About drentsoft (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)

I'm a freelance videographer and animator with a strong passion in film, music, games, technology and programming (in no particular order).

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Ideas

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Saturday, December 10th, 2016 7:26 am

OK so I’ve managed to whittle my ideas down from 7 possibilities to just 3… well 4 if you count 2 mechanically different versions of the same idea.

It’s still quite a lot but I’m thinking most of the ideas share enough in common that if I choose one of those and find it less than fun to make/play I could probably switch to another.

The ideas are:

Space Dock Controller

V1. Handle requests for docking to avoid ships crashing and make sure they can fit in their designated dock

V2. Handle requests for boarding in a similar style to Papers Please

OK. Just decided on getting rid of one, the idea and mechanics weren’t really gelling.

Mundane Life of a Space Hauler Captain

You’re locked in your life-cabin cockpit, a living room sized space. Basically a very simple Elite Dangerous where you can get up out of the seat but you still can’t leave.

EDIT: Just realised V1 of the Space Dock Controller is literally simulating the life of the people that grant docking permission in Elite Dangerous. I guess I have ED drilling its way out of my head for some reason.

Late In

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Saturday, December 10th, 2016 6:50 am

Whoops, woke up way late but I have quite a few ideas so I guess I’m in, now to spend a short while developing a couple of them before I settle on one.

I Guess I’m In

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 2:51 am

I thought I was going to be out all day today but that didn’t work out so I guess I’ll be doing this now. I’m thinking some kind of maze that can only be navigated correctly if you’re the right shape?

I’m In But With What Game?

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 4:44 am

I came up with a few ideas last night unfortunately sleeping on them didn’t really help me choose one. I did manage to get rid of one but I also gained one so that’s not great. Have to go out for about an hour but when I come back streaming will commence!

Ideas:

Idea 1: Rail shooter using nothing but a cat launcher

Idea 2: Planet launcher pinball style game, destroy as many celestial objects using a single planet launch trick shot

Idea 3: Release a semi-controllable zombie to convert your enemies into mindless soldiers for your army. Each round you can upgrade your zombie hoard in various ways – controllability, speed, aggression etc

Idea 4: A single room monster hunter style game where you can only injure it using the environment.

I feel like I’m leaning more towards ideas 1 and 3 but 2 may be the simplest to implement

Tech:

Idea 1: Unity

Idea 2: Java 2D/Unity

Idea 3: Java 2D/Unity

Idea 4: Unity

Artwork: Blender, Photoshop, Illustrator

Music: Probably Incompetech

Sound: As usual, mouth noises and things round the house

Another Compo Another Failure

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 2:26 pm

This is my fourth Ludum Dare and so far the first is the only one I actually managed to get done in time.

My second attempt was hindered by an inability to choose an idea based on the theme. The third was just way, way WAY overly ambitious.

This idea felt fairly simple at first but between having a late start to the compo (3PM on Saturday), a killer cold that hampered productivity and a slight ambiguity of what the final game would be I found I wasn’t producing anything fast enough. This was compounded by my trying to simplify the idea as I went, to compensate for the lack of productivity. This simplification felt like the right idea but it only further muddied my idea of what I was trying to achieve. That said I think if I’d been able to focus on the correct parts of the game to begin with the whole structure might have come together.

I was going for a very simple network game and I feel as though if I’d focused more on the network side of things first and then worked on the game I’d have had an easier time as it would have allowed me to solidify the mechanics sooner. As I adjusted the idea to fit the time left, the game got more attention and the overall project lost its focus and flow. This combined with the overriding feeling that a network game would perform poorly in the voting by virtue of the dependence on other people ultimately meant that productivity plummeted throughout Sunday.

I had considered continuing tomorrow for the Jam but unfortunately I think it’s best if I just give up now and start again in the near future, I don’t think the extra time spent would amount to much of an improvement on the current state of the game. I have a couple of work projects that need my attention before Christmas is upon us.

I still had quite a lot of fun and I don’t see it as a waste of time or effort as I was able to improve several techniques used in previous projects and I feel like there might be something to the idea, once fully fleshed out.

Here’s hoping the next Ludum Dare will see me back on submitting form. I had hoped that the anniversary of my first Ludum Dare would be the project to see me get back on form but never mind :)

I hoep this was an interesting read and helps others in the future.

Coincidental theme

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Friday, December 5th, 2014 7:09 pm

I’ve just realised that somewhat coincidentally my idea for LD30 would work well with the “Entire Game on One Screen” theme for LD31. Oh well I’ll just have to come up with something new.

Hoping to be in

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Friday, December 5th, 2014 5:53 pm

I’m hoping to be able to take part this weekend but there’s a few things that might stop me.

Toolset:

Engine/Language: Either Unity or Java (depending on idea)

Graphics: Blender, Photoshop

Sound: My mouth and Adobe Audition

Looking forward to finding out the theme!

Given Up But Not Done

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Monday, August 25th, 2014 7:12 am

A Confession From a Non-Pro

I’m sad to say but I think I’ll have to give up. I thought I’d take the time and try to keep going for the jam but I’ve hit a bit of a wall and I’m not sure the game will be playable in the ~11 hours I have left.

That said unlike the last Ludum Dare where I couldn’t quite settle on an idea which then, quite obviously, affected my ability to make the game, in this one I managed to come up with a game that I think could be quite viable and interesting. I see this as a positive as it gives me something to work towards in my spare time.

What Went Wrong

  • Scope Creep – Originally the game I had in mind felt quite simple and viable for a short 48 hour competition but the more I worked on it and the more I struggled to think how to implement the few features I had the more I realised that it would probably be a bit dull. With that in mind I started to think up ways to make it more engaging and more features slowly appeared. Sadly this also made the game feel less theme appropriate and I ended up trying to shoehorn features into the original concept I came up with for the theme.
  • Spending Too Much Time on UI – This is actually a double problem.
  1. I always focus too much on the entry point experience, this isn’t so bad when you’re working to a less than tight deadline but in a 48 hour competition it’s killer. This stems someways because I always start 100% from scratch
  2. Using the wrong UI technology. For the type of game I’m trying to create I decided to just use Swing UI elements rather than rolling my own “gamey” UI. I thought it would save time in the long run but turned out that even for such a simple game style it caused its own problems. This may be the first thing that changes should I decide to continue this project outside of the jam.
  • Lack of Focus When Coding – I kept jumping from class to class, half-implementing features and never quite finishing any of them. This is another thing I do a lot and it’s something I’m trying to improve on. In some ways it’s a good thing, it means you’re in theory never not coding but it is also a bit of an enabler for scope creep and unintentional coupling as you jump between classes that work together then another that will help and another and another.

What Went Right

To be honest not a whole lot went right but that’s OK. As… some people say if things never went wrong you’d never learn anything.

  • A variation of ideas based on the theme with time to think on them and choose one
  • An hopefully interesting idea for a game
  • A game model that should teach me some things that I haven’t encountered so far in other games I’ve tried
  • The above model will help me develop

Anyways I’m a bit bummed about my 2nd “failed” Ludum Dare but I’m optimistic that something useful will come of it. I hope this post was an interesting insight into a project gone wrong. If you’d like to see if and/or how I develop this further, follow me on my Twitter @drentsoftmedia.

Drentsoft Live On Twitch

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 7:40 am

Seeing as how my stream doesn’t seem to be appearing in the official Ludum Dare playlist thingy I just thought I’d point out I’m streaming on twitch right now. http://www.twitch.tv/drentsoft

So far I’ve modelled some scenery and made some class templates.

Third Ludum Dare – Wuhoh

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 2:40 am

Hi. As the title says this is my third attempt at a Ludum Dare. This post will be a bit of a mess as it’s part general information and part mental dump (that I’ll hope will provide interesting insights into my general thought process).

I was pretty happy with my first Ludum Dare. The theme was “You Only Get One”. I made a little game where you played as the number 1 (the only character you could play to begin with) and had to solve maths problems by placing clones of the 1 character everywhere. I was happy with the idea of the game but never got round to finishing it, only the first level was ever finished and that only happened in the last 45 minutes of the competition. I had a lot of cool ideas for how to take it forward but stumbled on the implementation details of how to make it cleverly variable between levels (something I’d still like to do).

The second Ludum Dare I took part in had the theme “Beneath The Surface”. I had several ideas for this one and couldn’t quite decide on one. After a couple of failed started attempts I had to give up and it kind of bummed me out.

This time the theme is “Connected Worlds” as you’ll probably all know. Again I find myself with quite a few ideas and none of them are quite as fleshed out as I’d like and I’m a bit worried I’ll end up in the same position I was in last time. My favourite is quite a simple game but I’m a bit worried the connection to the theme will be missed by many (the major complaint of my first LD) and that the game will come off as dull unless I’m VERY careful. I’m working on a quick design document to try and flesh it out a bit.

I’m thinking it’ll be something akin to a non-horror 5 Nights at Freddie’s (non-intentional similarity given how recently it came out but I think it’s the closest fit for the style of game I’m thinking of) mixed with Civ style diplomacy. As I’m writing, I’ve just thought of a really cool feature but I don’t know that it’d be easy to implement without losing some of the essence of the gameplay and I don’t want to say in case I can do it so I don’t spoil anything.

I’m also stuck on whether I should go for full custom engine (probably easier in the long run) or go Unity for added graphical fidelity. I don’t know Unity all that well and as much as I like the idea we’ve never really seen eye to eye. DELETE THAT ASSET AGAIN I DARE YA! /rage Ultimately I’m thinking full custom for now and if it proves popular I can reimplement the game in a 3D engine like Unity post competition.

At this point in my game programming “career” (quoted because I’m not a career game dev) I can see how far I’ve come even since just December but I also acknowledge I’m in that weird transitiony period between “don’t know a thing” and “I know too much for my own good, how can I constrain my desires!?”

The other main reason for writing this article is to say that I’ll soon be setting up a Twitch stream for the development of the game and to post my git link for people to see my general development/thoughts as I go through it.

My twitch is twitch.tv/drentsoft

The git link is: … I can’t get the git link working atm. I’ll update as soon as I work it out.

Ok so the link is:¬†git://pi.drentsoft.com/ld/ld30.git – Please be gentle this is running on a Raspberry Pi on my home network. Too much traffic’ll probably kill everything…

Anyways thanks for reading. I hope it provided a little insight into what I’m doing. If you’d like a list of some of my ideas (and which one I’ll be probably going with – and/or would like to help me decide) let me know in the comments and I’ll post them up) :)

I Quite Enjoyed That

Posted by (twitter: @drentsoftmedia)
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 5:36 am

Well that was my first Ludum Dare and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ve tried making a few games in a weekend for myself before and it’s never really gone very well.

oneHeroIcon2

When I saw the theme for LD28, You Only Get One, I knew a lot of people would go for gameplay that relied on single bullets or single lives and I didn’t really want to go down that route. If you ever decide to peruse my source you may stumble across the dev folder in which I listed in a scatterbrained way, some ideas I came up with for the theme. The one I settled on, I think, was a rather innovative take on the theme. I thought it would be fun to make a game where you play as numbers, numbers that must run around levels solving puzzles to get to their equations.

Sticking to the theme I decided to lock the character selection to the character of One as a sort of tech demo proof of concept, knowing fully well that I would want to unlock and reveal more playable characters as I went along (outside of the competition). Now I have to admit I didn’t think I would get very far into the development of the game and I was right, I barely managed to get a whole level, most of which happened in the last hour of the competition. As such the game might feel a little sparse but I have to admit I quite enjoyed it and think it has potential for a full sized, if not miniature scale game. Because of this I thought I’d share with you some of the further developments I wanted to make and am considering adding to the game. Please let me know what you like, don’t like etc

The game is at: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=28854

Further Development

Multiple unlockable characters 1-9. I was considering making a base-12 system unlockable too just to make the game even more interesting.

Each number 1-9 has a different power for example 1 would be the only character that could jump, 8 could maybe fall over, becoming infinity and just blowing up a level, 2 or 3 would be the only number to be able to interact with button triggers and I haven’t really thought of other powers yet, suggestions would be welcome.

Equations that can solve themselves, letting the player complete them in non-standard ways. This would be implemented through a series of equation sections that can each check their own value against the values of the numbers intersecting with them – There may be some limitations on this, it would probably be hard to let players dynamically add squared numbers for example. Letting players change the equation completely would probably defeat the purpose of the game somewhat.

Levels will be designed through data (currently level 1 is hardcoded variables) making custom levels very quick and easy to make even without an editor. Therefore I am considering implementing a custom level loading function

NPC numbers that run around on their own. Puzzles in a level could be designed to get them where they need to be within the equation. I was thinking it would be fun if these were the enemies of the game and were all negative numbers where the player can only play as positives

Score based either on creativity of the solution or how few numbers you could use to get the solution

One thing I’m struggling with when it comes to the concept of solving an equation anyway you like is how to let players add their own operator symbols (+-/x etc) would they be other playable characters to be unlocked and moved about or would they be part of a sub-system that didn’t count as players and as such could be added from the UI whenever needed (this raises more questions like would they be mouse controlled or just appear next to the player)?

I don’t know how it would work but a co-op multiplayer version of the game might be quite fun to play.

I apologise for the slightly rambly nature of this post but between the competition and a self-inflicted work commitment I am still slightly wiped out. Anyways I hope you enjoyed reading it and that it provided a valuable or at least interesting insight into what I was trying to do with my game.

As an afterthought I said on my game’s entry page that if you wanted to get to the git repo and couldn’t to contact me through my site but I’ve realised I didn’t link to my site as in the last few minutes of the competition, Dropbox just seemed easier than uploading a zip to my site so here’s the link: http://www.drentsoft.com/contact.

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