Ludum Dare 36
The Theme is:
Ancient Technology

Feedback Friends
Give and receive feedback on your game

LD36 has ended!
Well done to everyone who took part.
1910 Amazing Games!

About Jwatt

boheme eccentric

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 36
 
Ludum Dare 36 Warmup
 
Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 32
 
MiniLD #55
 
Ludum Dare 30
 
Ludum Dare 29
 
Ludum Dare 28
 
Ludum Dare 27
 
Ludum Dare 26
 
Ludum Dare 25
 
Ludum Dare 25 Warmup
 
Ludum Dare 24
 
Ludum Dare 23
 
Ludum Dare 22
 
Ludum Dare 21

Jwatt's Trophies

The-Sorta-Person-Award
Awarded by Ovidios
on December 30, 2015
The Really Catchy Music Award
Awarded by klianc09
on November 30, 2014
The Most Officialest Keynoter Award
Awarded by drnick
on April 25, 2014
Nanda Kore Award of Comedy Excellence LD28
Awarded by Rahazan
on December 18, 2013
New Best Friend Award!
Awarded by zakchaos
on October 3, 2013

Jwatt's Archive

Chapter n+1: Life after LD36

Posted by
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 5:44 pm

Here’s some afterthoughts on To Give a Game.

#36 was indeed a special Ludum Dare. I broke all my “rules” of game-making, but still made something that feels very me. Leaving stuff dirty and unfixed is usually against my nature, but letting go of that for one weekend, I was able to have some good stream-of-consciousness going.

One obvious sign of success is that I don’t feel drained from the jamming. Usually there’s a hangover of “man, I don’t want to touch games for a while”, but now I immediately feel like cleaning up the script engine and writing a brand new story with it. Maybe something more serious and emotional next time around.

The end result was pretty feature-complete. I played it through today as an entry someone’s submitted instead of a thing I have to ship. It seems like the length turned out just right. If there’s anything lacking, I could’ve used some more audio for extra effect, cause there are long silent bits for no real reason. Maybe I’ll add some post-jam along with anti-frustration features.

I know the current screenshots aren’t very appealing, but because of the nature of a story-based entry, I don’t want to spoil the good bits… or really anything, for that matter. So instead, let’s use this post for a little behind-the-scenes blast.

bscenes

 

Exactly what it says on the tin, except the reverse opposite

Posted by
Monday, August 29th, 2016 9:06 pm

scr1

To Give a Game

After a magical home stretch, I was somehow able to make my entry feature-complete the way I hoped!

It’s a bit silly, it’s a bit serious. It’s a bit cute, it’s a bit rough on the edges. It’s a bit anarchic, it’s a bit tropey.

Whatever this game is to you, I hope you folks enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it. This was one of my most lovely Dares.

Good night.

Chapter n-1: “Holy shit, there’s a lot of content”

Posted by
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 6:11 pm

As I reach the night of the second day, there’s 4 more-or-less playable chapters. The fifth one is an afterword without extra assets, so it’s just appropriate to leave for the last stretch.

Despite speaking about chapters in these posts, I’m thinking of losing that concept in the game itself. Some of the cut-offs are weird anyway: chapter 1 is way longer than 2, but the only way to solve this would be to treat their interlude as “chapter 1b”. Perhaps problems like these are not very critical to the player, and I think a game like this might work best as one long ride.

You could say character “arcs” are a better split. There’s 6 main characters (ranging from moderately silly to very silly), 1 side character and some throwaway ones.

A gazillion hours of work on this sprite alone.

The format already lends itself to dealing with one character at a time. Well, except for the bits where everyone you’ve met comes together and they just babble over each other.

Having turned plans into things on the screen, I have to say there’s some actually pretty funny stuff. If you’re not laughing at your own script, you’re doing humor wrong.

Basically I’m just copying the script over to the code, creating assets and new functions as I need them. It turns out to be a rather organized approach without being restricting creatively. Of course, when recycling stuff, it also becomes smoother to add new content as the work progresses. Working like this, the usual anxiety about the final product is significantly reduced.

I’ve done most of the heavy lifting by now, and I don’t think anything left on the list is overwhelming as such. The gameplay segments are gonna need some more effort though, hehe.

Aah, pretty tired. Gonna wake up early tomorrow and have one more of these fun LD weekend days.

That just happened

Posted by
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 2:38 pm

gif6b

I don’t have a single movement animation in the game, so I have to improvise.

My weekend in a nutshell

Posted by
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 1:22 pm

gif5b

Very shoddy, kinda random, and there’s probably a game hidden somewhere.

Heck, I just love working on this.

Chapter not-so-big-a-number-yet: Day 1 of 3

Posted by
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 5:50 pm

I’ve mostly been writing today, so my mode of working on a narrative game isn’t lending too well to visuals! Everyone loves gifs, but the playable bits don’t look too different from my earlier screenshots at this point. Nonetheless, a special event is all the more reason to track my progress with blog posts like this.

It’s the end of the first jam day. I have a script system in place, as well as the fundamentals of gameplay, but there’s little in the way of assets. Then again, I’ve planned to keep assets to a bare minimum anyway, if not amount-wise then surely effort-wise. The game looks so one-shotted and I embrace that – there’s a certain charm to not caring about pixel-perfectness for once.

There’s work done on 4 chapters, with one of them being fully playable (well, it’s just a short intro/script demo), and another partly so. I kind of have to write everything down first, just so I can tell what I need to work on! This two-pass system leaves enough room for both improvised content and showerthought additions, without me having to rework stuff that’s in the game. I’m operating with the mindset that everything programmed in is final. At least it’s way easier to expand things afterwards than to remove or modify them.

Seems like an intro + 4 chapters is enough to tell the story without overstaying its welcome. I initially thought up a fifth one, but that can be replaced by an outro bit in the final chapter, or more likely thrown out altogether for Ludum Dare’s purposes. Each chapter serves to somehow bump the storyline forward and introduce a new gameplay element. But that probably doesn’t matter as much to the player as to me. It makes this more manageable to have distinct components in the script instead of staring at a PBBFLLLTLPLPT of text.

One thing is clear: I’ve gone off the deep end in the way of silliness. I mean like, I thought it would be a fifty-fifty split between making a point and fooling around, but now some 90% of the script is absurd dialogue with audiovisual gags. It keeps happening.

But I’m gonna let it happen if that’s what’s coming. Too often I’ve blocked the seeds of good ideas by judging them too early. I can just trust that everything has its place once thrown in the melting pot, and so far the story’s pretty much written itself that way. Unexpected connections emerge, and there’s constantly some fresh directions for this mess to head towards.

Speaking of seeds, I think I’ll give you folks a piece of advice for sticking through a post with such a distinct lack of images.

Whatever your game is like, sow those seeds early. You don’t have to finish a major feature or a whole bunch of assets on one sitting, but later you’ll be glad to find that you’ve started out. Hop around on your to-do list to keep up the variety, it gets you psyched the right way. Don’t treat play like it’s linear work.

Takes Two to Tennis

Posted by
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 11:21 am

gif4

This game’s special gimmick is the dialogue system itself. The letters you shoot are your means of interaction. You learn to do stuff like answering questions with Y/N or throwing a W to ask “why?”. Shooting letters you haven’t learned yet simply advances the main story.

gif3

Yes, this means I can even do combat through dialogue alone, resulting in some weird mashup of rhythm/fighting/puzzle gaming.

An unified interface helps me explore the characters’ personalities, as well as make a certain point about games throughout the ages.

…Nah, really it just lets me slack off more. :recliner:

A welcoming start

Posted by
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 5:47 am

gif2

Got a script system in place in the morning. I think the game might as well begin like this.

Not pictured: “epic fail” trumpet sound effect.

Chapter 1: Dawn of LD36 & Declaration of Intent

Posted by
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 2:14 am

This is going to be a special LD indeed. I’ve jumped out of bed this morning with a foot I’ve neglected too much! I think there’s something super fun in store, something that handles the theme of Ancient Technology in a pretty unique way.

I’m very much out of my usual game jam comfort zone:

  • Most noticeably, storytelling is the focus, and gameplay exists to explore that. Basically, I’m allowing myself to do lots of one-shot content rather than obsessing over details.
  • The art style is more like oekaki than the usual pixel art. It’s not even a tile-based game!
  • It deals with some themes directly from my personal life, even if that might be embarrassing.

However, there are reasons that make it a distinctly Jwatt game:

  • Zany cute characters and lol-so-random humor. The manzai dynamic is a key narrative technique here.
  • The story is pretty damn meta.
  • I’ll be rambling about STEM and history, some of my big nerdy interests which are absolutely fitting for the theme.
  • At the core is a simple gameplay mechanic that can potentially have very complex results.

More on that last point in the next post. Oh would ya look at that, looks like I just ended this post on a cliffhanger.

LD36 wallpaper

Posted by
Monday, August 22nd, 2016 12:41 pm

ld36

For anyone using a 329×277 monitor, I made you a wallpaper! You can use it for a little while but remember to credit me!! (If you can’t see the image then someone must have stolen it…)

In the above wallpaper, you see a glimpse of the number line. A number line is a complicated mathematical concept meaning a line of numbers. The wallpaper only features a short bit though, because people have come up with quite many other numbers too (for example, 1, 7264, 25, -1, and goooooooooooogle).

36 is one of the tourist attractions on our sight-seeing trip through the number line. It’s both a square number, a triangular number, and a circular number at the same time. If you have a room consisting of exactly one of them, the sum of the room’s elements is 36 – although no formal proof of this has ever been written.

But if you have two of them chilling out in the same room, their sum is 72, the amount of hours in the LD jam. Coincidentally, 72 divided by two is 36, which has piqued the interest of the international community of angry bloggers seeing a conspiracy everywhere.

Now, if these two 36s couldn’t find a way out of the room, one could insert the other into a phone number to make an international direct-dialphone call to Hungary with the code +36. They could then call Englkyklös “Glxblt” Vasarnàpzsczitzocwek (no relation to the popular car salesman) to ask him about his opinion on the Māori legend about the creation of mankind where 36 gods assembled the various parts of the first human.

Good old Englkyklös would answer in his usual wisdom, paraphrasing a carefully selected contemplative Zen koan: “Would you fucking stop it with these prank calls already? This is the 36th time.”

Meanwhile somewhere else, but still on Earth, a scientist (age 36) returns to his laboratory, deep in the basement of a lucratively funded research complex. He meets with an army major with 36 medals, and they both turn their keys in two 36 secure locks at the same time, opening massive blast doors. The scientist then carries on, putting on equipment he got for free from the Australian basketball team, The Adelaide 36ers.

It’s not protective equipment or anything, he’s just a fan of the team.

The scientist then carries a piece of krypton from the hazardous materials storage using a 36-inch pipe wrench (known colloquially in the American oilfield business as “a 36” – and in Europe as “a 91.44”).

He carefully places the piece on a desk, rips off the warning labels about krypton exposure from the 36 kilograms of explosives someone’s left lying around again, takes out an electron microscope, and zooms in as close as he can get.

Okay, this is weird– Whoops, the microscope was nowhere close to the piece. Hehe, I guess accidents happen even to professionals! The scientist reminisces about the time he lucked out a perfect score of 36 on the ACT tests by just answering questions randomly, and concludes total chaos is the foundation of good science.

After watching 36 videos from the weird part of Youtube to procrastinate, he then adjusts the position of the microscope 36 times before getting it right.

Finally, the results are conclusive: the atomic number of krypton is still 36 today.

But after all this, where does the concept of Love come in? What’s so special about Niels Bohr anyway? And who the hell ordered 36 extra large pizzas to my address? I’m not gonna pay for these, that’s for sure.

Find out, or don’t, AND MORE, as Jwatt does Ludum Dare 36.

 

Towards a new kind of level editor – part 2: The Return of Jafar

Posted by
Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 3:49 am

A quick follow-up post to my LD33 reincarnation. Y’all might like to know there’s a playable build out now, demonstrating a simplified but functional live editor – go play it on the Love2D forums, or take a peek at my gameplay video.

Towards a new kind of level editor

Posted by
Thursday, July 14th, 2016 10:31 am

I’ve returned to my unfinished LD33 entry about competitive level editing. Check this shit out.

editmods

What you’re seeing there is the editor cursor. You’re about to place a tile with a “falls when touched” modifier (marked by the down arrow). Seems straightforward.

But in my games, nothing ever is. Cause you can combine these modifiers with other blocks to create abominations.

 

editmods2

How about a spring that, in addition to bouncing you upwards, also travels through the level in a counterclockwise direction?

 

editmods5

A special coin that triggers Event A somewhere else when collected? That can be arranged.

 

editmods34

OR HOW ABOUT AN EXIT DOOR THAT KILLS YOU WHILE A MARBLE ENEMY IS THE REAL EXIT

DO YOU REALIZE THE IMPLICATIONS

Tangrade lives

Posted by
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 4:18 pm

I’m still working on this, yo.

prev8e

Let’s get it out of the way first why I didn’t submit anything: the point of LD for me is to get insightful comments about what to improve, and the flaws were obvious to me already. It’s like, yeah I get it, it’s confusing and feels unfinished, cause it is. If I don’t find the gameplay appealing myself, there’s no point in having the community repeat that to me.

I clearly focused on the wrong stuff on the weekend. My sweet AI patterns didn’t end up mattering in the end. I sorta forgot I was making an arcade game, and swamped myself by bringing too complex behaviour into it. Such a Jwatt thing to do. People don’t care about the AI doing a dance, they just wanna shoot some bad guys and rack up points.

By the time I’d reduced the thing to a “Human Tetris with random encounters” like it should’ve been from the start, everything was a mess, and there was no time left to fix the game (or to thoroughly playtest it). So I figured I’ll continue working outside of the event with a “soft reset” mindset. The main mechanics and many of my enemy designs are still functional and reusable, after all.

Importantly, there’s still a community interested in playtesting it, and some have even suggested putting a price tag on it once it’s done. I’m not big on monetizing my games, but I do see the point; it could be a neat touchscreen game, considering your main interaction is literally an analogue for swiping. And it’s not like difficult to build for Android with Love2D.

Not to mention Love2D’s sweet shader FX brah didn’t you say you owned a GPU?? We can like 60 FPS on your GPU if you don’t mind??? 60 FPS on the “P.C.” console forever???

Posted by
Monday, April 18th, 2016 6:57 pm

prev7

When your screen might look like this at a given time, it’s probably a good sign that you need to think things through with a clear head.

Honestly, I’m just not having fun anymore like I did on Saturday/Sunday. The gameplay took a few strange turns, and now the very last jam hour isn’t exactly enough to turn this into the smooth experience this concept deserves.

Consider Tangrade outta LD35, but not binned. And consider me going to sleep. Later, I’ll be considering the promising games I saw you folks making. Then reconsidering Tangrade with a more streamlined approach.

prev7b

These rainbow border effects are considerably kickass, though. Heck, so’s this whole Love2D thing which I hadn’t even considered previously.

Geez game designers what were you thinking

Posted by
Monday, April 18th, 2016 3:24 pm

Maybe I didn’t end up realizing all the cool shmup stuff in my original vision, but I think it’s gonna be a playable Human Tetris kinda thing. I had to scrap most of the intricate AI, and it’s a shame to leave my efforts on the cutting room floor, but I’ll touch more on that in the post-mortem/post-jam builds.

prev7

Hey, at least the dying animation kinda looks cool.

Rainbow FX

Posted by
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 8:01 pm

prev6

Kinda looking like a game now. And starting to play like one too. I really know what to focus on now. Hopefully I’ll have time for expanding on all that tomorrow.

[cache: storing page]