About noffle (twitter: @noffle)

I make games. Hard.

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Finished. Well, sort of.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Monday, August 25th, 2014 12:49 am

Play The Chain of the World?

My mantra going into this LD was to keep things simple. I generally tend to get absorbed in the programming aspect for 90% of development, leaving little time for art, sound, music, and story. This meant rejecting a lot of my initial ideas. To nearly the point of ridiculousness: it was finally sometime Saturday afternoon when I actually began *making* something. Having rejected all of my other ideas, deigning them too complex, I sat down and pixeled a little title screen for a non-existent game: The Chain of the World.

2014-08-24-01:19:25

Gosh. It was.. fun. Fun to make, and fun to think about. I had knew little more than “this is a platformer with this cute little guy, and some massive chain that attaches his world to some other world.

I liked the idea and art direction, so I kept at it. Eventually I had pieced together a little platformer-esque thing where you could run around and shoot.

cootw2

But alas, it was too little too late. There was no time for a walking animation, and there are no enemies to battle. If you reach the end you’ll see a cutscene that I had begun putting together.

I’m really happy with what I made, though. For the first time in a long time I put art and sound ahead of programming; I tried to find the soul of the game before hacking together code. And I think I like that way of approaching gamedev.

There’s actual *music*! That’s a first for me. I used MilkyTracker, of which I have passing familiarity. I knew I wanted the title screen to have a vaguely Legend of Zelda vibe to it — the flute effect in the original NES game was enchanting. I spent some time looking for a MOD or XM version of the song someone had made so I could figure out how the effect was achieved. Turns out it’s a clever trick using two square channels: each is set up on a slight vibrato, but the notes play one beat out of sync with eachother, creating this sort of resonance effect. Give Zelda a listen to hear what I mean. For comparison, here’s what I put together. It sounds a lot sadder, which was only partly intentional. You can hear it loop pretty early on: it’s a super short track, just a few notes long. I composed it close to the deadline, so I was getting nervous about spending too much time on it.

The art was a big step for me as well. I’ve never done 1-bit pixeling before, but it turned out pretty well. Turns out simple suggestive shapes and a bit of dithering does wonders.

2014-08-25-00:44:59

While I didn’t finish, I learned a lot along the way. I’m really keen on trying to develop future games using this approach: start with doodling mockup screenshots, keep the gameplay simple and well-defined, and think about art and sound and story from the beginning.

For the curious, I wrote The Chain of the World using Phaser, with MilkyTracker for music, jfxr for sound effects, Aseprite for pixel art, and Tiled for map design.

Thanks for reading and for playing! I can’t wait to play as many other entries as I can get my hands on. :)

Oh, and you can totally play The Chain of the World here, if you haven’t already.

The Chain of the World: 1-Bit Adventures!

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 1:37 am

I was off a rough start Friday night and much of Saturday: lots of brainstorming and not any real coding was happening. Finally I threw in the mental towel and decided to open up Aseprite and just throw some pixels around until the magic happened. It’s just an animated title screen, but pixel art isn’t at all my strong suit. I’m super happy with it. We’ll see how the actual game ends up.

cootw

I’m putting this together with Javascript and Phaser. ♥

TRUSTY SWORD vs ROCKET LAUNCHER

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 1:22 am

It’s done! It’s done! The Windows port just about killed me — not that Linux is any better — but it’s done!

2013-08-26-140953_640x480_scrot

TRUSTY SWORD is about two space combatants: one armed with a TRUSTY SWORD, and the other with a ROCKET LAUNCHER. The twist? The combatants exchange weapons every 10 seconds, like some sort of sick, twisted game of cat and mouse. Sheesh.

The future, right? Those weirdos.

Download TRUSTY SWORD today!

TRUSTY SWORD vs Rocket Launcher: Gibfest! :D

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 4:02 pm

Remaining: gamepad controls, scoring. Oh, and title screen.

TRUSTY SWORD vs ROCKET LAUNCHER: it’s looking rather one-sided

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 11:30 am

TRUSTY SWORD versus ROCKET LAUNCHER.. in space!

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 6:36 pm

Don’t forget your TRUSTY SWORD.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 4:26 pm

Oh, I’m quite in.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Friday, December 14th, 2012 8:52 pm

Greetings from the warm, sunny beaches of Canada! I look forward to building awesome games with such an excitable bunch of folks.

Who am I? I’m Stephen Whitmore, a hands-flailing-wildly-in-the-air-enthusiastic hobbyist game developer. Last year for LD22 I developed a game about falling refrigerators. I am also the developer of an online open sandbox game about shooting aliens. I also exist in the warrens of Twitter.

In terms of my tool set, I’m developing on my MacBook Air, which is running OS X 10.7.5. I’ll be developing in Javascript and HTML5 using the cocos2d-javascript library. Gimp and/or Inkscape will be used for graphics, and likely cfxr for audio. My programming tools include vim, git, and Chrome.

Off we go!

workspace

In. Again.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Thursday, April 19th, 2012 3:51 pm

After my last entry for December’s Ludum Dare going so well, I will most certainly be entering again this time around. I have the weekend cleanly scheduled off, which should minimize disruptions. As usual this will be a solo affair, with me manning the programming, design, art, and music  (in that order).

I haven’t settled on a particular library yet, but I expect to be using C++ again. Maybe Allegro, maybe SDL, or maybe I’ll take SFML or Cocos2D-X out for a spin. The latter looks like it makes it pretty easy to recompile projects for a variety of mobile platforms, but I’m probably getting ahead of myself; focus on making a game first. At the minimum I want to compile for Linux, OS X, and Windows (in that order).

Tools: vim, make, g++, firefox, some terminal emulator

Those curious can take a poke at my previous game projects on my website. I also exist on the Twitters.

Best of luck to everyone participating!

“Alone in the Rain”: A timelapse

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 9:00 pm

Created using a script that took screen captures every 30 seconds, and then stitched together using ffmpeg at 15 frames per-second. (That means, what, 7.5 minutes/second?)

[Victory] It’s raining refrigerators.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Monday, December 19th, 2011 10:57 pm

No, really — that’s the premise of my jam entry, “Alone in the Rain”.

The world is ending. Destruction is raining down upon the world. It will all be over in four days. We all saw it coming — nobody is really all that surprised.

What is surprising is the manner in which the destruction is raining down: refrigerators? From the sky!?

There is an underground shelter that people are gathering at. Families and friends are attempting to reunite there in order to spend the final days of the Earth together.

Nobody wants to be behind. Nobody wants to be left alone..

Alone in the Rain was written in 72 hours, from scratch, in C++, using the lovely Allegro game library and the powerful Chipmunk physics library. The game has been (painstakingly) ported from OS X to Windows and Linux (don’t hold those four (4!) hours against me). cfxr was used to produce the delicious 8-bit sound effects. GIMP was used to create all of the graphics. This game features my first attempt at a human sprite and walking animation — huzzah!

There are five areas in total. The game is surprisingly challenging and unmerciful, although (in this author’s opinion) quite fun to play and experiment with. I am absolutely thrilled with the final result, and cannot wait to see what fun games everyone else has come up with!

Download Alone in the Rain

Porting woes.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Monday, December 19th, 2011 9:32 pm

It’s done!! If you are running Linux, go ahead and play. As for the other platforms..

Two and a half hours after the jam has ended, and I’m still trying to get my game working on the three Big Ones. Ungh — it’s painful. I’m using C++ with Allegro and Chipmunk.

Linux: Done. Not too bad. I didn’t have a statically linked copy of Allegro, so I’m including the Allegro shared lib, hackishly setting  LD_LIBRARY_PATH, and relying on users to run a “run_game.sh” script that sets the env var and runs the game. Does anyone know how to nicely distribute a game that relies on a shared lib?

OS X: More or less done. Figuring out how to package things into a .app was painful. THEN figuring out how to put the .app inside of a .dmg was even more “fun” (thanks though, guys). The other fun news is that Allegro relies on QuickDraw, an older OS X API for doing software rendering. It was deprecated (but functional) in Snow Leopard, but trying to run it on a Lion machine reveals that support was dropped entirely. So, on Lion machines, the game will toss a bus error when run in fullscreen. *grumblegrumble* Fine then. Since I can’t even catch the failure gracefully, Mac users will have to settle for a windowed version.

Windows: About to start on it, but I suspect it will be more of the same awful. I didn’t see any nice binaries for Chipmunk lying around, so I suspect I’ll need to compile that myself using some arcane MinGW IDE like Dev-C++ or Code::Blocks.

Next year I’m either going to use Java, or invest some time making a set of scripts to automate at least some of these cross-platform chores.

 

 

A good day’s work.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 9:22 pm

Although I feel like I spent a ridiculous amount of my time today making art and trying to get the controls to feel “tight”, I’m happy with where I stand for the end of Day 1. Not that it shows in this screenshot.

Until tomorrow.

I’m so in.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
Friday, December 16th, 2011 8:25 pm

Although I am a wee bit late in saying so: I am so in. I’ll be using C++ with Allegro for graphics/input/audio.

Obligatory workspace image:

As for my game plan, I’m still in the brainstorming stage. We’ll see what comes next.

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