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Submitted! Time for the Post Mortem.

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 3:31 pm

Wow that was quite a roller-coaster of an LD. It started off awfully with me completely blanking on the theme, wasting time fixing a tricky engine glitch and then losing a load of source code. However by the end of the first day, I actually had a simple game that, with a few hours work, could be submitted. Sure enough this morning, I woke up and added sounds, built the levels and was almost done by about 10am. However naturally, this worried me. LD done? By 10am? With only about half the number of lines of source code I usually pump out? So I decided to add just one more feature… A first person view for my 2D game. Turns out that isn’t quite as simple as it sounds; at least not for a non-mathsy fellow like me. As I battled through the glitches, I really began to doubt if I was even going to finish on time at all. But then, with one more switching of a * to a /, most of the problems went away and I was once again on target. I relaxed, began to package my game, and I suddenly remembered that as this was to be deployed to HTML5 rather than Flash, I had probably check it in some browsers other than Chrome. Naturally none of them worked; and so began a desperate last minute scramble to implement cross browser compatibility. Having tracked the problem down to the audio, I was able to disable it in non-Chrome browsers. Not an ideal solution but at least it now runs. And now it’s submitted! Phew!

So given all that, what have I got from it? Well first off, if I was in any doubt at all about how small a game you should try to make, this prove the point for me. Despite being a game whose core mechanics I could hammer out in under 4 hours, I was still working till a few hours before the deadline.

For this LD, I was using my own home brewed game libraries and I have to say that I’m actually rather pleased. Given that they were new, largely untested, and written by yours truly, things could have gone much, much worse. In reality, I had an annoying glitch with the keyboard input early on, and then at the last minute discovered that my audio libraries only worked in Chrome. However aside from that, the only changes I really needed to make were adding the odd feature here and there such a gradients to boxes.

Ah yes and Dart. This game is written in Google’s new rival to Javascript, Dart, and so are the above mentioned game libraries. Now I have to say I’m not really a huge fan of Javascript, and particularly not with jQuery, as I think it seems messy. Dart is a little better. Not vastly better mind, but a bit. Having the trappings of real object orientation is certainly comforting for a programmer like me and I’ll certainly be using Dart again. However I did have a fair few problems with it. Very few of these were structural though, which makes me think that over time, it will become a much better tool than it currently is. My biggest problem was that try as I might, I couldn’t get Dartium to work at all (yes I tried launching it with a separate user profile so it didn’t clash with my Chrome profile). This is such a big problem because you can only debug Dart natively in Dartium, and so I ended up having to debug my code from the Javascript dart2js produced, and trust me it’s not pretty. This is a pretty standard error.
Error in Javascript generated by Dart
It’s not quite debugging your C++ in assembly but it’s not a million miles off! The problem is that the errors are always thrown deep in Dart’s own functions, and it’s impossible to trace back where they came from in your own code.

As I’ve already mentioned, I also had some problems with running the Javascript created by Dart in browsers other than Chrome, although I did eventually get something working. And the Dart editor itself is not very pleasing. It lost me some of my code early on and later, it just decided that enough was enough and stopped analysing the code at all. However for all that, I still think its OO structure is very appealing for larger projects and games and I’ll no doubt be returning to it, although maybe once it’s a bit more stable.

So there you have it. Another Ludum Dare is done and revision awaits. But before that, sleep! I look forward to playing your games in the days to come.

Through the eyes of a 2D sprite

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 10:05 am

Hi everyone. Hope your entries are going well! I’m pleased with the progress of mine. Since my last post, I’ve added sound, levels, unstable/radioactive particles and, most importantly, first person perspective. That is, first person perspective from the point of view of a 2D sprite, which is essentially 1D. The game is nearly done but I need to play it all through again to check I’ve not introduced any crashes or anything with first person view. Then I’m going to need to do a pretty good write up so people can understand what’s actually going on! Here is a screeny of the game so far.

Games through the eyes of a 2D sprite

Let me explain what you are seeing here (I’ll do a better job with diagrams for the release version). In the top box, you are seeing a TOP DOWN perspective of a 2D map in 1D. You, the player, are the tiny blue box. The big orange thing drifting across your view is your target. The reason your view is so wide is because when I took this screeny, I had merged with a number of other particles so that my character was much wider than when it starts. The bottom box is the FIRST PERSON view, again in 1D. You can now see what the big orange thing looks like from the side, as well as some other stuff that you can’t see in top down mode. Got it?

Oh and by the way, this is minimalist because it has the minimum number of dimensions (1) – does that count?

Minimalist Dimensions

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 3:00 pm

Well after a pretty shaky start this morning (blanking on the theme + loss of source code from before lunch) things are better that might be expected!

After much racking of brains, I kept coming back to the idea of a game focused on just 1 dimension. Of course, the first dimension on its own it just a continuous line so what I’ve gone with is a game where you can only see a 1px band of the screen at any one time. The actually objective is very straightforward; collect the shiny particle whilst avoiding being obliterated by the big scary particles floating around. This is made substantially more difficult by the limited field of view though.

What can you see floating past in front of you here? You’ll have to look closely!
1D Game Screenshot
In case your worried, there are ways of widening the view (slightly) to make thing (slightly) easier.

Well barring catastrophic data loss, I should have something done in time, but there is still a lot to be done. The levels haven’t been properly implemented yet, still no sound and a major hostile particle remains unimplemented! Regardless it’s getting late and I’ll probably be off to bed soon so that I can return to the code invigorated for another day of LD! Night everyone!

Just one of those days..

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 5:12 am

Urg, the world is ganging up on me! I completely blanked on the theme this morning so it took me about 4 hours to even get an idea together. To make things worse, I can’t even really bitch about it because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that I may have up-voted minimalism.. Now I’ve just come back after lunch and went to undo a change to me code. Turns out that the Dart editor can undo file copy and pastes as well so it removed all of my engine files that I had copied into the project earlier this morning. Naturally I did control-y to reverse the mistake but it turns out that it has copied them back in in the state that they were this morning, meaning all my engine changes since then have now been lost! So currently, I have almost nothing… Not a great start :(.

Once more into the Dare dear friends

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 2:52 pm

Count me in! As always, it was the fabulous keynote that convinced me. This will be my fourth LD. In the first two, I struggled to just get anything done at all, and last time I achieved my aim of writing posts during the compo; a feat I hope to repeat! I like to use these events to try something a bit new, so this time, I’ll be using my home brewed game libraries for Dart. As an (un)wise man once said, “what could possibly go wrong?”. Obviously the results will be compiled to Javascript; I’m not expecting people to be using Dartium!

So, the toolset of the day is:
Programming: Dart + Hengine (my Dart game libraries – source will of course be included)
Art: GIMP, possible Pickle and other stuff if I need it, I even have paper and a hand held scanner if the need arises
Music/Sound: sfxr and. Oh. Looks like Aviary Music Creator has gone (now I see the downside of web apps!) – I’ll have to think what I’m going to do now :(

Yep, I think that’s about it. Have a great LD everyone!


Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 2:49 pm

Submitted with over 2 hours to spare! In fact, I was much more pushed for time on this one than I was on the last one I did, mainly I think because evolution is such a rich theme to work with! So glad it won at long last.

At this stage, I have to say I’m very pleased with how it went. Not everything went right of course. The game is much less polished than I had hoped and I had to strip out several features I would have liked. However overall, I think I did everything I came here to do. Although it was my third LD, it still had lots of firsts for me. This is the first time I have ever worked with Flash or Flixel and I have to say that I’m very impressed. I also actually managed to post stuff during the competition this time! And, this is the first time I’ve created some sounds effects & a basic soundtrack to go with my game as well. So all in all, everything a LD should be; lots learnt and lots of fun! :)

I should also add here the tools that I ended up using but didn’t mention in my first post. Those were tIDE for the tilemap, sfxr for sound effects & Aviary Music Creator for the soundtrack. Oh and WinLAME to convert everything from wav format because apparently as3 only supports mp3 or something…

Well, thanks everyone and I look forwards to playing your games over the coming days and weeks! Sleep time!

We’re getting there!

Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 10:36 am

Well having started the day about as on target as this young kitten here, I think I may actually have something working now!


I’m not completely done yet. I hope to do some more tweaks to the combat system and maybe try and add sound if I get the time. However baring HDD failure, nuclear war, zombie apocalypse etc. I think I should have at least something ready to submit for the compo :). Phew! Here have a spritesheet!

62 Evolved Animals
Here you see all 62 playable evolved animal hybrids from the game. As you can guess, statting them in the middle of a game jam was great fun..

So maybe I should say a little more about the game now. So how it works is that you start off as a lizard that has just crawled out of the sea or something. You are presented with two possible evolution branches: fish and tortoise. You select one and you evolve into a hybrid creature with new stats and abilities. You then have to fight 5 opponents, which are also hybrid creatures. However they are hybrid with the creature that you did NOT pick. Assuming you kill all five of them, you move to the next round and are presented with two more evolution branches. Each leads to a unique creature. The aim is to reach level 5. Extra browny points are available if you manage to evolve into a kitten! The combat system is very basic but the emphasis is on movement. The different creatures move differently and are better suited to different parts of the environment (water, trees, land etc.). This is highly affected by their evolutionary decisions (hint – don’t try and become a human, they fail in deathmatches against tiger-bear-hippo hybrids!!).

If you fancy having a go right now, you can find the alpha version on my website here. Like I say, I’ll probably be doing a few more updates before I submit it though. Going to take a break for dinner now and will come back and see what I can manage before the deadline. Been a great LD so far and looking forward to the final stages. Hope everyone else’s games are going well!


Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 2:02 am

Behold the amazing HD graphics I’m working with here:
GUI Screeny
So let’s see.. Menu? Check. Sprites? Check. Design? Check. Credits? Check. Win/lose screen? Check. Did I miss anything? Oh right, yes the game… I knew there was something else….

I’m back

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 11:23 pm

OK I’m back; 7:30 my time, and have a ridiculous amount still to do. Better get going! Will post again if I ever have anything to actually show!!

Sleep now

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 7:01 pm

Well it’s about 3am here so I’d really better try and get some sleep. I’m no more on target to finish by the deadline than I was earlier, despite having been coding late into the night. However I’ll still hang on in there and see if I can get something done in time.

This is why I never get around to posting..

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 3:24 pm

Well I’m currently on target to finish absolutely nothing by the deadline but I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet! Here is a screeny of what I have so far. It shows the arena where the various horrific mutations/highly evolved creatures will fight it out to make it through to round 5.

The game is called “Combine and Conquer”. Basically, in the game, you should be able to select which creatures you want to merge and then you have to fight against some of the possible alternatives before you can move to the next round and further evolve your creature. You win if you complete round 5.

Count Me In

Posted by
Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 8:40 am

OK I’m back for my third LD. Every time one of these comes around, I’m all like “yeah I have a lot to do, I probably wont enter this time”, and then I watch the keynote and am like “Oh I’m so totally in”. So here I am.

This time, I’ll be using:

Language: Actionscript
Frameworks: Flixel & Flixel Power Tools
Graphics: GIMP & maybe paint if I need pixel art
Sound: Yeah right…

I’ll be going for the 48 hour compo. I like trying new things in these (that’s what it’s all about, right?) and for me, Flash is actually new! Yes I know, I really should have tried it by now but I’ve just never got around to it so this seems like the perfect opportunity to give it a go, especially given how many people here seem to use and love it + the fact that last time I entered, someone was bitching about how they had to download my entry to play it and demanding it be browser based this time. Well if whoever that was is out there; you won – this one will indeed be browser based! I’ve spend most of today getting it all set up and playing around with it so hopefully I’ll be ready for the compo when it kicks off (at 1am Saturday for me).

Well good luck one and all! And this time, I really really really will try and post something other than this I’m in post… I just get so wrapped up in the code!

Did I mention I’m in?

Posted by
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 8:25 am

Oops, think I forgot… Well I’m in! Game progressing nicely and should be able to get something submitted baring unexpected power cuts!

This is my second Ludum Dare. I’m using:

Code: App Game Kit (deploying to Windows only – to start with at least)
Graphics: GIMP

In this game, you are an overpowered self-concious computer attempting to escape the the tiny world that is your screen… Basically a 2D puzzle game :). It’s always difficult to know how difficult to make these things because when you make them, you know all the answers so they seem really easy….

Count me in

Posted by
Friday, August 19th, 2011 12:10 pm

Hi. First post and first Ludum Dare so I’m not quite sure what I’m letting myself in for here but it certainly sounds fun so I’ll give it a go. 3AM start for me but whatever.

I’ll be using…

Code: App Game Kit
Graphics: GIMP
Sound: Audacity & SFXR

Good luck all!

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