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0G is done!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Monday, August 24th, 2015 8:19 pm

My submission is done, with a cool 7 minutes to go. What an awesome jam it’s been! But now it’s time to rest my brain – it’s produced some pretty horrendous last minute coding hacks that I blame entirely on sleep deprivation and too much classical music.

0G is a game about flying through a space station in zero gravity and piecing things back together after an explosion. It’s a simple exploration and movement game with some narrative and a few bits of randomized danger thrown in. Enjoy!

Play it here.

0g_shot01

0g_shot03

Team RetroEpic is in!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 4:40 am

So it’s a little late for the whole “we’re in” thing, but we decided now’s as good a time as any to say hi! Our team consists of four of us jamming from a game dev company called RetroEpic. We’re based in Cape Town, South Africa.

We’ve gone with a rather unusual concept: The player controls  a doctor/therapist who’s job it is to keep an army of dungeon goblins happy and healthy by diagnosing then curing their various ailments. The player chooses from a number of semi-sanitary diagnosis tools, then pokes and examines the goblin patient, watching for reactions. After a while, various symptoms will become evident, which will illuminate what kind of ailment the patient has. From there, the player can assign a cure to the patient, and earn gold to buy more tools and cures.

We’d like to capture as much humour and empathy as possible in the narrative and visuals, while still keeping some kind of fun, deductive gameplay. Hopefully this will eventually allow us to explore all kinds of emergent gameplay and narrative treats 😛

Anyway, there’s a lot to get through, so we leave you with a WIP shot of Alan the goblin, and our player’s dungeon-y consultation office.

goblin_01

Road Rage simulates your Monday morning commute

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Monday, April 29th, 2013 5:17 pm

My jam entry is finally complete! Play Road Rage.

ld_screen02

Road Rage is a game in which you have to manage the chaos of a city full of VERY impatient drivers. Given that I had the extra day of the Jam, it’s got plenty of the original features I planned, but there were still quite a few nifty things I wanted to add, as well as explore the puzzle/movement strategy gameplay some more.

Happy Ludum Dare everyone! What an amazing one it was.

 

Getting there!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 10:05 am

Well, my original idea has certainly come into fruition and I’ve managed to obliterate most of the really difficult AI challenges in my code! Cars are cruising around a city, and if you happen live in one full of fast, reckless drivers, you’ll notice that the AI is wonderfully realistic 😛

ld26_progress01

With a lot of the really tough logic out of the way, I can smooth out issues with movement, and add more gameplay elements. I’m hardly going to be focussing on more graphics – the minimalism theme kind of warrants this simple style, but I might just pretty it up in a few ways. There’s still a lot to do, but seeing as I’ve committed myself to aim for the jam instead of the 48 hour compo, I’m hoping I’ll be able to turn this into a really fun game.

 

Crawling progress

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 4:54 am

This is a very belated “I’m In!”, combined with a quick progress update. This is my sixth Ludum Dare, and I’ll be using Unity and maybe 3ds Max, as well as Audacity and possibly SFXR for audio.

I’m currently playing around with an idea for a game in which you play a traffic warden who has to run around and guide traffic around a city. I’m hoping for this to be as much Frogger as strategic puzzler. Letting drivers wait too long in traffic will give them road rage and have them tearing down the street, whether or not you’re standing in it.

However, my brain is working very slowly today, and suffering for Ludum Dare time panic. I have a feeling that building a traffic simulation might be a bit out of my grasp, and I’ll almost definitely extend my time to jam time, but still need a solid way to tackle traffic simulation.

Rise of the Meebas Dev Diary

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Monday, September 3rd, 2012 12:05 pm

I thought I’d get into the spirit of Ludum Dare and write about my entry, Rise of the Meebas. This is actually more of a rough development diary, peppered with some insights and cool, EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes goodness!

In South Africa, Ludum Dare begins at 3 in the morning. This leaves 2 choices: to power through and see the theme announcement, hoping to go to sleep and lucid dream oneself a mind-blowing game idea, or to wake up really early.

I chose the latter, which really would’ve worked if I had woken up early. By the time I had a brunch in me, I was still entirely at a loss for ideas. “Evolution” was a great theme, but sometimes one tends to get obsessed with trying to design something too clever. I had something similar happen to me for my LD#22 game, and like Rise of the Meebas, I ended up with a game that contained the initial sparks of a good idea, but was left lacking good, solid, fun gameplay.

I spent a majority of the Saturday getting the basic movement mechanics and a few graphical elements into Unity. I’d settled on an idea in which you had to move a number of amoeba-like balls around a level, and the more you moved each one the closer you got to evolving the movement of the group as a whole, after which you could overcome obstacles and reach the exit. I wanted this to have a similar feel to those levels in Braid where moving left rewinds time, and moving right progresses it. In other words, having the player carefully evaluate where and when to move around the level, with some reflex-based platforming gameplay.

With this in mind, I spent the end of the day designing some levels on paper, which helped lock in something of the puzzling aspect to the level design. I also very quickly hacked together an amoeba model, which in its froggy/fishy/impy look, made me decide that these were “‘Meebas”.

Sunday morning began with something that totally sums up the strange creative spirit of Ludum Dare. About 2 hours before I woke up, the bells from the church across the street started chiming. As I lay in bed half asleep, I thought “this would be kinda cool to have as eerie cave music”, followed by the realization that my laptop was sitting next to my bed, and “hell yes, I can do this!”. So I flipped it open, fired up Garage Band, and managed to capture the last 30 seconds or so of the bells.

I felt like a game-making McGuyver. It was moments like these that made me really appreciate the rule that says all assets should be created by hand. In some way this forces us to attempt a number of unfamiliar disciplines, and more often than not, discover that we aren’t bad at them! That being said, my spacey, ravey church bells song was not a hit, but it was good fun having a go at putting a track together.

I also completed the rest of the modeling, texturing and animation of the Meeba character. I was happy with the way the animations turned out in the end, but again, the process of getting them in was bizarre and fueled by desperation. Firstly I tried using 3ds Max bones, but as something went wrong when I imported the animation into Unity, I made the wise decision to go with what I knew worked: A full biped. This has some strange results when you realize biped is generally designed for animating people:

What they don’t teach you in animation school

So after this creative misuse of biped, I moved onto making levels. This was another one of the areas of development that went well, simply because I gave myself enough time for it. Although my idea wasn’t really developed fully enough to be an intriguing puzzler, I was still able to convey the gist of the gameplay through the levels and tutorials. I also had time to put some detail into the levels, including various colored lights to indicate exits (green/blueish) and dangerous areas (red). I’d made a stalactite prefab and discovered that by tweaking its mesh colliders, I was able to turn it into a fun level obstacle. I probably got carried away positioning the stalactites so that your Meeba could fall – flailing and grunting – and crash into them on its way down.

Ultimately, this was an exhausting, fun and successful Ludum Dare! Although it sorta goes against one of the fundamental tips for making a great LD game, I found it useful to work on what I could art- and code-wise while I let my very vague initial gameplay idea develop. There came a point where I was running out of time, so had to go for what I though might be halfway decent, but if I hadn’t, I simply wouldn’t have had enough time to finish.

What went right:

– The art and graphics. I tried to create a really interesting, colorful and funny mood while working quickly on each asset, and I think it worked well.

– Leaving enough time to design levels, add tutorials, and bookend the game with a menu and game over screen.

What went wrong:

– Initially having an idea that didn’t hold too much promise of fun and interest. It’s still in need of an overhaul, and I think a post- post- post- post- compo version might start blending into something of an arcade or even RTS-flavoured platformer.

– Church bells, apparently 😛

Meet the Meebas!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 6:02 pm

Holy batman, I’m exhausted! And I see about 800 entries so far, even before the mad rush of submission hour. Wow. Also, the servers seem spectacularly stable, so nice one ludum dare people!

I present my entry, Rise of the Meebas:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=3643

It’s a puzzle platformer that’s ended up being quite a lot more complete than I had hoped for. The idea is that your Meebas evolve after moving a certain amount, evolving new and more exciting types of movement. If I could add more levels, I’d want to introduce crafty Braid-like positioning/distance puzzles, but unfortunately the idea only started to solidify about half way through. During that time, I worked on art, which I found to be a great way to let an idea brew while doing something useful like the graphics. I also would’ve liked to add grappling and swimming, but that’ll have to come later.

What an amazing ludum dare it’s been. I look forward to seeing everyone’s entries.

Quick progress update

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 12:41 pm

I’m doing a pre-emptive progress update, because I plan to buckle down and carry on working into the night. I’m glad Evolution finally had its day, but strangely, I’ve had an incredibly hard time coming up with something that could be *fun*. So I’ve put myself in the dangerous position of trying to discover a game idea as I go. Yikes.

What I have so far is the start of a puzzle-platformer in which you control a bunch of ‘meebas’ and try to get a group of them to evolve as a whole, in order to reach the exit. If I knew how to play this game I would explain more…

 

 

Onwards!

In again

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 6:57 am

I’ll be taking part in this LD with some fellow South African developers at UCT in Cape Town! I’ll be using Unity3+ with C#, 3ds Max, Photoshop, and the ever-versatile BFXR. I may dabble with making some music if I find the time, but having basically never touched a music-making program, it’ll be very experimental.

Astrosurf is done!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 6:12 pm

My game, Astrosurf, is ready to go!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=3643

Enjoy! And let me know what you think.

Day 1 done!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 2:54 pm

It’s midnight and time to turn in. Here’s my progress:

I got what I thought was a pretty solid idea early on, and the implementation has been cool thus far. I’ve managed to get most of the gameplay in today, so I’m in a really good position to tweak the gameplay, and add plenty of pretty things.

The basic idea is to control your planet and guide it through an astral field, avoiding black holes, and causing natural disasters like volcanoes to propel the planet. It’s pretty morbid, especially now that the screams are in!

Fourth Ludum Dare!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 1:20 am

I’m in for a fourth time, and beginning to feel like a true LD veteran! I’m going 3D this time with Unity (C# code), 3ds Max and Photoshop, as well as cfxr for sound. This is quite a change from my previous attempts with ActionScript 3, but even a few weeks of playing with Unity has proven how wonderful and easy it is.

Yay for the themes! NOT KITTENS (or pixels, for god’s sake people, cmon)

😛

Finished at last!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 7:00 pm

My game, Left Behind, is done! I’m very happy with it, though it’s buggy as hell:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=preview&uid=3643

It’s been an amazing time, and though I was suffering from a lack of sleep on day 1, the end result is pretty close to what I had planned.

One thing I can recommend massively is doing Ludum Dare with others, as we did in the Cape Town jam. It was fantastic, and great to have a bunch of like-minded chaps around.

Sleep now, postmortem later.

End of Day 1 – Update

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 4:27 pm

Well it was an exhausting and late start for me, but here’s an update! After a long day, all of us at the LD Cape Town meet have been afflicted by a strange tiredness, along with all manner of delirium, and strange obsessions with seagulls and rocket ships. We need a break.

I had quite a hard time coming up with an idea for this theme, but am currently  here:

 

The idea I have is that the player has to catch up with his flock, but also has to maintain and gather energy (food) along the way (still to come). It has some promise, and may be more do-able than my previous attempts, as even in it’s current form, it’s almost complete as a simple game. Tomorrow I will work on the energy/food/diving mechanics, and do some graphical changes.

I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 6:37 am

I’m in for Ludum Dare 22! Furthermore, I’ll be devving it up with a bunch of other South Africans at the Cape Town LD event, which should make for a fantastic weekend.

I’ll be using my usual tools and language:

– AS3 w/the FlashDevelop IDE

– The ever-faithful tweenlite library, and perhaps box2d or Ape physics

– Blender/Gimp

– Sound… who knows? I think I’m cursed when it comes to getting sound in a game.

I thought about being brave and getting aquainted with another language/framework for this LD, but decided to stick with AS3. While it would fun to have a go with something like Unity for a 3D game, AS3 remains the safest choice for me, with respect to the 48-hour period. It would be nuts to try and wrangle something one isn’t totally familiar with, so maybe between now and the next one I’ll broaden my horizons.

Thoughts on LD21

Posted by (twitter: @jemmiwinks)
Monday, August 22nd, 2011 2:46 am

What a fantastic weekend! I’m beginning to realize why people always stress the importance of forcing yourself to take breaks. This is an incredibly self-involving craft, and I got so caught up I probably only took about 6 hours worth of breaks throughout (excluding sleep, of course). So, I’m broken but incredibly satisfied, and I had a great time.

View my entry, “Cells”, here:
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=preview&uid=3643

Post-mortem time:

My biggest gripe – adding sound and music has eluded me AGAIN! I also let it slip last time. I’m fairly new to a couple of Actionscript 3 concepts and embedding and playing sounds seems to be pretty simple, but I must be missing something very obvious because I always have problems. I did manage to get sound working in a previous project I worked on, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get it going this time. So, I opted to carry on with what I knew rather than spending hours messing around with sound.

The other problem is that I have more experience with 3D and digital art than programming, so even if when I don’t have trouble coming up with a gameplay idea I still tend to focus largely on graphics. I loved the theme this time, but had a hard time coming up with an idea, which meant by the end of the first day I still didn’t have an iota of gameplay/interaction code. The player could run and jump and all the technical aspects were in, but no game. I only came up with the hacking idea on day 2, so I didn’t leave myself enough time to create more challenging puzzles.

That being said, I was very happy with the hacking concept and I think the final game could be tons of fun as a puzzler if those puzzles were more taxing. With things like watching for enemy paths, following electrical connections and being able to hack more floors above, the game would be somewhere between an escape the room game and an arcade puzzler.

The graphics was the other aspect I was very happy with. I managed to get an animated character in too and even though his animations were a little rough, I can see that a little animation makes a huge difference. I wanted to do more with lighting – as you got higher the floor you were on would be brighter – but that, and many other tweaks, will come if and when I update the game. I also love the dark and slightly spooky atmostphere and I’d love to tie a creepy or mind-bending story into Cells.

Overall, I’m really happy with my entry. Good luck all!

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