About JorgeGameDev (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)

I'm a Student Portuguese Game Developer & Programmer who focuses on C# and the Unity. I am also able to work with other engines and other programming languages.

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 37
 
Ludum Dare 36

JorgeGameDev's Trophies

JorgeGameDev's Archive

Petty Puny Planet 38

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 2:04 pm

Another Ludum Dare, another game done! It’s been awhile since our team worked so thoroughly on one of these. Even with different timezones, blackouts and time displaced samurai-themed cartoon breaks, we somehow managed to put it together.

Let’s keep it tidy and simple, after creating and developing Colossorama (LD36) and Hyper Holomayhem (LD37) on past events, we would like to present you **Petty Puny Planet 38**!

PPPHeader

Why have a pet rock when you can have a pet planet? (Technically the same. The planet is just a bigger and cosmic rock). As some bigger-than-life entity, it’s your job to take care of a tiny small world – and the tiny people that live on it – and take it for a spin. Decide every century on how to further develop it. Give the people reaches! Teach them about fire! Mutate them if you must!

PPPLudumDare1

However, take in mind that being in charge of a planet is hard work, so you’ll have to take a hundred years long break after every choice. Just hope that the tiny people are still around when you’re back. They’re smart people. They’ll figure something out.

And of course, there wouldn’t be choices without consequences! Take the right decisions and your people can be prepared for the worst. Certain decisions branch into others. Some could make them richer and happier, while others can have the opposite effects! With 8 endings, it’s up to you to put the Plan in Planet and take the people onto a new era!

PPPLudumDare2

Or if you don’t want the responsibility, then just go and make the wildest planet that you can. Most choices and events have a visual impact on the planet, making this one of the most outlandish dress up games you’ve probably ever played. If you decide to player the desktop version of the game, at any point, feel free to press the snapshot button and a screenshot of your planet will be saved on the game’s data folder.

PPPLudumDare3

In case you don’t really like desktop versions, you can also play it on your browser, or download it for Android devices! We hope that you like it, and that your feedback can help us add more features in the future! Hopefully, any post-jam updates will take less than a hundred years to be developed! We’ll update you with a post-mortem in the coming days, so I hope you keep us in your sights for a while.

Well then, what are you waiting for? We’re looking forward to see what kind of small world you’re going to have in the end, and we hope you share your screenshots with us! Go on now, you can create your own planets over on itch.io, and don’t forget to leave us a comment over at our Ludum Dare page!

In behalf of Whales and Games, enjoy your pet planets!

If you want, you can also read and comment on this entry over at the new website. But since there is still people using this site, we also wanted to leave a mark here. :)

Hyper Holomayhem 37 – The Hyper Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Sunday, January 15th, 2017 12:00 pm

It’s been a full month since we released Hyper Holomayhem 37. With the holidays and university finals, we found little to no time to actually give our experience with Ludum Dare 37 the proper conclusion it deserved. But alas, some free time to be able to write and share with you the highs and lows of the development process of our second time on the rodeo!

 

HyperPostMortem

 

Hyper Holomayhem 37 is a side-scroller platformer shooter where, as a jetpacker trainee, you must stay for as long as possible in the Hyperdeck, a room that’s constantly changing layouts as you power it up with gears. Gameplay is based around collecting the gears spread throughout the level which you must bring back to the room’s core under a time limit. Enemies chase you around, and you will have break the blocks in order to get to some gears you wish to collect. Once the time is over, your training is complete.

Our development team was composed of three game developers, each of us with a different area of expertise. JorgeGameDev returned again as the gameplay programmer and The ‘Moski once again fulfilled his role as the game’s artist, exactly as it had previously been the case with our Ludum Dare 36 game, Colossorama. However, this time around we also had the opportunity of having ZakBlystone as the game’s audio composer (which you can read more about below).

 

HyperMenu

 

Tools Used

Keeping with the pace from last time, we decided to stick with the usual tools for Hyper Holomayhem 37’s Development. The game’s uses Unity as it’s game engine with gameplay programmed in C#. Krita was yet again used for producing the game’s art and Zak used FL-Studio for making everything from the Music to Sound Effects.

Game Idea and Design

After the jam’s theme (One Room) was announced, there were several ideas that were placed on the table as potential concepts that we could develop during the event. From all of those ideas, we decided to pick the concept of having an holographic room constantly changing layouts, now deemed in game as the Hyperdeck. Other ideas and concepts included impossible room puzzles and even an Fingered-esque game about room decoration.

The Hyperdeck idea was picked as the chosen idea not only due to the time limit we had to develop the game, but also to allow the game to have extra replayability value which is greatly enhanced in this concept thanks to the ever changing room layouts.

As progress on the game continued during the following days, we decided that we would focus on the game’s airborne platforming, as well as environmental destruction the player could make by destroying the blocks that made up the room’s layouts. These elements were then further expanded on with enemies, extra traps and even power-ups, all of them placed on the rooms at random, which also helped strengthen the game’s loop, even if several ideas had to be left on paper due to time constraints.

 

HyperMortem1

 

What went right?

Games Polish and Completion

One of the aspects that Hyper Holomayhem 37 was mostly praised on was the game’s overall polish. Although we had to make some cuts when it came to the gameplay, we made sure that game still felt complete and solid, as well as progressively let friends playtest the game in order to assure that no issue went unnoticed.

One of the reasons why we favor polishing overall is to allow each player to feel like they’re interacting with a vertical slice of a potential game. This allows them to always know what to expect in case they come back, either on their own or due to an update.

Task Scheduling and Submission

Once the game’s development was put up to speed, task division and scheduling was efficiently put into the place. We paced what needed to be done as we went through the days, and based on what content we knew we would be able to have in the game by the deadline. Same as last time, this allowed the submission hour to be fully dedicated to that for that alone, and based on requests from last time, we also provided a WebGL version right from the beginning.

Audio Composer

One of the things that we felt could have been better explored in Colossorama was the game’s audio. Last time, we were only able to find someone that could give us a hand on composing original tracks a few weeks after the game’s release and update. by that time, the great majority of potential players and Ludum Dare participants had already played the game.

However, with Hyper Holomayhem 37 we were able to find someone who was eager to give us a hand with the audio composing, Zak. Having someone doing and composing audio on the team helped us give the game a set of unique sounds and a great music track to boot, making the game more unique, and distinctive when it came to audio.

 

HyperMortem2

 

What could have gone better?

Overthinking Game Design

As mentioned above, several ideas were outlined right after the theme was announced. The final concept for Hyper Holomayhem 37 was only decided a few hours after the theme announced, which slightly delayed works.

Nonetheless, even after the final idea was picked, there was a period of uncertainty regarding what exactly made our concept unique and what exactly would be the game’s core loop. At the time this loop was only the player going around collecting the gears and bringing them back to the core. This eventually lead to multiple, overthought discussions about implementing features like puzzles, etc.

This uncertainty caused some delays, however, we then realized that the base loop we already had just needed to be spiced up, as collecting gears and destroying the room’s blocks was already engaging by itself, and playtesting helped confirm this fact. We then proceeded to add extra content to further solidify this game loop.

Unexplored Gameplay and Concepts

Despite having settled with our game loop, there was still a lot of content that had to be cut due to the time constraints, some of which caused by the delays of the concept’s uncertainty. Although each of us knew which tasks needed to be taken care off, and what schedule to follow, we believe we could have better explored the game’s concept, as well as added a lot more content into the game. One example of a game’s concept that was not fully explored, and caused us to have a not-so-good score when it came to the theme, was how the Hyperdeck represented a single room.

Some of this content that was unable to be included in the game included more types of enemies, power-ups and even completely changing the room’s aesthetic as the player completed layouts. We still hope to get back to these ideas in a future update.

 

HyperMortem3

 

Conclusion and Closing Remarks

Even if the game’s development was filled with mixed feelings, we’re still happy and glad of the final results, dazzled by how well the game scored, getting a 51st place in Jam Overall.

As a short summary from everything above as well as our notes advice both to you and for future projects:

  • If an idea you have the beginning of jam already seems like it’s going to be complicated to develop, it’s probably better to go for a simpler idea, unless you really want to challenge yourself to execute a complicated one.
  • Schedule your tasks, even if in an informal way. Make sure that every team member has a list of what’s needs to be done, especially if your team members are on different time zones.
  • It’s always for the best to make assets that might end up not being used than not having assets for the time they are needed.
  • Having an audio composer on board can really greatly improve your game and increase its atmosphere and value with unique sounds and music.
  • Don’t overthink your game’s mechanics. Sometimes a few basic and quickly learn-able mechanics are enough to create an engaging game loop and diverse content.
  • Always remember to build your game content, visuals and feel around your game mechanics. Form follows function.
  • Do playtesting often, even if it’s just limited to friends, in order to collect some low-level feedback on what to improve. Ideally, playtest with non-familiar people, as they provide the best and more honest feedback.
  • Focus on exposing your game after you finish it. One extra aspect we feel we could have done better was on spreading word about the game, which we didn’t do as much as we did with Colossorama.

Feedback is the greatest thing a developer can get, and we’re glad that we’ve been able to constantly receive it. Hyper Holomayhem 37 was yet another great game we enjoyed developing, even given the hiccups, and we’re full of ideas on how to improve it, as well as for brand new projects we hope to do soon!

 

HyperMortem4

 

Thanks a lot for reading! As always, even if post mortems are mostly for self-reflection, we have the optimism that those who read these always learn something from them. We’re really glad of our results and the feedback we’ve collected during Ludum Dare, and it’s all thanks to you, the wonderful jammer community.

Our hands are completely full with assignments, commissions and other projects we must get done under a tight time frame, but we hope we are able to come back with some new stuff to show soon, as well as give Hyper Holomayhem a brand new coat of paint and bring it to the same level of content as Colossorama. It’s probably going to take a while, but it’s something we want to do as soon as we can!

If you wish to keep up with what we’ve been doing, you can follow us at @JorgeGameDev and @The_Moski as well as @Zakblystone, which was a honor having as a guest to help compose the game’s audio.

Thanks a lot! Until next time! And don’t forget to try out Hyper Holomayhem 37 if you still haven’t given it a go already!

Hyper Holomayhem 37

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 3:40 pm

As another Ludum Dare comes by, another game comes out! I’m pretty sure our sleep patterns got absolutely ruined as we went along during this weekend. But hey, that’s part of the experience.

Now, the judging phase follows, and this jam is the first on in which we will be taking part in the judging process since there was none last time. We’re curious to see how our game is rated and received, as well as its performance over time.

But before we talk more about that, allow us to once again, present you our project during these past days – Hyper Holomayhem 37!

HyperHolomayhem37PostLogos

Get your jetpack and your gun, as you’re in for a thrill! Enter the Hyperdeck, a room that keeps constantly changing as you keep powering it up with gears. An interesting interpretation of the One Room theme, or a cheap attempt at avoiding it? We’ll let it to your judgement.

HyperGif1LD

These gears are spread across the room and every time you bring them back to the room’s core, the layout will change. Beware though! Enemies will also chase you around, and sometimes you will have to break blocks in order to reach several of the gears.

Gameplay is based around how long can you last in the Hyperdeck. How many gears will you be able bring back to the core? How many blocks will you destroy? The different ways you go around exploring the room can have different outcomes. Power-ups can aid you traverse the different floating platforms faster and shooting enemies before they explode near you will gain you some extra seconds.

HyperGif3LD

Once you run out of time, the Hyperdeck turns off, and your run is over. There’s not really much of a difficulty curve at this point, but we hope you enjoy your minutes, regardless!

Give Hyper Holomayhem 37 a try! Like last time, we have a WebGL version playable in the browser! We’re looking for as much feedback as possible, especially since we want to work on a post-jam version sometime in the coming weeks. We definitely have several ideas of what we want to implement next since there were several concepts that had to be cut off during the jam.

HyperGif2LD

As we mentioned in the beginning, we’re really curious about the whole judging process and how it will go. Of course, that is not only for us, as we also look forward for playing as many of the Ludum Dare games as possible!

Similar to last time, expect the post-mortem of the project in the following days. There’s definitely several situations compared to last time that we’ve improved on, and others that we could have managed in other, more efficient ways, and we want to share those with you guys as well.

Alright then! Enter the Hyperdeck! (Play it!)

@JorgeGameDev, @The_Moski & @Zakblystone

Colossorama – The Colossal Update

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 7:55 pm

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since our post-mortem post, we’ve been spending days doing some renovations to Colossorama 36, the hack and slash arcade game we made for the now past Ludum Dare 36. We hired more gladiators, bought more weapons, prayed to the gods for more Pantheon Techs, and much more! We spared no expense! Well… except that we couldn’t afford to keep the 36 on the title. That thing was not cheap.

Behold! Colossorama! Our brand new update to the original version with most of the feedback issues addressed and a bunch of extra new content!

PostLDGif

We got a lot of feedback during this past month, most of it thanks to the Ludum Dare community and everyone who played our game. Taking from it as much as we could, this update added and changed a lot of mechanics to make it a more gratifying beheading experience. Among the most received feedback, here are some of the issues we tackled:

  • People wanted more potions. Not only are they more common now, but Maces also have a draining property, so you may consider to get one as soon as possible.
  • Spears got a buff. They’re longer now, which means you’re safer when using them, unless your enemies are jumping.
  • Physics have been reworked, so it’s way harder to get stuck above a wave of enemies without being able to touch the ground.
  • Axes got relatively nerfed. Actually, no one weapon can 1-hit gladiators anymore, but axes are still effective against the largest enemies.
  • The instructions are now on their own screen and can be read at your leisure.

PostLDGif2

And that’s only the changes made from feedback. We added more content and made sure there was even more juice in this version!

  • New weapons! Scythes have a chance to poison, which does wonders against the buffier enemies. Hammers have great knockback, which can help you with crowd control.
  • There are some Fun items that are not super strong on their own, but their properties make them excellent side weapons. They’re rare, but well worth it.
  • New utility items! There’s an alternative for the grenade, and a few more with curious effects.
  • These new additions don’t make the game much easier, because there are new enemies! Face the resilient Champions, the fast Lions and the bouncing Hawkmen.
  • Don’t like the new additions? You can choose to play the Classic 36 mode, which only spawns the Ludum Dare version weapons and enemies.
  • There’s now a Push property on most weapons, which increases their knockback, giving the player more space to breathe.
  • Almost total graphic overhaul. Most UI elements were remade from scratch.
  • Rebalancing of waves for meat-ier and longer game sessions.
  • Controller Support! In case you get disoriented by aiming with the mouse, you can also play with an Xbox controller now, even on the web version!
  • Sound options together with some new surprises here and there.

We have actually posted this new version on itch.io a few days ago, but we’ve both been really busy that we were only able to make this post now.

In other Colossorama news, there was this Portuguese Game Development event, the Game Dev Camp, which mostly consisted of talks and showcasing the games that the Portuguese developers were working on. And Colossorama was one of those showcased games! There were quite some people playing the game and giving us brand new feedback on what to improve next. We’re always happy to see more people playing the game, having fun and enjoying it!

GDC3

GDC7

But that’s not all! The reason why we were so focused in making a new build right after coming out of the jam was so we could improve it in order to submit it to a jury and maybe get the chance of being able to showcase the game at Lisboa Games Week, another event in Portugal. However, in contrast to Game Dev Camp, this one is actually for the general public, which means if we pass, we will be able to showcase the game to an even bigger amount of people!

Lastly, an acquaintance of us, Tibblewinkles, did a playthrough of the latest update. If you don’t mind being spoilt a pair of surprises, go check it out!

Thanks a lot! We hope to bring you more news soon, and hopefully to participate again in the next major Ludum Dare! Of course, we’re also looking forward to play what you make, so let’s get developing!

@JorgeGameDev and @The_Moski

Colossorama 36 – The Slayed Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Thursday, September 8th, 2016 2:10 pm

It’s been two weeks since we released Colossorama 36. Thus, we consider it an appropriate moment to share with you some insight about the development process, including its highs and lows, through this Post Mortem. Without further ado, here is the…

 
ColossoramaLogoPostMortem2

 

Colossorama 36 is a hack-and-slash arcade game where you play as a gladiator and must use an arsenal of different weapons and items to slay enemy gladiators. Each of these weapons and technologies have a set of different stats and attributes and depending on the player’s choices can determine the outcome of each wave. The player’s score is measured by the amount of gladiator heads the player has decapitated.

The development team is currently made up of two amateur yet eager game developers – JorgeGameDev and The ‘Moski. Our first project, The Farming One, was developed in RPG Maker over two years ago and despite not having made another major project since then, we’ve been learning several new skills and tools while discussing potential new ideas.

 

PostMortem1

 

Tools Used

For the development of Colossorama 36 we used Unity and C#, while using Krita for the game’s art. Our familiarity with these programs ensured we knew what set of tools and workflows were necessary for the game’s development.

Game Idea and Design

The game’s concept was grounded up shortly after the jam’s theme (Ancient Technology) was announced. We settled with gladiator fights to use the Ancient aspect of the jam, while the weapons and items could choose from – aptly named Pantheon Techs – defined the Technology theme.

Being a Game Jam game, one of our major focus was to develop a quick yet fun game loop. Various of our decisions, such as replayability were inspired in roguelikes, as well as the decision to go with some randomization and decision making in order to spice things up.

One such example of these elements is the forcing the player to pick between a set of random Patheon Techs at the end of each wave, even if the player must sacrifice a stronger weapon or item for a weaker one. This together with other elements such as randomity of which gladiators get into arena helped ensure that the game’s loop, despite repetitive, is always slightly different.

 

PostMortem2

 

What went right?

Clear Idea and Direction

Having a clear idea and direction of the project right from the beginning helped establish priorities and decide what needed to be worked on first. This allowed us to quickly shape up gameplay as well as helping setup the art style right from early on.

Game’s Polish and Submission Hour

Since our project was practically always on schedule, we had enough time to polish it and make it as presentable as possible. This, together with the decision to make sure we had everything built by the submission hour, allowed us to focus on setting up the Ludum Dare and Itch.io pages during that hour alone, as well as making sure everything was packaged correctly.

Cloud Build and WebGL Version

Since none of us had access to a Mac computer, we had no way to directly compile a Mac version. This worried us since it could mean ending up leaving Mac users hanging. We decided to give a look at the Unity’s Cloud Build service to help create a Mac build of the game and thanks to the service we were able to launch a Mac build and support all the three major platforms.

Making some changes to the project in order to export a WebGL version of the game also proved to be a worthwhile effort. With very minimal source changes we were able to create a version of the game that could be played in-browser. Since then, the amount of views (and subsequently, plays) in the Itch.io page has been five times the amount of desktop downloads.

 

PostMortem3

 

What could have gone better?

Late Design Decisions

Some design decisions could have been made earlier in the game’s development. One such example is the upgrade system design which design’s was only fully completed during the second day, which ended up causing some delays and content cuts.

Important design ideas like this one should be thought and decided right on the first day, instead of progressively delaying them. This way, we can assure that the design mechanics get practically built in the first day and improvements and content to populate the resulting mechanics developed during the remaining days.

Unexplored Mechanics and Balance Issues

Some of the feedback we have collected mentions how some of the mechanics and weapons are not as useful or as balanced as others. One such example is the jumping mechanic.

Although there isn’t a clear method to ensure every mechanic is well developed, playtesting base mechanics and experimenting diverse alternatives can help us notice which ones need more work and sort out balancing issues.

Audio

Audio was also practically an afterthought and something we could have explored much better. We never got into searching for someone to help with audio, which forced us to use royalty free music together with some generated sound effects created with SFXR.

One of the things we definitely want to change in our next project is to find someone that can give us a hand with the audio. This way we can make the game feel more personal, unique and most importantly, distinct when it comes to audio.

 

PostMortem4

 

Conclusion and Closing Remarks

After all the development and effort we’ve put into Colossorama 36 we have to say we’re pretty happy and impressed with the game’s results, especially after almost two years of hiatus as a team in which we didn’t get to show any new project to the world.

As a short summary of the previous points and on the lessons we take for future projects:

  • Have a clear idea and direction right from the beginning helps quickly shaping up the project. Having mixed ideas can hinder development.
  • Leave an extra time just to make builds and wrap everything up in order to make sure the submission hour is used for submission and showcasing alone.
  • Don’t be afraid to check other services and opportunities as they might help you solve problems you normally don’t have the power to solve. If we hadn’t checked Cloud Build we would have needed to ask someone to make a Mac build for us.
  • When possible, compile a Web version. This allows players and users to play the game directly on the browser, something more accessible than a downloadable version.
  • Important design decisions should be made on the first day instead of delaying them until they need to be forcefully made.
  • Focus more on playtesting and exploring diverse alternatives when a certain mechanic or balance change doesn’t feel as solid as others.
  • Find someone to help with the audio in order to create a more distinct, personal and unique feeling to the game.
  • Some features along with Controller Support and Player Incentives could be bigger focus points for future projects, given there’s enough development time for these ones.

Needless to say, we’re confident that we’ll be able to show new and more varied projects as time goes along. We can only look forward for developing them, and to get to read the feedback of other players and developers.

 

PostMortem5

 

Thanks for reading! We hope that you’ve gotten something of this – honestly quite big – Post Mortem. It’s been great hearing all the support and feedback we’ve gotten from other developers and players who have given the game a try.

Right now, one of the things we’re working on is an update to Colossorama 36 with some new features and content. We’re not sure when it’s going to be out nor how many updates are there going to be. But at least for now, even if it’s just for practice, it’s going to be one of the things we’re going to be focusing on next. We’ll definitely let you know when these updates happen!

By the way, you can check our Twitter at @JorgeGameDev and @The_Moski since those are the main platforms through which we share our current projects and progress on what we are doing. And don’t forget to give a try to Colossorama 36 if you haven’t already!

Thanks again!

Colossorama 36

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 3:30 pm

What a weekend this was! We’ve been wanting to make a new post showcasing our project ever since we started, but every day we were so into what we were doing that there wasn’t any time left to actually make said post!

But now that the jam is over, and we finally got our breath back, we wanted to show you our project which we worked during the past three days. When we first set out to make it, we we’re a little worried the theme wouldn’t translate that well, but gladly, we believe that we managed to get the theme into the project pretty well.

Without further ado, we would like to present you Colossorama 36!

 

ColossoramaLogo

 

As a gladiator, you will die in combat, so you might as well take some people with you. Slay, chop and stab until your name is remembered in the Pantheon of Gladiators! The more heads you chop, the more pride and honor you deserve!

ColossoramaGif1

Gameplay is simple. You have to slay fellow enemy gladiators by using an arsenal of weapons and tech. These have mostly different stats and effects, which can determine the outcome of each wave.

Although you only start with a weapon and an item, at the end of every wave you are prompted to pick between three Pantheon Techs, and it doesn’t matter if the three options are worse than your current weapons, you must choose one!

ColossoramaGif2

The game and gladiator run ends whenever you run out of health. And when you’re done, we made it so you can even brag about it on Twitter!

Give Colossorama 36 a try! You can even play it in your browser! We are looking for any possible feedback so we can get a more proper idea about how to improve the gameplay and deliver a better game next time. We will be playing and leaving feedback on other games as well, since that’s the true spirit of any Ludum Dare. Gotta make those Feedback Friends, eh?

ColossoramaGif3

We are also planning on making a Post Mortem, but that will probably happen towards the end of the week. Of course, we’ll be making it public and post about it! Any knowledge is good knowledge for others!

Now, now, go on. Keep smashing skulls and rolling heads. Remember, gladiator blood is not going to spill itself.

In just as things are about to start!

Posted by (twitter: @JorgeGameDev)
Friday, August 26th, 2016 7:56 pm

Hey all! I’m in for the second time now, although it’s more like a first time since things didn’t really go that well last time I joined which was back in April. Never the less, I’m pretty confident that this time around things are going to go marvelously!

Since I’m still a newbie at this, I’ll be joining the Jam version with a friend, The_Moski who will be taking care of the art. Me personally, will be taking care of the programming (and hopefully the design) of the project. For tools I’ll be using Unity together with C#.

At this point I’m just waiting for the theme to be revealed so I can start up early in the morning tomorrow. We’ll be trying to post a DevLog at least everyday.

I’m really pumped for the journey that the next three days are going to be and I’m looking forward to checking the games that all of you are going to be creating! Good luck to all!

[cache: storing page]