About Ludexor Studios (twitter: @Ludexor)

Ludexor Studios is the name of a software company run by one man who is looking to prove it's possible to follow your dreams.

Or something to that effect.

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Ludum Dare 22

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In for my second Ludum Dare

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Thursday, April 19th, 2012 8:21 pm

I am almost just as prepared as I was the first time, which is to say not at all.

Because that’s how I roll.

Or something to that effect.

LET’S DO THIS.

Just Over Three Hours To Go!

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Monday, January 9th, 2012 3:54 pm

So how about a small challenge: Three hours to attempt to double your coolness by rating more games.

Go go! ¬†ūüėÄ

Looking For Some Advice

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Thursday, January 5th, 2012 6:53 pm

This past week I have been thinking about what sort of silly little indie game thing to try to make for the sake of making Ludexor Studios something more than just a name and a Ludum Dare entry. One thing that kept popping into my head was “Hey! Everyone over at Ludum Dare likes to make indie games… perhaps they would be good people to ask for advice?”

I hope it’s acceptable to post this little not-so-little post of me rambling about terrible game ideas of mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts, even if it boils down to telling me to never post anything like this again ever.

That¬†said…

If there is one thing I have a¬†new-found¬†respect for after this week, it’s designers who can come up with good, quality game ideas. This shit is¬†hard. I can’t even begin to explain to you just how many ideas got jot down on paper only to be furiously crumpled up and tossed in the general direction of a growing pile that I think once had a trashcan under it. At one point I considered saving time by buying a few notebooks to throw away as is.

However, we’re not here to destroy the¬†environment. We’re here to make games, and damn it, I’m certain if I say that enough it will eventually happen.

So here’s what up. I have¬†three simple game ideas, and I’d like to hear which you think I should put the most effort towards.¬†I’ll probably just work at them haphazardly with about as much focus as an¬†indecisive¬†kitten presented¬†simultaneously¬†with a laser pointer dot, catnip mouse, and ball of string, unable to make a commitment until someone helpful encourages me towards one over the others. Or perhaps I’ll be encouraged toward all of them at once, being driven slightly insane until I lose interest and pass out, just as cats are so prone to do.

Particle Madness

This idea was inspired in part by a school project that I still have laying around. The general idea is that¬†particles¬†would be emitted from a starting point, and you would have to place down attracters,¬†repelers, walls, filters, redirecters, and all sorts of silly things that probably aren’t real words to get them past various¬†obstacles¬†to a correct end point. Color would be a large factor in how particles interact with different objects.

So, in essence, a puzzle game. One that I would insist on making sure looked beautiful and surreal. If you have been following me for a while (which is no one, because I have no friends; you would know that if you have been¬†following¬†me), you will probably notice that this idea is kinda like my Ludum Dare entry in that it’s supposed to be beautiful and particle-ly.

What can I say? I like particle effects. So shiny.

Someone brought to my attention that there’s already a game¬†exactly¬†like what I had in mind: Auditorium. It makes this idea seem rather silly, especially when it looks like Auditorium has already done such a wonderful job. Oh well.

Cuddly Little Fuzz Creature on a Mission

Working title, of course.

This was inspired in part by ilomilo. If you have no played it, do so, because it’s a game¬†so fucking adorable it¬†hurts. The source code for that game probably includes legitimate real live kittens it’s such a cute game.

That said, this would be another puzzle game. The objective? To create a path to help some adorable little creature of cute to its goal, which would likely be a kitty or stuffed animal or something that makes you want to say “Awwwww.” The mechanics of this would probably be somewhere between that of a¬†Rubik’s¬†cube, Tetris, and/or those “Get the car out of the parking lot without just¬†monster-trucking¬†your way out of there like you so know you could” games. Ultimately, it would be whatever ends up being most “fun” out of several different variations that I’m not going to bother to explain just yet.

Oh, and I feel I should clarify on the cuteness of this game: I’m not talking the kind of obnoxious cute that makes you want to produce the most violent upheaval of vomit you can manage for the sake of restoring the cute-to-not-so-cute balance. I’m talking the kind of cute that even¬†men¬†can get behind. The kind of cute that you secretly adore but would never dare tell your girl. Pikmin cute. Chao from Sonic cute. Pokemon Cute. You know what I mean.

Potato Bucket

This game was inspired by a potato in a bucket.

Gameplay would consist of a potato in a bucket.

You can take the potato out of the bucket. Place it back in the bucket. Turn the bucket over and place the potato on top of it as it it were its own buckety throne to its potato empire. You can bake the potato. Take a bite out of the potato. Mash the potato. Tape it back together. Consume the potato, tape and all, then buy a new one, and launch it into space.

It’s potato bucket.

It can do anything.

Whatever one of these I choose to make will be made into an Android game, with a considerable chance of their being a web version created as well. iPhone versions would come at a later date, mostly because making an iPhone version is not a very viable option at the moment.

Oh, and most importantly, the game will be free, supported by ads which I will do my best to make sure are as un-obnoxious as possible. I hate intrusive ads just as much as you do.

So, which would you like to see be made into a game?

Forgotten Memories: Now with Red!

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Saturday, December 24th, 2011 1:57 pm

Everyone seems to be giving their Ludum Dare games a more Christmasy feel, and while it might be hard for me to say this unusually warm weather has me convinced the holiday truly is right around the corner, there’s a bandwagon, and I’m sure as hell going to jump on it.

Thus, I present to you Forgotten Memories: Limited Xmas Edition!

 

 

Do fractals more festive than these even exist? If they do, I haven’t seen them. There’s so much red and green up in this that it will melt your face off with Christmas spirit.

I seem to recall some sort of agreement to only spend five minutes on this upgrade, and adding “snow” would go over that. Sorry, but not every Christmas is a winter wonderland. Sometimes you look up at the sky, and it’s all cloudy, and you’re all “oh boy oh boy oh boy”, but then it doesn’t stay just quite cold enough, so you end up with some sort of slush that looks all sorts of ugly and threatens to kill you if you dare try to get on the roads before having dinner with the family, which I imagine is what having in-laws is like.

I wouldn’t know though. I’m all alone.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

EDIT: Oh right. You know what helps? Actually linking the thing.

http://www.ludexor.net/xmas.php

Forgotten Memories: A Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Monday, December 19th, 2011 1:59 pm

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=rate&uid=8158

After learning about Ludum Dare–somewhat ironically–48 hours before it began, I decided it was something that I just had to give a shot. It has easily been simultaneously one of the most fun and most stressful programming projects I have taken on in a while.

Before It Began

¬†I don’t think I had any idea what I was truly getting myself into. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I knew it was going to be hell. But I didn’t quite understand the nature of the beast.

It was at this point, before the compo began, that I made the stupidest mistake of all. I decided to make a game using technologies that I had never even touched.

I had seen a few examples of WebGL online before and was blown away. Full 3D from a browser? This is the future of the internet.

The problem though is that I had never touched WebGL. I had never even successfully dabbled in OpenGL. Every time I tried to find a working tutorial, there was always some bullshit reason that the code would refuse to run. The closest thing I had to any sort of 3D graphics knowledge was the work I had done with Unity3D for college, and a few painfully simple Direct3D projects that really never got out of the “3D tech powering a 2D engine” sort of thing.

Deciding I was going to do this was the programming equivalent to deciding it was a brilliant idea to saw off one of my legs before participating in a race.

The Theme

When the competition began, I–like many others, I’m sure–was completely caught off guard by the theme. Alone. Out of all the themes people could have voted for, Alone came out on top. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, but it was a theme I never expected to be selected. As such, the first two hours or so were spent pacing around the room–it helps me think, honestly–trying to ponder this strange theme.

First my mind went to shadows. Maybe you could be someone who wishes they had friends, and interacted with your shadow to complete puzzles in some sort of platformer? From there, my mind pondered more about the darkness of it all. Everything around you is dark… space? That’s kinda like space. So dark, mysterious, beautiful, empty.

I liked where this was going, but what occurred to me is that games have stolen space’s thunder. It’s still amazing, but there are so many games in space that it feels less like a statement of wondrous emptiness, and more just a thing you do when you can’t think up a legitimate theme for your sequel.

My first mental attempt at adding a feeling of loneliness was somehow make it multiplayer. But that didn’t capture the feeling of being alone; if anything, it was the opposite. No, to be alone meant being cut off from everyone around you, not interacting with them.

That’s about when inspiration hit. If you truly want someone to feel alone, remind them of everyone else who isn’t there. Give them something that they will be drawn to that will remind them that they are hopelessly disconnected.

Forgotten Memories

The idea for my game–the story or plot, if you want to use that term–is that you enter an area of empty nothingness, with the only thing to be seen around you are a small collection of lonely sparks. They are quiet and unresponsive. You can not interact with them; you can only observe them.

Every one of these blips in this empty realm have been left here. Left behind. They are all that remains of those who have visited this place before. Memories, if you will. Nameless, wordless memories of those who are long gone.

But most important of all: Every one of these memories are left behind by actual people. People like you.

None of them have been hand crafted by a developer to represent “pretend” people. When someone visits the realm–when you visit the realm–your actions create a new memory, and when you leave, it is left behind, like a message in a bottle that will never be answered.

This is what it means to be alone.

So… Is This A Game? Or Art?

I still haven’t stopped asking myself that one, honestly.

I was trying to think outside the box. I didn’t want to just make a platformer, RPG, or something predictable. I wanted to make something memorable. Something that was different, inspiring, and unique. I would like to think I succeeded on that part.

The problem though is it’s hard to call this a game in the traditional sense. It’s not like you’re running around with a health bar, save files, a set goal, and a time limit. With so many traditional elements abandoned, can it still be called a game?

The mindset I have been in is that games are “Interactive Experiences.” Forgotten Memories has been designed with that idea in mind. In the end, it strikes me as being an attempt at “Games as Art.” if such creations are games, art, or both, well… I think that’s a debate that reaches far beyond my contribution.

It is pretty though, whatever it is. Yay shiny things!

The Technical Stuff

I should probably mention that depending on what you think about these sort of things, you might want to not read the rest of this journal. Why?

Well, for one, if you truly think this is something beautiful, and thing that knowing how it works would ruin it, the rest of this post is where I take this beautiful thing from you and dissect it, like an immature highschool-er violently stabbing the corpse of a once-beautiful bird, now bloody mess.

Also, it’s a bunch of technical boring shit.

The technologies in play here are WebGL, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, and a bit of Ajax and HTML. The last thing I ever touched anything web related was back in the days where everyone had Midi music playing the background, there were a grand total of maybe 50 gif images on the entire internet, and all sites were always “Under Construction.” Needless to say, a lot of what I did was actually pretty basic stuff, but just combined in a way that looks complicated. (Unless it actually IS complicated and I don’t realize it, in which case I should add that programming in general has been a hobby of mine since about the age of 10 or so.)

WebGL and Javascript make the bulk of the application. It handles accepting mouse and keyboard input, as well as plugging information into formulas to make those strange memory things.

Those, by the way, are known more formally in the math world as “Strange Attractors.” I REALLY wanted to add more variation to them, but not knowing a whole lot about the math behind it, I could only get one formula to work. Thankfully one of the interesting thing about strange attractors is that you can feed them various numbers to get visually different results, so it wasn’t too terrible. Maybe if I expand on the project sometime I’ll work on finding more.

PHP, Ajax, and MySQL handle the sending and receiving of data from people that connect. Yes, the memories ARE legitimately formed based on what people do. Sadly though, because of time restrictions, it’s not based as directly as I had envisioned. I wanted it to be meaningful: people who stay a long time make bigger memories, people who move around a lot make more chaotic ones. But even though I got code in that measures how much you rotate, how much you press buttons on the keyboard, how long you hold those buttons, and how long you stick around, the only data that gets plugged into the formula is how much you rotate the mouse.

Really though, that worked to my advantage, as apparently quite a few people don’t move with the keyboard anyway. Looking at my database shows that a third or so of the people who connect never touch the keyboard, which may be because you can move using the mouse buttons. I didn’t realize that was a feature of the library I was using, so the data-grabbing code doesn’t account for it.

Of course, the code is available at the link above, so if you really want to know the ins and outs, feel free to poke around!

Final Thoughts (And Some Advice)

Don’t ever try learning a new technology or language for one of these things unless absolutely necessary, let alone several. It’s suicide. I may have had success with it this time around, but I owe that in large part to having been exceptionally lucky. This should have never worked. That it does baffles me.

Likewise, prepare for these things. Consider everything that you might do, and have it ready to go. If you think you might use an art tool, download it ahead of time and learn it. If you’re going to make something multiplayer, make sure you have a server ready to go. I lost an hour or two in downloading, installing, and configuring Linux on a virtual box so that I would have somewhere to host this thing.

Finally, do something simple. If there is one thing that I can try to claim was a brilliant idea, it was that what I was trying to do–besides a lack of knowledge of the technologies–was ultimately rather simple. The more features you try to add, the better chance you have of running out of time. Think small, and build from there if you have more time left over.

In closing, I had a lot of fun, but ultimately was disappointed that I didn’t have time to add a kitten to my game.

A Game, or Just Art?

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 9:05 pm

Going into this, I knew nothing about WebGL, MySQL, PHP, or Ajax. Somehow I made what I wanted to using all of them.

The question I have right now though is if what I have created is game-ish enough.

From the start, I knew this was an issue with the idea I had. It was more of an interactive experience than it was a game. If it can even be called it game, it’s by no means traditional.

But whatever it is, I like it.

When I originally thought of the theme–alone–my mind immediately went to shadows. For a while, I was considering a game where you’re alone and interacting with your own shadow in some sort of “I wish I had a friend” sort storyline. It was a nice idea, but the time limit I had meant I was extremely uncomfortable with if I would be able to finish it in time. and knowing me, I tend to undershoot coding deadlines by a LOT, so it just wasn’t an option.

The next thing my mind went to was space. Space is lonely, right? And it has some rather beautiful landscapes–spacescapes?–if you want to design it that way. It was at this point I started getting the idea that I wanted my game to be something beautiful.

It still left the problem not truly embracing the feeling of being alone though. Yeah, sure, it’s space, that’s cool. Space is big and empty. There’s not much too it. But that doesn’t really inspire a true feeling of loneliness… does it? Well, not as much as it perhaps it once did, given how many games are out in space.

Somewhere along the line it became clear that you had to interact with other people. This couldn’t be single player, but at the same time, multiplayer is quite the opposite of being alone. And even ignoring the technical side of writing net code–something I have never really done too much of either–there’s the simple fact that it’s not all that likely for that many people to all be playing the game at once.

I think that was sort of the moment were it all clicked though. It DID have to be a game you played with other people… but only to remind you just how detached you are from everyone else.

Thus the idea was born: When you connect, you are left somewhere entirely black. If you look around, you might find lonely blips out in the distance. If you fly to them, you can enjoy their beauty…

But they are not others. They are only what others have left behind. They are gone, and what you see is all that is left. A memory, long since forgotten.

And when you leave, you too will leave behind a memory. A message in a bottle than will never be answered.

This is what it means to be alone.

None of the blips you encounter have been pre-crafted. Every one of them is from someone just like you who was here once, but now gone.

But… does that make it a game, or just art?

It’s Over

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 7:49 pm

I’m still alive, right?

So Many Dots

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 7:14 pm

It kinda looks like I just spent a while in Paint using the spray-paint tool, doesn’t it?

I swear this will make more sense soon.

 

Can’t Sleep; This Is… Good?

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 2:55 am

And here I thought the biggest hurdle in all this would be desperately craving sleep.

Though I guess technically it might still end up being such, just without actually being able to get it when I give in.

My next post will have something worth showing, I swear.

And by that, I mean it will probably have nothing at all.

Nap Time

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 12:23 am

I have absolutely nothing to show so far, and I am entirely content with how things are going.

Am I insane?

I like to think so.

Four Hours Into This Thing Already?

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Friday, December 16th, 2011 11:06 pm

Time sure does move fast, doesn’t it?

I really have nothing to show other than ideas. Which I am not showing just yet. Why?

As both an answer to that question and a bit of insight as to what’s on my mind right now: I’m not sure if what I am doing is so much a game as it is an experience.

But that said… I don’t want to ruin the experience. Not yet.

I also apparently don’t want to code it either, given my progress.

Game Plan

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Friday, December 16th, 2011 8:41 pm

I’m not going into exactly what I am going to try to be doing in terms of the game itself, but here’s what I more or less have to do:

1 – Figure out how to use WebGL

2 – Figure out how to use PHP (or something similar)

3 – Figure out how to set up a Linux based virtual boxed web server thing

4 – Cry

Of these, I only have experience in step four.

The Clock is Ticking Away

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Friday, December 16th, 2011 6:31 pm

I’m going to be broadcasting at http://www.livestream.com/ludexor

Just note I’m not going to start until my graphics card driver finishes downloading, which should basically be right about the same time as the start of the competition.

Four Hours To Go

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Friday, December 16th, 2011 3:13 pm

And I still don’t have a clue what sort of programming language or tools I want to use.

This is going to be nothing short of a train wreck.

Oh Come On

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 6:47 pm

The original name I had in mind for Ludexor was Lazy Lynx.

This isn’t even a choice.

I’m Not Sure What I’m Thinking

Posted by (twitter: @Ludexor)
Thursday, December 15th, 2011 4:23 am

I have a final I need to finish for class. I’m in the middle of moving everything out of my room at college because I’m graduating. I need to look around for a job. I should be trying to find somewhere to live as soon as possible. I’m trying to get my own little software studio thing up and running. I heard about Ludum Dare just a few hours ago, and I’m considering using WebGL when the last time I attempted anything browser based was over 10 years ago.

This can only end well.

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