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WithU – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Saturday, September 6th, 2014 7:01 pm

Time for my wrap-up for LD30. This was my second LD, and I have to say first and foremost, this one was much more enjoyable for me. Things were very confusing and almost frustrating the first time around. Now that I’m familiar with both the site and the competition itself, things came much more natural this round. My entry is called ‘WithU’, and is the story of a lost boy and his deceased grandfather.


Setup via the Game window

I spent a lot more time with both my notebook and my pillow this time around; that is to say I spent a lot more time designing and I slept pretty consistently. Both of these worked out well.

My original plan was, of course, actual planets. This was thrown out almost immediately:


After a lot more doodling in the notebook, my next idea was a boy and a girl who fall in love but are separated by a void. You must help the boy and girl work together via a split-screen setup so they can be together. Here is my setup for that idea:

Screenshot of my Unity3D setup from earlier

Screenshot of my Unity3D setup from earlier

Next, I decided to try out a first-person view and mechanic. It too was short-lived:

Back to the notebook! Finally, I landed on an idea that really inspired me. The plan was to swap the girl out for the boy’s late grandfather, and using my cube layout from my previous idea, it wasn’t long before I felt like I had something.


Setup via the Unity Scene view

After landing on the boy/grandfather idea, the new mechanic and map started coming together pretty quickly.  A big help was using a cube of 1x1x1 alongside Unity3D’s built in snapping system… which allowed me to duplicate and place the cubes really quickly.  There wasn’t enough time left to design an entire game around this mechanic, so I settled on a few puzzles and added the optional “side quest” of collecting coins.

This game is mostly narrative and environment, although there is one puzzle in particular that I’m pretty proud of.  To see it, and more of the game itself, you’ll have to play!

WithU: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=35774

Day One

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 6:39 pm

So far this Ludum Dare has been going pretty well. I’ve got the basic game mechanics in place, and transition between the living world and the spirit world is much smoother. I’ve been having a lot of fun building this world with cubes, and Unity3D’s snapping system makes putting together land sections a fairly quick process.


Setup via the Unity Scene view

I’ll be adding some audio next, and hopefully some more interactions for the spirit world in the near future.


Setup via the Game window


… and the game-play view

Here’s a video from earlier today showing some of the game-play.

Helping a lost boy find his way

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 2:08 am

So, I spent a lot more time doodling in my notepad when the ball dropped this ludum dare than I did my first time around.  My idea was a single player split-screen game in which your actions on one side directly affect the other.  Essentially, the player controls two characters, each with their own little puzzle.  As you move one character in their world, the opposing character will move the same.

Initially, my idea for the story was to go with a boy and a girl who fall in love but are separated by this void (the split in the screen).  They must work together to reunite.  That’s why the colors are blue and pink in this screenshot depicting one of my original scenes.

Screenshot of my Unity3D setup from earlier

Screenshot of my Unity3D setup from earlier

After returning to my notepad to jot down ideas, the idea came to me of the boy not trying to reach a girl, but of a boy who recently lost his grandfather.  My grandfather was a huge supporter of me many years ago when I decided to become a freelance programmer, so this story holds a ton of emotion for me personally.  I’m hoping that it will breed creativity in the long run.

Once I had settled on that idea, the mechanic of having the boy and his grandfathers spirit on the same screen was making less sense.  When in doubt, throw it out, right? (wise words from another indiedev’s father)  So, I scrapped the split screen for a simpler design, in which the grandfathers spirit is in the clouds looking down on the boy.  When controlling the grandfather, he can carry the boy across gaps in the map, and will later be able to interact by making it rain, etc.

This is the latest game-play video, which shows how the grandfather can help the boy continue on his journey… sort of a metaphor for how my grandfather still has a huge impact on my life today, many years after his passing.  This game is absolutely a dedication to him, and come hell or high-water, it’ll be submitted in time.

My goal is to avoid any direct discussion of death and/or after life, which may seem odd, but I want to focus on the story rather than trying to evoke any particular emotion from the player.  Basically, I’m going for more of a cute story with sad elements than of a depressing one with heavy emotional undertones.  The emotion should be brought to the game by the player, not me.  So, I ditched the dark backgrounds and dark greys for more upbeat blues and whites.  I think the color changes already give the game a more friendly atmosphere, so hopefully that can carry into the story as well.

Enough babbling for now, time for a break and then I’m going to be adding more intro levels that walk the player through the basic mechanics.  Hope everyone else’s LD is going well.

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 4:55 pm

This will be second Ludum Dare.  I’ll be working solo again and am shooting for the 48 hour compo, but if more time is needed will submit for the jam instead.  Last LD I focused too much on blogging and polishing the game visually; this time around I will focus more on core game-play elements.

My tools:
Unity3D (c#)

Photoshop CS6

Sound / Audio:
sfxr & Abundant Music

Web work (if necessary)
Dreamweaver (CFML)

Time to fire up the old NES and get some inspiration before we start.  Good luck to everyone, and I’ll see you on the other side!





Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 2:06 pm

So, I have recovered from my first LD, during which I slept a total of 4 hours.  I am very proud to say that I finished my game, and although it needs some work on the player controls system, it is a relatively complete game.

My submission:

Poor Doug Diggz


This contest was pretty important to me, as I’ve spent the last two years bouncing from project to project trying to find what fits best for me and my dev style.  Because of this, I had not completed a game yet.  Now I can finally say that I have, and one with story, audio, custom characters, a custom game-mechanic, and a lot more.  I’m still debating on whether I will persue releasing a finalized version of the game in the future, but for now I’m returning to my previous project with a lot more confidence.

I would have preferred a 24 hour recovery period before being expected to vote on games, but other than that it was a completely positive experience.  The community is friendly, the deadline provides a great challenge, and the reward at the finish line really cannot be compared to.  If life permits the time to commit, you can count me in for the next LD; whether I’ll fly solo again is still undecided.  I’ve met some great people in the indie dev community these last few days, and I may step outside my comfort zone for LD once again and team up with another dev or two.

In-so-far as advice to any newcomers to the challenge: get a good night’s sleep before the contest starts.  I pull all-nighters about once a week, so the lack of sleep (although still more than I am used to) wasn’t a huge factor for me… except at the end.  The thing that I did not prepare for was that I was working harder and faster the closer the deadline came.  I can honestly say that although I work crazy shifts constantly, I have never produced this amount of work in such a short period of time.   So, if this is your first battle with the unrelenting timer that sits atop the LD website, then I would suggest you show it respect.  When you’re planning what you’ll be working on the last 6 hours, if you’ve been cranking away with little sleep, you will not be in charge of all your faculties.  Save the simple stuff for the end.. the kind of stuff that you can do “in your sleep”; ‘cuz that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.

Thank you to staff at LD for the opportunity to compete, and to the the community here for being so awesome.  If you participated, whether you finished or not, I think we can all say that we walked away better game devs.  And all we had to do was give the community our time.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I got back what I put in ten-times over.

Finally , a Story for Doug Diggz

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 11:32 am

Doug Diggz grew up playing console video games in the 80’s and 90’s.  Recently Doug celebrated his 40th birthday and is suffering from a bit of a mid-life-crisis.  Afraid that he will wind up old and alone, Doug’s mind wanders back to those games he loved as a child.  Maybe if he could collect enough coins, someday he could have his very own princess just like the heroes he admired all those years ago.

And thus began the misadventures of this miniature miner.



Coins! Coins! Coins!

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 8:00 am

I’ve added randomly generated coins to be collected as Doug Diggz does his thing.  Full video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDhMER6OSw0&feature=youtu.be

The misadventures of a miniature miner


Quick Gameplay GIF

Meet Doug Diggz

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 5:29 am

Been spending some time on updating graphics. Biggest addition is the protagonist, Doug. I also changed the angle of the camera which adds a lot of depth to the mineshaft.



Title Screen Completed

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 1:43 am

Just wrapped up work on my title screen after a taking a quick break.  After programming the majority of my day, this graphics work was a nice change of pace, so I’m going to continue it with some touch-up on my models in Blender3D.





First Steps of a GUI

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 8:37 pm

I’ve added some GUI elements to my LD game ‘Doug Diggz’ as well as some controllers for the score system and the countdown timer.  Not sure what I’ll be working on next, but I’m overdue for a short break.

Timer & Scoring System Added

More Progress

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 6:07 pm

Quick update: I’ve added different ‘cube’ types for the player to interact with.  Stone cannot be moved through, quicksand slows you down, and plain ol’ dirt may contain special items.  Back to work I go…

Progress Thus Far on Doug Diggz

A Title and the Basic Gameplay Concept

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 11:55 am

I just hit that point in my concept work where things are really coming together to look (and act) like a game.  The cubes are not disappearing yet, so you lose sight of your main character while digging, but it at least proves the idea behind the work.

Player controls and basic concept example

I’ve also gotten work done on a logo and title.  Not sure I’m sticking with the title, but it works for now.

My Logo Concept for Doug Diggz, my 'Beneath the Surface' Game

My Logo Concept for Doug Diggz, my ‘Beneath the Surface’ Game


Adding A Little Voxel Art

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 8:53 pm

I’ve been working in Blender3D and Photoshop to get some very basic voxel art done for the cubes.  My scene is setup and ready for me to begin coding the user controls.  I’ll probably be handling the rotation setup first, since it has the most potential to affect other aspects of the game.

Some quick, possibly temporary, voxel art done in Blender3D and Photoshop

Some quick, possibly temporary, voxel art done in Blender3D and Photoshop


First Screenshot

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 7:33 pm

I haven’t imported NGUI yet, but I have got a pretty decent hierarchy setup in Unity already.  My concept drawing seems to be working out so far.

Quick screen depicting my basic level layout and hierarchy in Unity3D

Quick screen depicting my basic level layout and hierarchy in Unity3D

Concept for my first Ludum Dare

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 6:58 pm

Here’s my concept drawing for my first Ludum Dare game.  Basically you rotate the play area and then when ready, dig down to collect items or just to see how far you can get through the puzzle.  There are solid rocks that you cannot dig through, and if you dig directly underneath one it falls on your head and it’s game over.  Goal is going to either be based on what level you get to underneath the surface or based on points you collect (if I do decide to add collectibles).

I'm not an artist, but here is my first concept work on my game for LD

I’m not an artist, but here is my first concept work on my game for LD

I’m In

Posted by (twitter: @eatsleepindie)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 9:01 am

This will be my first Ludum Dare.  I’m participating solely for the challenge and to hopefully meet some new Indie Developers along the way.  I’ve been watching the countdown timer pretty steadily the last 24 hours.  Can’t wait to see the theme!

My toolsets:

Engine: Unity3D (C#)

2D Graphics: Photoshop

3D Graphics: Blender

Music & Sound: Whatever fits from the list of content generators

Unfortunately I won’t get as much time as I’d prefer this weekend to create my game, but I’m determined to produce something playable over the next few days.  I will bet tweeting from @eatsleepindie while I work.

Good luck everyone!

* EDIT:  After reading the recent post that outlined the rules a bit more, it seems that I can use NGUI for my project.  I’ll be importing it into a completely blank Unity3D project after the Jam starts.  A free version is available for download at http://www.tasharen.com/?page_id=140

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