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Mini Minotaur Touch

Posted by (twitter: @locofilm)
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 3:40 pm

Click here to play Mini Minotaur via the browser or windows exe

There’s been some really fantastic feedback for Mini Minotaur and I wanted to thank everyone who’s played and taken their time to write a comment. It has really inspired me to continue working on this. This past week I have been working on adding touch controls, there’s still some work to go, if I plan to release this on mobile/tablet the touch controls have to be totally solid, but I’m going in the right direction.

Instead of moving with WASD, you simple click on the arrows to travel through doors into the next room.

Instead of moving with WASD, you simple click on the arrows to travel through doors into the next room.

Alongside that I’ve also improved the minotaur’s pathfinding and a brand new trailer! Check it out:

 Click here to play Mini Minotaur via the browser or windows exe

Mini Minotaur Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @locofilm)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 4:14 pm

No-one escapes a labyrinth.

Mini Minotaur is technically my third jam game (2nd Ludum Dare, I did 7dfps last year). This time however I didn’t work from home! I went to a game jam meetup in my local (and awesome) town, Manchester. I’ll get to how that affected me later.

The game jam meetup at community space 'MadLab' in Manchester.

The game jam meetup at community space ‘MadLab’ in Manchester.

So I actually didn’t start work proper until 2pm GMT. I had awoken at 3am just to see the theme and then decided to sleep on it. When I woke up I had a simple idea: Sliding puzzle with an RPG inside. I couldn’t start until 2pm because I had family fun to attend to, but I did have some time to get my idea down on paper.

I think that was meant to be set in some sort of castle. They had shops in castles right?

I think that was meant to be set in some sort of castle. They had shops in castles right?

My intention was not to shift the actual rooms around (which I have a hunch has been done before) but rather the segments of your monitor screen. During my train ride into town I also started to figure out how I was technically going to achieve this in Unity. I knew I would probably need to use RenderTextures therefore I would need to use Unity Pro, boy was I glad that unity gave out free temporary pro licences. The actual sliding puzzle logic I assumed would be dead simple.

Jobs done. NEXT!

Jobs done. NEXT!

I got the rendering system up pretty quickly. The map of the game itself it just one single image, I then create a camera for each ‘room’ and create a quad the camera renders on to. I can now move these quads at will, shuffling the screen however I please. Next I started on the sliding puzzle logic itself which was actually trickier than I expected.

A 1D indexed array of indexes transformed into a 2D array of shifted indexes, and now i'm cross-eyed.

A 1D indexed array of indexes transformed into a 2D array of shifted indexes, and now i’m cross-eyed.

After banging my head on the table a couple of times and realising my mistake wasn’t a complicated math problem sending me deep into the 4th dimension, but a simple one letter typo, the bulk of my game was working. So why was working in a room full of other Ludum Darers so great? Playtesting! Pretty much everyone was building their game solo, but that didn’t stop us from showing each other and testing as we went along. With me being so close to the game all day I didn’t realise just how difficult it was (It didn’t help you were playing on top of a pantone color swatch). However, during testing someone mentioned it felt more like a labyrinth than a castle, and we both agreed the Minotaur’s labyrinth would be a much better theme. With that in mind I had a hook, something to build off and inspire me, but I was also tired, and so that was the end of day 1.

Wow, I feel like I’m ACTUALLY in Greece.

On Sunday morning I quickly mocked up some level graphics with true, authentic greek tiled walls (alas, no dalmades). I also added the color coded doorways in response to yesterdays difficulty feedback. Once I got back to MadLab the feedback was that it was still too confusing, too difficult. Coffee time. Sip. Ponder. Mince Pie. “What if..” I started, “What if instead of sliding puzzle, it’s a switching puzzle, just switching adjacent rooms”. It literally took me 5-10 minutes to change that and get right back into the game (oh Unity I love you!). That was a real eureka moment for me, I had been limiting the map to only 3×3 rooms because anything larger with a sliding puzzle is just tedious. Now I could have more rooms, and get rid of those color coded doors. The final task on my todo list was the Minotaur, I knew from the outset his AI would be simple: 1. Randomly roam the map. 2. If you see the player dash towards him until he’s out of sight.

A basic node graph implementation  in Unity.

A basic node graph implementation in Unity.

The Minotaur uses the node graph to navigate randomly around the map. Unfortunately I ran out of time to implement a pathfinding algorithm for when the Minotaur is chasing you and you will see in the submission version that he get’s stuck in corners easily. During development I also had placeholder epic music emanating from the Minotaur and added unity pro’s low pass filter updated by distance to player to emulate the occlusion of sound through walls. The music really gave the game the tension it was missing, I actually forgot to swap it out for something unlicensed until the very last minute!

ld31-miniminotaur-notes3

Walls.

I headed home Sunday evening and used the rest of my night to work on the art.

Well, I say art...

Well, I say art…

It was getting close to 3am and I finally finished the new map:

You think I'm going to show you the actual map!? Play the game!

You think I’m going to show you the actual map!? Play the game!

It was 10 minutes until the submission deadline. Oh look I still have the totally-unusable-licenced-please-dont-sue-me music in my game. So I spent those last minutes recording this (Bonus points if you can guess what that actually is):

Am I happy with the result? Oh yes. This was the most fun I’ve had with a game jam yet.

Could it be improved? Of course. I’ve already improved the Minotaur’s pathfinding, but I have a lot of other ideas.

What’s next for Mini Minotaur? Who knows 😉

If you haven’t played Mini Minotaur already, play it! ( Also play it again if you have :) )

About Luke Perkin
Luke is a wannabe game developer from North West England, Manchester. You can find him the first Wednesday of every month at North West Playtesters and you can have a nosey at his website. He won’t cry if you don’t (at least not in front of you).

Minotaur! All labyrinth, no bull.

Posted by (twitter: @locofilm)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 5:55 pm

I’ve got a fully working game! Woo hoo. It’s a minotaur’s labyrinth as a sliding puzzle, now I just need to add the minotaur and tlc. See a video of it in action!

Minotaur-ld31-shot01

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