About cynicalmonkey (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)

Just a guy looking at a laptop writing terrible code that he hopes get the job done. Occasionally I make pixels look pretty.

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Ludum Dare 37
 
Ludum Dare 35
 
Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 33
 
Ludum Dare 33 Warmup

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Have you played…

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 3:13 am

Re:Coil? The game critics are calling “made in 48hrs” & “i guess it fits theme”

IMG_5052

https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/39/recoil

Shameless Plug Blog

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Monday, December 12th, 2016 8:40 am

Wasn’t going to do LD and then i did anyway and now I have had 3 1/2 hours sleep so please make my sacrifice not in vain and play

UnfairBnB

Building

I can’t promise much but I haven’t seen anyone else doing the same thing as this yet, so there’s that going for it :)

You have a spare room and lots of expenses so are looking for a way to keep your level of luxury where it is without being unable to afford your own rent. You have a spare room so you have put your details on the trendiest app for of the grid letting, UnfairBnB. Knowing very little about people you can pick who you want to share your house, but be careful because you never know how secure someones job is, or if they might skip out on paying the rent altogether.

Made in about 10 hours in the end due to other commitments, most of that in a 7 hr final stretch(seriously 7hrs prior to deadline I had about 3 scripts and one UI element) so a lot of parts dropped due to time limitations and wanting to get something playable out.

I also generally operate a You Play Mine, I Play Yours Policy, so leave a comment and i will prioritise making it to your game :)

Sprite Sheet Looking For A Good Home

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 2:35 pm

So unfortunately the team i was part fell apart yesterday, hadn’t got much done before it did but I have a first attempt at a sprite sheet for a crowd of cavemen reacting from behind.

crowdc

If this specific something is something you would need the sprite sheet is yours free to do with as you please

people

better luck next time I guess

 

How To Cheat At Game Dev

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 1:51 pm

I am from the learn as you go school of game design. Unity Tutorials, Forums and Stack Exchange make up a significant chunk of my base knowledge about code but I don’t like to copy and paste, I make sure that anything I put into my game I know how it works. What I love about LD is that it forces me to try new things and in the process learn new things. Unfortunately the time restraint means the understanding new things becomes more optional especially when a lot of the new things you learn come with some complicated maths. Game Jams are not a good time to come to terms with new maths, but it brings me to another thing I love about LD, having to think your way around a problem. In a lot of ways Game design is the best and most abstract puzzle game I have ever played.

In LD35 I ended up in this spot a number of times and enjoyed my solutions to my problems. Sometimes it effected games mechanics. As an example when I was programming my Ship’s shooting mechanic. Because my ship had a variable speed the trouble I kept facing was the ship could out run the shot. It looked terrible, made the cannon look weak and also was problematic when it came to being chased by enemies. So I came up with an elegant solution

The cannon fires backwards. 3 Birds with 1 stone.

Another problem my shooting mechanic faced was aim. The ship in my game can rotate 360 degrees try as I might I couldn’t get the projectile to leave the ship in a line that looked correct. It would go in a straight line or come of at the wrong angle and it looked and played awfully. It was a maths problem and there was probably an elegant solution I was missing but I was already behind and I didn’t have the time to experiment until I found it. So here is how i solved my aim problem.I cheated!

trajectory

 

A. I created am invisible game object that was the child of my Ships core and placed it about 20(unity distance) behind it. we shall call this game object Margret.

B. As a result it would follow the same rotation as my ship like it was on a spoke

C. at the point of firing 2 things happened

  1. a projectile was fired from the ship
  2. a new game object was spawned at the exact spot Margret was

D. The script on the projectile that made it move would take the game object dropped by Margret as a target and move in a straight line towards it while at the same time rotating itself to face it. It also meant I could have them destroy each other if  they hit Meaning the game didn’t become littered with bullets.

 

There might be hundreds of simpler solutions to this, some using more obvious code I didn’t think of or elegant solutions I don’t know how to do. I have described the way I code to people as hanging up pictures by nailing string to the ceiling and right now it works for me.

But this LD I found a creative way to cheat my way around something I couldn’t work out how to do the right way and if i hadn’t been doing LD probably wouldn’t of needed to but that time constraint really makes you think.

So if you read this thank you for indulging me and please play my game

Shift Commander

And if you have already played it please check out the Post Jam Version on Itch.Io as I have taken on a lot of the feedback in the comments on board.

https://cynicalmonkey.itch.io/shift-commander

50  Animation2

Compo Entry – Shift Commander

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 5:23 pm

Well I had about half the time I wanted in the end but I got to try out several things I hadn’t done before, Learnt alot and am happy with the end result.

Meant to share a lot more as I was going but Life happens but please go and play my game, leave a comment and I will track down your game and play it to

Screenshot1

Screenshot2

Screenshot3

MSLB2

Phase 2 – Prototyping

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 3:13 am

So have an idea I am going to run with and while its not the most original idea I wasn’t hit with to many waves of inspiration (despite voting for this theme so no one to blame but myself) but I am hoping I can implement well with a few twists to make it different enough but putting most effort into making the playing of the game fun (I hope).

firstdraft

no real art assets yet so nothing to much to show but hope to have something soon

 

Time – 7 hours gone
Idea – Bullet hell arcadey Smup roguelikey whatjamacall it
Coding – Controls done, ship creation next
Testing – Not started
Art – Not started
Audio – Not started

MSLB2

 

Woke up – phase 1 Brainstorming

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 1:13 am

Okay so I woke up at 4:30 am checked my phone saw the theme and fell back to sleep. Now its 7am and the kids have been fed and its Ludum o’clock. So starting with some brainstorming for an idea as off the bat I don’t quite have one to run with. I tried asking my children what a shapeshift game would be like and their suggestions were

4yo- a princess games where the princesses are dancing and shapes make them do different dances

2y0- SUPERHEROES!!! FLY!!! HIT,HIT,HIT!

first few ideas i have had haven’t really given me that ooh yeah I want to make that game/That is achievable within the 48hr time frame.

 

Detective game hunting a shape shifting criminal

Shmup where the craft you pilot changes and shapeshifts, adaptive soundtrack, randomly generated enemies, low fi pixel art……wait i am just describing Luftrausers….god damn you Vlambeer you beautiful genius’s

Platformer where you change your shape to overcome obstacles

Physics game where you have to load random shapes onto the back of a moving truck and drive them a distance within a time limit

FTLite where you play a match three game to generate shapes you can then spend in key areas to power your ship

actually I don’t mind a couple of those…hmmm anyway

Time – 5 hours gone
Idea – In flux
Coding – Not started
Testing – Not started
Art – Not started
Audio – Not started

So of to a less than flying start

MSLB2

Of all the sensible things I could be doing to prepare….

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Friday, April 15th, 2016 10:51 am

Instead I made a wallpaper based on a dumb joke I thought of based on a 19 year old TV show !

Daria - that show your parents watched

I make sensible decisions

MSLB2

I’m IN!!! probably

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 3:50 pm

So it will be my third Ludum Dare, hope to keep up my proud tradition of making something I am vaguely proud of but shouldn’t be. My weapons of choice are

Sword – Unity 5
Shield – Paint.net/Krita
Armour – Beepbox or something else or whatever I have lost track of this metaphor
Planning – a note book of some kind, spirally rimmed, brown papery looking cover, £2.50 from paperchase, marked down

So what kind of prep have I done to get ready, well I have a little opening sting

MSLB

Hmmm Minty

and I made a prototype of what its like walking anywhere with a toddler which i would share with you but it is larger than 2MB gif :( but here click the link, it is less funny than you think it might be

https://twitter.com/cynicalmonkey/status/719221137838841856

Imagine Ico but 10 times more annoying and lasts about 3 minutes

If the light hurts you wins…

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 10:59 am

I might just make a game where you have a magic torch that turns you into John Hurt and you have to chew your way through the scenery of the level.

 

i might make that whatever the theme is….

So round 3 has the best options so far right?

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Monday, April 11th, 2016 1:15 pm

all praise round 3 #noupgrade

 

Soundcard Script – a useful trick

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Saturday, March 26th, 2016 10:43 am

So I am not setting myself up as some kind of expert on Sound or Scripting but one thing I have seen alot in games across multiple Ludum Dare is a lack of sound effects, my own games included. Its easy to overlook in a 48-72 hr time frame especially for the many of us who aren’t musically minded. Its also easy to write off as not being important or as important as other areas of the Games development. In truth the difference sound effects and music can make in a game is huge, the instant feedback you get from hearing a button beep or an explosion go boom can be a key part of immersing in a game and can really help notch up an extra star in the scoring. So I have been there, telling myself that I will add the sound later once I have nailed the key mechanics down, or got the art done or one of the many tasks we set ourselves only at the 47th hr to not have the time to go through and add in the code and sound effects, especially when a project has spiralled out to 20+ scripts with as many different things that need it.

 

This time I plan to handle things very differently and the code I will be using will get created at the beginning and look like this.

soundcard

So rather than having multiple audio sources attached all over the place I am creating 1 & putting all the music and sound effects in one place. A bonus to this is I don’t need to work out every sound effect at the beginning of the project. All I need is a place holder beep and each time I need a new sound effect I can add new entry into the sound effects array. Using code as I go an anything that sets of a sound i just add in

Soundcard.Soundselection=?;
Soundcard.Playsound();

or

Soundcard.Songselection=?;
Soundcard.Playsong();

and when I reach that 47th Hour all that’s needed is that I drop the sound effect/music I am using for each one into the array in the editor (Unity user :)).No extra coding, no worrying about conflicting sounds, no adding multiple audio sources.

So I thought in the build up the LD35 I would share one of my solutions to a problem that I have faced & i thnk alot of other LDers have to.

Feel free to tell me my code is dumb and awful and wrong in the comments :)

 

Present for Squigglez

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Sunday, January 24th, 2016 6:05 am

hey saw your post and you seemed unhappy with your initial art, I am still learning myself but I knocked this up for you as a warm up doodle this morning if you would like it

Jim v2

 

Game Audio – Sound Advice!

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Friday, December 18th, 2015 4:24 pm

Hey everyone, how are you doing?

Did you make a game for Ludum Dare 34?

Did it have audio?

No – then let me ask a follow up question, did you get a lot of comments about how your game needed audio?

I have been there! I am pretty new around these parts with only 3 games submitted and this being my 2nd main LD and for my first game I had no sound at all on it, no background music, no sound effects, no musical flourish for winning and not even the slightest beep when you pressed a button. I told myself the same thing that alot of people have told themselves this time round.

  1. I ran out of time
  2. I didn’t think audio was as important as nailing game mechanics
  3. I’m not a musician so couldn’t make my own music
  4. I don’t have the software needed

They all sound pretty reasonable right? Alot of us have said them, hell if you are reading this there is a good chance you have already typed one of those very sentences. I typed all 4 back in August and I want to say they are all absolute garbage.

  1. I  ran out of time

Okay I use Unity and do you know how long it took me to make, load and add music and sound effects to my game? about 45 mins.

anonymous reader : wow 45 mins you must be some kind of musical and coding god!

nope (you clearly haven’t played my entry anonymous reader),far from it my knowledge of unity is about 3% of what that software can do and I can’t even manage enough chords to form a 90’s punk band.

2. I didn’t think audio was as important as game mechanics

It really kind of is, when it comes to immersing someone in what they are doing audio is sometimes more important. Background music sets a pace & tone for you game. Is it a frantic endless runner, is it a relaxing puzzler, is it a chaotic shmup? You could play the exact same game with different music and it would change so much about the game. Imagine if Mario’s theme was replaced with a pounding techno track, wouldn’t you speed through those levels faster? And sound effects are like instant passive feedback that lets you know you have done something, good bad or just pressed a menu button, that little beep is almost pavlovian in that it is covered in meringue and rasberries…wait what was I talking about.

3&4 Not a Musician/ Don’t have the Software

okay so i have been getting mostly really positive feedback about my audio this time round, some people have considered it one of my games strongest features

anonymous reader: so you are a musical genius

oh you!

I want to run you through exactly how I made my games music and it is using a site called www.beepbox.co

I fund it after LD33 had so many comments about my lack of audio and it is really simple to use to produce chip tune music and sound effects. You can do it all in your browser and its free to use. it looks like this

Screenshot 2015-12-18 20.10.53

which might seem complicated at first but its really simple and intuitive to use. So first thing you need to do is just think about your game for about 5 minutes, think about its pace,the rhythm you want the player to have, the mood, think about games like it you have played an their soundtracks.

Okay done thinking?

Now you see all the 1’s down the bottom? the 4 colours are your 4 instruments, Grey – Drum, Red – Bass, Yellow – Piano, Blue – Guitar. or however you want to think of them thats actually not that important. Ignore Grey for now and think about the other 3, They are basically High, Medium & Low so pick what you think will work with your game and get started.

you do that by just clicking anywhere to place a note, you can alter the size of the note you place which changes the length of it but for now just place a not anywhere. now just place a few more like half a dozen okay. Get something that looks like this

Screenshot 2015-12-18 20.12.05

or anything really, at this stage that doesn’t matter, just a really basic melody. Now lets make it fit your game more. To the right you will see a section called Song Settings, this is what we are going to play with now.

(Ignore Rhythm if you know little about music this will just complicate things for you, save that for once you have played about with it a bit)

Scale – this is basically how complex do you want to make your music. on expert it trebles your note options but for now lets keep it on easy.

Tempo – This is the first thing I want you to play around with. Remember when I said to have a think about your games pace? this is where that comes in. Find a setting that you think fits with how you want people to play your game. From Molasses to Ludicrous you have a lot of options.

Key – Have a flick through and just find a note you like, I know it feels like it should be more complicated than that but we are not trying to rewrite ode to joy here. You just want something simple that you like and that you hope other people will also.So have a play and find a key that you like and think matches  your game.

Okay so now we need to have a play about until you have your music. Music at the end of the day is just patterns and you don’t have to be musical to make a pattern so add some extra notes in and make a random pattern and hit play and you will have something that sounds…..probably not right. so have a tinker about start at the first note and work your way along, move a note up or down, delete a note, shorten a note, etc. You will actually find it doesn’t take that long to get something you actually quite like.

you can use multiple instrument layers at once if you are brave, or just the one if you want to keep it simple and its a game Jam, simple is always the better option.

Advanced class.

okay so those numbers at the bottom if you hover your mouse over them you will see that you can change the number up or down. you can compose several different things to loop and then pick an order for them if you want to get a little variation in or just do one sheet and loop that. Again its about how confident you feel doing it so have a play about.

It may sound like I am over simplifying everything but I honestly used that exact technique for my music this LD and people seem to of liked it. I don’t play any instruments, I don’t have a musical background, I just made a pattern and tinkered until i didn’t hate the ear noise! And then repeated the process for Menu & Invincibility music.

I even used it to make my sound effects and just spliced them up in audacity. Its really simple to use and quite versatile.

So yeah, if your game had no audio and the main reason was you didn’t think you could or should or that its time consuming I wrote this to tell you actually you can, you definitely should and its not that hard or time consuming. Have a play with the site, try the technique I suggested and you will find for LD35 that Audio really does become something you don’t have to be intimidated by.

Recommendations and Post Compo 2 Player!

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 7:27 am

So i don’t know if you played my game yet, you should I think its great and some people agree its called Rosebud and as a short description its a simple shmup you play as a flower.

check it out

playing2

well I have updated  post compo version which now has local 2 player mode, so if you have already played it and find it to simple you can now compete with a friend for extra difficulty.

Download is here

So the best Jam & Compo Game I played yesterday

Compo – MarelleWestern – a cute little hopscotch rhythm game

Jam – Pete & The Beanstalk – best game I have played so far, i love everything about this stop reading this sentence and go play it

Play & Rate Goal & Yesterdays Top 2

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 3:43 am

So last time round i would play batches of 30+ at a time when i rated and find myself getting pretty burnt out, i also spent most of my time with the Compo entries but this time plan to do things differently. My aim is to play and rate 10-15 a day and try and spread it between Compo and Jam entries.

So yesterday I played 11 and below is my favourite Jam Game & my favourite compo game

Jam – Grow Up!

nice art style and incredibly similar to my own game which drew me to it in the first place.

Compo – Rocket

Nice and simple game with the 2 button theme, what I liked about this is I think they nailed the controls. it seems simple but there are some games on that theme that haven’t done that and i think if you are picking that theme and you don’t have your controls down then you did not hit the theme, no excuses

and it wouldn’t be a communal post without some kind of shameless plug so please play and rate my game as well as the 2 above :)

Rosebud – Compo – Growing

playing2

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