About thaaks (twitter: @RightAngleGames)

I am a dad, a husband, a team leader at my fulltime developer job and a wannabe game coder in my spare time!

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Ludum Dare 32
 
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Bubbles – a post mortem and an enhanced post compo version

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 1:26 pm

Now that a week has passed I think it’s time for summary. Let’s start with the right and wrong stuff.

What went right?

  • Choosing GameMaker:Studio again. I’m getting comfortable with it (though I still think a programming language without OO features is crap!) and that means I’m getting results fast!
  • Using the GameMaker community. After I came up with the game idea and the platformer game type it was pretty easy to find online tutorials that helped me implement a platformer engine pretty quick. After a few hours I had a working prototype including first pixel sprites!
  • Trying PyxelEdit. While creating my pixel bitmaps with the builtin sprite editor of GameMaker I was annoyed that it’s so hard to have a look at the other animation images of a sprite. So I remembered I’ve purchased PyxelEdit several months ago and decided to give it a go. Two intro tutorial videos later I was working really fast with the tool (keyboard shortcuts are great to learn!) and used the tool for all remaining graphics work.
  • Creating sound effects on my own. All sounds you hear were created with just a microphone and a bit of cutting and pitching with Audacity. That was really funny – first time I tried that at all!
  • Having a day off on Monday. What a relief! I knew that I could spend the whole Monday to do all household and cleanup work that was left over the weekend. Also I didn’t need to iron my shirts for the week on Sunday evening but could delay that til Monday. And I didn’t have to go to bed early – which was a real life saver if we come to the “What went wrong?” part! So I can only recommend to others and try to remember for myself to have a free day after the LD weekend!

What went wrong?

  • Music. Again. This time I had a few more hours left (I thought!) and tried to create some music. Only tool that I was a bit used to was Music Maker Jam on my Android tablet. But preset loops, some effects and changing chords just didn’t do it – nothing fit the game so I dropped music completely for my LD entry. Again. Disappointing. I will try to learn a bit of FL Studio and use that for simple game loops. Next time.
  • Bugs! Not in my code – I can find and fix those, but bugs in GameMaker. There were two annoying bugs I had to fight with. One bug was related to a negative sprite width which can’t really happen, right? A sprite width should always be positive. Unless you decide to flip the image using image_xscale in GameMaker. Flipping images is pretty common so you only need to draw the right movement, flip the image and automatically get the left movement for free. But flipping had the effect (read: bug) that the sprite width turned negative and all collision calculations failed completely when moving left…luckily the abs() function can help here. Took me an hour to find and fix that. The second bug was even worse because it only happened in the HTML5 release of my game. All worked great under Windows but in the browser version my hero fell through the “fall through platforms” all the time. He shouldn’t do that when the hero lands on such a platform from above. Due to the way the “fall through platforms” were implemented I discovered a bug in GameMaker:Studio where having no sprite but just a collision mask doesn’t work in HTML5…So I had to modify the code to set and remove both whenever I wanted to. That took me nearly two hours late on Sunday evening when I was just preparing the release package to upload it to the Ludum Dare website. Instead of finishing everything around midnight I stayed up until 2 AM Monday morning. And I had to get up again at 6 to get my boys to school and work…
  • Graphics. Hmm? I mentioned that on the “What went right?” part, didn’t I? Yes, but in fact I wanted to create graphics using Inkscape. But that didn’t work – I’m just not experienced enough with Inkscape yet to use it fast enough to achieve what I want to create. Too much fiddling around or looking things up here – so back to pixel graphics it was.

What else?

The (positive!) ratings I received also revealed a bug in my checkpoint system. And the collisions were too unforgiving I’ll have to admit. So I fixed both and uploaded a post compo version of my entry. Just in case you want to play a (hopefully) less buggy version: go here!

Bubbles on the way…

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 2:30 am

Completely forgot to post here – was busy on game creation and on Twitter a bit.

Little update for all Ludum Darers: I’ve got a platform engine working (thanks to Shaun Spalding’s great tutorials at http://gamemakertutorials.com/

Also happily pixeling along with PyxelEdit – a great tool for pixel art that I bought months ago and discovered it’s value just now.

I’ll try to attach two gifs that show the results of my first day. I think I’ll be able to finish something playable today – keep fingers crossed.

Have fun, everyone!

firstBubbles firstEngine

Another year, another try!

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Sunday, April 5th, 2015 10:30 am

Last year was my first LD (#29, also in April), this LD will be my second one. And although I have to take care of my two boys over the weekend I’ll give it a try again.

I hope I’ll manage to finish another game in 48 hours and get a better place than last year (one has to have goals, right?).

Like last year I’m going to use:

  • GameMaker:Studio for coding and maybe some pixeling
  • Some of the SFXR tools for beep, beep and booom
  • RealDraw Pro and/or PyxelEdit and GameMaker for my crappy programmer’s art
  • Pretty surely no music unless I manage to get FL Studio started for the first time after I purchased it months ago…

Good luck and have fun over the weekend to all of you!

I’m in…or maybe not!

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Monday, August 18th, 2014 1:36 pm

Not sure yet if I’ll find the time. My wife takes a weekend off so it’s me and the boys.

Either the three of us do something fun together and have healthy food (that would imply I’m not in) or we enjoy fast food, lots of computer and console time and simply forget about the rest (that means I’m in!).

Should I decide for the latter, my tools will be:

  • Game Maker:Studio for game coding and fast 2D pixel art,
  • SFXR for beep ching bang pow,
  • Real Draw PRO for vector art,
  • some of those procedural music generators or some simple stuff like Caustic or PixTone or (last exit) no music at all.

Finally if the theme doesn’t hit me at all I’ll decide for a nice weekends with my sons 😉

 

Holy Moly – a short post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 5:40 am

Here’s the link to my entry page: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=3382 if you want to rate it 😉

So this was my first Ludum Dare and here’s a short review of it:

What went right?

  • First I managed to finish LD with a working, playable game! That’s already my first success. I wasn’t sure if I was able to create something worth uploading. I knew I had some family appointments and being a dad and a husband is always a guarantee for unexpected daily issues :-)
  • Choosing GameMaker:Studio as my weapon of choice. I’m learning and using it for some months now so I was pretty confident what I could do with it and what not. For “Holy Moly” it was a very good choice.
  • Trying out a 320×240 resolution in a 640×480 window. I always wanted to give that a try – learning the basics to create a low res game on a bigger resolution window and get it scaling. Again GM:S did the job perfectly fine here.
  • Try to avoid feature creep. I was constantly tempted to add more game play elements but I resisted knowing that it wouldn’t help me to deliver something playable. I will work on my game in the future and add some ideas that popped up during the development time (fine tuning of the timers for rats and water, smarter rats, drills that can kill the mole, dynamite, rocks as obstacles that can smash you if you dig below them, more different food items).
  • Choosing HTML5 for deployment. I think it’s very important for play testers to ease the access to the game. And a game playable in a browser without plugins to install or even a downloadable zip is the best way. Uploading to my webspace and integrating into my website was easy.

What went wrong?

  • Graphics. I do suck at graphics or I simply don’t have enough experience in creating them. I want to improve my knowledge here. So I will try to do some exercises / tutorials for pixel art and vector art. I used the builtin graphics editor of GameMaker and TileStudio for the ground tiles. I didn’t have enough time to give PyxelEdit and AutoTileGen a try.
  • One more graphics related issue: graphics style. I couldn’t decide what to use: pixel style or vector graphics. Because I wanted to experiment with the low resolution approach I went for the pixel style but as you can see in the game I’m not very good at it. Neither are my vector skills but anyway 😉
  • Music: it’s missing. I still haven’t found a good tool for me to create simple loops that sound “okay”. I considered Magix Music Maker Jam on my tablet but that isn’t able to create chip tune music which would have fit the game style. And for trackers I do have zero experience using them. And there are so many trackers where I don’t get the user interface…any recommendations are highly appreciated here!
  • Sound effects: I used bfxr and Audacity but I’m not totally happy with the sound. Again I miss some theory here to know how to modify the generated sounds to my liking. For example I had a perfect sound that I wanted to last longer or to sound a bit darker and so on.

Final words

It was tiring, exhausting, disappointing at some moments but overall it was fun, energizing, highly motivating and a personal big success for me. I will join other Ludum Dares because I did get so much positive experience from it in such a short time span – and it didn’t cost me a single dime 😉

I am aware now that I need to have a good knowledge of all tools that I plan to use during a 48h compo – it is simply a complete waste of time trying to learn a new tool in those 48 hours and expecting satisfying results on a first go…

And finally I’m totally impressed by some other entries: unbelievable what some of you guys and girls can achieve in 2 days! You are marvelous!

Lunch break and update

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 7:23 am

Today it was my job to prepare the lunch. So I made wraps with chicken or vegetarian meat, salad, corn and some salsa sauce. Very tasty!

Game wise I’m done regarding the game play. I tuned everything up a bit and made it a little bit harder – it was too boring to play last night. But I’m happy with the current version.

Now it’s all about finishing graphics (all my programmer’s art), adding sound (bfxr to the rescue), creating a title screen and adding instructions.

Biggest task will be the title screen and some nice seamless ground/earth textures. Thinking about TileStudio or Gimp right now.

Still have some real life issues left on my todo list so I hope I’ll get everything done until tonight. I’m back to work tomorrow so I have a maximum of 7 hours left today.

Keep fingers crossed!

Lunch photo attached.

Lunch Sunday

Back to my game…

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 12:37 am

Good morning, everyone. It’s 9:30 am here in Germany, I am showered, not shaved and have had my breakfast.

My real life todo list is as long as my game todo list so I’d better hurry up and get some things done…

Breakfast: bread roll with plum jam, coffee with milk and sugar.

Breakfast Sunday

Off to bed now…

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 3:32 pm

I’m finished for today. Got everything into the game I wanted to achieve.

Tomorrow it’s basically graphics, sound fx, title screen and cleaning the mess up 😉

You can already play the current WIP here:

http://www.rightanglegames.com/ludum-dare-29.html

 

Good night,

Thomas

 

Late first evening update

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 2:00 pm

I’ll finish soon for today. I’m pretty tired now, it’s nearly 11 pm here and I achieved a lot.

The main game play is working. You can guide the mole, eat the worms, get squashed by the gardener and suffocate. Random level generation is also working fine.

I’ll try to add flooding water as the final hazard for today and then I’ll take a break.

 

Late night food (just a banana and some water) and a desktop screenshot for your amusement 😉

Late night meal Saturday SecondScreen

Tomorrow will be spent for graphics, some sound effects and a title screen and the remaining finishing touches.

Later!

The mole is moving

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 7:46 am

First success! I’ve got my little mole moving. He can dig through earth, which takes more time than running through an already existing tunnel.

Now I can add worms to eat, obstacles to avoid, timers to decrease and other pressure on the player.

Improving graphics, adding sound and all this other little stuff is coming later.

molemoves

Saturday afternoon, progressing…

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 6:24 am

While working on creating programmer sprites, first game objects, level generation and stuff like that I completely missed the lunch my wife prepared for us and the kids.

So I went down from my coding chamber and created a quick meal (eggs sunny side up with some bacon) and a huge cup of green tea. Yummy.

Below are the pics (lunch and first screenshot with placeholder art).

Lunch Saturday FirstScreen

Let’s get started

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 3:36 am

Messy Desktop Breakfast Saturday

Okay, late start in Germany. First a picture of my messy desktop in my little coding chamber under the roof and a late breakfast picture (cup of coffee and some black bread with Nutella).

But I already came up with a nice idea fitting the theme (which was one of my favorite themes btw).

You’re a mole and you need to find food, dig up sometimes to get fresh air into your passages, don’t get flooded by the gardener and avoid other hazards that I might come up with 😉

So there’s only one thing left until tomorrow night – get it done!

Later,

Thomas

Another first timer is in…

Posted by (twitter: @RightAngleGames)
Friday, April 18th, 2014 7:11 am

I’ve been wanting to join LD for so long now but it never matched with my family calendar. But this time I am in! And although I’m terribly excited I hope I’ll finish the weekend with a playable something that I can call a game 😉

My tools will be

  • for Code: Game Maker:Studio
  • for Graphics: Real Draw PRO and/or Pyxeledit and/or Game Maker’s builtin Sprite editor
  • for Sound: any of those SFXR things or a microphone, no idea yet for any music

Good luck to all participants,

Thomas

 

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