About sf17k


Ludum Dare 17
Ludum Dare 16
Ludum Dare 15

sf17k's Trophies

He Be Trippin' Award
Awarded by madk
on May 2, 2010
The Better Than An LSD Trip Game Award
Awarded by xeon06
on April 27, 2010

sf17k's Archive

Nuclear Test Postmortem

Posted by
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 6:32 am

I was feeling like crap so I figured I’d do a Ludum Dare game to cheer me up. The theme turned out to be crap so I decided to just make a stupid game instead of a good one. I hated working on it and just wanted it to end the whole time, and was totally ignoring it for part of the day. That seems to have helped me avoid getting too focused and prioritize my TODO list so ironically the game turned out okay.

I did get something out of it. I learned how to prioritize features and that it’s really better to do something you want to do as soon as possible instead of waiting for the right time, even if it’s shoddy, because the longer you’re exposed to it the more improvements you can make. But that doesn’t really help because I still felt like crap working on the game, and I still feel like crap whenever I do anything positive, and the ego trip from reading the comments on it doesn’t make up for it in the end.

P.S. On a lighter note, the game was inspired by a Radiolab episode that discussed how fighter pilots performing high G-force maneuvers sometimes lose consciousness and have dreams and out of body experiences. I read that hallucinations can also happen due to sensory deprivation in high altitude flight. Of course, my game isn’t even close to the actual experience, but I thought it was an interesting idea.

Play Nuclear Test

Know Your Islands

Posted by
Sunday, April 25th, 2010 7:15 pm

Island Abduction
Island Airline
Island Assault
Island Balance
Island Conflict
Island Construction Malfunction
Island Defence
Island Defence
Island Defender
Island Defender
Island Defense
Island Escape
Island Guns
Island Hermit Hop!
Island Hopping
Island Jumper
Island of Bounty
Island Planet!
Island Repair Man
Island Rescue
Island Robotica
Island Shoving
Island Skate Delivery Boy
Island Survivor
Island Tour Racing
Island Towers
Island Warriors
Island World
Islands At War
Islands Far Away
Islands in the Sky
Islands of the Stone God
Islands Survival
Islands!?! Curses!?!
Islands: Through the Sweep of Stars

Let’s pick a theme with more variety next time.

Worth it

Posted by
Sunday, April 25th, 2010 2:10 am


I like colors

Posted by
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 10:45 pm



Posted by
Saturday, April 24th, 2010 5:31 pm


The Right Theme

Posted by
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 6:29 pm

The final round of theme voting is approaching, and I’ve been thinking. Considering how big Ludum Dare is getting, and how influential the theme is to the quality of the compo, I want to make sure we pick the right one. We don’t want to repeat LD#11’s mistake of choosing Minimalist and losing entrants just because they couldn’t come up with anything, or get a boring theme and be left with over 100 identical games. Plus, this time around we had so many theme suggestions (over 400) that they had to be trimmed down based on informal criteria, some themes that people would’ve liked to see were left out. I want to discuss what actually makes a good theme, so that we can get everyone on the same page and come up with a better way to select and vote for themes.


To know what makes a good theme, first we need to know who it’s supposed to be good for. What kind of people participate in LD? Why do they participate? Here’s the reasons I came up with:

  • It’s a fun, low-barrier-to-entry test of one’s abilities.
  • It’s an excuse to work on something and get a feeling of accomplishment.
  • It’s a social community event.
  • It’s a chance to achieve fame and fortune, if you make a good game.
  • Competing to win is a test of one’s mastery of design, coding, and art skills.

Now, participants are very varied people. We have different development styles, different skill levels of designing/coding/art, and different preferences with regards to game genre and style. A good theme should be able to accomodate as many of these as possible, while unifying the entries with a common inspiration. With the goals of LD participants in mind, here are my proposed criteria for a good theme:

  1. Can be interpreted in a number of ways such that it is a key part of the game.
  2. Sufficiently restricts freedom of choice, to stimulate creativity.
  3. Can be implemented in different game genres, using different mechanics.


Why Evolution sucks

Posted by
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 8:36 pm

Have you ever worked with ANY program involving evolution? They all take hours at best, weeks at worst, just to run long enough to get interesting results, let alone to develop.

Way back I used to play with SodaConstructor, an applet where you make 2D moving creatures out of springs and muscles (which are springs that expand and contract according to a sine wave) joined at the ends. A related applet was SodaRace, where you built a track for these creatures to race on, and tried to build the one that got to the end the fastest. Someone made a program that took a creature and randomly varied various aspects of its construction, put a bunch of these mutants on a track, and raced them, picking the fastest ones and repeating this in a process of evolution. It took hours just to get something remotely interesting, and days to come up with a maybe kinda cool result.

Same story for a bunch of life simulators that I’ve tried that you can google for. Usually the story is I run it, see a bunch of weird creatures move around randomly being stupid, and maybe if I leave it running overnight the next day I’ll see a bunch of one creature that moves around randomly, in a way that happens to not consistently lead to death. It’s watching paint dry.

There are several problems with simulating evolution: (more…)

How to make crappy art

Posted by
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 4:48 pm


UPDATE: Experience my poor art in a game, thanks to JonathanW!

I get peeved about things for no good reason a lot. One of those things is crappy art in games. I’m not really a great artist so I don’t know how to make good art, but I do know what I don’t like about bad art, so I decided to complain about it in the form of this exciting tutorial! I figure knowing what to avoid is at least as important as knowing what to do, so here is my guide to making really bad art for your game! (more…)

Tutorial: Realistic Drawing

Posted by
Sunday, April 18th, 2010 5:29 pm


[Reference photo]

A lot of people think they can’t draw. The truth is, nearly everyone can, they just never learned how.

There’s visual drawing and symbolic drawing. Drawings that are like photographs, look real, use shadows to suggest at 3Dness are visual drawings. Simplistic children’s drawings with stick figures and simple outlines are symbolic drawings. Visual drawings are the result of the artist’s mind focusing on outline, color, proportion, how the subject actually looks. Symbolic drawings are the result of focusing on words, meanings, and mental representations of a subject.

To draw realistically, forget what it is you’re drawing, pay no regard to mental representations and ideas, and focus on the reality of the colors and contours of the subject. Visual drawing is like tracing what you’re seeing.

Without turning your head, notice the dark and light areas of this image. If you like, get a piece of paper, relax, and quickly sketch where the dark areas are without paying any attention to what the image is about: (more…)

road postmortem

Posted by
Thursday, December 17th, 2009 11:29 pm

since people might be wondering

the “music” should be best appreciated as textural rather than melodic

falling off is the end

the fact that there’s no gameplay is intentional

the only part I didn’t finish is windows on downtown skyscrapers

the game does have meanings but none of them are related to each other

I get a kick out of the love/hate reviews

everything was drawn with a mouse


Posted by
Sunday, December 13th, 2009 10:25 am


game makeing tutorial

Posted by
Friday, December 11th, 2009 6:59 pm

oh no LD haha its crappy game season

i hope the theme is snow because i know wher to get some LOL its in my back yard

i made a tutorial to help people I hope you like it

  1. get an idea. like rolling snow balls
  2. make a clear simple goal from it. “make the biggest snowball” isnt clear because you dont know biggest than what? i will use “roll up all the snow”. other good ones are: get to the exit without dieing, eat all the apples, kill the evil boss. if its not simple the game will be confusing
  3. add obstacles to get in the way. if the snowball is too big it will be too hard to push so thats my obstacle (you can only push it downhill). it will be a puzzle game to rollu p all the snow by finding the right way to roll your balls LOL
  4. make sure its not boring. if your game is about shoting enemys and theres no reason not to shoot them then its a crap game because “should I shoot him?” is a boring choice. good decisions make you give up something because fun is when you make risky decisions in your life. so the risk in my game is that rolling a ball makes it too big and then you lose the puzle
  5. test it by makeing a simple version on your paper so you know its fun. delete all your boring ideas, you mihgt have a lot of them so dont fall in love with your turd game haha. look at my game that i made in like 10 seconds while i typed this (my camera string is not part of it tho):prototype
    i also wrote down the rules which i edited until it was fun to play. can you get all the snow??? you move snowballs up down left or right, except against an arrow, unless they rolled into it. balls dont roll downhill automatically, you have to push them down. also its supposed to say “10 or more” snow. i already started that level it was kinda tricky
  6. now you can add powerups very carefully but dont forget to make them intersting tradeofs and dont add them if they make the game boring. i could add a rule to remove one snow by melting it with pee but I havent played the game enough to know if it would be any more fun also its kinda gross

so now you can make your game. but watch out for these highly important tips:

  • design while youre sleepy at night or just got up because thats when your brain is the best at creativity and art
  • write down your ideas so you dont forget them when youre programming
  • if youre not sure about an idea, do not do it. simpler is better.
  • finish the game in 24 hours, because it always takes twice as long as you expect

good luck making your crap game, everybody! (plz vote this 5 stars if you liked it)


Posted by
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 3:34 am


Cave Mushrooms Postmortem

Posted by
Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 1:02 pm

When I saw “Caverns” I quickly thought MinerVGA and decided to make a sidescrolling game about mining for gold and facing dangers like cave-ins and enemies. I decided that wasn’t going to work for some reason, and went to bed to come up with more ideas. (I always go to bed when I need ideas because late evening and early morning is when the mind is most creative.) The second concept was a sidescroller about shooting at cave formations like stalactites/stalagmites and suspended bridges to make them physics down onto enemies. After thinking about it for a while on Saturday morning, I started to hate that idea. It seemed gimmicky and hard to pull off well.


Several random walks. The final level generation algorithm isn’t much different. (more…)

Messin With Procedurals

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 3:53 pm

This uses my level generator code: Lightning (Video)

DoomDrive Postmortem

Posted by
Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 1:06 am

Since I want to learn to write good blog posts, I would appreciate any feedback about which parts of the following post you found interesting. I tried to make it not dull. Hopefully you’ll learn a couple of new game design tricks or something. And if you’re not a programmer, just ignore any code, you won’t miss much.

The wiki mentioned that I should keep a log of some sort as I develop my game. I decided to write short entries in a txt file, then thought I would post it all when I was done. Now that my game is finished, I thought it would be a good idea to expand this short log into a full commentary-type thing of my Ludum Dare 14 experience. I will describe the development of DoomDrive in detail in the hopes that someone will find this interesting. Maybe this will make up for not doing a timelapse. Note: In this post, all times are EST and entries from the original log.txt file are italicized.

SF’s devlog

The first real language I learned was C++, I started learning it at age 11 when my older brother gave me a book about it. I didn’t know anything about compilers then so I couldn’t even write a program until much later, but I absorbed the information with great interest anyway. I love C++ for its speed and the amount of control it gives me over my code. When choosing graphics and sound libraries to start learning I did a few comparisons and settled on OpenGL with GLFW helper tools, and OpenAL. I haven’t had too much trouble with these (though my OpenAL knowledge is limited) and they’re what I know best so they’re what I used to make DoomDrive.

Car sketch

Saturday morning (18apr09)

2:40 – Forgot about LD for the past couple days, remembered it just now.
The contest began at 23:00 on Friday, so it was 3:40 in. I had decided to start developing a game (unrelated to any contests) a week before. It was to be my very first serious game (a space shooter, heavily inspired by the rather obscure Hell Fighter). I’d done enough half-projects experimenting with the aspects of game design – code structure, physics, graphics, art, sound, game theory, etc – that I knew I had a good grip on making games… I just hadn’t done it yet (other than a GameMaker game I made at 14, and of course Tetris). My problem was I never felt like doing anything. (more…)

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