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My favourite games #1

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Friday, May 4th, 2012 12:22 pm

Hi guys, it’s been a while.

I didn’t have time to play as many game as I wanted at first, but I played enough to be dazzled a few times. I’ll show you my discoveries in a small serie of articles. There is no particular order.


A real gem. The concept is awesome. Not too easy, and for a maze game, not boring ! The graphics are simplistic but they couldn’t be better. They are similar to those of VVVVVV in some ways, maybe the colour palette… TylerGlaiel is working on an infinite version, I’m looking forward to play it.

Pretentious Game

Again the graphics are simplistic, but the story is told in a really clever way. It’s not a very original story, nor a long one, yet I was enraptured by the storytelling. Too bad it’s so short.

To all the programmers who read me : you could have made this game. The genius here really does not rely on the graphics or on algorithmic abilities.


Awesome. I finished it twice already, and I think I’m gonna do it again. A small vertical manic shooter, where your ship has the ability to teleport.

As I said in the comments, I can be the first to pay for a longer version. A bunch of things could be improved though, but for 3 days of work (that’s a jam game) the result is breath taking. Casual gamers beware, the game is a bit hard :)


… and don’t forget to give a try to my game ! Thanks !

Lost in Space – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 9:55 am

The game can be played here.

A few figures and random info first:

  • My first Ludum Dare
  • I started 4 hours after the beginning of the “competition”. It was 7am in France at that time.
  • I worked 16 hours on saturday, and 18 on sunday.
  • I wrote 400 lines of bootstrapping code beforehand, then ~800 lines on saturday, and something like 600 on sunday
  • I slept 7 hours, and woke up on both weekend days earlier than what I usually do during the week
  • I managed to wake up in time to go to work on monday morning, which is quite nice.
  • I wrote my first “serious” line of javascript the week before, during the warmup weekend.

What went right – bright sides first.

– I managed to finish making a game.
That’s actually quite a feat ! I did a few games in the past, but only focused on coding the gameplay. Here I have a loading screen, a title screen, an intro story, some gameplay, cutscenes, the player can win, die, and there is a credit screen ! Despite everything else, that’s totally something I’m prouf of.

– Time management
I am very happy I catched an advice on IRC. It was not really an avice, but someone said “My goal is to get the gameplay done by the end of saturday”. I thought the guy was crazy, how comes the gameplay could be good by saturday’s evening ? Anyway that guy was right (or at least, it fitted was style). By focusing on it on the first day, I had time on the second day for polishing. And I could turn a gameplay demo into an actual game. Finishing something feels really good. Time management at a small scale did not work as I expected, but I’m quite happy that I managed to follow my strategy during the weekend.

– I did that in Javascript.
This language was almost new to me, and anyway I globally managed to get it to do what I wanted. My bootstrapping framework helped a lot, as its designs suits my coding style (although my javascript coding style is style far from perfect). It mostly behaved as expected and I only had to update it a bit.

– I learnt a lot of things
I made some music in Audacity with Circuli, made some game sounds with my voice, and did some graphics with Inkscape… It may seem very basic never opened Audacity before (I installed it during the 2 days). Of course the result is not really good, but anyway, regarding music, I did not expect at first to produce something.

What went wrong – what I now have to focus on

– My game sucks.
Gameplay wise, there are many things that I would have loved to had to the gameplay. Right now, it’s not really a game, it’s much closer to an interactive story. I wanted a more evolved AI, where the enemies attack the player when it is close to them. I wanted the played to be able to get some weapons (rocks), and use them against them. I wanted some fog of war. Time was lacking, and I had to get rid of some ideas and keep something very simple. Only the bare minimum to get to something that works.

Regarding the story, I focused a lot on getting the dialog and intro engine working. It took me a lot of time, and in the end I was so tired by it and wanted to do something else. Once the code was working, I did not take enough time to produce an interesting story. By the way this part of the code (intro/dialogs) is really not something I’m proud of. Many stuff could be refactored into something reusable. Instead, there is a lot of code duplication. However I figured this out late in the weekend and prefered to do something working but ugly instead of taking the risk of breaking something.

– Graphics are terrible.
I know I am not a graphist kind of guy, and I managed to produce quite a lot of images during this weekend. However the end result is not very pretty (have a look by your self. it could have been done by a 6 year old). Anyway I started to learn how to use Inkscape which is a great tool, I’ll need to get better at it but I’m convinced I can do some good stuf with it.

– Javascript…
Even though I did not know a lot of javascript, I managed to produce a huge amount of code. Regarding volume of functionnalities, I’m pretty happy with the result. Regarding its quality, there still is a lot of room for improvements.
Because of some issues with the language, I did not manage to do everything I wanted. I also got stuck for 1h30 because I forgot that “this” can mean a lot of things in javascript, and at some place, it was not meaning what I thought it was. Anyway for a language that I had never used a week before, I’m pretty happy with what I managed to come up with.

– Breaks.
Rest was OK : I slept correctly both nights. However during the day, I took a few breaks, but it was not enough. I should have stayed out of the computer more often and longer. When I did, once I come back on the screen I was much more efficient. And it’s not because you are not in front of the screen that there is nothing to do. Some real breaks (not thinking of the game) also really do some good. I know that’s obvious, but I did not gave enough attention to this detail.

– My goal was too high
I should have focused on something easier. At first, I did not plan making the intro. Then I did not think it would take me so long, but did not want to get rid of it (and I still don’t. but maybe I could have found something that requires less content creation). Image creation really took ages. I thought it would require me the sunday morning, actually at the end of the afternoon I had not finished.


Anyway, my initial goal is reached. I wanted something finished : it is there. It sucks ? I don’t care. It was my first LD so I was experimenting quite a lot of things at once. Next time I’ll focus more on how to make something fun to play, improve the gameplay (it won’t be hard: there is none here), make less images or find ideas on how to generate or get rid of them. One step at a time.

Oh, I almost forgot. That was reaaaaaally fun. Of course there were some boring moments (you know, this small bug that you can’t get rid of…), but I spent the weekend between the LD website seeing updates of others, talking on IRC with the french guys taking part in it, and at the same time making a game. I actually almost did not notice that I was in front of a computer screen for 2 days. That was definitely worth it.


Dialog engine is working

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 1:14 pm

Yeah !

I managed to get my dialog engine to work. This was not supposed to be that long, but I got stuck for quite a while because of a javascript issue.

Don’t forget that in this language, the “this” variable can mean a lot of things depending on the context, and can lead to a lot of mistakes.

Anyway, it works. Now I have a bunch of cutscenes, and the code is working.The texts for these scenes still have to be finished, and the placeholders need to be replaced, but that’s quite a victory. I’ may have some time to improve the gameplay, but normally I should reach my goal : make something playable, from start to finish.

The game logic is here, there is a story which is told through an intro and cutscenes, you player can win, die, and there is a credit scene when the game is finished ! Even though the images are not as beautiful as many other things I’ve seen here, I’m still very proud of going that far.

Intro story is done… many things remain :)

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 9:09 am

Hey !

Small update from the trenches.

Although this morning I’ve been quite efficient, I did not go as fast as I want. Doing all these images for the intro, making the small pieces of music, and polishing game details took ages. I am not as far as I wanted, but anyway, it’s starting to look like a game.

Even though the intro scene is really not as beautiful as I would like to see it (that’s the least one can say), I’m very happy I managed to finish it. Now I need to had the cut scenes, which can currently are “debug style”.

Gameplay is not very interesting yet, I’ll work on it in the evening.

The current version can be played at http://ld23.keiruaprod.fr/

After some rest…

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 12:08 am

… everything is much easier.

It’s crazy, yesterday I could not manage to get anything done in the evening, and in only 1.5 hour I did really a lot of things.

Code wise, my intro/cutscene code is almost done. I now have to actually make the images for these scenes. I did a few sprites in Paint.Net that I did not do yesterday, and was quite efficient. I do not regret my 7 hours of sleep.

The current version is still available on ld23.keiruaprod.fr

I hope it’s the same for you !

Round 2 – Fight !

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 11:01 pm

Ok, second day is starting.

I’ve slept 7 hours, it’s 7:30pm now here in France and I’m gonna rock today !

This morning : art and story. I’ll add an intro to the game and “cutscenes” for the story inside the game.

This afternoon : adding music, fixing bugs, and polishing stuff details. It does not sounds like a lot, but the todo list is far from being empty !

I’ll also take a few minutes to go voting for our new president, because even though I’ve been 100% focused on Ludum Dare yesterday, I did not forget that the world keeps running without me.

If I’m done in advance, I’ve a few ideas, it’ll all depend on how much time is left.

Have fun and don’t forget to rest !


First day : game logic done

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 2:23 pm

Hey !

Some updates on what I did today. My progress so far is available here.

I mysteriously managed to get the game logic done. It’s not crazy, but it’s playable : you have to find everybody from your crew (the white squares) using your compass, then get back to your spacecraft. If you touch enemies you die, and you have to start again.

You can “play” the game here.

Tomorrow I’ll do better images, add the story, polish the game logic and improve the details. It’s 11:20pm here in france, I’ve spent about 16 hours today working on it, I need to sleep.

I “made” the main game music today with Circuli (and  exported it with Audacity). I’m very glad of the result, but I’m still looking for a good way to play music in javascript (firefox does not support MP3, i’d like something with a flash fallback for firefox for instance, or anything take can make it play music on different browser.)

I’m still amazed by how incredible everybody’s work is, keep doing a good job !

First playable thingy

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 3:58 am

Hey ! I’m here again.
I have some very basic stuff now.
You can “play” it here : http://ld23.keiruaprod.fr/v1/

The goal is to get to the green square, using the “compass”. Later, the square will become people from your crew, lost on a planet, and you’ll have to rescue them.

Art will of course evolve, and the HUD won’t stay like this, it is not understandable in this state. Right now you can run for 2 seconds, then you have to wait for another 2 seconds before being able to run again. This will make more sense once there will be some ennemies.

Keep having fun guys ! You all are doing an amazing  job !

Basic stuff done

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 2:53 am

So here it is, I’ve started working on my project.
It’s gonna be a kind of adventure game, with very basic gameplay. I’ll try to have something decent for the story. Simple, but coherent.

Here is the first terrible screenshot (hey, we all have to start somewhere) :

Yeah, I know, the aliasing is terrible, but art is temporary. I wanted to see how it looks like with big trees.
The distance is the remaining distance to the target (the green thingy) and the blueish stuff in the upper right corner is a compass leading to the target. I’ll put some images for the distance instead of a figure later.

Today I’ll focus on gameplay, and tomorrow I’ll add art and story. Have fun guys !

Let’s have fun !

Posted by (twitter: @clemkeirua)
Friday, April 20th, 2012 2:25 pm

Hey !

Like others before me, this article is, without surprise, be an introduction to the fact that I’ll also take part in LD23. This is my first Ludum Dare, so I’ll do my best.

My goal is to finish something, and this is definitely not something that you can be sure of in advance. Especially since I’m gonna code my game in HTML5/Javascript, the latter being almost new to me. As like most people, I have never had to write more than a few lines in this language. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot this weekend, which is also a very good motivation to me.

I’m not afraid of the technical challenge, as during the warmup period I’ve writen a small bootstrapping library. It will hopefully allow me to focus on the game creation rather than on the technical details. I say “hopefully” as this small library is my first attempt at writing some JS, I did not have time to put eveything I wanted in it, it has not been tested the way I wanted, and I’m also still not used to the syntax of the language. Anyway, it should be of a great help. That’s by far not the best piece of software I’ve writen, but if you feel like using it, it is avalaible on Github. It features:
– A game structure
– A ressource cache for images -> loading screen
– Small management of effects (example is shown with fade-in/fade-out)
– Sprite animations (really really basic)
– Easy keyboard management
– Viewport. Well, sort of
– Easy drawing/writing with the screen class
– A Timer class for dealing with time management

This will be the first time I’m gonna use the library for a real application so it’ll probably evolve during the weekend.

As for my other tools:
– Notepad++/Chrome. I love this notepad, and Chrome’s debugger for javascript is quite nice.
– Git. Source control is really useful, even on small project. It can really be a lifesaver if you break something by “accident” and can’t get back to something that worked by yourself. If you don’t know how to use such kind of tools, that’s a great opportunity to do that, you won’t regret it.
– Paint.Net: There is no enough time for me to do some good job with tools like Gimp or Inkscape, so let’s focus on what I know. It won’t be pretty, but art has never been a strength for me.
– sfxr: That’s the same for music. Let’s hope it’s gonna make something good, I have no idea how to do something better (and, I’ll most likely won’t have enough time to learn). I tried Bfxr and I prefer the results with this one.
– Chronolapse: If the video is not too boring, I might publish a timelapse of my work.
– Winamp and some junk food.

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