Ludum Dare 32
April 17th, 2015 @ 6:00 PM PDT/9:00 PM EDT (01:00 UTC)

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About sfernald


Ludum Dare 26
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MiniLD #17
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sfernald's Trophies

The A+ Post Founding Award for Excellence in Explaining Code Monkeys ("Well, of course, the problem is there are virtuosos out there that can accomplish a ridiculous amount with code.")
Awarded by GreaseMonkey
on January 10, 2011
The "I got your cookies. I got your cookies right here." Award
Awarded by GBGames
on August 26, 2010
A jagged trophy as tall as your waist blocks your path
Awarded by HybridMind
on May 2, 2008

sfernald's Archive

The Day of the Introns: An Incident in Laboratory 14

Posted by
Friday, April 20th, 2012 11:32 pm

Got a name for my entry and I think I have the story line in place. Think it should be a good fit for the theme.

So far I’m pretty happy with the progress. The writing seems to be flowing ok. TADS 3 is nice and I think I like it better than Inform 7. Much more intuitive to my OOP programmer’s brain. Still have a lot to learn with it to do anything interesting.

Hopefully I can come up with interesting puzzles tomorrow. So tired, I can’t think any more.

Good night all and good luck to you.

Embracing the Madness

Posted by
Friday, April 20th, 2012 2:12 pm

I have had a tough time deciding what framework to use this time.

I was going to do something flashy and vectory in Unity with RageSpline and PlayMaker with some tunes created with Cubase.

But I don’t know, I just sort of feel like writing something.

So I’ve decided to go ole school and I’m doing a work of interactive fiction. I’ve used Inform 7 before, but this time I’ll think I’ll try TADS 3 and see how that goes.

I’m going to use my MacBook Air, the Frob TADS compiler tools, Text Wrangler, and bash.

I got the colors just the way I like them in my text editor, yellow against black. And I got my bash looking all transparent and cool too. Too cool for school.

Have fun guys and good luck! Remember, don’t get stuck on anything for too long…

ABC, Always Be Compiling!

Wow, LudumDare is too huge now!

Posted by
Friday, April 20th, 2012 10:04 am

I think the number of first timers completely outnumber those of us who have been in the contest before. The posts are flying by. But not a single reply or even a “heart” on the front page. I doubt this post will last more than a couple hours on the front page.

I can remember when this contest had about 50 entries or so. Wow, times have changed.

Anyone entering the contest who has been around here for more than 5 years (like me)?

I’m in like sin

Posted by
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 11:20 am

I’m in for this one. Going to do a text adventure using inform 7. I’m hoping for some dark topic because I want to do something really dark this time.

Hope everyone has fun out there!

Donations for Ludum Dare?

Posted by
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 7:25 pm

I think I read somewhere on the site that the gentlemen who run Ludum Dare now have monthly server costs in excess of $200.00.

Shouldn’t there be some kind of donation system so we can contribute to the site?

I know I would be willing to contribute some of my money to keep this fine site up and running.

Hopefully this donation system comes up soon before the site goes into its inevitable hibernation between contests.

What do you guys think? Would you donate? (a star means heck yeah I would donate to the cause!)

Video Walkthrough for Scratchy Get Out!

Posted by
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 3:48 pm

Some people think my game is unbeatable, but it is actually not that bad once you know what to do. It is definitely easier than about half of the arcade games in the 80s which is what I tried to model it after.

There is one bug that causes real problems, but the workaround is you just have to wait at least eight seconds before dropping a boulder. I don’t think there are any other bugs that are really an issue to beating it.

Here is the video walkthrough. This one shows the “eliminate the obstacles” strategy. This is not the quickest way to win, but it is one of the easiest ways to win for sure. I died three times trying to make this video btw.

Video Walkthrough for Scratchy Get Out!

My game needs a walkthrough

Posted by
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 11:33 am

The feedback coming in is that my game is way too hard. The level that I managed to build would normally be like the last level of a 20 level game. It has everything thrown in it and I made it as hard as possible. If I had had more time I could have made the tutorial levels necessary to make it not so frustrating for players. The one thing I really screwed up on was running out of time before I could build more levels. I had this wonderful toolbox ready and I could have easily built more levels (especially easier ones) if I had just had time. Oh well, I learned a lot with Stencyl so next time my progress will be better. Game difficulty is something that I just need to start considering when I’m developing these games. It’s just something else that I’m going to have to add to the list. Hopefully I learn for the next entry ;)

Due to people having so many issues with making progress, here is the walkthrough:

Jump over the growlers and get a boulder. Climb the rope and jump on the cannon. The boulder should load into the cannon (if you aren’t standing on top of the cannon). Then the cannon should fire the boulder into the crane. Drop the boulder on the blue rock by controlling the crane. the rock should break if you hit it. By the way, due to a bug, always wait at least 10 seconds after loading the crane before dropping a boulder. Ok, now you have a way to get back down and get more boulders. Keep doing so and reloading the cannon and try to kill off as many of the obstacles (knifers and growlers) that you think you need to to make it easy to get more boulders. Once you feel safe, start dropping the boulders on all of the things above the exit. Once you have cleared a path to the exit, then this time load a boulder but stay on top of the boulder. This might take a few tries (you have to be on the boulder just right). But then if done correctly the boulder should shoot you up into the crane and you will be stuck in it. Now move the crane over to where the exit is and release down. You have escaped!
END SPOILER ***********************************

This Weekend’s Big Score

Posted by
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 11:06 pm

Hey the real good news this weekend was that I took late friday night off from the compo and managed to score a $99 HP TouchPad. Woot!

Welcome to the hotel TouchPad,
Where you can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave.

Postmortem for Scratchy Get Out!

Posted by
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 1:04 pm

The Planning (or Lack Thereof)

It’s funny the way things turn out. Every time the contest comes around, I hope that I have honed my game-making skills so I’ll really be ready to make something great. The reality is that I only make games as a hobby and I don’t have that much time to spend on it, so I’m always ill prepared when the time comes. I think I know what language and framework I’m going to use, but I’m always watching the board to find that Magic Bullet to help allow me to spend more time making the game and less time on all the other crap.

So this time the Magic Bullet that would save me was Stencyl (at least I was praying), which I noticed in posts on here a few times. It is a tool that lets you make games without coding. It is one of those, do-it-all game making environments like GameMaker, Multimedia Fusion and Unity. Out of those three I only really like Unity, but I don’t think it’s ideal for contests like this one because 3D tends to add a lot of complexity that can keep you from making a great game in the time frame allotted.

Stencyl is a java based IDE that generates flash games. Internally, It uses many popular frameworks such as flixel and box2d. I guess the idea of it is based on some sort of MIT project. Basically it lets you code your game with “lego-like” blocks that you drag and drop around. Here’s the funny thing. It actually works. It saves time. And it’s fun. It lets you visualize all of your code in one page, which is pretty amazing.

The Coding

Wait, there was no coding actually. I wrote not a single line of code. Now you can do that with GameMaker and such, but I always found them limiting. Building your game with Blocks in Stencyl did not feel nearly so limiting to me. Here’s the thing. When I started I knew nothing about Stencyl. The first thing I did when the contest started was build the 15 minute game which allowed me to create a few actors and behaviors and create a scene. I had something working immediately.

But I had no idea of what kind of game to make. All I knew was that I wanted to make something that looked like a classic arcade game. I was tired with doing experiments and weird stuff and wanted to try making a platformer for the first time ever.

Scratchy Get Out actually just came about through playing with the actors, deciding to try something, creating an actor or behavior, and seeing how it turned out. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to add AI details that I never would have had time to do if I were just coding this in FlashPunk. Every actor has multiple AI behaviors. All of the behaviors are simple but there were so many, that the game started to develop into something I had not comprehended before. I was very simply able to lay out accurate collision boxes (or other shapes) and control what actors interacted with what. For example, the crane was probably the most complex AI. It could catch boulders or players showing different animations for each action. When it was loaded, you could control it. It passed messages to tell the player to halt all movement. Then you could release the object the crane was holding (actually the crane created the object) and it would reset itself and reactivate everything. I know from my past experiences, that I’ve never had time in one of these contests to delve into such AI details and polish things as much as I was able to.

The thing is I didn’t have that much time so I was only able to do one level. I had to do all the graphics (including animations) and I barely had time to create some sound effects with SFXR. But later I made another level. A totally cool indiana jones style levels with falling boulders that would shake the screen when they hit the ground. I think I could easily pump out ten more fun levels today if I set my mind to it because stencyl makes level design so ridiculously easy.

And even though Stencyl was easy to learn, I did learn a ton over that 48 hours. If I was to redo it, I know some things that could probably cut my work time in half. I’m now aware of some things I was doing the hard way or incorrectly that should be much easier now.

The Graphics

I am really crappy with graphics. Stencyl really helped for this though. What I did was just design my game by picking out placeholder graphics provided by the Stencyl community. I think this has a big advantage to just making quick temporary graphics. I was able to pick out images that I actually liked and enjoyed playing with during development. I think it helped with the actual development because I was inspired by how cool things looked. Then when the game was completely done and I was running out of time, I fired up the Stencyl graphic editor and created my own likenesses of the graphics that were in placeholder. Because I kind of knew what I wanted, it was really easy and I actually think some of my art turned out better than the fine placeholder art (like the cannon for example).

The Sounds

I was determined to get sounds in. Usually I try to do something ambitious with my synths and effects machines, but I just didn’t have time on this one. I only spent about an hour on sound, generating a few sound effects with SFXR which is a wonderful time saving tool. Ok, it’s a classic must have for when you only have ten minutes left in a contest and you want sound! I mean what else is there for that?

What Went Right

Well, everything went right this time. I’ve done this enough to know every time the contest starts, the experience is going to be different. Sometimes it’s going to be easy as smooth sailing and somethings things are going to go so badly that I will want to kill myself (or at least just give up, which I have done more than once). This time I felt very calm the whole time because when using stencyl I was spending about 95% of time actually making the high-level AI for the game. I knew that at any point, I could just add a couple more actors and behaviors and whip up a game of some sort. So the whole time I could just work with total confidence and spend the time adding more and more cool game AI like fun death scenes and little animation details like the player’s head stuck in the crane.

What Went Wrong

I wish I had had another few hours because I really didn’t get to utilize one aspect of Stencyl which is its great level designing tools. Once I had the first level done and the art and the sound and all those actors and behaviors, I could have easily built ten more cool levels in a matter of a couple of hours. I mean, just with the actors and behaviors I created, I left so much on the table that the player will never see that it is kinda sad. Because of that, I’m going to work up about 40 levels or so and release a new version later on. Hopefully it will have the things I didn’t have time for like a menu screen and all the features a game should have.

Final Comments

As always, it was a wonderful experience. I look forward to trying everyone’s games. I hope all of you got what you wanted out of this contest as well. In the end, we aren’t competing against each other, but against ourselves and if there’s one thing I learned is that doing as many of these contests as you can, will only make you better and better at making games.

Scratchy Get Out!

Posted by
Sunday, August 21st, 2011 8:53 pm

Wow, finished my game and am just exhausted.

This is an arcade game that I tried to model after classic arcade games like Mario Bros. The objective is to escape from the room (alive).

I should point out this is as much a puzzle game as it is an arcade game. It is pretty tricky but it is solvable. You will definitely have to use your brain to escape the room.

Well, please check it out. It is in flash and I posted it on Kongregate. Let me know if you like it. Hopefully I can do more levels now as that should be super easy.

Warning, this thing is probably buggy as hell. I got what I could, but there have to tons of issues left.

Taking a Break at Five Guys

Posted by
Sunday, August 21st, 2011 12:32 pm

Ok, it’s probably a good time to take a break and post an update. I’m at five guys eating a nice cheeseburger and some peanuts. Dig Dug, my Jack Russell, is barking in the car. I’m saving him one of the patties. The wife is gone for the day at the spa.

Yuummm, these burgers are really delicious.

Anyway, it turns out I’m doing my first platformer. It’s very arcady like Mario Bros or something like that.

You just have to figure out how to escape the screen by doing a bunch of arcady things like getting shot out of a cannon and jumping over baddies and so forth.

Ended up using stencyl which is awesome. No coding whatsoever done so far. For graphics I’m using the stencyl editor and graphics gale. I give stencil an A+. It’s a bit buggy and crash prone but besides that it really lets you get done to the task at hand – making fun games.

I think this will end up being my best game in terms of fun if I finish it.

Well, I better finish this delicious burger and get back to it.

Good luck guys!

Committing to ludum dare 21

Posted by
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 4:56 pm

Missed the last couple minis even though I had intended to enter. But I’m going full board on Ludam Dare. Already pre-allocating the time with the wifey.

This time I plan on using JavaScript for the first time. I’m going to use ImpactJS. My goal is to make a simple but fun puzzle game. I’m going to keep my ambition in check this time so I can allocate as much time as possible into just making it fun. My intention with JavaScript is that the game will work on every computer, tablet and smart phone out there. Hopefully ImpactJS is up to the task there.

I’m hoping the theme is fun. Somewhat silly is cool. It seems like most the themes end up being so generic. It would be nice to really have to put a lot of thought into the theme.

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