About Dr. Mo (twitter: @BakamoStudios)

I'm Jonathan Landis, also known as Dr. Mo or Hitstun. I used Game Maker 7 for my first two compos, and I'm now using HTML5 in LD #28. I really need to learn Unity, though. It's great.

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Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category

Asteroid Defender Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @BakamoStudios)
Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 10:07 pm

I had a lot of fun participating in my first ever game jam and making Asteroid Defender. Now that judging is over, I don’t have to hold back my real thoughts about my game anymore. It’s postmortem time!

I also made a post-release gameplay video. I recorded this when I showed my friends the game for the first time.

Innovation (2.67, #549)

I made a shooter that adequately fits the theme, so I’m sure the gameplay didn’t surprise anyone. I didn’t play any other games where the tiny world in question is an asteroid, but otherwise, everything in the game has been done before. I saw a lot of other developers come up with more creative types of games to fit this tiny world theme. Oh, and the title, Asteroid Defender, was the biggest afterthought of them all. The game didn’t have a name until 1 hour before the deadline. The repairing mechanic was good, I guess, but I could have done a lot more with it.

Fun (3.17, #239)

When I make a game, I start with getting the core game mechanics and make them rock solid and fun. I feel like the shooting turned out really well and the movement was enough to do the job nicely. I put a lot of time into tweaking the equations for little things like your gun’s spread and the spawn times for enemy waves, and I think the game gets frantic at all the right times. However, I ran out of time to give the game the depth I wanted. 30 seconds into the game, you’ve already seen everything there is to see.

Theme (3.25, #314)

It’s tiny, but is it a world? My plans for this game involved defending several kinds of structures on the asteroid’s surface. You’d need the turrets to help shoot down enemies, but there was also living quarters to repair your tank, the mine which gives you the resources required to do repairs faster, and solar panels that boost the speed that the other structures do their jobs. The different structures working together would make the asteroid feel more like a self-sufficient world with its own infrastructure, so I’m sad that I had to cut it down to just turrets.

Graphics (2.58, #593)

Um, yeah…I’m no artist. The art in this game is only a little bit better than placeholder art. Maybe I meant to re-do some of the sprites before the end, but I don’t know how I could have learned to do much better in such a short time. In my opinion, the graphics didn’t bring the gameplay down, so that’s good enough for me. The radar was definitely worth the time I spent coding it. I had some difficulty getting Game Maker to draw sprites where I wanted them, so I couldn’t get health bars in the game in time. Now that I think about it, a basic player health bar would have been simple.

Audio (3.00, #216)

Here’s the deal. On Saturday morning, I had just decided what kind of game I was going to make. I made the mock-up image, and I decided I’d get my VGM Music Maker ready to make some music. I wrote the first 8 bars and decided I’d come back to it once all the gameplay mechanics I wanted were in the game. That time never came, so that 8 bars is all you get. I was, however, really pleased with my first time using sfxt. Whenever I got an idea for a sound effect, like a quiet “pop” for your gun or a deep “boom” for your turret getting destroyed, sfxt could generate a good one very quickly.

Mood (2.36, #626)

Shooters aren’t exactly the best place for emotional content. I wanted to create some tense moments for when you’re down to your last structure and things are finally falling apart, but the loss of the other planned structures took away the game’s ability to make this happen. I still like the panic that happens sometimes when you look up at the radar and see a red cloud of doom descending on your asteroid as you run for cover under a turret. I spent the last four hours of the compo tweaking the game to give it these frantic moments, and the game is much better for it.

Overall (2.92, #452)

For what it’s worth, I think Asteroid Defender turned out OK. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could get a playable game out at all in 48 hours, and this competition pushed me to make the sacrifices necessary to get it done. This game clearly isn’t complete. There’s only 6 seconds of music, one type of structure, and one type of enemy, the minimum to make it work. Next time, I should start smaller so I don’t have to scale things back at the end to get it out on time. I want to use the shooting mechanic in another game in the future, but it won’t be this one.

Coolness (20%, #1007)

In the three weeks following the competition, I had a couple major things happen. I started a new job the morning after the compo, which required two sudden schedule changes that took a toll on my energy to do other things. I also had an email account cracked twice by spammers, so I spent quite a lot of time dealing with all the domains they spammed links to and coming up with new passwords for everything. I didn’t have a ton of time to play many of the games, but it’s fun to see how other entries tackled the theme. Next time, I want to play more games!

Asteroid Defender is Done!

Posted by (twitter: @BakamoStudios)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 6:45 pm

My first ever Ludum Dare game, Asteroid Defender, is finished and ready to download!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=8780


I’ve never made a game for a competition before, so this was a pretty good test for me. I did a lot of planning and didn’t open up Game Maker until 12 hours into the compo, and it paid off. I got to implement all the bare minimum mechanics I wanted. I’ve always wanted to do a 2D shooter where you aim with the mouse. There’s plenty of features I would implement if I had more time, like more structures, more enemy types, and more than 6 seconds of music.

Congratulations on over 1000 games submitted for the compo! It was a lot of fun to be a part of this and I’ll definitely be back for another one.

Can I do a some plugs here? How about my pages at Bakamo Studios, IndieDB, and  Justin.tv? I hope that’s cool.

Gameplay Complete

Posted by (twitter: @BakamoStudios)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 2:34 pm

One more post here before I submit. I thought I’d have serious trouble getting a halfway playable game done in 48 hours, but I kept it simple and I like how it turned out. I decided against health bars for the structures since it’s more challenging if they get disabled in one hit. I finally had to add some real GML code for the draw functions for the radar. It’s tricky because Game Maker’s built-in GUI functionality falls apart if the camera rotates. I had to write code to move and rotate the radar and everything on it around the level to keep up with where the camera is currently pointing.

The game is basically complete and submittable now. In the next few hours, I plan to write a little bit of music for this, and maybe add some more variety after that if there’s time left.

Todo: Game title, title screen, music, player health bar, bomb explosion sprite, more structures to defend, more enemy types

Progress!

Posted by (twitter: @BakamoStudios)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 5:53 pm

It’s halftime, and my asteroid defense game is coming along well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about making a game. Somehow I’ve gotten this far using only Game Maker 7 Pro pseudocode and no real GML code segments at all. Is that bad?

In: rotating world viewpoint, controls, movement, shooting, scoring, basic enemies

Todo: structures to defend and repair, player/structure health bars, turrets, basic AI, difficulty curve, all audio, better graphics, better name, etc.

 

Asteroid Defense Game Mockup

Posted by (twitter: @BakamoStudios)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 9:20 am

My game is going to be one of those games where you defend your tiny world from attack.

You control a soldier, the only inhabitant of a small asteroid you are assigned to protect. This asteroid has a mining colony, two automatic defense turrets, and a life support infrastructure just for you. Your asteroid comes under attack from space pirates.
You move around the asteroid, with it rotating beneath you, trying to keep the pirates from landing on the asteroid and pillaging your structures. When not shooting, you can take time to recover your health or repair your structures.
The tricky part will be getting the entire game environment (or just the camera) to rotate in Game Maker 7.0 Pro. If I can get a simple tank on rails moving around the asteroid shooting things, I’ll work on the turrets and maybe some other types of buildings that have be protected and repaired.

I also did a quick 6 second loop of the type of Genesis/Megadrive-type music I want to do for this. You can hear it at http://hitstun.bakamostudios.com/ld23/ld23mockup.ogg

In!

Posted by (twitter: @BakamoStudios)
Thursday, April 19th, 2012 8:26 pm

Hello, Ludum Dare, and happy 10 years! I’m Dr. Mo from Columbus, Ohio, USA, and I’m going to take a shot at my first Ludum Dare compo. I haven’t done any code for a while, so I’m falling back on Game Maker. I’ll probably find more resources once I find out I need them.

Be attitude for gains!

Code/Framework: Game Maker 7.0 Pro, GML
Graphics: GIMP 2.6, Windows 7 Paint
Audio: VGM Music Maker, Akai XE-8 drum samples, Audacity, SFXR

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