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Ludum Dare 31 — Coming December 5th-8th 2014!

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    About Gaeel (twitter: @DrJarajski)

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    MiniLD #51
     
    Ludum Dare 29
     
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    Network is up and running, and the database is stable!

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Sunday, August 24th, 2014 3:41 am

    messages

    You can now go through the portal to visit another player’s garden, and move things around.

    Testing with my girlfriend, and here’s what our gardens look like now…

    Making progress

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 11:32 am

    Her Garden

    Her Garden is an exploration game where you have a realm to tend to, and can visit other player’s realms.
    Levels are generated on the server, and downloaded when needed.

    Some tech issues still need fixing, but from now on it’s mostly adding some interactions and a load of content…

    SHITSHITSHIT – A short post-mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 1:05 am

    SHITSHITSHIT

    Play SHITSHITSHIT

     

    I did not like the theme.
    I think that this is painfully obvious to anyone who plays the game.

    Also, to reiterate what I said in the post-mortem for The Last Soul, I’m generally a happy, outgoing person (almost annoyingly so). But like anyone else, there are some things that sometimes pop up, shit hits fan, down the drain, FUBAR, etc…

    In an odd way, perhaps since my Ludum Dare n°22 submission Solitas Exodae, this event brings out some of the darker bits of my personality.

    Maybe it’s the themes? (Alone, Minimalism, Beneath the Surface, for some reason make me want to do arty-farty depression-wanks…)

    Maybe it’s that the Ludum Dare calendar has an uncanny ability to sync up with more difficult times?

    Or maybe sometimes I want to express the angsty teen that is still hanging around somewhere inside, and Ludum Dare has become my release valve for this?

    In any case, here is SHITSHITSHIT, and it’s not a happy game. It doesn’t even revel in sadness. It’s angry, it will make you cringe, and probably hate me a little bit.

    What went well:

    • I made this in 48 minutes so I didn’t have to spend more time on this than necessary
    • Some people like it
    • It’s actually quite funny when you take a step back

    What went wrong:

    • Shit theme was shit (SO MANY GAMES WITH A SIDE VIEW OF THE SEA)
    • I had to spend a whole 48 minutes on this, which is longer than 0

     

    See you around, I’ll be trying out your games, I’ve seen a few that are really good so far, and I always join a comment to my votes with a little critical feedback, so if you want the opinion of an angsty asshole who tries to be nice to people, drop me a comment with a link to your game and I’ll be right on it ;)

    I did not make a game this time, and I have questions

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 2:27 am

    After a few months working on prototypes, this Ludum Dare pushed me over a limit I didn’t know I had, and I burnt out completely. A lot of the prototyping work I’ve been doing was pretty tough, and I’m afraid we might be spending too much time and effort on it, often by over-designing the prototype.

    I’d like to know a little about other people’s jam and prototyping habits, so here’s a little questionnaire I cobbled together : Prototyping for good

    I’m going to make the results public, and I’m also working on a follow-up about jamming fatigue and burn-out, which I’m not sure how to approach tactfully yet.

    Please take a moment to answer these questions, with any luck we can learn a little about how jam-style prototyping can help, and also how to avoid associated problems.

    We’re in!

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 12:36 am

    Here’s for the presentations: I’m Kevin “Gaeel” Bradshaw, I’ve been making games by furiously throwing my face against keyboards for the past couple of years, and I’ll be participating with [REDACTED] “Mousseto” [REDACTED], who make pretty pictures for video games that are made by people who throw their face against keyboards.

    I “studied” theatre, optics and computer science and have several years experience in the fast-food industry throwing burgers at people.

    Mousseto is currently studying at SupInfoGame, where they learn how to make pretty pictures and the theory behind making a game not suck.

    I’m one of the founders of Baptême du Jeu, we organise jams.
    We’re running the event in Montpellier in the sunny south of France, if you’re in the area, join us, we have cookies. (Sign-ups close at midnight tomorrow, French time, so hurry hurry.)

    So yeah…

    I think I was going to write something else, but then I got distracted. Like… Wait, what?

    Erm… I’m going to ask Mousseto if she has any ideas about what to say next…

    Apparently not, but then, she’s busy reading Bakuman, which apparently is part of her job description. I’m going to use that as justification of the amount of time I spend on Super Hexagon during office hours…

    Fu(nky|ture) 2.0 in Montpellier, France

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Friday, July 5th, 2013 6:30 am

    Who we are

    Down here in the sunny south of France, we’ve formed a small group called “Baptême du jeu” (a wordplay on “Baptism of fire” (“Baptême du feu”) and “jeu”, which means game). So far in under a year we’ve organised two Ludum Dare gatherings, a Global Game Jam event and the initial Fu(nky|ture) 1.0 beta event, with 15 to 35 people per event, a great community backed by awesome-tastic people like Swing Swing Submarine, Eric Chahi and NaturalPad.

    What’s going on

    And now, we’ll be running Fu(nky|ture) 2.0, a game jam focused on making multiplayer games (cooperative and/or competitive, multimachine or local), on the 19th!

    Yeah it’s a bit short, but we’re sure some of you guys can make it over here!

    If for the holidays you’re travelling to France or haven’t decided on a location yet, swing by and we’ll make sure you have a place to stay, and get to enjoy the pleasures of the amazing city we’re hosting this event in.

    When and where?

    Location:
    Cowork’In
    19 rue de l’Ecole de droit
    Montpellier, France

    Friday 19th of July:
    The doors open at 19:00 (7 pm) GMT+1 (local) and the jam starts at 20:00.

    Sunday 21st of July:
    The jam runs for 48h and we’ll be closing the doors at around 22:00

    Details

    Sign-up is right HERE

    Ok, I know, it’s in French, but the questions should be easy:
    “Nom” = “Surname”
    “Prénom” = “First Name”
    “Email” = “Enamel” (no seriously, but it also means e-mail now)
    “Si j’étais un super-héros, mon super-pouvoir serait” = “If I were a super-hero, my super-power would be” (this is important, trust us)

    Then there’s some important details, we can’t really host people if these aren’t fulfilled:

    “Je suis majeur” = “I am of legal age”
    (We don’t have the insurance and don’t wish to take responsability of minors, so if you’re under 18, we can’t accept you at this event.)

    “Je ramènerai le matériel nécéssaire à mon art (ordinateur, câble ethernet, clavier, souris, etc…)” = “I will bring the tools necessary to my art”
    (We can be laxist about this one for people travelling, but make sure you let us know what you need so we can prepare it.)

    “Je suis prêt à payer une participation aux frais de 10€” = “I will pay a 10€ contribution”
    (This is for the food, drink, snacks and a few supplies over the weekend.)

    International participants

    If you want to participate, sign up on the form, and fire me an e-mail at [email protected] so we can arrange your arrival, stay and departure here to/from Montpellier.

    The second rule we can be wobbly about, depending on demand we might be able to even supply a laptop or tablet, but we need to know as soon as possible.

    For accomodation:
    During the jam there will be a rest room.
    Before and after the jam, we have a tight-knit community, so we will be stowing you on people’s couches and in their guest rooms. Depending on how long you want to stay and how friendly your host is, we’ll have some other things to do (we’re a tram ride from the beach and have plenty of things to do in town).

    ASCII Warriors

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Saturday, June 15th, 2013 2:51 pm

    [ ASCII Warriors demo page ]

    Making a Javascript framework for ASCII games!
    There’s not much to it yet, but you can yoink it here on Github!

    The Last Soul, post-mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Sunday, May 12th, 2013 10:51 am

    Hey there!

    I made this
    The Last Soul

    Written in Lua for a bastardised version of Löve2D (fixes audio and optimises some thingies in 0.8, but is redundant since 0.9)

    I used Sublime Text 2 with a heavily customised Arch Linux setup (AwesomeWM loaded with some funky scripts and a nice little dmenu kerfuffle which takes care of my workflow, YOU DON’T KNOW ME, DON’T JUDGE ME!)

    For content, I used GIMP for graphics and Renoise for audio.

    I am
    Kevin 'Gaeel' Bradshaw
    and I’m one of the founders of
    Baptême du Jeu
    and we organised this
    Ludum Dare @ Kawenga with BdJ
    with help from the awesome people at
    Kawenga

    So here goes for a DUAL Post-Mortem, commenting on the game itself, and the gathering we organised.

    THE GAME
    The theme really wasn’t an inspiration at first, and I found myself quite angry at it. After all, minimalism isn’t really a theme, but a quality. I laid down with my headphones, and played some Burial (a pretty awesome London-based artist) and halfway through Prayer (listen to this track for the next paragraph or so), I had this idea of a game where you find yourself as the last remaining human at the end of the inevitable yet inexplicable downfall of civilisation, and life itself.
    I didn’t see this as a particular violent or depressing idea, simply the notion that nature just ends up overpowering order through it’s simple existence.
    This kind of feeling is something that I come back to often, and sometimes I imagine characters fighting to their very last, terrified at the idea that their families, memories and belongings will simply fade away. Other times, I see a character accepting this fate as inevitable, and instead deciding to exit existence solemnly, discarding their fears to lay down and pass into the void.

    This latter feeling is hard to explain in words, and I felt that maybe a simple yet powerful visual and audio experience might be able to impart it to another person. So with Burial’s soundtrack playing, I went to work.

    This might be a good time to reassure you about something, I am a particularly extroverted and happy person, guided by my sense of humour and my ability to make friends anywhere and everywhere, so please don’t worry, I just like to explore various emotions in art.

    Now, on to the actual MAKING of the game.
    I’m a big fan of Löve2D, it has all the bits and bobs I need to load content, and throw it on the screen and through the speakers in a nice, tight, no-fuss package. It uses Lua, which is the juiciest language out there, it’s fun to program in it, it’s fast, and it has a bunch of features which give me nerd boners. It’s no wonder that it has become my framework of choice for jams, prototypes, and maybe even production code when I get round to that.

    I have a bad habit of playing around with the visuals and feel of my games, and losing track of the core gameplay mechanics, which can sometimes lead to some fiascos (Crobal and Friends for LD#25, Robot in the Garden for LD#23), so this time I forced myself to have all the mechanics nice and solid, and a good level editor, before even THINKING about the visuals. This turned out to be a good decision, I know how long it takes for me to make things look nice, and I can kludge some nice feeling into a game quite quickly, and with about 18 hours to spare, I had the tools I needed to start designing my levels and bringing them to life.

    PRO-TIP: I made my level editor in the engine. There’s a global variable (GLOBAL.mode) which I set to either “play” or “edit”, and gameplay code checks for GLOBAL.mode==”play” before updating and the editing interface checks for GLOBAL.mode==”edit. This means that when I press the hotkey to toggle, the game pauses, I can edit the level and then toggle again to see if the changes I made were good.
    Also, the levels were built on three “layers”:

  • Collision map:
    A tile grid with the various collision tiles
  • Decorations:
    Sprites that can be placed freely
  • Hotspots:
    Tagged areas that can be accessed via scripts
  • The collision map is the only part that the player character directly interacts with, and uses a (clumsily written) platforming engine to provide the core gameplay.
    The hotspots are naked objects that I override with context scripts, the obvious ones are the particle fountains the player can stand near to pray, but there are others for respawning the player after death, changing the colour scheme and making sure the player dies reliably when hurling himself into a hole.
    The decorations are static objects that only draw themselves to the screen, the implementation is also quite clumsy, but it’s good enough for the purpose.

    The Last Soul level editor

    The editor interface was mostly mouse-driven:

  • Scroll wheel to change layer
  • In collision mode, left and right buttons cycled the tile under the cursor through the available tiles
  • In hotspot mode, clicking placed a new hotspot
  • In decoration mode, left click placed the currently selected sprite, right click cycled through the sprites
  • In both hotspot and decoration, backspace removed the last placed object
  • This simple yet powerful system allowed me to design the world very quickly. Adding new sprites to use as decoration was simply a matter of drawing a new sprite in gimp and adding it with the correct name and number to the image directory. Adding new hotspots was only a tad more complex, in edit mode, hotspots draw to the screen at their location and display their number, I would jot down the number and the intent on my notepad (e.g: 12 – respawn point), and then I could add the appropriate behaviour to the level initialisation script later.

    All this added up to a fun development process, and allowed me to pace my time quite well. However I had quite the struggle getting my platforming physics to work, and the end result is a very hacky and dodgy system that doesn’t hold up all that well.

    The Gathering
    BdJ gathering at Kawenga

    I live in Montpellier in the south of France, it’s a nice placed to live, steeped in centuries of arts and science, a short tram ride from the sunny mediterranean beaches. Full to the brim with interesting and motivated people, Montpellier is an ideal place for budding game developers to meet and work. With this in mind, we’re working with various companies, schools and associations to bring all these beautiful people together and get them making awesome games.
    Last Ludum Dare we had 14 people gathered in the computer science building at the Université Montpellier II, the faculty paid for food and security, and allowed us to use their workshop. That was the first Baptême du Jeu event, followed fairly shortly by Global Game Jam.
    Global Game Jam was organised at Kawenga, a media lab in Montpellier, at the initiative of the students from the Master Fictions Numériques (Digital fiction) from Université Montpellier III.
    And now we organised our second Ludum Dare gathering, again at Kawenga, which brough 35 people together making games.

    We also have plans for our own game jam which will be called Fu(nky|ture) (the interpretation of this regular expression is left as an exercise to the reader) which will be focused on imposing genres and techniques, or maybe some strange rules (e.g: “you make the art for the person to your left”). We’re hoping to have this ready this summer, and you’re all welcome to come hang out with us.

    If you don’t have plans for this summer, consider coming to Montpellier, let us know on our Facebook group or Tumblr and we’ll do our best to get you a place to stay and people to jam with.

    Crobal and friends, post-mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 3:48 am

    Crobal and friends

    Mixed feelings folks, mixed feelings.

    I mean, I totally made a game in 3D, I learnt the basics of OpenGL, and I did it. I also learnt all the side stuff to that, exporting models and UV maps in Blender, texturing models with GIMP, and importing and rendering that shizzle with Java and LWJGL

    But there REALLY isn’t much to this game.

    I mean, people are getting used to my LD games having little to no actual gameplay. Solitas Exodae was the pioneer in the “pretty thing with no gameplay” genre I am defining. Solitas Exodae was followed next LD with Robot in the Garden, which didn’t yield quite the same success (more about that here), but definitely confirmed my distinctive “Hey this is cute, but erm… what am I supposed to be doing? Oh… Nothing… Kay…”-inducing games.

    Now understand, I’m actually more of a fan of gameplay-rich games, give me Angband over Final Fantasy anyday, but for some reason, during LDs I spend so much time tweaking the visuals that gameplay gets boiled down to pressing arrow keys to explore the world.

    So here goes…
    What went well:
    > I totally made a game in 3D, what up with that bro?
    > The character is procedurally animated, that was fun
    > I learnt Java (I knew some Java from school, but I learnt so much more here)
    > I grew confident in my modelling skills
    > Also, this was made at the LD gathering at my university here in Montpellier, France
    —–> This event went really well
    —–> There were 14 of us, and we had loads of fun
    > I finally completed Hexagon and set a personal record of 81 seconds

    What went wrong:
    > It’s not very pretty, especially for a game with no actual gameplay
    > It’s a game with no actual gameplay
    > I didn’t have time to make music for the game and I LIKE making music
    > I STILL don’t know how to make an applet, so choosing a Web-able language seems so futile now

    Here, play it!

    Scrot

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Sunday, December 9th, 2012 3:19 am

    I hereby declare…

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Sunday, November 4th, 2012 5:27 am

    I hereby declare my intention to upvote all themes referring to, or approaching the subject of, the end of the world, armageddon, planetary, galactic or universal destruction, and all other related concepts.

    To further this effort, I will downvote all other themes.

    This is, after all, the last Ludum Dare before the end of the world, as predicted by internet conspiracy theorists misinterpreting ancient and innaccurate caledars.

    My LD Experience history and WTF Aliens!? post-mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @DrJarajski)
    Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 4:43 am

    WTF Aliens!? is a Rythm/Shooter game. This post is a post-mortem of the development of that game.

    This post is also a commentary on my Ludum Dare experiences so far, I found my involvement to be enriching and interesting so far, and I’m going to tell that story before going into the specifics of WTF Aliens!?

    OMFG Aliens!

    My first Ludum Dare entry was for #21. That entry was also my first ever video game.
    The theme was “Escape”, and I recently played a tower defense game, and came up with a little mechanic of spawning the creeps in the middle, and having to place turret to contain them.
    I opted for C++/SFML which turned out to not be the best option, I had issues with memory management and classes, which I don’t usually have, but given the tight timeframe, it was difficult to keep things tidy and functional.

    One thing that DID work for me though, was that I came up with a simple, interesting mechanic, and rolled from there. Music has always been a strong point for me, so I made sure the game sounded nice, and I made the creeps green and said they were aliens in the flavour text. Hence the title I gave it: “OMFG Aliens!”

    This first taste of Ludum Dare has changed me deeply, I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve gained confidence, I trust myself to be able to think on my feet and get things working when everything seems to be against me.

    Solitas Exodae

    For Ludum Dare #22, I opted for a simpler framework: Lua/Love2D, and it turned out to be a good option. Making games with a high level scripting language pulls the focus onto the design rather than the implementation. Another benefit is the ability to change code and simply relaunch the game instead of having to recompile, which makes experimentation much more confortable.

    The theme for #22 was “Alone”, and to be honest, I had NO idea how to build a gameplay mechanic around this. Instead I focused on a quirky happysad feel, and then added a twist near the end which brought in a more disturbing aspect. As I submitted “Solitas Exodae”, I was dissapointed at the blatent lack of gameplay, but the feedback I got was AMAZING. People who tried the game praised the amount of emotion the game induced, and some even told me they had to take a break afterwards to process it. These reactions may have been exagerated for effect, but it felt great to have offered a game that got such positive feedback. The fact that I scored 2nd for Mood, 3rd for Audio and 5th for Theme confirmed this feedback, and I was excited that I could make a game that had such a huge impact on people.

    Robot in the Garden

    This is where things stay kind of good, but go downhill a little. Ludum Dare #23, theme “Tiny World”. I basically tried to reproduce the success of “Solitas Exodae” with “Robot in the Garder”, imitating the low resolution pixel style, with a few particle effects and a quirky audio ambiance. But this time it didn’t catch on, and in a way, I’m glad.

    I didn’t make much of an effort making “Robot in the Garden”, I never gave gameplay much though, and assumed that if the pixels were pixely enough and the music was quirky enough, then I had another winner on my hands. The truth though, is that “Solitas Exodae” worked because the mood came from within, and I simply rolled with it, whereas in “Robot in the Garden”, I never game gameplay much thought, and instead chased after a mood that couldn’t really stand by itself.

    The problem with this game wasn’t that the mood didn’t work, but that mood doesn’t often MAKE a game, instead in enhances a game.

    I’m happy with this game in a way, but I’m dissapointed that I didn’t take the unique chance that Ludum Dare offers to go ahead and do something new.

    WTF Aliens!?

    This brings us to this Ludum Dare #24 that we just enjoyed, and the world famous theme, “Evolution”, has finally gone through.

    The original idea that I had for this game was to have some kind of rythm game where the music would evolve as you went on, and your abilities in the game would also evolve. THAT aspect of the game I failed COMPLETELY, in fact, the only thing that evolves is that the game gets harder as time goes on.

    I made the game alien themed, and decided that this game was a sequel to “OMFG Aliens!” and called it “WTF Aliens!?”. In a sense, the aliens from the first game evolved and now know how to use flying saucers. Yeah, it’s a totally cack way of shoehorning in the theme, but I ran out of time.

    HOWEVER, I did what worked with “OMFG Aliens!” and “Solitas Exodae”, I chose something new, something that was just a slither outside my grasp and went for it. I like shooting aliens and I like music, so I went ahead and made them work together. And mostly, I’m proud of this game, it can come out last, and I’ll still be happy because I made a game I can see myself updating in the future, and I enjoy playing to try to get higher scores than my last playthrough.

    What I’ve learnt here is : Make games that mean something to YOU, and you’ll be proud of your game.
    “OMFG Aliens!” and “WTF Aliens!?” are lunch break shooty games with electronic music, a bit of humour and aliens, which always bring a smile to my face when I enjoy the cheesy brain dead fun that I get from them.

    “Solitas Exodae” I made in a odd moment of my life, and while it isn’t a game I can replay, simply because there isn’t any actual gameplay to it, it meant a lot to me at the time. And I think the emotional impact came from the emotions I felt I needed to express when I made it.

    “Robot in the Garden” doesn’t mean much to me, I’m proud of the technical feats, and I’m happy with the way it looks and feels, but it doesn’t carry the emotional weight that an “art game” should, and doesn’t provide the gameplay that an actual game should. I simply tried to cash in on the success of “Solitas Exodae”

    And NOW for the post-mortem:

    The idea of a game where tapping commands in time with a beat has been in my head for a while, and I was curious about how it could work. Note the key difference with a classic rythm game where you have to type the commands the game tells you to. In this game, you’re free to take your own actions, but doing so in rythm grants you bonuses.

    In the original version, the player tapped four commands for the four beats of a bar, and then the game interpreted those commands while the player tapped in the next four. This was frustrating as it was hard to figure what was actually happening, and things got out of hand pretty quickly. So I implemented a “ghost” that would interpret immediately, so the player could see what would happen next, but it became apparent that is was more interesting to control the ghost directly, so I made the player character behave like the ghost and removed the ghost.

    Another problem I had was syncing up multiple audio loops, which explains the lack of music in the game, since I only got that part working near the end of the compo. I would really have liked to have a little more variation in the music.

    Then the final problem was telling the player how to play the game, since commands are tapped in with the beat, you get one “move” per beat, even if you spam the key faster. So if players didn’t understand this, they would become frustrated at a game that responds oddly. I didn’t want to include a forced tutorial either, since they get in the way when you want to play a game. And a seperate tutorial meant making a menu, and also making some kind of seperate level.

    Instead, I added a dialogue between the player character and the commander, with speech bubbles which enhance the cheesy comic-book feel. And I simply go to the next part of dialogue when the player has performed the required action at least once. So players who know how to play can ignore the dialogue and get on with getting their high scores.

    What went well:
    – The game has an interesting mechanic
    – It provides an addictive experience
    – I like the humour and style I came up with
    – Speech bubbles were fun to code

    What went wrong:
    – I was a little too ambitious, and didn’t have time to implement some key features
    – It’s a little hard to communicate HOW to play the game
    – Synchronising two beats is REALLY hard in Love2D, and I had to “cheat” a little
    – Where’s the theme?

    Play here! I hope you guys enjoy my game, and please let me know what you think. I’m thinking of making a revamped version with different levels, more weapons, more enemies and more music, does that sound like a good idea?


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