About ChronusZ (twitter: @ChronusZ)


Ludum Dare 35
Ludum Dare 32
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Ludum Dare 30
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Ludum Dare 27

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In for the Sixth (Seventh?) Time

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Sunday, April 10th, 2016 9:15 pm

Hello people/other-semi-intelligent-lifeforms!

It’s been quite a while since I participated in Ludum Dare! According to the website, I’ve participated five times, but actually I should have participated six times. Last August some friends and I worked as a team for the first time and spent 2.5 days making a game before I realized we weren’t going to finish. So that was fun. Not really. I skipped last jam as well because it ran during the weekend before finals, but now I’m finally free again! I’ll be working alone again this time and entering the compo.

Code: Unity – Wasn’t sure about this one. Usually I program my games in Java, but this time I think I want to focus more on the aesthetics so I’ll be using Unity to save time. C# for scripting.
Audio: FL Studio, Audacity, SFXR
Graphics: GIMP, Blender
Accessories: Pinot noir, cherry Bawls, instant curry

A Punker’s Tale – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Monday, April 20th, 2015 11:27 am

And so I wake up, once again alive after the manic craze that was Ludum Dare 32. This was my fifth competition, and also probably the most mentally taxing one. I hadn’t decided to enter until the very last minute, so I was not prepared at all. I spent most of the first day in a confused daze :p

Screenshot 2015-04-19 18.41.40

The idea for A Punker’s Tale came together as I was writing it. After a (too) long consideration, I decided that I wanted some sort of talking weapon. I then arbitrarily decided to draw the player, who then ended up looking somewhat punkish with her short hair. Only after that did I even decided to go with a talking guitar for the weapon :p

By far, my main issue this competition was time management (as it always is…). I’m quite pleased with the artwork and music, and the writing is pretty good too. I spent so much time on those pieces, though, that I totally neglected mechanics! It really hit me in the gut when I realized that I had four hours remaining and I had just finished the intro! I then quickly flew into hypermode and managed to salvage a conclusion, albeit a very sudden and somewhat jarring one.

Altogether, though, I think I made a fairly good “game”. I’ll now bid farewell with a beautiful picture of an anthropomorphic piano.


In a Strictly Formal Analogue, Kindly Allow me to Inaugurate myself

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 9:05 pm

In a strictly informal sense, I’m participating 😛

As a forth-timer, I feel that I can safely call myself one of the elite now, right? Right? Oh, I shouldn’t? Okay…

As always, I’ll be using Java and LWJGL, ostensibly because of the cross-platform support but really because I can’t work with anything else.

In past jams I’ve used 3D 2/3rds of the time, but this time I’ll be going 2D because 3D and pregnancy don’t mix. Or something like that.

GIMP for graphics, because it’s basically Photoshop for when you can’t afford Photoshop.

Sounds? Uh, microphone/sfxr/FL Studio/Audacity/whatever-else-may-have-slipped-through-the-gaps-in-tiny-brain. Thank you spellcheck for telling me that “whatever-else-may-have-slipped-through-the-gaps-in-tiny-brain” isn’t a word. I definitely was not aware.

Uh, for Skype I’ll be using Skype. Wait, that makes no sense.

I’ll be streaming? Twitch? It’ll probably be more interesting than sitting and staring at a wall. Probably.

Yeah, I’m great at writing these.

Anyway, have fun you rascally kids. Or rascally adults. I don’t judge.


Murder Between Worlds – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 1:01 pm

This was my second-third time entering Ludum Dare, and boy was it intense this time.

By second-third time, I mean this is actually my fourth time entering. Last time I didn’t finish, though, because I couldn’t get up the drive to work on a game for a theme like “Beneath the Surface”. It was mostly my own fault, since I got super pumped for the theme “Break the Rules”, which I thought was gonna win. Oh well. Regardless, this time around, I decided to make a murder mystery detective game inspired by the visual novel Danganronpa, which I’ve been playing a lot lately. I’d highly recommend playing it, it’s great. Back on topic, I decided to use a fairly generic interpretation of the theme this time, where you can press tab to switch between two worlds that are very similar on a general scale, but almost everything is the opposite of its otherworld counterpart. For those who don’t know, I tend to use very… unique interpretations of the themes, which usually backfires and makes people think it isn’t related to the theme at all (admittedly, my second game had almost nothing to do with the theme whatsoever. I realized that belatedly mid-development). I tried to avoid that this time.

Now, this was originally supposed to be a compo entry, but I ran out of time, so I ended up having to shift it to a jam entry. I actually only spent about 20-30% of the time working on the mechanics, which was weird for me, as I usually am very mechanics-based. Most of the time was spent Dark Fire Knightworking on the mountain of artwork that I set for myself when I decided to go with an anime-inspired drawing style. I’m a pretty slow artist, so the art alone probably took nearly a full 20 hours. Writing took quite a bit of time as well, since I tried to make the dialogues all very interesting and give everyone unique personalities (I even made all of the exposition from the PoV of the main character, which took quite a concentrated effort). Overall, I think the writing is probably where this game shines most, followed by the art. Awkwardly, the evidence leading to the solution was probably not that great, which is sort of important for a detective game.

A quick word on that. I made a decision from the start that I didn’t want this to be  a regular detective point-and-click adventure, where you have to collect all of the evidence to progress towards finding the culprit. I wanted to make this more of a player-centric experience. Therefore, I decided to make it so that the player can arrest anyone at any time, without even finding a single piece of evidence. Additionally, the game never tells you if you were right or not. Although it may be a bit of a strange path to tread, I thought it was better this way. This is a game about looking at evidence and trying to reconstruct what happened in your mind to figure out who was the most likely culprit. None of the evidence is concrete, and only through a combination of multiple pieces of evidence combined with your own intuition can you figure out the who the murderer was. I think that this concept would’ve been a lot better if I had more time to work on making good evidence, though. As it stands, the evidence may come across as either much too vague, much to clear, or much too misleading.

javaw 2014-08-26 11-58-34-61At the same time, though, I’m quite proud with how this all turned out. The mystery itself is quite clever, in my own opinion, and if I had spent a little more time thinking about how to present the evidence, I’m sure things would’ve been great. I actually asked a few friends what they thought happened after finishing, though, and one of them got it exactly right, so it’s probably not that bad. The art, despite taking so long, is something I impressed myself with, the music is interesting, the writing is funny, and the mechanics seem mostly solid (I did forget to add a crosshair, and one of the pieces of evidence (shown to the right) is impossible to click on. Pretty minor mistakes, though).

All in all, this was probably the most complete game I’ve ever made for Ludum Dare, and also probably the best. Also probably the one that I slept the least for. And skipped a day of work for. Nevermind that, though.

Although this exact concept isn’t something I’d particularly like to pursue completion of a full game of, I think at some point a would like to make a game with a similar feel and art style. A mystery game where you can select whoever you think the murderer was and which evidence you think helps your claim, but if you perpetually arrest the wrong person or present the wrong evidence/are missing evidence, you’ll lose face. That sounds like something I’d be willing to do. I don’t know whether I’d keep the two worlds mechanic. I feel like it adds something, but at the same time it just creates needless complexity. Who knows?

Regardless, as always, I had fun, and look forward to the next one! Now to go back to sleep…


I’m in too!

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 6:40 pm

Hey! Don’t count me out just yet!

Simple run-through:

Third time.

Using Java and LWJGL.

Blender for modeling.

GIMP for imaging.

FL Studio and Audacity for musicking.

OBS for streaming. (www.twitch.tv/chronusz)

Windows Media Player for playing music with a bad UI.

Crappy, unfinished base code: https://www.dropbox.com/s/acs8h3mdagyms2n/Base%20Code.zip


I’ll be livestreaming all of my work, so be there or be quadrangular! Happy Ludum…ing…

Proper Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Monday, December 16th, 2013 7:00 pm

Nelios is amazing. He made a distributable copy of my game where I could not. So, I will now make a proper Post Mortem, with less hatred.

ONE is an ambient horror 3D first person puzzle game. In ONE, you traverse a maze of greyscale hallways and corridors that defy the laws of common geometry and space to find an escape.


I actually had the idea for a game like this a very long time ago, when I was DM’ing a campaign for D&D 3.5 among some of my friends. I wanted to come up with an interesting dungeon layout, instead of simply piling on monsters to keep the flow going. So I drew up a map of a network of disconnected halls with little arrows pointing between them to show the teleportation (Why the heck is that word underlined in red?) between them. I added a few monsters, too, just to add a bit of pacing to the explorations. It went down pretty well, and everyone enjoyed it, so I began writing up some plans to make a game out of the concept. I decided to make it an ambient horror game to add to the whole eeriness of the idea, and because I hate jump scares. I decided to make it black & white because I think colour detracts from terror. People take comfort in colour (at least I do). I figured extremely heavy fog into the idea as well, due to the fact that you’re being teleported (really, now. Teleport is a word…) around and I didn’t want the transitions to be noticeable. I decided to strike combat from the idea as well, because people strangely tend to take comfort in combat, too.

And then, I forgot about it.

After planning all of this out, I neglected to ever program it, and it slipped into the massive list of unfinished ideas. So then, when I got this theme, I was disappointed. Honestly, I was gunning (pun intended) for duel, as I was planning on making a western shoot-out game with Matrix-style slow motion. I didn’t want to make the generic you-only-get-one-bullet or, god forbid the unoriginality, you-only-get-one-life, so I began thinking about the theme from wacky points of view. After a few minutes, I realized that One could be a name of the game, as in “you only get this game”. So then I immediately set out to come up with an acronym for it. This changed back and forth quite a bit over the 48 hours, but in the end, I settled on Obscured Nonphysical Expanse, which I’m pretty happy with.

You can play ONE here. Web support is coming soon…

Post Mortem (A.K.A. I Hate Java)

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 9:46 pm

My game, Obscured Nonphysical Expanse, was a complete success in every way I would’ve thought possible. It’s a 3D ambient-horror puzzle game where you need to find your way out of a network of hallways that defy basic geometry, made in LWJGL and Java. I would’ve liked to have made the map a little bit bigger, but I’m still fairly proud of how much I got done.

Now, on to how everything died.

I finished the game about ten minutes before the competition ended, and then realized I had no idea how to pack my code and assets into a runnable game. Worked that out *relatively* quick, packed it into a .jar. At this point I had pretty much given up on web support until I had more time to port the game, tomorrow. So, I now had a lovely little .jar, spliced together using jarsplice and contained in a single file. Except it didn’t run, because the format doesn’t pack the resource files (images, sounds, models) in. So I spent a solid two hours trying to shift things around in my code and on my drive to make things work properly.



So, I’ve now given up. I posted the source code on my game page, but I can think of literally no other way in which this might work. I’m tired, sore, angry, and slightly hallucinating from over-exposure to the colour white, so I bit you all adieu and am now going to go eat curry and pass out. Maybe I’ll just ditch the whole effort of making this work for LD and turn it into a full game so that I can procrastinate learning how to pack files even longer and get even more frustrated when I can’t distribute my game…

Streaming Now!

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 1:03 pm

Hey, y’all! I’m now livestreaming for the next 5-some-odd hours over at http://www.twitch.tv/chronusz! I’m going to be making a horror-esque puzzle game where the main premise is that spacial physics does not hold up (ie. you might wall through a hallway and find that you are where you just were, facing a different direction). Feel free to come check me out if you so desire.

Entering and Very Basic Plan

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Friday, December 13th, 2013 11:33 pm

Hey! Wait for meeeeeeeee!
I forgot the compo started today 😛

Well, this one was quite the decision-maker. I’m a second-timer, and I wanted to do something 3D this time without copping out and using Unity. I was thinking about just using my old standby, XNA, but I also very much wanted web support. So, after long debate (Much longer than it should have been), I taught myself some basic 3D in LWJGL over the past few days and am using that.

Also, using (as stated) Java for programming and LWJGL for rendering, Blender for 3D modeling, GIMP for texturing, FL Studio for synthesizing, Audacity for recording, and Eclipse for IDE . . . -ing.

I will be livestreaming the development for most of tomorrow, over at my channel (ignore the render of a penis with a face, I can’t be bothered to change it :P).

I’m going to be making a horror-esque first person puzzle game where you are stuck in a corridor that defies the laws of basic geometry and perception. I decided to take the theme as an acronym; ONE stands for “Obscured Nonmodal Expanse”.

I need some sleep first, though. I wanted to get the basic code/engine done without having to be on Stream and reveal to people how bad I am at it 😀 Staying up late is not my forté.

Anyway, I hope you all have fun, and perhaps do something you’re proud of!

Late Post Mortem — TGWSDI10S

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 5:52 pm

I’ve finally decided to collect my thoughts about the game I made for the Ludum Dare 27 Compo: This Game Will Self Destruct in 10 Seconds.

The day before the competition started, I was incredibly ill and pretty much certain I wouldn’t be able to do anything. When I woke up the morning of, I was still sick, but I decided to participate anyways. So for the next eight hours I sat on my couch with my trusty laptop and learned the syntax of ActionScript3, how to use Flixel, the and basics of music theory and foley sound effect making, none of which I had any experience with before. By the end of those eight hours, I was feeling pretty good, and had learned basically as much as I needed to know.

When the competition first was about to start and I saw the theme candidates, I was desperately hoping for “Death is Useful”. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but it sounded like something I could get behind and make some puzzle game with a neat mechanic, or maybe an action game with special techniques. I most certainly did NOT want “10 seconds” to win.

And then it did. And I was sad, because I thought I was going to have to do some lame minigame style game that would bring nothing new to the table. But within about a half-hour, I had the trolly and brilliant idea that spawned TGWSDI10S. I was playing Skyrim to try to spawn creative thoughts (The best way to spawn creative thoughts), when the game crashed. This wasn’t exactly unexpected, and I’m used to it by now because I have about 70 mods installed that don’t mesh perfectly with eachother. But it got my thinking: “What if a game actually INTENTIONALLY crashed?” And so spawned the idea. I would make a game that crashes after 10 seconds.

Now, originally, I was just going to make it a completely generic game that you can’t beat because it crashes after 10 seconds. It was just going to be a joke game to troll people. But I quickly scratched that idea as not great, and decided that I would make the game save your progress every time it crashed, so that you could continue the story if you hit refresh.

So I started work on making the platforming engine, and very early on decided to make you be able to move super fast. At first this was just to make debugging the map easier, but it felt very much right to be able to move that fast in a game that ends so fast. So from there came the major design choice that every aspect of the game was based on: This game needs to be fast. When I got the combat working, I made it insanely fast. I added a very slight delay to the damage so that the timing is just awkward enough to make the game very difficult without making it impossible to time. I then made it so that once you punch, you can’t punch again for 1.5 seconds. I feel that this makes the combat very stressful because if you miss, you’re basically screwed. So button-mashing is about as effective as trying to kill your enemies Mario-style. Next I worked on the enemy AI and made the enemies follow a simple but very fast-paced movement pattern. Basically, they run towards you, attempt to punch you, and if they miss, run away until the can punch you again, at which point they run back towards you. From the very first time I succeeded in killing an enemy, I felt giddy with excitement and couldn’t stop giggling at how great the combat felt.

From there I implemented the saving, the timer, and some other minor mechanics to flesh out the gameplay before I delved into level design. I added some small tutorial texts and followed the course of my dominant design choice by making the text stunted and feel like it’s supposed to be read really quickly, like in FEZ. I carefully looked over every piece of text I added and removed every unnecessary syllable.

I finally got to level design at the very end of the first day. I was planning on making it a very short game that ended in the generic “Your princess is in another castle!”, but I decided to keep adding levels until I ran out of ideas to make them feel variated enough from eachother. I ended with three, and decided to change the ending to slightly less used used satirical joke (Play to find out what it is 😉 ). I made every level just in text form editing the tile array directly and then testing it out in game, and it worked well enough. I got the levels done fairly quickly.

I went to sleep after finishing the levels and woke up with the idea to add the ray-traced shadows. The fact that you could see the enemies through walls ruined the suspense a bit. After fighting the evil forces of frame-rate drops for a few hours, I ended up with a result that worked, but was a bit ugly and I wasn’t entirely happy with.

After doing that, I realized belatedly that I had no sounds or music whatsoever, and the competition was going to end in less than 4 hours. I hurriedly put together some foley sound effects and then jumped into FL Studio to try to make an 8 bit theme that felt fast-paced.

That failed miserably.

I wasted an hour and a half trying to make the 8 bit theme sound good before I switched off to working with a drum loop and within half an hour it sounded pretty dang good, in my egotistical opinion. I added the beam last based on a dream I had whilst sleeping the night previous, and got that as well as the church organ piece (Just major 3rds and a Dracula-esque down-step) in about twenty minutes. Last thing I needed to was set up the HTML page and embed the flash element within. Two problems were realized at this stage when I had only 45 or so minutes ’till deadline: I completely forgot how HTML works, and I had no website to host it on.

The first problem was quickly solved through the might of Google, and I made a simple HTML page that embedded the .swf in record time. The second problem was a bit more of a challenge, but I called up a friend and he was nice enough to give me access to his ftp server for his website (It’s a fantastic website, check it out: jimmymack.org/world.html), and I solved issue number two in time to meet the deadline. Looking up at the clock I realized that I had made the deadline with less than 5 minutes left.

And so, after the stress that had enveloped me for the past two days, I did the only thing a man can do when faced with so much relief.

No, you pervert, not that.

I ate a bunch of fudgesicles. Seven of them, to be precise.

And that’s the story of This Game Will Self Destruct in 10 Seconds. Big thanks to Skyrim for the idea and Jimmy for allowing my game to be uploaded to his site. I’m gonna go take a shower.

Coding Conventions

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 11:17 am


I am seriously immature for laughing at this as hard as I did when I noticed it. Not that this is even the height of my immaturity.

Day 1

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 9:52 am


Here’s a screenshot of the basics of the basics done with my game. Just got combat working and it makes me giggle like a schoolboy how insane it is.

Here are some answers to your burning questions:
Why are they naked? They aren’t, they’re wearing beige clothing with belly buttons painted on.
Why is there blood? Because gore makes everything more fun.
Is there parallax? Of course there is, all good games have parallax.
Why does the world end if you go left? Is that not a thing where you live? Going left where I live always drops you off a cliff.
What does this have to do with “ten seconds”? That will remain a secret until I die. Or release the game, whichever comes first. But it is relevant to the theme.
Why is the colour scheme on the mountains only two-toned? Stop asking so many questions.

Ludum Dare 27 :: Why Not?

Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 3:29 pm

I’m terribly ill right now, but I’ll try to make a game anyways. This will be my first Ludum Dare (attempt). I also just learned the syntax for ActionScript a few hours ago and have never made a flash game before, so this should go smoothly.

Language: ActionScript3
IDE: FlashDevelop
Library: Flixel
Sound Effects: I don’t know, I may just do foley sounds.
Music: Probably FL Studio
Art: GIMP and/or MyPaint

This can only go swell.

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