About Tom Gardiner (twitter: @TomboFry)

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I sure hope I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Friday, April 17th, 2015 6:24 pm

TomboFry says I'm In!

Hey, you might recognise me from previous Ludum Dares. I usually make fancy banners for my “I’m in!” posts, but this time I’ll just reuse the last one I made.

I’ve taken a bit of radio (well, internet) silence over the past month and a bit, but I wanted to end the short hiatus by making a Ludum Dare game!

I’ll be using the following tools:

  • Game Maker Studio: Does the job absolutely wonderfully for Ludum Dare. I recently learnt XNA and have past experience with HaxeFlixel but am no way experienced enough to make a game worthy of a Ludum Dare entry.
  • FL Studio: Been using this awesome piece of software for 6 years now and it’s done me very well in the past, I assure you and myself that it will continue to do so! (though I’ve used GM for 7 years)
  • Adobe Illustrator: Used for fancy banner graphics and thumbnails, etc. Stuff that won’t actually be used in the game.
  • GIMP: I use GIMP for “pixel art” that would otherwise be difficult with Game Maker’s in-built sprite editor (and sometimes replaces the need for Illustrator)
  • BFXR: The global haven for game sound effects. Why would I be using this?!

Do you know what would be really cool? Have an emphasis on the music of the game, have a game based around music. I like the sound of that (pun unintended, but good coincidence!).

“Manic Mountain” – BrumHack / Hackathon Event

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Sunday, October 26th, 2014 12:16 pm

This weekend almost 100 people signed up to an event called BrumHack, which is basically a hackathon event held in Birmingham for university students. It was supported by a variety of sponsors such as Bloomberg, Paypal / Braintree, etc. Prizes were given out to those who could use their API the best in their piece of software they wrote in 24 hours.

However, we went for something a little different. Having taken part in Ludum Dare before a few times, I knew that if we could pull off writing a game in 24 hours it would be great. All that “hard work” paid off, and we actually won a Raspberry Pi each for our game!

While everyone was making apps that could make purchases, or using a huge range of data, we made a goat themed procedurally generated hat collecting arcade game! While the screenshots don’t necessarily make the game, you really have to play it to understand why it’s brilliant :L

Click here to play our game “Manic Mountain”

(PS. I have been writing this blog post on having 0 (zero) hours of sleep since 7am yesterday. That means I’ve been awake for 33 hours at the time I originally wrote this. Send help, quick!)

Bounty of Corruption: Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Sunday, September 14th, 2014 1:47 pm

Having taken part in 5 Ludum Dare events now (from LD26-30), I think I’ve gotten the hang of making a game in such a short period of time (kind of). I’m just going to say straight away that I’m actually quite happy with the game I’ve made this time around, but it still could be better.

Bounty of Corruption Post Mortem

The Good:

Time Management

You know, time management is strangely one of my strong points in Ludum Dare. I somehow managed to fit everything in, even after feeling incredibly tired by the end of it. There was plenty of time for all the art and music that I wanted to go in (kind of).

“The Art of Screenshake”

If you know of Vlambeer, you’ll know their games are incredibly polished, and they put a lot of work into “game feel”. When I saw Jan Willem Nijman’s presentation “The Art of Screenshake” I made sure that I used his tips and tricks, and made them my own to make sure the game I made was really enjoyable and felt really nice to play, even if the graphics or gameplay mechanics weren’t exactly special. I feel I achieved that, as not only in Bounty of Corruption, but also my last LD game “Flesh Hunter” I got many comments about how well polished the games are. Ultimately, I think that a polished game that is fun to play will do so much better than a game that follows the theme word for word. Speaking of Vlambeer, a lot of the comments on the Ludum Dare page say that it plays a lot like Nuclear Throne, made by guess who? Nuclear Throne was a huge inspiration for this game, and it’s clear to see that.

The Bad:

Theme

It was clearly going to be “Connected Worlds”, but I was almost completely unprepared for this (in the end, I personally think that the game is miles away from the theme). I wanted to either make a dungeon crawler (hooray for originality!) or a big space game where you have to travel to different planets, both of which were based around randomly generated levels. Both of which are also probably the most common type of game made for Ludum Dare with a theme like that… This was my greatest weakness. They say that you don’t need a good idea to make a great game/app, but I don’t have any idea, let alone a single, terrible one (same with names)

“Kind Of”

While the game was very polished, and I’m happy with the content that was added, it’s missing a lot. I feel like this game needs more variety in gameplay, more enemies, different weapons (upgrades even?), etc. It also has a half-assed introduction and outro, but if I’d spent time making those really nice, I would’ve spent less time on other things that are more important for a 48 hour game making competition.

Post-compo Version:

Like all the games I’ve created for Ludum Dare, I plan to add loads of features, but most of which never get finished, or even started sometimes. For some reason Bounty of Corruption feels a little different, as if there’s an urge to add things for some reason. Anyway, here’s a list of stuff I’m going to try and add:

  • Networked Multiplayer (I’ve got a super basic prototype already functional! 😀 See below for video)
  • An introduction/outro, as mentioned earlier
  • More enemies, such as a final boss.
  • Balancing. Yep, while the game’s balance isn’t that bad, it’s definitely harder for people who have never played it before, as there isn’t enough ammo spawning in. Also, some random generation needs fixing, cacti can spawn on top of the enemy portals…

And there you have it folks, a game I’m proud of, and what I could have improved upon. I recommend you check it out for yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised!

Rate my game here! http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=20850

Going live again!

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 9:42 am

live-01

So I’ll be going live again to play your games (from 5:40pm – 7pm-ish GMT+1)!

EDIT: Not currently live but I will message you on Twitch when the stream goes back up!

Watch live on twitch:
http://twitch.tv/TomboFry

Submit your game:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YdGFp_Ogk-9V2gVhKVbJBV327amgxbACtCn5JfxYXws/viewform

Don’t forget to play my game too!
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=20850

Streaming your games, hopefully

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Friday, August 29th, 2014 8:18 am

live-01

I’m here to play your games! Head on over to http://twitch.tv/TomboFry

Please don’t forget to play my game too, thanks!

Working on Post Compo Networked Multiplayer!

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 3:20 pm

So, for my game “Bounty of Corruption”, I made what was basically a randomly generated shooter game with different themed levels. I’ve always wanted to make a networked multiplayer game, and you can see that I tried local splitscreen in one of my LD games (see: Dungeon Darkness) before.

The following video might take a bit of explanation as to what’s going on, and it’s seriously basic (ie. only movement, with the exception of a couple extra variables):

I am player “TomboFry” playing and hosting a server using the same executable file. “Liddles03” is a friend of mine who joined the server from about 10 miles away from where I live. This test is basically to see how well it performs over a different network (rather than two instances running on the same PC). I’d say it was greatly successful!

When a player connects, they download the random seed and generate the same level as the host.

The circle in the middle of the player indicates whether the person has their left mouse button pressed down. There is a line extruding the circle indicating the direction their mouse is pointing relative to the player. When you press ‘E’, an “ammo” instance is created on both clients, and its speed/direction is determined by random values, which turn out to be the same on both sides due to the same random seed.

PS. Don’t forget to rate my full game, “Bounty of Corruption”

Bounty of Corruption: I have a name and a theme song!

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 1:47 pm

I’m terrible at names. This is the best I could do. In the meantime, listen to this awesome theme song I just made! 😀

My 12 hour progress

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 4:30 pm

I got stuck for ages with an idea for the theme, so I went with a generic shoot ’em up game! The levels are randomly generated and are different every time you play. Some people say my games are really well polished. Others (myself) say I spend waaay too long on the tiny details…

I’ve learnt well from Vlambeer, using lots of their tips from “The Art of Screenshake”. If you haven’t already: look it up, it will make your game more awesome!

Please tell me what you think so far! 😀

Tomorrow’s Todo:

  • More themed levels/content
  • Music
  • Unlockable weapons?
  • Explained story?

Random Room Generation in Game Maker Studio

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Thursday, August 21st, 2014 4:49 am

Depending on how things turn out with the theme, I made this random room generator to prepare myself. It works 99% of the time (only sometimes do the rooms not connect perfectly) and it creates a 2D array that can be manipulated afterwards. It is provided as-is, although I may help you if you need it.

You can view the code here: https://gist.github.com/TomboFry/e27724f587fe36d2ad75

Below are some examples of the script in action (if I draw each element of the array to the screen):
(more…)

In for my fifth time!

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Thursday, August 14th, 2014 2:59 pm

fifth-time-01

Can’t believe I’ve entered five times now… How time flies!

As usual, I’ll be using the following:

  • Game Maker Studio Pro: Game Maker has served me well over the years I’ve been using it. I’ve experimented with so many things using it, and it’s helped me learn so much about programming, before I learnt C and C# in high school
  • FL Studio 11: Again, FL Studio has also served me well, and I’ve managed to gather over 1000 subscribers on YouTube making chiptune music with it. I’ve released 3 albums and have been featured on episode 3 of Satchbag’s “Mixtape Monday“!
  • OBS: Even though almost 0 people watch my livestream, I still do it. I don’t always use a mic (I’ve started to recently), but I’m playing some of my favourite music (even though it’s going to get flagged by Twitch eventually…). Follow me at http://twitch.tv/TomboFry to watch me make some awesome stuff.
  • Pyxel Edit: While I’m really not big on art, I still try, and I use Pyxel Edit and GM’s sprite editor to help me create graphics.

Hey, if you’re willing to work together (check out my previous games!) on the art, I may consider entering the jam for the first time. I can program and make music but I can’t art/graphics for the life of me ._. Feel free to contact me on Twitter or elsewhere if you’d like to work together! Thanks!

My Ludum Dare Progress

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 6:20 am

Since I started taking part in Ludum Dare last April, I’ve had loads of fun. What surprises me more is that I do fairly well in each competition as well. Everyone loves graphs, so I made a graph with all the results from each compo I’ve taken part in. The first thing I notice is the “theme” and “innovation” categories. Either I’m obviously not that good at interpreting the theme, or people don’t understand my interpretation of it 😉

Yeah, I know, all my games so far have been 2D platformers… I’ve started learning Unity, so hopefully that will change. There are so many more things you can do with a 3rd dimension! With that being said, it blows my mind to think that I’ve always come in the top 5-10% of games overall.

tombofry-LD29-graph

I know the ratings are over, but if you want to play my Ludum Dare game, feel free to click here!:

Flesh Hunter

Flesh Hunter – Post-compo Version

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 3:01 pm

Flesh Hunter Blog

Some small changes that make the game much nicer to play:

  • Enemies fall slower.
  • Larger field of view, so you can see enemies sooner.
  • Smoother camera movement.
  • Press “shift” to run.
  • Persistent configuration (saves changes to music, sfx and fullscreen).
  • Laser gun only costs 150 instead of 250.

Slightly more detail can be found on this blog post if you’re interested.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know why I hadn’t included these features in the compo version, they took no time at all to add. I guess by the end of the competition I’m so tired and just want it over and done with that I forget to add very minor things.

Hope you enjoy playing!

Please vote on my game, thanks!

 

“Flesh Hunter” Timelapse

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Friday, May 2nd, 2014 4:52 am

I will be writing a post-mortem very shortly, but in the mean time you can still vote on my game 😉

Vote on Flesh Hunter here!

Game Over!

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 3:14 pm

You thought I was quitting? Hah, shame on you!

Flesh Hunter - Game Over

So close to finishing now! Just got to add a couple more sounds, and a few little things that I keep noticing will be fixed.

Plus:

Flesh Hunter – Track 1 Complete

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 9:57 am

First track in “Flesh Hunter” is complete! Just two more to go…

I’m about to make my next one on my twitch page, so if you’re interested, it’s right here

“Flesh Hunter” – 12 Hour Progress Update

Posted by (twitter: @TomboFry)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 5:19 pm

It’s an almost fully working game, only a few bits to add and change now!

Here’s a quick preview of what I’ve got so far:

Things I still need to do:

  • Better sprites (I feel like it’s just a Terraria clone (kind of) at the moment, with the flying enemies :/)
  • More sounds, and music, of course
  • More levels
  • More enemies
  • If I’m feeling risky: Trophies and Leaderboard using Game Jolt’s API (I will add this in a post-compo version regardless)

Remember! I’m streaming the whole thing on Twitch, so if you follow me now you can watch me when I wake up tomorrow morning! http://twitch.tv/TomboFry

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