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Seattle Condo Creator – Post Mort ‘Em

Posted by
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 9:23 pm

I spent the preceding days before LD35 looking over the remaining themes and trying to decide which one was the most generic, least inspiring, and therefore had the greatest chance of being voted on. I pegged “Mutation” as the theme, but “Shapeshifter” won out. Originally I thought of a puzzle game where you’d move vertices on a polygon to fit into holes. For some reason this evolved into buildings, and I though “What if I made something like “Be A Great Artist in Just 10 Seconds” but with 3d objects. Buildings came into this somehow. And the game was going to be about designing weird buildings for an unnamed oil-rich country. Somehow that changed to Seattle. The rest started falling into place.ScreenShot1

What Went Right:

  • Deciding gameplay didn’t matter.
    • 48 hours is not a lot of time, and I wasn’t thrilled about the theme. Plus, not having an objective freed up the game to be about something else. At the core, I wanted the game to be about self-expression, and letting people add things to a world, and then interact with it.
  • Using Public Domain Classical Music
    • An idea I had for previous games, but never got around to using. Making music is a weak point for me, I’ve tried doing it for games in the past with little success. I found a piece by Chopin, with a Public Domain license on the recording, and I used that. It added so much to the game’s atmosphere. I was lucky that I didn’t have to look very long to find a few short songs that looped really well.
  • Adding Selfie Mode
    • I wanted the game to be about being creative, and Selfie Mode was sorta a joke that I ended up spending some time on. I like the idea of having a souvenir from your game after finishing it. Selfie cameras in games aren’t new, but I’d
  • Finishing the core game early
    • This allowed me to basically tack things onto the game and add “polish” or other things I’d usually neglect in a game jam. Rule of thumb for 48 hour jams, think of something you can code in an hour or less.
  • Doing the Jam over The Compo
    • I used  lot of helper libraries, code, and assets. Even though I made most of them within the span of the game, I didn’t make the music, which excluded me from the Compo. Loosening the rules lowered the stakes, so I was able to goof off a bit more.

What Went Wrong:

  • Not Surfacing Controls Better
    • Unfortunately, few users read instructions, readmes, descriptions, or in-game instructions. I really wanted players to switch to walk mode so they could take selfies, and I’m not sure I emphasized that enough. I nearly stuck in a huge graphic that told you this in the game, but didn’t want to handle showing/hiding it. People reported that they didn’t know they they could walk around in-game. Ah Well.95.25896Selfie

Was the game successful?

One person commented that they laughed, and people seemed to like it. A few people shared selfies that they took in game. So, I consider it a success.


Play and rate it here -> http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-35/?action=preview&uid=3400

Art after 24 hours

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 6:10 pm

So the game that I’m working on (Along with partner in crime Ian Snyder) is a reverse-platformer, you design the level and then the game’s hero has to navigate it. Hopefully dying in the process. So that means making all the art for a platformer, along with other things.


Man I feel like I should have more, but I did end up sleeping until…11…

But there’s also walk cycles that I ended up making, plus attack animations. I figure I’m about half way there. There’s about 40 art assets in total. and this is probably less than half of them.


All Done

Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 2:36 pm

Lesson learned: if you can’t beat em, burn em to the ground


Core Dump 2

Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 12:45 am

Ugh, what a waste of time. I may give up.

Build is here -> http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7186565/CanadianPenny.swf


Core Dump, update 1

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 3:27 pm

I have the enemies spawning, with procedurally-created sprites, and I have the gun firing. I should be working harder but I’m sick this weekend, so my energy level is kind of low. Now I have a framework to put in changing characteristics, so something resembling my idea might show up soon.

Core Dump

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 12:02 am

This theme had me stumped. I basically needed something that could be “arcady” and “simple to do” while encorporating “Evolution” somehow

In some flash of inspiration, I went from changing animals, to Knights/people, to…spaceships. The game is going to be a Gradius style shooter, and as you fight, your behaviors will “Evolve” your ship. Your enemies should do the same: kill them right away and they become faster, start moving differently, ect. In code, it’s easy to switch a bunch of variables, but I need visual change too.

To accomplish this, I created some bits of ship, and then tacked them onto each other, right now it looks like this: Off to a pretty good start.


In for 3

Posted by
Friday, August 24th, 2012 9:50 am

This is my third ludum dare.  I’ll be sick this weekend, so that’ll be kind of hard, yeah?

Weapon of choice: AS3, Flixel, Flashdevelop, etc etc.

Time to kick butt.


It’s a Party! A Dead Party!

Posted by
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 6:51 pm

My first crack at the LD48 and I have….Dead Party!

Dead Party was originally going to be a dungeon crawler, where you play the sole survivor of a raid gone wrong, but during playtesting I found that NPCs that followed you did so in an amusing manner, and I though “I should make a game around that” so I did. And there’s lots of cats.

I describe it as “Ico meets Diablo meets SmashTV” but with none of the quality.

Play it here!


quick post mortem

what went right

  • I knew the game library, and I had made games with the language before

During the warmup weekend I had tried to learn more about Love2D, and while I managed to make half of a game it didn’t sit well with me. A friend of mine suggested I stuck with what I knew, which was AS3 and Flixel. It turned out to be right, I spent nearly the entire period making stuff rather than trying to wrangle technical issues or learn a new library. I also used Flixel Power Tools, which made several things, including bullet managment and aiming, exceptionally easy. Flixel is great at taking care of a lot of game related things, and the Power Tools made things even easier. I’m used to code structure more than I am with other scripting langauges, so I could structure (or not structure) things to work.

  • I knew what to cut and when

Originally the game was going to be and RPG, complete with an overworld and a dungeon level, plus a battle system. Then that just went to an overworld system. I was also going to have multiple weapons, plus melee weapons, each with different characteristics. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out that way. I had to cut 2 levels and a few more features near the end too.

  • The Level Editor!

Probably the biggest help is the DAME level editor. Normally I would have to hand-code where certain things are, or have to create my own level editor, or make my own CSV for things. This time I was able to build and design levels with ease and get them into the game quickly. Granted the workflow process was really weird (I’ll get to that later) but I was able to make non-super-ugly maps quickly.

  • Got some sleep

After 3am I hit a brick wall when it comes to productivity, and continuing on doesn’t make sense. A friend of mine said that I wouldn’t win if I slept, but I beg to differ. The last 5 hours were the worst, and I began to make simple mistakes while fatiuged, had those happened earlier on it would have made the rest of the dev process much harder.

  • never give up, never surrender!

With 24 hours to go I was still working on the dungeon crawler, but I felt really crappy about it since I felt it wasn’t a very good game. All I had was a level loading at that point and it was just shooting enemies. And then I thought “It may be crap, but I basically made a Smash TV clone in under 24 hours, so be a little proud”


  • Making levels

Oh God. I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but to make a level and put it into the game, I had to do a 7-8 step process. I had to make a new .dam file for each level, re-import all the sprites and tiles, draw the map, rename the groups, export it, fix certain .as files, and make a whole new playstate for the level. If I had made a saner structure and had just 1 playstate for all the levels, I could have simplified things and made more levels. I was mainly interested in making things work, rather than make things easy, and in the end it was probably 5x more work to import the levels the way I went about it. It also meant that I had to cut off features at a point, because i would have to add them all to the seperate playstate files and test them induvidually. Real smart, me.

  • The theme

I had trouble with the theme, since I could only think of sad things, and I was so concerned with starting I didn’t really take time to consider another idea, just “start coding right now OMG” and, maybe if I went with something else, I could have skipped a lot of headache and felt better about going with the stated theme.


Well, that’s it for now. I’m really tired so, I’ll probably go to bed *before* 3am. ha!

The long night

Posted by
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 1:07 am

“One more level” I told myself

Getting hard now. Making a level is a multistep process. I’m using DAME and it goes like this:

  1. make a new level file in DAME
  2. import all the sprites and tiles
  3. draw the tiles in
  4. rename the groups it creates
  5. export
  6. fix the .as3 files that it generates (there’s 3 lines, and I know where they are, it’s trivial but annoying)
  7. make a playstate to fit the level in

So yeah. I originally wanted like 7 levels, but I still need to build a HUD, fix the movement system, and do balancing if I want sound. The pragmatic thing to do would be to cut the last 3 levels and the other enemy I had planned to make.

Tomorrow I’ll do what I think this needs in order to be a game, which is a HUD, fixed movement, and other things, and if I have time I’ll make the last few levels and enemy.

I keep neglecting sound, so easy to overlook yet so important. Will I have time? probably not.

I guess worse case, I could try to wrap this up as a game and ship as is.

next time I need to uncomplicate the level design process.

Changing the game

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 8:52 pm

So during playtesting I realized that the NPCs sort of follow you around and I thought it was cute, and the original intent of the game was kind of grim, so I thought:

“what if you had to collect NPCs that follow you out of the level, and…um…if you shoot them they die”


that’s where I’m at now, aside from some clunky movement it is actually almost “fun”

Going to add new enemy types (turrets that fire, umm, maybe one more) and additional levels. As well as stats like accuracy and how many cat ghosts you save.

I was sort of beating myself up at first because I didn’t think the game was innovative or great, and then I was like “You know, I wrote a Smash TV clone in under 24 hours, that’s something”

I also had a bunch of coffee, not sure when/if I’ll sleep tonight. I have a buttload of features to add.

Once I get levels hacked out, I’ll do the HUD, Level ending stats, and nearing the end sounds and music.

Day 1

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 12:05 pm

So I got enemies in the game right away, then I hiked to get a sandwich and decided to crank out some art. I have play 1 and some of the tile art, but that’s it. Not much to look at right now. Need to code in enemy behavior next, fix the firing code to actually work, and…stuff


Posted by
Friday, December 16th, 2011 11:16 pm

I couldn’t think of anything else, but I decided the game should be about you in a group of some kind, and early on everyone dies but you, and you have to get them revived somehow.

So that evolved from a Final Fantasy style rpg (which I don’t have time for) into a top down Zelda style thing. Right now I have levels loading, and a player who shoots and moves around. I’m using the Flixel Power tools and the DAME level editor, and I’ve made tons of progress.

DAME has some quirks, there are a few lines that I have to fix every time I export, but it’s been mostly cooperative.

Tomorrow I’ll focus on creating enemies to shoot (or today? hmm)

I also want to crack at having the player start with the Ultimate Weapons and Loadout (since he’s using his fallen comrad’s weapons) and then downgrading as the game goes on. I think Yatzee Ben Crowshaw postulated that this would be an interesting mechanic, instead of aquirering gear you give it up as you go along.

I also want a crack at having something on the level of Ico, where it’s linear but at a key moment you’re given a choice and you simply MUST choose the hard path. While it’s required to take it, it’s appears to be up to the player.

ha, I’ll probably not get that far.

I’m In for LD48

Posted by
Friday, December 16th, 2011 3:08 pm

Despite warming up with Love2D and Lua, I am declaring that I will use Flixel and AS3, as I’m more familiar with them, and I want to share it with more people.

Also: because Pixel Art.

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