About ratboy2713

Hobbyist game programmer, mainly doing 2d tile based games but trying to branch out.

LD22 - Lost in the Woods
LD23 - Path O' Invasion

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Ludum Dare 28
 
Ludum Dare 26
 
Ludum Dare 23
 
Ludum Dare 22

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Comments: Awesome, or Super Awesome

Posted by
Friday, May 11th, 2012 9:44 am

I just want to remind everybody that while rating is nice and gives us our chart at the end with the “winners” what is really important is to help others grow as a designer, and the best way you can do that is leave a comment after you play a game. Explain what you liked about the game and what you didn’t like, and even add things that you would have thought would improve the game. I always try to include  a comment to the games I rate and I make sure to list at least one positive thing along with my criticisms.

Also, try to include something the author isn’t already aware of or has heard a dozen times already. I’m upset that I didn’t think of this earlier, but read the other comments so you aren’t posting the 19th comment about how the colors look weird.

And, when you post a comment, there is a link to your game right there that the developer can click to play. I know my last twenty comments have come from people playing my game after I’ve commented on theirs.

I definitely appreciate all the feedback that I have gotten and it has led me to some great ideas for improving my game post-compo. I know everyone else would really appreciate a constructive comment whenever you play their game, so please try and take the time to leave one.

I’ve played 10%, here are my top n games!

Posted by
Monday, May 7th, 2012 8:34 am

And…… Done! I got through 10% of the total games and I’m mighty impressed. I have been mostly just searching for web games and am pleased that there are soo many games that don’t require anything to download. Anyway, here are my favorites (as in they received a 4 or 5 in the overall category).

Atomsmash – By Dan C. It’s a C64 game, like for reals. If you bother to you could actually play it on a  Commodore 64, and it would be awesome. If you don’t want to go through that, there is an emulator you can get to experience the awesome for yourself.

Aether – by Danik. It’s a planet defense game, with a bit of a twist. What happens to the planet on a large scale is experienced on the small scale. I love the concept, and the visuals for both large and small are stunning. Really a great game.

Deconstructorium – by GreyShock. Go into objects and steal their molecules, then use these molecules to destroy the world! Essentially a collection of minigames with a linking story of mad scientist. Really fun and very funny.

This Precious Land – by Ishisoft. A nice puzzle game where you create resources to try to grow a new land. Very relaxing and yet still engaging.

The Good Ship Higgs Boson – by Jezzamon. Its a platformer. No, hear me out, it’s a gravity manipulating platformer. Give it a chance, it is actually very polished and provides some good puzzles.

ANT SURF HERO: THE SURFENING – by Jigxor. This has been on everybody’s top N games list and if you haven’t played it by now, for shame. Anyway, very good, very pretty, very funny, play the game already!

My Little Planetoid – by matthias_zarzecki. You build up a planet and evolve to the point where you can travel through space. Very nicely done and relaxing to play. I would also like to thank Mathias Zarzecki for playing everyone’s game. Seriously, look at his coolness, he is really trying to play all of them and I salute you for your efforts.

Atom Planet – by NMcCoy. A little puzzle game that is a mix of minecraft and alchemy, with a cute little character and relaxing music.

Tiny World – by piterlouis. A planetary defense game with a bit of a twist. Defend your planet with your own orbiting moon. Very fun. Should have picked a better title, however.

Michael is Myopic – by Several. Another puzzle game where you eat to grow, and have to avoid growing too large too fast. Has a nice zoom out feature that just looks awesome.

Tiny World Cardgame – by SusanTheCat. A fantastic card game that I wish was real. I would play everybody in it. In fact, I’m going to print off the cards as soon as I’m done with this post.

Fracuum – by TylerGlaiel. A maze game where you zoom in to advance in the maze. Reach the center to win, but there will be enemies trying to impede your progress.

 

And there you go, my list of games you should play. It has been a long hard ride through some 140 odd games, but these gems made it all worth while. And, if you are feeling generous, also play my game, Path O’ Invasion. Not as good as those games, but it has squishy movement, and really that’s what Ludum Dare is all about.

Path O’ Invasion: Post Mortem

Posted by
Friday, May 4th, 2012 1:21 pm

So it has been a week and I’ve had time to think about it and now it is time to write up my thoughts in a nice solid post-mortem form. But first, play my game Path O’ Invasion!

What Went Right:

Tools – I laid out all my tools beforehand and had been practicing with them for the week before, so I knew what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. This really helps get things going as soon as the bell rings.

Starting Slow – I didn’t start on the game right away, I let the idea of Tiny World just sit there for a while whilst I did other things. This time apart from the contest ensured I didn’t make the same mistake I did last time, which was start a game I didn’t really want to make.

Time Management – I only spent about 25 hours actually working on the game. The rest of the time was spent sleeping, eating, hanging out with people, and generally being non-stressed. This time was good for me in that it prevented me from freaking out soo much, which is always a good step. Unfortunately it prevented me from adding some features that people have really missed *cough* Group select, AI balanace *cough* but I think it was for the best.

Keeping Assets Simple – Last time I created an asset heavy game, which was pretty terrible. I spent most of my time drawing very ugly backgrounds and generic level code and I didn’t get to program anything that really caught my attention. This time, for more than half the contest, I had one art asset and three class files. Keeping those things simple I was able to make a game I thought was fun, and then on the last day go around adding other assets to make it more diverse. I had a much better time this contest because of it.

Programmical Animation – Is that a word? I don’t think it is. Anyway, I’m not an artist, but I didn’t want my sprites to just slide around the screen. I came up with this little shrinking/expanding sprite movement (known in code as “squishy” movement) that I think looks so much better than anything I could have drawn.

Using Paper – There were a couple times when I was stuck on a problem and I kept trying to solve it in my head and turn that into code, and bugs just kept popping up. Finally I got out a sheet of paper and started writing out the problem, and it practically solved itself. Never underestimate the power of pen and paper.

What Went Wrong:

Programmical Animation – I spent way too much time trying to get this to look good. I’m very proud of the result, but that was all time that could have been making a decent AI. I had to stop and force myself to work on the rest of the game, which is why there are still obvious animation problems.

Scaling – While testing the game I had everything 4x bigger, to help me see animations and quickly move around. I thought that that wasn’t enough play area, so in the last few hours I shrunk it back down to 1x size. Because it was soo late, and I had been soo used to playing, I didn’t realize that this made seeing what is going on and selecting units very difficult to do. I probably should have left it ay 2x, or implemented some kind of zoom function.

Outside Testers – I meant to get on IRC and ask people to test my game before I finished, but I never got around to it. Because of that, there were never a fresh set of eyes on the game, and I think playability suffered from things not being too obvious.

 

Conclusion:

I had a lot of fun and I think I did far better on my second showing than I did my first time. I would like to thank my girlfriend for coming up with the initial game idea, for making me food, for preventing me from freaking out, for dealing with me and my crazy ideas all weekend, and for making me go to sleep. Nothing would have been done without you.

If you have a moment, please play and rate the game.

Path O’ Invasion Timelapse

Posted by
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 9:34 am

After about a week dealing with Avidemux unsuccessfully I’ve decided just to release the rough timelapse as is. If anybody could help me with either a better video editor or explain why camstudio can’t import into Avidemux, I would greatly appreciate it.

Anyway, play the game here:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=5162

Post Mortem to come shortly.

Probably should announce this.

Posted by
Thursday, April 19th, 2012 7:41 am

I plan to participate in LD23. Had such a blast last time and was really pleased with what I came up with, even if it wasn’t that good. This time I will be trying to create a 2.5d game using a custom engine I’ve been designing. Never know how these things will work out until you  put them in a game and see how they play. In case anyone is silly enough to try to learn an amatuer engine in one day and use it for the compo, here it is. Anyway, the tools:

Langauge: Java (so I can distribute the applet on the web, probably should just learn flash at some point)

Engine: Custom 2.5D engine (because I’m silly like that)

Graphics: Paint.NET (an old stand-by)

Sound: Audacity (I plan to make my own sound effects and then distort them to something hopefully cool)

Time Lapse: Chronolapse (though I can’t figure out how to get it to record just my second monitor. I may just have to write a script to trim all the images it creates so that it only shows the second monitor)

 

Good luck, everybody!

Let’s keep rating!

Posted by
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 1:55 pm

I’m finding a lot of good games that haven’t received many ratings yet, and that’s just sad. So please, check out these awesome games and let’s try to get every entry at least 20 votes.

Dread Maze (demonpants) – A cute little maze game that has your fighter running around and killing things while making hilarious noises.

Dark Isolation (epaik) – A roguelike where you find yourself trapped in a strange cave. Has a crafting system, hunger system, and bears, soo many bears.

Are We Alone?  (Fiona) – Travel from solar system to solar system in search of life trying to answer the age old question, are we really alone in the universe.

Alone with… things! (Hazard) – A boy with the ability to animate objects. Great mechanic and art style.

Tomes of Solitude (Maato) – A wizard with powerful spells in search of ancient tomes. Very fun to play and the most unique take on the theme I’ve seen yet.

Solitaire of Solitude (Lusmu) – A new card game for one. Once you figure out the rules it is very addicting, and the cards are well drawn and quite humorous.

Deserted (stefano_ninja) – a telekenetic wizard on a journey. I’m a sucker of telekenetic games, and this one is pretty good.

LDKittenRL (zackhovatter) – another roguelike. This time you are in search of your lost kitten. Along the way you must fend off insurance salesmen and wild mechanics. If you like roguelikes this is definitely worth your time.

Lost in the Woods (ratboy2713) – a shameless self plug. Now with an ending, a secret ending, and more than four buttons!

Lost in the Woods Post Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 9:40 am

For my entry I made a little point-and-click adventure game without the clicking.  If you haven’t already, you can play it here.


What went right:

Music – going into this I was fairly certain that I would be using some sort of chiptunes generator, but when the theme “Alone” was announced I figured there was no way I would get a chiptunes to work with the mood of being alone. I had given up on music within the first hour of production, but at the end of Saturday I got a little tune in my head, nothing fancy but it just might work. Sunday morning I got out a guitar and found a microphone and started recording just to see if I could make something. What I ended up with may not be fancy, but I like it and I think it is definitely better than silence. Though, since I went with live music I don’t think I should have used sfxr to generate sound effects, I think they kind of clash.

“Just do it” Attitude – When the theme was announced, I was at a loss for ideas. Fearing I would just give up if I didn’t do something, I started drawing a little sprite protagonist. After seeing him walk around I thought “he needs to be crushed by a tree.” The act of starting something allowed other ideas to flow and created a game for me, all I had to do was finish it.

*Crushed*

I'm about the get crushed. That's what went wrong.


What went wrong:

“Just do it” Attitude – By just starting right away without a plan, towards the end I had to start hacking things together in order to make them fit. Not having a plan before hand meant that I didn’t realize just how many assets I had to draw (as you will see, I’m terrible at drawing assets). And the code it cobbled together and held there with duct tape. I found myself writing the same thing over and over because the base class wasn’t created properly because I didn’t really know what it was going to be used for. Had I started with a decent plan I might have saved enough time to put in a small tutorial.

Theme – I was all prepared to create a tile based platformer and was hoping the theme would present a neat mechanic that could be used in the game. But when “Alone” was announced, all that went out the window. I was at a complete loss for ideas and nearly gave up right there. I actually wrote down several ideas for the themes from round five, but “Alone” was one of two that I couldn’t come up with a decent idea for. In the end, all I had was the vague idea “environment for the enemy” and I tried to make the best out of it.

Lack of instructions – If you watch the timelapse you may be able to see that there was an “Instructions” field in the main menu all the way up until about an hour before the end of the contest. I had intended to include just one screen explaining what type of game this is, what types of interactions the player has with the world, what clickable objects look like, and a hint to where to find the kitten. In retrospect, this really shouldn’t have been cut because without prior knowledge it isn’t obvious at all what the player can and can’t do.

The would-be Instruction screen

This is what the instructions were supposed to look like


Lessons Learned:

Take time to make a plan – I think next time I will dedicate the first hour to planning out what I’m going to do

Have completed basecode – There were still many things missing from my base code, like collision detection and a way to do fade outs. I didn’t want to look up anything while in the contest as it would waste time, so I made due with what I knew how to do at the moment (and that is why screen transitions are screen wipes).

Be strict about friends/family not bothering me – In the middle of Sunday I was called away by my family by what I expected to only be an hour which turned into five. Whenever I look at this game now I think what I could have done with those five hours.

 

All in all I learned a lot from the LD22 weekend and look forward to participating again. And please, if you haven’t, could you play and rate my game.

Ported web version up!

Posted by
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 9:28 am

Due to the fantastic packaging advice post now stickied to the page, I created a web applet wrapper for my game so that it could be played in browser, for those who don’t want downloads cluttering up their desktop.

I tested it in Chrome and in Firefox, please let me know if another browser is having trouble.

It is a little buggy because it is just a wrapper and is still trying to process the executable code, had I had this in mind from the start I could have segmented it better.  Something to keep in mind for the next one.

“Lost in the Woods” entry page.

“Lost in the Woods” Timelapse

Posted by
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 2:30 pm

Play the game here.

This is the time lapse of the full 48 hours of development, trimmed slightly so you don’t have to wait 30 seconds while I’m sleeping.

I like the concept of a timelapse, it makes it look like I know what I’m doing when I code something, as opposed to making it up as I go.

And again, if you could please play and rate my game, as well as leave any constructive criticisms, that would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks

The entry page.

Game completed!

Posted by
Monday, December 19th, 2011 9:28 am

I may not have been able to put in all the things I wanted to, but it is a game and it has an ending, so I’m pleased with it. The most fun I had was creating the death animation/sound/messages, so if you have some spare time try to get all the different deaths. I’ll add a proper postmortem later, and put up a timelapse when it finished building. And check out the entry page here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m In!

Posted by
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 9:01 am

I’m down for some Ludum dare fun times.  This will be my first attempt and hopefully my first success.  I will be using java and be voting for evolution.  I think it is time.

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