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I’m in for LD27!

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 5:55 pm

Here’s the typical post where I state that I am in for LD27 and am really looking forward to it. I participated in LD26 and it ended up being my first commercially released game. In a little over 3 months, I was able to take a simple idea and build it into a finished product that works on Windows, Mac, Linux. I officially released the game today and although the game probably won’t sell that great (It’s a math based puzzle game, it’s appeal is somewhat limited) I am really proud of it and learned a lot in the process. I don’t know if what I make for LD27 will grow into that, but I’m excited about the possibilities. Making games is fun!


  • C# + XNA
  • Monogame for Mac+Linux
  • JSIL for web version – This was really important for my LD26 game. As a result of having a web version, my game got played around 7,000 times. That would have never happened with a traditional download.
  • GIMP for graphics
  • pxTone for music
  • sfxr for sound effects
  • JoeDevGameLib as my basecode


A Game of Numbers: Get it now!!

It’s a clever math based puzzle game. Basically, if you’re nerdy and you like math, you might enjoy it.

An Almost Success Story!!

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Friday, August 2nd, 2013 5:55 pm

A Game of Numbers

RELEASE DATE: August 13th!!!



The game is a math based puzzle game and did pretty well in the last compo. It came in 14th overall, 5th in fun, 7th in innovation. I didn’t really plan on working much further on it, but the response was so good that I changed my mind. I had a goal of trying to finishing something before the next Ludum Dare and it looks like I will be achieving that, as the release date is set for August 13th. This is my first commercial release and I’m grateful to the Ludum Dare community and everyone that supports the site, it is the only reason that my game exists in the first place (I would have never made a puzzle game, I hate puzzle games! :)

Things in the enhanced version

  • Music and Sound Effects
  • Slightly better visuals
  • A couple new mechanics
  • A lot more puzzles [Greater than 75]
  • Editor
  • Upload and Download Levels + Level Packs In game [Very excited about this]
  • Windows/Mac/Linux Support! [Thanks to MonoGame!!]

I am selling using the Humble Store and am excited to see how well it does. I’ve been making games and following the scene long enough to know to keep my expectations low, as odds are it won’t sell a whole lot, but either way it’s exciting to me. I have already picked up a couple pre-orders, some of which paid above the $5.00 asking price, which is a little surprising. I will also be building it for iOS/Android/WindowsPhone a couple weeks after the PC release. I had planned to do both at the same time, but there is more work getting the UI working on the different screen sizes than I thought.  Thanks again, this community is awesome!!

Here’s an shot of a new level (shows some of the new mechanics, also is super difficult!)



PS: If anyone knows how to make trailers and is interested in helping, let me know. I’ve been trying for a couple days and I suck!

A Game of Numbers – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 2:51 pm


The Good

  • Tools – I am very familiar with C#/XNA/Gimp
  • Scope – Game was super simple and easy to program
  • Editor – Used Gimp to make and map the level, so therefor no need to make a editor myself
  • JSIL Version – I managed to get a web version working, which seems really cool to me

The Bad

  • Editor – Using Gimp to make levels was difficult. Yes it saved me lots of time, but when editing levels I would often make mistakes that I would have to go back and correct.
  • Puzzles – Coming up with good puzzles was difficult. I ‘m sure there are a lot of possible puzzles with the elements that are implemented, but they take time and experimentation to find and I didn’t have much time. That said, I’m fairly happy with the set of puzzles that I finished with
  • Audio – I didn’t really have time or the desire to add any sound effects or music to the game. It probably would have beneficial to have some sound effects.

This is my third Ludum Dare that I’ve participated in and the 4th gamedev competition that I’ve done. Unlike my previous attempts, I was super relaxed during this one. I brainstormed for a couple hours after the theme was announced and then started programming right away. I think after about 6 hours of programming all the mechanics were implemented and all that was left was making levels. I thought the levels would be easy so I took a break and didn’t really do much work on Saturday, I think I made 3 or 4 levels. Then on Sunday I started crunching because I realized that I couldn’t come up with any good puzzles. Luckily I buckled down and managed to create a good number. Overall, it was a great experience and I am pretty happy with my game.

Post-Compo Plans

I probably won’t do this right away, but there are a couple obvious things that I will do to improve the game.

  • Audio – Add some audio to the game
  • More Puzzles – I will add some more puzzles to the game, but still try to keep a certain uniqueness to each one. I also don’t really want to introduce any more elements.
  • Puzzle Editor – Have an editor mode where people can try to make their own puzzles

I might also look into the possibility of porting to mobile devices and trying to make an educational type of game, it could be interesting.

Here is the entry (Windows + Web):http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=4628

Math Based Puzzler

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 9:15 am

My game is almost complete. It’s a math based puzzle game. This is the first time I have made a ‘puzzle’ type of game. I normally stay away from that genre just because I don’t really enjoy them, but I decided to give it a try. It’s been a fun experience and much more laid back previous ludum dares that I’ve participated in. The only thing left is adding more puzzles, but creating them has turned out being a lot more difficult that I thought it would be. I’m hoping to have around 20 or so levels, but who knows how many I’ll actually get in time.



Blog: http://joedev.net

‘The Rescue’ Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Monday, December 19th, 2011 10:44 am

Now that I have gotten some sleep I’ll go ahead and reflect about how I think I did on my game. I’ll be honest that I wasn’t a huge fan of the alone theme and I didn’t really have any ideas initially. Me and my wife brainstormed together for a while after it was announced, but we couldn’t come up with anything that I was satisfied with. I eventually decided to make a platformer and that I could come up with the exact storyline later. This worked well because as I worked on the platformer code I also spent some time working on the art. While working with the art I managed to come up with a simple storyline that I felt was a good fit for the ‘alone’ theme.

What went right

  • Graphics – I really like the look of my game. I had decided prior to the start that I was going to use a very minimal palette and it fit my game very well. I also added a fading effect to the screen that added to the alone factor. Overall, I think the graphics were pretty good.
  • Audio – I made a simple short background track that sounds alright. I’m not very good at making music, so getting anything that sounds halfway decent is in a win in my book.
  • Editor – I have created a nice tile editor from previous projects that I used to create the game world. It was fairly easy to use and all I had to do was write the code to import the binary map files.
  • Storyline – I like the story of my game. I don’t want to give any details, but I like the flow that it has.
  • Tools – I was very familiar with the tools that I used. Gimp, PxTone, Visual Studio, C# and XNA. They are all things that I have been using for at least several years.

What went wrong:

  • Editor – There are a couple things about the editor that made it tedious to work with. It has auto tiling functionality, but the tileset has to be setup a certain way for it to work and I couldn’t do it with the tileset I was using. It also didn’t do any scaling on the Source texture and because I was using 8×8 tiles, it was a little difficult to select the tile you wanted.
  • Time Management – I spent way too much time playing my game. I had more elaborate plans for the storyline, but due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to implement them. You can actually see hints of it in the world if you look closely enough.

Overall, this Ludum Dare was a great experience and I think my game is significantly better than my LD21 entry. I encourage everyone to give it a try and tell me what you think. Here is the link to the entry: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=rate&uid=4628


Some More Progress

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 9:03 pm

I ended up taking a very long break today, which wasn’t really good for the progress on my game, but I still think I am in good shape and will be able to finish it Sunday. I’ll probably work on it for a couple more hours tonight and then try to get some sleep. The main things remaining are:

  • Finish creating the world (I’m probably about 10% done)
  • Everything Audio related (Haven’t done any audio stuff yet, probably not going to be able to get much done)
  • A menu/title screen (This shouldn’t take more than about a half hour)

Visually, not much has changed since the last post I made, but I will still go ahead and post another screenshot. I am really liking how everything is coming together and I am hoping I can get close to my vision for the game.


Progress Update #2

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 11:08 am

Things have progressed very well since my last update. I have finished a lot of the core features and I am almost ready to start working on content development. I got 6 hours of sleep (3:00am to 9:00am). I decided to add a little fade to the camera and I think it helps make the player feel isolated. I have also decided on a storyline, but I don’t want to give any details, as some of you might end up playing the game, and I don’t want you to know what happens. Here is a screenshot.


Making Some Progress… I Guess

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 12:28 am

I’ve got kinda a basic idea of what I am doing and I’ve gotten a lot of basic stuff working. I hoping for it to be a story driven platformer (really creative, right?). I’m kinda trying to take advantage of a reduced color palette to create a mood and reinforce the loneliness of the player. I don’t really know how successful I will be, but working with white+gray+black palette is kinda fun. Also, the physics are currently terrible. I always have a hard time getting platformer physics just right. It seems it either feels a little too floaty or feels a little too heavy. Hopefully I can manage to find a happy medium.

Here is a screenshot, because that’s all most people care about.


I’m In

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Saturday, December 10th, 2011 8:54 am

This will be my second Ludum Dare and I am very excited. I will be using the same technology that I used last time.

  • Framework – XNA
  • Graphics – Gimp
  • Audio – PxTone/Sfxr
  • Timelapse – ChronoLapse

I will also be using a small game utility library that I have written that include some basic Font rendering and helper functions. I will include a link in this post to it once I have uploaded it to my server.

Frantic Dungeon Update 2

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 1:58 pm

I’ve made some steady progress since the last post a little over a week ago, but I still feel as though I am a little behind where I should be if I want to get this out by the end of October. Pretty much all the systems are functional and I’m spending most of my time additional enemies and random features to increase replayability.

Stuff Added

  • Leveling Up
  • Bosses every 10 levels
  • Time Remaining Progress bar
  • Labyrinth Levels (Floors 10 – 20)
  • Several new enemies

Stuff to work on

  • Adding more enemies
  • Adding more bosses
  • Come up with a level type for Floors 20-30 and 30-40
  • Adding cool stuff for the player to randomly encounter
  • Audio

Here a couple screen shots:




The UI is a little busy right now (There are 3 progress bars), but I’m having a hard time coming up with a layout that I like. I’ll probably end up sticking with something similar to what it is now.

Frantic Dungeon Progress

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Monday, October 10th, 2011 8:22 pm

I’m not sure when exactly I decided that I was going to attempt the October Challenge, but I had just started working on a new project a couple weeks ago and it seems like something that could be completed in a relatively short amount of time so I’m going to give it a shot. My game is tentatively titled ‘Frantic Dungeon’ and is a real time roguelike that forces the player to move at a frantic pace. The idea is that on each floor of the dungeon the player will only have a very limited amount of time, probably 20 – 30 seconds, possibly less. With this limited time the player is going to have find the exit,  collect stat bonus, and kill enemies for some experience. So far that’s the basic idea and I’m trying my best to keep it as simple as possible and not fall victim to feature creep.

Here is a quick video I made to show off my current progress. I have a lot of the basic systems complete, but I still have a whole lot of work adding content.




The game is written in C#/XNA and I am planning for a PC only release. I would really like to get on Desura, but I’m not sure if I can meet the quality and polish necessary for that to happen within the specified time. Does anyone have any experience publishing through Desura? It would be interesting to hear some advice about that. If Desura doesn’t work out then I will probably try to distribute myself through fastspring or BMT Micro.

MobEscape Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Sunday, August 28th, 2011 2:13 pm

I guess I’ll write a little bit here about how my game turned out. Here is a screenshot as a reference.

Entry: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=rate&uid=4628

This was my first Ludum Dare and I’m glad I participated. My game was originally intended to be a reverse tower defense game but it didn’t really work out exactly like I would have liked it to. I wanted it to be a frantic run through a bunch of randomly put together rooms with a bunch of towers shooting at you. I had that working about 24 hours in, but I came to the realization that it wasn’t fun at all. I contemplated quitting at that point because I was frustrated and a little angry that my game wasn’t fun. I ended up salvaging my game by reducing the number of followers the character has and trying to make the player be strategic with the way he navigates through the rooms in order to protect his followers. I’ll be honest that my game still wasn’t very fun, but I’m glad that I stuck it out and finished.


What went right:

  • I finished!
  • I liked the follower mechanic.
  • I think my in-air spinning knife animation was pretty awesome.
  • I tried something different. (As opposed to the type of game I would normally make)

What went wrong:

  • Music. I have no musical talent at all, but sometimes I manage to get lucky and make a good track. I tried, but I failed.
  • Game wasn’t fun.
  • Lots of the code was poorly written.


  • Awesome knife animation…
  • Various future game ideas
  • Motivation
  • Experience

I really enjoyed participating and I definitely plan on participating in future Ludum Dares. The community here is awesome and I am very thankful for the people who work hard to organize this and keep everything running smoothly. You are doing an awesome job!

MobEscape Timelapse

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Monday, August 22nd, 2011 10:52 am

Here is a timelapse for my entry

Reverse Tower Defense Update #2

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Saturday, August 20th, 2011 11:34 am

I’ve made a lot of progress and have a lot of stuff working. The towers can now shoot and damage the player. Once I got that working, I switched gears to map generation. I went ahead and spent about 2 hours making a rough little editor so I can make rooms easily (pictured below). Theoretically the game will stich together a bunch of these rooms together and the player will have to navigate though them using whatever items he can find. I probably could have made these rooms in a text editor just as easy, but I always find that tedious and I like the visualization doing it this way.


I Got Started

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Friday, August 19th, 2011 11:11 pm

I’ve now been working for about three hours and have a little bit to show for it. I’ve got a completely generic screen of tiles and small little character that can run around and collide with the solid tiles. So far I’m still thinking of an idea, but I obviously have the general direction that I want to go in set. It’s going to be a reverse tower defense game. Instead of building towers to kill mobs, you are the mob and you are trying to escape. The idea might change if the mechanics don’t work very well, but hopefully that general idea will stay the same.



Here is a video if it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plRtQoZRzi4


Also, these posts are being mirrored at http://joedev.net 

First LD

Posted by (twitter: @Joseph_Michels)
Saturday, August 13th, 2011 9:34 am

This is my first Ludume Dare and I’m very excited and hoping to complete something fun. Here is everything that I will be using:

Language: C# with XNA

Graphics: GIMP

Sounds: sfxr

Music: pxtone/LMMS – hopefully, my music making abilites are quite limited

My Base Code – Consists of a bitmap font rendering system, input parsing, as well as some extension methods, all of which I wrote.

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