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Will try to enter…

Posted by
Monday, December 7th, 2009 11:47 am

I was hoping to be able to participate in LD16, and I’ll still try to get something in. Since I’m in the middle of a move, though, it’ll probably be something fairly small. That might be a good thing in any case, though, since my LD15 entry was too ambitious by far and suffered badly for it.

In any case, if I am able to participate, tools will be the same as in LD15; ruby, gosu, pixen, mercurial, and (hopefully) sfxr.

At the moment my computer is in a box, however, so prospects are somewhat dim; I don’t plan to set up a development environment on my girlfriend’s laptop (where I’m typing this), that would be rude.

Mole Cave Tactics: Post Mortem (Finally)

Posted by
Thursday, September 10th, 2009 1:21 am

So I’m finally getting around to writing a post-mortem for Mole Cave Tactics. I know it’s better to do it fresh off development, but I needed a break.

Since it seems to work pretty well for a lot of other people, I’ll go with the time-honored format of

The Good

  • The concept: I had my concept in mind for this theme (and the many related themes on the list) since well before the theme voting wrapped up. In fact, I had been bouncing ideas for some sort of tactical rpg around in my head for quite some time prior to the compo.
  • I finished: The game didn’t have nearly as much content as I had included in the concept, but it was pretty obvious that that would be the case from the beginning, anyway. Given that this is my first LD, I’m pretty happy I managed to upload a game which runs, has things for the player to do, and has defined ways to win and lose.
  • The graphics: Ok, so it could be reasonably argued that my sprites would be better classified as ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’, but, I’ve never done any graphics from scratch by myself before, and I actually rather like how the moles turned out. They need some tweaking, but I think they’re pretty good. The terrain I’m less happy with.

The Bad

  • Mismanaged time: I kinda knew from the start that this was going to be too ambitious for a first time LD entrant, but above and beyond that I did a poor job prioritizing different aspects of the game. In particular, I spent way, way too much time on AI. I didn’t really appreciate just how difficult a problem doing AI for this kind of game is, I went for way too much sophistication, and as a result I didn’t pull it off at all. I should have known immediately I was doing something wrong when I started writing code to have the AI units look ahead multiple turns in planning their movement. Random walk may not have been very satisfying, but it would have been more than compensated for by the extra stuff I could code in the time I saved.
  • No readme: I didn’t ever get around to writing a readme or even specifying a license, so the player is kinda left on their own to figure out what to do.
  • Only one map: This game could *really* have used multiple maps, or a random map generator. This is one of those important things that didn’t get done because I was tinkering with the AI.

The Ugly

  • The interface: Oh, God, is the interface bad. I should have taken it more seriously when I started adding undocumented keyboard shortcuts for nearly every mouse action in the game. I didn’t think the interface through very well at all during the competition. Having thought it through after reading the complaints, I think that if I want a mouse-driven interface, a radial menu centered on the unit under consideration (think NWN) would be best. Alternatively, just ditch the mouse and switch to all keyboard.
  • The Windows port: for some reason, the Windows port was incredibly painful to make this time. For a long time I actually somehow managed to have a build posted which wouldn’t even run on the machine I built it on. I love Ruby, but packaging Ruby applications is a terrible, ridiculous mess. Next time, I’m going to look into Crate.

Pre Vita

All that said, I had a huge amount of fun doing this compo, and I definitely intend to enter again. I also plan to rework and expand Mole Cave Tactics into a full-fledged game, when I have some time to sit-down and code again. Don’t expect a release soon, though: my other game, Operation Lambda (shameless plug) took half a year to complete; it’ll take a few more LDs before I’m able to crank out games of any appreciable quality in a short time period.

Mole Cave Tactics: Working Windows Build posted.

Posted by
Thursday, September 10th, 2009 12:41 am

So I’ve tried again, and this time I think I’ve finally managed to wrestle a working Windows build into place: download it here. For some reason I had a much easier time packaging my last (non-LD) game. Suffice it to say, it is probably best for everyone involved if you don’t ask why it’s necessary to distribute SDL_mixer.dll with a game that has no sound.

Going to sleep.

Posted by
Sunday, August 30th, 2009 1:09 am

Ok, end of the day for me. I’m going to sleep. If I wake up around 8 or 9, I’ll have 11-12 hours left to work.

I’m probably not going to finish what I originally intended, but I’m having fun anyways. I’ll definitely continue this project after the compo is over.

As for the game, I’ve got movement down and am nearly finished with digging. Plus, I’ve got a terrible menu system. I’ve never done a mouse-based interface in a game before, and I’m not very good at it. Anyway, after digging, I think I need to start adding more units, so that I can add attacking. That, plus bughunting and packaging, may be all I can get done, though if I have time I’d love a random/procedural level generator. The enemy AI, assuming I even get that far, is going to be *very* primitive.

Goodnight!

Dinner!

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 10:22 pm

Dinner tonight was a roast, with a baked potato, a roll, and a bottle of Martinelli’s, prepared for my by my sweetheart of a girlfriend. Afterwards, we played some Animal Crossing, and now, back to work for a few hours before bed.

She's such a sweetie ❤

She's such a sweetie ❤

More progress

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 1:48 pm

Got a unit in, can draw him along with the squares he can move to. Need to add an actual interactive UI, so that the player can actually select a square to move to. Gonna go with mouse driven, rather than keyboard like I did in Operation Lambda.

A digger. He has a movement range!

A digger. He has a movement range!

Lunch was leftover pizza, kool-aid, and Loaded Potato Skin flavored chips. Yum!

Yum!

Yum!

Got a map drawing

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 11:21 am

Title says it all, really. I can draw a map now.

First Screenshot

First Screenshot

Morning

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 9:57 am

Breakfast was store-brand golden grahams, cranberry juice, and a bit of leftover blackberry cobbler.

day2breakfast

Changed the dirt image a bit, gave it some friends: Walls and floors:

dirt.png

dirt.png

wall.png

wall.png

floor.png

floor.png

Now to get a level rendered and up on the screen!

Off to bed.

Posted by
Friday, August 28th, 2009 11:43 pm

Okay, heading to bed. I’ve got a small handful of code (208 lines of ruby), and I’ve drawn my first graphic of the compo. Behold: dirt.png!

dirt

dirt

First thing’s first.

Posted by
Friday, August 28th, 2009 9:56 pm

Okay, I’m going to be mixing Burrowing into my Caverns, since they go so well together anyway and I really liked Burrowing. The plan is to create a stripped down ‘tactical RPG’-style game (read ‘stripped down’ as ‘without the RPG part’), with various underground critters duking it out Final Fantasy Tactics/Advance Wars style. Lord knows if I’ll be able to pull it off.

Anyway, I’ve set up a BitBucket repository, so, time to get started on some basic groundwork before I head to bead.

Food was Pizza, Ceasar salad, and Cranberry juice.

Day 1 Dinner - Pizza, Salad, Juice

Day 1 Dinner - Pizza, Salad, Juice

Just saying ‘hi’.

Posted by
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 10:45 pm

Hey, everyone.

This will be my first Ludum Dare, though I’ve been watching from the sidelines for a few rounds now. I’m really looking forward to trying this out, though I do have a few other things going on this weekend that will take some time away from coding.

I’ll be using Ruby + Gosu for my game, plus possibly some other libraries like Chipmunk, TexPlay, etc., depending on the theme.  I may end up using some support code for Gosu, Chipmunk, etc, I’ve got in my BitBucket repository… or I may not. Either way, I suppose that counts as a custom library, so I’m announcing it here before hand.

Best of luck to everyone!

Edit: Just discovered the wonderful sfxr for sound effects, which I’ll definitely be using. Depending on the theme and the game I end up trying to make, I may use Pixen or perhaps just draw lines and circles and stuff, for graphics.

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