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Ex-Fraktion : Post Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 2:21 am

 

Hi I’m Tom, programmer/game designer on Ex-Fraktion, that you can play here

>>> PLAY EX-FRAKTION <<<

What is Ex-Fraktion ? Imagine Inception, except you control all the characters. I’d like to know how to pitch it without this reference but its the easiest way, since Inception is a heavy inspiration.

I started this project with Flex Roman, a very talented friend who made all the art and also helped with the design, and Lucas Maupin who did all the funky music and gave a crazy mood to the game (that fits the flashing colors !)

Here’s my post-mortem, mostly about the game design itself.

screen2

What went right ?

The game was ambitious, but we managed to make something I’m very proud of. This is my most polished ludum dare made on Unity yet. It’s fast paced and flashy.

I had that concept in my drawer for some time, except it was a local multiplayer game (the four players start on the same screen, then the screen splits while one player stays back to look for the others, etc…). However since we were all in differents cities/countries, we decided we’d make it a solo game, since we couldn’t have tested it together, and there aren’t that many people that could have rated the entry if it needed 4 controllers.

I’m happy because this is like a nice prototype, and I feel like it’s working, so maybe if someday I want to add controller and multiplayer support, it won’t take much time. Maybe we can provide a very INTENSE multiplayer experience.

Going from multiplayer to solo induced many changes :

  • The game cannot be too complex, since you’ll have a hard time following four screens simultaneously. In the extended concept, I thought about players give each other ressources through dimensions, like for instance you had limited ammo and needed to always provide your “guardian” with some. That could work with 4 players, but here, it’d just be impossible to follow.
  • Going from one screen to another can be frustrating, especially if there are too many monsters everywhere preventing you from really moving forward. First, switching screens is very fluid since all you have to do is hover with your mouse upon them. Second, we reduced the number of ennemies a lot to make it easier.
  • Since you can only play one one screens, all the others were inactive, and it didn’t really give an impression of simultaneous action. We added pills, that if you pickup, will transform your “upper self” into a temporary turret. This way you can play more peacefully on one screen while the monsters are automatically killed in another.
  • Flex came up with the ideas of “teleporter cuves” that you have to pick up and gather to activate the teleporter. I think it works very well because it gives you a mission in each level other than just shooting. Also since you have less characters each time, it’ll be faster and faster, and the first screen really feels more complete with it.

Flex made a cool shader that allowed us to easily switch colors for each dimension, and give its own identity to the game. Lucas’s music helped us build something a bit weird, and also induced the title, which is a combination of private joke/reference/theme of the game.

Maybe you won’t notice it as first, but the timescale is different in each Screen :) They’re divided by 2 each time you go “deeper”.

screen3

 

What could be better ?

Feature-wise, I thought of adding a “hardcore mode” where you’d have a time limit to extract from each screen. It’d be a time-attack mise en abyme, and could add a lot more intensity, especially if you rushed out of every zone just in time !
I think the game’s already hard enough for someone who has never played it, so I won’t add that feature yet.

I’m happy with the project, but the only thing that bothers me is that it’s “just” another shooter and we could probably have grasped something better with that concept (Personnally, my goal for the next Ludum Dare is to make a game without shooting/killing at all). As Flex mentionned, the game lacks planification, and defense phases aren’t the most interesting.

But at the same time, I know that we couldn’t have made something too complex since it’s a solo game. Another idea I had was to take inspiration from the game Surround, where each character has a weapon archetype, and if we made 4 archetypes we could have a choice of “which one do I leave here ?” if the challenge was a bit different in each screen.

Well that’s it. I don’t know if many people will read this, but writing this down helps me :)

Posted by
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 2:18 pm

I have finally managed to make the physic work the way I wanted it. This will be a fighting game where you shape your only attack.

Finally getting somewhere…

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 5:05 pm

This is the Ludum Dare I’ve been the less working on so far. I changed the aesthetic of my game multiple times, and I’m not convinced yet. But it works, tomorrow will be used for tweaking, polishing, adding features and sound.

screen01

Minimalazor is a platform shooter where you start with only a triangle. Shapes reveal a level, and with your first interaction, you’ll create a goal to reach. You’ll then be reborn, and face your other incarnations to make the goal reappear. When you shoot, you fire laser thingies that last kind of long and will be dangerous for your next reincarnations. The idea is that less is more, even when you shoot : learn to aim carefully and fire at the right time if you want to last longer.

Right now the game is too hard, Tomorrow I want to give the platform shooter aspect some better feelings and an easier start :)

Same themes every time…

Posted by
Sunday, April 21st, 2013 9:54 am

Haha, I keep seeing the same themes every four months. Why do we keep seeing “Afterlife” and “Chaos” for example, those are quite mainstream themes. And you can put some chaos in your game with every possible theme ! Even if the theme is something like “peaceful”, you can have chaos as an opposition to peaceful moments.

Of course there are always some original ways to use these themes, but most people won’t push the reflexion too far, and we’ll see the same kind of ideas everywhere. Like in “Evolution”, how many people did a game about getting stronger and bigger ? That’s already a concept present in many, many games.

I’m not the kind of guy that will say “oh, this theme sucks” because even if they disappoint me, there is always something to do. But I wonder why there is a theme slaughter if the ideas are the same every four months. For instance, latest Global Game Jame theme was the sound of a heartbeat. This leads in so many different directions, like rythm, blood, life…

Super Generic Princess Saver, Timelapse & Post Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 2:58 am

 

 

 


title

Go play and rate the game here !

screenprincesssavr

Super Generic Princess Saver is a game about the classic good guy always saving princesses from the evil princess-kidnapping monsters.
You play as the owner of the central castle and wander around, slashing people and castles with your sword to save the princesses they hold and bring’em back to your castle. But are you really helping them ?

What went right

I found the concept pretty quickly and decided to stick on it, even though I found it a bit too classic (A game about -not-saving princesses where you’re the bad guy ? huh). I didn’t have any difficulty with the code and achieved to do the titlescreen I wanted. In the end, my game is quite polished and finished.

What went wrong

I managed my time really wrong, not leaving enough time for playtesting and tweaking, that I did in the last two hours or so. I couldn’t add all the features I wanted because I was never sure of the direction I wanted to take. Controls are quite hard to handle, because I left the hitbox from the sword slash attack too hard to use.

What to do next time

Ask my friend to playtest some more, write ALL the gameplay mechanics right at the beginning, learn to do some better music, and learn to manage time for code/drawing better.

princessrape

 

 

Finally, a title !

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 6:10 am

screen08

 

 

Not sure if I’ll let the “Or is it kidnapper ?”, but my game isn’t very subtle anyway…

I feel pretty good.

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 4:17 am

Oh, this is coming along quite well.

screen07

Maybe this is just an impression, but I feel like I’ll have enough time to do what I want.

What’s left to do :

  • Graphisms, almost everything is a placeholder
  • Tons of effects on the Villain Vision
  • Titlescreen
  • Feedbacks, making sure the game is still readable, where the princesses are…
  • Quick Tutorial
  • Tweaking the ennemy apparition so it feels ultra fast paced and MAD !!11!
  • And maybe I’ll have time to add the powerups I envisionned 😀

Progressing slowly

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 1:50 am

screen03

 

I cannot chose an art style yet :( but looking at meaningless circles and squares is annoying

Early screenshot

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 9:11 pm

screen01

 

Okay, I will finally do a not so original concept, but I’ll use my best weapons, polish and humour, to make it interesting and dynamic

On the road again

Posted by
Thursday, December 13th, 2012 2:38 am

Even though I’ve learnt many things since my last ludum dare, I don’t feel ready to use HTML5 this week end, so I’ll stick with Game Maker, because I know I’ll be able to do what I want with the graphisms. I’ll focus on defining the game as precisely as I can and find an interesting idea, based on my previous mistakes in jams. Also, I’m quite happy since I’ve motivated a few people I know to jam this week end as well, so we’ll work on our projects next to each other this week end =D

This is the end, my friend.

Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 7:38 pm

This is over, and I’ve got a playable game at least :p I couldn’t be more relieved.

Even though my game might not be so innovative, try it and try to reach level 10 !

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=8502

I already cannot wait for the next Ludum Dare :)

Field of view !

Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 10:45 am

Demotivated and late but hey, here’s a screenshot !

Upgrading the field of view with radar and stuff ! Snake, your time is over.

First glance at the perk tree !

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 6:30 pm

When upgrading perks, the tree’s branches get more colours and lights

Lack of motivation…

Posted by
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 12:05 pm

I have to say I’m not very happy with the theme… I feel like many games are going to be alike. Whatever, I’m doing some kind of infiltration game where you have to absorb people weaker than you to get new abilities and grow.

Shiny NPC Random Patterns :3

Posted by
Friday, August 24th, 2012 10:46 pm

The NPCs now have a behaviour and move around randomly, following the player

First screenshot

Posted by
Friday, August 24th, 2012 9:34 pm

Finally came up with an idea, don’t know if I’ll make it on time or if i’ll be fun enough, but oh well…

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