About GreatBigJerk (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 29

GreatBigJerk's Trophies

GreatBigJerk's Archive

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Friday, August 26th, 2016 9:18 pm

So this will be my second Ludum Dare. I’m stoked! I’ve been in a rut and hope this will help (I’m actually following a list I made to keep me motivated a while back: http://greatbigjerk.com/2015/02/21/staying-motivated-for-side-projects/).

Since there’s no scoring or anything, I’ll be doing the jam this time around. I’ll still be mostly following the rules of the compo, but having some extra time will be nice.

My game will be titled: “Get me out of here!”, and it will be a Vive VR room escape game. Instead of hugely involved set of puzzles to escape the room, I’m going to rely on physical interactions with the environment and the pressure of a time limit.

In this game you will wake up in a room with a voice blaring over a loudspeaker telling you that you must escape the room before a bomb goes off. From there you will have to take in your surroundings and formulate a plan to escape. There will be objects like boarded up windows and locked doors. You will then have to search the room for items that will help you. Maybe if you scrounge through boxes, you’ll find a key, or maybe you’ll find a pipe or other object to smash through the boards barring the window.

After you find your way out and escape, you will encounter a new room with a new challenge, and the game will continue until you fail.

So what does this have to do with the theme of ancient technology? Well, if you get through enough rooms, you might find out (assuming that I finish the last bit)!

The last stretch

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Monday, May 19th, 2014 5:05 pm

I’m probably not going to find out the results of the Ludum Dare until tomorrow. I spent the long weekend (Victoria Day in Canada) hiking in the woods, and I’m going to crash soon.

I want to say before it’s all said and done that everyone did a fantastic job! I played and rated 350 games, and there were so many outstanding games that I lost count. I hope one of those wins this thing!

As for my game (Kill or Kill ), as I’ve said before I’m making it into a full proper release. The end result probably won’t resemble the Dare game too much, I’m taking the core ideas behind them and putting them into a more solid package. I’m proud of what I made, but it definitely couldn’t work as a complete game that I could sell. I hope to have something new to show in the near future.

This has been an amazing experience, and I really hope that everyone who participated got what they wanted from the experience!

Kill or Kill: Starting re-designs for the full game

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Monday, May 5th, 2014 4:13 pm

newCharMockup

That’s the new main character (more or less) I’ve designed for the new iteration of Kill or Kill.

I liked the general idea behind the old character, but I really didn’t feel that he was quite up to snuff for a proper full game. I fought with trying to sketch out new looks for our main guy, most of them were terrible, or would have required artistic talent WAY beyond what I’m capable of. Then today while chatting with a coworker on Google Hangouts, I made a dumb thing with emoticons:

inspiration

That’s all it took and I knew what I wanted to make. The design is intended with my abilities in mind, I can pretty much draw goofy faces, and that’s about it, so I focused on that.

The bloody mess was added in Photoshop, but I want to actually have a game mechanic based around that. Blood and gore will freak people out, so you’ll have to manage your crime scenes and clean up after yourself to prevent getting hunted down.

Oh, and he will be animated. I didn’t have time to do any animations in time for the competition, but I’m getting a start on it now. Here’s a super rough demo animation I started working on:

walkCycle

 

It might be simple and badly made, but it’s helping to keep me motivated :)

 

PSA: Please make sure web games aren’t downloads

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 9:50 am

For the vast majority of games, this isn’t an issue. But some people have put downloads for desktop versions of their games down as web games. Mislabeled games make for a frustrating experience. Even worse are the people who put web games as downloads! Host it somewhere! There are TONS of free sites you can host your web games on!

It doesn’t stop me from playing the game, but it does add frustration.

Postmortem – Kill or Kill: There is no die

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 4:30 pm

Click to play

Introduction

This was my first Ludum Dare, I’ve taken part in other game jams before, but never one that was 48 hours. It was intense! I sat at my computer chugging beer right up until the theme was announced, and then I started work immediately.

In the first 20 minutes I figured out roughly what I was going to do. My quick brainstorming ideas were as follows:

  • Shark sim
  • Mining game
  • Something to do with skin
  • A game about psychopaths

Once I go to the last one, I dropped all other ideas immediately. In hindsight, I’m really glad that I did. There are many submissions that the first three ideas cover, but only a few about being crazy.

I started sketching the main character and started thinking about game mechanics that would have lots of uses. The biggest mechanic I used was the ability to drag things. Being able to drag things meant I could drag dead bodies and other things too. Then it hit me, I could drag garbage bags and do other menial chores!

From there, things fell into place, and I worked constantly right up until I submitted the game. I had more grandiose features in mind originally, but I’m happy with what I have.

The main gameplay loop can be summarized by:

  • Do a mundane chore and get a quest to murder someone/thing from an inanimate object
  • Kill the person/thing while avoiding cops
  • Drop the body off at a disposal area and resume chores

Tools

  • Unity
    I often call Unity my “one true love”. I don’t get to use Unity in my day job much any more, but man is it fun and easy to work with. Really though, I’ve yet to find a game engine or development tool that rivals it in both ease of use and power.
  • 2D Toolkit
    This goes hand-in-hand with Unity. Sure there’s now built-in support for 2D, but man is it weak compared to 2D Toolkit. If you’re planning on seriously making a 2D game with Unity, go straight for 2D Toolkit, and you’ll have a MUCH more enjoyable life.
  • Adobe Illustrator
    I have professional artist friends who look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about how much I love Illustrator (they prefer Flash). I’m not great at drawing, but I can see things in my head fairly clearly. The vector drawing tools in Illustrator let me draw and fine-tune shapes until I get something that resembles what I imagined.
  • Adobe Photoshop
    I used this for the intro and end screens. I also used it for cutting up the tile sheets I drew in Illustrator.
  • Magix Music Maker
    I call this “Fruity Loops for idiots”. I have next to no musical talent, but I understand when something sounds okay, and when it sounds like garbage. Magix lets you take pre-made music loops and slap them together with some simple editing tools. The best thing is that the loops they provide having timing information, which it uses to auto adjust to match the song’s tempo. So if you find a sick guitar track in an unrelated pack, and Magix will try to figure out the timing to make it work with your song. It doesn’t always work, but I’ve yet to get terribly stuck with it.
  • Bsfxr
    It generates 8-bit sound effects. I think most people use this, or some other variant of sfxr. I would have preferred to edit sounds from Freesound.org, but the competition rules seemed to not jive with that.

What went right

  • The tone of the game – From the outset, I wanted to make something dumb. Mixing up happy-go-lucky feelings with horrible murder achieved that.
  • The humor – I relied a lot on references to things and meta-humor. It’s low hanging fruit, and generally funny stuff. I also love American Psycho, which was pretty clear to most people 😀
  • The art style – I went for very simple things that didn’t take a lot of effort to draw, and it resulted in a  silly but clean aesthetic. I kind of went for a different aesthetic entirely for the intro and lose screen art. That’s mainly because I was trying a bunch of things in photoshop and found something I thought looked cool by accident.
  • The music – A lot of people seem to really pick up on the music, the best part is that I spent maybe two hours making it. Magix is a godsend, seriously, you should get it.
  • Dialogue on everything! – I put in a dialogue window after deciding to make the random objects for your chores be your quest givers. In the last couple hours I decided to use that simple dialogue system on everything you could interact with in-game. It led to a lot of extra content with very little extra work.
  • The controls – Arrow keys and the space bar do everything. Simple and easy to pick up on short order.
  • Being able to kill everyone – Okay, some people don’t like this. I do. I grew up playing games like Fallout 1 & 2 where you could kill EVERYONE if you wanted to, you didn’t have to, but you could. I think for a small game like this, it’s a fun little side thing to do.
  • The title – “Kill or Kill: There is no die” is both a play on a Yoda quote, and an attempt to make a title that looks like a poorly translated Japanese game name. It also coincidentally sounds similar to Kill la Kill, which is just a funny connection to make if you know anything about that.

What went wrong

  • Collision boxes – Man oh man they went wrong! There are two bad decisions that make the hit detection really bad:
    – I used iTween to move NPCs around, this meant physics updates weren’t syncing with character positions. This means you can walk through people and sometimes mess up a kill because you couldn’t hit a person. The player uses a Unity character controller, and every character really should have.
    – I rotated stuff 90 degree when they died, the hit boxes didn’t always play nice with this. I fixed most of them, but people really have trouble with that damn cat…
  • The view area – Your field of view is super limited, this means you can’t tell if a cop is coming nearby unless you keep a constant eye on the minimap.
  • The camera – The camera often has to play catch up when you move fast. I wanted smooth movement instead of a teleporting camera, but I should have made the camera move WAY faster.
  • Eagle eyed cops – Cops can see you pretty much as soon as their gun is on screen and is facing you. I really needed to reduce the range on the cop vision. On the bright side, it does make for the occasional jump scare :)
  • Not enough objective arrow updates – Each quest has only one location for the quest arrow to point to. This means that all kill quests leave you guessing where to go after you kill your target. People often don’t even realize that they have to drag the body somewhere to get rid of it.

Next steps

  • Make a full game – I want to take the general idea of what I have, and make it work as a full PC game that I actually feel proud of putting up on Steam. I think the game concept will work with some major changes to the mechanics and presentation. This means that most of what I’ve made will end up getting ditched, or entirely re-written. This is why I didn’t put out a bug fix build or anything, because I don’t plan to keep much of the original codebase.What follows are my rough plans for the full game…
  • Level based structure – I want each “day” of chores to represent a level in a different area. For example: in a shopping mall, at the grocery store, working a desk job in an office.
  • A focus on stealth gameplay – I want to make a “Metal Gear Solid Lite” style of stealth system, with leaning around corners, going prone, and enemies that hunt you down.
  • A crime scene cleanup mechanic – Players should leave a mess if they kill someone in a brutal manner. NPCs should freak the hell out and alert the police if they see it. I want to add a system in place for cleaning up after yourself so that you can prevent trouble. This also means you might get caught while cleaning up a crime scene and have to kill the witness.
  • A way to do clean kills – I’d like to have things that would make your kills less noticeable. This could be a tarp you lay down, or choking someone out with rope. These methods will likely take longer put into place, meaning you might miss your kill if you aren’t on the ball.
  • A “chaos” system – As you kill people, and the police take notice. I want NPCs to act more cautious and paranoid. This could also mean the NPCs yell and draw attention. Eventually, if you let chaos build up too much, the cops will put out an APB and hunt you down. Your goal will be to keep a tidy quiet crime scene whenever possible.
  • Less linear levels – I want to give players a list of mundane objectives to complete, and a list of targets to dispose of. I want them to be complete them out of order if they want to, and are able to actually do it.
  • Improvised weapons – At times, I want you to have to grab whatever’s nearby to achieve your kill. This will likely also require a durability system to prevent people from exploiting a single overpowered clean kill item repeatedly.
  • Insanity effects – You will still be crazy, and things will still talk to you, but I want to take it further. I want the main character to flat out hallucinate, both with visuals and sounds. I want the players to second guess what they see and hear at times. A game like this needs to be completely weird.

If any of this interests you, please follow me on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/JeremyMcCurdy

Say hello! I’m always up for making friends in the game dev community! I might also reach out for help if I manage to make good progress on the game.

Thanks for reading!

Done…ish!

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 3:47 pm

My submission is now out in the wild!
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=36263

There are issues, but nothing game breaking. I really didn’t think I’d manage to get this far over the competition. I’m definitely going to make submissions for future Ludum Dares!

 

The day’s nearly up.

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 5:21 pm

So today’s running to an end. I could go burning the midnight oil again, but I think I should rest up to finish tomorrow off strong. There’s one major bit of functionality left to go, and a few minor things to make the game actually a… well, game.

Things done:

  • Basic play controls
  • Some art assets (environment stuff, characters, and miscellaneous junk)
  • Dragging things (objects and dead bodies)
  • Dropping things
  • Disposing things (drop next to specific game objects)
  • Killing NPCs
  • NPCs that wander between waypoints
  • Dialog windows for inanimate objects to talk to you
  • A very simple quest objective system
  • Some basic UI
  • A VERY rough start on a couple music tracks
  • A win condition (complete all quest objectives for the level)

Things I HAVE to do:

  • Basic cop AI (see player dragging dead person using a vision cone, shooting player dead)
  • Player death, level restart
  • Level management
  • Multiple levels
  • Some sort of game intro, and payoff for winning all levels
  • Screen effects to make up for the lack of animation (screen going red during a kill, fading to black during disposal, etc..)
  • Some sound effects (will also help make up for lack of animations)

Things I might do:

  • More general art (characters, environment, objects)
  • Clean up the music tracks to not suck as much
  • Minimap improvements (make it render different assets)

I’m probably forgetting stuff… It always happens. Next time I do one of these, I’m definitely going to aim for a lower scope of game. I’m probably not going to have something solid by the end, but I hope it’s something I can expand on after the competition.

A couple progress shots:

Some slight progress

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 7:51 am

I’m starting to get some things actually happening. I’ve got a very basic dragging mechanics in now. I’ve got the start of a minimap, if I have time, I’ll have it render different visuals to make it easier to follow. Going to try and make it a little better, and then make some dynamic dialog messages.

Moving along

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 5:16 am

Went to bed at 2am, got up at the crack of 9am.

The theme is “beneath the surface”, so my game is going to be about a psychopath who has to go about his daily chores while killing certain people he feels compelled to go after, and hiding their bodies.

You will be able to kill people by using a knife, and then you will have to drag their corpses to hiding spots. There’s still a lot to flesh out, so I’m hoping some it comes to me while coding.

I’m in! Let’s get this party started!

Posted by (twitter: @JeremyMcCurdy)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 5:45 pm

This is my first Ludum Dare. Less than a half hour to go, and I’m stoked! I’ve participated in game jams before, but most were much longer.

48 hours is going to be intense, but I’ve stocked up on the essentials: Junk food, caffeine, and beer. My goal is to make something tremendously dumb that’s hopefully also fun to play… but mostly dumb. I’m going to be working in Unity with my trusty old standby from the asset store: 2D Toolkit. I’m kind of on the fence about also using AutoTileGen, it seems cool, but it’s also horribly broken in some crucial ways. I guess we’ll see what the theme inspires.

Anyway, enough rambling….

[cache: storing page]