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ASTEROIDS! Ludum Dare results

Posted by (twitter: @locknic)
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 11:30 am

Click here to watch my VLOG!

Wanna try the game? Click here!

The results are in!

I am actually pretty happy with my results, coming in 416th place amongst a community of very talented individuals. Considering this is my first Ludum Dare, and the second game I’ve made, I think I did not bad at all. This, along with the comments I got on my game have definitely inspired me to make more games, and I will definitely try to take part next Ludum Dare.

Ratings

Coolness 62%
#100 Humor 3.40
#310 Fun 3.26
#416 Overall 3.30
#443 Graphics 3.19
#455 Mood 3.00
#537 Audio 2.74
#790 Theme 3.30
#1169 Innovation 2.17

My strongest category was humour. I am pleased with this because I did put in quite a bit of effort in writing the dialogue, and including funny easter eggs. Second was fun, which I am again very pleased with. Because my game is an action-arcade type game, it should focus on the game mechanics and being fun to play. I went with the decision of making the game short, but very difficult to play. I personally prefer this decision, but I’d bet that if I made it easier with more progression, I think I could have scored quite a lot higher in fun and overall. How well I did in graphics surprised me since it was just some quick programmer art thrown together. Innovation did extremely poor, but that is understandable since I didn’t really put any groundbreaking mechanics or anything into the game.

Something I am really disappointed with was how badly I did for theme. I personally thought that it followed the theme really well with minimalistic controls and gameplay. I guess people had more of an expectation for minimalistic graphics though, so I will definitely think about the theme more next time.

Overall, I am very pleased, and will use the experienced gained to try to do better next LD!

Wanna try the game? Click here!

Last chance!

Posted by (twitter: @locknic)
Monday, May 20th, 2013 9:58 am

This is my first Ludum Dare that I’ve ever entered, and it’s been an amazing experience. I came out of it with a finished game, and some really supportive comments that have inspired me to make even more!

The voting period is nearly at a close, so I’d just like to invite everyone to a last chance at rating my game “ASTEROIDS! (the side-scroller)“! I would really appreciate it if you have a few minutes to kill. 😀

Other than that, see you all next LD48!

ASTEROIDS! (the side-scroller) post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @locknic)
Saturday, May 18th, 2013 9:51 am

Click here to play and rate!

Click here to check out my website

My first Ludum Dare entry, and the second game I’ve ever made! I’ve decided to go for a game with very simple mechanics, but is difficult as hell to win. While most people chose to go for a minimalistic art style, I’ve decided to keep the controls (only up/w and down/s) and actual gameplay minimalistic instead. It seems extremely impossible initially, but after awhile you get the hang of it.

Gameplay:
You control a spaceship that you move up and down to avoid getting hit by asteroids. Minimalistic yes? You have 5 seconds of small numbers of asteroids, then 60 seconds of full on walls of asteroids before another 5 seconds of calm if you make it that far. If you make it through all that, you can beat the game in a mere 70 seconds. Trust me, it isn’t easy. I swore profusely while testing the game.

Story:
You are the first test rocket to escape earth’s gravitational field! Unfortunately, the snarky people who made the rocket never made any way for you to turn the thrusters off, forcing you to have to dodge your way through an asteroid field.

Code:
I wrote the game from scratch in Java, using knowledge from my previous game to help me. I followed similar code for things like the game loop, the sound loading and playing, and the resource management. Coding was done quite fast as I already knew how I should structure the engine, and I hard coded a lot of things to make the progress faster. I though this was a great decision in the end to avoid over optimisation as it really helped me pump out the code quicker and leave me more time for the other things.

Difficulties:
The most trouble I had in this project was deciding what game to make, then actually starting it. Once I actually made some progress and knew where I was going with it, I flew through it quickly. I am really proud that I managed to make it in the designated 48 hours.

Click here to play and rate!

Click here to check out my website

My first Ludum Dare!

Posted by (twitter: @locknic)
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 2:02 pm

So originally I planned to make a 2d platformer, since the only other game I have ever made was a 2d platformer (The Well) and the experience gained from it would be useful. The environment and character would be made using either black and white squares or coloured ones. I started working on it, decided to browse the compo page and saw a hundred other people with the same idea! I decided to scrap that idea to work on something more original. I decided to make a mini stock game where you buy and sell shares to try to make money. After planning it out, I realised it would probably come out pretty boring. Finally…

I have started making a 2d side-scrolling game where you have to navigate a rocket through an asteroid field. I hope the art style and the simple gameplay qualify me for the theme, and the picture below shows my day 1 progress. I don’t have as much time to work on this as some other people as I live on the other side of the world and have to book into camp tonight. I really hope I complete my first LD entry and hope it turns out well. Thanks for the inspiration to ACTUALLY make a game instead of half completing a dozen!

 

Preview!

 

I will also be making some posts about the game on my website once I finish it, so check it out! http://www.custardgames.com

The Well (Day 3 devlog)

Posted by (twitter: @locknic)
Thursday, February 14th, 2013 9:24 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eP3_gPoB70&feature=youtu.be

Progress! It is actually starting to come together to form a real game now on day 3. The main features added today were checkpoints, death, water, and some new art. Firstly I just wanted to mention that I now have somebody working with me on the project. Someone who read one of my posts about the game messaged me and asked if he could help me with the graphics. Since I am terrible at it, I’ve let him take over the sprite design front.

The Well - Starting game
Falling into the well

Now that I have art to use instead of my black and white placeholder images, the level actually looks like a proper level now. Not only does it look like a real game, but it is starting to have an objective to it. I added in blocks that can kill you now, so these will be things like spikes or lava, and if you touch them you are killed. Luckily, I also implemented checkpoints, so after dying you get respawned at your last selected checkpoint. The checkpoints come in the form of candles. If you walk up to a candle and press x, your character will light it and it will activate that checkpoint. The last thing I added was water, just because it was easy and added some variety to the level. When your character is in water, he is basically just slowed down, so he doesn’t move as fast or jump as high.

The Well - New checkpoint
Checkpoint candles on the right

Today felt really productive because of all the foundation code I had set up in the previous day. It is now easy for me to add all kinds of new blocks with their own functions to the game. I’ve also managed to get this system integrated with the map editor I am using so that none of the levels have to be hard coded, but can all come from file. This results in much more flexible development, and allows the artist to test his art without needing to edit the source code at all.

In order to let the artist and testers play the game, I had to export the game in a runnable jar. This proved to be more difficult than I initially thought because of the way files are handled. The way a jar gets images and files is different to the way I was using before which took me ages to figure out, but now I know better for future projects.

A challenge I had today is that I spent ages trying to figure out a bug I am having with my character’s jumping. For some reason there is a combination of keys you can press you give your character a larger jump than usual. This is something I will have to fix tomorrow as I haven’t entirely ironed out this problem. Tomorrow, I want to work on a menu interface and/or implementing sounds into the game.

For updates and other posts, check my website: http://custardgames.com/

The Well (Day 1 devlog)

Posted by (twitter: @locknic)
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 12:05 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTAPrg4CArM

I’ve decided to try to make my first video game this week, and I’ve given myself the restriction of five days to complete this project. The usual thing to do is to have 48 hours like the Ludum Dare, but since this is my first game I don’t want to rush or lose any sleep over it. The goal is to make a short 2d platformer about a boy who falls into a well, and has to try to find his way out. The reasoning behind the well is so that the game takes place in a cave setting, meaning less art will be needed. Due to my lack of creativity, the game is named “The Well”. The engine will be done in from scratch in Java, as that’s what I have the most experience with. I tried to learn to use some libraries like Slick2d, but it took too much time, so I’ve decided to just stick to what I know.

The Well - Demo Level
First day progress

Today, I’ve managed to get some of the foundation code set up. So far, the game loads a map and tilesheet (text files) and places a character for the player. So far, the player can move around, and collide with the walls of the level while the camera follows him around. I’ve decided to have three layers, a background layer, a collision layer, and a foreground layer. The reason there are three separate layers is to make the map editing more flexible, as there doesn’t need to be code for each type of tile possible. Another benefit of having separate layers is that each tile doesn’t have to be completely square. The collision layer and the foreground layer can have transparency without leaving holes in the level.

Demo level screenshot
Testing level

So far in terms of art, I am just using placeholder black and white tiles to show the background and the walls, but these will be replaced with proper tiles once I am done with them. I’ve also drawn a main character, but it is still a rough draft. For this project, the coding will probably be done first, with the art, music and level design done after all the main mechanics are in place.

The biggest challenge today was trying to structure my code. I spent so much time worrying about how object oriented the code is, and trying to make the engine really flexible. I realise now that it was premature optimisation that really isn’t needed for such a small project, so from now I am going to try to code quicker and just get as much content as I can done. Tomorrow I want to try to get done the coding for animations, some tight movement for the character, and a menu and options interface.

I’ll be making a blog post and video each day showing my progress and explaining a bit of my thought process behind my decisions. Overall, I think this project will be really helpful in terms of learning as I’ll have to use so many skills in such a condensed time frame. I am mainly a programmer, so naturally the coding is the most important part of the project to me, however making the entire game myself will force me to broaden my creativity. I’ll have to do all the drawing and music myself, and since I have very little experience in this I could really learn a lot from it. Another thing is that I am a terrible writer, I have always been terrible at English, so forcing myself to make these blog posts will hopefully help me work on that.

Check out my website for updates: http://custardgames.com/

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