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Day 2 Progress Update

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 1:19 pm

Most of today has been spent alternating between playing video games and working on my Ludum Dare entry. While it still looks extremely ugly, I believe I have the main gameplay mechanics for Patient Zero all fully functional!

LD33 Screenshot 2

In a step up from yesterday’s work, the player (and subsequent zombies) are now able to infect humans by touching them, and police officers can shoot at the zombies in order to kill them. I also reworked my code for humans running away from zombies (the first version simply had the human select a room at random to run to and head there as quickly as possible, which unfortunately quite often involved running straight past an oncoming zombie), at which point I encountered my first major hurdle – namely, that while Unity’s pathfinding is straightforward and easy to use for static levels, when attempting to maneuver past other NPCs the algorithm simply attempts to push past them rather than find an alternate route around. Several hours of searching revealed no built-in way of handling this problem in Unity’s pathfinding, so I ultimately devised a roundabout solution – when a human sees a zombie, they attempt to find a point as far away as possible with as small an angular difference to directly opposite as possible and head there, regularly updating the target until the zombie can no longer be seen (at which point they then try to use a phone or head to the police station). This resulted in a far more natural-looking effect in which the humans will actively run away from the zombie and take the side corridors if they are empty.

LD33 Screenshot 3

Out of curiosity I decided to spawn a few zombies in the center of the map and see how they fared without any player assistance. While a single zombie is quickly located and destroyed by the police officers, a small group produced some very interesting behaviours – while the humans are much faster than the zombies, on multiple occasions they would end up trapped by two individuals or groups which had targeted them from each end of a corridor. On the other hand, while a police officer can take out a single zombie before it reaches him, two or more grouped together can easily overwhelm him.

There’s still a few minor tweaks to make (such as adjusting the sprint values for the player, and possibly adding a few more selectable levels to play on), but on the whole I think the game is shaping up quite nicely! Whether it’ll actually be fun for anyone but me to play, however, is another story entirely 😛

Patient Zero: Day 1 Summary

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 4:15 pm

Hi, I’m Hunter X and this is my third Ludum Dare. I’m currently building my game using Unity and C#, themed around the concept of spreading a zombie plague a la the Zombie Infection Simulation. As seems to be the case with a lot of my game jam entries my design process is focused more around expanding my expertise in particular fields rather than producing a highly-polished title, and this time around the field is AI and pathfinding.

LD33 Screenshot

At the end of day one I have a basic environment containing several connected rooms, a spawn room for the player, and a police station. Four police officers wait inside the station, while a number of civilians wander around the other rooms at random. Should a civilian see a zombie (or the player) they will first attempt to escape the room the zombie is in, then once they are out of danger they will attempt to contact the police by either one of the two phones in the map or by visiting the police station directly. The police dispatcher will assign available police officers to investigate the last seen locations of zombies, who head to the location and back while stopping to engage any zombies they see on the way.

Next steps are to implement infecting humans on contact, as well as a way for police officers to actually shoot the zombies they spot, then it should be possible to package it into a basic release. Naturally a more complex map and better textures will help, though we’ll see how much time I have tomorrow.

Cube Wars is now complete!

Posted by
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 5:38 pm

Screenshot 1

Everything wants to kill you, but you have no weapon? The solution is simple: use your enemies’ weapons against them!

This is my second completed Ludum Dare entry. I decided to go with the concept of having to manipulate the NPCs in order to benefit from their weapons and abilities (such as being able to trigger otherwise un-pressable pressure plates). It’s not a huge game, but it gave me a fair bit of practice with enemy AI coding and line of sight, and overall I’m satisfied with how it turned out.

Presenting: Endless Expansion

Posted by
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 5:40 pm

Play now!

EndlessExpansion2

Dodge the obstacles and try and make it to the end, but be careful as the map expands and makes things harder to see!

My first completed entry for a Ludum Dare, in all its buggy glory. I took the concept of an entire game on one screen and decided to implement it in such a way that the camera gradually zooms out until the entire game map is visible at once. You can also make use of a ‘magnifying glass’, in which holding down a specific key will overlay a second image over the first displaying a zoomed-in view of the player. However, the magnifying glass both obscures the zoomed out map and is zoomed far enough in itself that to rely on it too much will leave the player vulnerable to hazards that they will be unaware of until the last moment.

The collision detection is a little wonky given that I had to write my player controller from scratch and some of the obstacles can be a little hit-or-miss, but it should all be beatable and overall I’m fairly satisfied with the amount of work I got done over the last two days. Maybe tomorrow I’ll see about exporting a standalone version in addition to the web player (along with fixing all the unexpected bugs that are to sure to crop up within minutes XD).

And yes, the snowman is in there somewhere 😛

I’m In: Take 3 + Day 1 Summary

Posted by
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 4:04 pm

So this is my third attempt at entering a Ludum Dare, with the previous two times not going well due to other commitments throughout the weekend. Thankfully this time around I’ve got less to deal with over the next day or so and over the last couple of years I have been practicing with a number of personal programming projects, so hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something vaguely presentable by the end of it. I’m currently using Unity and Visual Studio 2015 to produce my game, working in C#.

My interpretation of the theme was to produce a platforming game in which the entire game takes place on a single map; as the player progresses the camera gradually zooms out until the whole level is displayed on the screen at once:

EndlessExpansion

At the early stages this concept is fine, but as the camera zooms out it gets harder and harder to see anything of importance. In order to counter this I decided to implement a ‘magnifying glass’ feature, in which holding down a specific key will overlay a second image over the first displaying a zoomed-in view of the player. However, the magnifying glass both obscures the zoomed out map and is zoomed far enough in itself that to rely on it too much will leave the player vulnerable to hazards that they will be unaware of until the last moment.

As it stands the majority of the code is in place – barring tweaking the player movement script to solve an issue in which moving towards a wall while in mid-air will cause the player to stop falling, the main things that I need to work on tomorrow are expanding the level design and updating some of the art (I might stick with the black-and-white theme, but that placeholder stickman really needs replacing). If possible I’d also like to look into ways of expanding the functionality of my game – barring the expanding and magnifying glass concept, there’s not an awful lot that separates my game from every other obstacle avoidance platformer out there.

See you in the morning!

I’m in, kinda sorta maybe?

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 1:26 am

Hi, I’m Hunter X and I’m hoping to enter this Ludum Dare! I tried entering a couple years back but didn’t get very far, but I’ve done a lot more programming since then (and am currently at university studying Computer Science) so maybe I can do a bit better this time. That being said, I have a few other commitments throughout the weekend, so I don’t know whether or not I’ll be able to finish, but at least it’s good experience and gives me something to do in my free time :)

  • Engine: Unity
  • Coding: C# in Visual Studio 2013
  • Artwork: Paint or Photoshop
  • Libraries: Probably the Scaffolding View Framework, beyond that I haven’t decided.

More news if and when it happens.

IT’S ALIVE! IIIT’S ALIIIIIIVE!

Posted by
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 11:42 am

So I’m almost through my first day, and in that time I’ve managed to port an existing code sample into my program and change the names a bit. TRULY I AM A REVOLUTIONARY PROGRAMMER.

In all seriousness, the code I imported was a screen/menu system which greatly simplifies my work from here on out – now I just need to focus on handling gameplay code instead of fussing over the skeleton of my program. Also, my game now has a name!

Quick Question

Posted by
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 8:44 am

http://create.msdn.com/en-US/education/catalog/sample/game_state_management

Am I allowed to incorporate this code into my program and still be eligible for the Compo, or would I need to restrict my self to the Jam if I did? The code is licensed to allow free reproduction, but I’m not sure of the specific rules concerning sample code like this – do I just need to declare it as with personal code, does it full under ‘publicly available libraries’ or is it not allowed altogether?

Thanks in advance :)

Let the chaos begin!

Posted by
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 12:23 am

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much room for interpretation with the theme Tiny World. I’ve seen a lot of people working on games that take place on small planets or maps and I’ll admit that was my first idea too. Then I had the idea, why not represent the regular world but in a tiny form? I looked at quarks, the smallest objects in existence that comprise protons, neutrons and all other particles, and had the idea to build a construction game where you start with quarks and build up to the larger forms of matter. (I suspect this game would’ve been valid if Alchemy had won, too!) An obvious inspiration is Scale of the Universe, but my game probably won’t function in exactly the same way – for starters, there’s no way I’ll be able to represent the same scale range as that.

In a few minutes I’ve got to head off to my Computing class (Saturday lessons FTL) but once I get back I’ll be getting down to work on this game. At present I’m working out in my head exactly how I’m going to structure the program, and hopefully soon after that is sorted I’ll have something to show you guys.

I’m in, sorta?

Posted by
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 12:46 am

My first Ludum Dare, the majority of Saturday morning missing, a laggy computer and very little experience programming games. What could possibly go wrong?

So yeah, I’m Hunter X and this is my first Ludum Dare. I’m mostly here as an opportunity to practice my programming skills (I’ve developed a number of small programs either as personal projects or private commissions, but never anything major), as well as to see what it’s like to take part in one of these competitions. I’ll be using C# and XNA for my project (unless I miraculously learn Java in the next 3 days), with either Paint or Photoshop as my image editor depending on what I end up making.

If I actually get anything off the ground I’ll be sure to post about it, but having seen some of the entries in the past I’m doubtful I’ll get anywhere near them on my first try. Still, all experience is good experience, right?

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