About laaph (twitter: @laaph023)

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Ludum Dare 37
 
Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 31
 
Ludum Dare 28
 
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Ludum Dare 24

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Watch us show our games!

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 4:53 pm

The Corvallis Game Developer Group will be doing presentations showing off our games (two or three games, hey, we aren’t a huge group!  sorry) at 9PM Pacific time.  I was crazy and said I’d set up my laptop to stream them.  We used to do this at the MADE and I’ll dust off the old Twitch account and stick it in the sidebar and maybe we’ll get someone to watch us!

Come watch us so my effort is not wasted!

Jam again!

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Friday, December 11th, 2015 3:44 pm

I’ll be at a local meetup for the first time since Ludum Dare 28, and so I hope that means I complete a game!  I am putting up my scoreboard made with ImageMagick.  (I should figure out how to make this fancier looking.)

ScoreboardLD34

I will be in the jam, I might even have a team, so we will see what happens.

I’m in/warmup weekend post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Monday, April 13th, 2015 4:25 pm

I’m frequently asked by people, what’s the best way to prepare for Ludum Dare?  And my answer always is, participate in warm up weekend!

Then I think that I never have yet submitted an entry for warmup weekend.  This LD is no different.

However, I still participate in warmup weekend.  This time: let’s take a a model from MakeHuman (http://makehuman.org), and put it in Unity, and see if we can animate it!

To jump to the end of the story, it was not successful.  On the left is the model that I made in MakeHuman, on the right is UnityChan, downloaded from the asset store.  He looks okay, but I can’t seem to make him do stuff, whether I use the animations from UnityChan (which is happening in the gifv below) or try to make them myself.  I also I found the clothing selection in MakeHuman not entirely great – there is no way I could make an outfit as fancy as UnityChan’s.  However, you can still do a lot by making new textures for his jeans, for example.  Also I should fix the holes in his jacket.

I was mostly following the tutorials at

http://xenosmashgames.com/category/makehuman-2/  (if you want to follow the tutorials start at the bottom).

I have to say, even though I’ve used it several times, I’m not an expert at Blender and every time I sit down to use it, my first thought is frustration.  Anyway, the specific part where tutorials lose me is converting the bones.  I can’t get his arms to a t-pose.  I can select meshes in Blender, and pull them around, but I can’t get his entire arm to move in one go.  I can get the bones to go in to a t pose using the MakeHuman blender scripts provided, but the meshes won’t follow, unlike the what the videos show.  I really wish I documented the progress a little better – I can’t find the webpages I was searching for help on again last night.

However, a few more screenshots.  Hm, what kind of boobs should I give him?

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 10.59.39 PM

Madness begins at this moment…

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.01.58 PM

I am supposed to make him in a T pose in Blender according to the tutorials.  However the part that says “make t-pose” blatantly didn’t work.  I made him a non-T-pose in Unity.  I should fix the hands.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.06.11 PM

I did not get as far as importing the mocap data from Unity Asset store.  Perhaps I should go ahead with those steps before calling for help.

I also would really like to take the bones files as models.  It would be fun to make a video game out of the robot below.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 11.10.06 PM

Anyway, I won’t be submitting the files to warmup weekend, and I probably won’t make a game with these things.  But I wanted to share what I was up to! And it’s always fun to take some time and explore tools, and follow tutorials online.

First day progress and screenshots

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 3:48 am

I have a title screen, and a level (this theme removes the desire for multiple levels), and the player movement works, and the cat properly snubs you.  There is some additional placeholder art if you look closely enough.  I think that’s it for tonight, I’m going to bed.

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 2.41.55 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 2.42.19 AM

Is it obligatory to make an “I’m in” post?

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Sunday, November 30th, 2014 11:15 pm

life

After missing LD29 and LD30, I’m back for LD31.  Even if I don’t have to post to partake, I’m doing so anyway!  I’m joining the jam, not the compo, because I’m not very good at following rules.  I’ve been browsing other people’s posts for ideas on tools, and for wallpapers, so here is my list of tools:

Sound:
– Bosca Ceoil
– BFXR
– Audacity

Graphics:
– Sculptris
– Blender
– Tilen
– Gimp
– Paint 2
– Scratch (I have used this for graphics before…  Paint.NET doesn’t work on my mac.)

Engine: Unity3d NotPro 4.6
Language: C#

Source Control: Git
Screen Timelapse Capture: Looking for recommendations!  Otherwise will write little script to so.

Also I have been looking at various websites for audio and graphics assets, including

– http://opengameart.org/
– http://abundant-music.com/
– http://www.fakemusicgenerator.com/
– http://abundant-music.com/
– http://zielak.pl/pub/github/pixel-sprite-generator/

No guarantees that I use any of what I wrote down here, because as I said, I’m not very good at following rules.

And one more thing to say!  Don’t forget to vote kittens!

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 10.13.23 PM

Announcement post

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 7:27 pm

Dear game developers, industry devs, hobbiests, Jammers and Compoers, Ludumers and Darers, it is with great sadness I announce that I am NOT partaking in this Ludum Dare!  :(

I can hear the first frequently asked question, “but Laaph,” I already hear, “you are hosting a real world meetup.  The reason you host them is so that you have a real world meetup to go to for Ludum Dare.  How can you not partake?”  Unfortunately, I am so behind in my work (you know, that stuff they pay me for) that if I don’t get stuff done for them by Monday, I might need a new job.

So in that light, nonstop code til Monday!  It may happen that I get everything done before the weekend, in which case I’ll partake.  But that is unlikely.

But!  I will still host the local world meetup!  I just will be working on work, rather than on a game.  (Sorry!)  I still encourage everyone to come make a game with us!  And, if you ask me technical questions that I can answer (Unity, Java, Objective-C, C, Matlab, perl, um…  can you tell which of these gives me money and which ones I do for games?) I will attempt to answer them!  I need distractions from work too!

So, if you are in Oakland, California, or if you are within distance of a Bart train (I note that PoV has listed it as San Francisco, just come across the bay!), come make games with us!  Let me spam the link of the sign up page.

SF Bay Area Game Jamming & Game Design

San Francisco, CA
149 Jammers

Making and thinking about games, both the analog and digital! This is an inclusive learning community for all backgrounds and skillsets, focused around co-working events in cl…

Next Meetup

Ludum Dare #29 Real-World Meetup in Oakland

Friday, Apr 25, 2014, 5:00 PM
17 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

 

 

You Only Get One: A Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 2:20 pm

Warning:  SPOILERS!  You may want to play the game before reading this.

When I saw the potential theme “Beiber 4Evar <3”, I had worked out about 7 different game design, all involving one scene, in which you uppercut someone, and Justin Beiber’s cute face pops out, just like the “Toasty” in Mortal Kombat II.  In fact, no matter what game I did, no matter what the theme was, I had that planned.  I couldn’t not do it.  I’m sorry guys.

I had started this Ludum Dare with the idea I’d learn, or at least practice, the 2D engine for Unity.  Someone else suggested that you don’t write any code until you plan out your game.  I had a good game design (which I completely forget now), but I was really struggling with Unity – it was as if I completely forgot how to do anything with Unity.  Frustrated, I just tried making a sample program in which things fall, to verify that I hadn’t quite forgotten everything.  I had a ball, it fell, hit another ball, and bounced off.  Actually, it didn’t – it landed perfectly on top, and didn’t fall off, but if I off-centered it a little, it would fall off.  Okay.  It worked as expected.

I wrote a loop to fill out an array of pegs, and dropped a ball through them.  It worked like I expected.  And then I dumped a bunch of balls down there, and hey, you know, that’s a game, right? I put in a bucket to catch the balls, making it more of a game…  which did not follow the theme at all.  And more importantly, did not include the Beiber uppercut.

So I added a guy, who would introduce the game, and then I added options for what you did after each round, one of which would inevitably lead to a Beiber uppercut.  I wasn’t quite satisfied here – like in Mortal Kombat, I wanted that to lead to a secret level.  I had plans that you would have a minigame afterwards.

Somewhere along the line, I got the idea I’d like this to be a puzzle game.  I don’t remember when, it was when I still had the curtains from the “experimental” part and thought they should do something.  So I had a “man behind the curtain”, who would say things on mouseover.  The men would give hints, but more importantly, unlock the extra menu, which I also made unlockable by catching various amounts of balls (all the balls, none the balls, etc).

Cutting a long story short, I realized I followed a similar path as my “Adventure” game for the theme minimalism – I didn’t really know where I was starting, but I just kept going with it.  I would get various ideas, curse that I hadn’t written the code to support the ideas (the dialog trees are a huge mess of if/elses – the reason there isn’t more interesting things he says).  I made it a “puzzle game”, despite not looking like such, with a way to win, that I thought fit the game perfectly (despite some complaints that it did not).

What went right, what went wrong?  Well here are some interesting things that went right:

  • This game was fun to make.  I said that about the game I did for the Charity Game Jam as well.  I don’t know if I am putting my sense of humor in to games, or what.
  • I had planned to work with an artist, instead, I just ripped assets from http://opengameart.org.  A++ will rip assets again.  :)  I’m sure you can tell the images that I drew and the art that I didn’t.
  • Not so wiggly pegsThe pegs wiggle.  For some reason, I got multiple comments on the pegs wiggling.  I wouldn’t have expected it to be such a popular feature.  I made the pegs wiggle because it was pretty easy to trap two balls between pegs and they’d be stuck, and more balls would stack on top of them, preventing all the balls from being catched or being registered as having passed the bucket.  It was much less likely, though possible, a ball would land perfectly on top of a peg, and balance perfectly, and not roll down one side or the other.  Wiggling fixed these issues.
  • People caught on to the puzzles. Not only that, people were looking for easter eggs everywhere.  I saw one player carefully move the mouse over every peg in the game.  People were trying to “mousefully” rub the master’s head.
  • The scoring system is much less evil than the last game I made.  Not only is it possible to get the perfect score, it’s really easy to do so.
  • If you find the Batcave, Batman gives you clues to win the game.  Despite the Batcave being impossibly hard to get to, many people figured it out how it works without his help.
  • By writing such a simple game, it gave me a lot of time for polishing the game.  For example, I spent at least an hour or two animating the “Laaph Puzzle Games” on the opening screen.  It was hard!  I was trying to get them to align correctly on the right side via algorithmic means, I wound up having a variable for where each one ends up instead!
  • The bugs that made it to the end of the compo were almost irrelevant.  Far more relevant was the text-not-fitting-in-the-box issues, and textboxes going to weird places on different resolutions.

What went wrong?

  • Getting to the Batcave requires doing something I don’t make much reference to in the game.  Well, I do – it’s just that if you never played Mortal Kombat II, then you probably aren’t going to figure it out.  It’s a little bit iconic, but not nearly iconic as the Konami code.
  • Games aren’t given much time by the judges and other players of Ludum Dare games.  What this means, is that I had some people who completely missed the point.  I got the comment “The goal of the game to collect as many of a certain color wasn’t very clear to me at first.”  This is not the goal at all.
  • The code is a nightmare.  The dialog is a huge mess of if/thens – if it weren’t so painful to add dialog, I would have written a lot more.
  • More nightmare code:  There is an object, that should behave a singleton, that behaves more like a global variable, that gets created at start and keeps track of your score and what curtains and other things should be saying. This meant that to test anything, I had to start from the opening scene, even if I wasn’t working on it.  I really should have made that object be created dynamically (like a singleton!) from a prefab rather than placed in the opening scene.  (And really, it’s just an empty object with a script on it.)
  • The resolution is a bit large for some monitors.  I would have thought 1024×768 fits on everyone’s screens but really no it doesn’t.

I also have a long list of things I’d like to do different

  • I really really wish that I had made the curtains pull back and someone would pop out, perhaps with speech bubbles, rather than the existing dialog box and green glow.  Not that I’m complaining – it’s just it could be so much more fun.
  • I would have liked more puzzles.  I mean, I had complete mini-games planned, and I feel that all I wrote was a single mini-game. This may have been overambitious.  Even so, Batman should say more than two things!  There really aren’t that many secrets in this game!
  • I had meant to “borrow” background music from opengameart.org.  I do wish there was more sound.
  • I feel I should have put more hints on how to win the game, not just from Batman, due to the difficulty of getting to him.  Don’t get me wrong – this secret stays – but since not everyone has played MKII, you shouldn’t be required to find Batman.
  • I would have made more mouse interaction – as I said, someone tried to mouseover the master’s head – next time I’d make it so you can do it that way.

Where can I go with this?  I feel this game is the most likely to go to the October Challenge (well I never did put my Misunderstood Monkey through that challenge).  I find myself playing it occasionally, as catching balls is the perfect activity to do when it’s late and you don’t want to play a game but you want turn your brain off.  The current win condition does not lend itself to repeat play.  However, I don’t need to stick with that – and I really like the idea of a boring looking game on the surface with odd puzzles as you play about.

Thanks to everyone who played and rated my game!  If the master did not smile and tell you your fortune, maybe go play it again and see what he will tell you!
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=3320

Sing A Song Of Participation

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Monday, December 9th, 2013 5:03 pm

First the important part:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 3.37.23 PM

So, let’s talk about tools.  I usually don’t really stick with the tools I say I will use, but somehow I keep listing them anyway.

  • Unity3D, but I’ll be using the nifty 2D mode!
  • Gimp – anyone have any good suggestions for graphics editors on OSX?  I swear I feel a guy who re-releases MacPaint II will get rich.
  • My phone’s audio recorder and any noises I find around the museum.  Or, bxfr.  Or, Audacity.
  • git.  I haven’t tried git with the latest versions of Unity3d, but supposedly, they play nice now.
  • I might also try to use Twine and follow these directions, because that’s awesome.

Let’s talk about plans.  I expect Bieber to become the new potato (or goat) (or nonviolence) so I will include Bieber no matter how you people vote.  I also plan to be in the jam this time, not the compo, since I have discovered that if I can borrow an artist, my games don’t look quite so horrible.  I still won’t take more than 48 hours – I have to go to work on Monday!

If I really have my stuff together, I’ll be streaming our progress.  This might be just an image of the museum carefully pointed at none of us because we are all too shy, or it might be pointed at someone playing video games instead of making video games, or I might even have it set up to take snapshots of my desktop (note to self – no watching B̶i̶e̶b̶e̶r̶ ̶m̶u̶s̶i̶c̶ ̶v̶i̶d̶e̶o̶s̶  porn this weekend).

Or, I might just get drunk and pass out on the museum floor.  If that is the case, I’ll submit the photo as my entry and listen to you all complain about poor gameplay.

But more likely, hopefully there will be another entry I can add to my growing log of games I’ve made!  I perhaps haven’t entered any of them to http://www.onegameamonth.com (hey I’ll go do that now, I only made about six this year) but you can find them all at http://laaph.com .

woo!!1!!one  Beeber fore evah <3 ^_^ woo0~00oo~~!!!!

 

Charity Game Jam postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 11:09 pm

I hope this is okay to post here, but since the Charity Game Jam website doesn’t have a place for such things, and I really want to write about it, and while I could write about it at my web page I have a larger audience here.

Hi!  I’m laaph, you may have played my other games before, you may have met me if you go to local real-world meetups in my area, and I might be a game jam junky.  I learned this the hard way when I was asked to help out with a class on Twine.  I thought “gee I should give Twine a spin since it’s been some long since I’ve used it”.  So….  I started out with a simple thing, not really planning on doing anything serious.  Then I stayed up all night continuing it.  I showed up to the class late, taught the class, and didn’t worry about it.  Meanwhile, stickied at the top of Ludum Dare, and all over my twitter feed, were the announcements that Charity Game Jam was on!

So I went with it.  It was too much fun.  I may have blatantly ripped off a bunch of games a played a very long time ago, including Pirate Adventure, Colossal Cave Adventure, Slime Quest Adventure, and a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I poured a lot of my simplistic and stupid humor in to it.  And, if I can’t hype this game anymore, let me try advertising that this game has –

  • Japanese lessons
  • Multiple recipes for soup
  • A ninja
  • A bird sanctuary
  • A rocket ship
  • A dragon
  • An evil maze, which I would have said was more evil than the one in Zork, but I then realize only because you can drop things in the Zork maze to be able to map it
  • An evil scoring system, which is far more due to rushing to get the game done than my evil intent

Go play it here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/59395735/GameJams/2013-11-24%20-%20CharityGameJam/charity-d.html.  Opening screenshot below is a link.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 8.55.09 PMAnd then, if you are feeling charitable, perhaps donate to one of the charities involved (I listed EFF, The MADE, and The International Dark Sky Association as the charities I wanted to support, but perhaps you have other preferred charities).

This game almost was just a “stream of conscious” flow.  I did ask a lot of people for ideas and whatnot, but really I just went with whatever seemed most fun at the moment, until I realized I had to cut a lot of stuff short, and even then (“I’m gonna have a bird sanctuary, goddammit!” it’s only three rooms and little/no puzzles and the joke is not funny) I still went a lot with “what would be most fun?  This made making the game incredibly fun and exhilarating.

Ooh!  Another exciting comment is that I learned my way around Selenium a bit.  When you have to playtest what happens at the end game, it really helps to have some automated clicking going along the way.

So that’s just some of the excitement.  What would I say went wrong?

  • Who plays text adventures?  I can usually get my friends to give any game jam a spin, but all of them this time politely played through just once and said “that’s cute, I died <some creative way>”.  Lousy testers.
  • Twine is a great text adventure engine, but it’s still a 90% awesome thing.  This is evidenced by the fact that I know personally two people making text adventure engines (or else I know strange game developers, which is more likely), but the number tweaks, headaches, annoyances bothered me to no end.  No arrays?  No loops?  WTF?  However, if you read about on the internet, people have hacked everything in to Twine and you can even embed Unity in your Twine.
  • Text adventures, no matter how quick you think it is to put things together in Twine, take an incredibly long time.  Every time I write one this has been my experience.
  • The number one issue I had with doing the Charity Game Jam is illustrated by this gif:

I spent near 40 hours on this game!  I have work to do!  If it weren’t for the Thanksgiving break, there is no way I’d be able to spend that much time on a game!  I still managed get in trouble for not doing my day job because of this!  This was not okay!  (actually they did forgive me it was Thanksgiving after all no one else was doing work either.)

This has been my experience with other week-long jams – for example, I have started, but never finished, the 7-day RogueLike challenge many times, and that will probably happen again in the future.  A weekend is doable – but even then I literally host local meetups because otherwise it is really hard to dedicate a weekend – laundry has to be done, friends need to be visited, the shopping has to be done, etc.  A week is just much too much time.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 10.01.28 PMIf I kept this rate up for the entire month of November, I could submit it to NaNoWriMo.

Having said that, I had way too much fun writing this!  If I could get someone to pay me to continue writing this, I would!  I probably will be adding features and edits (in particular, the rocket ship needs work, so does the bird sanctuary for that matter) despite not getting paid but I can not dedicate that much time to writing this.

I hope you all go play it (link again) and have as much fun playing it as I had writing it.

In other exciting news, I finally got around to fixing my website (http://laaph.com) which is about 50% Ludum Dare games, which is why I am mentioning it here.

TL;DR Had lots of fun, spent too much time on it.  Go play it!

I’ve organized the Real-World meetup for LD28 in Oakland, CA!

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Sunday, November 17th, 2013 6:02 pm

Once again I am hosting the real-world meetup for Ludum Dare 28 at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment on December 13-15th.  The appropriate people have been talked to, palms have been greased, tables have been moved, earths have been shaken, and for whatever reason, they said “Okay!” again!

If you want to come, sign up here!  If you really hate meetup.com or something, let me know, I’ll sneak you in through the back door or something.

Warning:  Dance Dance Revolution will almost certainly not be there this time.  I will do my best to get at least one dance game at the event, though.  The Neo-Geo version of Metal Slug 2 will almost certainly be there, though.

photo

A blurry photo of the museum staff carefully cleaning the Neo-Geo machine so you can take a break while trying to get your game done before the deadline.

 

LD27 Portmortem – “Adventure, Level 2”

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 4:49 pm

After I wrote “Adventure” for LD26, there were a lot of requests for me to do a post-compo version, or at least finish it.  I didn’t want to, in part because I like the format of the 48-hour game jam – if it didn’t do well, I never have to look at it again.  However, the unexpected response to Adventure did put some ideas in my head for post-compo improvements…

…including the idea to work on one level for a game jam.  Does this break any rules?  I didn’t reuse any assets – I painstakingly remodeled that cube by hand all over again.  I redrew that arrow on his head (and fixed the bug of where it fades out).  There is no shared code between this and my previous compo (unless you include the Unity environment).

Despite all this, I feel that I was cheating somehow.  I had an idea of what I was doing before I started.  The theme was easily worked in to my ideas, in fact, I almost didn’t change anything and it fit the theme perfectly.  The idea of taking the four levels of Adventure and separating them in to four different mini-games, and then possibly reuniting them after I successfully make them…  for the October challenge, of course!…  Somehow it doesn’t quite fit in the right spirit of things.

So enough on that.  Let’s talk about how it really went.

The good:

  • I’ve done this enough it seems easy.  Movement, mobs, basic AI, etc, all up and running really quick and easy.  With the exception of ghosts going through walls, it didn’t feel like I was fighting the Unity environment.
  • Is that all?

The not-so-good:

  • The piggies became ghosts.  While I did have ideas that there would be varying types of enemies, as the deadline came along, I only made one.  And then somewhere along the line, I had difficulty making it so they wouldn’t go through walls, and rather than fix that bug, they became ghosts.
  • I had the idea of implementing the algorithms I found in this article about the arcade game “Berzerk“.  However, I couldn’t find that article when the clock was ticking (my google skills are not good at the best of times; it took me a good hour of searching about to find it to be able to link it here), so I just made random rooms.  That actually worked out okay.  I had actually intended to take a lot more influence from Berzerk, but implementing Evil Otto would have taken more time.
  • Because in Unity3d, there is no natural separation between rooms – it was hard to tell ghosts to move or not move.  So they move randomly when you aren’t about, and when you are within about half a room’s distance, they’ll beeline towards you.  Primitive AI, yes, but it works.  Unfortunately, many players complained about the unfairness of ghosts mindlessly cruising through the walls and giving you a death screen.
  • No one read any documentation.  People clicked through the text screens without any looking.  Not that there was a lot of documentation to read – but there was enough that if you read what was going on, you had a bit of an advantage.  Or at least understood what was going on.  Although, I still didn’t explain what the arrow was doing – it seemed most people figured out what it did this time.
  • Because I made it rather difficult, with abrupt deaths through walls, it became rather hard to test things around the win conditions.  This caused me to spend more time playtesting than properly required.
  • Compared to other works I’ve done, I get the sense that people didn’t really enjoy this one.  While I kind of thought it was fun, more challenging than say my Donkey Kong clone, an interesting scoring system (I still haven’t heard reports of a perfect score – I don’t expect to at this point), it would still be better with varying enemies and weapons as per my original idea.
  • No sound.  I really need to stop waiting until the end to implement sound and audio effects, as it usually means I never implement sound.

The rough:

  • Too busy for this.  I was working two jobs (one finished, thank you), hosting the real-world meetup (so I couldn’t just head out early), and then off to a big festival in the desert for a week.  So I didn’t even begin to rate other games until half the rating time was over.  I’m still not done!  It may have been a mistake to set aside the weekend for that, but, it’s still worth it.  :)

For all that, I need to talk about how I felt during the programming itself. My past three Ludum Dares I had finished with a huge sense of accomplishment – proof that I could make a game in a weekend, even if I didn’t quite finish (LD26, MolyJamDeux) or if no one else liked it as much as I did (LD25), or it was so buggy such that it was near unplayable (LD24, 0hGameJam).  This time, it almost felt like I was going through the motions – I just did it, and things fell in to place, and at best I feel like perhaps I could have pushed myself more, but then it ventures in to “playtest less and do everything faster”, and it already is rushed enough.  I am not sure whether this is a good feeling (woo fly through game jams without stress!) or a blah feeling (I am not learning as much as I would in a game jam!).

So, I’ll continue rating games.  Pro-tip:  If you write a postmortem, you heavily increase the odds I’ll play your game – when I rate games, I just go down the website, and every postmortem I read I play that game if it runs on my system.  Also, if you leave a comment on my game, again, if I can play and rate yours, I’ll do so.

Also, I put together a quick “here are games I’ve made for game jams” page, I do mean to migrate this over to wordpress but I just haven’t done it yet.  At the current moment, it just needs a “made in vi” badge for complete flavor (even though I didn’t make it in vi).

Livestream the presentations!

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 5:57 pm

We here in Oakland are going to do some presentations on our games!  I’m setting the thing up right now, it should be twitch.tv/laaph

Streaming?

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 7:59 pm

I think I figured out this twitch.tv business!

I think I figured out how to set up a webcam.  I think I set it up correctly such that it shows in the sidebar on the left (I’m not sure, because I keep having to hit “More” to find out, and I’m sure we’re at the very bottom) (but I did say we are playing “Ludum Dare”!).  If you want to watch the excitingness of the Oakland location, point your browser!

http://www.twitch.tv/laaph

Meanwhile!  At the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, at the same time we are trying to focus and come up with good ideas in ten seconds, and trying to form teams for the Jam and being snotty and saying “No! I only do the compo!”, there is a regular event that the MADE hosts called “Fight Night”, in which everyone comes and plays fighting games!  So, if you go to our feed, you will find us focusing in a noisy environment!  But!  If you want to watch their feed (I don’t think they’ve started it yet, though), point your thingus at:

http://www.twitch.tv/bayareafightnight

So far, no Ludum Dare’rs have given up and gone to play Super Street Fighter Arcade Edition 2012 yet, and no Fight Nighter has given up and tried to program a a fighting game for Ludum Dare yet, but I am really hoping!

Entrance Announcement.

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 12:54 pm

Formalities!

I’ll be partaking.

Tools:

I really want to do something using SDL2, but I hadn’t gotten past the “Hello World” program on it yet, and there was just released a new tutorial for it, so I’m really tempted, but I haven’t coded in SDL in about 10 or more years, so I’ll probably fall back on Unity.

Gimp/Audacity/Blender/Sculptris/and probably a few tools I’m not thinking of.

None of the themes match all the ideas I had…  but maybe I’ll cram it in somehow.

Also!  We at the video game museum will be livestreaming!  Come join us if you are in the area!  Probably on Friday it will be the Fight Night crowd doing their thing but I plan to put it in to the sidebar anyway, and we’ll come over and distract them and usurp their show.  I actually haven’t set this the lievestreaming yet, so we may yet run in to technical difficulties, but we have grand plans!

Just to share frustration…  this is what XCode looked like last time I tried to feed it a sample SDL program…  I was hunting for where ever I am supposed to put the -L switch when really I should have been working.

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 12.48.46 PM

 

Oakland, CA meetup at the MADE!

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Sunday, August 4th, 2013 3:16 pm

Although there are less than three weeks until  the August 23-26 Ludum Dare, there is yet no “real world meetup” sticky post yet!  I noticed the guys in Montpelier have posted about their meetup, and so I am posting regarding our meetup, and maybe it’s time to poke PoV or sorceress or someone to ask them about the sticky post.

Meanwhile, I am thrilled to announce that despite plans to be in Portland OR, the Maker Fair in Dover NH that I wanted to go to, other game jams in the bay area I could be at that weekend, the feast day of Éogan of Ardstraw, father’s day in Nepal, and a million other things I could (and should) be doing and places I could be, I am hosting the Ludum Dare 27 meetup at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in Oakland, California!

If you’ve been before it will be very similar – a bunch of tables, never enough extension cords and power strips, internet, we have a coffee pot this time!, food down the street, and we’ll have a couple of video games set up for the occasional break (and I really do hope to set up Dance Dance Revolution again).  The only real new thing that I’ve done is organize a meetup page so I can get a good idea of how many people will be coming.  Sign up here!

 

IMG_1664

Okay maybe it doesn’t look that exciting and yes the chairs could use a little work but no really it’s awesome!  Come join us!

 

Adventure: A post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
Sunday, May 12th, 2013 6:47 pm

I survived another Ludum Dare.  Me and about 10 other programmers went to a museum, ate pizza, drank soda, engaged in other unhealthy activities (actually I did mostly DDR:Max2 until we found DDR:SuperNova, but those were the healthy options, other popular options were playing Battletoads), and after 48 hours, showed off our results to each other, the founder of the museum, and a couple of other interested onlookers.

I was highly disappointed I didn’t finish.  But I scrambled to get it done, and I submitted it in its unfinished state.  As many people commented, I could have easily finished it up on Monday in the Jam time frame, but really I’ve got stuff to do Monday and after marathoning all weekend the last thing I want to do is keep working on it.

I submitted it, and I also wanted to take another look at its state.  My first commentary on this game is that I had no idea the direction it was going, from start to finish.  Well, at some point, I had the idea it would just be a collection of simple puzzles, something people would likely go through once to say “oh hey that’s cool enough” but highly unlikely play ever again (unless except they got bonked off of level two and wanted to retry to see the rest of the game).

What went right:

  • People seemed to like it.  This surprised me, as it seemed to me that there was no game at all in this.  No really, you like this?
  • For having no plans, just laying stuff out, for just experimenting, everything went better than expected.  I started thinking minimal: “what could be more minimal than a cube on a plane?” But then I thought “well there has to be something this cube wants, why not a sphere?”  After the sphere puts up the sign, well, there should be a castle that the princess is in, right?  And it just flowed from there.
  • 3D models.  I don’t know if my skill in using Blender just went up three levels since the last time I used it, but I had no problem making assets in Blender and with “all those cubes” in Unity.  I mean, I don’t think I’ll be winning prizes on polycount.com any time soon, but considering that my usual experience with Blender starts with “how do I use this thing again” and ends with “well I guess that will do if people squint…”, I was quite impressed with myself.  Of course, last time I was quite impressed with myself on graphics, the commentary was that the graphics were horrible.  I guess that is more a commentary on how confident I am in my graphical ability than how good they really are.

What went wrong:

  • I didn’t finish it.  This fact bothers me a lot more than it should, but I guess that’s personal.
  • Camera.  I kind of liked the Grim Fandango-esque of camera movement, but it really didn’t behave, in almost all situations.  I spent more time on it than I should and still got frustrated.  If anyone has hints on how to deal with the camera in Unity I’d appreciate it.  I was trying to use the default third person cameras controllers in Unity (Assets->Import Package->Character Controller, then delete everything but the Camera scripts) which I thought would be better than rolling my own.
  • More bugs.  Most of the bugs I noticed but kept adding more stuff with the idea of “well if I take time to fix bugs, I won’t finish”, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did if I didn’t just give up on camera, inventory, upside down signs, and other issues.
  • Difficulty.  I had intended to make the key a little harder to find, or just harder to find than the door (the idea is that you find the door and castle first).
  • Blue on black text.  This looks good in a web page, but a few people who didn’t get the game from Ludum Dare and thus didn’t read the commentary that you could play the text adventure without the rest of the game literally didn’t see that there was a text adventure on the wall.
  • Sound.  What sound?  I had great plans to add sounds all over the places, at least feedback sounds for when you pick up/drop/bonk in to things/etc.

Random commentary:

  • I’m glad that everyone has enjoyed it, and this makes me want to rate everyone’s games so I can get a rating too.  When I was being mopey and just thinking that I should just push this off a cliff, I thought “well good, I don’t have to be playing all your games and coming up with ratings”.  But now I kinda want to be rated, because others have indicated appreciation, and I wonder if I pull off enough ratings, even if I don’t get top marks, maybe it would it be worth it.
  • On that note, LD #26 has produced some awesome games!  Normally it’s a chore to rate games, but I’ve played several games that were quite fun and I didn’t just play them to rate them!  (Despite this I think I have only played and rated about five games.  I promise, I’ll rate a few more!)
  • Popular culture references:  There was a post on here on ludumdare.com ranting about games using popular culture references.  In this game, I blatantly steal ideas from the Atari game Adventure (including the title!) as well as referencing Super Mario Brothers “I’m sorry, but the princess is in another castle!”  I think this, plus text adventures, pushed “happy memory” buttons in some gamers.  One person told me that if I had just made a 3D implementation of Atari Adventure he would have given it top marks.  I don’t know how much bump this gave my game, but I suspect some.  To be honest, the whole Adventure theme came when I made that castle and I thought “hey, that castle looks quite a lot like the one from that old Atari game”, and I replayed it to remind myself what it was like.
  • Finishing post compo:  I think the only reason I would do this is to feed it to my onegameamonth account, which is looking pretty dismal with only a game finished in January (but, eh, three unfinished games since then?  I was doing better than this last year, without any 1GAM toys).  It’s probably true that it will take another day to finish to what I had in mind for LudumDare, but I really don’t think that I will take the time to finish this.  If I do, I will likely spend a little more time on it and add more Adventure-ish things, such as larger wrap-around mazes, additional castles, and a carryable bridge.  Some of which might be very hard in Unity.

Once I get past the initial disappointment of not finishing, this was an awesome Ludum Dare!  Thank you to everyone who came down to the MADE and worked on their adventures with me!  (Hey I should rate those, since I’ve played them all, that would give me an additional six games I can say I have rated.)  Thank you to the MADE for pizza and soda!

Also, since everyone else is posting their favorite games, I might as well too.

Looking for love – by Filth And Money – made with me at the MADE!

Gods Will Be Watching – by GreyShock – I can’t believe this was made in a weekend.

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