About shatterhand

I work as a teacher, I teach programming at Colégio Graham Bell, in Rio de Janeiro.
I also love gaming, and have been doing games as a hobby since I was about 10 years old, in my old MSX computer.

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Post mortem for Videogame Hero

Posted by
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 3:36 pm

Post mortem for Videogame Hero

Thats the game:
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=14551

 

This was my fourth time participating in Ludum Dare, I think it’s the first time I write a Post Mortem.

I really liked the game I’ve made.

It took me like half an hour of thinking to get to my idea for the teme. I was sure I could do everything I wanted in time for the 48 hours compo. I decided to begun what I knew it was going to be harder to do: the Platform section, and then I would move on for the second harder (The racing section), then all the other 3 sections I knew would be easy to do. Then I’d add the hub to connect all the worlds and code the energy bar / energy recovery system (But I’d already “prepare” the worlds I was coding to work with all this). I actually had first thought about changing worlds by pressing F1-F5.. then I though about an animation screen showing your “hero” moving from one world to another, like in a map… and then I thought “Hell, why not make the map a playable part of the game?”, and that’s how I came up with that hub.

Then for the first 3-4 hours, I worked on the basis for the Platform section. And boy, how I’d like to be able to draw. Someone made a nice comment about the graphics for the game, but I must admit, I have absolutely no drawing skills. The main hero in the platform section has just 2 frames of animation, and still it took me like 2 hours to draw its animation properly (If you can call that “proper”).
I finished the base for that world and went to sleep. What I had was the main hero moving and jumping properly, the blocks being generated at random, the arrows being shot at the player the way I wanted (And getting faster as the game goes by – there’s a “global” clock counting the gaming time, so difficulty raises as you keep playing). There were moments when the blocks would appear too far and there was no way to reach any blocks, but I was going to fix that later, as I needed some sleep.
In the next day, I had a big problem at my house that took me around 6-8 hours to solve. This took a lot of development time, and I ended up removing lots of features I wanted to have in the game. I just rushed to code the base of every world, make everything work, and then I’d add features as long as I could before the deadline.

For the base of the game, what really gave some headaches was finding a balance in the platforms spamming so there would be *always* a way to keep moving up without having to fall down. I think I did this very well, but I am not 100% sure there aren’t moments where’s just impossible to keep moving up. Also the racing part, I wanted to have some AI with the CPU cars, they had to be able to make turns and avoid each other, but it was getting so hard to make it work properly that I just added the possibility of they blowing up if they touch each other or the track, and left whatever of the AI I had already coded in there. It was not a bad decision at all IMO. The shmup, DDR and brick-breaker sections gave no problems at all and everything went very smooth there. Then I coded the hub, added the power ups on each section. On each world you need to make a certain amount of points to make the power up to appear. I had alredy written down in a paper a way to make each world energy to be recharged on at least 2 worlds. I then quickly coded the “world travel” screen… I wanted to do something different, I coded a routine in like 2 minutes, and the effect was actually differnt from what I wanted… and way cooler. So I kept it like that.

Then I went to add all features I wanted in each section. Like I said, I had less time for coding than I thought I would have, and I had to cut a lot of stuff. What’s really funny is that I think the game is actually *better* without most of those features, since they would make the game more complicated and less fun to play.

The features I wanted to add and I didn’t:

Platform Section: Bricks that would span spikes from time to time and hurt the player. Springs that would make the player jump higher. Bricks that would appear and dissapear from time to time. (This would make the game harder for no reason)

Racing Section: Cars that would move left and right to make the game harder. (Again, it would just make the game harder for no reason)

Shmup section: A proper boss fight (it would kill the flow of the game)

Brick-Breaker: Power ups like enlarge your paddle or triple balls. (Now those could be nice additions I guess)

Hub section: A random power up that would recharge every world energy (I thought this would be pointless really)

What I *actually* managed to add in the last 4-5 hours.

Platform Section: Moving platforms. (I *really* wanted that, and it was the “later-feature” that took the longer to do, as I had to make them work together with the spamming of normal bricks and not make stuff appear on top of each other and break everything)
Racing Section: Background scenery (They look crap, but make the game more alive)
Brick Breaker and DDR sections: Nice background animations (I actually loved the DDR background animation).

I then wrote a music very quickly on Ejay, added some sound effects for the game, and I spent the last 90 minutes trying to balance how often the power ups appear on each world so the game didn’t turn impossible to soon but also couldn’t be easily played forever. This was really hard to do and I don’t think I did it properly, but giving the development time, I was pretty satisfied with how I managed to do it.

In the last 10-30 minutes for the deadline I saw a bug with the track in the racing gaming “dissapearing” in the bottom of the screen. I had no time to fix that, so I just draw a big green rectangle on that spot on screen and called it a day.

The Platform section ended up being to hard, the player slided too much with inertia, so I fixed that on a pos-compo and the later HTML5 version.

I’d like to balance the way power-ups appear on each level, as its clear some levels are easier to mantain than others, and I know most people avoid the platform level as much as they can, because its harder than all others. This could be fixed, but other than that, I am really satisfied with the game and I personally love to play it.

If you read all this and haven’t played the game, I hope this sparks some curiosity and you go check it out. It’s playable as a Windows EXE and on HTML5 Web Browsers :)

My awful work so far :)

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 1:03 am

ld

 

So this is what my game look so far. I am not much of an graphic artist as you can see. That main character has just 2 frames of animation and still got me a long time to do it, argh.

 

I am afraid I may have gone a little too ambitious for 48 hours this time, I am afraid I may not finish my concept, since I haven’t done even just 15% of what I’ve planned.

 

5 Am here in Rio de Janeiro now, I guess I better get some sleep :)  (I am not even a little bit tired, yet I believe its better I get some sleep anyway :D)

 

 

I’m in, etc.

Posted by
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 3:30 pm

I’ve decided to take part of LD this time.

I think it has been a year since the last time I participated, it was the one with the “Minimalism” theme, which I think it sucked and I made a pretty bad game :)

I’ve participated in other 2 LDs, one with a team of students of mine, and then all by myself. One of the games I’ve done for a Ludum Dare (Earth Destroyer, for the “You are the Enemy” theme) is a game I am very proud, i find it to be really fun and entertaining and a lot of people love it.

Again, as usual, I’ll try to make a *complete* game instead of just a prototype or concept game, since I have a real personal problem in delivering something that isn’t a complete experience somehow (Which, in the end, usually means I’ll be doing an arcade game with high difficulty/low number of levels or self-generated levels).

I’ll be using the same tools I always use: Game Maker Studio, Gimp, Paint, BFXR, Audacity and EJay.

This year  I’ll try to make a multiplatform game, I’ll try to deliever at least Windows, HTML5 and Android versions of the game.

 

Games is ready. Can I ask friends to playtest it?

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 2:49 pm

My game is 100% ready, but I want to use the extra time I still have to do some playtest, see if there are any non-obvious bugs hidden there.

May I ask friends of mine to test the game to see if they find any bugs, or is this against the rules?

Game is nearly done

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 12:51 pm

My game is nearly done. The mechanics are all there, everything is working properly, I’ve added some sound effects…

I’ll just try to add some minimalist music to go with the theme.

I am not very happy with the final product to be honest. I think I went very well with the theme, but I didn’t find the game to be lots of fun, which is what I usually aim with my games.

But I am not going to scrap what I’ve already done, nor I can see myself changing everything. And if I can actually make a good music that sounds minimalist today, I’ll have the game ready WAAAAY before the deadline 😀

Doing well so far

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 10:11 pm

Didn’t like the theme at first.

I got a pretty good idea IMO. I am doing fine so far and, if everything goes right, I’ll probably have the game ready 24 hours before the deadline

But it’s now 2am here and I really need to get some sleep.

Tomorrow is going to be a full day 😀

Don’t feel like posting any screenshots of my game for now.

I’m in, I love Ludum Dare, etc :D

Posted by
Thursday, April 25th, 2013 2:12 pm

I am extremely excited with this edition of Ludum Dare. I am really looking forward to see what I can do in 48 hrs this time, and what other people will do. I can’t stop checking the main page at least once per hour 😀 It’s going to be my 3rd Ludum Dare.

I participated in Ludum Dare 25 with the game Earth Destroyer:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25/?action=preview&uid=14551

While the game only placed #200 overall (Which is actually pretty good, and beyond my own personal goal), I loved working in the game, and I actually *love* what I did, from time to time I load it up and play it for a while, I personally think it’s an incredibly fun and entertaining game.

In Ludum Dare 24, I was in the Jam supervising some of my high-schools students while they made their first game ever, in 48 hrs nonetheless:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=16030

It was a blast working on that, the kids learned a lot that weekend, and became little heroes in the school. It was a big event for the school actually.


I am incentivating everyone I know who can code and has any interest in gaming to participate. I am also promoting Ludum Dare heavily in my own facebook timeline, and I am incentivating my students to try to go solo in the Compo. A few will do, while some other will work in a duo, without my supervision, which still is pretty cool.

I’ll use GameMaker Studio. Even though I can code in other languages, I really love GameMaker for, erm, GameMaking. I was thinking about going for HTML5, because its something I am learning nowadays, but I still don’t feel secure with it right now to try to make a game in 48hrs. But I’ll surely try it out in a future Ludum Dare.

I still am not sure what tool I’ll use for music making, that will depend on what I’ll want to do. Soundwise, BFXR and Audacity for sure :) for GFX, mostly I’ll use the built-in Game Maker sprite editor, though I’ll probably use Gimp for some stuff.

Oh, and I’m Brazilian, I live in Rio de Janeiro. Anyone nearby?

That’s all, I’m in.

 

Full game or just a concept?

Posted by
Sunday, April 21st, 2013 8:55 pm

Hello guys. I’m in LD26. I was in LD25 Compo, and participated in LD24 Jam with a team of some of my high school students (We called ourselves gbellgames ).

I’ve been thinking about Ludum Dare as a whole, and there two things that really bugs me.

One of them is the fact that most of the games are just, at most, concepts tests. Some games are simple nice concepts or ideas that last for like 5 minutes, if that much.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them are really genious, brilliant stuff, but I find hard it calling them “videogames” when they are so short-lived.

I personally have real difficulty to share a game made by me if it’s not a proper game, that make people want to play for longer than just the 5 minutes that takes  to grade it.  The 2 games I’ve worked for Ludum Dare were like that. You could call them good games or bad games, but they were *complete* games, not just a demo for a concept.

Of course, sometimes people just can’t cram a lot of content in a game in 48 hrs of development, but I wonder if some people just focus too much in trying to create a supposedly innovative concept, and they just forget about actually doing a game.

So, what you guys think about this?

(The other thing that bugs me is how people confuses artsy bullcrap with decent gameplay, but that’s for another post :) )

 

Earth Destroyer is finished

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 1:42 pm

Here it is:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25/?action=preview&uid=14551

The real funny thing is that I just found out there’s another game called “Earth Destroyer” in the Compo. lol 😀

My personal objective now is to have my own Earth Destroyer ranked better than the other Earth Destroyer ( j/k, we are all in this for the fun, not for the competition :D)

Earth Destroyer – Made by me! :D

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 6:14 pm

earth_destroyer2

My game is basically ready. I even added a bonus stage, something that wasn’t in the original project. Everything seems to be working nicely, and the game is pretty fun to play IMO.

I think I’ll reward myself with some resting now, I’ll watch a movie while I eat some ice-cream (It’s horribly hot here in Rio de Janeiro right now). I still have about 25 hours to work. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can make some nice music for the game, I’ll work a little bit more in the sound effects (I am not completely satisfied with some of them, and I think I could use a few more in certain spots… BFXR makes everything sound like an Atari 2600 😀 ), and add some icing in the cake, like an instructions screen and some other nice stuff 😀

But yay, the game is done, and longer before the deadline 😀

Everything going ok so far

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 10:35 pm

 

 

earth_defense

This is a screenshot of what I’ve done so far. The first hour I was just thinking on what I could do, while watching South Park. (I love South Park), then I took half an hour to bath my dogs.

The last 2 hours I’ve been drawing and coding stuff for the game. That’s what I have so far, and I am going at a steady pace. If nothing goes wrong, I think I’ll have a fun game by the end of the deadline :)

The graphics aren’t very good.. I suck at drawing, but I am a pretty good programmer I believe 😀

It’s 3:35 AM here, time to get some sleep, I’ll be back tomorrow 😀

 

Warmup game: Firepower

Posted by
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 6:33 am

I made a game for Hack-A-Jam, and I posted it here as a warmup game. It took me around 6 hours to make everything (Code/GFX/SFX/Music and lots of playtesting).

I am very proud of what I’ve achieved… even though it’s a very simple game, I think it’s a lot fun to play it.

So I am here sharing it with you all :)

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25-warmup/?action=preview&uid=14551

I’m in. Gbell Games won’t (Well, sort of)

Posted by
Monday, December 10th, 2012 8:37 am

Last Ludum Dare I was the teacher supervising the Gbell Games team, a team made of high-school students from Colégio Graham Bell (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) who stayed at school in a weeked making a game for Ludum Dare. It was, for many of them, their first experience making a game.

This is what we managed to make:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=16030

It was an amazing experience for all of us.

This time around I won’t be able to spend the weekend at the school, but I’ll participate solo, working from my home. So while it’s not my first Ludum Dare, it will be the first where I actually do a game all by my own :)

I’ve been trying to convince my students to also try to make a game alone this time… instead of participating in Ludum Dare Jam as “Gbell Games”, they should try a new experience  and make a game solo, at their home. It would be a new experience for them, and I’m sure they will learn new things with it. (Some of them have already said they are in, others are complaining they would prefer to work as a team again :D)

My personal objective is basically to have fun with this. And  I hope I can finish at the top half of the overral ratings :)

Gbell Games is in.

Posted by
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 2:01 pm

We’re in.

We will be participating in the Jam. Gbell Games is the team made of students from Colegio Graham Bell in Rio de Janeiro.

We have made a few games individually, it’s going to be our first effort as a team (We are working in another game though, which will be released at the end of the year ).

We’re all very excited to take part in this,

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