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Another tower defense plant

Posted by
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 8:26 pm

It took a lot of convincing to work on something, but I got some assistance from a friend about my game ideas.. Which were pretty dull to be honest. I’ve already committed to the jam, using the code left over from my last attempt, which was just a pretty basic Java method to link and draw linked Joint objects (with x,y,image,offsets).

My first attempt led to some grass, which doesn’t do much, but blows gently around.


version 1

Autograss was fine and all, but I started developing this and made the plant so that we could change some of the things in there.. So there is a chance on clicking the bud that you get either a split bud or a split leaf at the moment, but I’m thinking that in the game you will be able to select what you want on the different buds. It keeps a minimum amount of buds in play.



Version 2

Tomorrow, I might get into adding some more interesting selectable objects and natural resources so you can build the ultimate plant.. And add some bugs and creepy crawlies, because you’ve got to defend it from something! Maybe other plants? Badgers? Snakes? I have no idea.


Apologies (Postmortem)

Posted by
Thursday, September 17th, 2015 6:10 pm

Sorry to anyone who took the time to rate my “game”.. I knocked it up in about an hour before submission time to show a proof of concept.. But it was unfair to ask for ratings for that. I apologise!

So what happened?

Day 1:
On Saturday, I caught the theme and had an idea for an arcade brawler. I was really keen on teaming up with someone, and my friend eventually gave in and said he’d give it a go.. He still wasn’t that convinced to be honest! The august jam always happens to be on my mums birthday, so after some Illustrator work drawing the parts for the dog, I had to travel 3 hours to see her, then take her out shopping for 4 hours.. By then it was about 8pm.. I went over to my friends, and sadly his girlfriend was ill, so we tried not to get in the way too much.. After some much needed guitar solos, we had about an hour of drunken whiteboard brainstorming where he added:

  • Zombies
  • Angels fighting demons in the skies
  • Army guys shootin everyone
  • Tanks
  • Helicopters
  • The dog is a zombie, with spikes and stuff.
  • Hellhounds trailing lava like everywhere, and if you touch it, you get set on fire.
  • And the music would be like a blues version of Thriller.
  • I managed to hold back the bosses turning all 3d and stuff, but by then, day 1 was over, and the requirements list was full loaded.. :)

    It was not a game.

    Day 2:
    On the way home, I got some all-you-can-eat breakfast at a Toby Carvery.. Thanks to that and the journey, I finally got home at about 3pm.. So then code could be happenin, son!

    I was really keen on working out the animation this LD.. I wanted a skeleton-based keyframe-interpolating animation software.. Because otherwise, entering all those numbers is near-impossible.. Especially where angles are involved.

    By the end of the day, I had a program which could have parent nodes of varying sizes and rotations.. Kind of a skeleton keyframe editor really.

    It was not a game.

    Day 3:
    I started work on the nodes first thing in the morning, then I was called into work for about 6 hours.. I resumed work at 6pm and by 9pm I had my first interpolated animation of boxdog running.

    That was probably the most satisfying achievement, as until that point, I didn’t know if the interpolation would work.

    After animation, I made a tool which snipped parts of a jpg image and set those to names. Then I altered my code to use those. it was 00:15 on Tuesday, and I was running out of time.
    I made a ready animation, a walk animation (which took the longest), and a jumping animation. It was 2pm. Oddly, the contest was revealed at 3am, but ended at 2am, so I was a little surprised to say the least.

    Hurriedly, I did the following:

  • I copied enough of the code to make the animations work into a new JFrame
  • I tweaked one of the objects to only be visible under certain condition.. The laserbeam eyes when walking.. I found that the coolest part to be honest.
  • I cutout some of the concept art for the dinosaur in gimp
  • I made current animation switch to jumping when W was pressed
  • walk animation on D (moving closer to dinoboy when D was held down)
  • and S to go back to the idle animation.
  • I also made space activate laser eyes, and then the energy runs out over time.
  • It was not a game..

    But if you used your imagination, you could imagine the technology turning into a nifty streets of rage clone.. :)

    What went right:
    I managed to cobble together enough animation software to interpolate keyframes, which is pretty awesome. I’ve spent a few hours working on it since.. So I can create animations by clicking different keyframes in a list, then compile and test them straight away, then adjust the keyframe timings in the window, rather than notepad. Ideally, I would get it to a usable state so my nephew could make his own animations. My sister and I animated a dancing scarecrow with sound effects, which was pretty fun, so I think this might be more interactive and usable than most of my games.

    Animation is usually the last thing I focus on, usually by swapping out two images.. This is quite labor intensive, so I’m glad I ventured into learning about skeletons, etc.

    I am also glad I got to show my friend some of what game development is about. It would have been better if I had some code ready by the time we met so he had something tangible to get excited about. In future, I will have the animation software to create any animation resources required.

    What went wrong:
    All my responsibilities totally got in the way. I had places to go, people to see! Now I have work to do and then sleep to sleep! I’m sorry I didn’t review any games (boo hiss).. I saw some real exciting screenshots and dev diaries while people were developing, and then it was back to work.


    Posted by
    Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 4:03 pm

    So I met up with my friend Saturday after a day of spoiling my mum for her birthday. We brainstormed a lot of stuff, but realised that we needed an animation software, so after getting home late today, I started the animation software.. I can build and pose the skeleton, but it isnt set to keyframe or save yet.. when it auto tweens, I’ll think about inserting it into a game.. :)


    In am I, hmm?

    Posted by
    Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 5:50 pm

    Well, my first plan was to make a game for the BBC MICRO (ATOM) though I’ve not really learnt as much machine code as I thought I would on my hardware.. :)

    I’d really like to take part in a team meetup if there are any in Leicestershire,  Nottinghamshire or failing that, England. I’ve searched the local hackspaces, but caint find nothin.. :/

    Car Survival Horror 3000 Postmortem

    Posted by
    Monday, December 22nd, 2014 2:34 pm

    I thought I would write a bit about how this game, as I didn’t really write much since the first day. I found the theme really difficult, as to me, it meant no sidescrollers, platformers, 3d games, or erm, anything much. I was kinda thinking of cheating with a platformer where you could see every room and they shrunk when you completed them, or maybe having the same room where spikes would appear in different places, like the movie the cube.

    It was fairly late in the day by the time I had decided on an Idea, about 3pm. I thought it would be funny if you were a bug on a windscreen trying to survive while being driven round by a mad driver. I thought the spider could eat the other bugs on there.

    The art seemed to go really well, and I plugged away in Illustrator for only about 2 hours to get it done. The cityscape horizon came from a tutorial I was reading, which I think is cool. I was a bit nervous that people wouldn’t want to play a spider, so I made it really cute. Animation would have been cool, but I know from experience that it takes a lot more effort. Most of my resources can be handled by just shaking them around or messing with the scale. I love altering the rotation of objects, and was really happy to be able to do that in my ide. I think the art style is really cartoony, but also consistent. I don’t really do palettes, so it has that kind of kid-painting “SKY IS BLUE, TREE IS GREEN” feel..

    I was very lucky to use the http://mightyeditor.mightyfingers.com/ phaser.js ide, which was because I saw this tutorial where a guy made a game in about half an hour. I had a few teething issues with getting game physics to work, but by the end of the first day, I had a car and all my resources on it, and they were edible.

    Day 2 started with me trying to get some music together. I downloaded a mod tracker, followed a tutorial on mod tracking for it, messed around for a while, then wrote a peppy number. Unfortunately, I had started it as an unusual mod format (ultra tracker?), rather than .mod, so I couldn’t use phaser to play it consistently. In the end, I converted it to wav, then converted that to mp3 and ogg. It got very frustrating to listen to over the three days.. :)

    Mid-day 2 build:


    I was having major issues getting random objects in groups, which was annoying, since I wanted to randomly select an item from the list and put it on my screen. I guess this one issue took about 4 hours of experimentation to get around. I also had some CORS issues with audio (browser couldn’t find the files), and had to export the game to get it to work. Most of the evening was spent moving the trees realistically alongside the car, and I didn’t really bother

    However, I did have most of my code working by the end of 48 hours.. This made it “a game”, but barely. The hit detection code I had copied from the tutorial was designed to work when you pushed against something and only in certain directions. So if you’re not moving, you cant eat insects and they push you.. I also accidentally deleted my spider so I had to last minute put all the parameters in again. I decided to submit my entry to the 48 hour competition anyway.

    48 hour build:


    Screenshot-wise, the game was ready.. But I hated playing it and something needed to be done.


    Image of my game.

    The spider is YOU!


    The next day, I had to go to work, but when I came back, I looked at the feedback on it, and it said all the things I hadn’t had time to do. I decided to go through one by one.. The hit detection was easy to sort. I separated the background into different objects with a semi-transparent screen layer and a wheel and a lady behind that, and made the steering wheel rotate based on the speed of the car. I made the difficulty (max random velocity change) increase over time, and I added a high score. This made the game purpose more about personal goals, rather than anything rigid. I recorded the sound effects using this tool called RecForge on my tablet and voice effects. Although I still had a few issues with sound on the ide, I added them later. Some people might not like the sound style, but apparently my sister nearly wet herself when it said “oh noes”.

    I resubmitted later that night for the Jam. The feedback has been very good, but I’m a little nervous that people have been playing the wrong version, as most people think it was far too easy. That said, I don’t think they should have been able to survive more than 300 seconds if they had played the right version.

    What went right:

    • Mission successful! Got my level 1 cloud ide merit badge. Released a game in 48 hours.
    • It runs everywhere.. IE, Firefox, Chrome, my phone, my tablet. I developed for keys, but it might have been better as point and click.
    • I want to make another game. Major success here!

    What went wrong:

    • Last minute phaser learning was touchy. It’s always a risk learning new tech for a game jam, but it’s also excellent motivation.
    • Thinking of something for the theme. I’ve seen a lot of clever ideas because of it though.


    Blatant plug to play/rate my game. I think I have enough votes to be honest, but if you want a go, play the JAM version, as I’m not in the 48 hour compo.


    The favourite game I rated so far is probably Kaiser. I loved a lot of games, but my gaming skills are a bit weak.. I played dock and cover for about an hour?


    Day 1 over..

    Posted by
    Saturday, December 6th, 2014 7:07 pm

    Well, I got some art together, just need to get the hit detection working, then I can add some animation. I started using the http://mightyeditor.mightyfingers.com cloud editor which saves a lot of time I’d usually spend positioning objects in the right places and getting the scale right. I’ve watched the vid about 4 times now, but tv doesn’t help.. :)




    I’m in..

    Posted by
    Saturday, December 6th, 2014 8:27 am

    After a lot of soul-searching, going to do a game about a bug trying to survive on a windshield.. Hopefully Phaser.js will be involved somehow.

    Other ideas:

    • Wrap around platformer where you go into the same room and it changes slightly with traps and stuff. Bit like the cube movie.
    • Rotating the screen did something or other.
    • Cat laser pointer catch 2059 DX.

    Lotus: A game development journal..

    Posted by
    Saturday, August 30th, 2014 11:10 am

    Well, Saturday was my mum’s birthday, so I had to travel to that, and then Sunday was a bbq and repeat watching of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, so I definitely had to go to that! In the end, I think I started development at about 8pm Sunday, and finished at 2am Monday night, so a game in 30 hours was pretty impressive as a personal best!

    Sunday was a bit strange.. I was thinking about the rubiks cube on the table and wondering if there was a way to portray all the connections on a flat plane without any lines crossing over.. I drew out lots of different diagrams with the transitions between the colours about thirty times, searching for one. The best happened when I started again and drew a cube almost corner on. Drawing the lines led to a hexagon with all the vertices joining. From there it turned into a triforce with semicircles on the outside, and from there, it turned into three linked rings.

    I learnt pretty fast that I can’t draw circles on paper (or ms paint) to save my life.. So after tightening up the rings, I switched to Java2D and had to figure out the measurements by hand. To draw everything, I used CVG to construct Area objects based on the overlap of circles which I could then colour in. After that I had to figure out a data structure. Perversely, I decided to have a data structure which is based on Boolean logic. This meant that to decide on the location of a cell, it was either on the inside/outside track, or within the center or outside the circle. For all the movement rules, I had to get the colour of the cell into an array, alter it, then push it back. This took me to 2am for all the shifts and I went to bed.

    On Monday, I realised that the rotations of the pieces had not been added, so I did that and added the lines to make the control buttons more obvious. I could have written Shift left, or L/R on the buttons, but I wanted it to be mysterious, alien and independent of language. These little lines were a bit of a time waste.. It would have been better to have hover highlight on everything.

    For kicks, I set all the colours of a rubiks cube and sent it to my friends. It was 5pm. Coming back from lunch, I decided that I could make some levels a puzzle game. This meant that I had to create an obvious win condition, and come up with puzzles.. And that is how I spent a lot of the day, fiddling to set cells and fiddling to see if puzzles were completable. I guessed that the pieces that corresponded to corner pieces would be able to be put anywhere, so I used that in the rest of the puzzles. I wasted a lot of time corresponding the puzzles to the colours, and positioning the outer circles for the level selection. Coming up to 2am, I realised that the final 2×2 rubiks cube had no win condition, but the logic was slow to write, so I left it. I don’t think anyone noticed.. It’s not like I had anything to show afterwards!

    I was surprised that the reactions to the game were so positive and that someone had the patience and skills to complete it! And I was also relieved that it was completable!

    I think I made the correct decision to make 6 levels, rather than work on extra features I had dreamed about.. With cells turning into coloured balls and moving round the circle to the next cell (the locations and movements would have to be coded by hand). Sound would have been fairly easy, but I was worried that music would be repetitive if someone was playing for a while, so I left it out.

    It would have been better if I had used WYSIWYG to determine where the circles should go, or made a function for click to select cell (and report the cell). I didn’t, and I found it especially difficult to go through a process of selecting the correct cell every time. This would have probably saved 5 hours.

    Rate link: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=19350

    These are not the droids you are looking for

    Posted by
    Thursday, April 24th, 2014 4:55 pm

    So allegedly, I should be able to write a game using my Android tablet. On a plane. So I will be using the following:

    Android IDE

    My files (like, a lot)

    Sketchbook X


    Pixlr Express

    Recforge pro

    Boeing 777

    I will be starting from an existing project (feng shooey) and removing game logic. I’m doubtful I will get the apk on google play within 72 hours though.. :/

    Feng Shooey postmortem

    Posted by
    Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 12:54 pm

    Not yet done, working on reincarnation..

    Posted by
    Monday, April 29th, 2013 11:01 am

    Feng Shooey delayed, but not dead yet!

    Posted by
    Sunday, April 28th, 2013 3:12 pm

    Although I could probably rush something and stay up for another 4 hours, I want more time on it, so I’m going to sleep and go for the Jam tomorrow.

    Here’s a tech demo (woo!):


    Things to do:

    • Cat animation.
    • Fat monk karma decreases with disorder on screen.
    • Restart mode.
    • Cat footprints.
    • Raking animation.
    • Raking fixes garden.
    • Cat fleeing on person or dog.
    • Sound effects.
    • Dog render and animation (might be removed).
    • Title screen.
    • Stuff that gets in the way, like rocks.
    • Multiple levels (rocks in the way would make it harder).

    I would love a tree to drop leaves everywhere, but that’s a bit excessive.


    Trying to build a mockup first

    Posted by
    Saturday, April 27th, 2013 3:57 pm


    After I decided which to do, I went and got some resources to remind me what a rock garden looks like. I took a picture in the Portland Japanese garden, so I’ve been using the rocks (and rear wall) from that to mockup.

    I drew the cat and monks on plain paper, though I’m having difficulties getting them to scan right on camera, so they all require a lot of post production messing around. Might install my scanner to correct that.

    Maybe tomorrow I can start coding something.. I’m going to call it Feng Shooey, and it is going to use both Japanese and Chinese influences. It ties in with minimalism in that the monk is preserving his minimalist garden.. :)


    fake scene



    Oh, and I made myself a cheese and broccoli bake with tuna for tea and watched some Doctor Who.


    good lunch

    The first rule about fight club..

    Posted by
    Saturday, April 27th, 2013 7:53 am

    Is to eat healthily and not drink lots of coffee…


    I’ve spent some time thinking of a game.. It’s going to be about a monk trying to keep his minimalist rock garden tidy and peaceful. Now to think of some art style and characters.


    Final Here be Dragn build

    Posted by
    Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 3:57 pm

    Since the LD, I’ve been doing many things but also working on polishing my game. It is still remarkably similar to the compo entry.


    Stoopid progress!

    Posted by
    Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 8:04 pm

    I’ve been working a little more on Here be Dragn, and I’m thinking that I havent really done that much since last Monday.. The major roadblocks for me right now are random gc’s and adding features which break stuff. For example, I overhauled the audio system to use a JDK v1.5 class, Clip instead of a JDK 1.0 class, AudioClip. And even though people seem to think its the ueber solution, it misses clips randomly (though looping and sequencing samples would be quite handy for what I have in mind for the music).

    I changed the render method to use texturepaints to draw images with subprecision accuracy and that really slowed everything down. Weirdly, the animation as it uses different subpixels brings in features of the original drawing that wont fit in a compressed size image. But only when its moving. I tried moving it randomly 0.6f, but that made me feel ill. Looked pretty though before I canned the concept. I decided that the reason why super-deformed is so big in CG art is because faces need more detail than the rest of the character.. So my dwarfs are now pretty squished (but I think the effect is pretty cool). I also gave them beards and differentiated the existing archers and warriors with different colour cloaks.. And beards!

    In the past hour I tweaked a bit of gameplay and made archers shoot more, dwarves appear faster as the game goes on and munching them giving back less health. I made some changes to some sound effects as well, as I prefer them to sound heavily digitised.. I also did this to the soundtrack (19mb>884kb) and it sounds a lot rougher, but a bit more chiptunes.

    I got some great feedback from my sister the other day (she’s really into dragons). She was content to just fly about and eat people (until I was bored) and really comfortable breaking the back buffer when the program was in full screen mode, but oddly, she wanted more people variety just so she could “eat em all”. This was kind of motivating for the beards so I can later add more colour variety. I learned from watching her that having the mouse outside of the game window breaks control, a problem I’ve experienced a few times, especially with web games.

    I think I’m starting to appreciate how LD enabled me to go further than how I would generally try to make a game. I am extremely detail oriented and like my program to be “just so”.. Because of this I’m playtesting and I’m thinking; This control system feels horrible?! How can I fix that? Why is this pixel not antialiased? LD forces you to code priorities, and if you’re doing it right, essentials first.. When you have 6 hours left on the clock then its fine to drop things you’d like to be working on and move on. I have a few unfinished projects which all have similar breaking points.. I was working on a feature, couldnt do it, and then didnt come back to that project.. Which is a shame really, but with the latest one it has been really nice to have a (mostly) finished project from the start which could then always be upgraded at a later point. Having a playable project also makes it a lot more fun to come back to, so this is just the start, really.

    Anyway, there are over 1000 excellent games to be playing and rating, but heres a Post LD version in case anyone is curious:


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