About Sparky


Sparky's Trophies

Hey Look, Cowboy Boots! Award
Awarded by winferno
on May 26, 2010
The Trophy Is Not Cheese
Awarded by HybridMind
on September 2, 2009

Sparky's Archive

First Image

Posted by
Friday, April 20th, 2012 7:53 pm

I’m making a game where a growing population builds a civilization in a world with a finite size.

When the game begins, the population is small and lives in a tiny camp with only a few homes in it. As the population grows, however, it develops into a town, then eventually a large city. In the late stages I’d like to have a population of tens of thousands, but I may decide have to scale back depending on how it feels to have so many individuals (it might be necessary to keep the population low enough that individual people are quite visible even at the end). I might also have to scale back if this starts running terribly.

Here is my first image. Everything always looks the best at the beginning, before you have a chance to make any mistakes.


Single Screen Deathmatch Game

Posted by
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 5:18 am

This time around I’m doing something a bit different- I’m doing a collaborative project. We tossed around a few ideas, and decided to make a single screen multiplayer deathmatch game.  The game uses a side view and a fairly wide zoom, so it’s possible to fit a fairly large environment into a single screen.

Each stage consists of a set of hand drawn twisty passages and rooms sprinkled with player and weapon spawn points. Lines of sight are fairly choppy. Pacing is fairly pensive, as opposed to fast paced and chaotic. There is no jumping; vertical travel is accomplished via a set of gravity lifts.

Making… something

Posted by
Thursday, April 28th, 2011 11:24 pm

I’m going to be doing something a bit different this time around. I’m doing a collaborative game with a friend of mine.

I’m not sure what tools we’ll be using. There’s a good possibility we’ll be making this with Flash, however.

Continuing Development of Autoflotilla

Posted by
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 4:29 am

I really enjoyed making Autoflotilla for Ludum Dare 19. It’s quite different from anything I’ve ever made before, but the project appeals to me very strongly. I’ve decided to release a post-competition version. What I would like to do is give it a bit more polish and develop the game’s atmosphere. I want to avoid making it more complicated or making it feel cluttered, however, so I’ll try to use a light touch when making additions.

A friend of mine will be contributing some ambient sound to the game.

Other additions will include:

  • a curved, rather than flat seascape
  • some light regional variations- for instance islands in one area might be shaped differently
  • a few visual extras, such as flying creatures
  • a few unique landmarks
  • looping edges (Asteroids-style toroidal)

A Fleet of Boats

Posted by
Saturday, December 18th, 2010 6:21 pm

I got the basics of ship behavior working. The friendly ships now travel along specified routes, and pick their destinations based on the availability of supplies. (Another new addition, the bar along the bottom of the screen, indicates the supplies remaining in the player ship.)

All sailors navigating the ocean without a barrel full of apples are in grave danger of developing scurvy :)

As an aside, there are now visible blocks on ships which are carrying cargo.

The next thing to do is set up some UI for building and creating routes. I’m going to try setting up all the build commands without complicating the controls. I’m currently leaning toward doing it all using only picking up and placing items. For instance, a new route can be created by going to a hub island, picking up a flag, and dropping it off on the destination island.


Posted by
Saturday, December 18th, 2010 2:04 am

These might at first glance look suspiciously like blocks, but they are, I assure you, boats.

The core of the game is courageously sailing our little blocky boat about the oceans, discovering new lands and setting up trade routes. As we explore, we set up fleet of automatically controlled cargo ships which sail between continents and islands ferrying supplies and trade goods. Cargo vessels can only travel so far before they need to restock, but only certain islands can resupply them. A large part of the game will be discovering new resupply points and using these to chain together islands into long trade routes.

At this point the game consists of a small archipelago and a few boats which wander aimlessly (and, with no respect for decency or proper collision detection, occasionally sail straight through solid rock).

I was originally going to use one terrain grid for the whole world, but I decided to have each island be a separate chunk of terrain. This gives me a bit more control over placement, and it speeds up rendering. I sank more time than I intended into terrain generation (and I imagine I’ll be sucked into that again before the game is done).

The most fun part so far was setting up the player’s boat and attaching a squishy chase camera to it. I’m trying for a sense of speed without making the distances between islands too small. Vrooom!

Design Ideas + a First Screenshot

Posted by
Friday, December 17th, 2010 7:38 pm

Someone in the IRC channel thought of the idea of sailing around an archipelago and discovering new islands (thanks, Ashkin). The idea got me thinking about things like sailing, discovering new lands, colonization, setting up a trade empire, competing with other empires, and, inevitably, piracy. I I’ll make an abstract game about seafaring.

Quite possibly with sci-fi hovercrafts as well as boats.

Because of the nature of the game, I’ll be using Processing. Here’s my first screen shot:

AS3 Template

Posted by
Friday, December 17th, 2010 4:45 pm

Depending on what I decide to make, I use either Processing or AS3. Here’s a really simple AS3 template which I will use if I go the AS3 route:


Intention to Enter

Posted by
Thursday, December 9th, 2010 12:24 am

I will be participating in Ludum Dare 19.

I’ve been making electronic computer games for the last several events, and I think it’s high time for a switch to a new platform: the difference engine.


Posted by
Monday, August 30th, 2010 12:49 am

Hello folks. I’ve been tinkering with my entry for a while now, and I’m ready to release a second post-competition version. This is a much more substantial release than the previous, and contains a number of changes which greatly alter the way it plays. The flow between offense and defense still isn’t quite the way I want it to be, so I’ll continue development for at least a few more days. Feedback would be very much appreciated.

Current version: http://vacuumflowers.com/temp/bubble_tag_current

Changes include:

  • Defensive walls
  • Boulders which supply resources (for repairing walls)
  • Bubbles now act as shields
  • Bubble size reflects current health- this acts as a HUD-less indicator of health. It also means that the more health we have, the easier we are to hit.
  • Part count is now capped- destroy the core of a larger enemy base to upgrade
  • Lots of tuning

I would also like to thank HybridMind, who helped test and had some good suggestions.

First Post-competition Build

Posted by
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 4:20 am

Hi folks- I’ve been refining my Ludum Dare 18 game since the competition ended, and I’m ready to release another build. This is still an early version. The game will see some major changes before it’s done. Changes in this build include:

  • lots of tuning
  • wider field of view
  • circular view
  • indicators which display the direction to castles
  • improved notification when our castle is attacked
  • improved animation for the tiny creatures (the ones that come out of the creature pumps)
  • pulsating bubbles
  • green enemy bubbles
  • carried castle pieces now form a train behind our character
  • transition animations for castle building



The next step is a major one- I’m going to alter the flow of the game so castle upgrades are rarer and more significant, and also focus on making sure there’s more of a swing between offense and defense. To accomplish this, I’m currently thinking I’ll add destructible protective walls around castles. These walls would bear the brunt of most attacks, protecting vulnerable turrets and other components. Walls could be repaired by expending resources, which would be collected during exploration. More builds soon!

Time to Make Sprites

Posted by
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 12:20 pm

The final crunch is always so crazy :).

I’m finally making some sprites for my game. I’m making everything a bit soft and organic. I think I’ll use three frames for everything, and make creatures wobble a bit. Here’s a picture of me drawing the first few objects..


Further Progress

Posted by
Saturday, August 21st, 2010 3:31 am

The design of the game is fairly defined at this point. The basic idea is that we control a character who has a fortress, and the fortress is surrounded by wilderness on all sides. We split our time between defense and exploration. The wilderness is occupied by various small enemies, as well as large enemies and enemy fortresses, both of which yield new components.

There are several levels of stationary turrets to discover. There are also replacement cores (which increase the fortress’s component cap), as well as stationary creature pumps which create little swarms of friendly critters. I’m also thinking about a few other ideas, such as minefields and fortifications of various sorts. Moats? Hmm…

Here’s where things stand right now. It doesn’t look like much yet!


Posted by
Friday, August 20th, 2010 10:45 pm

I spent a terrifyingly long time doing basic systems stuff, but finally I’m starting to make tangible progress. Currently there are a movable player and a camera which tracks said player. There are also a set of entities scattered around the landscape. These entities are patiently waiting until they gain the ability to meander about under their own steam.

Here we go!

Posted by
Friday, August 20th, 2010 6:38 pm

This time I have no other obligations, so I’ll have a chance to make a proper game. Hurrah! I’m looking forward to this.

I’ll be hanging out in the IRC channel. It will be fun to see everyone’s entries progress over the course of the weekend, and I look forward to all the ensuing craziness.

I’ll be using Flash, and coding in FlashDevelop, with GIMP for any sprites I end up needing. I may do synthesized sound, and if not then I’ll end up using sfxr and Audacity. I’m not using much in the way of pre-existing code, just a simple input class and some really basic UI managers:


Deep Under an Island

Posted by
Sunday, April 25th, 2010 6:40 pm

Here is my completed entry for Ludum Dare 17. You can play on the web here:

Deep Under an Island

It’s a simple puzzle game in which we navigate a growing worm through a set of narrow passages. The controls are explained in the game. Do let me know if you have any suggestions feedback, or find any bugs. Now I can go play other people’s games!

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