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My Personal Favourite

Posted by
Friday, May 6th, 2016 1:42 pm

Hey everyone!

Since it’s coming to the end of the judging period of yet another great LD, I just thought I’d quickly share my favourite entry of the ones that I got around to rating: Triangles Say Yip by sorceress.

Triangles Say Yip by sorceress

Triangles Say Yip by sorceress

To briefly reiterate what I said in my review, TSY is a touching and uncomfortable (in a good way) story about preconceptions, conformity and intolerance. It’s a great little title that I would recommend anyone who is interested in narrative told through exploration and interaction should find some time to play.

I hope that this game gets the score that it deserves by the end of judging (it’s a real shame that there’s no narrative category) and I hope that you guys find it as interesting as I did!

 

(Also, here’s a shameless plug for my own game “Sparrow & Flitt“. It’s a game about communicating with your shapeshifting bird by whistling tunes to it. If you haven’t played it yet, please feel free to take a look!)

Sparrow & Flitt by Skruffye

Sparrow & Flitt by Skruffye

Thanks everyone, and best of luck in the judging!

-Skruffye

Sparrow & Flitt Post-Mortem

Posted by
Sunday, April 24th, 2016 1:07 am

Hey!

So, having read through the comments on Sparrow & Flitt and having given myself some time to reflect, I thought I’d do a quick “post-mortem”. (Always feel that term’s a bit morbid and defeatist, but either way…)

 

THE GOOD

Okay, so this was my first solo game jam and I’m really pleased with what I got out of it!
The whistling mechanic, though it could do with some tweaking, was very well received which was absolutely fantastic. I definitely plan to do more with that when I get around to revisiting the concept!

Quite a few people said that they really liked the art, which was great to hear, considering that I don’t really think of myself as much of an artist. The visual theme was intended to be something of a mix between Adam Phillips’ Brackenwood series and the original Rayman so, although I’ve a long way to go before my work even compares to either of those masterpieces, I’m really happy that it was well received!

 

THE BAD

It was reassuring to see that criticisms in the comments generally echoed my own criticisms of the game. In short: it wasn’t long enough, Flitt had too few forms, it was easy to forget the songs and the game really needed checkpoints.

The game was originally planned to have four forms for Flitt, with at least one unique stage to show off each form, but I over-scoped (again) and there just wasn’t enough time to get it done.

As for the songs, if the game had gotten any longer, I would have liked to have implemented some kind of menu that you could access easily on the fly to check the sequences that you have learned.

And as for the checkpoints, I agree that they would have been a must, especially if it had gotten any longer, but I spent most of the last day locked in hand-to-hand combat with bugs that I only just got fixed and, unfortunately, the nature of my hurried fixes precluded a checkpoint system.

 

CONCLUSION

Considering how little experience I have in programming for video games, I’m absolutely thrilled that I managed to get something out for LD, let alone something that I was happy with!
I really enjoyed working on this project, and I think that I’ve both learned a lot design-wise and I’ve touched on a mechanic that I’d very much like to explore further in a future project.

The central mechanic was envisioned as something of a cross between Magicka’s spellcasting system and LoZ: Ocarina of Time’s ocarina mechanic and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. (It was really interesting to see that most of the people who played the game seemed to pick it up rather quickly after the initial tutorial and yet a small amount of people couldn’t get used to it at all!)
I sincerely hope that everyone had as good a time as I did (I’ve had great fun playing through your games!), and I hope to see you all next LD!

 

-Skruffye

 

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Sparrow & Flitt — A Boy and his Bird

 

If you haven’t played Sparrow & Flitt yet, give it a go here!

Sparrow & Flitt

Posted by
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 9:09 pm

I plan on doing a nice and detailed “post-mortem” later in the week, but for now, I’d like to share my first solo LD project with you all! Sparrow and Flitt is an old-school 2D platformer with a twist–all of the protagonist’s abilities come from his shapeshifting bird companion, Flitt. Without him, Sparrow is unequipped to face the dangers of the forest, and his only way to command his companion to take action is to whistle to the bird. Enjoy!

 

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Play it here!

24 Hours Later…

Posted by
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 9:02 pm

Flit Anims

So, I’ve spent the day working on art assets and animations and I’m just about ready to start putting my game together. ^^ The game is about a boy and his shapeshifting bird and I’m really enjoying working on it, so I hope I don’t run out of time! XD

I’m in… ^^;

Posted by
Friday, April 15th, 2016 1:51 pm

So, I’ve done a few Ludum Dares before, but this is the first one that I’m planning to attempt solo. My usual skill sets lie in the design and narrative fields, so I’m pretty nervous about finishing both on time and with a cool game on my own. Planning on using GameMaker: Studio, Flash, Audacity and a few other bits and pieces as necessary.

Hope everyone has a great time!

(Wish me luck! ^^;)

S.I.L. Design Post-Mortem

Posted by
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 10:54 pm

Hi everyone!

Well, Ludum Dare is over again and I felt like doing a quick design-side post-mortem for our game S.I.L. – Synthetic Intelligent Lifeform.

If you are interested in playing our game then you can do so here.

INTRO
So, this is my second Ludum Dare and my first as the sole designer. My first LD was LD31 (link here) where I was the team artist, animator and composer. This time, I was largely the designer, as well as the writer and artist and, whilst I know that my last entry (Black Drop) was more fun to play and was much more polished upon release, I have to say that I am very pleased with the sheer scope of this entry (S.I.L.) and am happy with how much of it we got done in only three days.

That being said, of course, we aimed too high and ultimately paid the price for our hubris, but hey, what’s Ludum Dare for if not a bit of fun and an excellent learning experience?
As the designer, I do feel largely responsible for the overscoping and will endeavour to think much more carefully about it as a potential issue in future.
However, despite my failure to comprehend the true meaning of “three days”, my partner Michael made a beyond-valiant effort to program my design into existence and, ultimately, only fell short by a surprisingly small margin.

Somehow, S.I.L. was released on time (just) and we’ve spent the last two days bug-squashing (and will probably be spending even more time doing so in days to come). Despite this, S.I.L. isn’t quite what we had naively envisioned at the innocent beginning of Ludum Dare, but it is in a playable state, has a certain, strange fun-factor and is, thematically, rather slick (if I do say so myself). At the end of the day, what better could an overambitious pair of devs have possibly hoped for? :)

THE BAD
As my major role in the project, I feel like my design was, at its core, solid, although the execution was lacking. Whilst I am confident that S.I.L. held the premise of an interesting and enjoyable game, I know that I fell short at one particularly key hurdle: scope.
Other aspects could have been improved upon with a short amount of testing but because of the poor scoping, we did not have any time to refine the design and had to submit without any testing.

Were I given the opportunity to refine my design now, I would firstly drastically reduce the number of machines on one network. Whilst infecting a large network of unique machine was bizarrely fun in and of itself, the core gameplay suffered from the sheer dilution brought on by networks of 40+ machines. A smaller network of about 10-30 machines would, I believe, have significantly improved the gameplay.

Additionally, I would have reworked some of the Scripts mechanics to make them more useful, although that might not have been such a large issue on a smaller network. Either way, this issue would only have become apparent through testing which, unfortunately, is something that we did not end up with time to do!

THE GOOD
So, it’s not all bad! Despite the overall overreach of the project, I am genuinely proud of S.I.L. for several reasons. As my first chance to lead the design of a game in a team (even a small one!), I felt that I did a good job of balancing the roles and stats of each of the powers in the game, even if a couple of them needed some tweaking that they sadly never received! In addition, I think that the mechanics and overall structure of the game work quite well and I am proud of that.

My favourite contribution to the game was probably the script, which I wrote during the first day and appears through the in-game console cutscenes. Although writing is my field of interest anyway, I was particularly happy with how the character of S.I.L. was portrayed through the unusual medium of console logs and how it, as a character, smoothly grew over the course of the short story.
As a subject of philosophy, I find morality in artificial intelligence particularly interesting and, through the story of S.I.L., I feel that I successfully explored several of my thoughts and feelings on the matter.

Finally, I was pleased with the UI that I designed in the style of old command-line interfaces, as well as the animations on the programs as they travel across the network.

CONCLUSION
From a player’s perspective (ultimately the most important one) I believe that my last LD entry was much more appealing. However, my last entry didn’t come close to the ambition of S.I.L. and I am proud–from a designer’s perspective–of what we have accomplished. In future projects, I will endeavour to build upon what I have learned from this experience to make my designs even better for the player, and not just the designer.

Of course, without my partner Michael, S.I.L. would just be a bunch of design notes, some art assets and a script, so I’m incredibly grateful for all of the hard work that he put into the project to make this Ludum Dare an enjoyable, educational and productive experience! (Although I think I’ll let him write his own port-mortem from the programmer’s perspective!)
Thank you for reading, I hope you had as good an LD as I did and, if you have a spare moment, please give S.I.L. a look! I hope you have fun!

-Nathan

Day 2: S.I.L.

Posted by
Monday, December 14th, 2015 5:52 am

So, on the morning of Day 3, I’m just going to make a quick summary of Day 2 to get me back into the right mindset for more development!

After completing the dialogue script and the majority of the design work on Day 1, I spent most of Day 2 working on sprites and user interface, as well as some extra design that needed ironing out. My partner spent the day programming gameplay and implementing the UI that I had built.

Everything is starting to come together and the game is taking shape into, well… a game! I’m really hoping that we can get everything finished and polished for the deadline as the game is starting to show promise and–dare I say it–even a potential fun factor.

Master UI 3

Our working example of the UI without the network in the background. The network is now visible in the green-space, behind the Local Console, in the live version.

Due to the nature of the game (hacking sim meets strategy game meets tower defence) I decided to go with a very “quasi-traditional” interface that both harks back to good ol’ command line interfaces whilst still retaining some functionality of a more modern WIMP interface.

Today I will be working on the last of the sprites (some visual representations of programs that you can run across the network), sound (we’ve decided to go with a more ambient soundtrack rather than a musical score), story implementation and design polish whilst my partner finishes properly implementing the UI, squashes a bug which makes network nodes spawn on top of each other and implements the AI.

Wish us luck!

I’m in

Posted by
Thursday, December 10th, 2015 8:23 pm

Will be helping run a real world LD meetup at my university and taking part in the Jam with my partner. He specialises in programming and development and I specialise in design, art, animation and composition. Hopefully we’ll be able to make something cool together over the weekend!

This is my third game jam and second LD so far, and I’m really looking forward to it! As for tools, I will probably be using Notepad for design work (lol), Paint.NET for art assets and my Roland AX-Synth (keytars are cool, I swear!) for composition along with Audacity (I prefer live recording over MIDI).

Have fun everyone! ^^

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