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And I’m Done!

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 4:53 pm

So I came late to the party, as always LD fell on a weekend where I was jam packed, so I decided I would try and pack a jam in anyway! I had this afternoon to start and finish the game (and a cheeky hour last night). I got something built though! I used to theme loosely, everyone is making “shapeshifting” games … I made a “shape shifting” game, i.e. you shift the shapes around and complete the levels.

It actually turned out to the a pretty good puzzle game if I don’t say so myself, definitely one that I will be taking forward and developing into a rully released game.

Anyway, check it out if you want, http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-35/?action=preview&uid=7049

I’m in… sort of

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 8:10 am

So, in my previous blog post I mentioned my love-hate relationship with LD, I love the jam, I hate the timing, it is always on a weekend that I can’t take part, this weekend being no exception.

However, I’m going to take part anyway, I will have about 6 hours on Sunday in which to make a game and submit it, so that’s what I am going to do.

I will be using Unreal 4 and programmer art!

Flinging Bouncy Balls – And evolution of my LD26 Entry

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 3:12 pm

Hi,

It’s been a while since I was around these parts. I have a love/hate relationship with Ludum Dare, I loved to take part a few times, I would love to keep taking part, I hate the timing, it seems that it always falls on weekends that I am completely busy… an occurrence I wouldn’t mind if my life was so packed full of fun things that it were justified, but it isn’t!

Anyway I am posting here now because I finally did it, I took a Ludum Dare game I made a long time ago, finished it, ported it to android, and have placed it out on the app store, hoping to make £1 and call myself an indie developer.

The game I took was Chroma, a fairly simple game where you rotate the world to guide a ball from its start position to the end position in a maze, the game I finished with is “Flinging Bouncy Balls” and its nothing like Chroma, except you still play with a ball, and you still have to get to the yellow zone while avoiding red zones.

Ludum Dare 26

What happened? Well I started by porting the game to android, well, not simply porting, I actually rebuilt it, the idea was you would rotate the maze using the rotation of the phone, and guess what… it wasn’t very fun! Unless you like a game where you are manically attempting to juggle a tablet while not dropping it.

So I took it back to the drawing board and kept gravity pointing down, instead adding the ability to launch the ball around, the aim was still to get to the yellow zone while avoiding the red zones in randomly generated maps, but without the gravity rotating mechanic, it was a bit dull. So I added lasers, and missiles. And I made the red zones move, and built a whole bunch of levels, the result is something I’m pretty happy with, albeit not what I set out to make, but just goes to show how you need to let ideas evolve to find the fun in a game, and no matter how long it takes, you can actually finish things!

So give it a go, don’t give it a go, tell me what you think, or simply ignore me! Hopefully I’ll be back for the next Ludum Dare!


SS3


SS7

You can find flinging bouncy balls on the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.LimeGreenGames.FlingingBouncyBalls

Cheers

Android Games?

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 3:23 am

So, I’m away from my PC, but would really like to play some games, so post your android games here!

 

P.s. Dear LD please make it so that entries can be tagged and browsed by tag so that we can easily find things like android games!

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 3:18 am

Well, actually I was finished 9 or so hours ago, but then it was 2am and I had to go sleep! About 5pm yesterday I was really flagging on the game, it wasn’t fun, anyway since then I got some audio in and gave the game bit of a difficulty curve and it brought it together.

In the end I really did leave it to the line and the result is that this entry is not as polished as I like, I know of a fair few bugs.

I’ll post a full postmortem later on in the week when I’ve properly digested the weekend, for now give it a go and tell me what you think!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=7049

3 Hours 20 To Go – One Final Push!

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 2:43 pm

So, 3 hours and 20 to go, by my reckoning that’s 1 hour and 20 left for development, 1 hour for QA and bug fixing and 1 hour for submission, where does polish fit in? It doesn’t! Will I make it? Well, I think I could use another 5 hours for development, but I have beer, coffee and nuts to keep me going, so maybe I will make it!

IMG_20130825_221443

Running Out Of Steam

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 9:56 am

I’ve come to the decision my game isn’t very fun, and I’m not sure what I can do to make it fun, I think I’m falling down with the 10 seconds, my game relies on fast paced switching between gameplay and controls, as it turns out, 10 seconds is actually a long time!

 

I shall finish regardless, but I don’t think I’m going to hit what I wanted to so by submission time, we shall see!

Content Complete – Kinda

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 5:18 am

As long as you consider content complete as lacking any audio and an end goal, however the lacking an end goal seems to be an issue of mine, I can never quite work out how to end a game, so I seem to make them infinite till you lose. Anyway, I have called content complete with 5 mini games and an intro story line piece, I have designs for another 3 game types, but I think its time to concentrate on polishing up what I have, then at the end, if time allows see how many more games I can get in one at a time.

Some screens:

 

Screen3Screen4Screen1Screen2

Goodnight LD

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 5:31 pm

GameLogo

So its time to grab a good nights sleep, I feel massively behind on where I wanted to be, I think that’s mostly down to over-ambition more then anything. I got 5 games implemented today, I was hoping for 10 total but I think now is a good time to cut back and polish what I have, so maybe just 2 or 3 more in the morning ;p

Midday Check In

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 7:53 am

I think its about time I took a short break, I’ve been working on this for around 6 hours now, and would like to say I was halfway done, which if I was would give me the whole day tomorrow for polishing. As it happens, I think I took the idea of  “small and focused” and threw it out of the window. My plan… to create a whole collection of mini games which you play for 10 seconds at a time, before being thrown headlong into a different one, within each of these games I would randomize parameters each time, so that each mini game is never the same, with overall difficulty ramping up as you go. The overall goal to get through as many levels as you can before you lose a game.

Considering that each one of these mini games could probably be polished up on their own and be my entry, this is no small ask. As of 6 hours in, I have a load of game-base working, some graphics and half a game, so its going to be a long weekend and an under-polished submission, but there’s nothing like reaching high!

Anyway, here’s an action shot of my guy jumping over a pit, hes called Garry for now, but I’m thinking he might become “10 Second Tim”.

Game1

Im In Again!

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 11:55 am

3rd time around for me, I feel like I’m becoming a bit of a vet now! Looking to really expand my game this time around, my plan is to once again finish to a level of polish I’m happy with, but this time I’m going to push the boat out a little, hopefully incorporating some live recorded audio, we shall see how that one goes! On top of that I shall be aiming to support Silverlight directly rather then a post-comp port, which should add an extra layer of complication.

The tools I shall use are c# & XNA, using ExEn for the Silverlight port, Photoshop, bfxr, a guitar and some audio mastering software that I have not yet decided on. As for starting code, this will simply be my Ludum Dare 26 entry copy and pasted over then all the gubbin’s removed (way to evolve an engine!).

This time around I shall be free of my laptop on the sofa work-space of yesteryear:

IMG_2312

And shall instead be working in a real office, for serious people!

IMG_20130820_193943

10 points to anyone from work who sees this and works out who I am from that picture!

Good luck everyone.

Chroma – Analysis

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 1:46 pm

So, I have never actually wrote a post-mortem / analysis for a game, so here goes nothing!

Chroma is a marble rolling game, where you attempt to navigate a ball through randomly generated mazes themed and created to look like you are playing inside one of Piet Mondrian’s “Composition” paintings. The name Chroma “Purity or intensity of color” and is a reference to the importance of the colored zones within the game-play.

 GameLogo

This is the second Ludum Dare I have entered, therefore I felt a knew the ropes and as a result, was somewhat complacent. I didn’t myself nearly enough time to do things in, allowing other less important things, such as visiting family come between me and my laptop! The result was that I had to fudge a few things here and there, fortunately the theme came to my rescue, what better excuse then cutting mechanics then in the name of Minimalism.

In the end my game had 5 mechanics:

  • Rotating a maze so that a ball can roll around under gravity.
  • Find and collect a key.
  • Get to the exit.
  • Jumping.
  • A limited number of lives for a level.

By the time I had submitted I kind of wished that I had cut the final two, leaving as minimal a game as possible – just the 1 mechanic.

The complete list of tools I used:

  • Visual Studio, c# & XNA.
  • Photoshop.
  • bfxr.
  • Chronolapse for recording a time-lapse video.

Post competition I used http://exen.codeplex.com/ to port the game to Silverlight so that I could host a web version.

SS1

 

What Went Right

  • The idea! I got lucky with the theme, I had given it an up vote and a thought and knew what I wanted to make. The final game didn’t quite match original ideas but with a competition such as this, design has to evolve.
  • Work-pace, coming from a fairly hectic AAA background, a fast work-pace is second nature to me, one piece of advice I would give to anyone reading this thinking “I just cannot work fast enough”… hack, be messy, don’t worry about neatness, just get it done. If you care about code cleanliness and what people may think when they look at your code, format it once you have finished.
  • Sleep, its easy (I did it last time) to think “I’ll sit up till 3am, then get back up at 6”, in reality, you may get more hours in, but they will be of a very low quality, instead, on the Saturday night I had an early night, and a lazy morning on the Sunday, there is of course a difference, however subtle, between well-rested & lazy!
  • Realistic goals & tracking those goals, basically, if I had an idea,  I gave it a good think before doing anything with it, before heading headlong into a brick wall and losing 4 hours I would plan the whole thing, including an estimated time scale, basically what this means is lots of paper, and lots of lists!
  • Testing. It may feel like your just playing your game, but do it, and then do it some more, and be critical!
  • Recording a time-lapse video, I didn’t do this last time, I did this time, I will do it next time, it looks ace!
  • Randomly generated levels, randomly generating your levels is a great thing, it means you can have endless level and that you don’t spend half your weekend making and editor, and the other half making the levels, however…

What Went Wrong

  • Randomly generated levels! While randomly generated levels are a good thing they don’t allow you to control the learning pace of your game, I found I was throwing the player into an enormous level without a map. During the twilight hours of the weekend I very quickly threw in 3 tutorial levels which introduced the player to the game, at this point I thought all was well… not quite so! Now the players are asking, “why does the difficulty ramp up so much after level 3”.
  • No real game tutorial, in my experience players don’t read the read-me, or the “how to play” screen, they just want to dive in and learn as they go along, from my point of view I think an explicit tutorial is a bit naff, you introduce every mechanic at once, and almost immediately, the player forgets about them. The best way is to bring your mechanics in gradually, and explain them well… with reference to the above point, I didn’t achieve this. As an example, most people don’t seem to realism that the little dot points you to your goal.
  • Audio, audio is massively underrated, without graphics or code, your game is unplayable, however without audio your game is in-complete, the audio in Chroma is thrown in at the last minute and not the best it could be.
  • Physics, for a game based around rolling a physical ball, around a physical maze, my physics sucks! No more can be said on this point.

The Port

I like working with c# & XNA for a number of reasons, the main two being API familiarity, and the turnaround speed of c#, two very important factors to consider when working to a tight deadline, if you attempt to learn a new API/engine during the weekend, you are destined for failure! This approach does have its drawbacks, this is something I felt during LD25, and something I wanted to avoid for LD26, windows only games will not get played as much as web games, its a fact… I do it myself! Looking back to not attempting to learn a new API during the weekend, I went windows only, then on Monday morning decided I wanted to do a port, I stuck to the rules of keeping all functionality the same, however getting the port done was more stressful then getting the game made!

I had set myself a side-challenge for the port to have it done before the end of the jam, this left me with around 3-4 hours of programming time.

I ported to silverlight using the ExEn librarys, if a little un-documented these did the job fantastically, I would recommend anyone else who made a C# / XNA game to have a go at porting it. One major fail I came across was my use of primitive rendering to draw everything, something which I couldn’t, this meant I had to re-write all the rendering code, and the result was the game being a little bit slow in silverlight, and not looking as nice. However next time, I now have the knowledge to target both Windows and Web during the weekend.

Final Notes

The weekend was really good, I will be entering the next, and I will be spreading the word and getting everyone else to enter. One of the best parts is writing this, it really gave me a chance to reflect back on what I have achieved. If you are reading this, and have not wrote your own, then right one, and post a comment, I look forward to reading what you have to say!

Web Port Added!

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Monday, April 29th, 2013 4:17 pm

So heres me thinking LD was over, tonight I decided to tackle porting my C#/XNA game to the web, its not 12:15am, I’m up in 5 hours and 45 mins for work however… I DID IT! Chroma is now playable in Silverlight, on the interweb’s. (Not that anyone has silverlight installed, and therefore is bothered :p)

Next up, Android, iOD, WP7 & xbox ports!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=7049

http://www.gamexcore.co.uk/Chroma/Chroma.html

End Of Day 2 – Submitted!

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 2:49 pm

Loooong weekend, Chroma is now submitted though! There’s a few polishing tweaks I would have liked to make but time is now up. A full postmortem will crop up at some point during the week!

Good luck in the final hours everybody.

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=7049

Chroma 2013-04-28 22-15-13-27

 

End of day 1 update

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 4:07 pm

So, I have been fairly quiet with the social side of Ludum Dare this time around, probably a sign I’m more stressed then last after losing a fair whack of my day to getting the core mechanic to feel right, I wanted to hit feature complete by now and spend all tomorrow polishing however that hasn’t happened so I think the job is now to scale back and cut what isn’t necessary.

I think, just like everybody else I took Piet Mondrian as inspiration, hopefully my game won’t be duplicated by anyone else. I am generating random mazes based on the composition… paintings, using thick black lines, blue, red and yellow. The idea is you spawn on the blue spot must find and collect the key to unlock the exit, then travel to the exit. If at any point you touch a red spot you lose the game and are re-spawned at the start without penalty.

Each time you complete a maze you are teleported directly to a new maze with no real way of winning and no real way of losing, on one hand I like this, it removes from the common understanding that a game must have a “Win” and a “Lose” to be seen as complete, however on the flip-side of this is that the player will simply play until they are bored, and the player becoming bored is never a good thing. Its a catch 22 situation, however in the spirit of “minimalism” I think I will leave the game as-is, without the win/lose conditions for the sake of not complicating the game-play with something unnecessary.

The main mechanic is in navigating the maze, you play as a ball, moving under “gravity”, the ball will always accelerate downwards and the players input is limited not to moving the ball, but instead moving the world, this way you can navigate the maze by rotating it around the ball.

GameLogo

The game is called “Chroma”, meaning “Purity or intensity of color”, referencing the importance of color to the game-play, it’s also short & snappy!

Anyway, it is time for some sleep, a re-charge, then a fresh morning, fresh coffee and fresh ideas.

 

A quick game video at 8 hours in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuTJCrWEiLw (How can I embed this video?)

SS1

I’m In

Posted by (twitter: @@gameXcore)
Friday, April 26th, 2013 12:16 pm

Evening All,

Second LD for me and I’m in. Will be using C#, XNA, photoshop, bfxr & whichever random sound synth app I find to make some music. Last time was very stressful but I ended up with a pretty well rounded and polished game by the end of it, I think this time for the sake of my family I will take it a little easier.

Anyway, I will be taking a copy of my last entry and deleting lots of hacks (a.k.a 99% of it) and starting from there!

https://code.google.com/p/ludum-dare-25-gxc/

Good luck everyone!

Scott

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