About Photon (twitter: @PhotonGD)

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Ludum Dare 32
 
Ludum Dare 29
 
Ludum Dare 28
 
Ludum Dare 27

Photon's Trophies

Has Beaten SnakeFormer And Lived To Tell The Tale
Awarded by TobiasW
on May 19, 2014

Photon's Archive

Warmup Weekend?

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Friday, April 14th, 2017 7:24 pm

I mean, I can warm up with or without it being official, but I was curious.

At the buzzer… base code.

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Friday, August 26th, 2016 7:57 pm

https://www.dropbox.com/s/18sipx59a7upjhf/src082616.zip?dl=0

That’s what I have so far.

Is this even necessary given we’re not doing ratings?

I’m in(-die)!

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 3:14 pm

It’s been quite awhile since my last Ludum Dare, but alas, here I am! I am dropping the “in” after a fairly long hiatus, and its coming with a bit more weight than it normally would.

Long story short: I just recently left my job to go indie. THAT’S RIGHT. I decided to take the plunge and go for it, and its both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. But my family has been super supportive especially as I try to get my feet off the ground. I ended up leaving quite a bit behind, but I’m a young fella’ who felt it was worth taking the risk before too many responsibilities pile up and make it that much harder. And if it all goes south, I still have my software engineering college degree to fall back on. A rough plan is in place and the time has come to execute!

And so, this Ludum Dare is going to be something of an exercise to get back into game development shape. I’ll be spending some of this week preparing base code (which I will share eventually) and hopefully this jam will really end up being something special, even if the hack job I end up with only sees a few short minutes of fame.

So, let’s break it down:

Environment: Haxe, OpenFL

IDE: FlashDevelop

Graphics: GIMP (probably)

Music/SFX: Hmm… I haven’t decided yet

See you all this weekend!

Edit: Also, I haven’t touched my twitter in awhile, but I’ll probably be bringing it back at @PhotonGD if you want to follow this Ludum Dare journey and beyond. Thanks!

Save this Game!

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Sunday, May 10th, 2015 8:17 pm

I wanted to give a shout out to one of the games I voted that is shy of 20 votes by only 3. Its this unique little thing that I feel should make the cut:

Firefly Gun : http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-32/?action=preview&uid=53186

Do yourself a favor and give it a quick whirl!

Going for 100 – Wave 2

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 12:11 am

Photon again, and I’ve hit the 20 game mark for judging! Things slowed down a bit in the judging regard over the work week but now I’m ready to post my next spotlight.

Wave 2

This bunch really had some nice standouts. There was some good humor, as well as some mood and intrigue. I was sort of split this time around, but in particular there was one that was just polished in a solid, all-around way:

Clashy Clouds by NCBRDev

Clashy clouds may not have a huge pizzazz factor, but its not supposed to. Its this simple, mildly cutesy game about making people unhappy.

😀 ???

No really, its not as bad as it sounds. You rain on these polluting cities to keep them from polluting, basically. The game mechanics are simple enough to catch onto and the overall vibe is just kind of relaxing. The powerups included add a nice touch. It was a game that didn’t smack you in the face with anything in particular; it was just a well-balanced, consistent game that was a pleasure to play.

Congratulations to NCBRDev on a great entry!

2 waves down, 8 to go. And again, getting feedback on my own game Turbo Moon Hero would be appreciated as well! Thanks all!

Going for 100 – Wave 1

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Monday, April 20th, 2015 10:38 pm

Hey all! Didn’t post at all during the compo; just sort of had one of those nose-down weekends if you know what I mean. However, now that the dust has settled its time to make a little noise.

This competition, I want to make a point of rating at least 100 games. That’s right! One of the amazing things about this compo and the community is the ability to give in one way or another and this time I want to step up my judging game and give more feedback than I have in past compos. So in these “Going for 100” posts I want to spotlight a game, going by and picking from waves of ten games each. So without further ado:

Wave 1

And so it begins. I’m already through my first ten. Which game stood out among the rest for me?

Rhythm Gunner by DDRKirby(ISQ)

This trippy little game is quite the jewel. It can take a little warming up to, but once I found my groove it was a blast! Basically, you have to fire your instrumental weapons by keeping the beats. Each instrument has a different beat cycle and the only way to earn points is to run around collecting and swapping said instruments. Its something of an art… but a very groovy art. And of course, the audio fits very well, as it should. Highly recommend giving it a shot.

Congratulations to DDRKirby(ISQ) on a great entry!

Stay tuned for more spotlights to come. And if you haven’t already, give my game Turbo Moon Hero a go round as well. Thanks!

LD31 Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Saturday, December 13th, 2014 11:38 am

The game-making period for LD31 has drawn to a close. And the results?

Well, unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it. The major change in my development approach really slowed me down. Its disappointing for sure, as Ludum Dare really is something special when it comes to the community and the feedback afterwards.

Nonetheless, I was able to take a lot away from this Ludum Dare, and I don’t consider it a total failure by any means. Let’s break it down:

  • Base Code: Oh wow. Yes, have good base code. Now, in my defense, I’d spent a good week or so prior hashing through the basics of the entity-component system and making sure I could at least do simple things like get a graphic on screen, move it, and play sounds. But in the end, I was still firing way too much from the hip. Combine that with my relative lack of inexperience with OpenFL and it meant getting through even simple tasks could chew up time. Had I not had the base code I did have, I would have been sunk probably right out of the gate. So now I’m taking away a lot of ideas for what I can do to polish my WIP engine up and get ready for next time.
  • Paradigm Switch: Oh wow again. When you switch from object-oriented practices to more data-driven practices, it can be a bit jarring. Again, I got slowed down as simple tasks were no longer encapsulated in single objects but managed by multiple objects. Since I didn’t have much in the way of base code and I’m not supposed to use member functions as adamantly, it sometimes meant I was writing more code and the same code more than I wanted to. This will hopefully also be covered in my engine polish, so that I can still keep things neat without heavy encapsulation.
  • Momentum: I did have other things going on over the weekend. But this combined with basic functionality taking longer-than-ideal times meant building any sustainable momentum was tough even when working over longer spans. It meant breaks became more appealing and I ended up having trouble garnering motivation. So for the sake of momentum, taking even more time to wrap my head around the other two things above is crucial.
  • Experiencing Something New: I used to think people were mildly crazy when they would say things like “I’m going to try learning a new engine/language over Ludum Dare.” O_o. And guess what? I’m not convinced that its NOT crazy to some degree. But if anything, it exposes you to new ideas and ways of doing things. Being able to walk away with a little more experience and familiarity with my new toys and use it to get stronger is so big. So I get the appeal now. Be crazy people. Try something new. Just be prepared for increased mayhem over the weekend!

So there’s my LD31 experience in a nutshell. Hopefully you found it helpful for yourself in some way. Thanks for reading, and hopefully we’ll be right back at it for LD32!

Base Code Quickie

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Friday, December 5th, 2014 5:27 pm

Not much, but it’s something and what I’ve been toying with. Consider it declared:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100296613/flux.zip

Quick Jam Question

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 9:53 pm

If participating in the jam, do you have to actually declare base code? Its more or less the first time I may have personal base code, and I’m just wondering if I need to get it thrown up on my Dropbox or not… for it draws nearer… 😮

Thanks.

Photon Reporting In

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Friday, November 28th, 2014 1:27 pm

I am not out. There, a non-stereotypical response.

I didn’t so much miss the last LD as much I realized I didn’t have enough motivational gas in the tank coming fresh on the heels of some major life-related changes. This time I’m hoping it’ll be different and that I’ll be able to prepare myself more psychologically for the battle ahead. I’m ready to get back at this thing!

Here’s the lowdown on my Ludum loadout:

Language/Libraries: Haxe and OpenFL

Editor: FlashDevelop and/or Notepad++

Graphics: GIMP and/or MSPaint

Audio: Probably the normal: sfxr and possibly PXTone with some help from Audacity

Less than a week away! I think I might actually try to submit something for the warmup because I’m experimenting with some new stuff. We’ll see!

Let’s make it Ludum Dare official

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Monday, August 18th, 2014 5:02 pm

OK, I’m throwing my hat in the ring. A lot has changed since the last Ludum Dare and my weekend will certainly be different than any other Ludum Dare weekend before (pros and cons present alike) but I’m ready to participate for my 4th consecutive time.

The plan is to go with what I’ve used in previous jams: Stencyl, GIMP, and potentially some sfxr and PXTone.

This time, my plan is to do something different genre-wise from my last two entries. I want to make a deliberate effort to take a single, simple concept or mechanic and try to flesh that out as much as possible. Its my hope that I’ll be able to hone and refine a laser-focused game that doesn’t try to do too much. It’ll hopefully mean more time for content and polish. 😀

I may just make the 48 hour deadline this time! 😮

 

Observation about Rating System

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 7:56 am

I’ve noticed something: it appears that the later you rate games on the site, the less it affects your “default” rating, which affects how likely it is you’ll get precedence for rating games.

This seems kind of counter-intuitive; we don’t want people to game the system (the dreaded “L”, heh) but if you want to get the most exposure it would seem that you have to rate things pretty much as fast as you can. I’m not necessarily the kind of guy who wants to cruise through 50 games in the following 24 hours of the jam, especially if I’m burnt out from making my own game. I’d rather take the time to play through 5 or 10 games a day and actually enjoy them instead of feeling like I need to conduct a ratings blitzkrieg.

I’m just not sure “how fast” you rated games should apply as strongly as it does now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t necessarily have the time or energy immediately following LD to knuckle down and thoughtfully play through a couple dozen games before we start getting penalized for late judging.

Not trying to raise a stink, but I thought this was worth bringing up and considering.

Photon’s Top 3 (So Far)

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Monday, May 5th, 2014 5:36 pm

If you haven’t played these games yet, PLAY THEM. I don’t hand out 5’s for Overall very easily, but each of these games earned it and are the only ones I’ve given them to thus far.

1. Hot Diggity by DragonXVI

 

Simply amazing! This ain’t your typical driller game people! As you dig farther and farther to escape the Devourer of planets, you can collect ore to upgrade your ship with four different parts. Learning how to balance ship structure, piece selection, and your heat levels has a subtle but deep strategy to it and was fun and engaging for me; the game has been up in my browser for about a week now.

2. Deep Blue Home by Jools64

The overall level of the presentation, polish and execution is what sold it for me. The unique underwater physics and the creative use of a small set of moves is just great. It may not be the bastion of innovation, but its spot-on atmosphere and vibe coupled with its simple gameplay makes for such a well-nailed experience.

3. Substratum by Ian McLarty

Do NOT let the strange visual effects fool you. It may be hard to explain, but this surreal puzzle platformer forges a strangely compelling atmosphere backed by interesting puzzle mechanics that can be challenging to wrap your head around. Despite its bizarre style, I found it surprisingly hard to put down! Just play it for yourself to see what I mean.

———-

So go on. What are you waiting for? Play them.

And if you haven’t played mine yet, give Sub Terraria Zero a go-round too and let me know what you think of it as well. Thanks!

Sub Terraria Zero Post Mortem (Pt. 1?) : Game Design

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Friday, May 2nd, 2014 1:27 pm
Hey all! Here comes another post-mortem (or at least part of it.) Here I talk about the underlying design of my game, Sub Terraria Zero.
Sub Terraria Zero Icon
The Idea


Friday night was basically me bouncing ideas around. I had a couple that “sounded” cool but that really didn’t grip me. Basically I had three questions in mind:

  1. Is it fun?
  2. Does it immerse the player/take the player out of their element?
  3. What is the focus/selling point of the game?

I basically tried to flesh out what “Beneath the Surface” could entail: what can I be beneath, or what kind of surface am I talking about? I actually played some Mega Man 10 in an attempt to get the gears turning; it was here that I recalled the quicksand of Commando Man’s stage which led me to consider how well that could fit into the theme. I came to really like the potential of a quicksand mechanic and began trying to take it further. Eventually, I came up with the idea of a monster that lurked beneath the surface and tried to catch prey who fell too deep into the game’s terrain. It wasn’t the most “innovative” take on the theme, if you will, but I felt it lined up very nicely with the air of suspense that naturally followed it.

Of course, there is no quicksand in the game. I considered that quicksand monsters were somewhat common and/or cliche, so I began to consider a different setting. Thus, I came up with a monster that burrowed and hid in the snow instead. Suspense and tension–alongside the apprehension of loss by insta-death–would be the game’s calling card, and to wrap it all up into a strong package I went with an open exploration type format; this would allow the player to kind of find their own way through the game, including what to do with the monster and how to deal with it.

The Development/Gameplay


Early on and as you may have already guessed, I knew what I wanted the game to revolve around: the snow beast. It was about the severity of mistakes (falling into the snow, for instance) and the perpetual awareness that it was basically waiting for you to make such mistakes.

The “no-health” system was deliberate. Grunt monsters would only knock you back, not hurt you, and that was because it was the job of the snow beast to do the “hurting.” Oh, you got killed by a little firefly? How cute. No, the firefly’s point is to make you panic when you accidentally tumble into the beast’s bed of snow and you have to scramble to reach higher ground. The snow fish was the star of the show, and the small monsters its supporting actors; I tried to play to that in a different way.

Other facets played into this as well. The dark/light effects further concealed the monster and made it easier for you to trip up. Part of this had to do with what I exposed and how I led the player along using, for instances, torches as guides (be them good or bad guides.) If I could lull the player into false sense of security, it could make the simple, “silly” mistakes that much more jarring without using a forced “razor-sharp” difficulty, if you will. Simple little touches that get ignored can be all that it takes.

To lend to the mystique of it all (and/or because I was short on time and/or didn’t feel like it :P ), I didn’t try to do a lot of hand holding. You get very little direction; the rest is left to the player to figure out using subtle hints.I wanted there to be an element of player intuition to the game. For instance, the ruby (flame projectile) is put in a pit for a reason. That way, the player can more easily deduct one of the purposes of his new toy. I haven’t directly told him what to do, but I’ve quietly hinted and pushed him in the right direction. All of these helped add to the in-the-rough “wild” feel I wanted for my game, or at least they appear to have done so.

The Results/Reflections


I was pretty much exhausted by the time it was all said and done and kind of just happy that I’d made it because I really had taken it down to the wire. Fortunately, the game’s simplicity had made it easy for me to ram out some content in a pinch and give the game enough of a completed feeling to it (not that anyone has made an indication that they’ve made it to the end yet, LOL.)

But the simplicity for me was key. Whether or not it was more of a deliberate design principle or a subconscious decision to stay well-scoped for the jam, I’m not sure at this point. But it worked, and it worked well. Even the simplicity of the monster seemed to work well; I had some features planned for the monster that didn’t make it in, but it may have been for the better. I had planned to make the monster stronger as it ate small monsters, for instance, but it really wasn’t needed. Not every little detail has to be ironed out and part of a complex web; sometimes you just let the mechanics do their things.

Which spins me into my next point: gameplay and difficulty don’t have to be the result of rigid design. What I mean is that not everything has to have a pixel-perfect place. I may “acknowledge” this, but it doesn’t mean I follow it well. This entry has brought that back into the light. Sure, there are some things I still think could be balanced or structured better, but sometimes you just need to leave the game mechanics, the player and whatever else alone and just let them all duke it out. Let the player “make plays” on his own terms. Let scenarios be naturally and intuitively difficult, if that makes any sense; you don’t have to look at a level from every angle and try to block or force player creativity and difficulty. Just leave it alone for once! Although you still have to design the game thoughtfully, which is where striking a balance between two seemingly opposite agendas may seem tough, I think there can be a happy medium.

Finally, three words: minimum viable product. Again, I didn’t get to everything and I probably didn’t need “everything.” But the bit I did finish showed promise. Maybe its time to stop focusing so hard on the “perfect” game design. Development can be tough and time-consuming which is why I might spend so much time racking my brain over how to make a game, but that’s why a “MVP” can be so important… because of the “M”. Its minimum. Don’t be afraid to run with an idea for a few days and see where it takes you. Ludum Dare, if you take to heart how it forces you to adjust your normal habits, can really take you out of that “perfection” mindset.

At the end of the day, shelf your pride and just make something. Stop trying to look good by going for the home-run; experiment. Try to see the forest AND the trees. Its amazing how effective the simple touches–not the complex details–can make the biggest difference. Although I really did like this idea from the beginning, I think I’ve learned more from this experience than I imagined I would.

What Now?


So far, the feedback has been really positive for this game; I’m already looking forward to how well its ratings are going to turn out at the end of the jam, though at this point I seem to have accomplished my goal of delivering a fun, quality experience. Thanks to all who have played, commented, and enjoyed! It means a lot to me!

At this point, I feel like the game has a lot of room left for expansion. If I properly build on the no-nonsense foundation that’s there, I can see this going places. And after seeing what can be accomplished with the right level of detail and scope, I feel like its something I could actually maintain momentum with (art is manageable, audio is low level enough.) I may mess around with it and try to develop it further, seeing what other kind of suspenseful effects I may be able to garner and utilize in the game.

Thanks for reading. I may write about the actual development later as well (yes, even more text.) If you haven’t played it yet, you can go play it here:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=7658

LDPic2

 

Sub Terraria Zero is Up!

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Monday, April 28th, 2014 8:15 pm

My latest entry is up and ready to go (at least hopefully it is; no one sees any bugs crawling around, right?) PHEW. What a jam this has turned out to be! 😛

Sub Terraria Zero is an 8-bit exploration platformer that’s attempts to be atmospheric and mysterious. Don’t want to spoil too much, so check out the entry page instead.

Enjoy, and feedback most certainly is welcome!

 

LDPic2

 

Time for the Final Day Push

Posted by (twitter: @PhotonGD)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 8:08 pm

Oh boy. As I mentioned earlier I ended up getting off to a slow start but I have so much done now. I really REALLY like the game I have going so far and I think it has potential. Can I push forward and make the jam deadline? WE’LL SEE.

Have a picture of the opening area. Only some 50+ to go, right? :O

CaveEntrance

 

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