About Nick Cash

I first taught myself to make games using C/C++ when I was 14 and used to participate in the now defunct Game In A Day (GID) competitions. After many years of working for big companies, small companies, and running my own startup, I've decided to get back to my game making roots with Ludum Dare.


Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23

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In For Our 5th Consecutive LD Jam

Posted by
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 8:04 am

Last time we made a game about launching toast. The time before that we made a game where you were a bear with a flamethrower. I don’t know what silly things this LD will bring, but I am excited to find out! Our team has 3 core coders and a few people who help out with sound and art. We use a custom little Python framework built on top of PyGame.

Language/IDE: Python/Sublime 2/Vim
Frameworks: Pygame/ldpygame
Audio: sfxr/bsfxr/Audacity
Graphics: GIMP, Paint.NET
Source Control: Mercurial
Communication: Mumble/Pidgin/Google Docs
Fuel: Dr. Pepper, Burritos, Pepper Jack Cheez-Its
Music: Pandora One, Video Game OSTs

And, as always, I will be timelapsing my perspective and livestreaming much (all?) of the planning and development at: http://www.twitch.tv/syncarn

LD26 Jam Postmortem & Timelapse: Toastergeist

Posted by
Friday, May 17th, 2013 1:12 am

game         mainmenu

I’m not sure what it is about LD, but after the event and doing a bunch of game ratings I always seem to forget about doing an actual postmortem. As such, this is our little team’s fourth LD and our first postmortem (although we do have four timelapses)! Hopefully this is the start of a good trend.

So the theme was minimalism. Unlike past LD’s, we didn’t brainstorm too long. All I really knew was that I didn’t want to do a game with colors and squares and things of that nature. Eventually one of our dev’s said “What if you were a toaster?” Our new artist chimed in and said she liked the idea of animating a toaster, and thus our game was born. We were making a game about launching toast. Toasters are pretty minimalist machines, right?


The Good

This was probably our easiest LD yet. For LD25 we used Tiled and had to write a level loader, had fire mechanics, and all manner of crazy things we had never done before. In this game we just, well, launched toast. With such a basic concept we were able to make progress very quickly. We tasked the artist with making some toast and toasters, and we wrote some code for menus, throwing condiments, launching toast, and things like that. Soon enough we had a toast launching program that we called the ‘toast fountain’ which we were all fairly amused by.

Another of our artist friends came in on Sunday and a bit on Monday to help throw together some menu graphics and make some additional toasty products, so that added some additional polish to the game.


The Bad

Our main artist had never done anything with games before, and at times it was clear we didn’t communicate what exactly we needed. We ended up spending some time retroactively fixing some of the images.

Our sound person showed interested but was ultimately unavailable. This left us without the great music we had last time. I wasted a lot of time looking for a free song that I thought went with the game, but I didn’t find anything. Eventually one of the other dev’s grabbed Autotracker-C and tweaked the output until we had something we considered decent.

On the programming side, we had some growing pains. I made a small engine on top of Pygame to avoid the hassle of rewriting the same code again and again as we had been doing for the other LDs. This used bits of previous LD code and some other abstractions. It was incredibly untested, so we’d sometimes hit errors (mainly with drawing). However, once we got things ironed out we finally entered the modern era where we had dirty sprites that didn’t require us to redraw the entire screen.

Something else I’ll be fairly critical of was the lack of an actual goal in the game. None of us really like high score games, but despite having several ideas on how the game could operate we never bothered implementing anything better. In fact, until the minutes before release, it didn’t even have a time constraint! It was just infinite score attack, and that is pretty lazy.

Lastly, the name was kind of a cop out. No one had any good ideas on Sunday, so we just kind of left it. When I was wrapping up the submission and needed a name one of our artists pointed out that the kitchen was obviously full of ghosts. Who else would be launching toast and throwing condiments everywhere? That’s good enough logic to title an LD game Toastergeist I guess!


The Nyan

One of our artists pointed out that we had rainbow condiments, and nyan cat is a poptart with rainbows. Obviously the only logical conclusion is to implement a nyan cat mode that is activated when a poptart hits a rainbow condiment.

Okay, so this is one of those ideas that might actually be better in theory. It was and amusing to implement, so I guess that is worth something. However, that dev time could have been spent making the toast appear on the plate (probably our biggest complaint) or implementing an actual game mode.

That said, our artist made all of the frames, so nyan cat is actually toasted at whatever level of toastedness the poptart was when you fired it :)


Final Thoughts

The game is pretty fun to play. If we had put a little more into it we could have added a lot more polish, but as it stands it is probably our best looking LD game. Having artists around is pretty nice. It also has music and sound effects, which, as we all know, are missing from a great many LD titles. Including the credits and pause features is always nice, so I felt like despite the simple nature of it we still had a pretty good end product.

If we can put in a little more effort next time, keep the artists, and get another sound person or two on board, I think LD27 could be a smashing success as well.

If you’d like to play and rate, you can find Toastergeist here.

Finally, this timelapse, like all of our timelapses, is solely from my perspective. I’ve tried to get some of the other members to timelapse their contributions, but I have yet to convince them to actually do so!

Sadly, our sound person is no longer available this weekend. If we can’t find a replacement we’ll have to resort to autogenerating some music or something, and that seems sub-optimal. If you’d like to help us make some music for our game, send me an e-mail at nick at nick-cash.com or hop in the stream chat at http://www.twitch.tv/syncarnOur game is about launching toast into the air and collecting condiments as it flies.

And here is a another food photo. Penne in a tomato basil sauce with chicken, broccoli, red and yellow peppers :)


Desk & A Giant Rice Krispie Treat

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 8:06 pm

Our team is brainstorm at http://www.twitch.tv/syncarn. Oh, and since I haven’t posted it, here is my extremely messy desk and a giant rice krispie treat I bought as a reward for participating :)





In for our 4th LD

Posted by
Sunday, April 21st, 2013 11:49 pm

This is our fourth consecutive LD Jam. Our team has 3 coders, a few artists depending on who is around, and whatever musical people we can pull off the streets/web. This time around we’ll be rolling with a framework one of our coders made on top of PyGame.

Language/IDE: Python/Sublime 2/Vim
Frameworks: Pygame/nspygame
Audio: sfxr/bsfxr/Audacity
Graphics: GIMP, Paint.NET
Source Control: Mercurial
Communication: Mumble/Pidgin
Fuel: Burritos, Dr. Pepper, Bananas, Raspberries, Reese’s Bar
Music: Video Game OSTs, OCRemix, Pandora One

I will be timelapsing and livestreaming just like usual. The livestream will be at: http://www.twitch.tv/syncarn

So, I forgot to post my desk/food

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 12:24 pm

Hi all. I hope your LD is going well. I love a lot of the stuff I’m seeing from so many people!

I was perusing one my directories as I prepared to do some more coding today and I noticed my desk/food photos that I never posted. Better late than never, right?



That’s the snackage I went out of my way to get for LD. A lot of it remains which is a good sign.

Oh, and here’s my extremely messy desk…



And since I was late, here’s the latest screenshot from our Jam game. We are still missing most of our art assets, but music is done and gameplay is coming along quite well.

You play as Cinders the Bear, an enemy of Smokey the Bear. He wields a flamethrower and burns down the forests to get to picnicking humans to devour/incenerate :)


I’ll be streaming more of the development in an hour or two at http://www.twitch.tv/syncarn. Feel free to drop by :)


Here We Go Again

Posted by
Monday, December 10th, 2012 3:26 pm

This will be our little group’s third consecutive Ludum Dare Jam. We are a bit more familiar with PyGame this time around, and we’ll be doing our best to fight off the feature creep that dogged us last time. That said, there are so many good themes in the pool, and the possibilities of taking them and combining them with holiday themes sound quite hilarious.

We will have 2-4 coders, a designer/artist, and maybe some musical people if we can scrounge them up. I’m also hoping we’ll get some people from the livestream to help out like the last two jams. It was really cool during LD23 to have our main character sprite come from a viewer in Hong Kong.

Language/IDE: Python/Sublime 2/Vim
Frameworks: Pygame
Audio: sfxr/bsfxr/Audacity
Graphics: GIMP, Paint.NET
Source Control: Mercurial
Communication: Mumble/Pidgin
Fuel: Burritos, Dr. Pepper, Raspberries, and Pandora One

Of course I will be timelapsing the whole endeavor, and livestreaming will occur at http://www.twitch.tv/syncarn.

We’re in… again!

Posted by
Monday, August 13th, 2012 11:10 am

Last time we flew by the seat of our pants. We hadn’t touched C or made games in years. And, well, we made Supercell. But this time, oh this time we will… well, it will probably be pretty similar. We’ll be using Python/PyGame, stuff we are only vaguely familiar with. Hilarity shall ensue and fun shall be had!

There will be at least two of us doing the core work. I’m still hoping we can get some people to help out with music and art since we have had some interest.

Language/IDE: Python/Sublime 2/Vim
Frameworks: Pygame/Box2D
Audio: sfxr/bsfxr/Audacity
Graphics: GIMP, Paint.NET
Source Control: Mercurial
Communication: Mumble/Pidgin
Fuel: Burritos, Dr. Pepper, Raspberries, and Pandora One

We will be timelapsing, and livestreaming will occur at http://www.twitch.tv/syncarn.

Supercell Timelapse

Posted by
Monday, April 30th, 2012 5:08 am

Hi all! I’m still getting around to doing a full postmortem. However, I did finally upload my timelapse to Youtube, so I figured I would post it here. Check it out :)

Ready to Jam!

Posted by
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 12:23 pm

I figure I should throw my intent to compete out there. I’ll be working with two friends for our first LD entry. We all have a programming and game-making backgrounds, so hopefully we can pull something together. We all live in different places around the country, so we’ll be doing everything remotely. We are planning to stream/timelapse the entire thing, but we’ll see how that goes.

Code/IDE: C++/SDL/Code::Blocks
Audio: sfxr/bsfxr/Audacity
Graphics: GIMP, Paint
Source Control: Mercurial
Communication: Mumble/Pidgin
Fuel: Burritos, Dr. Pepper, and Pandora One

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