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I’m in for the Jam this time.

Posted by
Thursday, April 16th, 2015 10:53 am

I’ve haven’t been able to enter as often as I’d like lately, but I think I finally have enough time this weekend.  I’ll probably be entering the 72 hour jam for the first time, too, as my wife is probably going to help me design the game.

Given our skillsets, it’ll likely be a text-based interactive fiction, possibly with some puzzles.  It’ll depend a lot on what the theme is, of course.

With any luck, I’ll be able to provide my wife a template for PineGrow that she can use to design the areas and do the writing while I do the coding.

Edit:  Changed Compo to Jam, as I’d gotten them backwards.

Simple Game

Posted by
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 6:34 pm

Due to lack of time both lately and for the last year and a half, I chose to make a rather simple game this time and actually get something entered again.

To that extent, I decided to use the quickest tools in my arsenal:  HTML5.  I’d have loved to do something in UE4, but I just haven’t found the time to make anything with it yet, and I knew I’d spend more time trying to figure it out than making the game, and that’s just crazy for LD.

The design of the code for this entry was in my head almost completely before I even started, and it all worked out the way I’d foreseen, so that went really well.

I decided to obfuscate my javascript to prevent people from figuring out the patterns without any effort.  They could still look at the source, but that’s more work, too.  The problem is that Yui Compressor doesn’t really obfuscate by design, so some of my stuff didn’t get changed enough.  I had to redesign stuff a bit to make it rename my tags.  Worse, setting up Yui Compressor on Windows via NPM turned out to be a huge hassle.  Ended up being easier to download it directly, install Java, and override phpStorm’s default values to make it work.  Ugh.

phpStorm also got in my way a few other times, though I don’t remember the details.  There was some weird bug where the cursor would jump while pasting data, and that was ugly.  I’m wishing Atom.io was a little more mature.  I haven’t had much chance to look at it, though, so it might be more mature than I realize.

Going to try UE4!

Posted by
Friday, December 5th, 2014 4:52 am

Life’s been a little crazy for the last year and a half and I haven’t gotten to participate much.  I was going to skip this time, but decided maybe I’d try an HTML5 game for kicks.

But the UE4 free 90 day code has me seriously considering using that, even though I haven’t actually used it yet.  It’ll mean a *much* more basic game, but oh well.  It’s a good opportunity to try it out finally.

I think learning UE4 is enough of a stretch goal for myself that I’m not going to aim for anything special this time, like I have in the past.  I’ll be happy just to get a basic game completed.

10 Seconds at the Carnival – Post Mortem

Posted by
Monday, August 26th, 2013 10:07 am

This turned out to be a really great weekend.  I learned a lot about what I need to learn and practice, I got my game done in half the time I thought necessary and spent a lot of time on polish, and I feel like I got more done than any previous LD I’ve done.
The good:

I managed to spend all day the first day on task.  I had to use caffeine to do it, and I’m paying for that today, but oh well.  I got a *lot* done.

My code was very reusable, with only a few exceptions.  I managed to make the second game (Ball Toss) with pretty much the same scripts as the first (Ring Toss).  Dart Throw took some re-engineering, but I managed to use most of the same scripts there, too.

The game is fun!  I’ve always liked these games, but you can still never tell if it’s going to end up being as fun as you hope.  It is.  And my girlfriend agrees.

The bad:

I had to throw out a lot of great ideas because I simply didn’t know key elements of making them.   They’re things that *should* be easy, but you should never do totally new things during a 48 hour compo.

The above point meant that the game wasn’t nearly as ambitious as I’d have liked.

Next time:

I hit my goal of making a ‘fun’ game this time, finally.  Next time, I’m going to either trying for innovative or artistic.  Both of those are a big challenge for me, so I’ll need to be practicing in the mean time to be able to hit that goal.

In for LD27

Posted by
Monday, August 19th, 2013 5:14 am

I’m definitely in again this time.  Last time, my goal was to make a *fun* game, and not just manage to enter.  I’m not convinced I managed that goal, but a few people seemed entertained at least.  So this time, my goal remains the same.

I’ll be using the same tools as always:  Unity, Blender, Photoshop.  I’ll also be adding a wonderful music generator to the mix:  http://www.abundant-music.com/ !

At least, I hope I get to the point of having music.  😉

I think I will once again lean heavily on simplistic 3D graphics as I still haven’t put any time into practicing with pixel art.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from LD, it’s to play to your strengths and not try new skills.  At least, not until you’ve got everything good enough to submit.  :)

Another great thing I’d love to do would be to implement support for the Oculus Rift.  I wanted to last time, but wasn’t able to figure out how to make NGUI work with it.  This time, perhaps I’ll work around that by not having menus as such.  We’ll have to see.

Post Mortem, Simply Escape

Posted by
Monday, May 6th, 2013 4:38 am

So that went quite well!  This time, I took a couple days off work afterwards to give myself time to recover, so I didn’t feel like I needed to stop early.  I figured I spent about 20-24 hours actually working on the project this time.

The game seems generally well-received.  The comments so far are encouraging.

Simply Escape

What Went Right

I accurately gauged my scope.  Partly this was due to having a minimal idea with potential to grow.  I had hoped to add a couple more rooms.  By that, I mean the same room again, but with more things to do.  The next thing I added would have been a series of buttons around the room, and an oldschool LCD single-digit display with how many buttons were left to find.  The buttons would have been hidden in different places.  I’m pretty sure I was going to hook that to the drawer, so that it can’t be opened without pushing the buttons first.  I’m not sure what would have been in the 5th room yet.

I spent enough time on it.  Last time, I just felt too pressured to be rested for work on Monday, so I quit at like 12-16 hours.  I was able to spend a lot more time this time, and I’ll likely continue the vacation thing for the next LD.

Modeling.  I actually managed to model up some decent assets, and even used Substance Designer to make a dynamic material for the safe combination.  (It was random each time you play, which is something that doesn’t really show up unless you replay it…  Which I imagine nobody did.)

What Went Wrong

Sound.  Oh man, those sounds are horrible.  I used bfxr (website like sfxr) and it really wasn’t capable of making the sounds I needed.  I had considered recording them manually around my house (open my squeaky front door, draw a box along the wall for the drawer and picture sounds, etc) but in the end I decided I’d rather put in more work on other stuff.

Controls.  Ugh.  I’m so ashamed of how bad the controls are.  The mouse is too sensitive, so you can’t accurate mouse over things.  The mid-screen reticle also relies on the mousepointer being in the same location.  Locking the mouse pointer should have done that, but it’s usually off center by a bit.  To make it worse, the Windows build keeps the mouse in a slightly different spot than the Web build, leading to one or the other not being right.  Finally, gamepad support *also* requires the mouse to be in the center.  I will completely re-do these eventually.

Oculus Rift support.  I really, really wanted to support the Rift.  But I didn’t know how to integrate NGUI’s cameras with the Rift’s cameras.  Initial experiementation with this has been bad.  I’ve settled right now on just having 2 cameras for the GUI that don’t do warping, etc.  I also need to figure out how to control NGUI’s menus with a controller.  Ironically, it’s much easier to turn an FPS camera into a Rift camera than all the rest of this stuff.  *sigh*  I’m still working on this and hope to add a Rift build to my list, though I’m not submitting it for judging.  (Even though porting is allowed, I feel there’s too much work going into it to be fair in the contest.)  With my work and life commitments, it may not be done before the end of the contest, though.

Overall

Overall, I think things went well.  My goal this time was to finish *and* end up with a fun game.  While I think it could have been more fun, I think I managed the goal on a minimal level.  My goal next time will be to have something unique or innovative.  That’s a much taller order, but we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I’ve found some things I need to look at and figure out how I’ll handle them in the future.  I did a lot of stuff on the fly this weekend that I should have already done previously, and it took time that it shouldn’t have.

LD25 Post-mortem

Posted by
Monday, December 17th, 2012 5:29 am

So I finally finished one!  Huzzah!

This time around, I decided to shoot low and add on if I had time.  I didn’t like the theme (again) so I had trouble coming up with anything I could do.  I ended up with a pretty generic sidescroll shooter that was way too hard.  Since ‘way too hard’ was the only thing it had going for it, I let that stay rather than ‘fix’ it.

It worked out really well to get the firing working first, and then work on movement.  Then hitpoints and death.  Mock up a couple levels and the game works…  This was done by about the end of the first day.

I didn’t spend as much time on it the second day as I could have.  I was already feeling a bit burnt out, and I had to work today.  So I added health bars and finished out the level design, and designated 2 enemies as bosses and gave them more health and a different color.  Then I fleshed out the menu systems and level changes, and the ending screen.

Then I went to Disney World.  No, literally.  lol  I needed to get out of the house and regain some sanity.  Had this step not been necessary, I would have added pickups for upgrading the gun, and possibly some kind of rocket launcher for some of the enemies, to give them a different weapon.

The graphics bothered me the whole time, but I simply haven’t got the skill to have done anything worthwhile in the time allotted, so I didn’t even try.

My tools let me down a bit.  I was trying to use the beta version of a Unity asset, and it screwed up.  I was originally going to use it to make the characters, levels, etc, instead of just generic boxes.  Would have looked somewhat better, and given me more options for the levels.  I tried to remove it and go back to an old version, but I couldn’t remember how to *use* the old version.  lol  Oh well.

Other than that, the tools were great.  Unity was obviously used for the game, NGUI for the menus and healthbars, and I used Photoshop for the art for the menus/healthbars.  I also used SFXR for the gunshot sound.  And BMFont with a free font.  Since I had used all of those before, there were no surprises and it all went smoothly.

Next time, I think I’ll shoot a bit higher.  I’m going to spend more time thinking about the theme and designing the game, and then more time programming as well.  I’ll be taking a day off work to make sure I’m not crowded there, either.  I think I’ll spend some time these 4 months working on a few things that I didn’t know enough about to implement, like cutscenes and pop-up conversations during the game.  I think I’ll also spend time with Blender and Substance Designer and learn to make basic models quickly, and animate them.  I think that would have improved the look and feel significantly.

Finished. ish.

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 6:49 am

Well I got enough complete that it can be called a game, and submitted it.  I might continue to improve it throughout the day, but I’m not sure.

It’s really hard, too.  I let a friend play it and he couldn’t get past the second enemy.  In fact, it’s too hard for me.  (It’s not my usual kind of game.)  I can get past the first level, but the second?  I seriously doubt it.

Anyone who gets through both levels deserve serious kudos.

Third time’s a charm!

Posted by
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 6:35 am

Alright, I’m really, really going to try to make a game this time.  I failed twice now, but this time…  I’m going to make *something*, even if it’s crap.  Hehe.

Tools?  Unity (and a ton of editor add-ons), Blender, probably Photoshop.  Maybe Substance Designer, if I get fancy.  I seriously don’t expect to have enough time to use Photoshop and Substance Designer, though.

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