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Doing it backwards

Posted by
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 9:48 am

I feel like I’m building this backwards this LD.  Usually I do some brainstorming on the theme, pick an idea, think it most of the way through into a game design, and start working.  This time I have a vague gameplay idea that I’ve been testing with code to see what’s fun.  Then I’m going to need to figure out how to make a game out of it.  I suppose this isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t my usual work style.

Anyway, obligatory screenshot of WIP:


Level Design

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 1:43 pm

So I’m pretty sure I’ve heard in “Things Not To Do in Ludum Dare” posts that it’s a bad idea to make a game that depends heavily on level design.  So what do I do?


I make a freakin’ maze game.

Yeah, no level design there.  On the bright side, I’m going with pretty simple art.  This is actually some of the most ambitious level design I’ve done so far, so… fingers crossed.

Sail Away

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 8:12 pm

So… I finished a game!  As usual, there’s plenty more I would have liked to do, but I got the bare minimum complete.  Like I said in my last post, I had a blast working in this art style, and YAY FINISHING GAMES!

Link: Sail Away


And now for something completely unconscious.

End of Saturday

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 10:42 pm

So after spending a good bit of Friday night hashing over ideas for Minimalism, I finally got inspired by the simple and evocative art of Molly Bang’s Picture This.  Based on that, I’ve been designing a game around that art style.  So far, working with the art style has been really fun.  Designing a game around it has been a little more difficult.

I think I have a simple (minimal?) game mechanic that can give the game a little direction.  The point of transitioning something from “demo” to “game” is always such an odd moment.

I’m in!

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 3:46 pm

So I’m in!  This is my 3rd LD.  1 and 2 were “It’s Dangerous to go Alone! Take this!” and “Horror.”

I’ll be using LÖVE with zoetrope.

Hey look, I made basecode!

Other tools: Gimp, Tiled, emacs, probably Audacity

Now to see if I can manage to take a nap before the theme announcement…

Afraid of the Dark

Posted by
Monday, September 19th, 2011 2:53 pm

Okay, my entry’s up:

Afraid of the Dark

Windows and Linux-64 builds.  Linux has been up for quite a while.  Man, building on windows is a pain.

Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to do as much with the game as I would have liked (so it goes), but I had fun exploring creepy being stalked around a dark room dynamic.

Bump in the night

Posted by
Sunday, September 18th, 2011 6:07 pm

So I’ve been working on a game where you’re walking around in the dark with creepy things that can hear you, and know you’re there.  And will chase you around screaming.  I started with the idea that horror is about the anticipation and avoiding the scary things.  I’m not sure how that’s going so far.  :)

It’s nearly 48h since I started, and the core is done, but I’m missing important parts of the game.  It isn’t really playable at this point.  On top of that, I’m feeling super awful like I’m coming down with something.  I probably need to go to sleep.  If I feel better tomorrow, I’ll take advantage of the MiniLD “or whatever” schedule and finish this up.  I’d really like to actually submit something…

Get the flock out! – post mortem

Posted by
Monday, May 2nd, 2011 3:47 pm

Get the flock out!

So yeah, first LD.  and I survived!  Woo!  48h to create a game is certainly even a bit more intense than I expected.

What went right:

I finished a game – more or less.  I certainly wanted lots more stuff to go into the game, but given the time constraint, I felt like I was able to prioritize.

Monocle is a pretty great framework.  It simplifies a lot of the grunt work of building a game, but doesn’t get in your way.  The abstractions are natural and flexible.  The documentation is still very in progress or missing, but the code is easy to read, and the examples do a great job of documenting how to use the framework as well as some basic game algorithms.

C++ didn’t kill me.  This was some of the first coding in C++ (or any statically typed language) that I’ve done in years and years, and it really wasn’t that bad.

Saturday night, I was figuring out how to go from “toy” to “game.”  I had some game ideas together, but I just wasn’t feeling good about the game.  In a non-crunch environment, it was the kind of feeling that would make drop the project and go watch Doctor Who.  I stepped back and thought about what piece of my game idea I liked – the ridiculous personality of the sheep – and focused on that.  It let me do informed design and better prioritize what do do with the remaining time.

Recording your friends making sheep noises is fun.

Playtesting!  I actually got to watch a person or 2 play the game.  It really helps you realize when things are unpolished and really need to be fixed.

What went wrong:

Bugs.  A few bugs definitely made it into the final version that I maybe could have caught if I’d been able to play the game more than once in its final form.  Not bad for a first run though.

Do it the simple way.  It’s way too easy for me to want to tackle a difficult design challenge.  Early on, I implemented a boids-style wander algorithm for the sheep.  It took a couple hours to get working and integrated, and it looked awful.  Sheep don’t move like birds.  Late Saturday, I tried to integrate entity spawners into Monocle’s XML-based map system by overloading some map loading code.  Although there could be some merit to that approach, this was way too complicated for a weekend competition and required way too much understanding of a complex system for being sleep deprived.

Environment.  LD seemed like a fun excuse to have an “art party.”  I was in a space with people designing a puppet theater piece, sewing a cartoon quilt, making monsters out of old sweaters, and building an accordion.  While this was fun, it was not very helpful for deep thought for code and game design.

Lessons for next time:

No really, sleep.  I wasted probably 4 hours early Sunday morning trying to work on things and definitely making things worse.  I would have been way better off going to sleep and being fresher on Sunday.

So yeah.  Thanks for a great weekend, all.


Posted by
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 7:40 pm

So here’s an interesting point in the dev process.  I have a functional “toy” working and need to figure out how to make it into a game.  … and also clean up the art a bit.

Look out, sheep!

one step forward…

Posted by
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 11:36 am

Okay, porting a boids-style steering system to Monocle was probably not a good use of competition time.  And in the end the movement didn’t really look good and I threw it away and replaced it with something simple.  Oh, it would be nice to learn the lesson to do it the simple way the first time…

It’s dangerous… if you’re a sheep!

Posted by
Friday, April 29th, 2011 11:32 pm

Sheep are so unhappy when they’re alone.  ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.

Not totally sure this game idea will work out, but it will be fun to find out.  It’s my first LD, btw.  Using Monocle.

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