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Robot in the Garden, a post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Friday, April 27th, 2012 6:39 am

 

This Ludum Dare, I convinced a bunch of friends to join in on the fun and we got together to go through the pain and joy as a group.

We made an entry each, as per compo rules, sitting around a table in the offices of “ACN Services”, a company ran by Jail-By’s dad. This allowed us to have enough room to have computers set up, one each, one music/sound design machine (with software and hardware that Minimicro and I have), and a machine with a webcam pointed at us, and we called ourselves “Team #define true false” or #dtf, and we made a website at http://xi.gd/ld23

So this is a dual post-mortem, with a “What went well” and a “What went wrong” for my game, and for the #dtf event.

What went well for #dtf :

  • Jamming with friends is FUN, programming fails are so much funnier when you have other geeks to share them with in real time.
  • The location was great, we had plenty of room, tables, chairs, a kitchen, a shower and space to sleep.
  • We ate well, we had plenty of fruit juice, and we had music playing all the way through on Minimicro’s awesome monitoring speakers.
  • Four of us (Minimicro, Jail-By, Flower Power and Niavlys (in absentia)) were on their first Ludum Dare event, and also their first game development. I feel they learnt a lot, and are hooked.
  • All in all, a bonding moment, great fun, cheese, music, beer, coffee, thousands of lines of code, 3 technologies (Lua/Löve, C++/SFML, JS/HTML5), random webcam shoutouts, fits of laughter.

What went wrong for #dtf:

  • Sunday was the first round of the elections in France, so Niavlys couldn’t be with us at ACN Services, which was a bit of a shame.
  • The internet connection was a little dodgy, which made uploading a bit of a struggle, and caused a few problems.

 

And now a little bit about Robot in the Garden.

What went well:

  • I managed to write quite a bit of reusable code, and I learnt how to actually do object-oriented in Lua
  • I doubled the size of my character from last event, and now he has 20 pixels of lush, high definition detail, compared to the measly 10 pixels of screen space of the main character of LD#22’s Solitas Exodae. Which meant I could make a 4 pixel highlight and a 2 pixel shadow, bringing this character to an unrivaled level of realism.
  • I’m pretty happy with how the dynamic light and grass growing worked out, it was an idea I had in the back of my head for a while, will do it again.
  • The computers were fun too. Since functions are first-class citizens in Lua, I could make a generic computer and pass the functions I want the computers to execute as an attribute.

What went wrong:

  • I SCREWED UP AGAIN! I only started on gameplay around 10 hours before the end, so that means I failed on my promise to bring more gameplay into the game.
  • I wanted to implement at least another few game mechanics, such as a gardening thingy (not sure how that would work), and a puzzle that used the computers. But you’re stuck with the two silly games you have there.
  • The coins don’t do anything either.

 

Hey guys can we have “Senseless violence” next time?

Team #define true false just woke up

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 12:42 am

Hey guys, we’re #dtf and we just woke up.

Hailing from the south of France, we’re a bunch of mates participating in Ludum Dare, most of us for the first time. #dtf hope to produce a grand total of five games (one each, naturally) and you can see how that goes over here : http://xi.gd/ld23/

I’m ill!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Friday, April 20th, 2012 1:49 am

“He took his vorpal sword in hand:

Long time the manxome foe he sought”

— Jabberwocky, Lewis Carrol

Yes, I woke up this morning quoting the Jabberwocky, stared at my coffee, fell back to sleep, woke up again, noticed the pain at the back of my throat, and groggily had to admit to myself : “I’m ill”

I’m still in, don’t worry about that, but I just thought the “I’m in”/”I’m ill” parallel was pretty cool.

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Saturday, April 14th, 2012 6:13 am

After my (scandalously awful) LD#21 entry (http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=preview&uid=1561) and my (controversially awesome) LD#22 entry (http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=preview&uid=1561), I’m in for LD#23

Please note that I promised a “Gameplay to the max” entry this time round (in this post http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2011/12/19/you-want-a-post-mortem-i-got-a-post-mortem-for-ya/), so keep your eyes peeled, and hold me to my promise.

My dad asked me to make sure that the atmosphere would still be there, so I hereby promise that I will not sacrifice atmosphere for gameplay.

So wish me luck, and a good luck to everybody else getting ready for this (hopefully epic) 10 year anniversary LD#23 extraordinaire!

Introducing Ludum Dare to my mates, and looking for people in France

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 7:14 am

First off, if you’re in or near Montpellier or Béziers in France (Hérault department in the sunny south), or willing to haul your way over for LD #23, please contact me.

Now that the dates for LD #23 have dropped, I’m starting the preparations for a friendly “jam” event to get people participating.

My grandmother has a house with a large garage, a nice little garden and a barbecue, I’m hoping to be able to invite a bunch of non-LD friends from my CompSci university course and spend the weekend making some juicy games for LD. I’ve spoken about LD to these friends, but most of the time they seem to react as if it’s some kind of impossible feat, but I know for a fact that LD is not only possible, it makes other “impossible” feats feel much more within reach.

If anybody wants to join in, I can look for accommodation options for some more people, and if there are other residents of the area willing to join in, we can possibly join our efforts and get some real action going.

Also, I want to urge all of you to try and get at least ONE person you know to join in for Ludum Dare. Choose somebody who is always talking about some idea they have but never get round to doing it, and get them to participate, even if it means strapping them to a computer and pumping them full of caffeine intra-veinously.

Also, if you have any ideas/suggestions/warnings on organising a DevJam at home, please drop me a comment, this is my first time organising such an event, so even if something seems obvious, it might just be something I’ll end up overlooking

You want a Post Mortem? I got a Post Mortem for ya!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Monday, December 19th, 2011 1:09 pm

Well that went well…

Oh, you want me to elaborate?

What went well:

  • I had an early playable, and it was just a matter of adding stuff from then on
  • I managed to make a 2*5 pixel character spooky.
  • My first tileset loader! I will reuse that!
  • My first 2D level generator! (Gotta love the sine function!)
What didn’t:
  • I didn’t find any meaningful gameplay elements that wouldn’t screw with the mood
  • Not much else
Stuff :
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what kind of gameplay I wanted, but I knew I wanted a sidescroller with a character exploring a vast world, in which he would feel alone and isolated. Inspired by the feeling I got playing some Knytt Stories levels.
In the end, that was all I really came up with, an atmosphere and a feel, and at the 30+ hour mark, I decided that was all I needed.
Some people have criticised that it doesn’t have much in the way of gameplay, and to that I respond : “Pssh, gameplay? In a game? ’tis for the weak and the poor…”
Yeah, I know, I dropped the ball on that bit, but I really REALLY didn’t want to kill the mood with enemies or some kind or convoluted objective, so if you want gameplay, move right along.
However, I hereby promise that LD #23 will see a “gameplay TO THE MAX!” submission from your’s truly!
But Gaeel, how come your game sounds SO GOOD?
Why you flatter me…
Beyond the terribly self-congratulory tone, I do want to make a point here.
Awful sounds are vastly superior to no sound. Please people, drop a few random sounds from SFXR and a quick soundtrack, even if it’s just a few chords and a beat.
I rate 3-stars in sound for games that have AT LEAST one sound effect, and I rate 1 star for no sound when there’s no technical reason for that to be the case.
One of the best I’ve tried so far, yet SEVERELY lacking in sound. Now put on a gloomy soundtrack or a city background sound effect in your headphones and play it again, WHAM! Instant PERFECT LD entry.
I know people don’t think about sound much, but it has a subconscious effect that speaks straight to the “Ooh, this is cool” part of the brain, USE IT!

Done, done and done!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 5:21 pm

Yeah, it’s done.

Enjoy the 5 or so minutes of ambiant, semi-randomized gameplay here : http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=preview&uid=1561

Let me know what you think ^-^

 

 

 

 

Solitas Exodae – Screenshot

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 3:04 am

Play the game here :

Windows : http://niu.uz/ld22/build/sol.zip

Love2d : http://niu.uz/ld22/build/lastbuild.love

Follow progress at http://niu.uz/ld22

 

Playable done!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 1:42 pm

Not entirely sure where I’m going with this, I’m probably going to keep things purely on the atmospheric.

Grab playable demo here : http://niu.uz/ld22/build/lastbuild.love

I haven’t packaged it with the love executable yet, so you might need to grab it from www.love2d.org

Go to http://niu.uz/ld22/ for screenshots and snapshots every 10 minutes

YEY! Christmas came early!!!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 2:53 am

My sister and her fiancé just gave me an early christmas present, An Archos media player.

That ought to give me a little motivation boost ^-^

Follow my almighty auto-updated page!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Friday, December 16th, 2011 5:18 pm

If you go here : http://niu.uz/ld22/

 

You will see a beautifully designed page featuring a screenshot and a snapshot of the code I’m working on, every 10 minutes

Feel free to drop by on IRC or drop me an email at kb@niu.uz

If enough people hassle me, I’ll provide the scripts that do the auto uploads, but it’s just a bunch of bash commands, using the ftp, scrot, zip and tar programs.

I am in…

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 4:14 am

Hello peeps!

Some of you may remember my though-provoking and revolutionary game from LD #21, the awesome “OMFG Aliens!” inverted tower defense, with advanced artificial stupidity, no physics, square entities and powerful ray-based bullet simulations.

I will be back for LD #22, and this time I’m dropping C++ and SFML in favour of Lua and Löve.

Stupidly yours, Gaeel/Jarajski

Post-Mortem (And by god, there almost was mortem)

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 6:19 am

Seriously, my top tips? Nothing about sleep, organising your time or what to eat. I’m not going to talk about thinking out your idea before going into it headlong. I have two tips that will help IMMENSELY :

– KNOW your software, now is not the time to try out a new IDE or use a language you don’t know very well, and make sure you can and HAVE compiled stuff with this software that WORKS. Trying to understand the quirks of VS2010 isn’t what you want to be spending time on.

– KISS : Keep It Simple Stupid. And I don’t just mean the concept. In general in OOP it’s a good idea to make classes for each concept, but here you need speed. Just make a BIG mainloop with ALL your code in it, and make classes for the few things that REALLY need them. Remember, simple doesn’t mean elegant. Simple means an O(n²) algorithm is better than an O(n) if it means you get the job DONE.

 

To be honest, the game I put out has the gameplay I originally imagined when I started pondering the theme. So in that respect, I succeeded in building the idea that I wanted. But I didn’t respect the two previous points, so my game is SEVERELY lacking in aesthetics, and features.

I usually code in Linux, with gedit or Eclipse, in C++, and I’ve done some SFML stuff. And since I was making my game in SFML/C++ I didn’t think coding on a Windows machine with VS2010 would hurt. Turns out it does. First, SFML hasn’t been compiled for VS2010 yet, so you have to build it from source WITH VS2010. But that means knowing how VS2010 works IN THE FIRST PLACE. I could have done it, given the time to consult a few forums and manuals, but time wasn’t available.

Another mistake I made was that I made classes for everything, the was a state manager, an assets manager, a game loop manager, a class for monsters, a class for turrets and a class for the world, a class for tiles that compose the world, and I think that’s it.

Now given more time, this is a great idea : OOP allows for amazing flexibilty and extensibility if you structure your code nicely.  My original design would have allowed easy creation of new monster types, turret types and tiles. It would allow quick and easy mainenance of code, and since only the asset manager had access to SFML, it would be a cakewalk to port to a different graphics engine.

While all these features are nice, it quickly devolved into spaghetti code as I tried to beat the clock with an ever more complex code, sleep deprivation and panic started to settle in by the next day and I no longer understood my own code, and even switching to my trusty linux netbook that I’ve been using to learn coding for the past year didn’t help. My code was a beautifully designed mess.

I eventually bailed and posted an “I’m Out” blog, sat down and gave up.

But then I came to, realised that I COULD do this, and with less than 20 hours to spare, sat down and did it right.

The new code is a messily designed beauty, there’s a huge, unwieldy main loop with monster spawning, monster update calling, turret spawning turret update calling, points counting, credits counting, event handling all bundled up in a big mess. There is a class for monsters and a class for the turrets, and they contail their own rendering code. I do everything WHERE I NEED IT.

But the end result was that I made a game in 14 hours whereas I totally failed to do anything in the 20 or so before.

 

I’m going to learn VS2010 now, it seems to me like an interesting IDE, and there’s some stuff I’d like to use, and I’d like to develop for WIndows, but I’m going to do it now that I’m out of a time-limited mess. Expect my next LD to have a lot more content, and work better on Windows (My Windows build still fails on some machines, and I have no idea why, if you have SFML1.6 for Windows, please help me compile a version that will work for everyone : http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=preview&uid=1561 )

Can someone compile my game for Windows please?

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Monday, August 22nd, 2011 6:34 am

Disregard this post, it’s not just a compile issue, I have no idea what’s wrong.

Let me know if the game doesn’t run on your machine…

 

 

I compiled it on one Windows machine, but it’s not running on two other machines, if someone knows how compile a C++/SFML project to run on all Windows machines I’d be really grateful!

A MacOSX Compile would be nice too if anyone can do that?

Grab the source here :

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=preview&uid=1561

I did it! My first LD! My first game!

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Sunday, August 21st, 2011 4:44 pm

About 14 hours ago, I gave up, sat down on the couch and literally cried.

I was hopeless, here I am, with dreams of someday making something cool, a game, some music software, anything, and suddenly realising that I couldn’t do Ludum Dare. I put my head in my hands, and tears started rolling down my cheek. First-World problem, I know, but I felt like I would never be able to overcome problems that lie in my way.

But I saw other people in the IRC chatting away about their stuff, and I though to myself that I CAN’T let this one down, I said I was in, I WAS IN, whether I liked it or not.

I sat down, and started over, my previous attempt was bloated, stupid and messy, the new one is messy and dirty, but it works and it’s my baby.

 

It’s an inverted tower-defense type game. Aliens spawn in the middle and try to escape (they are VERY stupid and seek to infect humanity with their stupidity, luckily this means they have trouble finding their way, and grunt incoherently instead), the player can place turrets to shoot them down.

Turrets have 100 ammo and dissapear when they run out.

Turrets cost 100 credits to place.

Aliens take 20 hits to die, and give 20 credits when they die.

This means placing turrets needs to be a careful choice, because you need the turret to actually do some shooting to stay level.

The game ends if an Alien escapes.

Every alien spawned except for the first bunch awards the player with a point, keeping the aliens from escaping for as long as possible is how you score.

You will evetually lose as the mob spawn rate overcomes the turret’s ability to kill then.

 

It’s only been tested on 2 machines, my CrunchBang Debian 64bit netbook, and a Windows7 machine that I don’t really know the specs of (it’s an i7, so it’s probably 64bit)

 

Please, test it and tell me what you think.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6549099/OMFGA.zip

 

Almost done (on Linux), any Windows users with VS2008 and SFML out there?

Posted by (twitter: @_Gaeel_)
Sunday, August 21st, 2011 12:52 pm

I actually have a machine running VS2008 and SFML, but for some reason the executable file just pumps gibberish in the console and doesn’t display a game.

 

So if someone with more VS2008/SFML experience out there is willing to give it a shot and compile it for Windows for me, I will be eternally grateful.

 

Let me know if you can help at sugardood@gmail.com or as a comment to this post. I’m just adding the sfx at the mo, so it’s not ready quite yet…

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