About graebor (twitter: @graebor)

Hi, I'm a guy from Winnipeg who does a bit of everything.

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 37
 
Ludum Dare 36
 
Ludum Dare 35
 
Ludum Dare 34
 
October Challenge 2015
 
Ludum Dare 33
 
Ludum Dare 32
 
Ludum Dare 31
 
Ludum Dare 30
 
Ludum Dare 29
 
Ludum Dare 27

graebor's Trophies

Jupi's Jam Favorites
Awarded by Jupiter_Hadley
on October 28, 2016
Jupi's Jam Favorites
Awarded by Jupiter_Hadley
on November 14, 2015

graebor's Archive

Tower Trasher is done!

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 10:21 pm

shot1

Click here to play/rate!

After another round of polish and balancing, I’ve submitted my one-screen mini-RTS, Tower Trasher! Despite being busy and distracted with other happenings this weekend, I had fun attempting to work in a genre I’m not used to, and I think the result is decently fun for the amount of work I was able to put in. As always, just feels great to finish something and put it out so quickly :)

I’m really looking forward to rating plenty of games this time around, the entries look super diverse and interesting.

Almost there…

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 12:31 pm

LD31_2

Click here to try it out – instructions on the page

Well, I introduced some new unit types and made a ton of balance changes which I think make the game a lot more enjoyable. I’ve only got a couple of hours left to work on it today even though I’m just entering the jam, so I’ll try to polish it a bit more, but the main thing I’m missing right now is a name for it!

RTS basics

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 12:00 am

LD31_1

Click here to try it out – instructions on the game page!

I’ve never made an RTS before, so I thought I’d take a stab at it for the jam just to do something a bit different. Number one lesson learned so far: balancing RTS units is HARD. Anyway, I’m probably going to put a few hours more work into this game tomorrow, but for now it’s time to sleep. Let me know what you think if you happen to see this and try it out :)

APOLLO Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 1:12 pm

APOLLO_2

Play/Rate the game here!

In general I’m really happy with how APOLLO turned out, and I’ve gotten some great feedback on it already :) Just thought I’d do a quick summary of how things went this time around, how I improved over previous LDs and hope to improve in the future.

 

What went well / improvements made:

  • Aesthetic – I was able to nail the feeling I was going for with this game, through the look, sound, and how it plays. One of the things I’ve noticed in the past is how I stay deep in my comfort zone when it comes to visuals for my jam games, but I think I did an ok job of pushing things a bit further this time around.
  • Sound – Though I didn’t compose original music for the game (it uses a track called “Past the Edge” from incompetech.com), I’m proud of what I did with the sfx. In the past I’ve fallen back on basic SFXR noises, and though I did use SFXR in my workflow, I think I did a much better job this time of creating sfx that fit into the mood I was attempting to create.
  • Gameplay and originality – My 2 previous LD games suffered from a lack of originality imo, they each ended up being somewhat similar to gameplay mechanics that already exist. I feel like with APOLLO I was able to create a game that was entirely about my idea, and didn’t need to borrow gameplay concepts to round out the experience. I’m sure there are games out there it’s similar to, there almost always are, but I think I created a much more unique game than my previous LD entries.

 

What didn’t go well / areas to improve:

  • Perceived complexity / learning curve – I wouldn’t say APOLLO is an especially complicated game, but due to the UI and presentation it can come off that way. The main problem is that a new player is bombarded with a lot of information, and for some people this is pretty hard to process. I didn’t want to make a straight up tutorial, as I wanted part of the game to actually be about learning how to navigate the world and use the actions available to you, but some easing the player into the world would probably have helped a lot.
  • Visual clutter – Mainly, too much text. Kind of ties in with the previous point, there is just a lot of text onscreen at any given time. I personally like the aesthetic that this gives to the game, but to a player it can certainly be overwhelming. A goal I’ll set for the future is to try and do better at only showing the player what they need to know, and create better focal points on the screen.
  • Pacing – I actually really like how slow-paced the game ended up being, but I’m marking it as an area to improve because I think it’s important for a jam game to be really easy to jump in and start playing right away (something that I think really helped NXTWPN10). I think it would have been possible to do this with APOLLO without sacrificing the slow, looming feel, by doing more to grab the player’s attention right at the start and not forcing them to hold up and analyze a quite dense screen’s worth of information before making their first move.

 

That’s basically what I’ve been thinking about regarding APOLLO since the jam finished! Making it was a really fun experience, and of course getting to see people’s reactions to it was even more fun. Many thanks to everyone who gave it a try!

APOLLO – possibly finished??

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 9:34 pm

ld30_5

Click here to try out the game. This is probably 99.9% done, I’m still looking for any nasty bugs / breaking issues.

I won’t have much time to work on this further tomorrow, I’ll probably just do a few playthroughs looking for bugs tomorrow afternoon and then submit it officially a couple of hours before the jam deadline. Really happy with how this turned out overall!

If you’re curious, here’s a list of what I used:

  • Software: Unity, Photoshop CC, Audacity, SFXR, Sourcetree
  • Hardware: Rock band mic for recording VO
  • Unity asset store stuff: TextMeshPro, StrumpyShaderEditor, GoKit
  • A few code snippets from my past games
  • Music from incompetech.com (song is called “Past the Edge”)

Let me know if you can break this build, it should be pretty solid (for a jam game)! Now for some sleeeeep… yaaaayyyy….

Second build – outer space gets prettier

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 11:06 am

ld30_4

Click here to try it out, feedback greatly appreciated!

So here comes build #2! Tons of changes, most notably the adding of audio and some new UI pieces. The music is called “Past the Edge” from incompetech.com. Sound effects made in sfxr+audacity. My notebook is still overflowing with things I want to change/add, but I thought I’d throw this build up to see if I’ve missed or forgotten about anything terrible.

Controls are simple, mouse only. Click+drag to pan, scroll to zoom. Click stuff to do stuff.

 

 

Artifact hunting in space!

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 5:47 pm

ld30_3

Click here to play a WIP build, I would love to get some feedback on it!

 

Woohoo! It’s been about 24 hours and I’ve just put up my first playable build. If you feel like taking a break from working on your own game, give this a spin and let me know what you think of it so far :)

Controls are simple, mouse only. Click+drag to pan, scroll to zoom. Click stuff to do stuff.

Your objective (as stated in the game) is to find and collect 4 artifacts, without running out of energy or shields.

Things I think that are definitely still needed:

  • Audio/music, derp
  • Nicer win/lose states (win/lose conditions totally work right now, they’re just functional and ugly)
  • A little more visual clarity?
  • Better ingame instructions/player teaching?
  • Variation in content – different solar systems and planets are quite similar to each other

I am a Mole postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Monday, April 28th, 2014 7:03 pm

shot2

Woo, so I managed to finish my game, “I am a mole” (play it/rate here). Thanks for any rating/comments, feedback is much appreciated.

I only had time to devote part of my weekend to the jam, so this is the result of maybe 15 hours of work. Regardless, I figured I’d put up a quick post-mortem of how things went.

What went well

  • I got the “growth” mechanic down pretty early in the process, which allowed me to spend time making the environment more interesting and adding the intro/outro.
  • Was able to find a song that fit the mood I was going for quite easily. I’m pleased overall with how the audio turned out. (Sound effects were made with my voice and jangling my keys. The digging sound effect is the sound of my keys being scrunched together, muffled by a blanket. Audio is fun!)
  • Managed to complete a game that is something of a cohesive package. My main goal this LD was just to have the experience of finishing something, as I’m currently working on some long-term projects, so I succeeded at that.

What didn’t go well

  • Pacing of the game falls apart near the end. I’m happy with how things work at the beginning, but once you gain the ability to eat slugs, I feel like the pacing kind of goes out the window. I’m at least happy it has a distinct beginning and end, which my last LD game didn’t.
  • Wasn’t able to make my own music. This is something I always feel bad about, but I rarely have the time to make my own music during jams. It just takes me too long to make anything I’m happy with.
  • Gameplay concept is pretty derivative (katamari, flow, early stages of spore). This is something I struggle with during jams. I often focus on creating a solid/polished game rather than spending my time trying to dig out genuinely unique mechanics. Will have to push myself more to think about the gameplay ideas rather than the presentation.
  • I wasn’t very open during development. Didn’t post WIP builds or anything to get feedback. This was mostly due to the fact that I was sidetracked by other things this weekend. Definitely noticed that not being vocal about development and getting feedback made it harder to stay focused/motivated!

NXTWPN10 Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 6:01 pm

My game is done and submitted!

NXTWPN10_1

Here’s a quick post-mortem/summary on how things went. I’ll probably post some more detailed thoughts about how things went and what I learned later on my blog, but I’m posting here first to sign off on my submission and wrap things up.

The good:

  • Feel – I’m really happy with how the visuals and the feel of moving the ship around and shooting turned out.
  • Pacing – On Friday when the theme was announced, I spent 3-4 hours roughing out a concept. I slept on it, and then hammered away at it for about 10 hours on Saturday. A few more hours on Sunday (mostly audio work), and an hour’s worth of bug-fixing and polish today. This spread of hours across the weekend felt the most successful of any jam I’ve done before. I was never too tired/unfocused to work on the game, but I never felt overwhelmed with tasks. I guess I’m getting better at this part!
  • Playtesting – This was the first time I posted WIP builds online during a jam, and the feedback I got from doing so really took the game to a higher level and kept me motivated. I did in-person playtesting as well, but getting feedback from different sources really helped keep things feeling fresh.

The bad:

  • Difficulty Curve – Since all the weapons/enemies are random, difficulty doesn’t ramp up the longer you play. The result of this is new players sometimes feel overwhelmed, and experienced players get bored. This problem comes up in a lot of games I make, I’ll have to practice dealing with this specifically.
  • Sound Effects – I fell back on using SFXR for the sounds, which is fine, but I’m going to make it a goal to get a bit more creative with audio than just bleeps and bloops next time.
  • Unoriginality – At a glance, the game bears a lot of similarity to games like Geometry Wars, and the aesthetic is even pretty similar to a game I made previously called Return. I think I put enough unique elements into this game to make it worthwhile, but I still felt like I was using existing games as a crutch to prevent myself from having to make too many tough design choices. Next time I’ll challenge myself to deviate more freely from existing gameplay tropes/visual styles.

Now to give it a bit of time and think about what I’ve learned from doing this jam. Overall it was a very positive experience! Time to go rate some games :)

Possibly my final build

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 8:57 pm

Here’s my latest build: http://graemeborland.com/gamecontent/ludumdare27/

I’m going to sleep on it and then do a quick playtest in the morning. If I still like this build, and nobody has found any bugs that need fixing, then I’ll do an official submission to the jam with this build and write up a quick post-mortem. Whew!

Minor changes in this build, the biggest one being that you can now get a score/HP reward for going a whole round without getting hit, and for going a whole round without ever firing your weapon. This is so that if you get a weapon you don’t like, you can spend the 10 seconds focusing on dodging shots, and potentially grab both of these bonuses at the end of the round.

Adding more variety…

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:31 pm

New WIP build is here: http://graemeborland.com/gamecontent/ludumdare27/

ld_4

New stuff in this build:

  • More weapons / enemies
  • Local highscore counter
  • 1 second invincibility grace period at the start of each round
  • Slow moving / static bullets (like from the Fatty) are cleared each round
  • A lot of bugfixes!

I still plan to add more enemy types / formations at the very least, but the bulk of the time I have this weekend to work on the game is now gone. I’ll be able to put in a few more hours later tonight, and maybe an hour or two tomorrow before the jam deadline. For now it’s time to give my brain a quick rest and have some supper!

 

NXTWPN10 – second build

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 11:33 am

New WIP build is here: http://graemeborland.com/gamecontent/ludumdare/

ld_3

The major changes since the last build are:

  • Music / SFX! (the song is called Xperia by DIM.M, via jamendo.com
  • Increased the size of the play area
  • Player ship moves faster now
  • Changed colours of enemy death effect so they won’t be mistaken for bullets
  • Gameover/title screens

Let me know what you think, I’m going to try to add more varieties of enemies and maybe even some more weapons to make things more interesting. I think the biggest weak point right now is that the waves of enemies are all very similar.

Making progress…

Posted by (twitter: @graebor)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 5:23 pm

Play a WIP build here: graemeborland.com/gamecontent/ludumdare

My game is coming along! The premise is that every 10 seconds you get a new weapon and a new wave of enemies spawns. If you can clear those enemies with your new weapon before the 10 seconds is up, the leftover “bonus” time gets put towards restoring your HP. I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along so far, still lots of work to do though (mostly sound) ! Please let me know what you think, any feedback is appreciated :)

ld_2

 

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