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October Challenge 2010
 
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hi

Posted by
Friday, December 17th, 2010 6:31 pm

I’ll use ActionScript, Unity or Java.

If I use Java, I will start from this base: http://www.filethief.com/download/1926/rough_java_framework.zip.html

Space Octopus Mono for Windows Phone 7

Posted by
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 12:30 am

Space Octopus Mono iconOn the 9th of September, I decided that I was going to complete a game in time for the Windows Phone 7 launch. That was goal number one. I knew I didn’t have long, so I picked the most complete game from my portfolio to start from and began porting it to C#.

I had already started when PoV issued the October Challenge, but his second post said that the game can be something you’re already working on. OK, count me in.

So I added goal two: Sell a copy before the end of the October. This is quite different from my original goal. In fact, the last time I tried to make a commercial game, I “finished” it but never sold a copy…

(more…)

Microsoft Delivers!

Posted by
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 12:25 am

My October challenge entry is a game for the Windows Phone 7. That means I can’t sell a copy until Windows Phones are available.

At the start of October, Microsoft hadn’t even told us when they were going to tell us when the phones would be released. I was getting anxious.

On Monday, Microsoft announced the launch dates. In the US, the phones come out on November 8th :(

But in Europe and Asia, the launch date is October 21st. I’ll have nine days to sell a copy. I can still win this!

photos & timelapse

Posted by
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 8:03 pm

Timelapse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp2nG1q5ncA

And photos beneath the fold:

(more…)

theme

Posted by
Friday, August 20th, 2010 8:01 pm

So, I usually try to make games that don’t have enemies or weapons…

boat

Posted by
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 12:45 am

So far I have taken the Box2D example app, and, er, made one of the shapes look like a boat.

It's box2d in debug mode, with islands, maybe

It's box2d in debug mode, with islands, maybe

seven hour screenshot

Posted by
Saturday, December 12th, 2009 1:54 am

oil exploration

count me in

Posted by
Friday, December 11th, 2009 5:32 pm

Doing my best

Cave Flyer afterthoughts

Posted by
Friday, September 4th, 2009 2:35 am

I started with the idea of doing a ‘cave flyer, plus something cool’. I figured i would make the cave flyer first and the something cool later.

Play the competition version here and the much easier updated version here.

Using ActionScript

I have only been learning ActionScript for a little while but I’m very happy with it. I quickly got the basics of a cave flyer going, and whenever I got stuck I found plenty of tutorials and discussions online.

I used free tools only (FlashDevelop and Flex 3 SDK) and found them perfectly sufficient.

‘Next Actions’

I think that the best way to write game fast is to act as though your next half-hour might be your last. If you could only add one more feature, what would you add? And how would you get it working as quickly as possible?

When I follow this rule, I get good results. When I don’t follow this rule, I get bad results. So I think it’s a good rule.

Distractions

I did not follow the rule. I wasted my first evening working on a feature that I didn’t need and didn’t finish.

I wanted to make an AI-controlled ship that flew around like the player’s ship, resisting gravity and avoiding obstacles. It would have been super-cool. I coding up a kind of crude AI navigation map, and made a big if-statement AI controller for the spaceship.

ai coarse navigation grid

I realised quickly that it wasn’t going to work. My if-statement AI couldn’t handle the compexities of gravity, obstacles and thrust. But I was having fun and I didn’t want to stop, so I spent hours tweaking it. I only stopped when I had to go to bed.

The final game didn’t use the AI player. I should have spent all that time making life better for my human players.

Difficulty

The game is much too hard. I knew that it was too hard, and I made it easier, but not enough. I think the best thing I could have done is popped a link to the game in the irc channel – someone would have immediately told me that the difficulty was a problem.

Level Editor

I made a very simple level editor. It allowed me to lay out the terrain on each level with mouse clicks instead of hand-coding coordinates. This was my best idea all weekend – it did not take long to make and it let me create level screens in seconds.

Cutting Features

I wanted to combine my cave flyer with another simple game genre to make it unique. I had plans of making a trading game where you bought and sold goods at different cities (seperated by dangerous tunnels), or perhaps a Legend of Zelda-like game with a large world to explore and items to find.

None of that made it into the release. Partly because I couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted to do, so I delayed the decision.

Last Minute Save

I was running out of time. I had a flying game with multiple screens to explore, but I still had no goal or motivation for the player. I finally started following the ‘next action’ rule and attacking the most important problems first.

  1. There was nothing to fight – so I added a simple enemy that hovered and fired at the player.
  2. There was no goal – so I made enemies drop ‘metal’, and added a metal counter to the screen.
  3. Combat was unsatisfying, so I added some explosion-effects.
  4. The player couldn’t respawn, so I implemented respawning.
  5. You collected metal but had nothing to do with it.

Number 5 hung around for a long time. Finally, I hacked up a simple upgrade system. I wanted to add icons for the upgrades, but cut it for time. I wanted to add some clever upgrades, but cut it down to what I could do with the code I already had – most of the upgrades simply change variables that were already in the game, like the player ship’s “mass” (resistance to impact force) or its refire rate.

The upgrade system was crude, but it gave the rest of the game a purpose – now the player had a reason to fight enemies and collect their metal.

Colours

I stole an idea from Meritous, where the world gets redder when more enemies are around. I like it.

Conclusion

Next time I’ll try not to get distracted on ‘advanced’ features when there are more immediate features that the game needs.

I will make sure to do a user test on my game, to catch obvious problems like “It’s far, far too hard”.

And if I’m making a “Classic Genre + Something Cool”, I’ll try not to wait too long before I add the “Something Cool”.

Ok, I better get back to rating entries now…

genre blending

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 6:48 am

Out of sequence photos:

My original plan, written on a bus:

bus plan

My dinner:

green eggs

I need some vegetables.

I also need a way to make cave flyer not like every other cave flyer. is genre-blending the answer? Let’s brainstorm.

  • cave flyer RPG
  • cave flyer Roguelike
  • cave flyer Legend-of-Zelda exploring the wilderness
  • cave flyer + get out of your ship and it’s a platform game
  • cave flyer + base builder\tower defence\support a city and bring it supplies
  • cave flyer + trading game (buy low sell high)
  • cave flyer taxi (get from here to there, quick)
  • cave flier + Meritous (I enjoy meritous)

The trick is choosing something that is original but won’t take too long to code.

cave flyer first screens

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 3:10 am

So I’m making a cave flyer.  It’s pretty ordinary so far.

first screenshot

Above is my code running for the first time. Flash makes this kind of thing very easy, and there are plenty of tutorials online.

1815 trying out shots

Experimenting with projectiles. Haven’t drawn a projectile image, so using the ship for everything…

Posted by
Friday, August 28th, 2009 9:38 pm

Caverns, eh?

I was away from my desk for the first hour, so I wrote my ideas on paper. Now it’s time to get them inside the PC.

bland-looking desktop

(Left: paper, right: PC.)

I think I’m going to make a cave flier – perhaps a homage to the QBasic game “Mayhem”, by Alex Smith, which I played to pieces back in the day.

My first time

Posted by
Thursday, August 27th, 2009 3:33 am

For the last few LDs I only found out that the competition was on once it had already started. This time I signed up to the mailing list, got the emails,  and have no excuses.

I’m not sure what tech to use – I know Java well, but not for graphics or making games. If Java doesn’t work out I’ll use BlizMax or ActionScript.

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