About GrimGary (twitter: @@grimgary)

Newbie to the game development world within the last year with my project Epica Rex, and a game for my son Jumping Joe Jumps.


Ludum Dare 35
Ludum Dare 27

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Star Tribe PM

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 6:24 pm

Post Mortem on my game Star Tribe.

About three weeks fore the LD weekend, a mental reminder went off in my head.  Check Ludum Dare dates.  I quickly asked my boss for those vacation days.  It had been a while since my first LD some few years ago (10 Seconds Theme), and I wanted to try it again.  I had tried about a year ago without taking time off, but this didn’t work out so well. With work, I just didn’t have the drive or energy to do a 48 hour game no matter what the size or scope.  But this time I was prepared.

So the weeks before the compo I imagined the type of game I wanted to build.  I had been looking at the old Star Control games and figured a space shoot em up like that would be a fairly simple reach, and could be adjusted in theme when it was announced.  So I had a plan in place.  One that I ended up not sticking too, and much to my detriment.

After the theme was announced, I hit the ground running and started with some sprite concepts.   I could absolutely do a space shooter like Star Control battles.   Just needed to make the ships transform.  And for some reason native American themes had been roaming around in my head.  My original plan was starting to mutate already, setting me off track.


Eventually I ended up with four designs for a single ship in the next few hours after the theme commencement.


And those are what I stuck with.  I could have easily stuck with a single ship, with a rock/paper/scissors format of battle.  But I didn’t.  I then began to imagine a small squad of assistant ships to help each side.  Then it shifted to having an invader fleet against a desperate native population woefully unequipped to deal with a large unending wave of invaders.  So the enemy became carriers with huge compliments of light fighters and the player would command scattered small squadrons called war bands.

By Saturday I was into the code.  But I hadn’t finished all the art I wanted to do on Friday.  I figured I would relax and contemplate what my next moves would be.  I spent fourteen hours in total on Saturday constructing a simulated off screen battle system…which eventually got erased by Sunday.  Instead I opted to have all fighters be presently spawned and have the AI be calculated for hundreds of various fighters on each side.  Which, on my system was working fine.  By the end of Saturday night, I had the enemy and friendly forces able to engage each other at the very least, but so many elements were missing.

Here is where my problem started to come in.  I wanted to complete the game for the 48 hour compo.  But on Sunday I was running out of time.  I would have to shift over to the 72 hour jam.  No worries.  Crossing the finish line with a viable game seemed to be the goal here.  BUT.  For every new feature or set of features I had to test if they work.  In the face of time constraints, having a game that takes a long time to play for testing will kill you.  A play session could last for 30 minutes or so (well, it’s endless technically – but to do a full round through the features takes a while).  I had yet to finish some minor graphics, make my audio queue for sounds, and did not have key mechanics in (death for instance).

Sunday came and went with another 14 hours or so of work.  It was looking good, but I missed the 48 hour deadline for sure.  I was almost depressed.  But I wasn’t out.  I could still complete for the jam, which also allowed me to add in some cool music from Kevin McLeod of Incompetech.   Come 9pm, I missed having audio in the game.  Barely got lose conditions in the game, and didn’t have any win conditions.  However, it wasn’t a bad run overall.  Just a bit too large of scope.   It became a great concept for a larger game.  One that will likely never happen.  But I will add to game as time goes on, just not enough grand features to take it too much out of the way of being a space tower defense game of a sort.

I will likely stop using BlitzMax after this point.  The engine is fine.  It is still, after all these years still quite capable of being fast. But only when you optimize your raw code for your own engine.  Which, who has much time for organizing and assessing the bulk of code for optimization during a time limited development jam? Not too many people.  So I suppose it may crawl on some people’s systems due to the way it is written, not because of the tool.  However, Blizmax at this point has limitations that is drawing me away from it anyway (Deployment targets being one of them, and inability to easily create/manipulate rendering surfaces without going through some serious long winded GL hoops).

I should have just stuck to my original plan.  I’d likely have made the 48hour compo time limit easily with two 14 hour work sessions and made a pretty decent game in the process.


Star Tribe Updated

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 4:38 pm

Version Update – LD1.1 4/20/2016

* Balance Pass
* Fixed Enemy AI not targeting Friendly AI when player isn’t around
* Fixed Carrier Shield. Shows up now and properly stops damage till all fighters are dealt with
* Adjusted Player Life from testing levels to normal levels
* Reduced the size of the hit graphic
* Increased planet regeneration for player life
* Reduced number of Friendly Warriors per Warband
* Fixed full screen – Game should be in full screen mode now
* Fixed carriers not giving spirit to player when they destroyed
* Fixed Kill Counts overall

I’ve also decided to build the game up a bit to a game with more to it than an endless war in space.  I don’t want to put too much time into it as I have some other projects I’m working on, but I think a few new extra features and a reward system for successes would be nice.

I’m going in!

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 8:12 am

This is my official second time into Ludum Dare (technically my third, but one time I didn’t plan or set aside real time for it).  But this time, I took time off for the entire weekend and have everything at the ready.

48 Hour Comp

I’ll be using BlitzMax  (for what I think will be the last time.  It’s just the IDE I work with the fastest currently)


Corel x6

Unsure what I’m going to do about music, but I’ll have something by Sunday =)

Yo ho!

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Thursday, August 21st, 2014 9:16 am

I’m in.    2nd timer.  I don’t think I’ll get to finish due to work hours.

Had a lot of fun last year during last August’s LD48.   But life has changed a lot in the last 12 months.  So I’ll take my best stab at it.  Already have some ideas rolling in my head based on the themes I see on the final round list.

That being said:

IDE: BlitzMax
Graphics: Corel
Audio:  Audacity

This is will probably be the last jam I’ll use Max in, as I’ve been slowly moving over to Java/Eclipse as well as Unity/JS/C#.

See ya’ll in a couple of days!



My Ludum Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 12:28 am


Wrote up my Post Mortem on my website’s blog.  Had a blast! Now…to play a lot of games!


Done and done

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 5:02 pm

Despite a spelling error, I’m done with my very first game and game comp.  Can’t wait to play some other people stuff after a bit of a rest!

Despite my high score here, this was beaten by my son some few minutes later!  Check out the game!  How much stress can you avoid as it’s sent at you 10 seconds at a time?  Become an S.T.D. (Stress Test Dummy)! http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=27000

STD 2013-08-25 19-11-32-37

First Timer

Posted by (twitter: @@grimgary)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 10:26 am

Going to give this a shot for the first time.  Don’t judge…wait…no…do that!

Language : BlitzMAX

Libraries: Default


Graphics: Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo 11 X2, Graphics Gala

SFX: Audacity

Music: No idea




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