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Ludum Dare 37
 
October Challenge 2016
 
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Ludum Dare 28

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Who let the blobs out?

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 3:30 pm

Blob Catcher submitted

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Sunday, December 11th, 2016 10:05 pm

Yes, I finally submitted my compo entry, Blob Catcher

You are in  a (single) room full of blobs, and they have an overwhelming desire to escape. Use your grappling hook cannon to catch as many blobs as possible, and don’t let them escape through the top of the room!

Aim with your mouse and click to shoot.

Blob Catcher

You’ll have to tie two blobs together to stop them. The first time you shoot, you’ll stick one end of the grappling hook to a blob. Your second shot will grapple another blob. Once two blobs are tied, they’ll be attracted towards each other until they get smashed out!

The farther away the two blobs are, the more points you’ll score!

And, each time you manage to smash additional blobs when the two are attracted towards each other, it’ll double the points you just scored!

Play the Game

From a technical standpoint, this time I was away from home and didn’t have access to my gamedev computer. So, I borrowed a laptop and I attempted to make a game using only online-based tools (without installation required). So, I actually created this game with Scratch 2.0, a tool designed to teach kids how to program. I wanted to see if you could make Jam games with it too – I hope you’ll enjoy the result.

Vintage Game Shop – October Challenge progress report

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 9:15 pm

Vintage Game Shop has been released since about 3 weeks (October 7th), so I thought it was a good time for an update about whether it reached or not the “October Challenge goal” of earning 48$.

Vintage Game Shop

iOS release!

First of all, after more work than I excepted, the iOS port of the game was released today!

However, as I only own one iOS device (an iOS9 Ipad Air), the “field testing” of my game has been quite limited. So, if you have an iOS device and would like to help me improve the game, could please test if the game works on your iPhone / iPad / iPod? Thanks in advance!

(please tell me if it does work or not in the comments)

Marketing efforts

As October Challenge is (mainly) about marketing, here is what I experimented with this game:

  • The game is available in three platforms: Browser (Flash) and mobile (Android & iOS). My October Challenge plan was to release the game for free, then try to earn the 48$ through ads, and more specifically rewarded videos. Each version of the game contains a different ads system. The browser version will actually only show ads to registered members of the ArmorGames portal, and are only available on this website. The mobile version are “ads-enabled” for everyone, and thus represent the main “ads revenue source” for my October Challenge. I used ArmorGames inhouse ads system for the Browser version, and FGL Enhance for the mobile ones.
  • The Browser version was released on one of the largest Flash Game portal: Armor Games. I can’t overstate how happy I am they accepted the game. Their wonderful and incredibly large player community was actually the first and most effective “marketing push”. The game is frontpaged on the website, which drive a lot of players to the game: about 104.000 plays at the time of writing this article.
  • The Browser version contains links towards the mobile version of the game, with the secret hope that if players enjoy the web version, they’ll download the mobile one.
  • In order to push both the browser and mobile versions, I’ve contacted about 70 gaming-related websites and Youtubers. The responses have been very few: about 4 articles / mentions in total. I’ve paid attention to target people who could be interest in the game (retro gaming or game history), but that’s still a quite disappointing 5% positive response rate.
  • First, I got some articles in non-english blogs or websites: MO5 Mag (France), OUJEVIPO (France) and RetroManiac Magazine (Italy).
  • Then, I’ve only got one english-written article covering the game for now, but it’s a BIG one: Polygon ran a full article about the game, alongside with a video review on their Youtube channel.

Vintage Game Shop

Results: Players

Overall, the current game audience exceeds all of my wildest expectations: 141.390 plays in total, 21 days after release.

But, unfortunately for October Challenge, the audience is clearly skewed towards Browser instead of Android:

  • 138.180 plays for the Browser version.
  • 3.210 plays, with only 649 installs according to Google Play, for the Android version. Oddly enough, the FGL dashboard gives me a total number of 1.354 installs. I wonder what explains the difference: is it due to the apk being downloaded outside of Google Play? Or simply an analytic reports bug?
  • iOS was only released today, so results will come later for it.

So, yeah, the “conversion rate” from Browser to Android is very low: about 2%.
I must confess that I was excepting more players for the Android version, but maybe this is normal. In your experience, are these numbers “normal”, or is there something wrong with my game?

Results: Revenue

I saved the most important figure for the last part: the revenue earned from those players:

  • The Android version have generated a grand total of… 14.97$ revenue. But bear in mind that there’s a 100$ minimum threshold to get paid by the ads providers, so I might actually never see that money…
  • I don’t have any revenue figures from the ArmorGames ads system yet, but I except those to be quite low. For one, rewarded videos on Browser are worth less than on mobile (about 50% less from what I’ve read). And I suspect that very few players actually get to view the ads on Browser. So, If I had to take a wild guess, based on the Android figures, I would say that the Browser version should have generated between 5$ and 10$ in revenue.

So, all-in-all, I’m still far from reaching the October Challenge goal. I think that I’m about half-way there, so I hope the just released iOS version will be able to match Android performance in terms of ads revenue!

While it’s very unlikely that the game will reach the 48$ goal before the end of the October Challenge, I can hope that it’ll eventually fulfill it with time (maybe in 6 months?). I’ll keep you updated either way.

On a more personal note, even though I guess I’m won’t get any money from this experiment, I’m actually very glad that I could try my hand at “marketing” and attempt to monetize a game for the first time. As you can see, I’m a total beginner in this domain, so if you have any idea on how I could improve, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Vintage Game Shop [October Challenge]

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Saturday, October 8th, 2016 8:19 pm

Hi everyone! Here is my entry for the October Challenge : Vintage Game Shop

Vintage Game Shop

Description

Vintage Game Shop is a game about using your knowledge of retro or classic video games to make profit!

Everyday, people will come to your shop to sell you vintage games and consoles. Your goal is buying them as cheaply as possible, so you can earn some money when you’ll resell them to another client!

Your profit will enable you to buy rarer and more expensive items, so you can complete your personal game collection.

Will you earn enough money to buy all of the most iconic games in history?

About

As you can see, this is a “documentary game” about the history of video games, and it was heavily influenced by the “Pawn Stars” TV show!

This game is an “hobby” project I made during nights and evenings after my day job. As an avid retro gamer and game history enthusiast, I wanted to create a game about history of video games for quite a long time. So, I finally made the jump!

To be fair, I started working on it long before October Challenge. Ideas and concept aside, the development work started in March 2016. In previous years, I wanted to take part October Challenge but I always lacked the confidence (and time) to expand my jam games into more polished projects. This year, I’m happy to finally be able to submit a “finished” game!

Oh, and this project is the reason I skipped LD35 and LD36 (too much work, so few time), so I hope you’ll enjoy it! :)

Play the Game [Browser – ArmorGames]

Play the Game [Android – Google Play Store]

Growing Ties now available on Android

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Sunday, December 27th, 2015 2:40 pm

My entry, titled “Growing Ties”(because it uses all the *three* LD34 themes at once: Growing, 2 buttons control, and… “It’s a tie!”), is now available on Android over Google Play.

Growing Ties

You run a tie shop. Patrons want to get custom ties.
Can you cut a tie at the right size for each one of your patrons?

Growing Ties - How To Play

Use Right Arrow key to grow a tie.
Use Left Arrow key to cut it.
The tie will fall down, and hopefully reach a patron.

Be careful to cut right-sized ties!
A perfect-sized tie matches the height of the patron’s shirt.

You’ll get 10 points for such a perfectly fitting tie, but less points if the tie is too long or too short. Of course, Patrons varies greatly in size and shape!

Cut several perfect ties in a row to get bonus “combo” points.

 

Play & Rate the game

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would also like to thank all the people who have commented and rated the game so far, as usual, the best prize on Ludum Dare is the feedback you get from fellow developers! :)

Growing Ties

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Monday, December 14th, 2015 6:29 pm

They say that constraints enhance creativity. For my entry, I chose to use all the *three* LD34 themes at once: Growing, 2 buttons control, and… “It’s a tie!”.

So I’m proudly presenting my little game, titled “Growing Ties”:

Growing Ties

You run a tie shop. Patrons want to get custom ties.
Can you cut a tie at the right size for each one of your patrons?

Growing Ties - How To Play

 

 

Use Right Arrow key to grow a tie.
Use Left Arrow key to cut it.
The tie will fall down, and hopefully reach a patron.

Be careful to cut right-sized ties!
A perfect-sized tie matches the height of the patron’s shirt.

 

You’ll get 10 points for such a perfectly fitting tie, but less points if the tie is too long or too short. Of course, Patrons varies greatly in size and shape!

Cut several perfect ties in a row to get bonus “combo” points.

Play & Rate the game

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

The One Fork Restaurant DX released!

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Monday, June 15th, 2015 11:36 am

For those of you who remembers Ludum Dare 28 (December 2013 – theme “You Only Get One”), I’ve just released an improved and extended version of my entry: The One Fork Restaurant DX.

The One Fork Restaurant DX - Gameplay

This game takes place in a restaurant where many customers are coming to eat, but unfortunately the restaurant only has a single fork! So the customers have to share it to eat their meals, but they aren’t really patient…

During the compo, the game got ranked #4 in the “Theme” category, which, added to all the wonderful feedback I received, motivated me to spend some months to enhance the game. It now plays better, should be more fun, and more beautiful to watch and listen to. And, last but not least, it’s also available on Android!

Play it online here (Browser – Flash)

Download the Android version here (Google Play)

Weapon Regulator – Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Friday, May 1st, 2015 4:31 pm

Here is a post-mortem of my #LD32 entry called Weapon Regulator. Your are sent to a battlefield, and your mission is to seize any unconventional (i.e. illegal) weapon that you’ll see. You are neutral, so the soldiers won’t hurt you, but beware of the stray bullets!

Weapon Regulator

It’s my third Ludum Dare, and the most challenging one for me so far! All in all, I’ve been able to work 23h on the game during the weekend, which is more than my previous entries (18h and 20h). I’ve been working with Flash, Photoshop, AS3SFXR, and cgMusic/GXSCC. Here is how I roughly spent the weekend:

Day 1: idea + gameplay prototype

I live in Europe (France), where the compo starts at 3:00 in the morning. Usually, I sleep and discover the theme in the Saturday morning when I woke up. But this time, as the compo hopefully took place during a vacation week, I couldn’t resist and stayed up late to discover the theme. My initial reaction was “meh”: I found it quite limited and it didn’t inspired me at all. Anyway, I went to bed with the secret hope that “sleeping over it” will help me to have original ideas in the morning. I did have a lot of ideas, but none of them that convinced me really, or ideas that were way too ambitious for my current skills and the limited time frame.

I usually enjoy using the theme in an original way, but this time I had a very hard time to do it. I needed about 2 more hours to stick to the one idea I liked the most (or I hated the less):I wanted to make a game about “weapons” where the player wouldn’t be using one. I then went to the “Geneva convention” angle: the player has to collect “weapons stated has unconventional” by politicians. And, as politicians often change their mind, the “weapons convention” change regularly, to make your job of spotting unconventional weapons harder! :)

With this idea in mind, I spent about 12 hours working on a gameplay prototype, trying different weapons, movement, goals, ways to make you feel like you are on an actual battlefield, and designing a set of “weapons convention” with an increasing difficulty curve. In the end I got this very ugly but already enjoyable prototype:

Weapon Regulator - Gameplay Prototype

After several tries, I choose to split a game session in two “parts”: for the first 60 seconds, you can’t be hurt. As you discover the game, you can then focus on the “spotting & collecting weapons” mechanic. At 60 seconds, the first fire weapon (a gun) appears on the battlefield, and the player can now be injured, so an “avoid the bullets” mechanic is added to the core gameplay. Originally, you could be hurt if you tried to seize melee weapons when soldiers were fighting each other. But I finally decided it was to complex for players discovering the game, and I cut all code related to this aspect.

Day 2: graphics and sound

With a working prototype in hand, the second day was the time to work on the visual and audio aspects of the game. These are my weak points, and I’m trying to improve them over time (especially on the graphics side). Due to my limited skills and time available (but also out of personal taste), I chose to go with a “pixel art” style. I drew a single sprite for each weapons / character, and to save time I then animated these sprites using “tween animations” directly into Flash. Here is a sprite-sheet of the main active objects in the game:

Weapon Regulator SpritesheetWhile it isn’t much, drawing and animating all those elements (+ misc graphics and various GUI screens) took me… 7 hours of work! As I said, graphics are one of my weaknesses…

It also meant that I had about 4h30 to work on audio, which is more than I usually do. One of my personal challenge for this compo was to try to add some music into the game. None of my previous entries had music, so I wanted to do it this time. As I have zero music composition skills, I choose to use cgMusic, a music generator. It can produce very nice result when coupled with the GX-SCC synthetiser. I’ve been inspired to use this tool after playing the wonderful Tightrope Theatre by Adventure Island, which has an incredible music soundtrack created with these two tools.

But having a good tools and using it wisely are two different things. I spend about 2 hours toying with cgMusic, only to produce quite ear-tearing music tracks. The best result I was able to get was a 17 seconds loop. But I feared that people might find playing a 2 minutes game with 17 second of music looping too annoying, so, as the clocks was nearing the “end of compo” time, I made a strange decision: I decided not to loop the music, and only use it at the beginning of the game. I’m still unsure about whether it was a good or bad idea.

Weapon Regulator - Plasmagun vs Cannon

Anyway, spending so much time on the music left me with too few time to create as many sounds as I wanted. It also meant I had to rush through the “finishing touches” stage. While I usually spent the last couple of hours polishing the game, this time I weren’t able to do it for as long as I wanted (for example, I couldn’t add in screen shake or nuke weapons). Hopefully, so far, it doesn’t seem that the game suffer from balancing issues :)

Play the final version of the game

What went wrong

– Music: cgMusic is a great tool, but I wasn’t able to use it the way I would. Even if I suck at creating music, I think it would have been better to use a “tracker-like” tool, than spending hours tweaking random seeds in this program. Next time, I’ll try to use Bosca Ceoil, for better results I hope! :)

– Time management: I spent too much time on music for a unsatisfying result. It was also a mistake to stay up late to discover the theme at 3:00 am with the hope of having a better idea – I had too much ideas and it was difficult to choose one in the end. Next time, I’ll do like my previous LD: have a good night sleep and discover theme in the morning.

What went right

– Gameplay / Idea: The comments I’ve received so far on the game page are quite positive about the originality and playability of the game. I’m actually quite happy about how the game turned out – the many hours spent on tweaking the gameplay prototype weren’t wasted in the end :)!

Conclusion

Even if I had to rush things at the end of the compo and had some disappointments, I’m actually happy to have been able to finish this game in time. I didn’t liked my idea that much at the beginning, but in the end it seems that the game is quite enjoyable. In the comments, people who have rated it seems to enjoy the original idea, and have fun playing it, which is the greatest reward I could ever hope for! :)

If you hadn’t already tried it, please click here to play Weapon Regulator and tell me what you think of it!

Weapon Regulator released!

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Monday, April 20th, 2015 10:04 am

Weapon Regulator

Even the war has rules : some weapons are allowed, while others are forbidden. They are called unconventional weapons. You are sent to a battlefield, and your mission is to seize any unconventional weapon that you’ll see. You are neutral, so the soldiers won’t hurt you. But beware of the stray bullets.

Weapon Regulator - Plasmagun vs Cannon
Use arrows keys / WASD to move.
Use Space / Control / Shift to seize a weapon from a soldier (you have to move over the soldier first).
The weapons convention change regularly. Try to capture unconventional weapons only.

Play & Rate here (browser game [Flash])

Attack of the Screen Scrollers featured in the Concept Hunter show

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Saturday, December 13th, 2014 11:48 am

Some says “there is no prize” in Ludum Dare, other says “your game is the prize”. To me, the real prize is people playing and enjoying your game – is there any better outcome for a game than entertaining players?

screenscroller_gameplay_compo

First I want to thanks all the people who already played to Attack of the Screen Scrollers and gave me a feedback about it. But this time, something even better happened to my game, it got spontaneously spotted and reviewed by a Youtuber. I know it already happened many times to many of the LDers out there, but it’s actually the first time that one of my game is featured like that, and I cannot tell you how happy it makes me :). To be more precise, the game got featured in the 94th episode of a show run by KOKOStern called “Concept Hunter“, which focuses on “games that embody interesting concepts”:

So thanks KOKOStern for your video, and thanks for all your feedback on the game page – it actually is a great motivation to create a post-compo of the game :).

So yes, to me YOUR feedback is the real prize in a Ludum Dare.

Attack of the Screen Scrollers [released!]

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 7:13 pm

Beware of the Screen Scrollers! They will scroll your “one screen game” background image away, and destroy those precious pixels forever. Also, this image is your only ground, so you’d better protect it if you don’t want to be “scrolled away” too!

screenscroller_gameplay_compo

Use the arrow keys (or WASD) to move, and click on the “Screen Scrollers” to shoot them with your laser. Each kill will earn you points, so aim for the high score!

Play & Rate the game here

(my personal record is 1292 points)

This was my second Ludum Dare, and it was quite a challenge! But I hope you’ll enjoy my entry, and I can’t wait to all the games posted here!

Attack of the Screen Scrollers – [playable beta]

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 12:03 pm

Beware of the Screen Scrollers! They will scroll your “single screen game” background image away, and destroy the poor pixels forever. Also, this image is your only ground, so you’d better protect it if you don’t want to be “scrolled away” too !

Attack of the Screen Scrollers

Here is a playable beta of the game, mostly complete except the sounds. I’ll now work on the SFX, then the finishing touches.

Use the arrow keys to move, and click on the screen scrollers to shoot them with your laser.

If you test the game (Browser / Flash with very short play sessions) can you tell what is your best score / time elapsed?

Thanks, and good luck to everyone for the last sprint :)!

 

 

Beware of the Screen Scrollers!

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 9:19 am

The most dangerous enemy of “games on a single screen” is known as a “Screen Scroller”. It comes to your screen and makes it scroll away, leading millions of innocent pixels to death. Here are some of the most commons types of “Screen Scrollers”:

Attack of the Screen Scrollers - ennemies

Progress on my game “Attack of the Screen Scrollers” (ex- “Don’t Scroll“) is going along according to schedule. I’ve been starting to do some GFX, I still have to draw the main character sprites and the background images, then I’ll be able to play with sfxr to create some sound effects!

 

Don’t Scroll – looking for testers

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 7:25 pm

Even if it’s not easy, I’ve tried to use the compo theme as gameplay mechanic instead of a technical limitation only. My idea is that an “entire game on one screen” means a game with no scrolling. So the game is just that : you are a sprite inside a bitmap, and you are trying to prevent your enemies to scroll your single screen away.

It plays like a top-down arena shooter, except that the enemies stay at the border of the screen, and each enemies tend to scroll the screen towards itself. The more (or the bigger) the enemies, the faster the scrolling. When your background image unfortunately goes outside of the screen, the part that was scrolled away is lost forever, so be careful not to overshoot one side of the screen if you don’t want the background image to be scrolled away on the other side 😉 !

Don't Scroll - Prototype #10  (9h of work)

I’ve been toying with this idea and implementing a prototype during this whole day – no graphics for now, I’ve been solely focusing on gameplay.  Here is a functional prototype with several enemy types (some can even shot at you to freeze you). Tomorrow I’ll be working on GFX and SFX, and tweaking the game if needed. So the game is now looking for testers.

You can test the game here (Browser – Flash)

Do you find the game fun? And does the gameplay feels balanced?

Use the arrow keys to move, and click on the enemies to shoot them with your laser.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated :)

The One Fork Restaurant – Post-compo version & results!

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 8:50 am

As promised, I just released a post-compo version of my game The One Fork Restaurant. It adds musics, a bit of general polish, and an better Android port besides the regular web (flash) version.

The One Fork Restaurant

I’ve updated the post-mortem of the game, to include the results of the game. For a first participation in the compo, I wasn’t excepting much, so I’m quite astonished by one the ratings:

The One Fork Restaurant - Ratings

Theme

4th place, woaw! Due to the high quality of the others entries I’ve played here (Titan Souls, One Precious Arrow…), I wasn’t excepting to reach top 5 in one category – so thanks to all of you who voted for the game! I guess washing dishes can actually help you have game design ideas with some potential after all :p!

Humor & Fun

Around top 100 on those two seems quite nice too, though I’ll try to really get in the top 100 for Fun next time!

Innovation & Overall

For sure the game wasn’t that experimental, and I guess the Overall score has been lowered by the remaining categories. But I’m still quite happy with those results for a first participation.

Mood & Graphics & Audio

As I said, I’m no graphic artist, and not a musician (the compo version didn’t have music). Guess I now know the areas I have to improve on during the next 4 months…

Conclusion

All in all, this first LudumDare was a really wonderful experience for me! During the compo, seeing all those ideas and in-progress reports were really motivating. After the compo, I’ve discovered a nice community with a lot of people providing very useful feedback during the ratings. So, thanks to all of you and to the organizers, because it was really awesome to take part into this event, and I’m really looking forward for the next one! :)

The One Fork Restaurant – Post-Compo WIP

Posted by (twitter: @ludoscience)
Sunday, January 5th, 2014 10:46 am

Happy New Year Everybody! As the competition results are coming, I’ve been working on a post-compo version of my game The One Fork Restaurant. It’s a kind of “time-management” game. It takes place in a restaurant where people come to eat various meals, but the restaurant only have one fork, so customers have to share it!

The One Fork Restaurant - final compo version

Since the compo, I’ve been doing the following:

  • Added music and some new SFX, a credits screen and some animations in the menus (i.e. polishing)
  • The highscore is now saved on the local machine
  • Some fune-tuning to the game balance
  • Added the ability to pause the game
  • Released a working Android version

I’m currently looking for overall feedback, in order to see if there are any other areas where the game need to be improved! After that I’ll release the post-compo version officially (for now, this improved version is only published on my test server and only in the Web/Flash version).

Play the Work-In-Progress version here

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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