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Guys, Fund LD!

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Friday, April 15th, 2016 4:58 pm

I just noticed the new sidebar indicating Mike Kasperzak’s monthly earnings. When he first put out the request for pledges I put down 3 dollars a month, figuring that there must be a thousand people at least that commited. I am not the household income earner, so I didn’t want to pledge more unless it was neccesary. Then a few months ago a poll was sent around about having advertisers, something that I personally am against. I wrote so and some reasons why, then doubled my pledge. Seeing these new numbers, I increased to 15 because something needs to be done.

The numbers are going DOWN. I dislike trying to guilt people into doing things, but if even a tenth of the people participating were to submit that original 3 dollars (36 dollars USD a year remember, a bit over 40 in Canadian) that would easily exceed the goal.

36 thousand dollars minus taxes and expenses is basically a living wage, is that so much to ask for this bastion of creativity and gaming pleasure? Please, give generously…or even UN-generously, but give something. Surely we can all agree that LD is worth having one less bag of chips every month. Look at what you are making me write! I HATE asking people to do stuff.

 

Don't make the wealthy hispanic man cry!

I’m in Again and Gratuitous Desk Shot

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 5:53 pm

This is my fourth, tools being Unity (2D or 3D depending on what happens) Paint.Net and a Guitar. And my FARKING AWESOME DESK!

Ma Desk!

 

Yeah, I’m proud of my desk. And making a fourth complete (hopefully less buggy) game.

Desk!

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 8:18 am

DSC_0072

Also In

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 4:44 am

Somehow LD keeps coinciding with the time I can get off to visit my girlfriend. This time I’ve arranged it so that I can do both! I’m thinking I might go for some voice acting this time, but we’ll see. Most of my friends are too far away.

Unity for engine

Probuilder 2 for modelling (I just started in on it, it’s amazing)

Paint.net for sprites and textures.

Whatever is appropriate for audio.

Design May Care: Postmortem For The Ten-Second Car

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 7:58 am

AKA: balance your game!

title screen

DMC:QFTTSC is a game about stealing parts from cars. It is also about many things besides, but I want to focus on that because it’s the part that is kind of borked. Everything else (the writing, the sound, the programming) came out more or less awesome sans a few minor errors which were quickly patched up.

The crux of it is this: I had 4 hours at the end of development in which I could EITHER balance the game or do the sound. I chose to do the sound, which paid big dividends, but I wound up with a game that is absurdly easy.

 

Why is it easy?

It is apparently possible to finish the game without adding a new engine or nitrous. These are how you give the car more power, so plainly that is an issue. I also gave the player too much time to get parts in most cases, so the tension which makes up a lot of the gameplay is frequently absent.

Well that’s dumb! What balancing did you do?

As I was designing the various available parts, I focused on using real world numbers. This meant looking up how much a typical exhaust weighs, or engines of various capacities, and then using those numbers as a guide. This gave me a realistic spread (to some degree) which is what I wanted.  Where it all broke down was in the testing area.

Test Track

The testing algorithm calculates the car’s distance and speed in real time, but keeps it out of frame until the very end so that I didn’t have to spend time making it look realistic. Because of this, I could use a relatively simple formula to calculate the car’s speed at any given time. I balanced this formula by taking the stock car and testing it until it took about 40 seconds to do the standing quarter mile. I then put in a much more powerful engine and tweaked until that took about 12 seconds. I figured that if the player got a couple more improvements for their car and one good enigne, they would be set. I tweaked the time to get an engine accordingly, and job done.

That’s not so unreasonable, but I gather it didn’t work

You gather correctly. The problem is that I adjusted the formula to make weight more important, and reduced the base weight of the car to compensate. This means that swapping out the brakes or exhaust for lighter ones makes a huge difference. Remember, the car with stock parts was still about 40 seconds! Since the weight reduction was factored in over time, a tiny reduction would continuously affect the car over the whole lap. The end result is that James May’s Phat Pand can do the standing quarter miel in 10 seconds…with a 90 horsepower engine. If I had spent my last few hours testing various configurations I would have written a more complex algorithm and weight would have been a more reasonably balanced factor. But I didn’t.

What’s the lesson here?

Don’t just test numerical extremes, and always test tweaks to ALL of your factors. I don’t know if I made the wrong call (the sound may be more valuable than a balanced game), but I definitely regret not spending even 15 minutes more on balance. Next LD I will be including balance time in my schedule.

Oh yeah, when making an LD game you should always have a schedule. Always. Have. A. Schedule.

 

PEACE

Diesel May Care: Quest For the Ten-Second Car

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 9:37 pm

title screen

GET HYPE!

(It is actually a legitimate game of mid-range complexity with a lot of polish and detail in strategic spots. But it’s also a game about James May stealing parts from cars for Vin Diesel.)

DMC:TQFTTSC Progress Report

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 7:52 pm

Oh, you’d like to know what that stands for wouldn’t you? That is a secret known to few. However, after 16 hours of coding…OBSERVE!

ripoff Blueprint2

 

This will all make sense in time.

James May and Vin Diesel

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 8:45 pm

James May owes Vin Diesel something. If you think that you understand this, then you understand it. If you don’t…all shall become clear.

(But hey, what do James May and Vin Diesel have in common?)

Join the LDNN: We Have Food

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 3:40 pm

 

Making games for the Ludum Dare is pretty awesome. But if you are striving for something more. Something living. Something current. Something weird… Something whatever you want: The Ludum Dare News Network wants you to help make their 48 hour LD28 stream a success. Watch the video and visit our website for more information.

And remember: You can still make a game.

#LDNN

Bringing you all the latest information on news that we’ve just made up.

 

Georgina Gorgeina addressing journalists at a press conference earlier today

As hostilities escalate between #LDTO and #LDTD forces, the United Nations today sent out a request for the people of the world to remain neutral in the hopes that the Ludum Dare can be stabilized.

“The most important thing right now is that everybody do their best to make a game” UN Assistant Secretary of Ludum Dare Affairs  Georgina Gorgeina said, “excessive support for either faction could lead to a global imbalance of mechanically similar games. This places undue strain on both developers not familiar with strategy games, and the reviewers who will have to slog through hundreds of similar games afterwards.”

Gorgeina went on to say that she supports refugees caught within the midst of the struggle. “Some people will have wanted to make a Tower Defense or Tower Offense game incidentally to the LD’s current climate. The UN will be providing full support to those developers in the form of awareness campaigns and aid packages consisting of used teddy bears.”

The UN has also started a website providing information to those on the verge of joining the struggle, in the hopes of keeping the number of new recruits down on both sides.

Oh, is it time for these then?

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Friday, August 9th, 2013 12:35 pm

Justice screen0

Last time I made this: http://hallmonitor.ca/justice-ludum-dare-26

Now I’m working on a full version. LD27 will be a bit of a break from that. I may well wind up doing the same sort of thing, because it plays to my strengths. Or something completely different. We shall see.

Engine: Either Unity or Gamemaker

Art: Paint.net

Sound: My guitar and the internet

Inspiration: Top Gear

Highlights So Far (2)

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Friday, May 3rd, 2013 6:40 pm

Same as the last post I wrote, this is a variety of interesting games. Not necessarily the most complete, or most polished, or even my personal favourites.

MATAR!

Hehe..he. Ok, on to new stuff.

Filler

I like to call this “Rampart the puzzle game”. It’s way harder than you might think.

The Darkling Plain

A very cool action/arcade/strategy game.

BLoX

I think that this is effectively Call of Duty. This interests me.

This Is Water

It’s a bit hard to follow at times, but this is a text adventure about academia. If you have the vocabulary for it, it contains many secrets. It contains many messages about school.

Down The Line

It’s a puzzle game. It’s a good puzzle game. Do you like puzzle games? Play this puzzle game.

MinimalFive

I don’t like how much I DO like the overarching structure of this game.

Formless Reliquary

It’s a bit long, but there is a thing…and when you get the thing…it’s pretty cool when you get the thing.

Controlled State

It’s a bit too hopeful for me, but this game is an interesting take on what a totalitarian state would feel like. It has multiple endings and it looks cool.

 

Will I post more? Maybe

The Worst Thing That Could Happen…

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 7:17 pm

After my game was released, some users were reporting crashes. I found  memory leak and fixed it. Users of chrome were still reporting crashes.

A couple hours ago I discovered that Unity was failing to export the web version of the game because of some issue with templates. My laziness in not manually copying the new game over ruined many player’s experience. I am deeply sorry.

The game is fixed now.

Highlights So Far

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 11:28 am

I have now rated ~1/20 of all the games in the Ludum Dare (112). People are starting to ask for highlights, so here are some. I’ve tried to go for a variety of interesting things here, rather than a list of what I think is objectively best.

MATAR!

OK, let’s just get this one over with. It’s dumb, but I laugh every time I play it. I promise that my other mentions will be less silly.

Seed

Seed is a very interesting action/puzzle game that requires you to manage your view of the top and bottom screens. It has a great atmosphere and a novel mechanic. It also looks fantastic.

Hidden Squares

This puzzle game is basically impossible. It is, however, undeniably cool. It’s a lot of fun to just play around with.

Tinge

Tinge is a nice place to be for a little while. No more, no less.

O.R.M.

A brilliant little strategy/arcade game. Play it once to understand how it works, and you will see that it is a work of extreme cleverness. I still don’t see what it has to do with ontology however.

The Epicly Short Adventure

For sheer polish and mechanical entertainment, this one is hard to beat. Also, Bioshock.

Werewolf In Space

Do you like game theory? It will be very helpful in this very tiny but curious game. I advise that you play it a few times!

Triage: The Life of a Combat Medic

My colourblindess rather precludes me from this one, but it alludes to some great concepts in story/narrative.

Maximus Minimalist

I lied. This one is silly too.

 

I played many other interesting games, but the more I list the less likely people are to play them. So I’ll stop. For now.

Justice Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 9:40 pm

Justice is a game. Barely. It is as little of a game as it is possible to make while still technically being a game. I made it in around 20 hours in Unity. It contains seven sprites and one sound. It has received a vast array of responses, from frustration to deep engagement.

Justice screen0

Objective and reasoning:

The idea (inspired by several of the possible themes) was to make a game in which the player  has to make a decision about whether or not to sentence somebody to death in the American justice system. This has to relationships to minimalism. Firstly, the justice system theoretically wants to minimize its invasiveness, so the discussion of whether or not ending a criminal’s life is one of deciding how much punishment is “the smallest effective amount”. Secondly, if we accept capital punishment as a theory we also need to decide when we have enough information to justify an execution. Since we cannot possibly know everything, me must decide what is “the least fair amount of information that is relevant”.

The Game:

There is some fairly ridiculous setup that puts the player in a situation where they have limited time to ask questions before making the final decision about putting a woman named Fadiyah to death. They cannot possibly ask all of the available questions in that time, and they have a piece of evidence that changes the answers which they may introduce at any time. After the questioning period they have a small amount of time to think and then they are asked to make a decision.

Success of the Mechanics:

The biggest problem that users mentioned was pacing. Some people enjoyed it , but most people were frustrated by the amount of time it took for new text to come up. This is something that I was concerned about, and it’s not as easy to solve as one might think. The pacing serves two purposes: it makes questions take longer which runs down the timer (you cannot “listen faster ” as my dad once wrote on his office wall), and it provides valuable information about the tension in the room when somebody says something. If somebody has to wait 5 seconds to say something, they are probably (but not always) hiding something. I clearly need to do something about this, but I don’t have a solution yet. The answer might lie in giving the player some minor distraction to keep them from getting bored after they have finished reading the content of a sentence.

Some players also did not realize that Fadiyah’s answers changed after the player introduced the previously mentioned piece of evidence. I tried to make this clear in the writing, but that obviously didn’t work for everyone. I think the answer here is a better method for displaying the question list: I didn’t make it clear enough that questions the player had previously asked were re-added to the list.

The overall structure and theme seems to have been successful with all of the players, the major issue was pacing.

Success of the Writing:

Most users applauded the writing as a high point. I was originally positive about it, but ultimately feel that it was a bit too utilitarian (this is good for the game mechanically, but makes it feel a bit less reactive).

More interesting is the question of how sympathetic to make Fadiyah. I tried to write her so that, knowing the answers to all of the questions, I was unable to make a decision. While I don’t fall hard either way, I am generally anti-capital punishment and so probably made her a little bit too easy to dislike. One user accused me of writing her as an Arab stereotype, and it didn’t occur to me until after I responded that he may have been referring to her fairly violent reaction to external pressure. The two aspects of her were created separately: She needed to be fairly cold for the crime to play out as I wanted, and I made her an Arab primarily because it’s something different and provides some reason for her to be sympathetic: cultural differences and racism make for a difficult living situation, particularly for expatriate Arabs in the United States.

In the end, people didn’t seem to sympathize with Fadiyah much.  It’s hard to judge this since few people directly commented on it, but that was the impression I got. The fact that people only got the information that they felt was important enough to ask about probably influenced this as well, since the most obvious question (how the crime was committed) has an answer that is difficult to forgive.

Looking Forward:

I don’t want to redo this exact game, because I think that I explored the death penalty as well as I can with this particular toolset and this moment in time. This may not be the last you see of Ben McCoy though. Of course, I might give him a less copyright infringing name next time >_>

Memory Leak fuuuuuuu

Posted by (twitter: @nintendoeats)
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 10:43 am

People were reporting crashes, but I couldn’t reproduce them. Finally I found it. It was a memory leak in a line drawing function (I have enough VRAM that I never enountered this problem). It is fixed now. If you started playing my game before and it crashed, you could hypothetically try it again and see it work this time. If you wanted.

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=22819

Justice screen0

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