About Daniel X. Moore

A programmer who makes games.


Ludum Dare 33
Ludum Dare 29
Ludum Dare 28
Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
MiniLD #26
Ludum Dare 20
Ludum Dare 19
October Challenge 2010
MiniLD #21

Daniel X. Moore's Trophies

Meow Meow! Use Of Kittens Despite The Theme Award
Awarded by bentosmile
on May 2, 2011

Daniel X. Moore's Archive

Riffing on Zelda to Earn those precious theme points!

Posted by
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 12:38 am

Now the only question is how to branch out in a cool and interesting way? Let’s hope the answer arrives in my dreams… Goodnight!

In Like a Champ

Posted by
Sunday, April 24th, 2011 1:33 pm

I’m in and announcing my tools and library code in case anyone else may find a use for it.

I’m going to use HTML5 and CoffeeScript and make use of these libraries that fix many missing core language features and add useful game components.


For tools I’m using PixieEngine.com a web based game development environment. It has built in code, sound, pixel and level editors as well as the capability to publish immediately to the web. (Full disclosure: I built pixieengine.com)

I’m looking forward to to the event!

I’m In, Going the Web Route Again

Posted by
Monday, December 13th, 2010 2:36 pm

I’ll be using HTML5 and CoffeeScript on the Pixie platform. Now that it has integrated pixel editing with the code editor things should go a little smoother than when I first used the platform for Mini LD #21. Also, CoffeeScript will take quite a bit of the awful JS taste away.

Contrasaurus Launch Successful!

Posted by
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 12:15 pm

The Contrasaurus launch was a big success yesterday, getting onto both the front page of Hacker News and the Programming Reddit. We even got 57 Facebook likes!


We received quite a bit of feedback, some positive, some negative, a lot of it useful. We also received a donation!

Something I wish I had done earlier would be to write down my expectations and try and guess what kinds of feedback we would receive, then compare that to the actual feedback and try and improve my intuition for what players care about. It is all too easy for ones mind to pretend it knew it all along once the evidence is in, so next time I’ll be sure to write down my hypotheses.

Another thing I learned is that not all feedback is equal. Some tells more about the player than the game. There will always be negative feedback and trying to modify the game too much to accommodate it may, in some cases, dilute the experience such that no one really loves it. On the flipside though, be sure that there is actual real positive feedback supporting the tradeoffs you are making. Our main one was that we chose to emphasize “being an awesome dinosaur, crushing your enemies” above “having balanced and tactical gameplay”. That’s not to say that there is no balance or tactics, just that “being an awesome dinosaur” came first in our priorities. In some cases it caused the gameplay to suffer and in an ideal world where we have infinite time the game would be extremely excellent in both regards.

The feedback we received often mirrored that choice. The players for whom “being an awesome dinosaur” was important really loved the experience. The more hardcore players who didn’t care about “being an awesome dinosaur” and wanted more complex and tactical gameplay were often disappointed. Some striking examples:


The gameplay literally consists of the character holding down the left mouse button and holding the right key. Once you get the jetpack you pretty much can’t die. The level design is non-existant, as every level (that I’ve played so far) is just a flat surface with enemies being constantly spawned on it. Overall, I think that you need to work on this game a lot. Currently, I’d say that it’s too boring, and few people will play it past the third level.


I can’t even begin to describe the awesomeness of controlling a jetpack powered dinosaur wielding twin chainsaws while fighting communists all to the midi-encoded tunes of Lady Gaga. The plotline was truly amazing, I totally didn’t see the ending coming.

Another interesting decision was that we chose to go the HTML5 route, rather than using an “established” platform like Flash. I think that, for us, it was the right decision. We don’t have much Flash experience, and if we’ll need to learn a new platform anyway we might as well go for one that appears to be rising rather than one that appears to have plateaued.

There are still tons of problems with HTML5 today, primarily cross browser audio, and crazy nearly impossible to reproduce crash bugs, as well as the standard cross browser web crap. The biggest pain was all the crash reports of running the game in Chrome, even though that’s the environment where for us, in development, it worked nearly perfectly. Additionally it was pretty much unplayable in FF, except on super-powerful computers, had control issues in Opera, only usable in IE via Chrome Tab, and crash reports on any of the browsers were not uncommon. This is the biggest issue right now with HTML5 but it is an issue that is currently being resolved and hopefully quickly.

In the end though the actual technology doesn’t matter at all to the player. The only thing that matters is that they can play the game reliably and enjoy the experience without issues.

Brian Gruening

the best flash game i have EVER seen play it http://contrasaur.us/

Contrasaurus: October Challenge

Posted by
Friday, October 8th, 2010 4:25 pm
Contrasaurus: Defender of the American Dream

Contrasaurus: Defender of the American Dream

We’ve been working on Contrasaurus for some months now, and with the opportunity to partake in the October challenge we now have double the reason to push hard to wrap it up. The premise is your standard dino-action-thriller. You are summoned into the future to save America from the dark Communist forces that are amassing in Nicaragua. After completing the mission and receiving the highest honor a top-secret military dinosaur can receive a terrible truth is revealed. Finally you seek out those whom you depend on most, only to have your darkest suspicions confirmed.

The game is nearly complete. Although it’s been publicly available to anyone who knows the url for some time, we’re aiming for a real “launch” on Sunday. You’re all invited to the pre-launch, starting now, to help us find out any last minute issues and iron out any bugs. Please leave comments and let us know about any bugs or comments you have, we’ll really appreciate it!

The game is HTML5 based, so requires a modern browser to play. For best results I recommend Chrome. (Firefox “works”, but is generally unplayably slow, Safari and Opera may work as well.)

We added a donate button for now, though we’re not entirely sure of the best strategy to actually make money. Do we still win the challenge if we sell at least $1 but are still way in the red profit-wise?

Quest for Meaning

Posted by
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 1:34 pm

This writeup is cross posted on my blog at STRd6.com

Quest for Meaning

Sticking with the competition theme one of my biggest fears is a meaningless life. Not only that, but a meaningless eternity. Pictures for Sad Children has a very similar theme at times and it helped inspire parts of this game (though I couldn’t find a good way to work in “monster most vulnerable when heaving with sobs”). The game is written in JavaScript and uses HTML5 canvas, so you’ll need a modern browser to play it (FF, Chrome, Safari, IE9). Click the image or find it here: Quest for Meaning.

This was my first 2 day competition and I’ve learned some things. First, two days is a long time. Second, having real tools would make me very, very happy. Third, I thought that doing all the art and all the programming for a game would be hard, but it seems to use different parts of the brain, so when working on art the programming part of my brain is relaxing and vice versa.

This was the first moderately legit game that I’ve done all my own art on (title screen and chest graphics contributed by Lana). Also, my first game with a 4 color grayscale pallet. And additionally, my first major undertaking on the Pixie platform.

Working with the Pixie platform had some serious trade-offs. JavaScript is a surprisingly productive language with it’s functional and dynamic nature, but it has a harsh and brutal syntax. The platform libraries helped a lot to smooth some things out, and as they become more complete it will get better and better. Another advantage was the tight art and code integration. It was trivial to create an image and have it appear in the game seconds later. The biggest drawback of Pixie right now is that the code “editor” is pretty much just a text area. There are no tabs, no integrated source navigation, no auto-save, no version control, and all kinds of other terrible issues. Also, there is no real tile editor, though Noel Berry pioneered the way by using the pixel editor as a tile editor before, and the surprising thing is that it’s actually not too bad.

Using Pixie to make art is awesome, but the game “platform” is not fleshed out enough for me to recommend making an entire game in it to everyone yet.

A special thanks to everyone who helped playtest and discuss various elements of the game throughout it’s stages: Boltz, McGrue, DavMo, Lan, MW… props.

So check out the game and let me know what you think. By making heavy use of Pixie, especially in time limited competitions, I hope to really iron out the core usage scenarios and make it amazing.

The future is bright and full of meaning.

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