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My Favorite LD37 Games

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Monday, January 2nd, 2017 12:45 pm

favoriteLD

With the final hours of LD37 coming to a close (10 hours left while I was writing this) I figured I’d recap some of my favorite games. This list is in no way a full look at all the awesome Ludum Dare games. Somewhere around 1,500 games were created but I only managed to play around 50. So in no particular order here are my favorite games of Ludum Dare 37.


 

Room-Fate

Room-Fate title screen

This game is simply beautiful. Room-Fate is an adventure game where you get a glimpse inside the life of an individual living in a small room. The game uses clever focus to lead you through the many ups and downs of this person’s life while letting you interpret what has really happened. I love the ascetic and atmosphere this game creates. I’m not entirely sure why but I felt this game was very emotional without saying a lot.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=8002.


 

Death Room

Death Room title scree

Death room is a game where you control a tire and run over alien bugs. The art in this game is very polished and crisp. What I liked most about it was the feeling of controlling the wheel. It has weight and an unstableness about it that makes the controls feel very solid.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=26722.


 

0.25

0.25 gameplay preview

0.25 is a very weird title that matches the game perfectly. This game is a surreal first person puzzle game in which the room you start in expands and grows as you play. There seemed to be a lot of thought put into the puzzles and ideas in the game. The art style is a blend of spacey colors that almost give you a since of vertigo in some situations. This is one game I highly recommend playing.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=120292.


 

Starlight

Starlight gameplay preview

Starlight has you waking up in a mysterious spaceship that seems to be broken down. The ship seems to have a feeling of abandonment as you boot up the old computer. Starlight is a first person adventure game where you search the environment to solve puzzles and uncover what has happened. It tells a nice story with a great twist at the end.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=15315.


 

Dungeon Slimes

Dungeon Slimes title screen

I recommend this game solely on the fun and witty story. Dungeon Slimes is a basic hack-n-slash but is filled with great writing. You’ll want to play this game to the end just to see all the great story bits hidden inside.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=124059.


 

Cozy Christmas Village

Cozy Chirstmas Village game play preview

This could very well be my favorite game of the Ludum Dare. It’s so Zen and addicting that I ended up playing it for at least an hour. Cozy Christmas Village is a city building game where you use toy pieces on a table top to build your village. Seeing your wonderful pixel village become populated with tiny figures is super fun. I highly recommend this game.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=45848.


 

Fish

Fish game play preview

Fish is probably the most innovative puzzle game I saw in this jam. You swipe fish that interact in different ways to lead your character out of the water. I enjoy the simple mechanics of this and would love to see a full mobile release of it.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=96180.


 

Rent for 30 seconds

Rent for 30 seconds title screen

Rent for 30 seconds is a flat building game where you play as the land lord of a small little rest area. You need to balance the fun, food, and comfort of your guests to keep the business going. This is a fun little game that reminds me of a quick version of Prison Architect.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=111242.


 

Smallest Dungeon

Smallest Dungeon title screen

The Smallest Dungeon has the best sound track I’ve heard this jam. You control the powers of 4 characters as they fight in a dungeon. It has a fun upgrade system. While the game play isn’t the strongest this game is worth a play for the music alone.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=15559.


 

Me, Myself And The Room

Me, Myself And The Room title screen

Me, Myself And The Room merges the movement of Myst and the writing of Stanley Parable in a wonderful experience. As you navigate the lo-fi film grain room the narrator tells you about their life and meaning of the room. There are many funny moments and 4th wall breaking interactions that give this game so much personality. I would fully enjoy a complete game is this style.

You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=24959.


 

While those were my favorite entries I’ve played this jam there were a lot that I still enjoyed. Here are a few honorable mentions from this Ludum Dare.

Ludum Dare 37 produced some great games. And if you have the time you should check out my entry. You can play it at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=23711 and read the postmortem I wrote at CodyClaborn.me.

The Chore: A Messy Postmortem About Cleaning

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 3:26 pm

The Chore Title Screen

The Chore is a sequence puzzle game about cleaning a room with a dark twist. This was my 4th Ludum Dare but my first time joining the Jam instead of the Compo. I, @Cxsquared, was lucky enough to have my good friend @Moussetticus handling all the art and some of the design with me. I covered all the programming and audio for the game. Together we are pretty happy with how our game turned out. Feel free to play our game over here and if you are interested in the process feel free to read on.


 

Things Used:


 

The TLDR

What Went Right:

  • Using a JSON actor system instead of a hard coded system allowed me to quickly implement final art and tweaks in a little over an hour.
  • I was really happy with how the sound effects turned out.
  • Adding a small bit of story seemed to make our game more interesting/replayable even though the game isn’t that interesting.
  • The initial idea, even though it was content heavy, was more or less fully realized.

What Went Wrong:

  • Couldn’t get animations to render and export correctly from Maya.
  • Forgot about a timer feature (we should really write things down more.)
  • Didn’t  plan the time out well enough to model 100% of what we wanted.
  • Didn’t include enough visual feedback for the actions in game.
  • Lack of understanding of the game idea between us. Took till the second day for us to fully agree on the direction and game play.

 

The Full Version:

Day 1

So coming into this jam there was one thing I didn’t want to happen, and like all good moments in life, that exact thing happened. I really really really didn’t theme “One Room”. This was mostly because I hadn’t enjoyed the previous Ludum Dares that included number restrictions in the theme. But alas, that’s the theme that happened and we were prepared to roll with it.

Once the theme was announced we began brainstorming. The first thing that popped into our minds was using a chat room for the game. We messed around with the idea of making a multiplayer “hacking” game, a platformer with text, or a social espionage game. The idea’s where decent but we were running into to many design issues. We needed to expand our ideas. This led to us thinking of games that reminded us of the “One Room” theme. Our minds went to old flash games we liked. Which after 3 hours of brainstorming led us to our final idea of a growth/sequence puzzle game. This was inspired by the GROW games on Eyemaze.com. The only downfall to this idea was that it’s very content heavy but since we had a dedicated artist we decided to go head on with this concept.

After the next hour we had a solid idea of what the game flow was going to be. Well mostly. We had jotted down a messy flowchart of interactions for our cleaning mechanic. The next step was getting some temp art so we could get a solid game prototype done as fast as possible. Frank pumped out rough sketches of all the objects needed. And I got a start on the basic mechanics of the game. By this point is was pretty late and having a solid base we decided to call it a night.

The gameplay flow chart for the chore.

Day 2

The second day was mostly just work, work, work. This day was broad strokes of getting the base of the game created. When we decided the only input in the game was going to be the mouse it made my job as a programmer a lot easier. I had previously created an “actor component” system for some previous work and I knew this would be the perfect starting point. The main thing to this system is using JSON to create actors instead of hard coding them. On top of these actors I create components that I try to make a general as possible to allow for interactions with these actors. So I created a striped down version of this idea and by nightfall I had the actors with simple interaction into the game. The main portion of my time was spent placing all the individual actors in the correct location.I found out that the game framework I was using, HaxeFlixel, actually allowed me to move actors around and this is what I used to get locations for actors. I blame the fact I was having allergic fits due to being around cats for not just using the reference image to find the correct locations. For the more back-end stuff such as text management and global states I used singletons. This was a functional but somewhat haphazardly approach to this. I’m sure there is a better way for all this but it was quicker for me to do what I already knew. By the end of the night I had all the temp art in with a few working aspects already done.

Day 3

The start of the third day was spent getting the game fully playable. Thanks to my “actor component” system adding in functionality was quite simple. All of the simple items could be controlled with just one class which played certain animations when clicked. For anything more complicated I just had to extend that class and use the functions I had set up to add more functionality. I’m really happy with how simple and quick these concepts worked. By dinner time I had a fully playable prototype with the temp art. Things were shaping up nicely.

At this time I need a bit of a break from coding. I took the a break from the code and worked on the music. Our game is about cleaning… which is pretty boring. To compliment this I wanted to create a track that was peaceful and smooth. I decided on a jazzy feeling track. I laid down some jazzy piano chords, created a basic drum track with a jazz brushes kit, and then soloed over it with a brassy lead. It’s a really basic track but I think blends well with the visuals and game play feel.

The Chore Concept

Now with all of that done I wanted to start working on some polish for the game. These little things will hopefully make our game stand out a bit. I didn’t want the game to just be game play because truthfully the game play isn’t that engaging. To fix this I wanted to add a small story. This is as simple as adding a few lines of text and slapping on a vague quote at the end. The quote at the end is what I think really nails home the feeling of the game. While I did choose it based on some rough theme I mainly wanted a vague quote where the player could impart their own ideas about what the game is really about. The game is clearly about one subject but the outcome and take away from that subject can vary based on a few different endings in our game. The craziest thing to me was that people found the different endings without me even telling them there were any. I think this little bit of text makes the game 100% more interesting.

Creating the text system was fun for me. I used another singleton pattern class to control everything. The fun part for me was implementing a queue for multiple lines. Creating the text fade in and out with tweens gives it a sense of polish and attention with very little work. It’s these little things that I hope give our game a little something more than just a 48 hour game about clicking.

Day 4

Having the extra 24 hours in the jam is so nice. I’m used to the 48 hours in compo that I was willing to stretch the scope of our game just a bit. The last day was full of last minute additions and polish. My main task on the last day was getting all the sound effects recorded, edited, and implemented. I first took on the task in implementing sound because if I couldn’t get that done in time it was pointless to record the sounds. Luckily HaxeFlixel makes this super easy. Once that was done I then ran around my house with a microphone recording all the things I needed. The weirdest of which involved me taking out my trash with a microphone in my mouth. Overall I’m super happy with how all the sounds turned out.

General item list for the chore.

In the last two hours the final art was finally textured and finished. I rushed to add in all the final art work. At this point I had discovered the brilliant idea of just using the reference material to place the actors in the game. This made adding the art fairly painless. In the end we even had time to make a fun little title screen with art which just point a cherry on the top of our game. Overall we are really happy with what we’ve created and we hope you like it.

If you have any questions about the programming, music, or art make sure to leave a comment and we’ll do our best to respond. If you haven’t already head over to our LD page to play the game.

Screen shot of the main screen of the chore.

Here for Another One

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Friday, December 9th, 2016 3:42 pm

I’m in! This will be my 4th Ludum Dare but the first time in the jam. I’m excited to be working with some one else instead of solo.

 

I’ll be using:

  • Haxeflixel
  • Ableton Live

 

Not sure what will be used on the art side of things yet. I’m super excited and can’t wait to see some awesome games.

Favorite Games Round 2!

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 8:34 pm

After playing 200 games so far so many of them have been awesome or interesting in some way. You can see my first favorite list here In no particular order, here is a list of some of my favorite…

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If you have anymore I should check out feel free to leave a comment.

 

Thanks,

@Cxsquared

 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Monday, December 22nd, 2014 3:02 pm

Down The Rabbit Hole

This was my first Ludum Dare (though not my first game jam) so I thought I do a little post-mortem about my experience. First off Ludum Dare is now my favorite game jam I’ve been in and I can’t wait to do another one. The community is the best game developer community I’ve ever seen. Now to the post-mortem thing. My main goal was to just finish a game. The game didn’t have to be fancy, I wasn’t trying to make some ground breaking new game mechanic, and the game didn’t have to be crazy good. I did however want to try and create a fairly complete and semi-polished game, and I think I did a decent job at that.


 

What I used…

  • For programming I used Haxe and HaxeFlixel.
  • For music I used Logic Pro.
  • For sound effects I used SFXR and more specifically the SFXR library for HaXe.
  • For the art and levels I used PyxelEdit.

What went right…

  • Music
    Music and audio was my passion long before programming was so I did want to try and make a cohesive audio (music/sfx) experience. I was very proud of how well the music set the tone for my game. I do wish I had a little more time to mix the music but not having time is kinda the norm for a game jam. The sound effects where made using SFXR and were actually generated with code instead of being prerecorded sounds. Using the SFXR library for haxe actually allowed me to create multiple sound effects really fast. That allowed me to create less repetitive and more interesting sound effects. My biggest surprise was how well the sound effects mixed with the music. Overall the sound effects were the biggest improvement to the game with the least amount of time spent on them.
  • Story
    Near the end of the compo I though my game was a little too short so I added some text in between each level. I can’t tell you how much this gave my game personality and that personality took my game from a standard platformer to something more. Just a few lines of text added a lot to my game. I think adding a little story/text to any game, especially one made for a game jam, can make it so much better.

What went wrong…

  • Ideas/Gameplay
    The theme threw me off a little but I stuck too it. I’m glad I stuck to the theme but wish I would have had the knowledge to create my initial idea. Looking back I should have tried to come up with a simpler idea that I knew I could pull off at the start. Trying to do something that I hadn’t even remotely done before cost me a whole day of work. In the end I think my simple idea of just a platformer turned out much better than my original idea.
  • Code Knowledge
    Game jams are the best place to learn new things but being my first Ludum Dare I was more interested in the competition aspect of it all. I just wanted a decent game that would hopefully place semi-well in the compo. That said I should have made myself a little more knowledgeable about the framework I was using. This didn’t hurt me a lot, but I wish I would of had a better grasp on the framework I was using to give me more time for content creation and polish.

 

Final words…
I think my game turned out pretty well for my first Ludum Dare. I’m really happy how everything came together and I can’t wait for the next one. The best thing about this jam is the community and how nice they are. I’ve received a bunch of helpful comments and not one hateful statement. The community surrounding Ludum Dare is a great one.

Thanks for reading this and it would be cool if you checked out my game []. If you leave a comment I will 100% go play and rate your game. Even if you don’t play my game there is a chance I’ll play yours. I’m aiming to play at least 250 games by the end of judging.

 

My favorite games

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 12:54 pm

Having played 100+ games so far I figured I’d post a list of my favorite. So in no particular order here are some of my favorite games so far…

 

And though I don’t think my game stacks up to these amazing games, it would mean a lot to me if you checked it out.

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=23711

Finished my First Ludum Dare!

Posted by (twitter: @cxsquared)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 6:32 pm

I’ve finally finished my first ever Ludum Dare! I’m really happy with how it turned out. Down the Rabbit Hole is a simple platformer that uses the previous levels as the tiles for the next level. It’s pretty basic but I’m happy with how it all came together. The game was made using Haxeflixel, PyxelEdit for graphics, and Logic for music.

Down The Rabbit Hole

PLAY THE GAME!

VIEW THE SOURCE

 

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