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I’m in…

Posted by
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 2:25 am

… just hope I’ll have enough time to finish. :)

I’m most likely using C++ again together with the awesome SFML library that is now available for Android (experimental) and soon iOS as well.

As for graphics… we’ll see. I might stick to simple in-code written vector graphics or use Paint.NET again and sfxr for sounds.

Do I need more tools? Nah, don’t think so.

My primary target platform will be Android (simply to have some fun and help further improving the Android port of SFML), but I’ll also release a Windows build, possibly a Linux one as well.

Rocky Flight Balloon!

Posted by
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 2:10 am

…and then I completely forgot about posting something about the finished game.

Well, I’ll do that now:

Here is Rocky Flight Balloon!

screenshot

I ran short on time, so I had to scrap the not-so-perfectly working bramble code and replace it with some simple rocks, which is also the reason for the new name.

But overall, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: I really like the new direction which also offered me a rather simple Background Story.

From the first feedback I got here and off-site, I’m quite tempted to port the whole game to mobile platforms — namely Android — because I can imagine it working rather well to pass some time on a touch screen device.

I tried recording me solving the “Impossible” difficulty, yet I just couldn’t pull it off (one attempt I’ve been off the goal by about one screen…) and at once another hour had passed…

Feel free to try it, if you manage to solve “Impossible”, make sure to record it, I’d like to see. But don’t be disappointed if you can’t pull it off: the “level generation” is completely random, so this game requires perception, planning, reaction, and luck.

 

A short post-mortem

I had quite some fun participating this time, despite being rather short on time. Finding some idea to do has been rather hard for me (“Minimalism” is sooo minimalistic idea wise and so generic!).

At first I haven’t been 100% sure about the art style, which is completely different from my last entry, Black Knight Blockade. Especially with a white unicolored background the game looked just too simple.

Fortunately, adding the sunset as well as the mountain range solved this problem rather well.

The player character works rather nice, considering his simple design; someting that really got me by surprise. I might adapt that style for future games.

Not being able to create some mean looking collidable brambles has been a small bummer, but as mentioned above, the rocks work rather well, too.

I’ll most likely spend next weekend looking for opportunities to port the whole thing to Android (I’m not really a big fan of Java). If this is successfull, I’m definitely going to add more things to the game like different obstacles (birds? brambles?) and make the game more configurable, possibly even adding some way to speed up or slow down the game also providing some kind of highscore.

Some people suggested adding some kind of progress or score display, but I’m not really sold on this. I tried to keep the UI minimalistic (i.e. non-existant) to have a clean and clear look. I don’t think I’ll depart from that. Also, just to mention it, the mountain range works as some kind of hidden progress indicator. The smallest mountain disappears once you’ve reached the goal. Just have a look yourself using the easiest difficulty.

 

One more last thing…

I’m still looking for a cute name for this still nameless hero(ine):

floating

So, if you want, get creative: I don’t want him/her to stay nameless I think.

Up, up, and away?

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 6:27 am

So, despite being distracted a bit watching the Eve Online Fanfest Stream (yeah, I like that game), I’ve made quite some progress.

I’m really happy to see how the actual character appears now, and all that using some simple primitives (8 ellipses and a line):

floating

I’m not 100% sure I should get him some head as well, but I’m actually happy the way he (she?) looks so far. There’s no depth or anything, yet some mind tricks add that.

Also, the landscape is making some progress, but I’m not really satisfied with the overall “map layout” I’ve got now. It’s far too linear and not really challenging (there’ll be more obstacles in the center as well).

Work in Progress Shot

Don’t get confused by the Windows 8 border. I’m using it on my dev machine, but the final game will be cross-platform for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

A Flight of Thorns?

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 1:19 am

Okay, so I literally overslept the announcement (I blame you, time zone difference!) of this Ludum Dare’s theme announcement. I didn’t expect “Minimalism” to win, but… well, there it is.

So I woke up about an hour ago and started thingin about ideas. One of the obvious first choices has been “Minimals”, doing something with some kind of small/cute animals. However, a quick look on Google told me that this idea (at least based on the name) isn’t that new at all.

Due to this small disappointment, I continued and thought about other ideas. Escaping from a lone island with little to no ressources? Sounds interesting, but I couldn’t think of any gameplay into that without making it into some kind of minecraft-y game – which in the end probably wouldn’t end up “minimalistic”. But how about modifying that idea? I went back a bit… 10 years, 15 years,… what games did I love? The golden age of 16-bit gaming… And then I had it – I think:

concept
Looks familiar? Maybe…

If you assume this might be inspired a bit by the great Donkey Kong Country 2, then you’re not that far off. Although the actual game mechanic isn’t the same compared to those bramble levels found in that classic game.

So the game’s goal and the protagonist’s goals are rather simple and minimalistic: escape the brambles! The only problem? Brambles! And your chosen escape tool seems to be a balloon – oh, yeah, you’re not necessarily the brightest hero around it seems… But what do you think?

Ditto! (I’m in again)

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 12:49 am

So, this is going to be my second time participating in Ludum Dare. There’ve been two Minis this year so far, but to be honest, I just lacked time participating in One Game A Month as well.

I haven’t decided on a final toolset yet, as that will also depend a bit on the selected theme. As a rough outline:

  • Code: Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Desktop
  • Languages and libraries: C++ with SFML2
  • Graphics: Paint.NET and PyxelEdit
  • Sound: sfxr
  • Style: Minimalistic? (Gah! I’m not 100% sure here yet)

About the actual game… I’m right now torn between two or three ideas, although I’ve got one favorite inspired by one of the favorite games of my childhood … Donkey Kong Country (2)… hm…

Black Knight Blockade – Post Mortem?

Posted by
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 12:58 pm

So, the past weekend has been a blast. Ludum Dare 25 has been the first game jam I’ve ever taken part in and to be honest I surprised myself a little bit.

Working on Black Knight Blockade has been a blast and the most fun I’ve had coding since I’ve done another mini-game back at university. If you haven’t done so, I’d suggest you give it a try – or I’ll send the Black Knight after you!

Black Knight Chasing

I didn’t really expect me to finish the game in time. Especially people liking the really simple gameplay concept (poke people but lose anyway!) were quite unexpected. I usually tend to overthink stuff a bit, dependencies and data structures for example. In the past, this lead to things getting stale, due to too much back and forth without anything to actually play with (i.e. framework stuff, entity handling, etc.). This project started out similar, but early Saturday evening I decided to go a different way: screw good practices and software architecture, I want a complete game within 48 hours. And this played out nicely.

Game Screenshot

Considering his rage so far, this is going to be his last stand…

To avoid boring you with long paragraphs or anything similar, I’ll just stick to a few bullet points like most people here:

What went well

  • Finding an idea: I had this idea literally within seconds. I’m not sure why, maybe because I’m a huge fan of Monty Python and Mel Brooks movies, who knows…
  • Getting the framework done: Window creation, main loop, event handling, etc. has been rather trivial thanks to SFML.
  • Graphics looking better than expected: I’m a big fan of the old Zelda games, and us such I thought trying to catch their style might be helpful. I think this one succeeded, without making the game look like a clone.
  • Sound creation being a blast: I’m no great artist. Call me code monkey, but not painter, artisan or musician. I’ve never heard of sfxr before, but it’s been an awesome tool to get everything I needed.
  • Creating entertaining gameplay: The basic idea was simple, but at first I couldn’t think of any real goal or fail condition. In the end a simple “get as far as possible” approach felt like the right choice.
  • Adding some fun: I really have to be honest here. I didn’t expect anyone to find the whole thing ridiculous or funny. The basic idea, yes, inspired by a movie, but other than that? The last minute effects and sounds really made a difference!

What went not so well

  • Wasting time on program architecture: I should know it better, and should have kept in mind that this isn’t going to be a project you want to make money off and expand over years. You don’t have to make everything perfect or only use best-practices. It can help, but Saturday afternoon I rewrote some parts of the code several times, cause I weren’t happy with my interfaces/dependencies.
  • Some parts of the code became quite ugly (see previous point).
  • Not believing in “programmer art”: Hey, I didn’t expect reading that people that find my pixels adorable or just love them. Seriously!
  • Lack of variation: I lacked the time to add some more variation, e.g. different peasants or enemies (well, they have different health and speed, but they all look the same!) or weapons. I thought about having King Arthur as a boss-like char you must not touch (or he’d cause you some flesh-wounds). Also – as some comments noted – the bridge is just another tile in the background: I should have add some mechanic for the water tiles, even if it’s just a tiny slowdown.

So, what now?

  • Due to the positive feedback I’ve received since making the project public, I’m definitely going to upgrade and extend it further. There’ll be different ground tiles (not just different appearance), maybe even random maps, more enemies, more weapons, etc. If you’ve got something you’d like to see in the game, tell me and I’ll try to add it.
  • I’ll try to get the game ported to Android devices. It’s already cross platform and should run on almost any decent PC running Windows, MacOS or some kind of Unix. I think this is the kind of game that could really shine on mobile platforms. Maybe even on the upcoming OUYA console as well! Only downside to this is the fact that SFML doesn’t support Android yet, but there are people working on this and I’ll definitely try to help them. After all I’ve got something to port now, too.
  • I’ll definitely participate in future LD Jams and Compos. I just can’t wait for the January MiniLD (hope spare time will be plenty)!

Hah! It’s Done! Defend the Bridge!

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 12:30 pm

I’ve just uploaded my entry, Black Knight Blockade, to Google’s Project Hosting and submitted the final files for the Compo.

Screenshot

Don’t let the peasants pass! Otherwise your anger level might rise…

If you dare to become the black knight, you can either grab the source code or download a precompiled binary for Windows.

While I’m only able to provide a binary for Windows, the program compiles just as fine under Ubuntu. Just grab the source code, CMake and SFML. Links can be found in the readme file.

Let me know, if you encounter any issues and I’ll try to resolve them ASAP!

Oh, and for those curious. I think I’ve spent about 16 hours on the game, although that’s a bit hard to say, cause testing has been too interesting, especially in the end. Later on I’ll upload the source to googlecode’s repository, so in case you’d like to improve or extend the game, drop me a line.

Edit: As many SFML users might be familiar with Github, I’ve created a repository there.

Playable! Err… Campable? Or Blockable?

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 12:40 pm

So I’ve been working for about 8 hours on and off on this and the progress so far… I really like it. It looks more ridiculous and plays more interestingly than expected, especially with the peasants having different temperaments, walking, going or even trying to sprint past our stout anti-hero.

Gameplay Screenshot

Take this! One unlucky peasant is about to get pierced by some pointy thing…

I think I’ll stick to that progress for today and continue on it tomorrow. There are still some more things to do, like animations, better textures, sound effects and some kind of scoreboard. I’m still lacking some kind of way to end or lose the game, but I think I’ll just stick to some rage meter.

A Tale of a Bridge

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 6:47 am

So, this is my first time participating in LD48. I’d have tried to do it before, but let’s be honest, I’m just bad at timing and always missed it – except this time.

I’ve had just enough time to vote in the final stage and secretly hoped to get “You are the Villain!” – and bingo! Too bad the start has been at 3:00 am for me, so I had enough forced time to think about the topic while sleeping.

Evil wizard defending his tower? Sneaky bandit going on a shoplifting rampage while avoiding cops? Nah, I’ve got something I like even more… The working title for now is “Black Knight Blockade” and that’s also what the game is about.

First Game Screen

Well, the basics are there… now I just need some more action…

In case you still can’t imagine what it’s all about: Dirty… little… peasants! Dirty little peasants and other scum trying to get over the bridge… your bridge! That’s just disrespectful and must not happen at any costs! Your goal is to show them who’s in charge of the bridge and who decides who shall pass (shhh: the answer is “none!”).

The game is written in C++ and I’m using SFML 2 for input, graphics and stuff. I’m not yet sure if I manage to get it as far as I want within the 48 hours time limit, but we’ll see…

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