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I’m done! Second game ever, finito

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Sunday, July 28th, 2013 3:04 pm

So, after a day and a bit, I’ve finished my second ever Ludum Dare game, game jam game, and game full stop, in one fell swoop.  BotWars is a real time, tactical local multiplayer tank battler where you hopelessly try and control four tanks at once, while fighting over the space key with your friend.  It was also my first time working in 3D, using Unity, and I must say, is it one sexy piece of kit.  My game works on Win/Linux/Apple, with absolutely not extra effort required from me.  Rather stellar, really.

botWars-2013-07-28-21-31-30-75

So, what have I learnt?

Smaller is better.  Really.  I know I said so last time, but it really came in use this time around, working with software I wasn’t used to and with not as much time as I’d have liked.  Power-ups were cut, AI got cut, and I didn’t even try to make network multiplayer.  Am I disappointed?  A little.  Some semblance of AI, even if all it did was randomly wander through the map, would have been good, but hey, baby steps.

Polish is good.  And I don’t do any.  I really don’t.  After a day and a bit of coding, I was so damn knackered, I just wanted to publish and go home.  So take breaks, and figure out some time to do stuff like improve your sound and graphics.  Oh, and put in an actual end condition.  I don’ think I did :(

Take liberties with the theme.  I was never, ever going to finish an actual RTS in 2 or so days.  So I made an RTS-lite, and  you know what?  I think I probably learnt more.  This is the whole point of game jams!  Proper RTSes are silly anyways.

Play to your strengths.  I’m a terrible coder, a terrible artist, and a rather good writer.  So why aren’t I including any damn writing?  I really need to start thinking ahead, and use what I’m good at, even if it doesn’t feel like a conventional way to approach games.

 

So that’s it!  7DRTS, done.  I’ll see you for the next LD, or possibly for 7DFPS.

 

 

I’m back! Second entry :)

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Friday, April 19th, 2013 4:11 pm

So, last LD, I built my first game ever – The Fix – and it was terribad.  I’m still rather proud of it, but this time around, I want to do better.

I used PyGame last time around, but this time I want a little more flexibility, and possibly some 3D, so I’ll be using Unity!  I’m excited.  Best of luck to everybody!

I’ll also be streaming on Twitch.TV

My Tips: What I learnt from The Fix

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Monday, December 17th, 2012 3:23 pm

So, I’m done and dusted – first LD is completed, and I’ve built my first game in the process.  I’m immensely proud, but also a little sad – I made some real rookie mistakes, and I think I could have produced a far, far more polished game with ten or so more hours and a little more motivation.  So instead of the traditional post-mortem, here are what I’d tell my pre-LD me, if I had the good fortune to send him an inter-dimensional time-travelling message.

1. Learn your weak areas, and focus on them

I did this mostly right – prior to LD, I read a few tutorials on creating good programmer art, and those were invaluable.  Sadly, I didn’t also realise that I didn’t know the first thing about making music, so had to figure it out as I went along.  I lost a fair few hours figuring out whether I wanted to use SunVox or not.

2.  Define your mood early, and stick to it

I knew pretty early on what I wanted from The Fix – the feel of 1940s New York underground boxing, with black and white pictures, quiet piano music, and a small crowd.  What I hadn’t really figured is that I really don’t have  the skill for that.  I can’t draw boxers for crap, let alone make good piano music.   Had I taken that into account, and gone for a more cutesy aesthetic, I would probably have ended up with a far more coherent game with fewer stick figures.

3. Think of which features you’re willing to lose

Early on, think about what’s core to your game, and what’s superfluous faffing around.  Think about what you can lose, and what you need to implement – and get that done early.  My game would have been massively improved with a rudimentary betting system, but I was just so out of motivation 2 days in that I didn’t get it done.  That’s a huge shame, in hindsight.

4. 48 hours is actually  damn long time

I assumed, like most people do, that I might fail LD because due to running out of time.  I was nowhere near that happening – 48 hours is a huge amount of time for a basic game.  What’s far more likely to kill you is burning out and running out of motivation.   So take some time off: go outside and enjoy life.  I spent all of Sunday morning outside with my girlfriend, and had a really, really productive afternoon.

 

I think that’s all for now.  If you’re reading this and considering jumping into LD, then the most important tip of all is this – don’t worry too much.  Enjoy yourself, build something that works, and finish it off.  There are plenty more jams in the future.  I’ll definitely be back for another :)

I’m Done!

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 2:50 pm

It’s done!  First LD – finito!  The Fix has been submitted, and it’s actually not quite as bad as it could have.  I’ve built my first actual game from the ground up (not counting my warmup game) and I’ve actually managed to implement most of the features I’d initially wanted, with a few exceptions.  Oh, and of course, achievement unlocked! goat

 

PERFECTION

PERFECTION

My coding skills are actually rather good – but dang, I suck at art.  Anyways, best of luck to everybody still competing.  I’ll write up a full post-mortem tomorrow.

The Fix is Playable!

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 10:58 am
The Fix

The Fix

After many bugs, crashes, struggles and failure, I’ve finally got a playable version of The Fix up and running!

Download it here

It’s still far from perfect – I want to actually add some of those sound thingies, like music and effects – but it’s playable, and has a title screen and finish condition, and it looks like I’ll be done for the end of the day.  Any feedback is appreciated!

I’ve also got a proceduraly generated title screen, which I think is rather slick.  Now, I’m going to record some music!

 

End of Day 1 – Report

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 11:25 am
THE GRAFIX!!

THE GRAFIX!!

Well, it’s the end of day 1, give or take – I’m off for drinks, so I’ll be doing very little until tomorrow morning.  I’m not hugely pleased with how today has gone – I don’t actually have anything playable, as of yet – but the epic, game breaking bugs I was running into earlier have now been mostly fixed, so at least that’s something.

Pygame can be really infuriating at times, crashing with no explanation or log, but I’m getting there.  I’m probably going to have to cut far, far more than anticipated – I was hoping to have a shop with purchasable upgrades, as well as currency, but that probably won’t be happening.  I’m really not sure how much I can improve the graphics either.

Anyway, I’m off.  More updates tomorrow!  And hopefully, a game!

We have progress!

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 3:38 am

I started work an hour and half ago, and I’m rather proud to present my first WIP screenshot for my upcoming production, The Fix

AMAZING

AMAZING

If this doesn’t win, there there is something seriously wrong with the world.  Really using that nVidia card right there.

Lessons from the Warmup

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 3:38 pm

So, I’ve gone and produced my warm-up game.    It’s called Driver Hunter, and it’s laughably abysmal, but I figured it’d be worth doing just to see if I could actually produce a working executable.  Don’t trust  that fancy tool you’ve been told does the trick, because it doesn’t.  Distributing pygame is like fighting an angry dwarf.  In my case, it turns out pygame doesn’t like my system font.  Don’t ask why.  So my game now uses Arial, because I’m hip like that.  If  Pygame2exe isn’t working, maybe it’s worth trying for you too.

So yes, lesson 1) check you can actually publish your damn game.  Do you want to release to mac?  To Linux?  To Windows?  Try it, and make sure it bloody works.

Lesson 2?  Sound.  I’ve never done any of my own sound before, but seeing I’m trying to enter the compo, looks like I’m going to have to!   I discovered automata thanks to this post, and it worked flawlessly, producing something that was at least barely passable as game music.

Other than that?  I’m good to go!  Timetable is cleared, tools are ready, fridge is stocked with diet coke.  I’ll be producing a timelapse if I can :)

My first LD

Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
Sunday, December 9th, 2012 2:50 pm

So, I’ll be trying my utterly incapable hand at LD this time around.  I’ve a beginner coder, with pretty damn limited game making experience, so it’s going to be something of a trial by fire.  The kind where you crash and burn into a big fiery failure.  Still, I’m hoping to produce something vaguely playable, and maybe even fun!  Who knows.  You’ve got to start somewhere, and I figure the LD framework will force me to at least finish something. Or I can just end up crying in my bed, who knows.

 

So, the obligatory introduction post!

Language: Python

Library: Pygame

IDE: SublimeText2

Graphics: Inkscape/Photoshop

Sounds: SFXR

Oh, and of course…my battlestation!

The Battlestation!

Yes, I have a cactus, and it is dying.

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