About pkenney (twitter: @pkenneydev)


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I’m In – 3rd Time, Now With More Base Code

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 7:14 am

I’m in for my 3rd LD compo.

I will be using:

– Unity and the free iTween script from the asset store

– GraphicsGale, though just in case I will declare Inkscape on the roster.

– sfxsr/bfxr for sound effects

– I may use Otomata for music

– I may use SPArtAn for tile generation

– I WILL BE USING MY OWN BASE CODE, which I have expanded this time

– Available to anyone here:  http://ricefrog.com/UnityStarter/UnityLDStarterKit.zip

– It’s a Unity 2D skeleton of a game that includes many basic features such as:

* Some basic screen nav

*A GameController with state machine for playing, winning, losing, etc

*Empty “level generator” that generates nothing but is a placeholder to get rolling

*Controllable player that can walk and aim

*An example monster with no AI

*A projectile system

*Health and damage system with a rudimentary HUD

*Basic collisions between the elements above

*Some really simple “juice”

Idea here is there’s no actual meaningful game pre-built, but I do have a lot of the parts that I find myself building over and over again so that I can get to the interesting parts as early into the 48 hours as I can!


Good luck, everyone.




Post-Comp Android Mobile Version

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 11:43 pm

I’ve made a few adjustments and re-tuned the game for a mobile experience.  I think it makes for an addictive little package!

This post-comp version is available on the play store here:


This is my first android game, and so far I’m pretty pleased!




Android Mobile Port Now Available!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Sunday, May 4th, 2014 8:24 am

My game turned out to have super-simple controls and short rounds with an addictive quality, so I decided to port it to mobile with touch controls!

You can grab an Android .apk on the entry page:


This is a feature-identical compo port – I’m making some additional tweaks that make it shine more on mobile, but I wanted something people could still vote on.


Here’s an animated GIF of the PC version to tempt you:



After a 20-hour session, it’s really coming together!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 3:54 am

I’m about to crash after an all-day-and-nighter, but here’s a playable link.

Is the difficulty level too high?  Like last time, I’m starting to be unable to tell…


Time for bed.  I feel dizzy!


Fortunately the Science Team brought a spare…

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 7:47 pm

I’ve got a playable build of my game so far, available here:


In your amphibious ship you have to dodge bobbing icebergs on the melted moon of Jupiter, Europa.

Your jets are weaker than both gravity (in the air) and buoyancy (in the water) so you can’t help but move in a wave pattern… you use your up/down jets to influence the wave.  Pretty pleased with the basic feel so far.


Death is fairly common, so I’ve kept the retry loop extremely short, but not quite so short as my LD28 game where the players complained it was so fast they got confused about whether they won or lost.  You’ll go through a lot of ships. Fortunately the Science Team brought a spare…

I had the basics working a while ago, but there were too many ways to basically cheat.  I’ve closed the gaps, and now I think you have to participate in the game I want you to play in order to win.

Next up, core mechanic 2!  Hopefully they pair well together…

Ideally I’ll finish that tonight, and get a head start on tomorrow’s tasks of sound and polish.


Ludum art is always impressive!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 4:32 pm

I’m always blown away by the art that some of my competitors are able to come up with.  I’m looking at some posts as I take a dinner break, and just like last time I’m totally blown away by some of the eye-grabbing screenshots on just the first page or two.

I guess any skill you don’t have feels like magic to you, I’m very impressed.

Don’t get me wrong, now – I still plan take on the competition!  I just better hope to do it on the strength of a fun physical mechanic.

Good luck everyone, I can’t wait to try some of these beautiful games.


Found a Mechanic for the Theme!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 11:08 pm

Wow, for the first two hours I was really sweating this theme.  I blame the pre-thinking I did before the compo.

I went in with the idea that I would do a top-down game with some sort of combat, and I would design the mechanics around the theme.  But “Beneath the Surface” has a few contradictions with a top-down perspective.

My first-five-minutes idea was this:  There are tiles/cards on the battlefield, and you can flip them to find out what’s beneath.

That’s it!  I even drew a little man, who accidentally turned out to be a cowboy.  So a cowboy was flipping cards that did something, to help him do something.

I was not pleased, because I like to have a physical mechanic at the core of the game.  Inspiration was not striking.

I opened a blank notepad and just dumped a slew of ideas into it, mostly trash.

But then I struck on one.  The moon of Jupiter, Europa, has water and is thought to potentially support life in our solar system.

So here’s the deal:  Europa has melted, and you are there in a spacecraft that can fly in the air and in the water.  The trick is that while you’re in the air, you are being dragged down by gravity.  When you are in the water, you are being pushed up by buoyancy.

You have a limited amount of thrust that barely competes with these forces when you oppose them, but you can influence the bobbing wave path that results from the alternating forces.

You’ll have to ride this wave, using your jets to adjust your path, avoiding obstacles and probably doing the obvious thing of shooting guns at hostile aliens.

After a horrifying 20 minutes where I forgot to turn off the “Apply Root Motion” option of the Unity 2D animator (what an insane default to turn on, it WRECKS your physics completely!), I have implemented the bobbing ship.


Next task is to implement some form of level generator with icebergs you must avoid.  Then I’ll have enough to see if the fun is actually fun.

I’m In

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 8:48 pm

Last Ludum Dare was my first, and honestly I’m not sure it was healthy.

Well, add it to the list of bad habits…  I’m in again!

I’ll be using:

Unity 4.3 and Mono/C#

Graphics Gale and maybe the LD Random Sprite Generator

BFXR for sound

And a personal code library for a minimal Unity 2D game skeleton, available here:



Have fun, everyone!


Gameplay footage uploaded for Hammer Control

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 5:34 pm

I uploaded a video with some gameplay footage for my game “Hammer Control”


It shows the first 16 levels, with a bonus of level 26 at the end in case anyone wants to see the kind of sick stuff it takes to win at the higher levels.  It gets mighty tough when you’re that deep in the game!

But one person I emailed a link to did get to level 25, so it can be done.  But I think he’s a real gamer, so don’t feel bad if you get stuck on level 14 like most people.  😉

The entry can be found here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=30865

Release Candidate – Need Tested for Difficulty, I Can’t Tell Anymore!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 4:17 pm


Bounce your hammer off walls and into various monsters in a top-down single-screen arena with very short rounds.


(Unity Web Player)

I need feedback on:

– Was the short delay before the level starts appropriate?  Did it even function reasonably?  The Unity docs say that the function I used can be different on different hardware.

– Was the difficulty too far in one direction or the other?  I didn’t want to leave it too slow and boring in the early levels, but I might need to polish this in the final hour here.

– Did your deaths feel completely unfair in certain circumstances, or did you always earn them by making a mistake?

All other comments welcome, but these are the ones I’m wondering about.

Features from my nice-to-have list that are almost certainly going to be cut rather than cramming them in and risking it all:

= Boss battle(s)

= Pop-up text at the bottom saying things like “Bank shot!” and “Triple Kill!” etc.

= An enemy that uses a ranged weapon.


Brisk but Tactical Monster-Smashing – Playable Link

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 2:42 am

It seems I’ve created a popcorn monster-smashing game!

Each level takes something like 5-15 seconds and it doesn’t waste any time getting right on to the next one.  But you’d better use the few seconds of break to study the layout of the next challenge!


This build improves on the personality of the monsters and introduces two new ones, the snake and the skeleton.  And now you actually die when you get hit.

Pictured here is the recurring tension moment that I was shooting for in my design… when you’ve thrown your hammer across the room, and you need to get past the monsters to retrieve it.



The difficulty ramps up quite a bit in this build and probably needs some real smoothing out.



I also really need to fix a bug where once in a while the hammer hit doesn’t register!  The hammer bounces off the enemy, but no OnCollisionEnter2D event is fired by Unity.  It’s occasional but very frustrating if it causes you to die.  It seems mostly to happen when the enemy is touching other monsters, as if the monster-on-monster collisions are crowding out the hammer collision, which gets skipped somehow.

Or it could be related to the way I toggle the hammer between a trigger and a normal collider.  That’s how I made the player able to carry it on his back, and why spinning around and touching monsters with the hammer while you carry it does nothing.


Playable 0.2 for MidPoint – Now with Enemies to Hammer!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 7:17 pm

In Hammer Control you throw your powerful hammer at enemies, bounce it off walls, and feel mighty.  But then you have a problem – you no longer have your hammer!  You need to avoid the enemies in order to retrieve it from where it fell.


Here I am trying to get in position while three zombies and a ghost move in.

Here is a playable build:


It generates random batches of enemies that escalate in difficulty, but right now the only entries in the bestiary are the lowly zombie and ghost.

This is my first Ludum Dare, but I am feeling pretty good about where I am in the process.  The absolute must-dos remaining are adding sound and more monsters.  After that it’s balance and feel and polish.  The most difficult outstanding tasks are some of the monster movements and special effects I have in mind, but I will make sure I don’t put these on the critical path to shipping this thing by the deadline.

Any feedback at all is more than welcome!

Player Control Works – Playable Demo Online, Feedback Welcome

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 1:40 pm

Take my character and his hammer for a spin — feedback welcome!!  Throw the hammer and bounce it off walls, but you only get one, so you’re going to be weak until you can pick it back up!  At least, you will be once I add some dangerous enemies…



This is enough of a checkpoint for me to go take a shower, I think!

Next up is something to actually hit with the hammer!!


If you only have one, go pick it back up!

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Friday, December 13th, 2013 11:51 pm

I think if you only have one, it might be fun for you to have to throw it to use it, and then go pick it back up, weaving through some trouble on the way.  You’ll also have to be careful where you throw it!

So a mix of realtime with some strategy.

If dodging around to get back your tool is the core concept of the game, the player will require some interesting movement options.  I am thinking WASD to walk, but an ability to sprint, and to leap.  Top-down graphics are the fastest thing I can produce, so I’m going with a control scheme for top-down, looking at the mouse, relative WASD movements.

I am not sure what this tool is, but I think something that can bounce off of walls.  This would give the player two interesting systems to play with.

The problem is that it will also require some enemies, which implies AI.  Maybe not, maybe some more mechanical obstacles would be enough.

I hope to have a guy walking around with WASD before I go to bed – but it’s nearing 2am here in Boston.

I’m in, first time

Posted by (twitter: @pkenneydev)
Thursday, December 12th, 2013 10:44 pm

I’m in for my first Ludum Dare compo, let’s see how this goes.  Features I’ve been playing with in other hobby projects have taken several evenings sometimes, occasionally involving time-consuming bug hunts before they are usable.  So the challenge I expect is keeping the scope small enough to get a full game in two days.

To prepare, I just slapped enough on another project today to force myself to be able to upload it, to get a taste of how time runs out when you’re making the final push.. even from this I had to cut a bunch of features I thought I could do before uploading:


(Link is for Unity Web player)

I plan to use Unity’s 2D features introduced in the 4.3 release, and terrible programmer art made in graphics gale.  If time allows I plan to add sound using bfxr.


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