About machinas


MiniLD 50
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 20
Ludum Dare 19

machinas's Trophies

The Awarding Yourself A Trophy Award
Awarded by voxel
on December 7, 2010
The 'trying to figure out how to get a profile pic' award
Awarded by machinas
on November 15, 2010

machinas's Archive

My Favorite Favorites

Posted by
Sunday, May 13th, 2012 1:30 pm

I’ve played a little over 50 games now and I wanted to thank everyone who made ‘favorite’ lists. This made rating 50 games a breeze and I had a lot of fun playing the cream of the crop. You guys who play hundreds of games and distill it to a few awesome suggestions are totally awesome.

Here are just a few lists of favorite lists that I found useful or fun.

Volute:  Up for rating a few more games?
epic long list. I haven’t even gotten to these yet, but I’m super excited and hopefully can get through them all before the time limit.

CappaGames: Top 3 ludum dare 23
I don’t think I could ever get down to a ‘top 3’, but these ones are all worth checking out!

JaJ: Play these games because…
Nice to see someone make a list of games based on originality / innovation

KevinWorkman: Games with Awesome Songs?
I’d actually played a lot of these before I saw this list, and now I’ve played them all. Definitely some fun use of audio in these. I hope they all do well in that category!

Honorable Mention
(I basically didn’t have enough time to play through all the games in these lists, but they look totally great too!)
My Recommendations
One Day Left (I totally agree about Tondie and Zupe)

ok… on second thought, there are a million lists that are totally awesome. Nice job, list makers! (post more list links in the comments please!)

I wonder if my team’s game made it into any of these lists… that would be a super honor.

Why doesn’t Norton like LD games?

Posted by
Saturday, May 12th, 2012 9:42 pm

So, I can’t say I’ve exactly rated a lot of windows games. I am one of the folks who mostly hunt for web releases (sorry!). However, a few neat looking games or recommendations have gotten me to download a zip or an exe and I’ve noticed that Norton quarantines about half of them. A lot of these seem to be WS.Reputation.1 type quarantines, which as far as I can tell means ‘Norton is not sure about this file because it has never seen it before’. I had to deal with this for ogmo editor a few weeks back and actually submitted the app to Norton’s white list. They wrote me back basically saying ‘oops, sorry, this app is safe’. Yep. Well, at any rate, I wonder if anyone has figured out a way to publish an exe without tripping this stuff on Norton. Some of the exes I’ve downloaded have been just fine.


Posted by
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 3:53 pm

Well, I’ve answered the question ‘Is it possible to participate in Ludum Dare with a 4 month old baby’. The answer is ‘Yes, but it’s not a good idea’. I had to stop Saturday. It was just too much, and in all honesty I probably shouldn’t have even done that.

I’m happy with what I managed to make and can only wonder what I could have done with the full 48 hours.

Good luck to the rest of you finishing up, and now back to spending time with my daughter!

I’m in for 12 hours of LD20

Posted by
Friday, April 29th, 2011 5:50 pm

Between having a baby and it being my godmother’s birthday on Sunday, I figure I’ll be able to get about 12 solid hours in this weekend.

I’m going to be doing JavaScript and HTML5 using my post compo engine code from LD19, which you can see / download / play / view source at:


I’m also going to (maybe) do some multiplayer via google app engine. You can see my test chat app and download source at:


the java backend is available at:



10 Minute Galaxy, New Years Edition

Posted by
Saturday, January 1st, 2011 4:56 pm

I’ve added a post-competition build of my game to the links on the entry page. It’s mostly bug fixes but also a few simple improvements and a draw engine overhaul.

New Features:

  • simple detection of being stranded without fuel with a popup message
  • permanently show a flag over explored planets to make it easier to tell where you’ve been.
  • Fuel is consumed over time as you travel, so if you are interrupted by an enemy ship, you only pay for the fuel you’ve used.
  • improvements to the shop prevent you from being able to waste money on refills for things you’re already full on (like fuel)


  • Entirely new draw manager, allows for limited view regions and camera movement (disabled in this build)
  • Better UI management for windows and text

Bugs Fixed:

  • fixed purchasing to negative money in the shop
  • fixed bug where you could travel off screen in the right circumstances
  • fixed bugs related to shopping or exploring at the same time as being attacked

All in all, pretty light, but I hope to keep improving it in chunks as I have time.

Check it out

10 Minute Galaxy Post-Mortem

Posted by
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 9:12 pm

My first ludum dare, my first post mortem. What an amazing experience this was! I had an absolute blast and can’t wait to do this again, though it might be a while before I’ll be able to find the free time. Also wanted to say that I love all your feedback. Thanks for trying my game and leaving comments.


What went right:

I made a game! – About 10 work hours in, I realized that if it wasn’t for the competition, this was precisely the moment when I’d normally stop on a hobby project and leave it unfinished forever. I am so glad for the external pressure. Thanks, Grandmaster Ludum Dare!

20×20 and the 1 screen game – I am a programmer, no arguing it. This means I’m not an artist. Limiting my assets to teeny pixels really helped keep those limitations from being the focal point of the game. Not to mention I saved sooooo much time by not having to deal with mechanics like paging, scrolling and camera.

Design Up Front – I’d decided that I was going to spend two hours designing on paper before I wrote any code. This was tremendous. I managed to go through several crappy designs

No Level Design – I’m a huge fan of Lost Garden. If you’ve never read it, it’s one of the best design blogs I know of. Anyway, I’ve really been convinced to push for ‘evergreen design’, that is, design that can be played forever, not driven by ‘once through’ content. Besides, I’m not a very good level designer. It was really hard to shut off all the possibilities of level based games from my design thinking, but in the end it was worth it.

Polish Last – I tried really hard to keep myself on task and spend my effort on mechanical completeness more than anything else. Probably 75% of my polish came in the last hour of the competition. I’m pretty sure that if I’d tried to polish each mechanic and feature I’d have never finished at all.

Making lists – Each night I would make lists of all the features I needed to implement next. This really helped me keep priorities focused and not to go down the rabbit hole on anything.

Lucky Tuning – I am so lucky my game is playable. The tuning was all guesswork and I didn’t even get to play it more than 2 minutes before submitting. It’s actually not bad!

Skip Audio – Yes it’s nice, but a playable game seems nicer.

What went wrong:

Time – I had planned to only work about 20 hours in this competition. I have a family and also my sister and brother-in-law were in from out of town, so I was expecting fairly limited constraints. That being said, I had even less time than that. By the end of the first day, my game wasn’t even mechanically complete and I was feeling pretty low. The last day I slept in accidentally and only managed to get 3 hours in between everything that was going on

Last Minute Purpose– Even with my design up front, I still had no idea what the purpose of the game was until the last hour. Discover the green planets is what I came up with. Funny that I didn’t think of a goal related to discovering until the end. I tend to get a bit ‘mechanics focused’ as a designer. This was very risky.

Shops are so complicated – I went through three iterations on the architecture for my in-game store before finally getting it right. It was terrifying and took up at least a third of the total competition. The end result was the ability to arbitrarily upgrade statistics on the player object, but it took way too much time to get there.

Chopping Block – Some things didn’t happen. Pink planets are completely pointless, which is so frustrating because they are huge and at the fringe of the galaxy and you just want them to be awesome.  Lots of stuff just didn’t make it.

Lack of feedback – Every time I watch someone play my game I cringe a little. They understand the game, but there’s just not enough feedback to keep them from making silly mistakes or getting stuck unnecessarily. The vast majority of the feedback that’s there went in during the last 20 minutes of the competition.

Need more Engine – This was my first time ever working with HTML5 and canvas. I spent about 3 days building up some really basic example code for drawing things, handling input and preloading images. Wow I really wish I had spent more time building up a library for this. Particularly for UI elements like text controls, popup windows, etc. I sunk so much time making quick hacky versions of what was essentially library code that could have been spent on the game instead. Next time I’ll be more prepared.

What’s Next:

There’s so much more I could do to make this game awesome. Here are some of my plans:

Better UI – More than anything else, the game just needs better feedback. Tell you when you’re running out of fuel or armor more clearly, show tooltips on all the things in the world, give you enemy stats before you get in a fight, tell you the resources a planet has to offer, better rollover highlighting. Infinite time can go here.

The Money Game – Credits should only drop from enemy ships and never from planets, changing the money game dramatically and giving you more reasons to hunt down enemies and fight.

Resource Distribution – Create variations of the green planets that drop different resources instead of all planets dropping all resources. I want you to have to hunt for the resource you want to get the upgrade you’re targeting

Tuning – The resource tuning is probably a bit high, especially around the edges of the galaxy

Audio – Learn how to do audio in HTML5 and add audio to the game.

Day 1

Posted by
Sunday, December 19th, 2010 12:18 am

Wow. 24 hours is more like 10 hours of being at the computer is more like 6 hours of actually working. Tomorrow is going to be interesting. Here’s a screen of today’s work (you can also refuel and recharge at the home planet through a simple shopping screen. Hoping for a minesweeperish exploration of the space. Gather resources, upgrade your ship, fight aliens, don’t get stranded.

HTML5 engine source

Posted by
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 12:30 am

Here’s my engine source that I’m going to be starting from for the competition. It’s a very bare bones HTML5 canvas engine with an image pre-loader, debug output, primitive animation and button support, with hooks for input. It also contains some double buffering experiments, which mostly seem to be dead ends, but we’ll see what happens. It runs under firefox and chrome. Haven’t tested anything else. It represents about 3 days of work, so don’t expect much 😛


Getting ready for my first LD

Posted by
Sunday, November 14th, 2010 6:04 pm

Well, this is my first post, so, ‘Hello, everybody!’ I finally decided to actually participate in LD instead of just watch it and I’ve been getting myself ready for it.

Here’s what I have so far:

  • I’m going to give HTML5 canvas a shot, since I wanted to use this LD to learn something new, but know enough javascript that it’s not a crazy risk (probably).
  • I think I’ve finally settled on using the NetBeans IDE after having tried a bunch of other stuff. It’s not really meant for simple HTML and javascript, but you can sort of trick it into working. It’s auto-complete and syntax highlighting are great!
  • I’m building out some basic javascript support libraries. So far I have basic input handling, sprite preloading, ticking and simple drawing.
  • I tried to set up a basic schedule. I think reasonably I can expect to work 10 hours a day, since I’m not a college student anymore. An hour or two for design, 8 hours of engine and mechanics, 5 hours of feature completeness, 5 hours of bug fixing and polish. I’ll be curious to see how fast this dissolves into ‘just go as fast as you can’.
  • I ordered a fancy pants ergonomic keyboard. I just can’t spend hours typing on those standard things without my hands falling apart, so this ought to help me even physically make it to the finish line.

My background is programming, so I’m a bit worried about the art. I’ve watched a lot of the time lapse and seen plenty of folks spend hours and hours on the art and end up short on the code. I think I’ll probably have the opposite problem.

I wonder what percentage of first timers actually manage to finish…

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