About Gamepopper (twitter: @gamepopper)

I am a games programmer and indie games developer, currently living in Stafford.

Check out the games I'm currently involved with:
Secret of Escape: http://www.indiedb.com/games/secret-of-escape
Galaticus: http://gamejolt.com/games/shooter/galaticus/31462/

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 37
 
Ludum Dare 35
 
Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 33
 
Ludum Dare 31
 
Ludum Dare 29
 
Ludum Dare 27

Gamepopper's Trophies

Gamepopper's Archive

LD37 Entry is Up!

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 3:39 pm

So on twitter, I telling people how I didn’t really have much time to take part in Ludum Dare. Turns out I did, but less than 24 hours, and for whatever reason I decided to experiment with the Nape Physics Engine.

What I can say is that it’s a suprisingly easy engine to use, thanks to HaxeFlixel’s wrapper functions and Sprite class. I figured for the theme “One Room” what would be the worst room to be in, and figured the toilet. Hence, in Danger: Mondays, you are trapped in the porta-loo, balancing on a steel beam above while the wind blows and some kids throw rocks at you.

Play & Rate Here!

 

Ludum Dare 35 Results

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 2:55 pm

The results are online and I’m confident in saying I have improved once again!

As you can see, not only have I achieved the 100% Coolness ranking for the second time, but in all but one of the categories I have managed to reach the top 500! Compare this to Ludum Dare 34 where I only had one category in the top 500 (but then again, I didn’t do much effort and only allowed voting on four categories), and Ludum Dare 33 where despite having a better ranking in audio and fun, four out of the eight categories failed to reach the top 500.

So in a way, I’ve improved overall. I’m still aiming to get a category in the top 100 though, I was so close last year.

You can play my LD35 entry here on itch.io!

Thanks for all the Votes

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Monday, May 9th, 2016 2:29 pm

So far I’ve managed to receive 84 votes, and some really great comments. There are still a few hours left, so why not give a bullet hell a try?

SpinStar 2016-04-17 22-54-44-96

SpinStar 2016-04-17 22-56-01-36PLAY AND VOTE HERE

 

75+ votes

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Sunday, May 1st, 2016 9:30 am

First of all, thank you very much! It’s really great to see so many positive and constructive comments on Spinstar. It was a fun yet challenging 48 hours and it’s great to be able to make another compo entry after only managing to reach jam last time.

I’ve managed to play and vote on over 80 entries so far, and while there is still a week left of voting, I thought I’d show my five favourites thus far, as there have been many developers who have pulled off interesting and creative ideas based on the theme, and this LD had a really good theme.

2ShiftDrift by 01010111

Very well polished game that combines vertical space shooting with racing, while tracks can eventually get repetitive there is a really good challenge with multitasking between going along the track and shooting down enemy choppers and the like.

Statis Core by Eshford

One extremely good looking boss battle, I love my bullet hells and this one was both easy to jump into but hard to beat, but actually succeeding is very worthwhile!

windowframe by managore

As soon as I saw this gameplay gif, I was immediately reminded of an entry back in LD31 called Screen Mover. I definitely like to say this game definitely expands on the concept of your game window having an effect on the gameplay, and seeing a real window move around on the screen is captivating to me.

CYGLiDE by ocarson

Some really nice low-poly graphics at work, this game does an interesting job at controlling flight that takes some getting used to, but feels great once you get the hang of it.

BlobWall by Sophie Houlden

It’s a shame that it doesn’t look finished (and I cannot rate it on any category) but out of all the entries I’ve seen which imitates the “Hole in the Wall” game show formula, this is probably the best executed one by design. Not to mention the camera work is brilliant, showing the perfect angle for each wall and position of the player.

Now go do Ludum Dare proud and PLAY AND VOTE!

Spinstar Timelapse

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 12:06 pm

Do people still do these?

Here’s mine anyway, I like seeing these because progress is fascinating.

Go play & vote on Spinstar HERE!

LD Entry: SpinStar

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Monday, April 18th, 2016 4:18 pm

This is my finished compo entry, best way I’d describe it is what would happen if you cross Ikaruga with Super Hexagon, you’d get a difficult, fast paced bullet hell where you must switch colours to absorb matching bullets or dodge anything else.

To match with the theme, the boss shapeshifts and the player can shapeshift into one of two kind of ships a fast-yet-large or small-yet-slow.

I originally had both a HTML5 and Windows version, however there seems to be a problem with HaxeFlixel’s HTML builds being extremely slow even on high performing machines, even though this never happens on either Windows or Flash builds.

Vote for the game here or go play the game directly here.

    

Sunday Dinner Progress

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 12:15 pm

A quick progress update as I cook dinner:

View post on imgur.com

  • Graphics! I’m using Piskel and Photoshop. I think there’s a bit of an late-70s arcade feel.
  • Added a third bullet, the white bullet cannot be absorbed by either colour phase so it should be avoided at all costs.
  • Few more bullet behaviours added in for difficulty.
  • Save data added, game will save the longest time for each difficulty.

View post on imgur.com

Now the name on this title screen isn’t the final name, I’ve been struggling to come up with a good name so I’ve been asking around. I’ve now got four names I like and I’m letting the twitter folk choose the best one, so if you want to pick a name vote now before time runs out!

Saturday Evening Progress Report

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 12:47 pm

So I’ve currently been working for 7-8 hours, so my current progress:

  • Came up with idea at around 3am, a bullet hell where you must last as long as possible by avoiding or absorbing bullets like in Ikaruga. The shape shifting theme will be when the boss changes appearance for each behaviour type. The player will also shape shift when changing colours as well.

My 3am notes…

  • Got my HaxeFlixel project up and running, good thing I updated and checked the template the day before. I’m still amazed at how much has changed and improved in HaxeFlixel over the year. It feels like a brand new framework every year!

Testing the colour switching and custom particle/emitter behaviour.

  • I’ve got player movement, enemy bullet patterns, the colour switching and some basic UI working. I’m on good progress to getting the core gameplay done by the end of today.

Custom bullet pattern testing.

Hope you like what you see, I’m gonna have dinner now, then more core gameplay stuff!

Temptation Grows Strong…I mean I’m in.

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Friday, April 15th, 2016 6:00 pm

So I haven’t really prepared, but I think I’m gonna throw my hat into the ring and make something.

Engine/Framework will be HaxeFlixel, since I’ve managed to get it up to date, and I’d love to try out one of the newer features.

Graphics: Photoshop

Audio: BFXR + LMMS (if I bother to make music)

Grow Trees… Or Something – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Saturday, December 26th, 2015 10:57 am

So this is something I didn’t expect to happen, around two weeks ago was Ludum Dare, where we all had only 48 hours (or 72 for jams) to develop a game, however because I had plans to go to a party that was some distance from home, I had much less time. Despite that I still managed to finish something, although honestly was disappointed I didn’t have much to show, so I could go and vote on other entries.

Voting

What surprises me is that I’ve had some nice and positive comments from many people so far, obviously I wasn’t expecting overwhelmingly positive comments of people thinking a game about planting trees, letting them grow and chopping them down with no time and a limited amount of space was the best they’ve ever played, however I was surprised to see many people saying how nice and calming it is, how it’s very peaceful and relaxing it was to play. Among that, most people said they were impressed that I managed to produce this in around six hours.

Concept

Originally, I was going to team up with an artist that I work with in my full time job as a programmer. When the themes were announced, we were hoping the winning theme was going to be non-violent combat, and had an idea for combating enemies with dancing. I cannot recall why we didn’t go ahead with that one, but we did also have ideas that involved growing trees, so when growing became one of the themes we ended up agreeing to it.

Development

After recalling the development stages, I’m not entirely sure if I did only work on the game for less than six hours. After the theme was announced at 1:30 am on Saturday, I went to sleep. I didn’t start working until around 10am when I got on the train to London, where I did at most 1 1/2 hours (see above). Because of the party, I didn’t do any work until Sunday afternoon when I got back home (around 4pm), and even then I had stopped to discuss any chance of salvaging what time we had left to work on the project with an artist. Once it got late enough I decided to call it quits and try for Monday.

After getting back from work on the Monday, I quickly finished the last of the art work, added in some audio from freesound.org and uploaded it, so judging by the timestamps and when I took breaks, it’d be more accurate to say I took around 6-8 hours of the game.

In Conclusion

Regardless of how long I actually took, what’s clear was that I honestly should have planned my time better, either by cancelling my invite to London or not take part in the games jam entirely. By having more time, I could’ve made a more complete and fulfilling game entry, and probably kept both myself and my artist motivated to working together. Instead I went on an assumption that because I managed to create games in shorter times in the past, that it would be fine this time around.

Thank you to all those who have voted, I have been enjoying all the entries that I have seen so far. I’ll be interested in what the final scores will be.

Curse has struck again…

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 6:56 pm

Had a party on Saturday, only did around 2 hours (on the train towards London). Next day, couldn’t work on train back because I had to stand for two hours, then do shopping. My computer also decided to have issues that required restarting twice. So after 46 hours (with sleep) all I could do this time was this.

Hopefully I can get a bit more done tomorrow and submit it as a jam entry.

Feeling superstitious?

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Friday, December 11th, 2015 5:33 pm

I would make this my obligatory “I’m in” post, but I thought I’d make this a bit fun and tell you some weird or crazy fact when it comes to me and game jams, and in particular Ludum Dare: I’m cursed.

Now here me out, I am aware this sounds weird and possibly crazy (because it is), but even if it’s just a sheer coincidence or just bad luck, there is an unusual pattern that has occurred whenever I take part in game jams, and this has been happening through most of the game jams I’ve taken part in since 2013.

The “curse” goes as follows: Every game jam with an even number will either lead to no completion or failure.

That’s not to say that the jams with odd numbers have lead to roaring successes but the majority of my game jam participations which lead to finished and submitted games and some have had much more positive reception than I’ve hoped for, which is saying something for someone who hasn’t (yet) reached the top 100 in any Ludum Dare category. Heck, on my own Ludum Dare author page there are only entries from odd numbered LDs.

So if you are interested, I will show you my evidence and also add in some lessons that were taken from them.

Ludum Dare 28:

Most of why this jam went wrong for me can be summed up in the post mortem I wrote. The short version was that I was collaborating with another person, and we left pretty much everything from what tools we would use, to our game jam idea to the last minute, and as a result we made an unfinished game that we felt embarrassed to keep online so I reached out to Ludum Dare to have that game removed. I don’t have any criticism to give Code_Assassin, but we pretty much agreed that if we were to collaborate again, we’d definitely need a week or so to prepare what games we could make and what tools we would use.

Lesson: Prepare well in advance.

Ludum Dare 30:

So this one I did announce I would participate, and I was joined into a team this time. So how come I didn’t submit a game at this one? Well the answer was that a game was made, and submitted by the other programmer, LiquidBrewing, the game being Cardboard Giuseppe. However as you can see, no one voted for it, and only two comments, reasons why I’m not so sure. During development there were some issues, namely that one of the artists dropped out (meaning I ended up doing some artwork in order to finish the game up) and it didn’t help that I was away on Friday and Saturday. I guess it wasn’t a surprise that the majority of the code that I wrote never got used in the game.

Lesson: Leave some days free to work (especially in teams)

Ludum Dare 32:

I couldn’t participate in this one, although I cannot find a reason why. I can recall telling people I could not take part because I was going to be away somewhere, but I cannot recall what event prevented me from taking part.

Global Games Jam 2014:

Just to show this doesn’t just occur at Ludum Dare, here’s Global Games Jam. I’ve participated at GGJ for three years running and 2014 was the only year that had an incomplete entry. This one had a much larger team of seven people, and yet the reason we never finished was once again, down to tools. We all agreed to use Unity, a great choice if it wasn’t for the fact that most of us never used Unity before, and our venue actually had rooms with didn’t permit the use of Unity (although Unreal Engine was accepted). It was a shame, since we had an idea of an RTS where the visuals and language of the game would depend on what side of a revolution you chose (kinda like Command and Conquer, now that I think about it). On the plus side, I managed to write a sophisticated and fully designed graphical user interface, just a shame the gameplay never became fully realised. I later wrote a post mortem of the jam so you can see the full details of what happened near the time it occurred.

Lesson: Use and prepare tools you know how to use.

So whatever reasons of this, I’m still taking part in this LD, even if it’s number 34. Whether or not the incidents above are the cause of an actual curse, I still enjoy the learning process and hard work I put into making small and quick games every year. I look forward to seeing what cool stuff gets created and I hope, despite already having a planned trip to London…Ah well, going to London to see friends during a Ludum Dare didn’t stop me at LD31!

Last day of Voting- My Favourites of LD33

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Sunday, September 13th, 2015 2:38 pm

Hey everyone! As of writing there is one day left to vote on entries for LD33. I’ve had a load of fun developing my own entry, which I’ve gone into detail in a post mortem, and afterwards I’ve gone and tried out and voted on as many games as I can, which isn’t easy since I started a new job last month. So here are my five favourites so far:

Escape from Twump Tower

Honorary award for catchiest music track in a LD game, this is a very colourful game for such a topical storyline. Music is really catchy and I love the Megaman approach.

Intergalactic Love Machine

I love the dialogue and the text options, this is a really neat idea to base the theme on and the design of the monsters are really well made, fitting with the individual characters.

R-ADIUS

Very well made, I like the strategy involved in planning how to overwhelm the player ship to make it lose all its lives. I hope MrTwister expands this to give some more level and boss varieties, since I managed to beat the player after three rounds and the game just looped around.

Unsolicited

Brilliantly simple and novel concept, definitely liked the level of micromanagement you have to pull off in the later levels.

A Shadow In The Night

A very well polished puzzle platformer, with a unique jumping mechanic. Really good take on classic movie vampires with a great art style!

I’m really looking forward to the results, and see which games I’ve completely missed or had surprised me by somehow reaching the top rankings. I’m also hoping to see how well my game did, which if you are curious and wish to vote on, play it here!

Late for the Show Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Saturday, August 29th, 2015 12:37 pm

Late for the Show is what I consider an unusual achievement for me, I have now taken part in six Ludum Dares, as well as other game jams that take place in 48 hours and some that last a week. However in this case, I wasn’t sure if I could manage to make something in time because of other plans, not to mention already finishing a game for #gbjam a week prior.

However, from around 9PM on 22nd August to around 10PM on the 23rd, I managed to complete Late for the Show and submit it to Newgrounds and Ludum Dare. While I’ve had a few comments with criticisms about the game’s controls and difficulty, I’ve had several comment praising the graphics, audio, the intro and other aesthetics. Plus it’s currently sitting at 3.32 stars on Newgrounds.

There was some slight inspiration to this, since I have woken up on occasions to the realisation that I need to leave as soon as possible to travel somewhere, so I have to quickly grab all the things I need and would sometimes forget something. To fit with the theme, I also decided to include the story of the player being an costume actor, so you need to collect your costume to go to the theatre.

Gameplay of Late for the Show

First off, some of the appraisals, to those who said they really like the graphics, thank you. All the pixel art was done with the aide of Piskel, the online pixel art and animation tool. I’ve been using it since GBJAM 4 and it’s been great to use. I like how you can manage your palette, compare frame by frame, mirror draw and do it all online and offline by saving via browser. I do wish it had more options when selecting sections, since you cannot select and area and drag it by hand. I hope people liked the designs of costumes, I’ve already drawn a few more that I can add in future updates.

More costumes!

For those who like the music and sound effects, please send your appraisals to my best friend Lyserdigi, who accepted when I asked him for some retro music for the game on Sunday afternoon. He’s a professional and went through a lot of effort for the track, I think he even bought some sound packs for Elastik in order to achieve the 80’s retro effects of the track. The effects were done with the good old BFXR, a brilliant asset for temporary sound effects.

Also, thanks to those who like the intro. I wanted something that is simple and clearly describes the in-game plot, and some humour. It was really satisfying hearing some comments from Ludum Dare and Reddit saying they loved the intro and found it funny.

One of the criticisms made for the game was really short and only took place in one small room, while it would be easy for me to blame that on time, it was also my intention to set the “find the costume” part of the gameplay in a small room, because I wanted to give the setting that the player recently woke up and left everything in his/her bedroom. However I do really like one Twitch user’s recommendation of expanding the levels into several rooms and extending the time, giving more room to explore and possible hiding spots.

Early development build of the empty room

I’ve also had a some issues in early playthroughs of the game, there was an issue with how you check items. Originally, due to how collisions work in HaxeFlixel, you had to be walking into items while pressing the check buttons. This was really difficult to make clear so before the jam deadline was up, I quickly made a build that included a box collision function that allowed the game to handle the collision between the player and objects, and check if the player is still nearby. It’s not perfect since I had to reposition some objects to avoid some conflicts, but at least you were able to check an object without going through it.

If I had some time I’d like to expand on this game with some of the comments made, it would be great to make a larger game with the idea of being late and having to rush to your destination.

What went right:

  • Completed a game nearly 24 hours
  • Intro and storyline
  • Graphics
  • Music (thanks Lyserdigi)

What went wrong:

  • Scale of game too small
  • Mechanics that had to be fixed after initial release
  • Didn’t plan my events in order to get more time for Ludum Dare

Play the Game

Late for the Show – Timelapse Video Up

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 3:39 pm

Now that Late for the Show is out and the Voting Period is in full swing, I’ve just finished the timelapse video for it.

I wasn’t expecting to finish something like this in 24 hours, I’m usually comfortable with 48 hours because at least I have two nights to plan things through, and it didn’t help that Lime stopped working correctly around 16 hours in and I had to quickly reinstall it through haxelib in order to get it working again.

If you haven’t already, go check out my game and vote on it. I’m currently playing as many games as I can and I’m enjoying quite a lot of them!

Gameplay Sorted!

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 2:24 pm

I’ve got cutscenes, gameplay and menu sorted. I think the last main thing I have to deal with is audio, which I’ve asked a friend to help make some so the game will be a Jam entry.

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