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Ludum Dare 31 — Coming December 5th-8th 2014!

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    About mwest (twitter: @chaotikZA)


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    A good idea is a great start!

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Friday, August 19th, 2011 10:52 pm

    Woke up an 1 hour and 40 minutes ago and saw the theme… To be honest Escape wasn’t one of my favourites (ranked about 8th on my list) and my poor little Espionage… dead last :(!

    So I’m going to follow jonbro’s advice and make an Espionage game to celebrate the fact that a theme I suggested at least made it into the final round! It will still fit the theme… after all: getting into a top-secret, ultra-high-security underground research facility is much much easier than getting out!

    I had a few ideas, but they all sucked… then I came up with a great idea (hinted at above) while soaking in a nice hot bath… It’s ambitious! Probably too ambitious to do in 48 hours, but what the hell – I want something I can continue working on after LD this time, so I’m going to go for it.

    Everything or bust!

    I’m a spy and I’m in!

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Friday, August 19th, 2011 4:55 am

    Ok, fine…

    I confess…

    I lied about being a spy…


    But I am in!

    I added the Espionage theme a few weeks back and to my amazement it made it to the final round, so I can’t not be in! This will be my 4th LD and I’ll be using Java with Slick2D and a little library of my own. I’m very excited about the themes, there are so many good ones this time!

    Good luck to all and enjoy!

    Ancient Arts: Defeat

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Sunday, July 31st, 2011 11:29 am

    I’m afraid I won’t have time to finish Ancient Arts far enough to submit… too much work and Flixel took a bit longer to figure out than I had hoped.

    I’m quite happy with my graphics and animation and hope to come back to this later when I have more time to actually prototype the gameplay!

    You can play with the rough prototype at my website.

    Here’s a final screenshot:

    Ancient Arts menu soldiers fighting!

    Menu Combat

    Ancient Arts

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Saturday, July 30th, 2011 4:19 pm

    This is my 4-hour late declaration of intent to join MiniLD 28 and also my first progress update.

    I really don’t have time to participate this weekend, but the theme is just too awesome to pass up on!

    I’m going to try to do a simple little tribute to The Ancient Art of War. I’m using AS3 & Flixel (for the first time) so please wish me luck – I’m going to need it!

    Here’s an early screenshot:

    Ancient Arts - Menu Screen

    Menu Screen

    Lone Tank – Submitted

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Sunday, May 1st, 2011 8:22 pm

    I got my game submitted about 10 minutes before the submission deadline – that was the longest 80 minutes of my life – phew!!!

    Things that went wrong:

    • Initial concept failed, because the art requirements were too difficult for my poor skills…
    • Only managed to come up with another concept 13 hours in…
    • Performance issues about 6 hours before deadline, requiring implementation of more efficient hit detection!
    • Struggled with Java Webstart in-spite of having done a warm-up game as a test before the competition started.
    Grid Based Broad Phase Collision Detection Debugging

    Almost failed to finish due to having to do this...

    Things that went well:

    • My most complex and complete game in an LD so far (ignoring graphics / sound) – in spite of the 13 hour penalty due to my theme problems!
    • My base code library performed pretty well (the hit detection issues aside) – also made many improvements in the course of the competition.

    All told I feel like a winner! For about a week of work spent on Ludum Dare warm-up and competition I have:

    • 2 good prototype games that can easily be fleshed out into nice games.
    • Massive improvements to my base code library that will help my all my other projects.
    • I had a lot of fun!

    Thanks for a great competition and well done to everybody that finished a game – to those that didn’t: keep trying and better luck next time!

    Lone Tank: Progress Update 2

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Sunday, May 1st, 2011 5:59 am

    My game has a name now and I’m making good progress (although I’m starting to doubt if I’ll have something polished / non-prototype by deadline – unless perhaps if I stick to purely vector graphics – tempting). The game now also has :P:

    • Lots of guns (4)! :P
    • Lots of enemies (2, but with 2 more within easy reach)! :P

    So next up:

    1. More work on enemies.
    2. Terrain.

    Here’s a screenshot:

    Lone Tank Screenshot 1

    A tank with cannon & machine-gun, surrounded by enemy infantry with rifles and grenades.

    Breakfast happened in two parts today, something light to start off and something a bit more substantial later:

    Breakfast Day 2

    Rusks & coffee followed by eggs on toast a bit later.

    Taking a bit of a break to work on dinner before the the big all-nighter…

    Progress Report

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Saturday, April 30th, 2011 3:21 pm

    Just a quick progress report before I go grab some sleep (no screenshot because it’s just boxes and lines at the moment):

    • I have a tank that moves realistically enough.
    • The tank has a turret that can be controlled by AI or can follow the mouse for the player.

    I still need:

    1. Guns – lots of guns! (I lie, just 2 actually)
    2. Enemies – lots of enemies! (Same lie)
    3. Terrain
    4. Intro, menus, etc…
    5. Graphics
    6. Sound

    So as of now I’m very far behind, but I think I’ll be able to accomplish a lot more tomorrow – in theory there should be fewer distractions from working on the game… if not then I’ll switch to jam to polish it a bit more on Monday (a holiday here in ZA fortunately).

    Good night all!

    Breakfast, Supplies and a Concept

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Saturday, April 30th, 2011 1:21 am

    Breakfast? CHECK

    LD20 Day 1 Breakfast

    Supplies? CHECK

    LD20 Supplies

    Concept? CHECK

    My concept I’m going to start fleshing out now is to do a tribute to Gauntlet where the player that plays alone gets a special item to help with the difficult levels that are designed for 2 players (tying in to the theme). This is probably more than my poor art and sound skills can manage, but its the best idea I can come up with that actually seems like fun to me – so here goes nothing!

    Starting design work and timelapse capture now…

    My chaotic little workspace

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Friday, April 29th, 2011 11:24 pm

    The competition started 04:00 local time and it’s now 08:15 – I’m still half asleep and I have no idea what kind of game to make out of this theme… going to go have breakfast somewhere and stock up on supplies while I try to come up with an idea…

    In the meanwhile here’s picture of my chaotic little workspace:

    Matt's Chaotic little workspace...

    Warm-up Game (and I’m in)!

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 4:31 pm

    I’ve written a little warm-up game to re-familiarize myself with my tools and to make sure everything is working after a few months hiatus from game development due to real-life issues (read work). It’s basically in unfinished, unpolished prototype state, but it’s playable: Java Webstart! Took approximately 12 hours of work and the theme was the first idea that popped into my head that was simple enough to execute in less than 24 hours…

    Given how well this little project went I’m definitely in – whether for vanilla or jam will be determined by how much time I have over the weekend or how bad the theme is…

    My tools are:

    • Language: Java
    • Libraries: Slick2D
    • Existing codebase: Chaotic Game Logic Library, Jumpers (for both ignore releases and just use SVN trunk)
    • Graphics: GIMP, Inkscape
    • Sound: sfxr & musagi (in the unlikely event that I have time to add sound)

    Good luck to all and I’m looking forward to seeing some great games (and hopefully making a decent one for once)!

    Airship Traders: Update 2

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Monday, October 11th, 2010 5:05 pm

    Update number two coming to you at 02:00 in the morning from a dark and (mostly) sleeping South Africa…

    I’ve just finished my first pass at more advanced map generation and I’m very happy with the results (actually just very happy that it’s working at all :P – this is my first time trying random map generation)! Most of the credit must go to the writer of this article at the RogueBasin on generating cave maps with Cellular Automata… I was looking for inspiration and found that some of the caves generated could pass for outlines of islands, so I adopted the algorithm described there and then just added some additional custom passes to make things look a bit fancier :). All in all I’m quite pleased with the results so far, but still need to add:

    • Rivers
    • Towns
    • Maybe some more terrain types

    I’ve also got a basic ship which can teleport around the screen (normal movement going gradually from point-to-point is a near-future todo).

    Here’s my latest screenshot:

    Cool looking randomly generated map and a semi-functional Airship! :)

    Cool looking randomly generated map and a semi-functional Airship! :)

    Airship Traders: Nothing to see here!

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Saturday, October 9th, 2010 4:04 pm

    Not making much progress this weekend and the next two I’m going to be otherwise occupied, but I’ll do my best with whatever time I can get on weeknights…

    Just thought I’d share this:



    Our cat doesn’t approve of my game development habit :P! Other than that, nothing to see here…

    *Edit: Fixed lolspeak…

    Airship Traders: Progress Update 1

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Friday, October 8th, 2010 2:53 am

    I’m still going along rather slowly, but I think I’ve made enough progress in the last couple of days to justify an update again :). I failed to stick to the promise I made myself that I won’t add graphics until the gameplay is working, so here’s the much nicer 2nd screenshot:

    Towns, Terrain, Basic Trade Goods, Basic Town Simulation, Basic Random Map Generation, Loading data from file - all working :)

    Towns, Terrain, Basic Trade Goods, Basic Town Simulation, Basic Random Map Generation, Loading data from file - all working :)

    Gameplay isn’t really happening yet, so the priority list of features to implement next are:

    1. Airships (essential for gameplay)
    2. Trade Interface (essential for gameplay)
    3. Better Town Simulation (essential for sustainable gameplay)
    4. Better Map Generation
    5. Fog of War / Exploration

    This project is probably more than I can do in a month, but I’ll be happy if I can manage about 60-80% completion, I can always still polish after October and then start selling it (it’s at least designed to have enough gameplay to be salable ;-)) . Still having lots of fun with this project! :D

    October Challenge: Airship Traders

    Posted by (twitter: @chaotikZA)
    Monday, October 4th, 2010 4:19 pm

    I had a bit of a slow start over the first weekend, but made up for it somewhat yesterday and this morning, so I’m in for the October challenge after all!

    I’m making a trading / crew management game which I’m calling Airship Traders. It’s set in your standard fantasy world, except in this world wizards are a dime a dozen, so being a wizard doesn’t really make you very special – you have to go the extra mile, like becoming a rich and famous Airship Trader for example!

    Having learnt from LD18 that I’m not very good at art / graphics I’m scaling back graphical ambitions way back this time round – going to go for a fairly simple 8-bit look similar to that of Chaos: Battle of Wizards. This game will include a bunch of personal firsts, including:

    1. Non-trivial mouse based interface (Working)
    2. Map larger than the screen (Working – with a functional mini-map)
    3. Mix of random-generated and file-based content (TODO :P)

    I’m developing in Java with Slick2D and here’s my first screenshot (just colored boxes for now, graphics will be added once the gameplay is working):

    Towns, trade goods, large map with mini-map and mouse controls - all working :-)

    Towns, trade goods, large map with mini-map and mouse controls - all working :-)

    In terms of trying to sell my game, I’m not even going to bother with app-stores (they all seem to require that I learn a new set of development tools or APIs, which is a bad idea considering the complexity of my game PLUS I’m in South Africa, which isn’t supported by Google App Store and probably some others – I didn’t even bother to check the rest).

    My plan for selling a copy is to have a free-to-play 15 minute demo downloaded from my website (with ads), with a PayPal payment required to buy the full game that doesn’t have a time limit (I think this is similar to what BigFishGames does). This will entail making some improvements to my website, so my deadline for finishing the game is 23 October, so that I can dedicate the last week to building the sales infrastructure. If that looks like its not going to happen before the deadline, I’ll probably go to one of the handful of Java games portals with ad-revenue sharing and just try to drive traffic there from my website.

    Good luck to everyone participating! I’m already having tons of fun, hope you all do too!

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