About Winterblood (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)

I make games for a living. But usually other people's games.
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Winterblood's Archive

Girding loins for LD21

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Friday, August 12th, 2011 5:02 am

Things to do: clear desk, tidy house, generally sort out anything that might prove distracting! Excited to have Notch rejoin us, and see how the G+ circles pan out.

I’ll be using the shiny latest version of Unity – the new drag-and-drop prefab workflow should really help keep the pace up. Also Paint.NET, Blender, and Audacity.

Must also clear my calender for the next month just in order to *rate* everyone. The magical 100% coolness is becoming really hard to accomplish!

White Flag – unfinished

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Sunday, June 26th, 2011 7:18 pm

I’ve polished up what I had, though it’s exceptionally short. I found tarting up the background an excellent displacement activity to avoid actually writing content. Play “White Flag” here.

I’ll let it rest a few days, then add to it. The dialogue system was intended to have internal variables, but I ran out of time – only managed to spend about 12 hours total on this, much of which was learning Stencyl and ActionScript. It’s been good fun though, and I’ve got a good solid template to build a more advanced system on…

Disqualified! For I am a muppet.

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Friday, May 6th, 2011 4:14 pm

Doh! I thoughtlessly picked one of the stock Unity skydomes, forgetting that this is ART and should therefore be made by ME. Oops.

So “Lonely Fortress” has accordingly been moved to the Jam. Apologies and thanks to all of you who took the time to rate it.

On the plus side, since it’s no longer being judged, I’m uploading a new version with a quick and dirty fix for the bug where you could get stuck with your head inside a block. And I plan to continue developing it into a full game. Gotta keep busy until LD21 rolls around!

“Lonely Fortress” Trivia!

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 2:22 pm

Not a blow-by-blow post-mortem, just a list of random trivia and dev-nightmare anecdotes…

  • I wasted about 2 hours attempting to rewrite some of the standard Unity scripts from JS to C# (which I prefer, and had already written the tower generation in). At that point I gave up and had to work in both languages. I then wasted another hour or so jumping through hoops to get different language scripts to talk to each other. Don’t mix your languages, kids.
  • The tower is procedurally generated, but it always uses the same hardwired seed, because I was afraid it would generate a tower that was impossible to climb – and the one I was testing proved enough of a challenge. I also wanted it much, much taller, but that would have required respawn points on the tower, and an optimization pass to help Unity cope with hundreds of mesh colliders.
  • The “take this” was originally going to be a companion like Yorda in Ico…for about 3 seconds. Then it was going to be a hamster in a ball that you had to throw ahead of you so your hands were free to grab ledges (the hamster would actively avoid rolling off ledges, see). I actually implemented most of it before realising that it was more of a ball and chain for the player than a fun mechanic, so that blew a chunk of Saturday. I stuck with the ledge grab and made the companion just give useful advice instead. I will also admit to having playing Portal 2 recently.
  • I had planned to have spike walls, tunnels through the interior of the tower, and maybe some scorpions that the Ifrit would warn you about and maybe defend you from, so that he was actually relevant to the gameplay. Ran out of time for those, so the Ifrit is not really all that helpful. But people seem to like his chatter anyway.
  • Spent a couple of hours recording dialogue and sound effects. Luckily I happen to own a £300 Sennheiser shotgun mic which I use for filming, and gave wonderful crystal clear recordings. All the voice acting I did in one or two takes per line between 11pm and midnight on Sunday. The tower rising is two bricks sliding, pitched down with a bass boost. The wind is me blowing on the mic. The crumbling blocks are a handful of gravel being tipped off one brick onto another – pitched down, with a couple of takes mixed together (it was a very small handful of gravel, as it was pitch black when I went out in the garden to get it).
  • The note I finger-painted using my daughter’s red paint, and photographed with my iPhone. The texture is – laughably – 1024×1024 because I forgot to reduce it once I worked out how big on screen it would be.
  • The skeleton hand and lamp I modeled at breakneck speed in Blender with about an hour to spare, and surprised myself with the results. I might look for a 48-minute modeling challenge :)
  • The triforce on the tower was also done at breakneck speed….and is upside-down because I forgot to check online for reference. Zelda fan fail.
  • I was planning to crumble the entire tower once you picked up the triforce, but ran out of time to do anything other than acknowledge your success with a line of dialogue. Also, I suspected it might kill Unity.
  • The most stressful part of the weekend was realising that the free webspace I’d signed up for would not allow Unity files to be uploaded. Had to upload a zip file to meet the deadline, and then put the web-playable version up later when I discovered DropBox would do it. I love DropBox.

So there you are, all the least dull bits of my weekend. I had a blast, and I can’t wait for the next one…

Public Service Announcement

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 10:55 pm

You can run Unity webplayer builds directly off DropBox! I did not know this – just discovered it by looking at someone else’s entry (hat tip to Doktor Ace). Useful thing to know about for Unity devs.

I just managed to get Lonely Fortress more-or-less playable by the deadline. No music, and a lot less gameplay than I planned (not even a win screen – it was that tight). But what a great exercise! I love having to do everything yourself.

I think the adrenaline is finally wearing off so I can go to bed. ‘Night.

Way behind schedule…

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 3:42 am

But I have finally got the core mechanic (the ledge grab) working, after much procrastination and head/desk interfacing. Climbing the tower is now more forgiving and more exhilarating, but a bit too easy. I’ve tarted it up a bit late last night when my poor brain couldn’t handle debugging any more JavaScript.

Next up, in priority order:

  • Title/win/death screens and logic.
  • Obstacles – spikes and whatnot.
  • Helper AI and respawn points
  • Music and audio
  • Optimizations – I want the tower to go INSANELY high, and individual cube colliders aren’t cheap.
  • Hands – I wanted you to see your own hands grabbing the ledge, but it’s a big job. May have to drop it :(

15 hours to go!

Grossly overambitious concept a-go-go!

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Friday, April 29th, 2011 11:13 pm

Well, the theme is – quite literally – a joke, so I’m adapting my favourite concept (was hoping Climbing or Colossal would win), which was a tower-climbing game. But it IS dangerous to go alone.

I might introduce an AI character so you’re NOT alone, as in Ico or the Prince of Persia second reboot (the toon-shaded one). But that will be a HELL of a lot of work, so you may just end up being given a useful tool instead.

It’s gonna be hard to ensure that my procedurally-generated tower is in fact climbable, so an alternative could be having the old man pop up providing “cheat” items when you get stuck halfway up the tower. Er…old men can levitate, you know. My grandad does it all the time.

I’m ready, bring it on!

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Friday, April 29th, 2011 10:57 am

All is in readiness. I planned to hit the sack early and get up at 3am when the theme is announced, but my 3-year-old girl has fallen asleep this afternoon so getting her off to bed will now be a bit of a nightmare…

I too am, as they say, “in”!

Posted by (twitter: @Winterblood_Dev)
Monday, April 25th, 2011 6:00 pm

LD19 coincided with a crunch at work, but LD20 falls smack bang on an extended bank holiday (who says the UK royal family are good for nothing, eh?). I will mostly be using Blender, Unity, Paint.NET, and Audacity. I haven’t tried composing music since 1995, so recommendations welcome…

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