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Awarded by alvivar
on September 3, 2014

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Well, that was underwhelming

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 3:45 pm

So, I checked my results, as in, those…

…and, to be honest, they have been quite a disappointment to me. As in, comparing to my previous entries, the recent one has:

  • the worst ever Overall, Fun, Humor, Graphics and Mood scores
  • Innovation and Theme scores better only than a snake clone made in 10-ish hours or so

In other words, going by the ratings alone, it was pretty much my worst Ludum Dare entry ever. Ouch!
That’s a shame, because I hoped to get at least better Innovation and Humor scores. Plus, since I actually finished the core gameplay this time, I hoped I’d do better than my previous entry which was so all-around unfinished it hurt. Well, apparently not. >.<

Well, I guess I'll keep working on my entry from this Jam, anyway. I wouldn't say the results were particularly encouraging (for reasons outlined above), but it seems those who grasped the general idea liked the concept, so there's that. ^^'
Oh, and here goes that my worst-ever Ludum Dare entry, if you haven’t seen it yet and want to for some reason. Have fun, I guess?

You should totally play these games!

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Monday, May 2nd, 2016 4:13 pm

Having played 70+ entries I think I can tell about a few favourites. There they go.


Duality
Duality

It not only features quite innovative mechanics, it also makes pretty great use of them, too.


Figment
Figment

Has really sweet audiovisuals, charming story and neat puzzle mechanics.


Moveless Chess
Moveless Chess

Quite hilarious take on chess and the best use of theme I’ve seen so far. Mind the Jam version has only 1 level, but the post-Jam one features a bunch more.


Nyamo’s Adventure
Nyamo's Adventure

It has soundtrack by DDRKirby. Also, nice metroidvania gameplay and great pixel-art graphics, but DDRKirby’s soundtrack is all the reason you need.


The Incredible Vending Machine
The Incredible Vending Machine

Absolutely brilliant game by the best developer ever, it features clever mechanics, charming characters, hilarious descriptions, any music you like, ahahah… oh, who am I kidding.
(the picture is from post-Jam version, by the way)

On a more serious note, I would like if you people checked my game and gave a bit of feedback, too. I bitereview back as well. ^^’


By the way, anyone came across a game with outstanding humour? Like, the sort of outstanding one would give 5 stars for? I’d like to play that…

The Incredible Vending Machine – Now with tutorial

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Thursday, April 28th, 2016 5:16 pm

Well, more precisely, with a half-hearted attempt at it. It seems I’ve opened quite a can of worms when starting all that tutorial stuff. I’m afraid it’s necessary, though, since many people seemed rather confused by the gameplay. Dunno if, with the way I’ve set it up, there will be some improvement, or perhaps even more confusion? Won’t know without trying, anyway.

Newton dialogue
Also, I hope people won’t just skip through the dialogue…

You can check the game here. If you do so, please rate the Jam version, but comment on the post-Jam version. The feedback on the Jam version might very well be outdated, and maybe even downright confusing. If you comment, please say if it’s for the Jam version or the post-Jam version! That way I’ll be able to tell if some parts mentioned in feedback have been addressed already (especially helpful if a piece of feedback could technically work in both versions). Thank you. ^^

The Incredible Vending Machine – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Sunday, April 24th, 2016 11:55 am

The Incredible Vending Machine, in its Jam state

Guess I might write some post-mortem this time, as I actually have something to write about. Please refer to this game, thank you very much. ^^
(also, um, if you actually took your time to write feedback, especially for post-Jam version, instead of just rating the Jam version, I’d really appreciate it; I usually return the favour, too)

What went right?

I managed to make a somewhat self-contained game. That is, it has some objective (hoarding every possible item available in the machine) that can be reached (I made sure of that). Plus, as far as I know, mechanics are sound and don’t cause crashes. Not only that, there’s relatively much content to get, even if it uses mostly crude placeholders, or even generic placeholders (i.e. missing-in-action sprites). Given it’s not unusual for me to end up with more or less pretty half-finished core engine that doesn’t really work as a game (and even otherwise, I end up with little content), I can consider this a success.

Also, it seems that people liked the general idea and humour in the game, even though they didn’t quite understand the game itself. I guess it might be a bit early to call this one, though. ^^’

In relation to time-management: leave making the HTML5 build for the day after LD. If not for that, I’d had to squeeze in time for some wild debugging and reinventing string sorting in GameMaker just so that I could deliver an online version right after the Jam. That certainly wouldn’t be a pleasant experience…

GameMaker's HTML5 sorting (above) vs Windows (below); the HTML5 version makes lots of sense, but is not what I need, sorry.

GameMaker’s HTML5 sorting (above) vs Windows (below); the HTML5 version makes lots of sense, but is not what I need, sorry.

What went wrong?

Well, I think that illustrates the biggest issue I faced during this LD:

It's fabulous, though.

It’s fabulous, though.

You’ll see nothing of that sort in my entry. And that’s because, at the very beginning, I had completely different shapeshifting in mind. As in, moving shapes around to create another shape (flipping and rotating included), as well as removing/duplicating shapes, splitting and joining them, that sort of stuff. I think it would make a pretty sweet puzzle game if done right, but I didn’t quite had the energy to follow through with it; especially since I had to make levels clearly understandable. Maybe I’ll get back to that idea at some point…
Either way, Sunday evening I kinda had a burnout and needed to procrastinate a little, and only then I came up with the idea of vending machine. Alright, full disclosure, I wanted to make a game involving vending machine giving random items for a while (and considered it for shapeshifting, as in turning inserted items into other items that would be then returned; that sort of processing). However, only at that time I actually realised what sort of mechanics I could use so that the vending machine actually works in a way that makes sense. Knowing that, the rest of game mechanics, the rooms to make etc. kinda came to me naturally (though I had to make sure that every returned item I could think of would be actually available). At that time, however, I’ve been already half the Jam behind, and I already had spent some time and energy on another project. Due to lack of time, I couldn’t make proper menus, assets, display etc. In fact, it’s a miracle I even got the core mechanics working in the first place (and made Newton’s picture and floating motion, at that).

But Alice, I don't see what's wrong with those graphics!

But Alice, I don’t see what’s wrong with those graphics!

Also, I guess I didn’t quite strike the right balance between the known and unknown. Generally, I intended the vending machine mechanics to be figured out by the player rather than explained, since having that known from the very beginning would leave out some joy of discovering it on one’s own. I still believe it shouldn’t be provided straight, but I guess there wasn’t enough indication about what’s going on in there. The most recent post-Jam version hopefully fixes it at least a bit, as it introduces a bunch of indicators of not-quite-known purposes that reflect some part of machine’s internal state. Then again, some people might not even reach the point where they get FUN, which would imply they haven’t even realised the basics of the gameplay. I might include a “tutorial” of sorts in one of post-Jam updates, which should make the core gameplay clearer… I hope?

Furthermore, when I was playing a game just after LD, I found the gameplay kinda too slow; especially due to frequent switching between Newton’s and machine’s room (and I didn’t even visisted hoard that often). With that in mind, I reduced the transition time a bit. Also, according to some helpful comment I made it so that selecting a synonym in Newton’s room makes the item collectible, and added buttons for quick switches. Kinda against that speeding-up, I added some little animation to inserting and receiving items from machine. I hope it won’t make the game too sluggish. ^^’ The lack of game saving doesn’t really help, either; it seems that sort of gameplay encourages a few relaxed, casual sessions rather than discovering everything in one go (even less so when I add more items).

Additionally, there is an item that, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have included, as these sort of items open up quite a can of worms. Some references are fine, but some are just way too unnecessary, I’m afraid… *whistling*

Finally, I forgot to include randomize() call at the beginning (GameMaker, pls, who in their right mind wants RNG with preset seed?! ^^’), so the vending machine items queue always starts the same. And that’s terrible. Thankfully, that gross oversight on my part has been fixed in the most recent version.

What’s next?

If it wasn’t clear enough from earlier part of the post-mortem, I’m still working on the post-Jam version, making updates every two days or so. Since I kinda neglected the polish in the Jam version, the changes so far involve prettifying the game, without really changing the core mechanics. Maybe that’s because I find graphics/UI to be usually the more difficult part and want them out of the way, or maybe I’d just like to see more than a bare skeleton…?

Meh, I just really wanted to finally have Richelle in the game because she's too adorable! ♥

Meh, I just really wanted to finally have Richelle in the game because she’s too adorable! ♥

There’s still quite a lot of work to do, but if I keep working steadily between one session of Dare playthroughs and another, hopefully I should have a fully functional demo by the time voting finishes. Some of the features I’d like to finally implement:

  • menus and options
  • SAVES! (I was kinda putting that off because any change in items’ list could basically break the previous saves; but I realised I probably won’t be changing the list for now, anyway, so it might be in the next update)
  • introduction/tutorial (I hope I will be able to make it non-intrusive, and especially without insulting the intelligence of player)
  • more or less casual dialogues
  • proper Richelle’s hoarding when it comes to shiny items (they are already marked as such in the game)
  • additional degree of prettification (a helpful artist I know will be helping me with that)
  • audio (whether it’s about feedback sounds or soundtrack
  • whatever else I think of or will arise in tests/feedback

Hope you’ll like the end result. :3
(and if you feel too lazy to scroll back up and haven’t checked the link to my game yet, here it is again; now you have no excuse)

Busy, busy, busy…

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015 8:50 am

So, I participated in the recent Ludum Dare, took 3 days to work on the Jam game, so of course the next logical step would be to start playing other games, maybe further tinkering with own entry, that sort of thing?
Well, yes, that would be the next logical step. But Christmas-preparation-madness had other plans. Ironic, considering how that holiday time is supposed to be about rest, but not entirely unexpected. ^^”

Nonetheless, I’ve managed to shell out a few hours to spend on further development, even if I’ve still got a long way to go. Behold, a prettily formatted and scrolled text!

I can text-box, yaaay~!

If you’d like to play around with the current version, it can be found here (the recent changes can be found under “Post-Jam” category, of course). I won’t blame you if you won’t; it’s still very unfinished.

Now then, today or at latest tomorrow I should finally start gathering some coolness. I’d love to do that earlier, but it’s so hard to find the time recently… ^^”

Priorities, priorities…

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Monday, December 8th, 2014 12:00 pm

Sadly, it seems I won’t be participating this time around. I got kinda overwhelmed by the LD game and, more importantly, I’ve found myself longing to do other project of mine instead; and if I were to choose between doing another project or procrastinating while trying to make LD game, I’d rather pick the former. It’s not even “I feel like my game won’t be good enough”, I wouldn’t drop out for such a silly reason. Rather, I feel like I can’t bring myself to work on that project anymore; not today, at least.

I feel particularly bad about my partner who was doing the art; I hope he won’t be too disappointed. Pretty much the only gameplay-workable thing I managed to make was dragging items between shop display shelves and storage slots, as in the screen below:

(the slots background was made by me; other graphics were made by the artist)

Still, I do plan to stay cool (not too hard during winter, huh?) even if I won’t have a game to attract the attention to. After all, I’ve got player’s theme bingo to play~!

Theme Bingo~!

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 3:21 am

So you think one theme just isn’t enough, huh?
Well then, how about a nice game of Theme Bingo?

Theme Bingo card

The rules are simple: when making your game for Ludum Dare, you not only execute whatever theme wins in the final round; you also somehow include the other themes from the card presented above, so that themes used overall form a row, column or diagonal from the big, 9-fields wide square. The side themes don’t need to be followed strongly; as long as they’re alluded to somewhere (and aren’t all listed in one place without any relevance to the game), it counts. If you aren’t feeling *that* confident, you might want to use only the green, 5-fields wide square instead.
(if you plan to play the theme bingo, please let me know; I’ll prioritise your game when playing)

It can also work the other (and likely easier) way – when playing other games, you can try to spot alternate themes usages and check if they collectively form a row, column or diagonal (or a few of these).

Let the randomness commence~!

Low battery…

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Monday, September 15th, 2014 9:46 am

Seriously, if I see pink rabbits with batteries on their backs, it means I should probably take a break from whatever I’ve been repeatedly doing recently and find something else; otherwise I’ll become very, very bitter and nasty about it and start ranting randomly. I guess I can’t stop now, though; the train of thought has went past the point where it’s better to hold it in rather than let it out. Here comes the rant, mostly related to theme, innovation and choice of genres…

So you thought you had come up with great and original theme interpretation, huh?
No, you didn’t. Probably. Except when you did. If after playing 100+ games you still think your theme interpretation is great and original, then you either have poor judgement or you’re actually right. If the latter, I’d expect innovation and theme scores to be in top ~16% (as far as I recall statistics, that would correspond to results being above 1 standard deviation from average).

Now then, let’s start with the very theme, letter by letter. Like so: C-O-N-N-E-C-T-E-D W-O-R-L-D-S. If you used “Connected” or its variation in the title (like “Connection”, but not necessarily e.g. “Bond” or “Link”), you get penalty for uncreative title; likewise if you had “world” there. For using both you get triple penalty (gosh, now I see why Judge from Ace Attorney series was so eager to give penalties; it really is fun in a way!). On the other hand, you can have a cookie (e.g. by going to the nearest shop and buying it) if you didn’t use either word in the game itself, and yet the use of theme is definitely apparent.
(Will Edwards: you are forgiven about that, but not about the choice of game rules)

Next, I’m not sure what you people were thinking when deciding to make a game about connections between people. Maybe it was something like “I’ll interpret this theme creatively and use metaphorical worlds; after all, each person has their own world”, but having played quite a few of such “creative” games it started to seem more like “ack, clock is ticking and I still don’t have the game idea; well then, how about connecting humans and interpreting it as each of them having personal world?” Sorry, people, it’s just that at some point it felt like few games that would follow the theme “Connected” wouldn’t be also caught by “Connected Worlds” for wide enough definition of “world”.

Special case of these human relationships is love (as in, romantic love as e.g. between married people, but not parent and child). Sure it’s nice to see that game development scene isn’t only about shooters, crafting etc., but out of the wide array of these relationships love is greatly overrepresented. Well, at least I don’t recall seeing there a shooter where the main character fights his way through various competitors to win the heart of his love interest.
Mind, I have nothing against love in general, especially when shown from a perspective different than usual. It’s just that it usually is presented from the same old perspective I’ve seen way too many times.

Quite a few of you were connecting “real” world with “unreal” world; world of the living with world of the dead, real world with world of dreams, real world with world of imagination. Not exactly what I’d expect from “Connected Worlds” theme, yet apparently too prevalent to call it truly creative. Still, as long as both worlds were properly exposed (rather than having the world left to player’s imagination), that use of theme was perfectly valid in my book. Like, in one game (about love, yes, though adorable and original enough not to make it completely repulsive to me) scenes from the world of imagination were directly corresponding to player’s actions, and in other the arrangement of obstacles in imagination world was identical as the real one (including a poor, poor sister).

Also, there were quite many entries with planets being connected in one way or another, though simply travelling from world A to world B and calling them connected felt a bit forced to me; I’d prefer to see both worlds at once (or in quick succession) and the link between them. Well, I guess that’s what comes to mind if we have worlds that should be connected; not uncommon were various games about interplanetary business (but why dragging optical fiber between planets must involve shooting to aliens, whyyyy?) or strategies. Sure most of these entries weren’t particularly creative about theme, yet its usage was still valid.
(plus, a few of you probably thought that it would be funny to make a game about sentient personified planets connected somehow; well then, I’ll tell you something – you were right)

Simultaneous gameplay could very well make a category of its own, with two characters doing the same and either one stopping at obstacle while the other carries on, or both stopping. As long as multiple worlds are shown, I guess it’s a proper (if not particularly innovative) interpretation, though a marble maze game seems to forget about worlds a tad too much. One notable example that uses that idea more creatively than the others is BOND by ConflictiveLabs (post-Jam version recommended; feel free to use your own soundtrack, as there is none); the ability to disconnect and reconnect characters allowed some pretty interesting challenges. In fact, that game would be a positive exception from what I’m about to describe…

Namely, something so utterly overused that it deserved its own mention in don’ts for games (thanks for Pockets for pointing it out in comments about themes):

“DON’T make a platform game where the gimmick is you can shift between two overlapping worlds. If you think you’ve had an idea, and that idea is that in your platform game you can shift between two overlapping worlds, then you haven’t had an idea at all. This is a bit like waking up one day and declaring that you’ve had the idea to put foodstuffs between two slices of bread. That’s someone else’s idea. That’s the 4th Earl Of Sandwich’s idea, and he’s going to beat you up. Coincidentally, he was also the first person to think of a platform game where you shift between two overlapping worlds, and he died in 1771.”

For that matter, how about ditching the platformers altogether for a while, unless you’ve got, really, *really* good and original mechanics to back it up (or story, at least)? I guess I might be taking it really far, and won’t be surprised if you people won’t comply, but I won’t write it without a reason. You see, I’ve got my MAD PLATFORMER SKILLZ tested over and over again, with squares, humans, elephants, penguins, llamas and whatnot, and, y’know, I kinda got tired of that; might have something to do with not providing experience substantially different from what I’ve already seen. Hard to tell whether all that platformer popularity among devs is some echo of Mario games or they’re just too easy to make (or both). Honestly, next LD I’m going to subtract 2 Innovation points for any platformer I see, unless it proves itself worthy to get these back. u_u”
(on the other hand, metroidvania platformers don’t bother me as much, especially if they are backed up with great story and don’t rely as much on platforming skills)

On the bright side, visual novels or point n’ clicks are pretty fine to me, at least as long as they don’t try to be too philosophical or artsy or otherwise sophisticated (Socrates Jones, while completely unrelated to LD, interestingly doesn’t count as too philosophical in my book); though that dislike might have a lot to do with having potentially 2500+ entries to check and not really having time to ponder about emotions, human nature, meaning of life and similar stuff (as long as the main theme isn’t romantic love; few exceptions aside, I’m getting tired of these sort of games, too). I guess what’s cool about these genres is that they rely more on the story than game mechanics, which means it can go pretty much anywhere. Technically you can make a shooter where you’re spreading friendship (NOT LOVE NOPE) instead of bullets, but usually some other concept (e.g. shooting zombies) comes to mind when that genre is chosen.
(oh, right, zombies are many, many times more overused than love, apparently; though it seems this theme didn’t promote zombies as much as layer-switched platformers)
(and yet, I somehow enjoyed a platformer with zombies and love (wonderfully inclusive, I must add); yup, sometimes I have hard time figuring out myself)

To sum it up, if you have some mercy, please follow these:

  • no multiplayer games with non-existent or seriously crippled single player mode, especially games that require many, many players for improved experience, even more especially games that require these players to be online
  • no platformers, unless really fancy
  • no love, unless really fancy
  • no layer-switched platformers about love, unless you come up with something jaw-droppingly creative and amazing
  • no zombies, unless really fancy
  • not too much artism, unless Ib or at least as fancy
  • story, please
  • difficulty playtesting, please

Or don’t, if you feel like that. These are just ramblings from a girl who has been playing a bit too many too similar games recently; who is she to decide what you should create, anyway?

But the actual conclusion is: if you make a game that I find truly enjoyable, then it doesn’t really matter how well it follows the theme; in the end, I just play games that happen to be made with some theme in mind (IMHO not counting Will Edwards entry that I’ve got mixed feelings about, Garden of Oblivion is still the best thing that happened to me during this LD, despite following the theme in rather elusive way).

That’s it, rant’s off. You’re actually all awesome for doing something productive these 2-3 days and making game; it’s just there are so many of you and so many days of voting that I get pretty exhausted… ^^”

Theme Bingo update ~ A few more

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Saturday, September 13th, 2014 7:11 am

After you have read my plea, have a pie:

Theme coverage graph

Note that large part of theme coverage comes from Boulevard of Broken Themes entry, which is why it has separate positions in the pie-chart. Note that “non-Boulevard” here means “is covered by something else than Boulevard”, not necessarily “isn’t covered by Boulevard”. Also, some special links were added, marked as [B]. Obviously, it stands for “basement” and has no relation to the game mentioned earlier in that paragraph.

Themes that have strong coverage found are bolded, while themes with weak or no coverage found aren’t (no coverage can be recognised by lack of linked games). I decide whether coverage is weak or strong arbitrarily, but there’s some measure decisive in most cases: if theme usage needs explanation, it means that it’s probably weak. Also, if there’s at least one game with strong coverage found, the ones with weak coverage won’t be linked (unless it’s one of weirder theme usages in Boulevard). Additionally, if there are many games that cover the given theme strongly, only the most noteworthy will be picked.
Additionally, themes that made it to the final round of voting are italicised. Just because.

Enjoy~!
(and beware of random links; they’re very random)

  • Alchemy
  • Another World [B]
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Brainwashed [LINK]
  • Break It, Fix It
  • Break The Rules
  • Chaos
  • Choose A Path [LINK]
  • Connected Worlds [1] [2] [3] (I sure do enjoy overly literal intepretations every once in a while)
  • Day and Night [1] [2]
  • Destroy The System
  • Do No Harm [LINK]
  • Don’t Save The Princess
  • Don’t Stop Moving [B] [LINK]
  • Dreams And Nightmares [1] [2]
  • End Of The Road [LINK] (well…)
  • Everyone Is A Monster
  • Experimentation [LINK]
  • Flow [LINK]
  • For Science! [LINK]
  • Forces Of Nature [LINK]
  • Forgotten [B]
  • Fortress [LINK]
  • From The Ashes
  • Glimpse Of The Future
  • Growing [LINK]
  • Human Stupidity
  • I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords [LINK] (I guess some people do…?)
  • I Think It’s Alive [LINK] (isn’t it? ^^”)
  • Illusion [B] [LINK]
  • Infectious
  • Isolation
  • It’s A Trap!
  • Knowledge Is Power
  • Labyrinth [B] [1] [2]
  • Limited Capacity
  • Limited Control [LINK] (but it works well enough)
  • Loot [LINK] (well, he gathers some goods along the way? O.o”)
  • Losing Control
  • Lost In Space [B]
  • Love [B] [1] [2] (seriously, if I were to list every entry that strongly uses this theme of ~150 I played, I’d do quite a lot of linking…)
  • Manipulate The Environment [B] [LINK]
  • Maps [B] [LINK]
  • No One Can See You [B] [LINK] and you’re dead
  • No Return
  • No Way In, No Way Out
  • Nothing Is Real [LINK]
  • Off The Grid
  • On The Edge
  • The Other Side [1] [2]
  • Points Of View [LINK]
  • Potato Salad [B] [LINK] (someone had to…)
  • The Power Of Machines
  • Randomly Generated [LINK]
  • Rise And Fall [B] [LINK]
  • Shadows [LINK]
  • Something’s Out There
  • The Space Is Getting Smaller
  • Speed [LINK]
  • Strange Physics [LINK]
  • Strength In Numbers [1] [2] (I need you!)
  • Supply And Demand [LINK]
  • Survive
  • Things Are Not What They Seem
  • This Happens To Me Every Day [LINK] (really glad to see such outlandish theme somehow got covered! XD)
  • Time Travel [LINK]
  • Transformation [B]
  • Trust No One
  • Under Pressure [B]
  • Unexpected Side Effect
  • Unlimited
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • What Is That In The Distance? [B]
  • Where No One Has Gone Before [LINK]
  • Wonderful Apocalypse
  • You Are Already Dead [B] [1] [2] (boo~!)
  • You Are The Weapon [LINK]
  • You Can Never Have Too Many [LINK]
  • You Can’t Fight Back [LINK] (except when you can)
  • You Must Leave It Behind [B]
  • You’re Not Supposed To Be Here [LINK]

Some of the themes found recently were actually quite ; perhaps if I had enough to play all 2500+ entries, I’d indeed find game for every single theme out there? ^^”
But I’m just a single person. If you spotted non-Boulevard coverage of any theme beside, please do mention it (best with a link). I’d like to catch as many as possible.

Conquering the world progress

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 2:51 am

It’s a follow-up to my plea related to this game. Seriously, do check that game, and if you’re somewhere crowded, feel free to do some exploration (I am in Greenland myself, but apparently it’s not green). I heard there is interesting stuff in Amazon, China or India. I am likely to reward brave explorers with comments on their games (although I tend to be harsh, it seems ^^”).

World map coverage
Sure I managed to expose a few more parts since the last time, but I still haven’t got to see the snake! What if it actually is my pet snake! :<
(also, glad to see another oceanologist on board)

Theme Bingo Update ~ Boulevard driven

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Friday, September 5th, 2014 4:31 am

After you have read my plea, have a pie:

Theme coverage graph

Note that large part of theme coverage comes from Boulevard of Broken Themes entry, which is why it has separate positions in the pie-chart. Note that “non-Boulevard” here means “is covered by something else than Boulevard”, not necessarily “isn’t covered by Boulevard”. Also, some special links were added, marked as [B]. Obviously, it stands for “basement” and has no relation to the game mentioned earlier in that paragraph.

Themes that have strong coverage found are bolded, while themes with weak or no coverage found aren’t (no coverage can be recognised by lack of linked games). I decide whether coverage is weak or strong arbitrarily, but there’s some measure decisive in most cases: if theme usage needs explanation, it means that it’s probably weak. Also, if there’s at least one game with strong coverage found, the ones with weak coverage won’t be linked (unless it’s one of weirder theme usages in Boulevard). Additionally, if there are many games that cover the given theme strongly, only the most noteworthy will be picked.
Additionally, themes that made it to the final round of voting are italicised. Just because.

Enjoy~!
(and beware of random links; they’re very random)

  • Alchemy
  • Another World [B]
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Brainwashed [LINK]
  • Break It, Fix It
  • Break The Rules
  • Chaos
  • Choose A Path [LINK]
  • Connected Worlds [1] [2] [3] (I sure do enjoy overly literal intepretations every once in a while)
  • Day and Night [1] [2]
  • Destroy The System
  • Do No Harm [LINK]
  • Don’t Save The Princess
  • Don’t Stop Moving [B]
  • Dreams And Nightmares [1] [2]
  • End Of The Road
  • Everyone Is A Monster
  • Experimentation [LINK]
  • Flow
  • For Science! [LINK]
  • Forces Of Nature [LINK]
  • Forgotten [B]
  • Fortress
  • From The Ashes
  • Glimpse Of The Future
  • Growing [LINK]
  • Human Stupidity
  • I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords [LINK] (I guess some people do…?)
  • I Think It’s Alive
  • Illusion [B]
  • Infectious
  • Isolation
  • It’s A Trap!
  • Knowledge Is Power
  • Labyrinth [B] [LINK]
  • Limited Capacity
  • Limited Control [LINK] (but it works well enough)
  • Loot [LINK] (well, he gathers some goods along the way? O.o”)
  • Losing Control
  • Lost In Space [B]
  • Love [B] [1] [2] (seriously, if I were to list every entry that strongly uses this theme of ~150 I played, I’d do quite a lot of linking…)
  • Manipulate The Environment [B] [LINK]
  • Maps [B]
  • No One Can See You [B] [LINK] and you’re dead
  • No Return
  • No Way In, No Way Out
  • Nothing Is Real [LINK]
  • Off The Grid
  • On The Edge
  • The Other Side [1] [2]
  • Points Of View [LINK]
  • Potato Salad [B] [LINK] (someone had to…)
  • The Power Of Machines
  • Randomly Generated (there must be something out there)
  • Rise And Fall [B]
  • Shadows
  • Something’s Out There
  • The Space Is Getting Smaller
  • Speed
  • Strange Physics [LINK]
  • Strength In Numbers [1] [2] (I need you!)
  • Supply And Demand [LINK]
  • Survive
  • Things Are Not What They Seem
  • This Happens To Me Every Day [LINK] (really glad to see such outlandish theme somehow got covered! XD)
  • Time Travel [LINK]
  • Transformation [B]
  • Trust No One
  • Under Pressure [B]
  • Unexpected Side Effect
  • Unlimited
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • What Is That In The Distance? [B]
  • Where No One Has Gone Before [LINK]
  • Wonderful Apocalypse
  • You Are Already Dead [B] [1] [2] (boo~!)
  • You Are The Weapon
  • You Can Never Have Too Many
  • You Can’t Fight Back [LINK] (except when you can)
  • You Must Leave It Behind [B]
  • You’re Not Supposed To Be Here

Can you spot the games using the missing themes? :3

Theme Bingo ~ Let the madness begin!

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Thursday, September 4th, 2014 5:37 am

So, following the thought from my previous post, I decided to make a list showing which themes are being covered by which games. That list is by no means complete, and is likely to be updated in the next posts (possibly sent every one-two days, depending on how much I get to find at later point). I’d really like you people to help with spotting the themes as well, especially since I’ve played only about 5-6% of all LD games out there. >.<

It's worth noting that themes that have strong coverage found are bolded, while themes with weak or no coverage found aren’t (no coverage can be recognised by lack of linked games). I decide whether coverage is weak or strong arbitrarily, but there’s some measure decisive in most cases: if theme usage needs explanation, it means that it’s probably weak. Also, if there’s at least one game with strong coverage found, the ones with weak coverage won’t be linked. Additionally, if there are many games that cover the given theme strongly, only the most noteworthy will be picked.
Additionally, themes that made it to the final round of voting are italicised. Just because.

Also, I don’t include my game in the list, since I want to be a good girl and do my best to break the habit of shamelessly linking it.

Enjoy~!
(I decided not to give names explicitly, in case someone could find that too spoiler-ish; I guess there should be no major spoilers, even in You Are Already Dead, but…)

  • Alchemy
  • Another World
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Brainwashed
  • Break It, Fix It
  • Break The Rules
  • Chaos
  • Choose A Path
  • Connected Worlds [1] [2] [3] (I sure do enjoy overly literal intepretations every once in a while)
  • Day and Night [LINK]
  • Destroy The System
  • Do No Harm
  • Don’t Save The Princess
  • Don’t Stop Moving
  • Dreams And Nightmares [1] [2]
  • End Of The Road
  • Everyone Is A Monster
  • Experimentation [LINK]
  • Flow
  • For Science! [LINK]
  • Forces Of Nature
  • Forgotten
  • Fortress
  • From The Ashes
  • Glimpse Of The Future
  • Growing
  • Human Stupidity
  • I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords [LINK] (I guess some people do…?)
  • I Think It’s Alive
  • Illusion
  • Infectious
  • Isolation
  • It’s A Trap!
  • Knowledge Is Power
  • Labyrinth [LINK]
  • Limited Capacity
  • Limited Control [LINK] (but it works well enough)
  • Loot [LINK] (well, he gathers some goods along the way? O.o”)
  • Losing Control
  • Lost In Space
  • Love [1] [2] (seriously, if I were to list every entry that strongly uses this theme of ~150 I played, I’d do quite a lot of linking…)
  • Manipulate The Environment
  • Maps
  • No One Can See You
  • No Return
  • No Way In, No Way Out
  • Nothing Is Real
  • Off The Grid
  • On The Edge
  • The Other Side [LINK]
  • Points Of View
  • Potato Salad [LINK] (someone had to…)
  • The Power Of Machines
  • Randomly Generated (there must be something out there)
  • Rise And Fall
  • Shadows
  • Something’s Out There
  • The Space Is Getting Smaller
  • Speed
  • Strange Physics [LINK]
  • Strength In Numbers [1] [2] (I need you!)
  • Supply And Demand
  • Survive
  • Things Are Not What They Seem
  • This Happens To Me Every Day [LINK] (really glad to see such outlandish theme somehow got covered! XD)
  • Time Travel [LINK]
  • Transformation
  • Trust No One
  • Under Pressure
  • Unexpected Side Effect
  • Unlimited
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • What Is That In The Distance? (that’s no moon!)
  • Where No One Has Gone Before [LINK]
  • Wonderful Apocalypse
  • You Are Already Dead [1] [2] (boo~!)
  • You Are The Weapon
  • You Can Never Have Too Many
  • You Can’t Fight Back [LINK] (except when you can)
  • You Must Leave It Behind
  • You’re Not Supposed To Be Here

Coverage found so far: 17 strong, 2 weak, 62 missing.
Can you spot the games using the missing themes? :3

LD themes report (for my game)

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 7:51 am

Since people seem to post fancy statistics recently, I decided to make some of my own, too. However, I don’t really have an easy access to LD data nor a friendly bot to retrieve these for me, so instead I came back to some idea I had some time ago, but eventually forgot.

So here it is: a complete list of all themes proposed across 4 rounds, with the themes from final round being italicised. Maybe someone will find it interesting. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if you decided to play the game in question first. 😉

Planned and executed (4/81; 2/20):
(themes that I wanted to allude to in one way or another, and succeeded in doing so)

  • Choose A Path (you’re making your own paths)
  • Connected Worlds (guess you have seen this one already); I even managed to integrate it into gameplay, i.e. make it so that without the theme one of core game mechanics wouldn’t have much sense
  • Manipulate The Environment (yay, topology~!)
  • Potato Salad (that’s what Iri’s dad would make, as mentioned in initial dialogue)

Spotted and executed (11/81; 4/20):
(i.e. themes that I was aware would be present in my game, but didn’t really tried to include)

  • Another World (well, duh)
  • Chaos (to be fixed)
  • Do No Harm (quite a feat, considering someone else couldn’t resist making a shooter in relation to CONNECTING PLANETS WITH OPTICAL FIBER)
  • Experimentation (them students…)
  • For Science! (them students again…)
  • Human Stupidity (…and again…)
  • Labyrinth
  • Lost In Space (depending on definition of “space” – it’s very interdimensional)
  • Unexpected Side Effect (…and again…)
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (…and again…)
  • Wonderful Apocalypse (…and again…)

Planned, but not included (11/81; 4/20):
(i.e. uses of themes that I wanted to allude to, but eventually didn’t have time)

  • Artificial Intelligence (overlords in cyan levels)
  • Brainwashed (the people welcoming robot overlords, obviously)
  • Break The Rules (possibly to be personified with some rebel in cyan levels)
  • Destroy The System (similar to Break The Rules)
  • I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords (to be repeated word by word by one of people in cyan levels)
  • No One Can See You (kinda planned as one of abilities)
  • The Power Of Machines (sort of; didn’t plan that theme specifically, but wanted machines to have power)
  • Shadows (the No One Can See You ability)
  • Things Are Not What They Seem (cyan levels… kinda sorta)
  • Transformation (one of abilities)Maps
  • You’re Not Supposed To Be Here (wanted to include a character somewhere that would have different colour than surroundings, remarking how it’s probably not the place they should be at)

Unintended, but somehow included (5/81; 0/20):

  • Don’t Save The Princess (clearly, you don’t)
  • Maps (in Theory; though they would be useful in field, too…)
  • Speed (tuuurboooo~!)
  • Strange Physics (very interdimensional)
  • You Can’t Fight Back (you must have something to fight against in the first place)

Ignored and not included (50/81; 10/20):

  • Alchemy
  • Break It, Fix It (only fix it – breaking was in backstory)
  • Day and Night
  • Dreams And Nightmares
  • Don’t Stop Moving
  • End Of The Road
  • Everyone Is A Monster
  • Flow
  • Forgotten
  • Forces Of Nature (unless infinite supply of shruberries counts)
  • Fortress
  • From The Ashes
  • Glimpse Of The Future (pfft, too deterministic!)
  • Growing
  • Illusion
  • Infectious
  • Isolation
  • I Think It’s Alive
  • It’s A Trap!
  • Knowledge Is Power (knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass…)
  • Limited Capacity
  • Limited Control
  • Loot (unless topology circuits count)
  • Love (definitely not as leading plot – it’s pretty overused at that point…)
  • Losing Control
  • No Return
  • Nothing Is Real
  • No Way In, No Way Out
  • Off The Grid
  • On The Edge
  • The Other Side
  • Points Of View
  • Randomly Generated (initially considered, but it would have been way too much mess)
  • Rise And Fall
  • The Space Is Getting Smaller
  • Something’s Out There
  • Strength In Numbers
  • Supply And Demand
  • Survive (several orders of magnitude more overused than Love)
  • This Happens To Me Every Day (no switching light, sorry)
  • Time Travel (too wibbly-wobbly, space is already enough)
  • Trust No One (meh)
  • Under Pressure
  • Unlimited (I’d like to see someone combining this theme with Limited Capacity and Limited Control)
  • What Is That In The Distance?
  • Where No One Has Gone Before
  • You Are Already Dead (no, you aren’t)
  • You Are The Weapon (no, you aren’t)
  • You Can Never Have Too Many (no, you can)
  • You Must Leave It Behind (just got reminded of someone ranting about “You [something]” themes)

(hmm, I really could use some spoiler tag here…)

To sum it up in fancy images, because we all know everyone likes fancy images:
General theme usage
Final round theme usage

I wonder, how about others’ theme coverage; in particular, what sort of other themes appeared the most in LD games in one way or another (Another World, perhaps?), and whether every theme has related game (I know for sure “This Happens To Me Every Day” has at least one). Perhaps we should play some sort of Ludum Dare theme bingo? ^^”

Let’s conquer the world together!

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 10:27 am

Have I mentioned Connecting LD30 to the Real World? No? Well then, now I mention it.

Actually, I did mention it before, but it won’t hurt to mention it again. That’s because I’m running out of entries that would allow me to reveal significant portions of map, while there’s a huge, huge space that’s yet to be discovered. And that’s terrible!

Just to give some more background: Connecting LD30 to the Real World is an amazing application with apparently somewhat amusing world map and not quite well thought-out game mechanics that, under normal circumstances, don’t allow players to reveal that completely. The thing is, first a Ludum Dare participant picks a position in the map. The area around them (some sort of ellipse, probably because the world is wider than taller on that map) is revealed, and it’ll be also shown to anyone who either has commented on the participant’s entry, or had their entry commented by the participant. Or, to put it from different perspective, the participant has revealed the area:
a) around themselves
b) around people who commented on the participant’s game
c) around people whose game the participant commented on

Everything is fine and dandy, but the ellipse is rather small, and people tend to pick their positions honestly. It means that there are many, many people that can reveal the same part somewhere in Europe, and no one who could allow revealing some spot in Pacific Ocean (probably because not many people live in the middle of ocean). As a result, that’s what I got after having most of the area revealed (what remains is mainly central Brasil, Russia and whereabouts and parts of Africa and Australia):
My current state of discovery
(I decided to alter the screen so that you people wouldn’t have the world map spoiled; also, note that border parts, like Antarctic, are cut)

As you can see, there are large, large areas yet to be discovered. And that’s what I would like you people to do. To discover, so that we could reveal as much of the amazing map Will Edwards prepared for us as possible. I already moved to Greenland, but I can’t do this alone. I need your help. Let’s conquer the world together!
(and yes, being a sole participant in a wide, wide area will make you more likely for me to comment on your game. Which might not be the thing you want, come to think of it…)

I guess the connection to the real world would be somewhat weakened because of that, but it’s Will’s blame for making such an interesting map *and* using the rules encouraging such behaviour. 😉

Alice’s recommendations

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Sunday, August 31st, 2014 5:10 am

Phew… having played 100 entries (which is less than 4% overall…) I think I can now mention a few I found particularly entertaining; note that I don’t really take the theme into account giving these recommendations, and one of these games weren’t scored at all, since I played its much more polished version from a few days later. As you may notice from these entries, I’m quite a fan of story-driven games.

Since arranging these games in fun factor order would be too big of a task to me, I’ll just list them alphabetically.

Crece-above-Clouds – interesting tower-defense game, though you might want to take a look at the second screenshot where instuctions are (couldn’t see the instructions ingame; maybe I didn’t look hard enough) to have any idea what to do. Liked the internal dialogue, waiting for story mode.

Garden of Oblivion – very neat visual novel (once the polished version has been uploaded…), or maybe rather a point-and-click adventure (more interactive than typical VN, less interactive than typical PnC) with well-presented story; my biggest trouble was with the first puzzle where exact word needs to be typed; if you’re really, really, really desperate, you will find the solution in Moosefly’s comment; if only really desperate, check the clue in response to me (@Sunflower) in the author’s comment right below the Moosefly’s

Mansion on the Hill – interesting and detailed adventure game, amazing for only 48 hours (in the compo where nearly everything must be built from scratch); not exactly upbeat, but still worth playing

Noli – maybe not as excellent as the others, I put it here since it’s a nice little Metroidvania-style game with the legendary Air Shark, and the main character is completely adorable. I’d like to see where this goes…

On the edge of Earth: 5000 – small, but really fun to play around with

Parallel Words – little, amusing, fun to play, though I had a little trouble figuring out what to do in the first level

And last but not least, so special that it’s out of alphabet order:

Connecting LD30 to the Real World – very interesting project of Will Edwards, though due to the way it works I decided to move to Greenland, so that I have better view (haven’t found polar bears, though :<); hopefully Will will forgive me…

Oh, right, almost forgot about Collision On second thought, nevermind that… ^^”
(still, if you’d like to check my entry too, feel free to click the link just above)

Soo… there’s that so far, if you’d like me to check your entries, feel free to ask in comments (I’ll check them, yes). Also, I’d like to have them explicitly linked in comments, but I’ll probably check them otherwise, too; I’ll just need to go through typing the author’s name explicitly to find the entry, because LD site, while pretty great and all, has trouble with that aspect. >.<

Collision – post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @AlphishCreature)
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 3:38 pm

Alright, having played some other games a little, I think I can write that thing somewhat menacingly called “post mortem”. For the reference, the game I made was Collision. The tools I used were GameMaker: Studio for general engine (along with earlier declared PARADIGMOSIS framework in progress thing), OpenMPT for soundtrack and Audacity for OGG conversion, SFXR for sound effects (I admit, it really *is* an awesome tool, especially in such short jams). It was for the 48 hours competition, but in the end I feel it ended up better than my earlier games for other 72-hours competitions.

What went right:

  • first of all, I guess the preparations; I ended up using pretty much all features I made beforehand, one of them very much so, and I feel it really sped things up or allowed details that I probably couldn’t bother with otherwise; it seems the system I came up with works and is worth further development
  • I decided not to bother with the interface too much, knowing that this beast takes too long to make compared to results (especially when time is much needed); instead, I focused on creating the core mechanics and ended up having them done by the end of the first day. The fact that these mechanics didn’t require elements like pop-up windows or anything similar helped a lot, too
  • I managed to throw in some music (that people apparently like) and sounds, as well as their respective mute buttons; also, I even succeeded in making the twist with soundtrack changing, even though it kept desyncing for me (interestingly, no one else reported it so far; perhaps it’s something local? O.o”)
  • I actually made a game that can be completed; sure, it’s very lacking and most areas are pretty empty, but still; I hope I made the ending screen rewarding enough ^^”

What went wrong:

  • my sleeping patterns… u_u”
  • game’s source code (as expected for quick application coding)
  • wasted some time trying to get audio right
  • didn’t add other characters to talk to, or maybe obstacles to avoid
  • ran out of time to add proper abilities rather than barrier keys; though I didn’t really had high hopes about that
  • possibly the game doesn’t explain things properly, though reports about that aren’t very often so far? O.o”

What I’ve learned:

  • all ideas are equal, but some are more equal; and they might be faster to execution
  • game development can be insanely quick indeed, especially with proper tools ^^”
  • I really am a coder… I can’t do graphics nor music… I really am a coder… I can’t do graphics nor music…

Overall, it was quite fun participating in that compo, though I guess the next time I’ll prefer to participate in the Jam instead; I’m not overly fond of sharing my entire general codebase with everyone else, and 72 hours is still longer than 48. Plus, I don’t like coding the same functionality over and over again. ^^”

I’m curious about what the results will be… I guess I’ll need to wait quite a bit. Still, I probably will do some additional voting every now and then…
(on a side note, whoever came up with the coolness rating and it affecting the order of suggested games to play was a genius; it really seems to work!)

I guess that’s it. Need to work in fixing my sleeping patterns… probably won’t touch the development itself for a little while… ^^”

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