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Do you like puzzle games?

Posted by
Tuesday, December 27th, 2016 10:22 am

If you do, there’s still 6 days left to check this one out.

recursion

 

Suggestions and healthy criticism are encouraged :)

Tell me (in the comments), did you find it too hard, or maybe too easy? Were you forced to use hints? What would you change?

Thanks for your feedback.

How hard it can be?

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2016 7:27 pm

Finally took a few minutes to fix bugs and make a difficult game a little bit more accessible.

If you are a puzzle-loving gamer, I challenge you to complete the game without using hints!

If you manage, leave me a comment.

recursion

(For better experience, download and play – web version has some issues for some players).

This is not my first attempt at creating a puzzle game, but this one made me think. It’s really not easy to make a puzzle so that it’s challenging enough for hard-core puzzle gamers, while still relatively enjoyable for the rest.

I know I need a less steep difficulty curve, but that’s what I managed to create in some 30-ish hours.

If anyone makes a video review or a stream, would you mind giving me a ping? (It’s precious to see live feedback).

Recursion, an intellectual twister

Posted by
Monday, December 12th, 2016 8:36 pm

All in all, I’ve learned a lot. Some 30 hours in the making.

And after last two LDs, this time I finished what I wanted.

Feel free to play Recursion and leave any thoughts.

rec02

rec01

Changing Tide – Current progress

Posted by
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 6:16 pm

Here’s my current progress. Tomorrow, I have a day off for jamming.

status-201604180112

 

It’s still somewhat placeholder graphics, but there’s some progress:

changingtide

Starting: The changing tide

Posted by
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 12:40 am

Couldn’t join sooner, but after a good night, I’m starting the game.

Not particularly fond of the theme, but it will be ok.

I hope I’m gonna make it.

So, this is the status for now:

status-201604170733

Things to REALLY consider (dev/submission best practices)

Posted by
Monday, April 11th, 2016 5:12 am

I wish someone would pin this up so everyone can read it – not because I am smart, but because this is really important.

1. Decrease time to download

When the deadline comes, many people go to sleep because they know that tomorrow they will play and rate lots of games. They will do that for the next three weeks (probably with decreasing intensity) so the download process must be easy. I’ve participated in the last three LDs and I’ve rated lots of games. Some of the devs rated more than 300 games per LD (although this doesn’t guarantee that they really played them, but I am not the one to judge that). I’ve wasted almost an hour more than I had to (accross this many games) on downloading the games that are not directly downloadable.

The point is this: games should be easily accessible and downloadable. The less clicks I need to do to run the game, the happier I am (…and you are too!).

That being said, I have several suggestions for developers:

  1. If possible, provide a web version of the game. If your engine does not support that, that’s ok too. Simply follow the next points.
  2. Use download services that allow you to post a DIRECT link to your file. This is how it goes with those typical gaming portals many of you use (the bad scenario):
    1. Chose a link on LD page
    2. *a gaming (or other) portal opens, for example – itch.io* – sometimes slowly
    3. find a download link among 10 other links and pictures
    4. *a popup opens*
    5. ignore the donation links and buttons and search for the download link, which is usually small.
    6. click the found download link
  3. If you are using dropbox or onedrive or some other cloud drive – modify the URL so that it leads to the direct download. It will take you 5 seconds but save each of us that are playing your game 5-10 seconds. For example, if your dropbox link looks like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/abcdef0123456789/file.zip?dl=0, change the ending to ?dl=1. This will save everyone’s time.

 

2. Have mercy on the non-EN players

I don’t know the exact demography of the LD developers, but I guess many of them are from USA/UK or other english-speaking countries. However, please… and I mean PLEASE!, have mercy on players/devs that do not use english QWERTY keyboard layout. That means: X and Z keys are among the worst choices for player actions. Simply DO NOT use those! If you need proof, look at this picture (This is about the ONLY keyboard layout where X and Z are next to each other):

qwerty450

And now look at these (these are layouts that a lot of people use too, believe it or not). Notice how far are X and Z from each other.

QWERTZ0-Vuskup12-azerty-s-

kbdvorak

 

You may use the QWERTY layout, but know that many people do not! (And I have not even touched on cyrillic, arabic, chinese etc.)

The solution? Either allow the player to configure the keys or use the keys that are in the same position on all keyboards (shifts, controls, alts, tabs, enters, backspaces, etc.)

And if your engine really really does not make it easy for you to enable the user key binding, use letters C + V or J + K (other than the dvorak layout, these are next to each other on most other keyboard layouts).

 

3. Folder naming

Fellow developer DesignerNap added another important best practice: Always name your folder (ZIP archive or the folder inside) by the game, not generic names like ‘game’, ‘LD35’ or such. If the game is called “Dolly wants a cracker”, then I expect a folder with that name.

 

4. Unity (.NET in general) PDB files

(Thanks to Almax27)

PDB files are useful. Very useful. But only to the developer. These files are huge and contain all sorts of different debugging data required to step through your code in your Visual Studio. However, once you build the executable, players have absolutely no use for them. Do not include PDB files in the published version.

On the side note, the only reasonable reason why you could include PDB file with the build is that in the case of the exception logging, you will be able to see the line in the source where the exception originated, which is useful too. But again – only to the developer. And since we do not expect players to send us their debug logs with exception messages and stack traces, they do not need the PDB. Leave it out! :)

 

5. Good luck Ludum Daring.

Good luck with your games. I look forward to playing them.

GROW PostCompo

Posted by
Monday, December 21st, 2015 4:51 pm

Post-jam version of GROW is slowly taking a better shape.

grow

Not completely succesfull

Posted by
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 2:25 am

I was a bit disappointed by the theme(s), but still I tried to do my best.

I didn’t make a completely playable game, but I would like you to try it anyway and suggest if you see any potential in the gameplay mechanics. I might finish the game in the future.

If you took some time to try it out, I woud be very grateful. Try it here.

Not really there

Posted by
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 11:26 am

Not sure if I’m gonna make it for Compo, but maybe Jam.

temp

Will do!

Posted by
Friday, December 4th, 2015 3:25 am

This is my third LD.

I wasn’t satisfied with my games in previous two LDs because no one really understood how to play.

This time I just want to remind myself: Make a tutorial!

:)

Good luck to everyone.

LD is difficult, just so you know!

Posted by
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 3:18 am

This is not a self promotion. Please go play my game :p Just kidding.

I just wanted to share my experiences so that maybe someone can benefit from them. If you don’t want to read my story, but would still like to hear an advice, skip to TL;DR.

First of all, I didn’t like the theme. From the 20 themes in the last round, I would rate it the worst. And I would leave it there. It’s simply too broad, almost as if not being a theme at all. So, as you can imagine, I was a bit disappointed. Another thing is that I was able to join 18 hours late. So only 30 hours left for compo. However, that was just before the night (in my timezone) so I just went to bed. 22 hours left. Sunday morning, ah well – couldn’t think of anything for the theme I didn’t like so I just procrastinated and did some work for my daily job. And around noon, I gave up. No LD for me.

Wouldn’t be able to meet COMPO deadline anyway.

However, somewhere around 4 PM, only 11 hours ’til compo deadline, I couldn’t stand the fact that I’m gonna miss this LD, so I simply started doing stuff. Made a simple 3D model, played with UV mapping, started a little bit of scripting… but the gist of the game was not even conceived. I worked until 1 AM and when I saw that I can’t do anything reasonable for the compo, I just went to bed. After 9 hours straight work, I had some parts of the game done, but it was not any fun. That’s where JAM comes in. Now, the thing is, I went to work late so I returned late, at 8:30 PM. So only 7 hours left. “Let’s do this, baby!” It was non-stop work until a minute before deadline. I submitted the game and looked at my wife. Is it really over? Did I just submit a game for a LD I wasn’t going to participate in and for which I hated a theme?!

LT;DR:

So, here are the things I’ve realized during my second LD.

  1. You have to start doing something (anything really) before real stream of ideas will come rushing. I didn’t have any ideas when I placed that first cube in Blender. Then I had many ideas. Start! Make a cube, a line, a sprite, a wall, a sphere, and let gravity roll. Just do something!
  2. Preparation is important! I don’t do games for a living (even though I wish I do). And I haven’t played with Unity or Blender since the last LD. That means lack of efficiency. The previous LD, I was struggling with model orientation in Unity when imported from Blender. I learned a lot that day, but burnt a few hours. This LD I wanted to better texture my models, so I learned how to UV map. But again, I wasted time, which would be converted to game features if I had just prepared. One week before LD, spend a few hours honing your skills in 3 things: modeling/drawing, programming and music making. Know your workflow! Prepare! Practice before, not during LD.
  3. Instructions, instructions, instructions! I did the same mistake like the first time. I failed to provide a guide to the player. When my game starts, the player is stuck in a room and he doesn’t know what to do. No hints, no tutorials, no help, no instructions. This time I have an excuse – I joined too late. However, putting explanation into game description is OK, but for the most players, not enough. They don’t read. They download, and they play. If they don’t understand it, they rate bad and leave. I’ve seen many “bad” games become Great games just after reading the descriptions. But the fact is, not everyone like me reads through them. 2 Lessons. Lesson for a player: help your fellow programmers – read their descriptions! They worked hard, they have families, jobs and whatnot. Not everyone is able to make a great tutorial in time. Help them and read. Lesson for a developer: Plan the guide. An in-game guide. If you don’t plan for it, you’ll end up polishing instead of making a tutorial. And that’s a mistake. Understanding how to play is more important than realistic textures.
  4. Don’t give up! At times, you will find yourself bored and thinking that your game sucks and that you should just give up. Don’t! 
  5. If your game gets rated bad, don’t take it too seriously. Rating is flawed and is never a correct representation of the game quality. But focus on what you’ve learned. Learn and adapt! That’s the way to go. Acquire new skills, try new stuff. Experiment. That’s what Ludum Dare is all about.

 

Good luck with your games.

What is irony

Posted by
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 9:48 am

This is the last comment on LD32 WINNER entry page:

“It’s a good and complete game but I think there are better games out there, sorry.”

 

Talk about the irony! :)

Personal score

Posted by
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 6:50 am

What I’m about to say is nothing new – many have said it before, but many did not obey. So here comes again:

Read descriptions!

I must admit I was expecting to score better than I did. Not much better, but better. The fact of the matter is – people were mostly confused about how to play the game or they simply didn’t know what they needed to do. Something was happening in the game, but everything was out of their control. So they gave two stars and left. No comment, no nothing. Judging by the comments, I would have been the winner. But the fact is – in most cases, only those that like the game usually bother enough to comment. Others just cut on the stars.

Some of those that were confused by the first look at my game didn’t even read the descriptions. While I’m not a native english speaker, I think you could understand what you needed to do even if you simply read them once. I submited my game to a few streamers and watched them play. One read the descriptions out loud and found the game great, the other didn’t bother to read and rated bad.

Now, let’s be clear. The game ITSELF should provide enough details and explanations for the game to be understood. I agree with that and I know that’s where I failed. So all in all, the bad ratings were there because the game is not easily understood by itself. But then I though of all the games I wanted to rate bad because for a minute I could not get what I was doing. Then I went to the entry page and then I read the descriptions. Many of such games, almost unplayable at first look, became great when I realized how to play them. I rated them better even though the gameplay was described only in the descriptions, not in the game.

Even though I’m with you for a few LDs now, this was my first LD that I really submitted a game. The way I see it – it’s great that it’s not called LD48 anymore because nobody actually has 48 hours. Some have 35, some have 8. That’s ok. Games emerge in different time frames. Should they be rated accordingly? I am not sure. But I know I didn’t include the description screen (or a tutorial), simply because I hadn’t have enough time. I was unsure if we are allowed to change the game to include description screen after the deadline so I didn’t. I simply wrote them in the entry text.

I don’t mind being rated worse than I expected. It only made me understood better the nature of my work. It’s ok for the first time. I know what to improve next time. Here’s how I scored with Stain:

ld-32

To conclude – help your fellow LDers. Help those that have work, families or other life duties during the event.

Try to read the descriptions.

Ludum Dare is not only about the games, but also about their makers. Respect them :)

Congratulations to the winners! Keep up the good work.

Games I really enjoyed

Posted by
Thursday, May 7th, 2015 11:14 pm

I just wanted to commend the following games for taking a great amount of my time. These are all great games (albeit not all are complete), and I urge you to check them out. While you’re at it, you can try mine too. It might not be among the best, but if you’re into puzzle/action games, try and tell me what you think. (Please read descriptions).

 

To avoid rating spoilers, I have listed them alphabetically.

Click on the images to play the game!

 

A good tunnel is hard to dig

This puzzle game is mind-boggling. I repeated levels for more than 50 times because of that ‘i-will-definitely-do-it-this-time’ illusion. It’s hard but satisfying. Check it out!

AGoodTunnelIsHardToDig-01

 Corrugated Fidelity

I know very little about the stock market, but this (let me say) puzzle game felt solid. Interesting concept and nice production. This one was really fun.

CorrugatedFidelity-01Dead Pixel

One of those environment-constraints driven puzzle games that keeps you trying. While the gameplay is not long, it was nice.

DeadPixel-01

Fathom

I like when the games don’t frustrate you when you fail. In this game, you fail a lot – by a split second. But failure leads to practice, and practice makes perfect. And the game is really pushing you in that direction.

Fathom-01

Forge Craft

I really liked this one. At first I thought it was that match-three style games, but it isn’t. The great thing about this game is that it starts easy, then it gets very hard. At some point, I didn’t even know where to look anymore – every piece of information is relevant and makes sense – but you really have to multitask. The game does not feature a gameover – so even if you are not doing very well, you can still reach the end goal.

ForgeCraft-01

Puppet Guardian

The way this games pushes your brain is fantastic. It requires thought but also action. You have to try this one.

PuppetGuardian 01Radiant Red

At first I didn’t know what to think, but when I understood the gameplay, I just couldn’t stop. Try to beat the extra level – the game developer said it’s too hard to finish – prove him wrong!

RadiantRed-01

Tetris Smash

Very nice Tetris twist. Not much to say, except – GO ALREADY AND PLAY! (Well, for those of you that don’t like Tetris, I feel sorry) :p

TetrisSmash-01

X11 Gust Gunner

The amount of fun increases with amount of frustration you experience. The game is hard and it doesn’t help you that you need to repeat the whole level when you fail. But when you reach mastery (and you will, because you’ll be unable to quit), you will be proud.

X11-01

 

 


 

Stain (this one is mine)

This is my first LD, so I wanted to experiment – so it happened that I experimented with colors. It is maybe a bit unbalanced, but I want your opinion anyway :) How would you make it better?

Stain

 

 

 

 

Post mortem – Stain

Posted by
Friday, April 24th, 2015 12:17 am

This was the fourth time I tried to participate in LD and the only time I managed to find time and really do it.
For me, it was a richful experience. Just like the Apperture Science labs, the LD is an enrichment center. :)
I’d like to share my experiences. And place some emphasis on things I’ve learned.

So I start with the first point – Prepare!

Everything in life works better when it’s properly prepared. That’s why during the last voting round I’ve tried to think of an idea for each of the possible themes. I found mindmapping very good for such kind of ideas and brainstorming. There were 4 themes I didn’t know what to do with them, so I left them unbrainmapped :)

mindmap

And then, the event.

I joined about 18 hours in. So, there was only 30 hours left. And when I did join, it was already nighttime, around 10PM. I didn’t even know the theme at that moment and I was unsure if I should even try. I checked the theme and took half of an hour to think about what I really can do in the remaining time.
I’ve checked my mindmap and I realized that what I’ve written was not easily implemented so I had to think of a new idea. But still, mindmap really did help because I’ve borrowed from another theme.

During the next few hours I really did nothing. I’ve messed around with my tools, but it lead me nowhere. I was again at the point of giving up. So I just went to bed.

I woke up at 7AM. 20 hours left. It’s sunday and tomorrow I need to be on the job.

It was then, sitting at my computer, not knowing if it’s worth it, when the idea came out.
I’m gonna make a logic game.

I like to experiment and I’ve alredy tried to use colors in systematic ways, so I decided – Color is really an unconventional weapon.
And then I tried.

I looked at the blog to see what people were doing, and I’ve seen a picture that said: Ludum Dare is people. It was an interesting point. And that needs to sink in. Ludum Dare is Mark, Tom, Sarah, John, Steve, Kim, Han, Abdul, and you can insert your name here. We are all people, trying to reach the same goal, trying to help each other, trying to finish the challenge. It was only then when I started commenting on the blog, liking posts, giving opinions on the IRC.

Second point I’ve learned – LD is a living organism.

Half of the time I was playing with mechanics, because I subconsciously thought there will be enough time for details. I was discontent with many aspects and I just couldn’t get them right. I spent about two hours trying to correctly import FBX from Blender to Unity with the correct orientation. I’ve looked at videos, but it was always somehow incorrect. I finally managed, but two hours had already been wasted.

The deadline was closing in, some 7 hours left. When I ran the game, it was really not yet a game. I switched my programming into 5th gear and then it all went wrong.

Lesson number three – take time to plan your code.

This is something I struggle a lot at my work. Deadlines are always too close, and then you cut corners and do things you know you shouldn’t do. Expose global references, everything’s a singleton, everyting’s accessible to everything and such. In the last hours, as I realized there’s not much time, my code became spaghetti code.

Lesson number four – deal with it.

I really hate spaghetti code. I like structure, I like laws. And I was at point of deleting lots of code to make it better. But I knew I wouldn’t make it. So I didn’t. I had to live with it.

I managed to finish the programming and basic testing some 15 minute before deadline. Since this was my first LD, I didn’t know exactly how much time I need for submission, so I wrapped it up. Unfortunatelly, there was really no time for music. That’s my only regret.

But I submitted the game. And then waited. Mixed feelings. It is 4 AM, I need to go to work in few hours. I’m tired, but content. I completed the challenge. Granted, my game is not bug free. It even has some balancing problems. But there was a game, waiting there on the server, waiting to be played. By people with souls. By people who were sitting in front of their computers, tired, with mixed feelings. People looking at their screenshots thinking what they went through.

That was it – we are developers – we don’t give up!

Let that lesson be your reward :) Good luck to everyone who participated.

 

p.s. I would really like your comments on my game – Stain. Every comment helps me being better.

44370-shot0-1429493922.png-eq-900-500

Stain – for hearing impaired

Posted by
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 8:47 pm

That’s it.

My first LD completed.

I failed to add music and sounds… but hey, I had only 25 hours or so. Not enough time for everything. All in all, I’m satisfied. But now I really need some rest.

Good luck, everyone!

 

Here comes the Stain:

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-32/?action=preview&uid=44370

screenshot2

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