Saturday (Tokyo) and goes until 10:00AM Monday – Already took the day off work that day ;-).

The only snag will be a school event that will take 3-4 hours Saturday afternoon. I will try to use that time to do some game designing.

Anyway, tool call:

Coding: Java+libGDX, the goal is to make a game playable on android and the desktop. I might drop android or add html5 depending on the theme and the design. Using Eclipse+ADT as my IDE.

Graphics: Gimp + Inkscape + my handy WACOM tablet. If the game design calls for it I might use a cool android-based random sprite generator that I found these days.

Sounds: BFXR + possibly a voice synthesizer.

Music: Probably I’m just going to go with Autotracker , even though I can now recognize an autotracker-bu generated song by smell 😛 If I have the time and inclination I might try to compose something using the dozens upon dozens of trackers that I have tested over the months, but every time I’ve tried to do so it ended in utter disaster :-(

Here is my base code (right now it is just some empty classes for handling state changing and asset loading). Good Luck and have fun everyone!

My LD26 game on the Play Store :-)

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Thursday, June 27th, 2013 9:33 pm

I have finally finished the post-compo version of my LD26 game, “The Fair King”. Please give it a whirl! :-) (Click on the image to go to the Google Play Store link)

Fair King at the Play Store

In this version I largely improved the user input (now the game will be smart about throwing away failed lines, for example), and did a bunch of minor polish changes. Feedback is appreciated! I already got some from my first users — I never thought that the “select your stage” menu was non-obvious! Many people thought the game was broken because they didn’t know they had to select a stage to start playing.

If you want to play the desktop version, you can go directly to the game’s page in my blog. Or check the post-compo link in the submission page.

Thanks all, and see you on LD27!

Android Help! My fonts look crummy :-(

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 11:16 am

So, I’m working on the post-compo version of my LD26 game: The Fair King.

One of the problems I’m trying to solve is that the game’s fonts look really shitty on android. Take a look at the original version, linked above, for the desktop and then take a look at the new android version here.

All the fonts in the game look flimsy and ugly, even when I tried to make them bolder (in the “Help” pages). The fonts look much better in my computer.

Does anyone have some suggestion on how I can improve this?

Thanks a lot!

Adding a Post-Compo version? Help!

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 10:39 am

So… about one month and a half after the end of LD26, I have started working on a post-compo version of my game. I finished a first version of my post-compo, but I can’t find the “edit my entry” button.

So, is it possible to edit entry pages after the compo is finished to add information about a post-compo version? Am I missing something really obvious here?


Question: How do you rate mood?

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Sunday, May 5th, 2013 9:36 am

Just throwing a question for everyone out there. I have my own answer, but I was wondering if it is the right one afterall.

How do you rate mood? Can you give some examples of high mood and low mood games?


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