Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
About MurrayL (twitter: @GameDevIdeas)
I'm a UK-based game developer. You'll mostly find me working by myself or in a (very) small team.
My favourite elements of game design:
* Humour (the good stuff)
* Co-operative Play
* 'I'm totally screwed but it's hilarious' moments
* Local Multiplayer
* Strong narrative (as opposed to 'hurr durrr I've got to save the world!')
Check out my Twitter feed (@GameDevIdeas, linked above) for more inane ramblings!
First day over, getting ready to hit the hay. I managed to draw up 12 backgrounds over the course of today, which I’m pretty pleased with. They’re each 320×240 (which I love as a resolution) and strictly CGA! It’s all very Space Quest…
Don’t forget to click to see them en-biggened!
Looking forward to getting stuck into some code by tomorrow afternoon – we’ll see how it goes. So far, so good.
Get ready… we’re gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse…
Here’s a sneaky preview of the first two slides of background art for the new adventure game!
Yes, we’ve gone for a CGA colour palette. It’s been fun so far!
I’m also streaming via http://www.twitch.tv/murray_l so pop over and take a look if you’re interested!
So I missed out on LD25 due to production of a commercial adventure game (check out Hungry Planet Games to find out more about Astroloco!), but this time I’m back, and Dave is with me.
We’re going to be kickin’ it old-school with a new point & click adventure for you all to enjoy! There are some great ideas flowing out of our brain-holes, and I hope you look forward to playing the finished result.
Good luck to everyone!
Sorry guys No new point & click from me this time around – even though I’ve got a whole boat-load full of ideas. I’m going to be too busy flogging MY NEW, COMMERCIAL ADVENTURE GAME AT ADVENTURE X 2012 IN LONDON HOW COOL IS THAT GUYS SERIOUSLY
Yeah, I’ve been working really hard for the last few months on a new adventure game based on the solid foundations laid by subAtomic and Plan M – this one is bigger, longer and funnier by far. And it actually (properly) has full voice acting. It’s called Astroloco: Worst Contact, and I’ll be at the University of East Anglia in London (near Liverpool Street station) all weekend promoting the game and (hopefully) making friends with other adventure developers!
The event is completely free, no tickets required, so please do pop in if you’re in the area and not too busy with Ludum Dare! More info here – http://www.screen7.co.uk/adventurex/.
This is all thanks to you people – everyone and anyone who has participated or is participating in Ludum Dare. You voted me as the funniest person in the Jam twice in a row, and this wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for you. I think that’s a good thing, but you can make up your own mind once you see the finished product.
If you want to find out more about Astroloco, and especially if you have a Steam account, click your way over to http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=113074281 and help us get the game onto Steam!
Don’t worry, though. I’m not gone forever, and I haven’t sold out. I love you guys. Provided the next Ludum Dare doesn’t clash horribly with my new, jet-setting, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, I’ll be in for that one. And properly in. Not just a little bit. I don’t want to end up just making formulaic (but hilarious) adventure games for every LD – I’ve got some ideas to revolutionise the genre that will blow. your. minds.
Watch this space.
The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that the Enhanced Edition of Plan M went up earlier today.
It adds a laundry-list of brilliant stuff, and you probably owe it to yourself to play it. Not that I’m biased or anything.
- A complete soundtrack, which will get stuck in your head for days.
- Sound FX for loads of important actions and events, and also for several completely useless ones.
- A menu (wow!) which allows you to load a previous save without having to watch the entire intro again.
- Two (count ‘em!) completely new scenes, which further develop the characters of Dr. M and Señor Banana (it makes sense if you’ve played it).
- Many new interactions and animations, to make the world seem more alive.
- A re-written ending, to properly end the story.
- Literally tens of bug fixes and tweaks to make the game more fun, based on your feedback.
There may even be more features which I have forgotten about. That’s right – I can’t even keep track of how awesome it is compared to the original release.
No voice pack as yet, I’m afraid. If the demand is there, I’m sure a few days can be set aside for the recording of one.
Plan M is now out and, as far as I know, completable. So that’s good.
Give it a play here!
What went Right
- The art is a continuation of the subAtomic style, and I think we’ve pulled it off pretty well in Plan M. My skills with Paint.NET have increased dramatically since subAtomic (thanks in large part to using it for other games in the meantime), and it shows in the increase in visual fidelity. On the other hand, you might hate gradients.
- The font is fantastic, isn’t it? I just wish there was a dedicated ‘outline’ version. It’s ‘Burvetica NC’ by Jayvee D. Enaguas.
- The humour is well and truly in-place. I didn’t have as much time to spend on dialogue as I had during subAtomic’s development, but I think the characters shine through their speech.
- Scale. I mean, bloody hell. Plan M is at least twice the size of subAtomic, and twice as long to boot. That’s something to be proud of.
- Speed of development. Plan M was coded entirely on day three of the jam. That’s got to be some sort of record for speed-adventure-game-scripting.
- Features to make playing the game easier. subAtomic didn’t have saving or loading. Plan M has BOTH!
What didn’t go so right
- Bugs. Ugh. I found 3 different game-breaking (as in ‘oh I can’t finish the game now’) bugs in submission hour. Every time I fixed one, another one appeared. If anything, it was because it was 2am and I was causing more problems by trying to fix things. As far as I know, it’s all now completely playable as intended, but I feel bad for anyone who tried to play it between last night and this morning. I hope they try again with the updated version.
I also uploaded debug versions a couple of times and had to quickly replace them. If you’ve ever used AGS, you know that giving a debug version out to the public is not a good idea.
- Audio is non-existent. To be fair, subAtomic didn’t exactly excel in this area – it had one or two bleepy-bloopy sound effects, and some really rubbish music. Plan M, however, has neither of these things; we simply didn’t have time. They’ll be in for the post-compo version, though – so keep an eye (ear?) out for that.
- Scale. Okay, this is a good point and a bad point. There were a lot of things that we wanted to be in the game, and they had to be cut out if we were ever going to finish. A lot of this is to do with developing the character of Dr. M, who is practically a side-character in the Jam release. Again, this will be rectified in the post-compo edition.
Oh, and the scale made it a complete nightmare to test for bugs.
- Gameplay variety is lacking, in my opinion. This may well be just because I’ve spent so long working on it, so I tend to overlook 99% of the gameplay. There’s a dialogue puzzle (subAtomic had several), but most of the game is an item fetch-quest. I’m not sure I like that. If I had time, I would’ve added some neat minigames, but them’s the breaks when it comes to Ludum Dare. If you want minigames, go check out my upcoming commercial point & click game Astroloco. It’s gonna be awesome. [/shameless plug]
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or (heaven forbid) bug reports, you can reach me in the comments below, or on Twitter (@GameDevIdeas).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 1404 other games to play.
This may be a new record. I feel like I might actually make it.
Provided I finish in the next 5 hours, which seems just about possible, I will have coded an ENTIRE ADVENTURE GAME in one day. ONE. DAY.
As a celebration, have some screenshots. I hope you’re looking forward to playing it as much as I’m looking forward to not having to work on it.
My skills with Paint.NET have increased dramatically since we worked on subAtomic. If you don’t use it for this sort of low-res art, I’d have to question your sanity.
My particular favourite features are: bezier curve lines, colour replacement brush, pattern fill and gradient fill (with alpha). All in all, it’s invaluable for this sort of work.
Feel free to commence drooling.
Apologies for the radio-silence thus far.
Dave and I, the ‘dream team’ (in that it makes no sense and you feel sort of weirded out when it’s all over), are working on a new adventure game. It’s a little more ambitious than subAtomic in its scope, hence the complete lack of time to update social media with progress reports.
I’ve been working steadily on the background art, and I’m approaching the point where I can start putting the game together. If that last sentence made you gasp and shake your head, don’t worry – I’ve been doing the same thing.
Fortunately, I’ll be
stealing making good use of the modified UI code from subAtomic which I’ve been working with extensively for the last few weeks (as part of an upcoming commercial release called Astroloco).
More updates (and perhaps even some gameplay!) as it happens.
Note: If you haven’t already played our kooky adventure game subAtomic, please go here and check it out! We think it’s brill.
At the time of writing, subAtomic has received 43 ratings, which is way more than I expected (I barely got over 10 with my last entry). If the ratings are as good as the comments people have left, I’m pretty confident we might actually be able to show up somewhere notable on the final results! Not that Ludum Dare is really about that.* Incidentally, thanks muchly to everyone who has expressed their joy at having played the game. It’s good to know that the jokes don’t just sound funny while they’re bouncing around inside my head, and I’ll definitely be doing more adventure game stuff in the future.
Shameless plug: If you want to keep up-to-date with what I’m doing, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@GameDevIdeas).
But how would I change subAtomic, given the chance? I’m sure my dev-buddy Dave has his own ideas for improving the character animations, but here’s my two-pence:
- Full voice-acting
Yeah, for every character, in a separate (optional) voice pack file. I’m not 100% sure about adding this, as I’m a bit worried that the voices I record could never be as amusing as the ones people come up with in their heads. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!
- More variety in music
I didn’t really take much time over the music; I just wanted something in there other than deathly silence. As a first attempt, I just sort of whacked my face onto the keyboard a few times in FL Studio and saved what came out. I like that the tracks all sort of feel like they fit together (thanks to using the same instruments), but I do wish they were a bit longer/more varied. I hate hearing loops.
So AGS has save/load features built in. They’re right there, in the game. Right now. You just can’t use ‘em. I’d like to turn them back on and shoehorn a GUI on top.
- A GUI
Yeah, it was meant to have one but we just didn’t have time. You didn’t seriously think we were sadistic enough to deliberately on-purpose no-kidding release a game that has no GUI, did you?
The game needs a simple help screen and a button to click if you want to quit, at the very least.
- Some major code re-writing
If you could see the AGS script for the last few scenes of the game, your brain would probably scream for mercy, do a backflip and die outright. By the time I wrote it, I was tired, hungry and smelly. I’d like to re-write it so it doesn’t make my vision go fuzzy when I try to understand it.
- Re-make the title screen
This was totally my fault. I forgot that it’s pretty difficult to get AGS to rotate a sprite (without delving too deeply into the more complex graphical scripting capabilities), and as a result really regretted putting a FRIGGIN’ CURVED HILL on the title screen of the game. If seeing the car make its way over it made you cringe, don’t worry. You are not alone.
- Add an extra warning before you stand there and get nuked
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
I’d say 50% of new players choose the option to just stand there and get nuked, expecting it not to work. It works. They do a sadface. Now I’m all for player choice, but I’d like to at least give them one extra chance to say ‘oh, crap. This is actually going to let me do this.’
- Misc. rewriting
This is scraping the bottom of the ideas-barrel somewhat, but there are a few bits of dialogue that I’m not properly happy with. I’d like a chance to go and smooth over the rough spots with 400-grit sandpaper of love. Lovepaper, if you will.
“Okay Murray,” I hear you saying cynically, “it’s all very well posting a wishlist, but what are you actually going to DO about it?” Well. Provided I have the time to spare (I will) and reception of the game has been good (it has), I’m hoping to release a… SPECIAL EDITION!
That’s right, folks, for just an extra £0.00 you could find yourself the proud owner of a brand-spanking new copy of subAtomic, replete with gobsmackingly awesome new content and features! Now wouldn’t that be something?
* Okay, it is a bit about that. No-one really enters Ludum Dare without at least a little bit of them going ‘WOOO! YEAH! LET’S GET ONTO THOSE MOTHERFLIPPING SCOREBOARDS!’. Unless that is just me. Which would be worrying.