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Ludum Dare 37
 
Ludum Dare 35

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The Barrels and Barrels of Water Award
Awarded by yuigoto
on January 3, 2017

Cerno_b's Archive

Effing Crossfade!

Posted by
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 12:43 am

You can’t hear it right now, but I managed to add crossfading music to the game. I’m so happy. So if you’re digging or in the shadow of the sun, the music changes.

The soundtrack is still a bit short, but I have some more things on my plate, so I’ll continue later.

Oh and there’s stones and treasure to dig up now. What will it be good for though?

digging stones

Dig it!

Posted by
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 11:59 am

Wow, the digging mechanics took a lot longer than I thought. Next up: digging obstacles and treasure.
Graphics are still placeholders, animations completely missing, but I’ll get there.

LD38_3

Lunch Break

Posted by
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 4:53 am

Alright, off to grab some food.

The first Ludum Dare where I didn’t plan out everything in detail but just rolled with it. Feels good!

Graphics are pretty much placeholders and most game mechanics are still missing. I want this to be about exploration, so let’s see what I’ll come up with.

plants_zombies_house

Day/Night cycle prototype

Posted by
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 2:27 am

Making progress. Now adding a texture to the night proves to cause much more of a headache than I anticipated.

day_night

Need a recommendation: Any good gif screengrabbers?

Posted by
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 1:49 am

I have been using ScreenToGif during my past two LDs but it’s causing crappy artifacts in the final gifs.

What tools do you guys use?

Round world exploration game

Posted by
Friday, April 21st, 2017 11:37 pm

Alright, it seems like making a round little planet game was a little too obvious, but I’ll stick to that idea anyway.

I want it to be an exploration based game with a day and night cycle of actual celestial bodies moving around the planet. You have to find items to explore further. Let’s see how far I can take this concept. I hope it’s not too ambitious for 48 hours.

I’m in!

Posted by
Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 3:17 pm

I’m in for LD38!

After mismanagement forced me into the Jam for LD 37, I will definitely try to go for the Compo again this time.

I might also try my hand at MiniLD73 as a warm-up. I always wanted to make a rhythm game and I always got frustrated when I had to throw together some lackluster music at the very end of LD when my brain had turned to mush. So, yeah, perfect opportunity to test different music making tools!

That Thing about Compo Fonts

Posted by
Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 7:32 pm

The Compo rules state that content has to be hand-made within the time frame of the competition or be a derivative work from premade material.

But fonts are an exception to that.

While I find that reasonable, I have seen Compo entries that use fairly extravagant fonts in their games, which I felt crossed a line. At some point a spiffy intro screen containing a game title made from some well-designed font kind of defeats the spirit of the Compo for me in that specific context.

It would be a different story if someone modified a more generic font to make it their own so that the “derivative works” rule would still apply.

We could take the “any font allowed” rule to its extreme and create a game that makes heavy use of well-designed clipart fonts for its graphical assets. This, for me, would cross the line of the Compo spirit by a wide margin, yet technically it would be allowed. And, I think it’s not very far-fetched that a decent game with visuals like these could get a very good placement in the “Graphics” category.

So, what to do? Since I’m fairly new to Ludum Dare myself, I wonder whether this has been discussed in the past and if there is a consensus on this matter.

My position on this is that external fonts should clearly be allowed to be used in the Compo. However, I would like seeing a restriction about what type of fonts can be used. Since drawing a line between valid and invalid fonts would be nearly impossible, my suggestion would be to define two small sets of allowed public domain fonts (for pixel art and higher-resolution games, respectively). The concrete selection of these fonts could be decided on in a poll.

As an advantage, regulating the “must have legal rights” rule would become easier (I don’t want to know how many people just download any font from some website without checking it’s usage terms or forget to give proper attibution).

“But wouldn’t that make games less diverse with only a handful of fonts to choose from?” Precisely! If one happened to create a font themselves (as I’ve seen people do in some post-mortems), it would be a neat selling point to make their game stand out, just like when people record their own sound effects instead of just using bfxr like everyone does.

So, what’s your opinion on the fonts issue in the Compo? Would you like stricter regulations or are you fine with the way the rules currently are?

Some Solace for the Disappointed

Posted by
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 10:06 am

Statistics Time

With Ludum Dare 37 over, I took some time to look at the numbers and compiled two charts that indicate the rating distribution of the “Overall” category for both Jam and Compo.

The charts are to be read like this: Each bar describes a rating group. A group contains all games with the same rating (with the last digit cut off). The rating group is written below the respective bars. The more games within that group, the larger the bar. The number of games in each group is written at the top of the bars.


(Click to enlarge)

So in the Compo, there were 58 games with a rating of 3.2, which is the largest group in that discipline.

Two important observations

Two important observations can be made here:

First, this graph is roughly bell-shaped which in mathematics is called a Gaussian distribution. It usually has the most content in the middle and peters out at the edges with the highest and lowest entries occurring only rarely. So the first observation is that if your game is close to the center of the graph, you are in good company. If your game has a rating between 2.8 and 3.7, you are within what mathematicians call the “one sigma band”, which accounts for about 68% of all Compo games that were rated in LD37.

The second takeaway is that if your game is rated roughly in the mid-range, then your ranking compared to other games can change greatly by only a very small change in the individual ratings. Let me explain this with an example: Say your game received a rating of 3.20, which would be ranked at about #350. Now since there are 58 entries in your group, you could improve your ranking by 58 places if only you had a rating of 3.30 instead of 3.20. How likely is that? To increase your rating from 3.20 to 3.30 (by 0.1), every 10th reviewer, on average, had to give you one additional star in the “overall” rating than you actually received. So with 30 people rating your game, only three people giving you an additional star would have been enough to boost your ranking by 58 places, from the three hundreds to the two hundreds.

So What?

So why are these two observations important?

First of all, there are so many games in the mid-range that you shouldn’t feel discouraged if your game didn’t get a particularly high score. We are not talking about an even distribution here, where every rating has the same number of games associated with it. So getting over that mid-range hump is hard.

Secondly, people have different approaches to rating. Some reserve 5 stars for the cream of the crop while other tend to give five stars for a game they enjoyed even though it had some flaws. So depending on who rates your game, your ranking among all participants can fluctuate wildly, especially if you are in the mid-range.

So for all people who are disappointed by the results: Take the numbers with a grain of salt. You made a game in 2 or 3 days and surely learned a lot. That is a much better achievement than some numbers on a screen.

See you next Ludum Dare!

Henry Snackleworth Says Farewell

Posted by
Monday, January 2nd, 2017 4:06 pm

So with this, another exciting Ludum Dare comes to a close. I’m almost done playing all the games of people who commented on mine, so I’m making one last post before LD37 wraps up for me.

It was great participating again this time, although I missed the Compo deadline. With all the stuff I learned, I’m really looking forward to next LD.

Thanks a lot to PoV for organizing everything even if the plan to switch sites didn’t work out in the end. Good luck for getting everything off the ground next time.

Thanks to all the Tubers and Twitchers who made the effort to play and review so many games, especially to mirta000 who was kind enough to play my entry.

And of course thanks to all participants. The bar has been set very high again this time around.

no more hitbox issues

For anyone still wanting to play Henry Snackleworth’s Weird Day, go right ahead

Any good Rhythm Games this LD?

Posted by
Friday, December 30th, 2016 8:56 am

Hey all.

Being a sucker for rhythm games, I wondered if there were any good entries from that genre.

I found The Library (very good!) and Rhythm Rink

Are there more anyone would recommend?

Need Help Finding Two Specific Games

Posted by
Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 5:05 pm

When brainstorming my LD37 entry, I had scrapped two ideas that I’d felt were beyond my skills design-wise.

So far, I haven’t found any of these actually executed by other people, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody came up with the same idea and made a neat game out of it. Naturally I am very interested in playing someone else’s attempt of what could have been my game.

So, the first game I am looking for is…

A puzzle game with floor plan aesthetics, something like this image. Maybe built around the idea of rearranging furniture.

floor plan

 

The second may be a little weird, so I wouldn’t bet on someone doing exactly this, but maybe someone did something remotely similar:

A Sim/Action game where you play an anthropomorphic house that catches and eats people who are then having a party in its living room.

Any help finding something along these lines would be greatly appreciated.

For anyone interested, this is what I made instead.

Postmortem: Henry Snackleworth’s Weird Day

Posted by
Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 4:21 am

Lessons Learned

For my second Ludum Dare, I wanted to learn from my mistakes of LD35 (post mortem here), and I did:

  • Use a framework that produces fast results (switching from Cocos2D to Game Maker)
  • Don’t worry too much about code architecture
  • Stock up on food before, not during the competition

Preparation

About two weeks before the competition, I started teaching myself the basics of Game Maker and was impressed that my biggest worry, learning the script language in a short amount of time, was completely unfounded. It was really smooth to work with, once I got my head around how variable scope works.

Knowing that I easily get distracted with other people around, I asked my family whether they would visit friends for the weekend. I’m really grateful that my wife supports eccentricities like that, so I had the house to myself. I went grocery shopping the day before and was ready to go.

Starting off

I woke up in the morning to the theme One Room and started brainstorming over breakfast. I had some neat ideas, like a puzzle game with floor plan aesthetics or a game where you play an anthropomorphic house with arms and legs that runs around and eats people and has a party going on in it’s stomach (i.e. room).

Since I usually tend to plan things through to the end, I was sort of hesistant to go with any of these ideas because I had no clear plan what the game would look like and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. More about that later.

So I ended up with a single room boss rush game and a “Mega Man”-esque mechanic of collecting skills from the bosses you beat. I knew this wasn’t very innovative but I really like the genre and thought it was a good idea to get to know Game Maker, as the game uses proven game mechanics that I could look up if I ran into trouble. I had the wild plan to add custom sound effects and voice recording to comment on the player’s actions throughout the game.

After I had run out of time at the end of developing my previous LD game Grokh’s Arena, I decided I would try to finish the programming part on day one so I would have time to polish the assets and do the balancing on day two.

sketches

Day 1

I made good progress on the first day getting player animation and movement in place, including attacking, jumping on platforms and double jumping. I had controller support. I added one of three planned bosses including its AI, but by the end of the day I knew I would be in trouble for the Compo deadline. Two more bosses needed to be done plus all music and sound effects. I still dreamed of adding voice work, so I mentally prepared to skip the Compo and go for the Jam.

Day 2

The second day saw more progress as I added a second monster complete with AI and a hub room from which to select the different boss fights. As that day drew to a close I had to make a decision: Either wrap up what I had so far, scrapping the third boss, or go for the Jam and take that extra day to get closer to my original vision. After handing in a somewhat incomplete game to LD35 I couldn’t bring myself to leave it in its current state. I had to go for the Jam.

Day 3

On the third day I added the third boss but had to realize that even with the time extension, it would be a close call. I gave up on the voice work and the custom sound effects and planned for a quick composition of music towards the end. After I finalized my player graphics, got a proper ending and start screen done and only had to finish music and sound, I realized that I forgot how long my composition process usually takes. After I had everything in place it was tuning time and around 2:00 in the morning, and I was completely beat. I spent an hour fiddling with the numbers to make the game somewhat playable, but it didn’t really come together, so I handed it in and called it a day, knowing that the gameplay was a bit wonky.

hub_sketch

The verdict: The Good

I learned a lot about Game Maker during these three days and now feel right at home with it. I will definitely keep it as my weapon of choice for next time and hope that development will go a little faster when I know what to do and how to crunch down on bugs.

I also feel confident about the amount of content in the final game. Three bosses including custom graphics, animation and AI make me feel pretty good. I am especially proud of the game’s ending, as that came out really nicely.

In retrospect I also feel good about keeping some of the good practices from last time, like getting enough sleep and not going overboard on the sweet snacks.

fridge_sketch

The verdict: The Bad

I’m pretty bummed out that I only made it to the Jam, as I feel that handing in a completed game all by yourself to the Compo is an accomplishment in itself, and I will definitely strive for that goal again next time. When it comes to planning, I need to learn to better contrast my goals with the effort it takes to achieve them. It was a problem last time and it was a problem this time. I know that I’m not good at this and I need to force myself to do better in this area.

When commenting on entries, I generally like to suggest the video The Art of Screenshake where appropriate as it gives good pointers on achieving a more visceral feeling in a game, and I totally missed using some of the basic rules that make action games fun. If I’d had more time and energy left, I would certainly have added more polish of that kind to the game.

Speaking of energy: Tweaking a game is tough. I shouldn’t push that to my last hours when I’m mentally exhausted. But this ties into the whole point of setting realistic goals. I thought it would be ideal to keep at least half a day open for music, sound effects and special effect and still have enough time for several tweaking sessions spread over that time to get a fresh perspective after doing something different in between.

About visuals: I feel that the game looks pretty unspectacular. From reading the comments so far, at least one other person thought the same. Initially I thought it was because I didn’t have time to shade my characters properly, but there are many games around here that look awesome with even more limited palettes. And then it struck me that I am not good at choosing colours. My graphics lack contrast, I have absolutely no interplay of light and dark, no shadows. This is definitely an area I should work on to make my games stand out more.

When it comes to the choice of a topic, I really should have considered doing one of the more innovative game ideas I initially had. I didn’t have the complete game mechanics planned out in my head and being the control freak that I am, that made me uncomfortable. For my next LD I will try to pick a more challenging concept and avoid shovelling in content from the get-go. Try to get that running smoothly and add content bit by bit to have a safe fallback point. I’ll try to challenge myself not to plan too much ahead and rather experiment with one idea until a game emerges, instead of trying to plan a complete game ahead.

Wrapping Up

This postmortem sounds like I am frustrated by my entry, but I’m really not. I tend to be a pessimistic person, but I know that I learned a lot this time. I am comfortable using a new framework, I can now rapid prototype a game, I grew a better mindset as a gamejam dev and I will try to build upon these for the next Ludum Dare.

For now, if you want to give Henry Snackleworth’s Weird Day a spin, please be my guest:

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=83463

Henry Snackleworth just got rid of the annoying hitbox bug

Posted by
Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 4:53 pm

I finally managed to fix some issues in my Jam entry Henry Snackleworth’s Weird Day

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=83463

no more hitbox issues

v1.1 Release Notes:
– fixed a lot of hitbox issues (most players had trouble with those)
– fixed fridge jump path so the player is not hit immediately when it jumps
– extended player range a little
– some HP balancing
– fixed attacks sometimes not being triggered correctly (especially the painting’s acid attack)
– moved cursor away from objects in the bedroom so a level is not immediately triggered after losing a fight

The fixes are most important for the boss shown above, but the other two bosses still benefit from the changes.

Henry Snackleworth’s Weird Day – complete

Posted by
Monday, December 12th, 2016 10:06 pm

Henry Snackleworth’s Weird Day

Phew, it’s been quite a ride. I can’t imagine why I had the idea to get all of this into the compo, I should really learn to set more realistic goals.

At times I wasn’t so sure that I would be able to make it even in the jam but here we are :)

snackleworth

 

Play it here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=83463

Time Lapse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8wgT_gukds

Last post before the deadline

Posted by
Monday, December 12th, 2016 11:30 am

Alright, so the hub works and I have my third boss on AI:

hub and third boss

The game is almost complete.

Some crucial parts are still missing though:
– Music
– Sfx
– Start and Ending Screen
– Some major tuning

I’ll take my remaining 10 hours and try to squeeze as much as I can out of this.

Looking good!

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