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Declaration of Interiority

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 4:34 pm

Soo looking forward to this LD, which is going to be my sixth…ish one! I have a big item on the agenda: self-improvement! In recent LDs, although it’s always been fun and I personally felt I learned a lot, ratings have been absolutely stagnant if not regressive.

This is also my first LD without my cat – she passed away not long ago and I miss her terribly.

As always, I’ll be making a game and all its assets from scratch, alone, and probably for the Jam because of horrible time management. My tools: text editor (Coda), Pixelmator, Audacity, Logic Pro X

Targeting this stack: web browser, HTML/CSS/JavaScript/jQuery, Three.js if 3D

And now, three public service announcements:

1) YOU CAN HAZ SOUND

Really, sound effects are not hard, and you can make them yourself if need be, you don’t even need a fancy generator website or anything. Just you and a microphone. Audacity is stupid simple to use. This will make your game literally 10x better! I made the background soundtrack and UI effects for Planet Improver with kitchen utensils and an old fan. It was a terrible game, but people thought it was atmospheric because of literally the shabbiest sound track imaginable.

2) SUPPORT MIKE (PoV) ON PATREON

Our benevolent dictator and site plumber is doing LD full time now, and he needs our help to do that. Give something back to the source for all the hours of fun, entertainment, learning, and camaraderie you experienced here. Go here and support: http://www.patreon.com/mikekasprzak

3) CONTRIBUTING FREE SOUNDTRACKS FOR YOUR JAMZ

Over the years I made quite a few tracks for Ludum Dare and other projects. Iā€™m putting them online for anyone to use, so if you find anything you like: go ahead! :)

> On SoundCloud

(more…)

Uploading Some Music

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Saturday, September 27th, 2014 3:44 am

Over the years I made quite a few tracks for Ludum Dare and other projects. I’m putting them online for anyone to use, so if you find anything you like: go ahead! :)

soundcloud

> On SoundCloud

Post Mortem on ‘Killbot’s Last Adventure’

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 7:04 am

Here, have a timelapse of my desktop computer (the laptop one didn’t record for some reason):

As always, I had a lot of fun this Ludum Dare :)

Although I initially liked the theme, it was kinda difficult to choose what I wanted to do with it. At first, I wanted to make a Lukasarts-style adventure about a girl who visits other worlds, but that stalled when I realized I didn’t know the right graphics tools for the job (Blender would have been it, adding it to my to-do list now). Next, I thought I would make a strategy game where you manage a space port – kind of like Sim City, but with a space port theme. By then it was Sunday, and I had begun playing around with a third game. This was/is Killbot’s Last Adventure. Because I wanted to actually deliver a (somewhat) finished game, that of course meant going for the Jam, again.

Killbot is a recurring character in most of my LD entries, and once again I wanted to tell a story in adventure mode.

The Good
Did I mention it was fun? Besides that, a game got completed. More or less. I’m pleased with the graphics, especially on the early screens, when time pressure wasn’t as high.

I am relatively pleased with my music this time. Part of it is due to the fact that I recently switched from GarageBand to Logic Pro, which was quite the upgrade. The soundtrack of the game, while not always entirely appropriate to the scene at hand, came from an inspired place :)

I made most of the tracks before I even started programming, and then listened to them as I coded the game.

The Not-So-Good
Almost no sleep, and almost no IRC or blog activity. During this LD I finally wanted to integrate with the community, but I found it too distracting. Bummer, I guess I’m remaining an outsider for a little while longer.

The game itself, well. It’s mostly a slide show, to be honest. I just didn’t have the time to put all the puzzles and animation elements in that I wanted. There was supposed to be an action mode where you could steer Killbot from above running through dungeons, killing things. But this, too, didn’t get finished and never became a part of the game.

Killbot’s final adventure is also too short, even from a story-telling perspective. The story could have been good, but sort of fails due to (the lack of) narrative timing. I wish I could have given Killbot a more worthy sendoff, but as endings go, I guess it’s not a bad one. Maybe I’m too critical šŸ˜‰

Things to Do Differently
Next time, everything will be different! Next time, I’m going to challenge myself more by making a game that is outside of my comfort zone. No more half-hearted adventure and strategy games! I want to make a jump’n’run or something. Also, maybe pixel art, finally. Things I haven’t done before!

Also, not being a game developer by trade, I’ll have to seriously expand my tool knowledge. Just showing some images with CSS here and there isn’t going to cut it, and I know that.

Check it out: Killbot’s Last Adventure

Killbot’s Last Adventure

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 6:35 pm

ld30-tunnel

Okay, I changed over to my third idea – and this time it feels right, so far I’ve been working about 3 hours on it, and the models are already better than anything I did before :)

This is Killbot’s Last Adventure: after finding the alien portal underneath the planet’s crust while slaving away for the tyrannical Planet Improver (in LD29), Killbot makes her escape and embarks on her final galactic journey.

Alright, going to bed now… I think it’s almost certain I’ll have to expand from the Compo to the Jam, as usual šŸ˜‰

Retreat, Regroup

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 5:11 am

When I woke up this morning I had an idea for a nice puzzle/adventure game story. I started making my hero character in MakeHuman, and then spent hours trying to make the textures and the animation rig work in Cinema 4D. This doesn’t work. It’s not designed to work. MakeHuman works well with Blender, and it apparently works excellently with Unity, but I use neither of those.

The Compo is 25% done and I have nothing to show for it so far. Of course it was spectacularly stupid to try some tool and technique I never used before, it’s one of the big LD Nonos!

To finally get started actually making a game, I could do either of those things:

  1. Switch to pixel art, which I’ve also no experience with – but I guess it would still allow me to be as productive as possible while being able to tell the original story. But it’s a cop out, and I’m not sure what traps may wait there.
  2. Ditch the story and tell one that doesn’t require me to model human actors:
    1. Tell a similar story, starring my long-time recurring character, Killbot.
    2. Do a completely different game. Something symbolic, a physics thingy, a trade simulation, whatever.

So, I’m headed to the supermarket now, and when I come back I will hopefully know what to do…

Yawn

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 10:20 pm

It’s still incredibly early here in Germany, but I got a text from a US client at 5 AM (server outage, surprise!).

2014-08-22 11.53.46 copy 2
^ The cat went back to sleep but I’m awake now :)

So… CONNECTED WORLDS, eh?

I think I’ve got an idea. The question now is: pixel art or not? I’ve never done da pixelz by hand…

Are you hyped? ARE YOU HYPED!!!!1!?

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 2:29 am

I’m hyped.

Also, it looks like my cat will be monitoring my progress very closely:
2014-08-22 11.05.20

After trying out some new software yesterday, I’d like to offer the following public service announcement to all people composing their game music with GarageBand like I have been: migrate to Logic Pro X, right now. The “old” GarageBand (v6 I believe) was pretty good, then the new and castrated rewrite came out which made me very unhappy. Logic Pro is better than both of them, not only as far as being more powerful (duh) but it has excellent usability to boot.

Aaaand I’ve been dicking around with Blender for the first time. Feature-wise it looks kinda okay, but I couldn’t overcome my hatred for its UI… this time. I’ll try again soon, maybe when I’m in a better mood šŸ˜‰ The thing about Blender so far is it’s not an absolute nightmare like, say, Gimp – but it still feels pretty unintuitive. So I’ll be sticking with Cinema 4D for this LD, again.

Obligatory In Post

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Sunday, August 17th, 2014 8:58 am

This will be my 5th LD, and I’ve been looking forward to it forever! I’m really liking the themes up for voting so far – especially Connected Worlds, Day and Night, End of the Road, Everyone Is a Monster, For Science!, Labyrinth, Limited Capacity, No Way In No Way Out, Points of View, Rise and Fall, Strange Physics, and The Power of Machines. Off the cuff I can think of several cool things one could do with any of these.

Not so wild about It’s a Trap!, You Must Leave It Behind, and No One Can See You, because they practically prescribe a genre. But so far I don’t see any theme that would be truly awful from my perspective (YMMV). In any case, I have been surprised by the chosen theme every single time so far, which just reaffirms the notion that the theme is nothing worth sweating over during this week. We’ll make it work whatever it is :)

So excited to be in, this time I’ll try for the Compo (again) if time management permits.

My tools / platforms will probably be:

  • Gaming platform: web browser
  • IDE: some text editor on OS X
  • Libraries: probably just jQuery, maybe Three.js or Kinetic.js if appropriate
  • Audio editing: Audacity
  • Music: Garage Band
  • Image editing: Pixelmator or Gimp
  • 3D editing: Cinema 4D or Blender
  • Create input: provided by cat

I’ll probably stick with the decision from last time not to do a live screencast, since it really seems to break my concentration even though I know nobody’s really watching. šŸ˜‰ But there will be a screenshot timelapse and probably a few progress videos, as with anything I do and write here, more for my own documentation than anything else.

(Somewhat) Literally Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Monday, May 12th, 2014 10:56 am

Some say failure is the best teacher, and if that’s true I do have a lot that can be learned from this LD šŸ˜‰

Slime Lord

I was pretty excited about the theme. Pretty much immediately I had the idea for a 2D defense game where you play the role of a subterranean horror, a Slime Lord, who lives under a fragile little hut. The twist is that the Slime Lord wants to protect the lonely hut from the myriad of dangers that continue to befall it.

I thought this dynamic might be a good opportunity to tell a story about a monster living underground, having an emotional attachment to the puny and helpless humans living above ground.

However, by late Sunday I realized it wasn’t working out. Some gameplay aspects depended on ideas that just weren’t coming to me, and time was also running out in general. One thing I liked about Slime Lords is the graphics – and that could be the reason I might return for a second take on the thing. But by Sunday the game was dead as far as Ludum Dare was concerned.

Here, have a time lapse regardless:

Planet Improver

On Monday, I fought against the urge to give up altogether – but I didn’t. What do you do when you have no time and not a lot of energy left? Well, you might make a text mode game. Enter: Planet Improver.

it consists of two parts: the first part is an economy simulation where you play the role of a terraforming machine that’s been dropped on some forsaken planet to mine it for resources. For the second part, I reused some code I had written for the Warmup Weekend, it’s a minimal rogue-like game that I adapted for the Planet Improver setting. In it, the Killbot character (of LD27 fame) made a reappearance, doing the bidding of Planet Improver by ridding the planet’s crust of xeno organisms.

Here’s a quick walkthrough of Planet Improver:

After Completion

The good thing is, Planet Improver got finished on time. I posted it as my entry and went to bed. The next day, I began to have serious doubts about the viability of this minimalistic game. So I left it sitting there for some weeks, which also resulted in a critical bug not getting fixed until yesterday.

Now that I’ve come back to rate some games, I’m actually at peace with Planet Improver.

So what’s left? Well, to do better next time of course! :)

Planet Imrpover Walkthrough

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Monday, May 12th, 2014 2:18 am

I finally took the time to make a tutorial / walkthrough of Planet Improver:

You can check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=6821

Last of the Slime Lords: Going for the Jam…

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 4:00 pm

Even though I wanted to try and make it for the Compo, I’ll have to be reasonable and go Jam at this time. This is a huge bummer, especially since there are so many professional teams working on really good-looking Jam games, Last of the Slime Lords will probably get absolutely buried. :(

I’m really disappointed in myself. But I’m not giving up, yet. I’ll try and make it work tomorrow.

Last of the Slime Lords: Update 1

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 8:38 am

scrn-01

Okay, “Last of the Slime Lords” is coming along, still no gameplay though, but basic tile code and animations are in place. And a long way to go!

The code repo is at: https://github.com/Udo/ld29

I’m reasonably pleased, but since I’m off to play some Warhammer now for the rest of the evening, the whole thing has to come together tomorrow. If it doesn’t, I’ll be aiming for the Jam instead (sigh, as always).

Happy coding everyone!

Obligatory In-Post

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 6:15 am

I’m in and positively giddy about LD29! Again, I’m going to make a browser-based game, either 2D with plain CSS or 3D with WebGL, depending on whatever I’ll come up with for an idea. I’m going to use these:

  • Text editor: Coda
  • Image editor: Pixelmator
  • Audio editor: Audacity
  • Music: GarageBand
  • 3D: Cinema 4D
  • Cuteness and motivation provided by: the cat

Tips from (Limited) Past LD Experience

Based on my totally subjective and potentially unrepresentative opinions:

Don’t Sweat the Theme

Every LD there are some people who are very unsatisfied with the theme, and to some degree they have a point: the kind of themes we collectively choose tend to be limiting, yet somewhat bland and sometimes baffling. However, I’d like to tell you that it only matters if you decide it matters.

The theme is part of the challenge, open yourself up to it and run with it. Do not shoehorn your pre-conceived pre-LD idea onto the theme. Let go of any baggage and be positive about it. Ideas will come once you accept the theme, as opposed to working around it.

Start from Scratch

Don’t kid yourself, a piece of code you’ve written a few days before the compo to make your development easier is not a “framework”. Providing a download link to it a few hours before LD starts doesn’t change that fact.

The other reason why pre-made games suck is there’s no way you can know the theme in advance. It’s pretty much guaranteed that a pre-coded “framework” will severely limit your potential for creativity.

Update Often

Commit yourself to regular blog updates. In doing so, you will not only spread inspiration to the other Darers, you will find it easier to judge your own progress. Personally, the thought “what have I accomplished since the last update” is hugely helpful because it can steer the development process back to issues that matter (especially if you’re prone to meandering about as I am).

Have Fun and Support Others

Remember this is all for fun. Not sleeping for three days is not fun, nor is it fun to obsess about things that don’t work out. It might sound paradoxical, but keeping a healthy detachment often makes people more productive.

Finally, take time to check out what other people are doing. They too have cool stuff to show, and they might need a little encouragement or help. Be generous.

Warmup Rogue: Achieved!

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 5:21 pm

warmup-rogue

It took a few hours today to make this with HTML, CSS, and one huge 650 line JavaScript file that contains all of the actual game. (Hey, nobody said it needs to be pretty!)

It’s probably the most basic roguelike anyone has EVER made, but it’s playable – check it out!

Udo’s LD Twitch Guide for Mac

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 5:50 am

I don’t know how many Darers are Mac users, it’s sure not common to see them doing Twitch feeds. Part of the problem might be that it takes a lot of effort and fiddling to set it up properly. So for the benefit of everyone who’s interested in doing it, here’s what I’ve learned.

gaming-twitch-tv-logo

You’re going to need a few pieces of software, but the good news they’re all free or low-cost. Click on this post to see the instructions:

(more…)

MiniLD: Meddling Little Wizards Progress

Posted by (twitter: @_udo)
Saturday, January 11th, 2014 7:38 am

mlw3

Meddling Little Wizards – a game where you play a dark wizard lord trying to keep his conspiracies private from a school of little annoying wizard students – is coming along. Although not a quickly as I thought.

This is the first time I’m doing a timelapse video as well and the first benefit of that is I know exactly how much time I spent programming. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to program continuously so I started on Thursday (I hope this is OK even if I stretched the rules a bit there).

So far I’ve put in 12 hours, which is quite a lot more than I would have guessed. Time flies when you’re having fun :)

Also, I’m using GitHub this time: https://github.com/Udo/MiniLD48

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