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Never-ending Spacemare Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Firellon)
Thursday, December 15th, 2016 4:03 am

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This weekend was tense. OWGames (aka me and my friend) tried to make a big game in a three days. We worked 14-16 hours per day, and on the final day we spent a whacking 24 hours without sleep (ugh, that’s rough) to complete NESm just as deadline stroke,  and there are still bugs and underdeveloped gameplay details everywhere, much to our regret. Nonetheless, what is done, is done. Let’s analyze!

What went well

We’ve managed to make actually infinite space, with smooth scrolling and a total illusion of space traveling. This technique was pretty hard to make and debug, as each enemy and object in the game should move relatively to the player’s ship without breaking the illusion of endless cosmos. Now you can see, this world is really big and takes a reasonably small amount of memory to render.

In fact, the world exists only around the player and parts of it are destroyed when player’s ship goes far enough (oh, poor aliens… they exist almost only when you look at them! So do not close your eyes, please ). This is great for performance and optimization, also it’s way easier to make really big galaxies, but is also a bit cartoonish and unfair. Given we do not name our aliens, it plays out well, but what if you could develop some form of relations with one particular alien? Hm…

Also, we’ve managed to make the world filled with asteroids and planets and ships at random in the way it’s not too boring. We’d like to make you feel tenser by making aliens send hunters after you, and some random events happen time to time. It should be a spacemare, after all! Space amoebas, galaxy devourers, and even more creepy stuff :)

We found some compromise between high-res pixel art and short time of jam. I’d love to draw something gorgeous, but I had to write complex game logic and plot, too… So I’m glad we chose the retro-style for player console and most objects in the game consist of a few colors differentiated only by brightness. It still looks nice, and I’ve drawn it fast enough to generate sounds, write a story plot and code.

What went wrong

This game is winnable… theoretically. Actually, space is too damn big and the Beacons are too far away from each other. You still can buy this data from a nearby planet, but this gives you some obscure pointer which is not always as right, as it seems. So you probably never get to read the full story and reveal what the Ancient race is going to do with a protagonist.

More races, more ships, special abilities for the ships, and ships upgrades – all those improvements would make this game look more complete, but the actual disadvantage is that planet communications are too flat and boring, without any variance and possible quests (we planned them all along, but we’re not able to make them in time). The story is about man trying to find himself in the dark void of space. You can go for beacons, of course, but I initially planned to make multiple endings, including picking some pretty planet to live there happily ever after.

The room, the ship feel a little bit empty, though I imagined it as a big set of various interactive elements, such as water dispenser, bed, radar, airlock, planet battle and excavation panels and more. I’d love to make this all around the ship, so the player will have even more activities to attend to while flying somewhere. Autopilot to some coordinates should be included, too.

I’d love to write chiptune music for this game instead of using auto-generated by Jukedeck, and probably should use an actual retro palette to get the style right.

And there’s a big list of features and improvements that would make this underdeveloped prototype a real game, but I’m still indecisive whether I should continue development or not.

Conclusion

I’m overall happy with the results of this weekend, I’d improved my drawing and coding skills a lot, and I’ve found so much positive feedback that I can’t really thank you enough, guys.

As that is not my first LD, I must admit, jamming gives generally better and polished games, but denies of any exact realization of the author’s idea, as you’ll need to harmonize your intentions with your teammates. Speaking about that, I’d like to find a decent composer for our team and a couple of programmers and/or designers/artists. More manpower is required to complete a game in such a short span of time, I believe.

We will surely participate in the next LD, and try to concentrate on gameplay even more. It works out well, gives you a lot of feedback and limitless possibilities to learn how to make games fun.

Play Never-ending Spacemare

The Star Sector: Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @Firellon)
Monday, August 29th, 2016 10:22 pm

Hi everyone,

My team tried to Jam this weekend, and… failed miserably. We are late for a submission hour, struggling to make working production build of our game, and time had finally run out, at last. So I have no choice but to submit it here and finally show you why we’re late for submission.
This game is quite big and is worth of three-days of ~14h team work each, and features 10 000 procedurally generated star sectors with procedurally generated enemies. Have fun exploring it, I shall say :)
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Play The Star Sector in Itch.io

Jet Team: Lazy Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Firellon)
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 9:37 am

This was my first LD (and 4th GameJam, actually), I made a game named Jet Team in two days of pretty lazy coding/drawing/e.t.c. Basically, themes of LD were not very suitable for me, I thought, so I lacked both a good game idea and a will to finish something big.
So I came with pretty simple concept: lazy side-scroller arcade where your goal is to fight incoming enemies with your squad of tiny spaceships and eventually assemble squad of 10 ships (so, here comes “Growing” theme). At first, I wanted to make “W” and “S” buttons to control the vertical position of squad. It did not seem very comfortable and also required to make different callbacks for different situations (these buttons also must be the ones which you press to start/restart/skip intro/e.t.c.). So a truly simple solution – use mouse position to define desired vertical position of squad. It was easy to implement, and also it went more natural than actual button controls. I made squad ships shoot on left mouse button press, but grew tired of constant clicking pretty soon. I decided ships should be smart enough to shoot enemy automatically as they approach on close Y-positions. And lo! this is how I got this concept for “Zero-button arcade”, the game where it’s pretty much enough to move your mouse up and down, and nothing more.
Remaining time I had spend on creation of different AI types, to make some challenge for player (actually, I went too far with game’s difficulty). Here’s my LD:Compo entry:
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-34/?action=preview&uid=59837
In my honest opinion, it went surprisingly well for such amount of work. People liked this mechanic and  (suddenly!) my weird pixel art. So, after two weeks of judging, I decided to make some adjustments. So I present you Jet Team: Deluxe Edition. Some graphics improvements, difficulty changes and bugfixes were made, and game became much more playable. I hope you’ll enjoy this:
http://firellon.ru/jetteam_deluxe
Have fun!

Count me in, too!

Posted by (twitter: @Firellon)
Monday, December 7th, 2015 2:19 pm

I’m going to participate in LD for the first time, using
Phaser.js
Photoshop
Tiled (maybe)
Let’s do this!

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