About kyyninen (twitter: @kyynkolo)

I make unfinished films and short stories and comics and now I'm also making unfinished games

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Ludum Dare 36
 
Ludum Dare 26

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kyyninen's Archive

My house is over here!

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Monday, August 29th, 2016 8:40 pm
Finally, the home stretch.

Finally, the home stretch.

Despite losing hours of progress to a random crash, I managed to finish with several minutes to spare! Come, take a walk with me.

Going overtime

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 7:59 pm
No one's going home just yet!

No one’s going home just yet!

As I kind of expected, didn’t manage to finish this during compo. Oh well. Jam is fine too. Map is mostly done, tomorrow is for soundwork and finishing touches.

Long way home

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 6:20 pm

First day is done, and things are not looking particularly good.

I've been in this place before.

I’ve been in this place before.

(more…)

I, also, am in.

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Friday, August 26th, 2016 3:17 pm

Wow, it’s been a couple of years since I did the last one. Since then I have made several small prototypes, been part of a handful of game projects in varying states of incompletion, started studying game development in the local polytechnic university and, just a couple of days ago, getting a freelance job offer from an ad agency. Funny how doing a game jam can take you places, huh?

This week I made a game portfolio for myself and realized that I have not made a single 3D game. During summer I was a programmer in a Unity-based 2D-platformer, and this time I was planning to use my newfound experience in C# to make a game with more… depth.

… I’ll get my coat.

So. Unity for development, Photoshop for general graphics related tinkering, sfxr for sound effects, probably. I have practically zero experience in modeling so I’m definitely going to use a lot of sprites. Maybe I’ll just snap some pics of random household objects and call it a day.

Good luck, everyone!

Some last minute recommendations

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Friday, May 17th, 2013 6:17 am

Heyah! I was hoping to go through at least 10% of the entries, but my rating-o-meter is currently sitting at 203 and I’m thoroughly pooped! Hopefully you guys have some mettle left in you, there’s still some time to spread the love around. I compiled a short list of lovely games with somewhat low amount of ratings. See if you can find some gems that you haven’t run into yet!

Shooting!

Pink Haze / SUSTAIN / Bayou

Puzzling!

Princess Chardonnay in Bomb Kingdom / VIB / Minimize This!

Jumping!

Maze of Argus / STL RNNR / 9

Exploration!

World of Minimalism / Small Tale / Kipple

Atmosphere!

L’Hypnose / Cage’s Ghost / The Ethereal Stage

Still looking for more entries to rate? Check my other recommendation post, or take a peek at my entry!

Ginnungagap post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Monday, May 6th, 2013 4:36 am

After making two postcompo releases of my Ludum Dare 26 entry, I think time has come to take a step back and have a long, hard look at the fruits of my labour. It’s kinda hard for me to be sure what went right or not and where, so I’m just going to list some stuff I did and didn’t do and let you be the judge!

What I did

gamemaker

ihavenoideawhatimdoing_dog.jpg

Use familiar tools

This is my second game jam. First one was Global Game Jam, where my team made a puzzle platformer about E.T. type of dude who could suck the energy out of things and use it elsewhere and there were dead animals… Oh, just check it out if you’re least bit interested, I’ll wait. It’s pretty short and ends in a cliffhanger. I was the programmer, and with no game making experience of any kind I quickly decided to use the program I had heard was friendly to beginners: Game Maker.

It really was an eye opener. Suddenly the little JavaScript and C I had teached myself over the years (but never enough to start a career in web development) became immensely useful, since GML is pretty much based around them. The finished product has it’s quirks, but it mostly works as intended and I was incredibly proud of managing to program it.

So there really was no competition. I’ve dabbled with Unity, but found it dense and since I was going to make 2D game anyway, I thought that time spent learning it’s ins and outs could be better spent elsewhere.

Looks like city building to me!

Looks like city building to me!

Have a set of goals

They were simple, but they were there:

  1. Finish the game.
  2. Have AI that interacts with the world somewhat immersively independent of player input
  3. Some kind of city builder would be nice!

It’s pretty debatable if I achieved any of these goals, but they shaped the decisions I made during the compo from the start.

 

The key

The key

Work with what I got

So, about those goals. It became clear pretty quickly (about that time when I had spent six hours trying to get little dudes to stay inside their huts at night) that I wouldn’t be able to make an engaging strategy experience in the timeframe given. That goal had to go. But I had no time to start from scratch, so I had to do something with the stuff I already had – somewhat working villager AI, handful of sprites depicting said villagers and their environments. There was some element missing.

It was only when I first drew that crude monster sprite I realized what this game could be about: stalking villagers and snatching them in the night. That felt… right. Like I had worked towards it all the time. All design became about making that experience more true, more fun, more varied: bigger levels, staying still (and later moving slowly) to be invisible, speed boost for panicking villagers, towns springing up overnight, hunters and their traps…

This is truly a game that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Ludum Dare. The idea didn’t even occur to me until I was halfway through building another game!

 

"If you ask me, this game could do with a bit more woof"

“If you ask me, this game could do with a bit more pant pant grr woof”

Get feedback early

I’m privileged to have a friend (not pictured, though you can see the actual chat window on the screen!) that tirelessly tests and gives feedback on anything I might be working on. The game would most likely be unplayable, unoptimized mess if they hadn’t pointed my attention towards stuff that simply didn’t work.

Also I am lousy at naming projects. Current title was my friend’s suggestion, and it stuck. Still, now I’m kind of vexed that I didn’t think of using the classic Finnish shareware game naming practice. Mörkö Metsä (Spook Forest) would have been a glorious title.

 

Alas, poor Yorick!

Alas, poor Yorick!

Kill my darlings

This goes hand in hand with previous item. In it’s earlier incarnations game featured wind, which changed the speed of tree animations, and tracks, which villagers left behind everywhere they went. Both were poison to performance.

I think the original idea with the tracks was that you could follow them back to the villager’s home and go full fox-in-the-hen-house, but since it was already pretty fast to scout the whole level, it became purely cosmetic. Wind was also just fancy way of adding some variety to visuals but it was so pretty! Yet when my tester started to complain about frequent slowdowns they both went. I miss them dearly.

 

What I didn’t do

gplanning

Text file where you try to decipher the code you wrote a couple of hours ago probably doesn’t count.

Have programming planned beforehand

Making AI is hard. It’s especially hard if you have no idea what your long term plan with it is. Currently villager needs a host of functions, alarms and other objects to make it behave as intended. I feel that this is needlessly complicated and could be written exponentially simpler, if planned ahead. This is where I feel that making a simple map of all actions any given NPC can take could have saved time and made the game run much smoother in the long run.

Then again… when I started making the AI I really had no concrete idea where I was going with the game. Some stuff became apparent only when I thought I had finished it and started on working with other aspects of the game. It’s a feedback loop. Perhaps the only way to make a good AI is to make a full game featuring a shitty AI, and then rewrite the AI.

 

Bonus points if you can make out what songs I skip outright.

Bonus points if you can make out what songs I skip outright.

Set priorities and schedules

Towards the end of compo I chose the way I spent the time poorly. I implemented ambient wind sounds for the latest release without much effort and what a difference it made for the mood! I could have easily made them during the compo and leave the still hopelessly broken villager AI as is.

 

They are completely right, of course.

They are completely right, of course.

Have variables exposed to player

Balancing the difficulty is a daunting task, and it cannot be done without a large amount of varied player feedback. The few testers that I could muster did their best, but the real trial by fire only came when submissions ended and rating started. The game was way too easy, and by then it was too late to do anything about it. However… if I had left a players some way to change the variables that controlled the aspects contributing to game’s difficulty (enemy spawning rate, health, amount of healing, day length, villager speed…) maybe they would have found it a bit more engaging?

Next time I’m participating in a game jam I’ll put all the variables that make any sense to modify into an ini-file that can be adjusted to suit player’s needs.

Conclusion

Wow, word count totally spiraled out of control! I didn’t plan at all to write this long post. I’ll at least end it quickly: I’m still planning on expanding the game, but for the next update I’m writing the AI system completely from scratch. It can take a while! I’ll be posting any updates on Ginnungagap’s Game Jolt page and my twitter, so if you’re at all interested on seeing how this develops, check them out once in a while.

And if you have not yet rated my entry, please do!

A recommendation post

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Friday, May 3rd, 2013 4:58 pm

Whew!! After playing and rating 101 games (for those playing at home, that’s 4,3% of Ludum Dare #26!) I finally feel comfortable enough to list some of my favourites so far. After this post I’m taking a weekend break from this whole Ludum Dare thing and return to rating business with fresh eyes and mind in Monday.

Without further ado, the recipients:

 

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”You Actually Finished It?? award for the most together act”]

…to the game that, against all odds, managed to be a complete experience with nothing to add or take away:

Fragments of Him

I don’t know if you already know this, but drama is hard. I’d argue it’s even harder than comedy to get right because the tiniest things can break the mood completely, but maybe it’s just me and my high standards for storytelling in visual media.

That being said, Fragments of Him nails the tone perfectly. It’s a tragedy that made me feel things! Think stuff that made me sad! Getting the plot to advance sometimes can be a bit of a pain but that’s honestly the only complaint I have about this entry.

You should play it. Everyone should play it!

[/stextbox]

 

[stextbox id=”download” caption=”Brain Reconfiguration award for the most clicking game mechanic”]

…to the game I’ll be playing in my dreams for weeks to come:

Metahotel

Everyone has had a case of tetrishead. Play a game where actions are simple and repetitive, yet you have to be aware of the whole picture all the time and plan ahead and anticipate coming actions and you will keep playing the game in your head long after you have quit the physical action itself.

I’m playing Metahotel when writing this and I’ll be playing it after I close this computer and lay down to sleep. See if it clicks similarly for you.

[/stextbox]

 

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”The Next Portal award for the most promising first person puzzle game”]

…to the game I wouldn’t mind buying from Steam sale for a couple of bucks:

Cimi Mal

Combination of exploring weird landscapes and a mechanic to alter them is what makes these types of games enjoyable. Cimi Mal does this perfectly, and I truly wish there would be a lot more of it.

There are certain unpolished aspects to it (falling damage will kill you, despite never being mentioned anywhere), but the sheer excitement of seeing blocky environment transforming around you overrides everything else. Go take a look.

[/stextbox]

 

[stextbox id=”download” caption=”Didn’t See That Coming award for the most interesting mode of transportation”]

…to the game that took blocks and remade them:

Deja vu

As in previous entry, this game features weird landscapes. But instead of restructuring them to progress, you restructure yourself. I don’t want to spoil too much about Deja vu, but I will say that it features the best use of verticality in level design since Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight.

It’s helluva pretty too.

[/stextbox]

 

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”The Plucky Plumber award for platforming excellency”]

dot dot dot redundant additional description colon

Title: Subtitle

This title has a lot going for it, least of it being the visual motif of using words describing things rather than the thing themselves (culminating in ending that is meta as this simile), but it also was one of the few entries I came across that got platforming just right. You can even stomp the enemies!

Also features perfect controller support.

[/stextbox]

 

[stextbox id=”download” caption=”I LOL’d award for making me actually LOL”]

…to the game where humor came from mechanics, rather than only writing:

Random Legend Adventure

Fight alien ships with pointy stick! Use your goldfish to find secret treasures from mysterious forest! Random Legend Adventure is exactly what it says on the tin, and delivers it’s promises. Check it out!

[/stextbox]

 

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Lasting Appeal award for the intriguingest game”]

…to the game I’ll actually be playing after this month:

Seed

If you ask me, best games feature an element of mysticality. Seed has you in charge of creating life for the plantkind, and it’s mesmerizing to watch! There seems to be endless opportunities to grow your field…

Try it yourself.

[/stextbox]

If you liked this post, you can also try out my game and drop a comment!

Already it seems so far away

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Monday, April 29th, 2013 3:30 am
give 'em a hug

Why aren’t you playing it already??

Barely a day after submission and already I have a lot of great feedback! Thanks to everyone and keep playing! Here’s second part of the timelapse to celebrate.

I think I’ll continue developing this a bit further before writing even a premature post-mortem. There’s lots of stuff I’d like to implement before I’m willing to declare this project deceased.

Aand it’s done.

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 6:06 pm
so where is everybody huh weird

I really could eat you up!

Success! Something playable with achievable end state! No killer bugs (that I’m aware of)! Almost no slow-downs! Grab your Windows executable here! Entry page here!

I’ll upload today’s time lapse tomorrow, maybe make a gameplay trailer. This was really fun and I already have lots of ideas how to expand this concept from here.

of optimizing and men

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 12:27 pm
law suit: the grokening

Why do you taunt me so??

Turns out it isn’t a smart idea to have +5k objects doing calculations every step in a single room. If nothing else, this jam has been very illuminating. Yet the name still eludes me.  I have attached the latest test build here in hope of getting some feedback and insight from fresher brains. There’s currently no readme included so here’s a short introduction:

Noises disturb you from deep slumber. You have slept for… years? Centuries? Ever since you devoured the last warm blood in your kingdom you have slept, and no living thing has stirred you. Not until today.

Old hunger awakens. It is time to feed.

Left mouse button is the only key you need to play.

Everything went butter when expansive

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 4:16 pm
currently you don't see this very often

Oh no!

Surprisingly enough I have something that approaches core gameplay when first day is done. I wasn’t so certain about it 6 hours ago.
(more…)

I don’t know who you are.

Posted by (twitter: @kyynkolo)
Friday, April 26th, 2013 1:26 pm

I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for games, I can tell you I can’t make ’em. But what I can do is hack something barely playable together in Game Maker; 8.0 lite version Game Maker that doesn’t have that nasty watermark. Water mark that is… nightmare for people like me? I think that’s enough of that. First Ludum Dare for me, aiming for some kind of strategy/god game/whack-a-mole mashup.

Good luck.

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