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I’m in.

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 11:20 am

Got some brainstorming in last night, but didn’t have any time to work, so only getting started now.

As I often do, going to make an attempt at compo, but will probably switch to jam, especially with this late start. For compo compliance, I’m probably starting off of this warm-up project / WIP library, which is based off of (a heavily modified) nunchuck.js (itself built on socket.io), D3.js, and this QR code generator. It is set up to work with OpenShift thanks to this useful sample socket Openshift project. If I end up using any other available libraries, I’ll add them here later.

Not giving my idea away in this post because I’m still curious where this Twitter survey is going. I’ll probably post about the idea on Twitter later.


  • Titon toolkit because I always spend way too much time on CSS on these things.

Panic at the Space Petting Zoo.

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Sunday, May 1st, 2016 5:22 am

Hi everyone!

So this Ludum Dare, I made Space Petting Zoo Crisis!, a game that is designed for three people to play on one shared monitor and three cell phones. Because I’m that person who does weird things that makes games complicated. I know. I have a problem. I’m working through it.

 I plan to write up how I did it at some point, because people have been curious, but this is not that post. This is a “How to play the game no matter what your setup is!” post.

First, some assurances in big friendly letters!

Yes, you can play this game single player!


Yes, you can play this game with just a computer!


Yes, you can play this as a remote multiplayer game!

Okay, ready?


Family Board Game Night: The Board Game: The Last-minute Web Port

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Monday, January 4th, 2016 4:54 pm


Oof, families visiting for the holiday sure got in the way of scoring-period activities.

Oh well…

If you are looking for things to score last minute, I finished a browser port of our board game, Family Board Game Night: The Board Game, last night. It’s more a board simulator than a full video game, since you’ll have to read the rules and cards and figure out what to do, but this way, you don’t have to print everything out.

Here it is.

If anyone has a game that works well on cell phone browsers, let me know in the comments and I’ll score it on my bus ride home.

Family Board Game Night: The Board Game

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 7:57 am

This year, to top my 2nd place in Innovation (Jam) in LD 32 for making a spreadsheet game, I’ve decided to innovate even more and make a video game played entirely with dice and cards and little tokens and – hold on ::hand to ear:: I’m being told that’s called a board game.

So our game this year is called Family Board Game Night: The Board Game. It is a literal board game and will be available in PDF form for people to print out, but I’ll also try to get a browser-based interface up to make testing and judging it easier. I’m developing it with a friend and we should have the mechanics and content under control, but we are looking for an artist, so if you or someone you know is a 2D artist who can knock out a few dozen card-sized doodles for Monday, let me know.


You are a family of people who don’t really have the whole family harmony thing going on. At the suggestion a magazine article, Can five weeks of board games make your family a happy family?, you are going to try to play board games several times a week. Each week, you get together, try to coordinate your schedules, and try to agree on which game to play. If you can avoid fighting and stick to gaming for five weeks, maybe, just maybe, you might become a happy family.


Before the game starts, players create family members by drawing trait cards and rolling play skill stats, which affect how well you play certain games and what sorts of interactions you can have with your family. Each family member starts with a morale score between 2 and 7, on a scale from 1 to 12. The family’s board game collection is a single basic board game.

The game is divided into five weeks, and each week is divided into three phases – scheduling, playing, and board game shopping.

During scheduling, each player draws a number of scheduling conflicts. Players then try to decide on 1 to 3 days to play games that week, and which games to play. If there are no scheduling conflicts, everyone is happy. If there are conflicts, players will have to make hard decisions.

Family members then play the scheduled games. A typical game will take about 20 seconds to actually play, but may set off any number of events which affect family morale.

At the end of the week, adult characters receive income and child characters can ask for allowance, which the family then uses for board game shopping. An inventory is selected from the deck of games the family doesn’t own, and the family can decide which games to get and whose money to spend.

After five weeks, the family tallies up family member morale to determine if it is a happy family. If it is, everyone gets +1 morale in real life.

Our plan

We’re on track so far. We’ve got the basic rules down and have started creating the lists of cards available for play. We’ve got 21 board game cards, each with unique rules and consequences, and are a good way towards our starter goal of 24 trait cards, 12 secret goal cards, and 30+ event cards. We should be at the in-team play test state some time early afternoon tomorrow, and can get to card layout, balance tweaking, and additional content by tomorrow evening. If we stay on track, the game will be in a submittable state by Sunday morning and we can spend our time having people play test it while we flesh it out and make it pretty.

This is fun. ::nodnod::

Let’s annoy the heck out of some humans with plants.

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 1:12 am

I am making this game in Google Docs. ::nodnod::

Long story.

No, actually, short story. I made a joke about making a game in Google Docs, and was told that I should. So I’m making this game in Google Docs. Documents, Spreadsheets, Forms, that stuff. It’ll be great.

Okay, so the game. In this game, you play as an alien colonist on a planet that also has a human colony. You don’t like humans, so you want them gone, but you’ve signed a treaty saying you won’t hurt them. You decide your best course of action is to annoy the humans off the planet by breeding together local plants with annoying properties.

(Click here to suggest annoying properties!)

This is a massive-ish multiplayer game. It is also a role-playing game where you can create content as the character you are playing as.

Everyone playing the game is playing cooperatively towards the common goal of annoying humans with plants, though there will be rankings over who is the best annoying plant botanist and who is the best journalist of annoying plants and stuff like that.

I am hoping it picks up enough steam that everyone drops in from time to time for several weeks, and collectively create a rich and storied game world. If everything goes according to plans, there will be options for quick casual play, deep idle play, and creative content creation, and even an option for people who don’t want to do anything but get regular updates on the game and vote in quick public opinion surveys.

Here is a draft of the introduction document you would first read as a player. It gives you a bit of character and backstory for the world and presents to you the class options you will have as a player. I plan to let each unique Google login play as one character per class, so you will get an opportunity to try everything.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing what game ideas everyone else implements, and hoping “annoying plants” isn’t an overdone take on the theme :)

Postfour mini-Postmortem and mini-intro-to-d3.js

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Sunday, December 28th, 2014 9:11 pm


So this is my game, Postfour : Reconstruction.


In this game, you play as the military leader of a space civilization that just won a 4x war, and now you’ve been elected as political leader and you have to help all the other civilizations rebuild their infrastructure and become self-reliant.

I’m going to talk a bit about making it, but not a lot, because it went super-smoothly and there’s not a lot to say, and then I’m going to talk about D3.js, the interactive data visualization library I used to make the game, and its potential as a game engine.


This is the second time I’ve finished an LD (out of four attempts) and the first time I’ve finished the jam with a team (out of two). I was pretty busy in the lead-up to this LD, so I didn’t spend a lot of time preparing or trying to assemble a team. The people I asked were pretty busy, and even the devs who really wanted to do it and said they’d try to show up couldn’t commit, which was a good thing, because none of them showed up. (Not bitter, not sarcasm, genuinely okay with all this.) This is okay, because the lesson I learned from last time is to scope a project for significantly fewer people than you expect, because people have a lot of reasons for not showing up, and most of those reasons are completely legitimate. I scoped the game for me as t he only programmer, and that worked out.

I did have an artist. She was a friend of a friend who responded when I hit up a mailing list said mutual friend and his friends use to plan parties. I’d never met her before and she’s pretty cool. Here’s her website. She didn’t have a lot of time that weekend either, but she helped with some UI design and drew the really cute portraits you see in the game. She plans to help out with the full version of the game, so expect to see more cute art in that one too.

ludum dare-05

These are the four different alien species. There were 10 different visually distinct individuals total (three per race except top right), and two expressions (mad and not mad) per visually distinct individual.

So that’s the team.

The game came out exactly like I planned it except not – every feature you see in the game was in the original this-is-what-we’d-do-if-we-had-a-lot-of-time idea for the game, but most of the features didn’t make the cut for Friday night scope reduction. There was originally going to be no trading and no concept of infrastructure and production in the LD version, but there were going to be scripted plot points about various political figures doing various things, and you needing to make decisions that would affect the political climate of the game. The goal was to prevent the war from breaking out again and make it to the end of your term.

As I started coding though, I realized that the elements I had scoped out were the more game-like elements, and the elements I had scoped in better served as icing on the cake, so I flipped it around. Only one non-player character with any personality made it into the game – the politician who is pissed that xe is relegated to mere advisor while you, a military leader with no political experience, hold all the actual power. Xer snide dialog is entirely contained in the help window and the end-game screen, but a few people got some laughs out of xem. I guess we’ll see how many when the humor score gets revealed tomorrow.

(Pronoun use didn’t make it into the game at all, but your species (the top-left humanoid species) has no concept of gender, while the crab species, the glowing eye species, and the floating ball species all do, and it confuses you. But that got scoped out.)

Nothing really dramatic happened during development. There were no crazy issues with getting anything to work. There was an exploit that I knew about and let stand for a long time that would let you trade beyond the ostensible max on the trading slider, but I fixed that on Monday. The fix introduced a bug though, and I managed to fix that with less than a minute to go before the deadline, so I guess in the movie version, that would be the big edge-of-your-seat moment, but I really should have just fixed the exploit sooner. There is still a situation you can get into in the game where the above-the-max thing happens as a result of infrastructure growth or cancelling trades in the middle of a chain of trades, but it’s not really an exploit, and I haven’t even decided on what the correct behavior should be.

One of the problems I did have was that I used a purposely bad color scheme during production to remind me to come up with a better one, and it grew on me.


::sniff:: I miss you, light blue on light grey.

Known issues:

  • Several sets of planets are nearly co-linear and as a result, sometimes people thought the middle planet was trading with the two end planets, and couldn’t figure out how to cancel the trade.
  • The music doesn’t work on certain browsers and prevents the game from loading.
  • There wasn’t enough visual indication of how planets were doing, and especially during the end game, a lot of the game was spent searching for the one or two planets that needed fixing.
  • The help screen was too much to take in at once and it needed to be broken out into a tutorial.
  • Likewise, several people didn’t notice that there were a couple of objectives listed in the treaty because the treaty was a little hard to find.
  • Also, the second objective was impossible to address from the get-go and you had to start out by doing things that broke it and then go back and undo them later, and people didn’t realize this because I didn’t make it clear.
  • In what should have been a two minute fix but I never got around to it, there should have been a status bar at the top indicating how much time you had left in your term, not just a fraction.
  • Several things like how much industry a planet had and how much it would cost to do a certain action were not well messaged.

Features for the full version:

  • More named, distinctive characters and interactions between them
  • Scripted events
  • Possibly multiple resource types? I don’t know.
  • Procedurally generated maps, and difficulty settings
  • Saves


Before I start this section, I want to acknowledge that I have a history of really liking underpowered or inappropriate tools for programming projects. I would also like to state that I don’t believe D3 is underpowered, and I think it is only slightly inappropriate. If you are not convinced, and you are looking for a more traditional, less inappropriate html5 game engine, try phaser.

So D3 is a library designed for making slick, interactive data visualizations. It was created by Mike Bostock when he was at Stanford; he’s now at New York Times using it to make all the data visualizations they have. Some examples:

Pretty nifty, no?

Anyway, that was the main library I used to make my game.

I think it has a lot of potential as a game engine.

And I don’t think I’m crazy for saying so.

I was thinking I was going to give a brief overview of how D3 works so you can get started learning it, but there are a ton of good getting-started-with-D3 things out there and they’re easy to find, and there are even more D3 samples with code. (Honestly, I’d even say skip the tutorials and just start playing around with the demos, then Google anything you don’t understand.) Instead, I’m just going to show you a few examples of things D3 can do that might convince you to give it a try as a game engine.

I’ll say it’s easy to learn, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Most of these examples give you the source code right on the page, and for the ones that don’t (my game included), you can get it by viewing the page source. (My game splits most of the functions out into other .js files, but they are also available for viewing and the page source will give you the links. I just realized I haven’t tested this on the itch.io link, so if it doesn’t work, the gdocs link should.)

D3 isn’t designed as a game engine, but it has some features you would expect any game engine to have.

It also has a bunch of features that you wouldn’t expect to see in every game engine but that could really be useful for certain types of games.

I could keep adding more examples, but I should stop somewhere.

I’m not the only one who sees the potential here.

Anyway, if that all looks cool to you, check out D3. There are a shitton of examples here and you can also pick up the source code. You probably don’t even need the source code, since you can just go <script src=”http://d3js.org/d3.v3.min.js” charset=”utf-8″></script> to use it.

I am not sure if any of this will be any help to anyone, but I’ll put it up. If you have questions about D3 that aren’t answered above, go ahead and ask me here. I wanted this to be helpful and I’m not sure if it is as is, so I’ll make it right by answering any questions you have or pointing you to resources that do.

Our jam entry is in a submittable form!

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 9:24 pm

I have some polishing I need to do and some features I want to add, but it’s a complete game with a tutorial and a win condition and everything.

In this game, you play as the leader of a species that just won a space 4x game. You’ve, for some reason, been elected to a political position, and it’s your job to make sure the conditions of the treaty are met.

Here’s the beta

If anyone has a chance to play it, let me know how it goes.  I suspect it is too easy, so I’ll probably make it harder unless I have people telling me it’s well balanced or hard. Let me know if you find any bugs. I know of one I haven’t fixed yet, but there are probably more.

The game is almost entirely made in D3.js, a javascript library developed for data visualizations by Mike Bostock, who does the interactive visualizations for the New York Times. Some of the background stuff is handled in phaser.

Anyway, back to work.

So there’s this planet…

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 12:43 pm

Hi everyone! This LD, I’ve gathered a team. It’s a wholly different experience from the solo jam, and I couldn’t be happier, even when we are, let’s say, vigorously discussing minor plot points in the game’s backstory and other important things. Seriously though, team’s amazing. Our workspace is covered with giant Post-it notes. giantpostit We’re going by the name Cliché2Play. Our game idea is based on the astrophysical phenomenon of Hot Jupiters – really weird, surprisingly common exoplanets that happen to be really easy for us to detect from Earth. They are Jupiter-sized planets that orbit so close to their suns that they finish a year in like four days. They are so hot that their atmospheres are burning off fast, but so large that they still have a lot of atmosphere to go, and it seems unlikely that they formed in this configuration. Most theories for how they got this way involve them some sort of migration from a configuration that makes more sense to us. Here are some resources if you are curious. A lecture for non-scientists from a Yale professor An astrophysics presentation on possible formation scenarios Wikipedia In our game, you play as an alien civilization that discovers that a large retrograde gas giant is in an unstable orbit and is going to eat up all your system’s planets. You then set about developing your science, industry, and economy in order to either escape from your system or otherwise avoid certain death. You manage resources, grow research trees, and watch in horror as planet after planet gets consumed by a looming renegade gas giant. We’re developing this in Unity, and the teammate with the most Unity experience is doing a super job of making everything amazingly pretty, so that’s good. Doesn't look that scary from this forced perspective!   As is my tradition, I’m drinking Red Bull Shirley Temples. To make those, you mix the energy drink of your choice and two splashes grenadine in a tall glass of ice. For best results, drink with a straw. Cherry is optional. Back to work. See you all later. -monika

First off, here’s the game if you are interested.



So this game exists now. That’s amazing. I’m amazed. It still feels weird to me that I managed to do that.

About the game:

This game is based on the Franz Kafka short story A Hunger Artist, which can be read here or listened to here. Wikipedia has an article here. It tells the story of the Hunger Artist, a hunger artist who wants, even needs, to be understood by people who cannot understand him.

In this game, you play as the Hunger Artist during one of his performances, which lasts a maximum of 40 30-second-long game days. During the day, interested people from the town come in, sometimes bringing friends, and watch you not eat. The Impresario will try to keep the crowd interested and maximize your profit, while you do what you can to try to make the audience understand your art.

With the exception of a few buttons mixed in, all of the controls are controlled by hovering. Hover over sprites to see information about the characters. Hover over the action buttons to perform those actions. Audience members are persistent, so do your best to make them want to come back.

Observations and Lessons Learned:

This is the section where I’d put down all the mistakes I made this Ludum Dare and tell you about what those mistakes taught me for next time. I’m surprised at how short this section is, but this weekend went surprisingly smooth.

My only really identifiable mistake?

  • I feel I failed to make it cute enough to properly contrast the Kafkaesque story. I would have had an easier time making the game style match the story. As it is, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere.

Oh, and

  • Saturday morning, I discovered that microwave pot pies with chunks of potatoes are really dangerous.
  • I ordered way too much sushi on Saturday night, especially since my tongue was still swollen.

As for things that went right,

  • I didn’t get stuck working on assets. I did two dresses for the women as proof-of-concept on my random sprite generator, and then I moved on. I generated some mediocre abundant-music music Friday night after I stopped being functional, and experimented with different ways to independently adjust settings on it, and then didn’t use that music in the end, but I didn’t waste good time on it.
  • I was fairly reasonable with respect to scheduling. I woke up surprisingly early on Saturday (three hours before my alarm, even) after working late into Friday, so I got tired fairly early Saturday night. I had planned to get the game playable before bed Saturday, but when I started getting too stupid to code right, I didn’t try to force myself.
  • I got the scope exactly right. The game as it is is only a small part of of what I imagine the game to be, but I came into this knowing that this was the probably form the game would take.

This type of section is really boring when everything goes right. Sorry.

Things left to do:

  • Fix the graphics. The background image is a bunch of colored rectangles. It was supposed to be a bunch of textured rectangles. I never got around to giving the women hair that is not a copy of the men’s hair. I never got around to making a title card with a cutesy Franz Kafka face like I wanted to. And I wanted to make a wall clock. I should probably get an artist.
  • Fix the music. At the very least, I should find a sound font I like and spend some time choosing better instruments.
  • Add animation, or at least movement. Did you know that the audience members have faces? Well, they don’t, but they do have front-facing sprites with more face skin showing. The relative stillness works with the game’s theme, but the plan was to have audience members walk in and out, and only stand in the general location of their assigned seating. The alert bubbles also only appear for a fraction of the things they are designed to, and sometimes linger after their parent object teleports off the screen.
  • Implement talking. One of the best ways to influence the audience is by talking to them. Talk to them when you are too incredulous, and you might say something offensive. Let kids touch your scrawny arms and they’ll tell all their friends. Talk to the Impresario to let him know what you think will be the most useful. Talking was something I was looking forward to implementing.
  • Balance the hell out of it. As is, the game is fairly luck-based an allegory on the inability of man to self-actualize. There is some strategy to getting the audience interested, but the main trick is just not doing things to upset the Impresario and hoping the Impresario handles the audience well.
  • Add in campaign mode, endless play mode, and play as the panther after you die at the circus mode. A campaign across time and space! Well, across a few decades in the early 20th century Europe. You build your fame, watch the world’s interest in hunger artists wax and wane, drive off the only person who is looking out for you, and shrink until you disappear.
  • Add more in-game text. The story it’s based on is in the public domain.

Little observation I like that I would like if people noticed but they won’t so I’ll mention it

Despite the fact that every NPC thinks you’re probably sneaking food, it doesn’t even come as an available action occur to the player character that that would be something to do.


Edit from the future: I overwrote the demo with the submission build. Sorry about that.

If you’ve missed my other posts, I’m making a tycoon / time management game based on Kafka’s A Hunger Artist.

Here’s what I have so far. It’s incomplete, and also ugly.



Hover over any person sprite to see some information about that person.

Hover over an action button to perform that action.

Currently activated debugging features:

  • The tab button restores your energy.
  • The space button toggles speedrun mode, which is unstable.
  • The ` button toggles Flixel’s built in debugger.

Known incomplete features:

  • People all wait until the end of the day to leave.
  • People just teleport to their seats.
  • People who bring their friends don’t sit next to them.
  • Talking doesn’t work. The talking button causes you to sing.
  • The Impresario is completely unconcerned by anything that is happening.

Bugs reported so far by players like you!:

  • People are moved by singing and meditating even after you run out of energy. (Fixed in my local copy but not the demo.)

“Because I have to code, I can’t help it,” said the developer.

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 10:45 am


As mentioned in my last post, I’m making a tycoon / time management game based on Kafka’s A Hunger Artist. The theme tie-in is that the game only presents the cutesy surface to a deep dark story. I haven’t decided yet how cutesy to make it. I don’t think I can pull off Ikuhara*-level cute to fucked-up ratios, but I might try.

That bug is a metaphor for actual real-world people.


Anyway, it’s too early to code, so here’s an update:

Spectators now have stats and names randomly assigned from a list of Czech names. When you mouse over them, you get a summary including their names, genders, and ages, whether or not they have season passes, and whether they have specific personality traits. Also, unless someone can help me think of a better word, the trait name opposite charismatic is introverted. They describe opposite ends of a stat that affects the likelihood that that spectator drags along friends or moves other spectators to be more or less skeptical.

Ludum Dare Moment of Victory: I replaced all the háčeked characters with their plain versions instead of spending time looking for a font that looked good in Flixel and displayed them correctly.

Ticket Sales are now counted. Units are Austro-Hungarian Krone. People can buy day tickets, season tickets, or child tickets. You cannot currently change ticket prices, but that’s something I might implement later.

Ludum Dare Moment of Victory: I made some effort to calculate the exchange rate between 1908 Krone and 2014 USD so I could get a sense of how much tickets should cost. After a setback in converting 1909 Krone to 1909 French Franc and 1909 French Franc to 2014 Euro, I decided instead to simply base ticket prices on the cost of a newspaper in 1913 Krone.

I had to rethink the way time passesThe story calls for 40-day fasting performances, and that number totally has like symbolism and stuff, so I can’t change that. I was originally thinking each performance would be like a stage in a game – you play it quick, go to the main map, and save, but I was also thinking that the game would move slow enough that you could interact with the audience and do other things that take time. The first number I wrote down when thinking how long a day should last was “5 minutes”. That would make each fast performance last over 3 hours. Even 1 minute a day felt rushed to me. Anyway, I’m making some changes. Most importantly, 1. You can save every day, not every fast performance, and 2. You don’t have to play night hours even though there are night hours in the story.

Oh, and I made some mediocre music last night using abundant-music. I did this thing where I kept everything the same except for the scale seed, which allowed me to make several songs with the same structure and melody shaping but different moods. If I don’t have time to do music properly, I’ll throw something from that set in. If I do have time, I’ll do it again but spend more time getting the song to sound good first. And if I don’t make the Compo and do the Jam, I’ll say “fuck it” and pick some music from the public domain production music you’ll probably recognize from Ren & Stimpy.

To do list – highest priority:

  1. Stats and stat display for The Hunger Artist and The Impresario
  2. Action controls for The Hunger Artist
  3. Day controls
  4. Improve Audience Behavior algorithms
  5. Tighten up Feedback loop between Audience mood and Hunger Artist mood
  6. Background Art
  7. Character Art

I leave you now with a drawing by Franz Kafka himself that might resonate with all of you who are working your asses off to make a game this weekend. It’s hard work, but don’t despair. You can do it.

*If you don’t know Ikuhara, imagine David Lynch making shows for Japanese 12-year-old girls.

So I’m basing my game on Kafka’s short story A Hunger Artist, a story which, on the surface, is about a performance artist and his hype man trying to build and maintain an audience at a time when interest in watching people not eat is starting to flag.

If you haven’t read this story, it’s in the public domain and available here, or if you are for some reason really busy developing a game this weekend or something, librivox has an audiobook version available on youtube.

Here’s what I have so far.

You play as the Hunger Artist (the red rectangle labled “HA”) and are joined by the Impresario (the green rectangle labled “IMP”) in entertaining the spectators (the rectangles of various colors labled “SP”).  Audience members will all have different personality traits that affect their behavior, including, most importantly, whether or not they come back to watch you later, and whether or not they bring friends. You will have 40 days to maximize your ticket sales.


If I have time, I’ll make a campaign mode where you travel around Europe circa 1909-1924 putting on performances until you slowly but surely drive away your only friend and advocate by showing a complete disregard for your own health. There’ll also be an endless play mode set in a circus, where you play until you get lost in the straw and replaced with a panther. I might also make the panther a playable character.


Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 11:57 am

Yo. I’m in.

I expect to be working in AS3/Flixel/FlixelPowerTools, but I had a dream last night that I made the game entirely in Google Spreadsheet Scripts, and it made a lot of dream-sense so I’m keeping that option open too. My tools are all the usual suspects.

This is a pre-alpha version of a tactics library I’m working on in Flixel. It is so pre-alpha that a lot of functions do nothing but write to the log that you got to them. It is completely useless to anyone, but on the off-chance I make a tactics game for this Ludum Dare, I’m making what I have available now, and you’ll get a slightly more polished version with my code after the compo. I will be eventually releasing this as an open source tactics library, but it’s not quite at that state yet. (Also included is a slightly modified version of FlxButtonPlus that I made last December when I was first trying Flixel, that I might or might not use.)

Here’s a feedback form / mailing list signup thing in case you are interested in this library once it’s less not done.




Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Monday, December 16th, 2013 7:42 pm

No excuses! I didn’t get this shit done and that’s all on me.

Now, an excuse. FlashDevelop crapped out on me this morning, and it took several hours to get it to compile anything again (I’m bad at mornings, which made the problem worse.)

Anyway, I do plan to finish it, polish it up, and stick it up on Kongregate at some point, so in the unlikely even that you want to know the second it gets released, you can, like, pay attention to my twitter feed @alternatehamlet

Things I learned:

For fuck’s sake, don’t let your OCD decide what to do next.

The thing about this is that I would rationally realize exactly what the correct thing to do is, but my OCD would override the decisions and bitch and moan until I did what it wanted. For example:

  • My OCD insisted I fix a glitch in the music abundant-music spit out. To be fair, it would have been really annoying to lose 59/64ths of a beat in the music when you’re playing a rhythm game, but it was low priority for the minimum viable release.
  • My OCD really wanted to have an infinite scrolling background. I didn’t see an easy way to do this in Flixel (though I was pretty sure there should have been one), so I tried to make my own. I got it almost working with a small glitch, so I kept working on it. In the end, I did get it, but again, it was low priority for the minimum viable release.

If you think a tool would be really useful if it existed, it probably exists.

I found out about Spriter at around noon today, after I’d spent a good part of the night hand-skeletoning my sprite guide file, and a good chunk of this morning (while simultaneously working on fixing FlashDevelop) thinking Miku Miku Dance might be a good option for a pose mannequin for my 2D sprites.

Women bare-knuckle fights were pretty popular in the late 19th century, and just like the men did, the women stripped to the waist to box.

I told you this was a list of things I learned. That’s a thing I learned.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Now, I’ll probably do things differently the next time I attempt to do a game jam, but I still feel that the way I approached this experience was the correct one for me and for this game.  My goal was to get good at ActionScript3 in a week, get passable at a bunch of other skills in the same week, and practice getting off my ass, doing something I find interesting, and making a good faith effort to get shit done.

For over a year, I’ve been working as a research scientist for a small unfunded start-up which I co-founded. Said start-up recently disbanded, and, even if it’s not objectively true, I still felt like I have nothing to show for, well, anything ever. This weekend was cathartic. It really was. I have reached catharsis.

Now, my mom is coming into town tomorrow, so I have to go get non-game shit done.


*The whole thing is a bug.

Now I have time to concentrate on the look and feel

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 9:41 pm

since I apparently haven’t learned my lesson.

Going with the font Baron for at least the title card.  (Using Figa for my logo with the font designer’s blessing.)

Going to have an attract screen for the game. These are the overlays. Haven’t yet sold myself on the subtitle.


Since I was learning the language as I went along, my code is a mess. I’m not going to clean it up for the jam unless there’s time, but I AM going to organize the shit out of it.

I still plan to follow compo rules + extended time, but if I do break more of them, the first thing I’m doing is getting myself some sprite templates. I still have high hopes for my random crowd generator. Fixed the math up a bit and it gives better results. I also have control of the crowd size, and (and this was one of those “too lazy to fix” features), the crowd tiles horizontally.

I keep trying fancy math for the reward functions for the rhythm game, but I really should break down and pre-generate everything manually. The displays I made in gimp look much better than the generated pixel-by-pixel on-the-fly versions in the game. Beta probability distribution function, you have failed me for the last time!

Really looking forward to playing everyone’s games.


Congrats to everyone who made it.

Posted by (twitter: @alternatehamlet)
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 7:19 pm

Few elements short of a playable version, so I’m going to follow all the compo rules except the time limit and submit it to the jam.

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