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Quick progress update

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 6:19 am

Started working on pathfinding and AI for my stealth/puzzle game. This is the main part still left to do (apart from replacing the programmer art of course). The red/green/yellow lines in this picture are actually debug output indicating the enemy’s knowledge of the maze structure.


Time for bed

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 8:55 pm

End of day one and I still don’t quite have a game yet, but I am very close. I had to spend a couple of hours on a different, real-life, project with a deadline today, which shouldn’t be a problem tomorrow.

I’m working on a real-time stealth/puzzle game called “Minotaur and the Theseus”. You are the Minotaur, and Theseus is coming to find you and kill you. He’s faster than you, but you know the labyrinth intimately and can outwit him. If you can evade him until his candle burns down, then the tables turn and you have the upper hand.

I’ve added sounds as a game mechanic so the enemy can hear you and come after you (I haven’t actually added sound effects to go with these yet, but they’re indicated as waves onscreen). These are all wired up so the NPC gets notified of them, but I still need to implement the actual AI for the enemy.

I thought I’d end with a screenshot of some code this time as there’s not much new to see in the UI. I’ve just factored out most of the constants into difficulty levels, which I’ve attempted to name in a theme-appropriate way:


Second progress update

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 4:41 pm

The game is called “Minotaur and the Theseus”. You are the Minotaur, and Theseus is coming to find you and kill you. He’s faster than you, but you know the labyrinth intimately and can outwit him. If you can evade him until his candle burns down, then the tables turn and you have the upper hand.

Currently have the labyrinth, player sprite and movement implemented. I’ve now added the key elements of Theseus’s (carrying a torch/candle to illuminate the Labyrinth) and the ability for the player to move walls around (which took far longer than it should have done due to me making the collision-detection unnecessarily confusing).

At the moment, Theseus just walks randomly. The next job is to allow him to see/hear the player (already have some of the infrastructure in place for this) and some rudimentary AI for hunting.


First progress update (and belated “I’m in”)

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 7:24 am

Wasn’t sure if I’d be in for this one, as I have a few other demands on my time this weekend, and I wasn’t wild about the theme. However, after a bit of brainstorming this morning I’ve come up with a concept that I like.

The game is called “Minotaur and the Theseus”. You are the Minotaur, and Theseus is coming to find you and kill you. He’s faster than you, but you know the labyrinth intimately and can outwit him. If you can evade him until his candle burns down, then the tables turn and you have the upper hand.

Currently have the labyrinth, player sprite and movement implemented. Still need to add Theseus (with a rudimentary AI) and the key mechanic of the player being able to reconfigure the labyrinth by pushing its walls around. Then I’ll have something that’s technically a game and can start trying to make it fun.

Programmer art alert!


I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 2:56 pm

It’s been a year since my first LD and once again it’s a bank holiday weekend here in the UK, so I’ll have the Monday to recover.

I’m otherwise engaged for most of Sunday but still hoping to fit in plenty of programmingtime. I might fall back to entering the jam though.

Just like last year, I’m using a library I’ve never used before (LibGDX then, pixi.js this year), and just like last year, my only prep has been to follow a tutorial and make sure I can render a sprite to the screen.

Last year I came top in the innovation category (which I was very pleased about) but didn’t score so highly in the ‘fun’ category. This year I’ll be aiming to make the funnest game I can.

Good luck to everyone who’s taking part!

The home straight

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 12:18 pm

I finished with fixes and gameplay tweaks a few hours ago and I’m into polishing now. Spent an enjoyable 15-20 minutes playing with SFXR (actually BFXR) to give a bit more feedback when you click buttons, or more importantly, kill baddies.

My IDE has developed a bizarre ‘feature’ whereby if I cut and paste code from one file to another (note: I’m cutting, not copying! – no hideous code duplication going on here), it randomly swaps around all the type names. Even annotations (e.g. @Override) get swapped with other classes from my game or its libraries that are referenced in the file. Despite this, and some confusion of LibGDX’s Actor classes (resizing only has an effect if you invalidate the object’s layout), I’ve been making pretty good progress today.

I’m actually pretty happy with the gameplay now, although I’m worried it might be completely inaccessible, so I’m working on a tutorial to guide people in a bit. I also simplified the controls slightly (dropped one of the two action buttons).

I have about half a dozen parameters to the game, which can affect the difficulty dramatically. I’ve found quite nice set of defaults for now, but I’m planning to provide an options screen for tweaking them. I had a possibly neat (or alternatively, unworkable) idea of taking the ‘evolution’ theme further by ‘evolving’ the default set of options, via a web-based port of the game. That’s not going to happen today though, and I’m not exactly sure what the fitness function would be anyway.

Beginning to get a bit tired now, and making the tutorial isn’t as fun as some of the other game code. The game overall is starting to look pretty complete though and I’m feeling optimistic.

My game still doesn’t *look* much different, but here’s the new start screen (the options button is disabled since the screen isn’t implemented yet):

My first sprite

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 10:55 pm

A couple of setbacks yesterday evening: Shortly after my previous post my ISP went down, making it rather difficult to look up reference documentation or other material, and causing me to waste a while on the phone to them making sure it was a known issue and not just me (since they hadn’t got around to updating their service status page). After that, my IDE spontaneously started flat out refusing to compile anything. I never figured out what was wrong and ended up just deleting and recreating all its project files.

However, I managed to get my first (and, for this game, only) baddie in place. In an extreme case of programmer art, my baddies are virulent green circles that represent bacteria. They don’t look like much in the screenshot, but when animated appear pleasingly organic en masse. I have them moving around and dividing, but not yet interacting with the player at all.

What remains is to glue it all together, get the left hand side of the screen talking to the right and find out if my game mechanic actually works. I had to learn a lot of new libraries yesterday (LibGDX’s TableLayout and Scene2D, Java’s MIDI classes and some details of the MIDI spec itself), whereas everything that remains to do is a bit more abstract, so I’m quietly confident about being able to submit something on time. I have no idea yet though whether it’s going to be fun to play.

I’m starting to really enjoy this and I’m very glad I decided to take part. I could have carried on for ages last night, but I made myself go to bed at about 11pm, and woke up before 6am today raring to go. Time for a quick breakfast & shower, then on with the coding…


Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 9:44 am


Finally made enough progress that it doesn’t feel embarrassing. Although, actually, the application looks exactly the same as it did five hours ago. However, it now does quite a lot more, after a lot of faffing about with Java’s MIDI classes. I think I’m just about on track.

I’ve been vaguely planning something around the gamification of musical ear training for ages now. I’ve never quite cracked the core mechanic though. During the theme voting this week I’d idly started thinking about something completely unrelated along the ‘parallel worlds’ theme, but the winning theme of ‘evolution’ gave me a new idea for an ear training game that might actually work.

If the grid on the right of the screen reminds you of tonematrix at all, then that’s not entirely co-incidental. However, there’s a lot more to it than that (lots still to do on the left hand side of the screen…). I’ve suffered slightly so far from lack of preparation (spent a while this morning just setting up my dev environment and getting the library working) but things are going pretty smoothly now.

Anyway, I missed lunch and other people keep posting pictures of food, so I think it’s time for a break…

Better late than never

Posted by (twitter: @hgcummings)
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 1:52 am

After several near-misses, I finally managed to clear a weekend for a Ludum Dare. I’ve been wanting to write a game for a while now and I’m hoping that even if I don’t manage to finish the LD48 challenge, it will still give me a bit of a kick to get started on my game, and that I’ll learn a lot in the process.

I’ve read a lot of advice saying you should stick to what you know and use a game development framework or set of libraries you’re familiar with, but I’ve never written a game before (except some arcade games in BASIC many years ago). Since most of my programming experience is in web development, sticking to what I know would mean trying to implement a game using ASP.NET, Spring MVC or jQuery…

So I’ll be using LibGDX, since it seems very well written & maintained, I know Java pretty well, and it should make it possible to port my game to Android and Javascript/WebGL after the main competition is over. I’ve read a few tutorials and set up an empty LibGDX project in my IDE. So it should all be fine, right?

Ludum Dare started at 2am here. I was very tired last night and went to bed early, but woke up around 5am and checked out the theme. I went back to bed and woke up at 8am with a pretty good idea of what my game is going to be. So I’ve cleared the first hurdle, but have 40 hours to go and not one line of code written yet. Wish me luck!

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