About hexagore (twitter: @charlottegore)

I'm a full time solo indie dev! I work with web technologies because WHY NOT.

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 33
 
Ludum Dare 32
 
MiniLD #58
 
Ludum Dare 31
 
Ludum Dare 30
 
Ludum Dare 29

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hexagore's Archive

Mass-X is Done!

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Monday, April 20th, 2015 11:32 am

mass-x

My “unconventional weapon” is a backpack that lets you swap positions with various robots which lets you — look away robot fans — murder robots in fun and creative ways. Or not. Entirely up to you.

Play here!

Nearly Done

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 7:16 pm

mass-x

That wonderful feeling when it all comes together at the last moment and you no longer need to keep watching that Japanese “Never Give Up!” video on loop. That.

Theme Theme Themes

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 9:19 am

The current front runners so far:

Companion

This seems pretty open, and any old random game people make wouldn’t automatically fit this theme (unlike, say, Entire Game On A Single Screen where you have to actually go out of your way to *not* make a game that fits this). I think this may hit the magic sweet spot between specific and vague, open and narrow and generally pretty acceptable for most types of game devs?

Deeper and deeper 

My first thought was that this was too similar to Beneath the Surface but “Deeper and Deeper” suggests progress and movement, whereas Beneath was about revealing hidden worlds. I guess we’d end up seeing an awful lot of digging and diving games, and lots of strategy games involving drilling and mining, which is pretty much what we got for Beneath the Surface so.. I kinda hope this isn’t the winning theme just because, ugh, digging in mud again? Please no.

Adapt To Survive

At first I thought, “wouldn’t every single game fit this theme?” but now I think that it’s actually rather a difficult theme to do justice to – it sort of suggests power ups. Metroidvania games, RPGs, strategy etc. It’s probably a good theme for interactive fiction too but people who enjoy making single screen twitch reflex games or just generally single-mechanic games may find this theme pushes them well out of their comfort zone. Or you just take any game and add some flavour text that says “You need to adapt (by learning how to play this game) in order to survive” and voila.

However, traditionally the theme I dread the most is usually the one that gets picked so I’m going to call it: The theme for LD32 is going to be Adapt to Survive.

Among The Stars

Again, initial thought was “omg 3000 space games”, which will almost certainly be the case… but “stars” can also mean “celebrities” so we may have some funny games involving David Hasselhoff. It’s definitely the most restrictive in terms of setting, but completely open in terms of genre and mechanics. Not very inspiring, though, unless you think very laterally.

 

READY!

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 3:18 pm

Is your Game engine basically working?

Let’s say “yes”. Why not? I mean, what’s the WORST that could happen?

Can you make animated GIFs for 50% less boring dev blogs?

test

Apparently so! Woo I’m learning all the cool tricks!

Are you Super Amazingly Excited About LD32?

Not actually able to think about much else. Can I just be put to sleep until the theme is announced please?

Supporting Low End GPUs.

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Friday, April 10th, 2015 7:29 am

So.. is there anyone out there who would be angry if a game didn’t run properly on something less powerful than.. say.. Intel HD 3000?

Also, if you *do* have a pretty limited computer would you rather have:

– Reduced graphical features but full screen, 60fps?

– All the graphical features but running in a window, 60fps?

– Limited graphical features but full screen and 60fps?

– Full screen, all the graphics, but only really getting about 30-40fps?

Phew!

Personal Library Stuff!

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Thursday, April 9th, 2015 6:52 am

Hello 😛

As per the rules, I need to disclose the personal library stuff I’m going to be using.

It’ll be this home brew game engine, plus some other bits and pieces along with anything relevant or useful I might need from my personal github account (mostly stuff around animation and some render pipeline/asset loading boilerplate stuff).

The engine, for the curious, is Javascript and it’s a 2d tile-map/sprite engine for WebGL (Well, Three.js) which takes files from a custom game/level editing tool I’ve been writing for the last few months.

I’ve managed to make one little demo with it so far but there’s still a lot of work to do and tests to run before I know it’s safe to use in the competition. I am terrified.

All this just to avoid having to learn Unity.

 

 

I am in OR SO HELP ME

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Saturday, April 4th, 2015 5:53 am

I feel like I’ve been “in” Ludum Dare 32 since the last Ludum Dare finished. Last time I made the largely reviled platforming nightmare Screened.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 13.05.35

This time I want to make a proper platform game. One with 2d pixel art. I want to do a proper Ludum Dare game.

The problem is that all the stuff I’ve done for the last year has been for Three.JS, which isn’t a Game Engine (it’s just an abstraction layer and a scene graph for WebGL). So to make a 2d pixel art platform game I could:

– switch to Unity (although I hate the web plugin for that)
– switch to Gamemaker Pro (tempting, but don’t want to make my game Windows download only)
– switch to Phaser.JS which is a WebGL game library…..
– …or write some sort of game engine and editing tools for Three.JS.

I made the editor. Whoops. It’s taken me three months and it’s full of bugs… but I can manage tilesets and sprites and draw multi-layer maps. I can draw boxes, points and sprites into object layers, just about, and it all exports a single .json file with all the textures embedded.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 12.46.23

Unfortunately this leaves me this weekend and next weekend to work on the missing game engine part of the game engine. Most of it’s there – I can render parallax tile maps, draw sprites into boxes and stuff. I can control the tint of the layers and do various blending tricks to create moody atmospheric stuff like this…

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 13.20.54

…and this…

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 13.35.19

.. all from the same level data.

This weekend I need to get animated sprites working in the engine or this last few months have been for nothing. I’ve already made one rubbish game to get sprite/sprite and sprite/tilemap collision detection stuff working, but I need to make sure I can use all that with the data generated by this new editor. Agh. I should probably stop procrastinating and finish this post and get back to it, shouldn’t I?

So… I’m in for the fourth time (I’ve been doing game development and 3d graphics programming for a year now) and and I’ll be using:

– Javascript & Three.JS targeting WebGL, coded in Sublime Text 3

– “Hexr” Game “Engine” and Editor For Three.JS (I’ll post the links and stuff when they’re up and ready)

Swanky Paint for Art (an awesome Deluxe Paint style pixel art thing, it’s awesome)

Propellerhead Reason – Magical Swedish music application.

– POSSIBLY Blender, if the theme/game calls for some actual 3d geometry although I kinda doubt it tbh.

– POSSIBLY Box2D (the Emscripten version) again if the theme or game makes it worth ditching the arcade “physics” I currently have.

That’s it!

 

Slightly More Blorf

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Monday, March 30th, 2015 12:12 pm

I wanted to learn Box2D just in case I need it for the main Ludum Dare. Then I thought, hey, you know what’s really simple and what I’ve just been working on? Pong! And the competition is still open? WOOO!

I’d done Blorf Pong (a WebGL game) as a joke but I thought I could probably at least put in *some* effort.

Box2D in javascript is a hellish nightmare – using a library automatically converted to Javascript from the C++ – it’s not pretty. It’s taken me a day but I’ve finally got the hang of it – enough to add pistons to the paddles which makes the basic Pong game a lot more interesting and bizarrely tactical.

I also decided to fine tune the AI a little bit too. It’s all driven by impulses through the physics engine now, so the AI is now “perfect” except for doesn’t quite have the level of accuracy it might want. It *can* be beaten but you have to be really quick.

On the visual side I thought I’d add some particles as well. Because particles.

Am very happy with Box2D but feeding it data is going to be a problem so I probably won’t be able to sort anything out before the next Ludum Dare, but the one after… hope so! Really looking forward to the next Ludum Dare now. Probably won’t be making another game like this for a while though. 😛

Mini-LD #58 – Blorf Pong

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Friday, March 27th, 2015 4:31 am

Hello. Have you ever wanted to play Pong but thought to yourself, “The problem with Pong is that it doesn’t make me feel sick!”?

I can fix that for you. Oh boy, and how.

Made in a few hours just for the sheer perverse pleasure of making something nausea inducingly horrible, I give you Blorf Pong.

blorf-point

Features:

  • An AI that will almost certainly never let you win.
  • Dodgy collision detection on the paddles
  • Music that will give you nightmares
  • Post-processing shaders that will make you physically ill.

I think it’s a masterpiece. Blorf yourself to Pongy Oblivion on it’s MiniLD entry page.

Hardcore Platform Players Required

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Saturday, December 13th, 2014 4:38 pm

So I blew it. My game is too hard for people in a hurry to beat which is bad news for Ludum Dare and very bad news for my LD31 entry’s score. I can live with that: I view each Ludum Dare as an opportunity to learn and improve and I now know that “furiously difficult” is the wrong approach to take. Even including a full playthrough video wasn’t enough. Fair enough.

Sure — in my entry for this Ludum Dare — it feels like you’re jumping through treacle. You can’t jump again until you’ve stopped bouncing. You have to be incredibly precise with how long you tap ‘up’ for. You have truly evil inertia to deal with which means you have to anticipate and correct your horizontal velocity to land properly.

But that’s the challenge. The game’s map was designed specifically for these controls. And so far only a tiny handful of people have actually beaten it… even though it only takes about 5 minutes to play through the whole thing once you’ve mastered the controls.

What I would love…. I would love to get this game into the hands of people who thrive on this sort of challenge. Not because I want more votes, because honestly I think I have enough and I’m sure the verdict is already in… but I just want to find the small number of people who look at the dark world levels in Super Meat Boy and go, HELLS YES. The people who’ve done Veni Vidi Vici in VVVVVV even though it took hundreds of attempts because, well, it was there. It needed to be done.

If this is you, then this game was made for you.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 23.08.28

Screened, Penultimate and most difficult level..

Screened’s entry page is here.

“Screened” Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 12:52 pm

Right then. These notes are really just for me to look back on next Ludum Dare — Coming up to this event, I read my post-mortem of my LD30 game and shivered with terror, and… that really helped me.

So..

What went well:

  • I learnt from the mistakes of LD29 and LD30 and build lo-fi game first, not shiny effect first.
  • Despite spending 2 hours debugging it, the collision detection library stuff I used worked really well.
  • Blender as a Level Editor: This rocked. I had the game designed and playable in a day
  • Preparation: My preparation so that I understood roughly to make platform games beforehand paid off.
  • Time management: I was done with 8 hours to spare, so was able to take a bath and think about adding more polish. I even found a critical bug
  • Game Concept and Design: The basic idea of the game seems to have worked and…  to my astonishment… I’ve not played any other games doing the same thing yet.

What went badly:

  • Time management: I was done with 8 hours to spare. I should have budgeted more time for level design, and allowed more time at the beginning of development for testing the feel and limits and capabilities of the player character before diving in with level design.
  • Controls: The controls felt great to me, felt very organic and fluid.. but the inertia of the player character is proving quite bizarre for other players. Whoops.
  • Workflow Problems: Because the level was designed around the player character and those particular controls it was far too late to change the controls by the time I realised I had a problem
  • Workflow Problems 2: With games based on 3d geometry, you start with a basic collision mesh then you add more detail later on. This style of progressive enhancement actually makes it very difficult to go backwards and change things once you’ve locked a particular level of detail into place.
  • Ambition: I was far too pessimistic about what I could achieve and ended up not making the most of the 48 hours.

For Next Time:

Assuming I make another platform game:

  • My workflow would suit very short compact levels. That way if I have more time at the end I can take a level from low res collision mesh to detailed environment fairly quickly.
  • After coming up with the basic game idea, spend more time on feel before designing levels and locking the feel in.
  • Budget a lot more time for level design. A whole day for polish was a complete waste.
  • Create code to manage all the entity types before designing the levels, too, don’t include that time in the level design time.
  • Be more ambitious. Have NPCs next time (might want to figure out AI pathfinding in non-tile based environments beforehand though, eh?)

Link to the game:

Pfft. Nope.

No, really, give us the link:

Look, if you’re really looking to play more games why not be a Ratings Rescue Ranger instead? These are games that just need one or two more votes to qualify for scoring. I have rescued about 7 so far!

Aww come on:

No. Go away!

My favourite games so far!

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 3:16 pm

I’ve now played and rated one hundred games, barely scratching the surface. I thought it would be nice to mention a few that I really enjoyed (on the assumption that most of us are going to end up playing a completely different set of games!)

  • Orion Most gorgeous and atmospheric use of pixels.
  • I am Sigma Stylistically cool platformer and great use of the theme.
  • Oceanite – You play a fish.
  • Galaxia – You control a statistically insignificant portion of the galaxy.
  • Block Dungeon – Fun, basically

The surprising thing about this theme has been how very very different all the games are.

Well, except for all the suspiciously snowy games, obviously. 😛

“Screened” Playthrough

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Monday, December 8th, 2014 1:29 pm

I’m honestly thrilled with how “Screened” came out. It almost feels like an actual proper game this time.

But it’s a bit too difficult for most people to really see the whole thing so here’s a nice (and spoilerific) full playthrough video.

If you want to play it, the entry page is here and thanks :)

I guess I’ll have to do some sort of post-mortem but right now the short version is wait … it actually worked??!!!

“Screened” … Done. Hopefully.

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 1:17 pm

Good news! I think I’m done. Bad news! This not going to run on old laptops with built-in Intel GPUs. Whoops. WebGL is fun but tricky to optimise…

Update #3

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 11:00 am

I think this game is actually ready to go. Still… quite a few hours to… can I add particle effects, guilt free? Wow!

It was all looking horrible yesterday, but today it’s all come together… thank goodness.

It seems to be rather more Meat Boy than I’d hoped… hopefully that’s not too terrible a thing. \

Anyway, a close up of one tiny corner of the game, for your viewing pleasure:

closeup

Update #2 – End of Day One!

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 5:33 pm

What a day… this Ludum Dare I wanted to use Blender as a level editor for my Three.JS engine to play with:

It worked!

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 23.57.51

It’s super, super hacky but I was able to use bones as entity data, where the first bone in a chain had the type and location of an entity, then I used child bones to indicate other parameters. This way I could configure the size of doors, the paths of entities, the size of things etc.

This is the end of the first day for me and I am ecstatic to be able to say I have my game’s level fully designed and playtested. It takes about 10 minutes to beat so that feels about right.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 00.17.13

Tomorrow morning I’ll be doing the sound effects and music first (so easy to overlook), then it’s polish time – as much shiny as I can squeeze in in the time remaining. It’s taken all my willpower not to try to do something about the dreadful graphics today. I added no shaders, no parallax effects, no particles, no textures, no lights. The geometry, other than the collision mesh, is just what Three.JS lets you generate procedurally. I am growing as a person by embracing my inner programmer artist.

TIME FOR SLEEP.

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