About Lars Faust

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S | Devlog #2

Posted by
Monday, December 8th, 2014 6:43 am

s

Phew.

This reminded me of my very first LD. I must’ve worked on this 13 or more hours yesterday, and still wasnt able to completely finish every little detail. However, it is functional.

After spending the first day doing only art, i still had no even oh so slight glimmer of an idea waiting at the horizon. I had no clue and no code. So, instead of sitting down and thinking something up, i just started implementing a control scheme (the drag mechanic, which i just KNOW will leave some people frustrated), and the procedual/random generation of the level. Still, however, no plan.

notcatan2

It was only in the last 2 hours or so, that i came up with the points and elements mechanic. I just hacked it in, panicing, not caring about any order in my now mess of assets, code and crashes. Every little piece of text i had to, in order to stay true to the art style, draw by hand, export, tile, import, adjust, place and implement. Oh the horror.

I was running out of time. 2 hours, 1 hour, 20 minutes, 10 minutes.

The instructions i just hacked together in what must have been a world record and then threw into the game and on my games page. Not a good thing to build a puzzler with a not immediately apparent ruleset, and then worry about instructions when the time for thinking is long over.

array

This is an array of text sprites. Of course, consistency is key!

But it is not all bad. It does feel like i did not quite achieve what i hoped i would, but i did still make a working game.  In the end, just a few minor visual clues are really missing.

Ludum Dare once again forced me into making something playable in 48 hours.

notcatan4

Now, that i had a long good sleep, i am off to play some of the other wonderful entries!

Oh, and you can play S here.

S | Devlog #1

Posted by
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 2:29 pm

s

I remember telling myself i would never make a Pixel Art entry again. Here we are.

It started out 3D again, and it did not look awful, but i was not satisfied. I couldn’t manage to get nice looking detail on the tiles, so i scrapped the 3D design. Looking at it again now, the mountains do look kinda sweet. But, whatever.

nc1

As always, i spent the first day not bothering with gameplay at all. I probably would have, had i spend more time on this whole thing, but i didn’t, so i haven’t. So far, i always managed to squeeze some moderately fun gameplay in during the second day. Lets see what i can do with this:

notcatan

Those mountains don’t look like mountains. Not yet.

 

I also just decided on the name: S

You can form it nicely from those hex-tiles.

ORBII | Results

Posted by
Monday, September 15th, 2014 8:28 pm

orbiilogo

 

Alright, i reached my goal.

Top 25 Graphics. Done.

Was hoping for it last time already (was #76 in the end), but got it now. 22nd place in graphics. Thats cool.

ld30ratings

The rest of the numbers are pretty average to bad. None of my three entries so far have managed to get over an average of 3.0 in the Fun-category. Hm.

Its alright though, not complaining at all. I am not one to fixate on these ratings, or give them too great significance. Disagreeing with your own ratings is easy anyway, disagreeing with ratings on other games probably a bit rarer, even though we will all find games we liked underrated and games we found lacking on the top of some lists. No, the essence of a LD is what you take away from it:

I loved that i managed to pull off my Low-Poly artstyle again. I love that style and plan to continue using it.

I loved that i was able to come up with a concept for a puzzler that actually worked out well. I always love encountering well made puzzlers in LD, they can often represent that brilliant idea people sometimes have in game jams better than any other genre. My concept had one or two minor flaws, but overall i pulled off exactly what i had in my head, and it played just as it played in my head. Thats great.

And when talking about puzzlers, Jeru’s Tower  was my favorite puzzler of this LD, and it ranked #19 Overall. Loved that one. You can give it a play if you are not tired of LD-games at this point.

planetbig

Lastly, i hope i will be able to catch the december-LD this year, but that is always a hectic time of the year, isn’t it?

However it will be, there definitely will be a next time.

See you then everyone!

ORBII | Devlog #3

Posted by
Monday, August 25th, 2014 10:59 am

orbiilogo

Devlog #1

Devlog #2

——————

PLAY IT HERE

—————–

After struggling with Google Drive and then Dropbox yesterday night, i did manage to submit and now have my third LD behind me.

Coded until 2am, one hour before the deadline, which was quite the contrast to last time, where i finished about 10 hours or so early. As a result, i now have my so far most fleshed out submission. I focused on getting some details right that i got wrong last time. Easily readable text, quick restart that doesn’t take you through the whole intro again, and faster gameplay. While my first LD was a Wario-Ware type of game, or rather the poor try of creating one, my second one an isometric shooter, i now came up with a puzzle game. I love Ludum Dare for this. Making me try out very different concepts.

mountain

Visually i have stayed close to my last entry. Low Poly, flat-shaded 3D.

I love that art style, and i used only a slightly modified version of my Perlin-Noise Script from last time to animate the water of my planets. I also used Perlin-Noise to generate the land-masses. That works so well with the low-poly style it is really awesome. It also means that every round played looks a bit different, even though the terrain isn’t actually relevant to the gameplay in this case.

planetbig

What i did not have to do this time was to actually model any assets. I only needed the generated planets plus some 2D buttons to get the exact look i was going for. I try to achieve a visual style as effective as possible for Ludum Dare, as there is simply not enough time to properly model or even animate assets. Spending hours doing so will hurt the game in the end.

sand

Coding this thing was, typical, a matter of realizing in the last minute that my i’m-just-gonna-copy-and-paste-all-this-code-mentality does, in fact, not work. I underestimated the complexity and amount of variables i needed, and thus decided to just “quickly” copy and paste that little bit of code for every single turn of the game, and “quickly” adjust the variables for it.

dothething

After that ate up 1.5k lines of code,the smart boy that i am understood that this is not the way to go, and automated it all. Which turned out to be not only more effective, but also so ridiculously easy that i must wonder why i ever even had the idea of copy-pasting in the first place. Oh well. Ludum Dare Code. It really is typical.

“I am sure i will be smarter next time”, he said and moved on.

grass

So far the reactions have been really positive.

But, to not only talk about myself, but about the whole fun that is Ludum Dare, here are some games i have enjoyed especially much so far, and that i strongly recommend you to check out. No, really, this is a good list:

Light Year Wars 

by nicotuason

Close Your Eyes 

by nonetheless

APOLLO 

by graebor

Tin Can Internet 

by fserb

Sideline

by Vandash

John and the Arbitrary Gem Hunt

by SteveSalmond

HELP!

Posted by
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 5:35 pm

I cant get the Google Drive Publishing working anymore!

 

There is no Preview-Button as there used to be. I can only open my html in the Google Docs app, and there is no button there either.

How do i fix this?

Are there any alternatives? As far as i remember Dropbox doesnt support publishing anymore.

 

ORBII | Devlog #2

Posted by
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 9:52 am

orbiilogo

Read Devlog #1 here.

I have made some good progress and have my critical gameplay logic working pretty well. The next step now is to fiddle around trying to find out how long one playthrough of my game has to actually be for the concept to turn out well.

In the meantime, i have designed the logos for the four “elements” i have implemented so far. I said last post that i want 6 or 7, but i am struggling a bit to find fitting ones. The ones displayed below are:

Grass, Rock, Sand, Ice

Another one i could imagine would be “Forest”, but that would require quite a bit of extra effort to be placed properly on every possible combination of elements. Maybe i will stick with these four, i don’t know. That will depend on how complex or simple the solving of the puzzle turns out to be.

elements

Next a shot from the Editor which might give you a bit of an idea how the logic works. Every “phase” the player chooses one of the buttons. In this case, we chose Ice on the first level (on the bottom), and Grass on the second one. The lines indicate how the worlds are connected. If we would now continue to the next stage (which would contain only two planets again) without choosing anything (which is not possible of course), we would end up with the left world containing only Ice, and the right world containing only Grass, since two same elements eliminate each other. If we, however, choose the leftmost Grass-Button, it eliminates the grass from that planet, only to have it immediately re-added by the influence from the middle planet. That means we would end up with the upcoming left world containing Grass and Ice, and the right world containing only Grass.

The plan is to have this kind of game continue until a certain number of levels is reached, and then count how many of the elements you managed to combine in the final planet appearing.

editor

Let’s see how this works out.

I love some of the posts i have seen of you guys by the way, looking forward to playing them.

8 hours left!

ORBII | Devlog #1

Posted by
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 12:32 am

orbiilogo

 

Phew. Looks like i will have a bit more time today, so i might as well catch up on my Devlogs.

I only had about 4 or 5 hours to work with yesterday, and made, i always seem to spend the precious first hour to do so, a logo. Coming up with the name followed a simple trick:

1. Take a word of the theme

2. Translate it to Latin

3. Bastardize it

Voila! Orbii.

Then i thought about the gameplay, and came up with a strange parallel-timelines type of thing, where every action (whatever action that might be) spawns a seperate world where that action did not happen. Didn’t work out.

It did, however, make me build my world generator. And the first thing you will see of that is no landmass, no mountains, no grass. Just water:

water

The new concept of the game is a little puzzle game, where you need to choose correct “elements” to add to worlds in order to end up with a single one containing all 6 or 7 of these elements. Doing that, worlds influence each other by adding their elements to their “connected” ones higher up in the tree. Adding an element to a world, that is already existent on that world, however, removes that element from it.

31

Next step is to make some 2D logos for the elements and flesh my game logic out. I am confident i can pull this concept off in the time i have remaining though. Probably gonna stay up until the deadline (3am here).

Cheers.

DIVE | End Results

Posted by
Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 1:46 am

logo

Link to Game


#66 in Graphics.

Thats okay. I was hoping for a Top 25 here, because i had for once not another pixel-art entry, but i can’t complain. The 65 entries in front of me all look very good as well.

ratings

What surprised me is that i actually finished worse than the last time i participated in the fun-category. Only #823 with an average of 2.72 stars.  While its obvious that i did not have the most original gameplay and some people struggled with the controls a bit, i definitely thought i would finish comfortably above my confusing and mediocre last entry here. The problem was, i think, that i did not manage to encourage the players to play any more than 2 minutes or so. Some people complained that the transition from dying to restarting took too long, and thats definitely true. They just died 2 or 3 times, got no feeling for the game, and quit.

 

Apart from that, i am happy i went with 3D visuals this time, i enjoy them a lot more and find myself creating the look i want much faster than with ye olde Pixel Art. Will definitely continue on this way the next time i participate.

I am also happy some of my favorite games finished pretty well. Until next time, then.

 
divesub

My Top 5

Posted by
Monday, May 19th, 2014 2:55 am

I present my personal Top 5 games of LD 29 in no particular order, their titles redesigned in the style of my entry: DIVE

I have rated 116 games now, liked a lot of them, but these are 5 that really stood out to me.

test2

UPSTREAM by Viza

This one is probably the one that impressed me the most from a gameplay perspective. You rarely see a puzzler this well put together in a LD-competition. The mechanics work flawlessly and, as an outstanding feature, it has an undo-mechanic, which completely eliminates the frustration of restarting a level when you made a mistake. You just rewind a bit, correct your actions, and move on. Viza also hit the difficulty of the levels just right: Hard enough to feel like a proper puzzle, but never frustrating or ridiculous. Really loved this one. Check it out.

godlives

OUR GOD LIVES UNDERGROUND by Andrew Shouldice

While this certainly is lacking in gameplay, it has absolutely stunning graphical design. The downscaled, pixely top-down 3D graphics make it one of the moodiest games of the competition. When walking through the underground tunnels, the shadows and cleverly put assets near the camera give it  a really cool feel. Some added gameplay, a top-down shooter seems pretty obvious, would make this a really promising game. You gotta check it out just for the mood it sets, though.

fisherman

FRIEND OF THE FISHERMAN by rubna

The best pixel-art in the competition. Period.

This game has its beauty in the movement. Everything moves, everything moves somewhat physically correct, while perfectly blending into the highly pixelized look of it. Very carefully and well put together entry, this really deserves praise for its visuals while also having quite fun gameplay.

kalahari

KALAHARI BABYSITTER by TijmenTio

Juicy as hell. When talking about the “feel” of the gameplay, this one takes the cake. It feels fast, it feels responsive, it has wonderful arcade gameplay. Part of that are the amazingly animated graphics. This guy knows exactly what he’s doing. Definitely give this a shot, it is really fun.

gathering

THE GATHERING by oatsbarley

A city-builder. As a LD-entry. Haven’t seen that before.

I had some troubles with this one at first, as i did not quite understand the Hunger-mechanic, but once you figure it out, this works really well.  With a cool day-night cicle dominating the gameplay-mechanics, your village grows bigger every day, smaller every night, and finally strong enough to defend against the monsters coming out of the forest.  This combined with the really beautiful low-poly graphics (that day-night cycle looks amazing) makes this one of the entries i have spent the most time on.

_____________________________

Looking forward to the results, now that there are only hours, not days, left on the clock. Found a lot of enjoyable games this LD, and my scepticism towards the theme seems unreasonable now, as i really liked some games it inspired. Good job everyone.

DIVE | Devlog#3

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 5:23 am

logo

Read Devlog #2 here.

I am done.

The game is finished.

I can’t believe it. Last time i had to work until the very, very , very last minutes to get a somewhat playable version uploaded, was sweating my pants off fiddling around with Dropbox uploading and whatnot, and now i am done almost 13 hours before the deadline. 13 hours.

Everything works fine, i added everything i wanted to add and while i of course could put in some extra features now that i have the time, i don’t really have an idea of what that could be. I am actually really happy with how it is.

13 hours. Jeez.

Here is a gif of the actual gameplay. Or at least a sneak peek.

gmply

Be careful when switching between planes, you might jump right into an enemy.

There are 4 different enemy types. A normal small one, a weak fast one, an a bit tougher one, and a big anglerfish with lots of health. The smallest fish gives one point, the biggest one 4 points, every picked up little yellow fish one point.  That leaves the player free to choose whichever enemy type he feels comfortable with. The harder to beat, the bigger the reward. You can not, however, just stick with one type the whole game, as fish will only respawn when you move to another water-plane.

When you hit a dark fish, you lose one health. You have 6 health to begin with. When you die, you get to see your highscore.

15

15 is a very poor score, really.

I am gonna spend some more time reading through the other posts on here now, i have already bookmarked a lot of really cool looking stuff so i can find it later. Also gonna watch some sports, take a break from the game, and come back to it in the evening. If i then see something i would like to improve, i can still do that.

So far, so amazing. Good luck to everyone else!

DIVE | Devlog#2

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 1:23 pm

logo

Read Devlog #1 here.

Alright. Its not only pretty waves and nice blue colors anymore.

This is starting to become a video game.

The concept is about the submarine, the yellow submarine, which i remodeled to fit the overall look now, d(r)iving around collecting yellow little fish, while avoiding, and also shooting, dark blue fish.

With lasers.

uguu

“pls don’t shoot me”

Each picked up yellow fish as well as every shot dark fish gives one point. There will be an infinite respawn of fish, but i have not implemented that yet. The game then will end when you inevitably get killed by one of the dark fish.

Then you see your highscore.

fish

Each fish has its own little AI preventing him from swimming out of the water-plane and falling to its death.

They instead sometimes willingly swim into the open arms of the yellow submarine, getting swallowed whole.

sounds

I also set up a bunch of sounds, something i completely lacked when i last participated. sfxr did a great job.

Definitely having a blast here, hope everyone else is as well.

DIVE | Devlog#1

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 4:55 am

logo

Read Devlog #2 here.

After waking up at 8:30 and working on the game until 12:30, then having lunch until now, im gonna make my first post.

Sweet logo, eh?

Using Unity3D, i’m making a game about the ocean. I’m sure i am not the only one.

The goal of the game is to drive a submarine, sorry, a yellow submarine around and collect stuff. Not sure what yet. Probably fish or something.

Just as in my first LD, i am focusing on design first, and gameplay later, which probably isn’t the very brightest thing to do, but it seems natural to me.

s

Here is a gif of the submarine. This shot is a bit zoomed in and the sub seems a bit too round for the style i am going for, i will probably have to adjust that.

The waves are generated through the most magical of gamedev-tools: Perlin-Noise.

So far so good. Definitely pleased with what i have done in the 3 hours so far.

HOLD MY BEER | STEP 4: Done

Posted by
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:41 pm

STEP 1: Graphics, Graphics, Graphics

STEP 2: Not Finishing Stuff You Were Sure To Finish Quickly

 STEP 3: Actually Developing The Game

hmblog4

PLAY IT HERE

I will be honest with you. I was always optimistic, the whole time, but deep inside i didnt think i would finish this.

I had 14 hours of pure development time over the weekend. That is less than the average, i would guess, but i am not complaining, not at all, since i brought that upon myself and knew that beforehand. I didnt want to miss out on any sports i was interested in and i didnt. But i did fear i wouldnt make it.

The last 5 hours i was developing straight and without a pause. Never did that before, ever. And it payed off. In the last minute i had, i finished and uploaded it. It is now available to play for everyone on the internet. I did it.

I actually made a game.

lfhmb

Here is a link to the source. (Opens in browser, no download)

This is so much code, oh my god. I am sure many other games have much more, but i never wrote that much in a day ever before. Because i did all coding in this second day, the first one was exclusively art and setting stuff up.

And it works.

I hope.

I am pretty sure.

It is way smoother than it first seemed. After the first levels, with a different (horrible) scrolling system, the game didnt feel good at all. Now it feels pretty smooth. The fact that it was impossible for me to do any animations whatsoever in the time limit forced me to this simple “jumpy” style of play, which i actually quite like. This is not how i first imagined my game, not at all, but i am happy.

It is also bugfree.

Not really, no, i believe it probably isnt, but it is as bugfree as i could get it. The code is so horribly written i am sure i wont be able to understand it anymore in 2 or 3 days. But it works. Good enough.

foggelhmb

So everything great, i get it. Anything important to tell me?

Well, there are things i am not happy with.

The sound. And one graphical Unity-problem that makes me mad as hell.

The sound, i said it before in the last blog post, is horrible and you should probably play the game muted. It is just some shitty drums and someone saying “Hold my Beer!” all the time. Horrible.

And the graphical bug i am talking about: Well, hard to explain. While developing, everything looked fine most of the time, but now that i released the game in the last minute i noticed it again in the Web Player. Objects are not pixel perfectly placed even though they should be. Everything  is calculated well and correctly placed in the editor. The bug results in a lesser quality looking game and some thin lines that shouldnt have a place in a pixel art game. Really bothers me.

I am not sure what the problem is.

Some shader stuff (tried fixing it that way, didnt work) or just some unfixable Unity thing, which i would find pretty sad. Maybe its just my graphics card. That would be great. Maybe most players wont even see it. Entirely possible. Unity acted strange on my setup before.

I FINISHED A GAME THOUGH! HOLY SMOKES MATE!
THANK YOU LUDUM DARE!

THAT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE AND YOU MADE ME ACTUALLY FINISH AND RELEASE A VIDEO GAME!

Now i am going to just enjoy the next days. Playing all those other great games, hoping for feedback on mine and maybe even a decent position in the end. I think i can maybe snatch a fairly good spot in the Graphics subvoting.

NOW ALL GO AND PLAY ALL THE COOL GAMES UPLOADED IN THE 27TH LUDUM DARE!

Lars Faust, over and out.

HOLD MY BEER | STEP 3: Actually Developing The Game

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 1:05 pm

STEP 1: Graphics, Graphics, Graphics

STEP 2: Not Finishing Stuff You Were Sure To Finish Quickly

 STEP 4: Done

hmblog4

So i now (pretty much) finished all pixely art stuff and moved on, after 5 straight hours of footie (cant miss out on that for video games, can i?) to developing the game. Great.

Developing the game looks something like this:

hmb_development

The code you can see handles camera movement after pressing the initial Enter to start the game, stops some stuff that moves on the Logo-Screen and a fades out the green background. The basic stuff.

Next on my list is trying to figure out how to make this thing somewhat “gamey”. Adding mechanics. Probably about time.

I also fiddled with sound. And i knew beforehand that this part is gonna be a nightmare and also will ineveitably turn out completely shit. I have no idea how to do sounds, no idea at all. I opened up Chrome, and played a bit with “Jam With Chrome”, recorded that with Fraps, extracted the audio of the Fraps video, mixed different instruments together in Audacity and then put some voice over it that says: “Hold my Beer!”.

It sounds so horrible i will probably advise players to turn their sound off before playing. Jesus Christ.

hmbmusic

So the part that makes me somehow optimistic is that i now know pretty much exactly how everything (almost everything) is supposed to work in the end. The gameplay/minigame ideas are done and reasonably diverse and interesting, the art is, as mentioned, pretty much done as well. Here is another look at Level One and Two in the now final mockup.

hmblog5

There isnt much developing time left today. An hour, maybe.

I think it is pretty wise of me to spend my time writing blog posts instead of working on the game.

STEP 1: Graphics, Graphics, Graphics

STEP3: Actually Developing The Game

 STEP 4: Done

hmblog4

Well yeah. The Graphics are still not finished.

Meanwhile, the game is getting more and more complex, WHICH WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. It did happen though. I mean, it shouldnt hit me by surprise really, seeing how i am one of “these guys”, who make a somewhat Wario-Ware like game.

I am quite scared.

hmblmckp2

This is how it looks like so far. Still very pleased with the graphics, but not sure how to do the animations. Will they be smooth, will they be “jumpy”, “blocky”, “pixely”?

Who knows.

Im off watching Formula 1.

HOLD MY BEER | STEP 1: Graphics, Graphics, Graphics

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 12:17 am

STEP 2: Not Finishing Stuff You Were Sure To Finish Quickly

STEP 3: Actually Developing The Game

 STEP 4: Done

hmblog4

In a contest so short, it is immensely important to have a polished looking, smoothly working game. Therefore, just starting with a game idea and then somehow wrapping some graphics around it isnt gonna work. So i decided to start with getting the graphics done completely before even touching programming.

hmblog2

I am almost done with that, the mockups so far look very promising, even though i am afraid of the programming part to come.

All is done with PyxelEdit, a fantastic little program which sadly doesnt support Animations yet. That will probably affect the overall feeling of the graphics a bit, as i planned to animate the clouds and lights but am struggling to do so right now. That will probably be scrapped for time reasons.

hmblog3

Now to finish off the more complicated foregrounds of the images, which will contain all gameplay aspects.

And then im off watching Formula 1.

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