About kirbytails7 (twitter: @Nate_Buck)

My profile is less empty! =)

Ex-Microsoft, trying to make some good games. You can play them at sketchhousegames.com!


Ludum Dare 34
Ludum Dare 33
Ludum Dare 32
Ludum Dare 31
Ludum Dare 30
Ludum Dare 29
Ludum Dare 28
Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 21

kirbytails7's Trophies

kirbytails7's Archive

Halfway there!

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 9:16 pm

Hey, all. Hope your games are all coming along great and, more importantly, that you’re having fun and learning stuff!

I’m in the fortunate position (for now) of being well ahead of where I expected. The core gameplay is completely done, so hopefully now I can just polish and make it look and sound passable.


(Don’t worry; the tentacles are just an octopus.)

Keep going! You’re doing fine!


Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 4:36 am

Checking in for the first night. Turns out I met the goal of having the game functionality 100%(ish) in place on the first night! I am a bit concerned that most people won’t have the requisite 8 joysticks/4 controllers needed, but they should have the two buttons!

You’re an octopus! Making sushi!


Mistakes were made

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 12:36 am

I’ve been working on a rhythm game, and things had been going fine, and then it all fell apart. Turns out that trying to use an event-based system on a game timer for tracking the beat doesn’t really work. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought the try tracking the audio playback directly in Unity (reference: http://ludumdare.com/compo/2014/09/09/an-ld48-rhythm-game-part-2/).

Lesson re-learned: Pre-production is important, even for a jam. Be sure to take some time to plan out and research before just diving in. (But it’s so much more fun to just dive in! Until you get halfway through and things are all messy…). Also, I keep thinking that source control won’t be necessary for a jam, and then I always miss having it.

So, I yield for this LD. I like the idea I had and want to try it again with a correct audio framework, but I don’t think there’s quite enough time now to start over. Well, that’s not true, but I’m putting some excessive amount of pride on this jam and want to submit nothing rather than something “sub-par” (don’t be like me!). Maybe I’ll make three tiny games tomorrow to make up for it.

Good luck and keep going! Remember that finishing anything is an accomplishment in and of itself. You’re doing better than me. 😉

Rough screenshots

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 4:53 am

As usual, I end up with basic shapes on the first night. I’m doing a rhythm game, so I at least can say that I needed to get the audio system down before moving on.

Keep it up, everyone! (But get some sleep if you need it. You can stay up late the second night!)


10th time’s the charm?

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Thursday, August 20th, 2015 1:55 am

It’s my tenth LD! Maybe this time I’ll end up with something really good?

Almost certainly using Unity + Visual Studio, Paint.net for visuals, Garageband or Logic Pro for music.

Good luck, have fun!

9th time’s the charm, right?

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Thursday, April 16th, 2015 2:06 am

Surely, I know what I’m doing by now, right? I’ll be at twitch.tv/furretturret a couple of hours after the theme’s announced.


– Do better. Well, do “better.” Get higher numbers? Have extra fun?


– Unity + Visual Studio

– Paint.NET, probably

– Garageband? Yeah.

Postmortem – Music in Seven Lightyears of Bad Luck

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 11:15 pm

I’ve been trying to improve my music composition, so I think a separate post-mortem for music is in order. Plus, hopefully someone else can learn a bit on writing music, or something.


In my experience, the key factor in composing good music is managing contour. You can think of contour as the overall arch of the music – high when the music is loud, rhythmic, or dynamic; and low when the music is more static and predictable. The sections of low contour set expectations that can be pushed or broken in the sections of high contour.

Think of the structure of a typical pop, rock, or house song: Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus. The verses tend to be less memorable musically, but they also help make the chorus more interesting, and the repetition of them both make the bridge even more interesting.

I notice this as the primary shortcoming of my music in Seven Lightyears. With the constant percussion and relatively equal balance of instruments throughout, I think I flattened out the contour too much.

Compare to what probably unconsciously motivated my music (it’s even in the same key!): Phoenix Wright’s Theme from Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Notice how the music dies off a bit after the first “chorus” and later has a change in instrumentation to create more interesting contour, and the chorus itself is 6 measures instead of 8, which makes it more exciting.

Where did my scripts go?

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 10:03 am

So, about 4 hours in last night, I thought to myself, “Gee, maybe I shouldn’t totally ignore the theme with my game idea.” I was debating switching to a different idea when, while copying some files, all of my scripts mysteriously disappeared, making the decision much easier.


I’ve Got a Post-Mortem on a String

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Sunday, September 7th, 2014 2:17 pm

I suppose a post-mortem is a bit overdue for my game, I’ve Got the World On a String. You can play it here, if you want. It’s okay. Thanks in advance if you do play.


My initial goals were pretty tame: Make a game jam game in Unity, and spend more than a few hours on the audio. Making a fun game was also a plus. As it turned out, I only met the Unity goal, since that one was pretty much a given just by deciding to do it. I did technically spend about five hours on audio, but I threw away the boss theme I had worked on because it was bad. Oh, and I don’t find the game terribly fun, though it might have some potential.


  • I’m pretty pleased with the music. It’s nothing spectacular, but for being churned out in under 2 hours, it’s not bad.
  • The concept for the game was one that I tried (and failed) making a long time ago, and now I can check it off of my to-do list, as it were.
  • I think the player ship sprites turned out pretty good. They read well, at least.


  • I spent maybe 4 hours on the rope in the game, which is purely cosmetic, iterating through various physics-based approaches that failed in various ways before realizing I could just use a particle system. I also spent most of that time during the first night, and I know better than to focus on aesthetics before the core gameplay is in.
  • I wanted to have more enemy types and more bosses, especially some bullet-hell-esque ones to really bring out that core concept of being a shmup with no shooting. This time was instead spent on a rope.
  • Not using physics for the player ship really hurt later on (especially with the rope…), and I think the movement would be better if it had a bit of inertia to it. It would also be easier to line up the ship with the centers of planets, so scoring would be more reasonable.
  • The mix of 2D sprites with 3D objects and particles muddles the visual style, which wasn’t very strong to begin with.
  • Again, the rope. I was hoping it would feel like a rope in Scribblenauts, with basic physics doing most of the work, but I shouldn’t have spent so long trying to tune the various versions when they ultimately weren’t right.
  • It doesn’t feel very fun…thought it’s had a few moments for me. Maybe it’s okay.


Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 8:54 am

It’s coming in a bit hot, but it should be done in time.


Keep it up! You’re almost there!

Coming along! And there’s a rope now!

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 9:47 pm

It doesn’t look it, but the game itself is almost done. Now it’s time to make it look like it is.


Rule #1: Don’t spend two hours on a rope.

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 9:09 am

So I currently don’t have a game because I broke the primary rule of a game jam: Make the game first. And my rope is kind of bad anyway. Oops.


The premise is a top-down shooter without shooting. You fly through planets to string them together into a happy…uh…necklace? Anyway, it’ll hopefully been fun.

Keep it up! You’re doing great!

So ready! (SPOILER: Not actually ready)

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 12:43 am

I’m excited! Ludum Dare! Waaahh!

Looks like this will be my 7th time, and hopefully I’ll make something good to show for it. I’m finally ditching my outdated, bug-ridden Javascript engine for Unity until I can make a less bug-ridden engine. I haven’t done much in Unity yet, so we’ll learn a bit on the fly.

Using Unity (free), GarageBand and/or Logic for audio, Paint.NET for spriting, and…maybe some other things.


  • Use Unity (ambitious, right?)
  • Spend more than 3 hours on music (I studied this. I should be able to whip up something really good.)
  • Make something fun! (I also studied this. Also should be good.)

Those are pretty vague, I guess. Whatever. It’s late right now, and I’m still a tad burned out from moving recently.

I’ll be streaming at twitch.tv/furretturret for a good amount of the time. I’ll be at work when the theme is announced, so it’ll be a bit late, but I’ll play a healthy amount of Sonic rock to make up for it. =)


($SRCROOT)\dungeon Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 12:42 am

I haven’t formally done one of these before, so…here we go!

Original goals:
– Make a roguelike in a weekend. [Success!]
– Score in top 100 in Audio. [Not going to happen this time.]
– Score in top 50% in all categories. [We’ll see…]

What went right:
– I tried to a do a random dungeon generator in a day a while back and failed, but the generator for ($SRCROOT)\dungeon was done in about 10 hours, with only some infrequent minor bugs that I’ve found so far.
– I did not spend more time on art assets than their end quality warranted, as I have before.
– Some very simple tweaks brought the style together at the end.

What went wrong:
– Ugh…The Javascript library I’ve been using/reworking for the past two years has gotten so messy. I have collision bugs that I can’t find, and I have to reinterpret the basic code every time I use it.
– No music. That was one of my main goals, yet I didn’t prioritize it and ran out of time.
– Like last time, the game’s too hard. Partially I just didn’t have the time to balance it properly, but partially I clung too tightly to some original design ideas.

What to do for LD 29:
– Change to a better engine. I have a solid one in the works in C++ and might use that, though running in browser is nice.
– If still using Javascript, find a good IDE for it (any suggestions?). I lost a significant amount of time to repeated syntax errors or incorrect variable names. I like Sublime Text, but…
– Actually do music. Heck, I might design the whole game around it.
– I should probably try harder to design my game to the theme next time.

If you like really hard roguelikes, you can give ($SRCROOT)\dungeon a try here. Thanks!

Coming in hot!

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 10:41 am

Just about 8 hours left, and there’s little chance of me finishing all of my original features. The game’s also not much to look at yet, and there’s no music or menus…Crunch time!

SRCROOT-dungeon from day 2

Yay, filler sprites!…


Not much to look at, but…

Posted by (twitter: @Nate_Buck)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 11:12 am

Good morning! Or, good evening! Or whatever it is for you right now!

So I’ve settled on doing a roguelike with some relatively heavy random generation for a game jam, and it’s coming along all right. A bit behind, but all right…

There’s not much to see yet, but here’s a glimpse at ($SRCROOT)\dungeon (“Source Root Slash Dungeon”):

($SRCROOT)\dungeon progress1

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