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Not sure if in d>_>I

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 12:41 am

Did not expect this theme to win 😮

So far, I have some generic ideas and one interesting one, but the interesting one is too complex to be done in two (or three) days to a satisfying degree and the generic ones are not motivating me enough to spend the weekend on them.

But maybe I find a new idea, or I find a way to down-size the big one or to make the generic ones more interesting.

Good luck to everyone!

Plantagone

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Thursday, December 17th, 2015 7:59 am

I wanted to make a post about my entry right when I was done, but I was having a bad cold, so it all got delayed and I’m making one now.

For Ludum Dare #34, I remembered a game idea I had a couple of years ago where you would play as a potted plant, and the primary method of movement is latching on to things and swinging your way through the world. The combined themes of “growing” and “two button controls” just clicked into place, and I decided to dedicate this Ludum Dare to create a prototype of this idea.

Well, here it is. You play as a plant which is loosely inspired by the piranha plants you can find in the Super Mario series, but the sprite I made ended up looking more like Pac-Man 😉

The two button controls are “pressure sensitive”, meaning that pressing a button long or short yields a different result. Tapping makes the plant hop on the ground, which is a very slow and frustrating method of traversal, making sure the player always prefers the alternative when available: holding down on the button allows you to aim for one of these green “hooks” that are floating in the levels. When the plant bites one of those, you hang on to it and swing back and forth. Tapping at the right moment lets you jump, taking your momentum with you, bridging gaps. You can also jump from hook to hook, again by holding the button longer and aiming during the swing, but this makes it harder to line up your aim, while you’re swinging yourself. I’m quite happy myself, with how the mechanics came together.

screen4

In the game, your objective is to reach the window on the right end of the levels, as our friend the plant prefers the sunlight over the depressing grey walls that are surrounding it. Yes, I know, this is very deep!

The game became a bit short (it has only 4 levels and the title screen) and there is no audio, which I will attribute to a super annoying cold that had to strike me precisely on this weekend (not sure if I mentioned it before?), so I can feel better about myself. Looking back though, I am happy that I didn’t just spend the weekend under a blanket, but made my idea into a playable prototype instead.

The comments I received so far were quite positive, and the more critical comments were really helpful. So I am considering to further develop this game after Ludum Dare, and perhaps release it on PCs and mobile, with more refined mechanics, of course more levels and overall more polish. I hope I can give myself the push to actually do that :)

I appreciate every constructive comment, and thank everyone who already left one!

Link: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-34/?action=preview&uid=33074

It’s taking shape

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 9:20 am

Got hit with a nasty cold, but I’ll manage. Gamedev is hard and requires sacrifices :)

screen2

I made the graphics look a bit nicer and worked mostly on the presentation today in the morning. Yesterday I got three and a half levels done as well as the base engine. Not sure how much I can get done, but my goal right now is to make it at least feel like a game from start to finish, which is why I’m currently doing polishing work.

As soon as I finished the death screen, win screen and title screen, I can fully focus the rest of the time on making levels and adding small gimmicks :)

Work in progress…

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 6:07 am

Got some basics for the game engine down. Place holder graphics for now. (Except for the pot. I stupidly spent too much time on shading it.) This plant grows and it is controlled with only two buttons.

Looking forward to sharing more.

screen1

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 2:48 am

Here I come, Ludum Dare 34!

There are two themes, which came as some surprise. The description says I can take one of them, or both. I think I’ll go with both then, because where would be the fun otherwise? (Also it’s a lot easier to narrow down ideas with more limitations.)

Tools

  • Code: Game Maker Studio or raw JavaScript
  • “Art”: Paint Shop Pro 6 and Game Maker Studio’s built-in editor most likely, but I’m always leaving this open
  • Sound: bfxr, and maybe a random music generator, if I need music

Currently brainstorming after a great breakfast. Got a sore throat from a cold, so no voice acting this time!

Good luck to everyone!

I shall be out :(

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 4:59 am

No inspiration, no motivation (anymore), no ideas.

The theme doesn’t jive with me for some reason, and three quarters of the time are over while I have nothing done and get distracted all the time by various other things. This is not the spirit that I need for LD, so I think my time is better spent on other things, e.g. in-progress game projects, and return next time!

Good luck to everyone else and see you next time hopefully!

Currently out of ideas :(

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 4:57 am

Hmmm, that is a tough theme. It should be easy to come up with ANYTHING really that is an unconventional weapon and make a generic platformer that uses that weapon. But I want to avoid making a platformer. I considered a beat’em-up but I am worried that that requires too much work on the graphical end, as beat’em-ups typically have quite a number of large sprites with lots of unique animations, if you want to make it interesting and play well.

Right now I’m thinking about investigating more time into a new idea that is easier to execute once you have the design down.

 

I shall be in!

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Thursday, April 16th, 2015 9:19 am

This is my third LD, and after my improvement from 1st to 2nd LD, I wonder how much and if I will improve this LD. At least I’d like to improve enough so that I can stay at the same level compared to others. The standards are rising and I hope to keep up.

Tools: same as usual, as I didn’t have time to learn anything new between LD31 and this one. The only improvement comes from my experience in the last LD, so I wonder if I’ll feel any different this time.

I’ll use either Game Maker Studio + HTML5 export (and Windows export for a downloadable version) or HTML5+Javascript with whatever public library that suits my needs, if my idea is simple enough to allow for it.

For graphics, I’ll use GMS’s built-in editor and my trusted old Paint Shop Pro 6 😀
For sound effects probably bfxr and a mute button.

Maybe a new challenge for this time will be to add music. I’m not a composer at all, so maybe I’ll try out some random music generators.

That said, I’m excited to make an awesome game and afterwards of course to play at least a hundred games made by others, and if possible more than last time.

Maze Escape Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 5:22 am

Ludum Dare #31 is over! I wanted to do so much more stuff, write a post-mortem and update my top-games lists and rate more games, but then Christmas preparations and university knocked on the door and said “Sorry, Gins, but you have to invest your time in us instead of LD!”

I still played a couple of games here and there but I didn’t get around to write these two blog posts within the voting time frame :(

I’ll try to make up for it now though, so first comes my post-mortem and in a later post I’ll sum up my favorite games of LD#31.

Post Mortem

 

This is my first one, so I hope I’m doing this right. I’m just going to go through the big chunks that make up the game one by one and point out what went well and what didn’t go that well. Every Ludum Dare starts with…

The Theme

The theme was a bit off-putting in the beginning, and I know I’m not alone with this statement, especially in the first couple of hours of this Ludum Dare. “Entire Game on one Screen” is a difficult theme because it’s so easy. And that it is so easy makes it difficult.

You see, “Entire Game on one Screen” has a myriad of already existing games that would fit it, starting with the very first computer games like Space War, Pong, Space Invaders, Tennis For 2 etc. Games that take place entirely on a single screen are what most game developers start with, so it’s not really a theme that forces originality as you can do pretty much everything on one screen, as long as you limit the scope. Platformers, puzzle games, point and click (I wish I’d have found more of those), strategy games and what have you.

So my first thought was: “I want to make a game that you usually DON’T find on one single screen.” That led to the idea for a metroidvania in which the screen constantly expands to show the entire map, making it harder to see where you are and what’s going on the further you progress. In the end, you would really have the “entire game” on the screen and look back on what you have achieved and feel good about it.

All in all, I was very happy with my interpretation of the theme, and the ratings I got for it confirm that I went in the right direction.

That the view expands constantly leads to…

The Graphics

For a game in which the main character ends up being ~4×4 pixels I felt it was a good idea to choose simplistic graphics that you can distinguish by their color or shape alone. The things should become smaller, yes, but not turn into a guessing game. I think the keys are perhaps the worst offenders to this design philosophy, especially the yellow one.

I wanted to add at least some special effect animations to the simplistic graphics but I barely managed to get the main game done in time, rushed the level design a bit towards the end and barely finished before the compo deadline. I was really happy about the one extra submission hour.

So what does this say about my…

Time Management

It was mostly good. Much better than last time, because I did not overestimate my time and I had a prioritized list of what I want to add and what not. I knew I won’t be able to add everything and I felt good about the things I had to cut. Let’s see how that affected the…

Game and Level Design

Enemies didn’t make it in but I didn’t miss them because I felt my game was already frustrating enough without the threat of death. Instead it’s a pure platforming challenge. I wanted the player to start out with a simple move set and learn new moves one by one, metroidvania style.

I avoided to handhold the players. This is a platformer puzzle, which means figuring out how to chain your moves together in order to pass tricky gaps is the meat of the game. All I did was tell the player that they got a new move and how to execute it, but then designed that section in such a way that the player is forced to figure out what the move does before advancing. In difficult spots I also gave hints by level design. I put red brick blocks close to situations where a dash attack was required and the player may have forgotten about it.

I was aiming for a smooth difficulty curve, but I think there may have been a bit of a spike after the red lock block.

I was also considering to allow the player to jump off the maze in the end of the game, but i decided it would be to cruel to have players die a few meters before the end when the rest of the game features no death, so I put an invisible wall there.

Unfortunately I can’t think of a good transition to talk about…

Sound and Music

My goal of adding sound effects has been met. Music not so much, as I’m not at all a composer. Also some people complained about the one or the other sound effects being grating to the ears. Thank you to those who pointed it out, I’ll make some new sound effects for a post compo version. Until next LD, I should probably dabble a bit in the arts of composing or music generation.

So with all this discussed, what does this say about my…

Goals

In my “I’m In” post I said:

“My personal goals for this LD:
– play and rate more games than last time
– Improve time management
– have sound effects
– get better ratings than last time
– rank high enough in one category to be featured in the final results
– win”

So how did I do?

Quite well! I played and rated 100 games, which is what I wanted to do at least and is more than the 80-something of last time. I Improved my time management, as mentioned above and my game does indeed sport amazing sound effects made with bfxr.

And ranking goals?

I improved in most categories, in particular in the overall ranking I finished in the top 50 this time (42nd)! Yey! And I ranked high enough in theme to be featured in the final results as well (20th), so it’s two categories even! Thanks to all the players who made this possible!

But most importantly, it’s not only the rank that improved, but also the star ratings.

Unfortunately I didn’t win. But hey, there’s always next Ludum Dare!

Conclusion

I’m actually quite satisfied with this LD, and excited for the next one. Nothing went terribly bad, I didn’t really overestimate myself so nothing that I didn’t accomplish came as a surprise to me. For April, I’ll have to improve my preparation so I can accomplish more in the 48 hours, perhaps participate in Mini LDs and I might learn how to produce music one way or another.

Stay tuned for my promised later blog post in which I update my list of top games that I’ve played.

My Favorites (60 games edition)

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 2:12 pm

Following the example of fellow LDers, here are six of my favorite games out of the 60 that I’ve played so far. Give them a try :)
It was really hard to put together a list, considering all those cool games I already played! I can’t even decide which is my absolute favorite, because all of the games listed here are so different and can’t be compared with each other directly. Good luck to all of you and also those that didn’t fit in here anymore, I played more games that I can see ranking really high up!

When I reach 100, I will update the list, and make it a Top 5.

And here they are, divided by Compo and Jam, and not listed in any specific order.


Compo Top 3:

SumoBall!

[screenshot]

Pinball + Space Invaders + upgrades? Yes, please! I think this is the game I spent the most time with, so addicting!

#CorporateCrimewave

[screenshot]

A stealth game like I have never played one before with lots of challenging levels, especially impressive for the short development time. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a future version of this in the mobile charts.

A Link Between Screens

[screenshot]

A Zelda-style game with (jigsaw) puzzle elements. I wanted to make a game like this once, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it fun. This game shows how it’s done. I’m curious if more will come out of this in the future.


Jam Top 3:

Entomophobia

[screenshot]

This twin “stick” shooter is super intense and very polished.

Midnight Delivery

[screenshot]

A cool box puzzle game with relaxing music.

Kenny’s Adventure

[screenshot]

A puzzle platformer with telekinesis.


And if you still have some time to spare, try out my own game, Maze Escape. If you do so, please leave a comment, so I can play yours too!

 

Maze Escape

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 6:02 am

Second Ludum Dare completed, and the result is this game here:

[screenshot]

Looks simple, but as soon as you start playing it, you will find out that there’s more behind it than at first appears and that it’s also quite challenging. If you like a good platforming challenge, this is for you.

I have a “comment on mine and I play yours” policy, so if you rate, please also comment so I can find your game and return the favor!
Please note that I prioritize web games, but I WILL play download-only games too (if running under Windows).

I also want to write a Post Mortem later, but I want to take a bit more time for that, so probably on the weekend :)

So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 10:21 am

Missed out on LD30 due to time constraints, but I’m in for this one if no unforeseen things happen!

My personal goals for this LD:
– play and rate more games than last time
– Improve time management
– have sound effects
– get better ratings than last time
– rank high enough in one category to be featured in the final results
– win

My tools:
– Programming: JavaScript (perhaps with THREE.js) or Game Maker Studio (HTML5 export), depending on the scope of my idea.
– Graphics: GM Studio has a quite good graphics editor with animation and games in mind, so I’ll use that probably. Alternative free software suggestions welcome 😉
– Sound: sfxr/bfxr seem like they’ll work well enough for my purposes.
– Music: I’m no composer, so I’ll probably avoid music for now.

Very excited and can’t wait to see what you guys will come up with!

Ramblings about my first LD

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Monday, April 28th, 2014 1:38 am

I completed my first Ludum Dare entry last night about 1 hour before the deadline. It was 2AM in my time zone. My original plan was to finish before midnight, because sleep is important. But in the heat of the moment, priorities shift. And completing my game to a submittable form became more important. And that’s how I went to sleep past 3AM. I wanted to do a blog post immediately, but I was too tired to do so. So what do I have to say this morning?

First, Ludum Dare is quite a ride. In only 48 hours conceiving a game idea, figuring out how to do it, and actually doing it evoked all sorts of emotion, ranging from frustration when a bug cost me valuable hours to questioning why I even signed up for this. Surely, on a weekend between two loaded weeks of work there should be more fun activities to do, right?

But in the end, the satisfaction that overcame me when something did work, and when in the end I had a little game I created out of nothing within 48 hours and can say “Yes! I did it!”, that answered all the questions and did away with the frustration.

[Screenshot]

Screenshot of my game, A Mole’s Life

This LD was for me mostly about learning. I challenged myself to use an environment I don’t have much experience in, and while I may have made a better or more complete game in my comfort zone called Game Maker, I have learned a lot. Even if I hadn’t finished, I felt that what I was doing this weekend made sense.

Looking forward to checking out the other games and to next time :)

Let’s see where this is going!

Posted by (twitter: @axeperimetal)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 1:32 pm

Hi, I’m Gins, and this is my first time. Very excited 😀

Usually I’d use Game Maker, but I recently started getting into JavaScript and THREE.js, so I’ll see if I can do something with that and/or various other libraries I’ll find, because I’d like to develop something that runs directly in the browser. IDE is Eclipse.
If I get really motivated for a larger scoped idea, I might fall back to Game Maker Studio, because that’s where most of my experience is and where I can create something playable the fastest.

2D Graphics will come out of my trusted Paint Shop Pro 6, Inkscape and/or Paint.NET.

If I need 3D models, I’ll only use very simple shapes, as I’m not very experienced in modelling and don’t want to spend this weekend on learning it. Maybe next time.

Sound effects will come from bfxr most likely and music from a music generator. If I need any audio editing, I got Audacity.

I hope I’m prepared well enough to submit something in the end.

Good luck to everyone!

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