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Archive for the ‘LD – Misc’ Category

Old ld now on mobile; Ninja Star!

Posted by (twitter: @@jagekiwi)
Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 4:22 am

20891-shot1 s2-08

                 Before                                            After

 

Finally! It took a while but the game is now finished and out on iOS (soon on Android)! From the concept it was at ludumdare to the actual game it has become, it’s gone a long way. And it feels amazing! First game me and my friend have worked on seriously, almost didn’t think we would finish it, but we did and I’m proud of not only the game but the achievement of completing what we started.

Old LD

Btw thanks for the feedback I got from that ludumdare! Now here, the game:

Ninja Star! is a puzzle game where you throw a shuriken, solving challenging puzzles in four different worlds.

In the game your mission is to get the ninja star to the goal in as few throws as possible, the ninja star bounces off of some objects but gets stuck in others.
As you progress through the levels you will encounter more interesting objects like bombs and teleports which you will need to use to your advantage.

You can get the game for free here!

After playing 1 and a half world you choose to pay 0.99 usd to unlock all of the levels and remove the ads.
Here is a gameplay trailer!
Please check it out and let me know what you think! Have fun!
Our website (wow!):
www.piggybackgames.com

3 Hrs to go!!

Posted by (twitter: @jasonsumm)
Monday, May 11th, 2015 5:03 pm

Animation-0c

Thanks LUDUM DARE, it’s been a blast. I’ve found some incredible efforts here, and hope to one day be amongst those I admire. Can’t wait for the next challenge. Give …Slaughter… a play / vote if you can spare a minute or two ^_^. So many thanks to everyone who already has :).

 

 

My thoughts on Ludum Dare (and how to make it better)

Posted by (twitter: @fakepsyho)
Sunday, May 10th, 2015 4:24 pm

I highly doubt that my thoughts are going to be original, considering the long history of LD and the amount of participants it has. For the record, this was my first LD, I loved every part of the LD throughout the first 48h – even though it meant that I spent my almost entire weekend alone and working :) But that excitement quickly left me as soon as the voting period has started.

Since no one likes long posts, I’ll directly dive into the problems:

1) I thought I’ll leave people valuable feedback on their games and (hopefully) this will create some interesting discussions about the games itself. Ideally, no one would feel bad about constructive criticism and we would end up in a win-win scenario. But it’s not possible right now, since: (a) there’s no threaded view of the comments (b) there’s no way of tagging people. It’s one of the (smaller) reasons why most of the comments are completely shallow, since the discussion is impossible and has to move towards the personal blogs.

2) If I understand correctly the final result is just an average of votes. If I’m wrong please correct me, but I guess at least some of this still applies. This is really bad idea and easily fixable. (a) First of all, bayesian average is a trivial improvement over it, which in general decreases the variance of the result (no more taking top spots by submissions that had votes barely over minimum). (b) The other easy thing that should be much better is to use percentile rank. You can also drop top and bottom ~10% to reduce the effect of the outliers. And yes, I really think that if someone’s giving only 1s or only 5s, then those votes should transcribe to the exactly same score. (c) Ideally, the proper way would be to toy around with the machine learning, considering the prediction of the “true” ranking should be a rather standard problem in recommendation system. It’s actually absolutely the same problem Netflix prize used if you assume that we’re predicting ratings only for the “fresh” users.

3) If I stick only to games recommended by “Play and Rate Games”, I’m going to play mostly unfinished or just very weak games. It’s because the fun and interesting games have a lot of votes already due to the self-promotion. After 5-10 games that may have no gameplay, are completely bugged or someone was clearly just starting his/her adventure with gamedev, I’m beginning to feel frustrated. This is a pretty sad situation since this forces me to hand-select the games, which in turn completely skews the rating system and it makes even worse situation for everyone else. I guess in the past there was absolutely no system at all (only hand-selection), so nowadays people look at the coolness system as something that is an improvement over what LD had before. There’s very little you can tell about the games that are completely unfinished (or sometimes even not started). In those games the feedback is either the same, or is purely motivational. This means that weak game won’t suffer too much from having fewer votes/comments. This makes since at the same time, we want for good games to have as many votes as they can, in order to reduce the variance of the top places. (a) You could use the current rankings to adjust the priority in the “play and rate” queue. If people would get more fun games in the queue, they would use it more, so in the end the weak games would still end up with decent number of votes. The main difference is that we would reduce down the huge spam of “PLEAAASSSEEE RATEEE MY GAMMMEEEE”, which honestly is not the best thing in the world. (b) Somewhat risky idea would be to stop counting the votes of hand-selected titles altogether. Or alternatively, reduce their weight (and added coolness).

Edit: Also, please read my reply to tompudding. I think I did a better job there explaining the main idea behind (3).

Anyway those were my 2 cents. If this stuff was brought up already then I hope someone can give me links to those topics.

Also, no link to my game since this would defeat the purpose of the whole post :)

9 Months aftermath! LD #30

Posted by
Thursday, May 7th, 2015 3:41 pm

Hello there my fellow indie developers, today I want to announce that the game I’ve been working on for the past months has been released. This project started back in “Ludum Dare 30” (Connected Worlds). We saw potential on it so we decided to focus and develop a good game on that topic. Our entry BERTA was the starter point, then it went through many changes and almost 9 months later we finally finished!

(It’s not Berta but it is a ball).

This game is about a Spunky little ball that has the ability to switch between colors in order to interact with the environment of the level. Everything that matches the ball’s color becomes solid, therefore you have to choose wisely what color to use. For example, you’ll want to be the same color as the coins but not the same as the spikes! Or maybe you need that a certain platform matches your color in order to roll over it without falling.

So be prepared for a fun and innovative gameplay on your device… Also prepare to die a countless amount of times…

I hope you enjoy this game as much as I did when I created it! Also don’t forget to leave a review on the Store page if you actually had a great time playing it. :)

AppStore: https://appsto.re/us/ZtiR5.i

GooglePlayStore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Inspination.SpunkyBall 

Our game: Snow Cones!

Posted by (twitter: @ben.rausch)
Thursday, May 7th, 2015 5:45 am

Snow-cones-03I’ve been holing back on sharing this, as it’s pretty half-baked. With the exciting stuff going down over the next while, I doubt Team Lazerbeam will be baking this treat any more, any time soon, so figured I may as well put this out there.
Snow-cones-01Snow Cones was a Ludum Dare entry, jammed between Richard, Jason and I. Rich coded the whole thing, Jason played and recorded a bunch of songs with an acoustic guitar and I took lead on art (while the rest of the team all made contributions on this front).
Snow-cones-07Taking the theme of “an unconventional weapon” we focused on the idea of love as the most powerful weapon of all. The basic concept of Snow Cones (a sweet game about two ice-cream cones enjoying a date in the snow) is one I’ve had knocking around in my head for a year or so. I showed Rich some concept art for the idea, and, being pretty in line with the kind of emotive experiences he, Jay and I have been interested in playing with, thought it was something we should pursue.

Snow-cones-05Deciding to try make the game in 72 hours, Rich and I laid out the basic design: the player would take the role of a lonely gender-neutral icecream cone, they’d play through preparing for, and heading to a date, and then be presented with a non-linear series of date activities, while growing closer to their love-interest.
Snow-cones-06This was a pretty ambitious concept for a 72 hour game and what’s more the jam overlapped with Jason and I finishing our trailer for Desktop Dungeons and Anja and I having an out of town wedding to attend. Needless to say I only got to spend a fraction of these 72 hours on the game. By the wee hours of Tuesday morning, with moments to go before submission, we made the call to drop all but one of the date activities. This meant many songs that were recorded, cones that were drawn and codes that were coded aren’t seen in the current build of Snow Cones. We do have every intention of integrating them when we have a chance, but for now;
Click here to play “Snow Cones: Half-frozen Edition”

Snow-cones-08

Ridiculous Bird Hunting

Posted by (twitter: @eastes)
Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 10:34 am

Want to hunt some birds?

Here’s my entry to LD32 compo. Am now finally getting around to reviewing some games and posting screenshots of mine. Please let me know what you think!

This is game footage.

 

This is messing around with camera’s post compo. Yes, the Millennium Falcon is one of the unconventional weapons. No, you can’t fly it. Chewy is flying.

Millennium Falcon Attacking

Made for Toni, because she has a fear of Birds.

YouTube Footage and Trailer

Play and Rate the Game

‘BABY BORN’ – A POSTMORTEM FOR YOU CAN SHAVE THE BABY

Posted by (twitter: @chikun_dev)
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 11:23 pm

‘BABY BORN’ – A POSTMORTEM FOR YOU CAN SHAVE THE BABY
A CHIKUN GAME BY JOSEF AND RYAN

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‘You Can Shave The Baby’ is a minigame experience that harks to the time-honoured Warioware minigames with a special dash of bizarre tasks that require the user to suspend their disbelief – and their sanity. The inspiration of the game draws from a series of weird and wonderful in-jokes Josef and I developed, incorporating elements from previous games we have made (all of which are available on our chikun.net website).
If you haven’t played it yet – check it out! Find it here, or on our site at chikun.net.

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01
—————————————————————————————

THE DESIGN PROCESS FOR ‘YOU CAN SHAVE THE BABY’

‘I want to make a weird game’. So we made one. Originally going down the avenue of wanting a hybrid horror-adventure in the vein of Yume Nikki, the project immediately turned into something else at the start of the jam.
The basic coding for the minigame format was fairly simple and self-contained once it was complete. In the vein of making minigames via Warioware: DIY the logic behind the games was easy: it needed,

(1) a timer, countdown and increasing speed,
(2) a win and lose state,
(3) different modes of user input that triggered success in minigames, and
(4) a life and score system to add progress.

After that, development was smooth sailing and the major focus of the programming was to tailor elements (2) and (3) to the unique specifications of each minigame.

—————————————————————————————

02
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As Josef was doing this it was up to me to ascertain the creative direction we wanted to take to give the minigames their personality, whilst retaining the challenge of the game. We made up a list of potential minigames, incorporating a basic description, and the win/loss states of each minigame.

Despite the bizarre nature of the game, many of the concepts revolved around non-sequitur comments, running jokes or references to previous games:

  • Aphrodite in the ‘disguise’ minigame was a character in Turtle Simulator.
  • ‘Don’t Spook The Bird’ is based on a photo of a sulphur-crested cockatoo I took at a nature reserve and features in reddit.com/r/lovebird.
  • I wrote a short story called ‘Pizza Pants’ at six in the morning at the Global Game Jam in Sydney. It stands as the only written example of pizza fetishism in literature.

—————————————————————————————

04
—————————————————————————————

CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS –
HOW DO WE IMPROVE THE BABY?

All in all the game came together relatively efficiently, unlike the tension of previous Dares. My only concern during development was that we would not create enough minigames to sustain the interest of players – using the base 30 minigames in a level of WarioWare, I think there was always room to expand.
We came up with few actual challenges during development, but one large roadblock manifested in the last few hours of the Jam – a major storm hit the coast of NSW, Australia, and caused power outages that ended up lasting for a week from that very night. Fortunately, when the power went out on the morning of the last day, most of the work was complete – it was only a matter of uploading the game via phone and praying for electricity.

 

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03
—————————————————————————————

So what did we learn from making the game? How could we improve the baby game?
(1) Develop more varied and innovative game mechanics
Due to time constraints, many of the minigames revolved around either using the arrow keys on the keyboard to steer the direction of an object, or hovering or clicking the cursor to highlight a change in a graphic. Making tattoos, shaving babies, and putting on makeup all rely on the same fundamental mechanic. With more time to develop ideas we could have certainly provided the player with a more engaging and challenging experience.

(2) Actually related to the theme
A common criticism of our game was that it had nothing to do with the theme. This is completely correct – Josef asked me, “Ryan, how does this relate to the theme?” I replied to the effect of who cares. At the end I think I implemented some tenuous intro theme about coming across a hacking weapon in the form of a floppy disk, but the plot was certainly a last minute ass-pull. We made the game for the abstract minigames, and that’s about it.

(3) More animation and graphics for seamless game experience
Though the simplicity of the minigames in WarioWare are simple, there’s a lot going on in the animation department. With more time we could have implemented fades and transitions between the opening cinematics, provided more animations to gague success and failure, and actually provided an ending to give an end goal and thus closure to players after the novelty of the minigames wears off.

 

—————————————————————————————

05

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Regardless, it’s clear from the feedback we got that people feel ‘You Can Shave The Baby’ was unique in style and memorable. That’s all we could ever ask for.

—————————————————————————————

Updated my Ludum Dare 29 game, Close Your Eyes

Posted by (twitter: @AestheticGamer1)
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 3:51 pm

Thought I’d mention here I spent a few days to fix a few things and add a lot of new content to the game I had made for Ludum Dare 29, Close your Eyes:

001

 

Can be downloaded from one of the following sources:

RPGMakerNet: http://rpgmaker.net/games/7578/
GameJolt: http://gamejolt.com/games/adventure/close-your-eyes/58200/
Itch.io: http://aestheticgamer.itch.io/close-your-eyes
IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/close-your-eyes

 

Trailer:

 

It’s that time again!

Posted by
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 11:07 pm

Playandrate*witty, intellectual, vaguely pop-culture oriented comment about playing and rating more Ludum Dare entries*

Hey, everyone! I’ve finally managed to settle in a bit to continue playing your games. I know we had quite the lengthy experience last night, playing a very enjoyable (but lengthy to stream) board game created during Ludum Dare — but we’ll be going back to our regularly-scheduled list now!

I’m going to continue to play in accordance to how people show up in chat via the stream, to give the best personal feedback possible. Just remember that I will be playing all the games on my list regardless, so even if you don’t jump in during a stream, I will continue to play, rate and give feedback to your entry when I’m able to!

Looking forward to seeing you there! :)

Sword_Click_HereDon’t forget to PLAY & RATE the game I worked on: EX-SWORD-STENTIAL CRISIS!

It needs more love.

480px-Tumblr_static_heart

Ray Gamer – Post-Mortem

Posted by
Monday, April 20th, 2015 4:57 pm

11160979_746621402101979_1516651316_n

This is our first game in ludum dare and first post-mortem also, we are pleased with the result despite starting too late to play the game, started on Sunday, but we deliver on time, we had problems with the location, for members the group live far away from each other.

11170616_819718001453295_762287653_n

In the game you are a gamer, and you have to defeat the enemies in a parallel reality, using objects of your day to day, which is a mouse and a lightning rod. In this game worked: Daniela (Design Andart), Lucas (Design Andart), Caio (programming), Enio (programming) and Luan (animation). In addition we had the collaboration of a musician, Rafael Rodrigues, creating a unique music.

11160178_746627852101334_422693529_n 11180579_746627775434675_562748642_o

History: While playing Luan I felt dizzy take care of themselves and felt being sucked. After the dizziness passed he realized strange noises, he saw from his window a red sky and some distortions within its city, that same street could hear howls bloodthirsty. So fell the fixed what it was, maybe he was in a parallel dimension, alone, needed to survive and stay at home hiding was not part of you. He put on his red rubber cover, put on his boots, took his best mouse – and toughest – in one hand and your laptop for-ray prototype in the other and go out in search of his enemies.

 

Mechanical: because we are beginners in the creation of games as a whole and we are still learning the mechanics was not something new, it was something simpler (up because of the time issue) that is to walk and attack with the mouse.

 

Aesthetics: Art and the setting was entirely produced with the technique in vector in illustrator. We wanted to give a chaotic air to represent good about what it was, after all it is a parallel reality, so the use of vibrant shades such as red, and as a gamer in such a situation, he would not miss the chance to portray a character your taste, so inspire us assassin’screed to make the cover of it. The animation of the enemy, especially, was made to bring the terror, there would be no conversation, there was no way to hide, are just beasts looking for a game to have fun.

 

Technology: we use the construct as a tool, and import directly to the web, as is a prototype not yet think of other forms of platforms to put the game.

 

We had the idea on Saturday and on Sunday we met, ending the second prototype of the game.

 

What we learned: How to work as a team, it was a plus, since we understand very well, despite setbacks. Because we are beginners in this area, we learn more of the platforms we use as construct2 and platforms to make the whole scenario and characters vector.

 

The Good: the fact that the character is a gamer and use a mouse to fend off enemies in an apocalyptic world that has generated the identity of the game, also the lightning rod has an important role, since it has the idea that he was smart enough to create something like that, giving a futuristic air to the plot. I also think the game, to have a sound of terror and the use of unusual objects, causes people to “have fun” to kill enemies.

 

The Bad: We have not had many comments about the game, but we feel that lacked a more cool mechanics to the game, perhaps for lack of time and lack of ideas, we had no chance to do something better, also the way it was placed the controls might be a bad thing, since it would be more difficult player to play in the tablet such as the mouse is needed to attack.

 

Anyway, before the time we were given and ideas that emerged, I believe we can give the best of themselves in this situation, for the first time and as the course beginners. We are still thinking about this idea evolve, and continue working on the game, but for now it is so.

In need of last-minute music for your Jam game?

Posted by (twitter: @qrchack)
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 1:16 pm

I finished music for the game with @Sigrath and am sort of bored so hit me up if you need anything audio. Pretty much anything, from chiptune, through industrial to orchestral epic stuff will do (though silently I’m wishing someone with an art-like game will get in touch with me – think Nihilumbra, Journey)!

 

Clickies for listening to help you decide!

Final preparations for the compo/jam?

Posted by (twitter: @go_go_goto)
Friday, April 17th, 2015 12:08 pm

Just updated my LD32 repo at github (https://github.com/yuigoto/LD-32) with a blank game project (Haxe/OpenFL project for FlashDevelop).

I also put some code for a FPS/Resource monitor and the code I use to draw my company logo.

Is it ok to use this for the compo?

Also…gotta clean up my desk and get some snacks! I’m shivering >_<

Being Happy With Your LudumDare Game

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 4:49 am

This is a cross-post from my blog

 

Ah, the Ludum dare! Your favorite gamejam. You have fond memories of the last one: the wait before the announcement, the not-so-inspiring theme, and its famous 48h time limit…

48h, Really? 30h at most if you ask me. Everyone will tell you that you need to eat properly and to take a break from time to time. This is not the purpose of this post, I will just assume that you have at least one 8h sleep and a few proper meal during the weekend.

How it might go

So 30h. Let’s do this! Let’s say you have the perfect idea for the jam, and you spend the first day producing cool graphics, slick animations, and great audio. Good. It took some time of course, but it’s done.

Now you have 15-20 hours to make an actual game that has a usage for each asset you made… Aaand done! That was easy! No weird physic bug, no special case to handle, and you implemented every single mechanic you wanted. After all you knew exactly how to play an animation in your game engine. Right?

~5 hours to go. Let’s wrap it up : 2-3 levels, a title screen, a game over screen… Aaand you submitted just on time. Hurray! Can’t wait for the comments :

 

That was super hard, I gave up on the second level. Graphics are great.

Great! Difficulty is good. Too bad he didn’t see the boss though.

Looks awesome, but I don’t understand how my abilities work”

Ow man, one of those guys who rate games in 2 minutes and don’t actually try to play it. That sucks.

I didn’t know where to go after I beat the third patch of enemies.

Wait, what? There is just one path: you need to jump on the platform offscreen. Did he not try that?

My attacks felt very underwhelming, and it was hard to beat the simpler enemies”

Well of course! You need to make combos!

 

21 days later you are a bit depressed from the comments. You even wrote a post about it, asking if people actually played your game. No one seemed to care. Results are in and your best score in #84 in graphics. Audio is at #261. You’d rather not talk about the rest.

(Copyright theMeatly.com)

 

Let’s go back, and refine our objectives

This example I gave is highly unrealistic. Nothing goes smoothly from start to finish, and the simple tasks will take more time that you would expect. That is, if you don’t have an unexpected bug popping out of nowhere.

You might have the time to implement all the mechanics you want AND have nice assets AND a proper level design… but you cannot know for sure. So Keep It Stupidly Simple! (or “Keep It Simple, Stupid” if you prefer that one)

If you ever want to make a good LD entry, you not only need to make a game, but you also need to make a game that doesn’t drive people away by beeing too hard/long/boring/complicated/… And for each feature you add to the game, you will have to make sure that it’s not too hard/long/boring/complicated, which comes on top of the technical challenge.

Why not going easy on yourself? Why wouldn’t you pick just one feature? (feature, concept, mechanic… call it however you like). It is better to have one cleanly executed (and matured) feature than a bunch of half-baked ones. A few examples:

  • You have to navigate a maze to reach a visible goal but the walls are invisible
  • You have to navigate a maze to reach a visible goal but you can only stop moving by bumping into a wall
  • A basic platformer but jumping toggles some platforms
  • A basic platformer but wall-jumping breaks the walls
  • Solve a mystery but you cannot ask the same question to different persons.

After all, YOU are the only one defining the amount of work required.

 

Pick an idea

When the theme is announced (or even before), write any ideas you may have, no matter how stupid or vague they may be.

Go through your list and, unless it’s a REALLY simple idea, remove those who don’t match your skills (you can always keep that idea for another game):

  • It needs good graphics, and you are not good at art? Next! Coming up with assets you deem acceptable will take too long.
  • It needs a physic simulation, and your game engine doesn’t have one? (or you never used it?) Next! Don’t risk going through technical hurdles when you can avoid it
  • It needs to have animation synchronized with the music, and you are not sure how to do that? Next!

This might seem a bit over the top, but my point is that you need to come up with your own rule that guarantees the idea is reasonable. Mine is “If I can’t make it with colored squares on a single screen, I need a good reason to keep that idea”.

Combine that to the “one feature” rule we talked above and you have an efficient way to filter out your ideas.

…no matter how stupid…

 

Implement your core feature

Once you have your one key feature, get it to work as soon as possible. This, as said earlier, will take more time than expected. So don’t go on a tangent here. Just get it to work. Bonus point if you can tune the controls so that it’s not boring to move around in a blank room.

Then introduce your concepts properly. Easier said than done, I know; “how to make a tutorial” deserves its own article… So here are the first 3 level of my LD26 as an example (not a single line of text to explain things):

(The LD site doesn’t display gifs: click to see the animation)

 
sq_in_room_1

“This is how you move (what you can do), and what you have to do”

sq_in_room_2

“This is the concept I will build the rest of the game on”

sq_in_room_3

“This is how you can fail”

Congratulation! You now have a (very short and ugly) game, one that is not bugged or broken.

 

When the core feature is implemented

If you reached that stage, there is a chance that you are either late in the first day (and you should go to bed), or already in the second day. From there, you have a few options:

Implement a second feature

I wouldn’t recommend it. You are not guaranteed to have enough time to add a concept to the game. If you feel confident, go for it, but it will be less risky to focus on smaller tasks and improve what you already have.

Add some content

This will probably mean adding a bunch of new levels, but it could also be adding a bit of dialogue to NPCs, adding a new station in you space game, a new kind of enemy…

With only one twist to your game, it might seem hard to produce multiple levels without going in circles… but it’s not. Watch this:
[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBmIkEvEBtA”]

The key here is to play with your core concept to see what kind of situations you can have. Make a couple of level based on each situation. Don’t make them to hard and keep them short (remember that “on one screen” constraint?): remember you want the players to keep playing so don’t frustrate or bore them.

Once again, gifs to the rescue:

(The LD site doesn’t display gifs: click to see the animation)

 
sq_in_room_4-6

Levels 4-6: Follow a path, a basic precision challenge

sq_in_room_7

Level 7: Development: Find the path yourself

sq_in_room_12

Twist! Find which goal is reachable

Make it pretty

Add sounds. That’s the easy one, and the most important in my opinion: a lack of sound feels wrong. People don’t necessarily notice, but they tend to give a worst rating to soundless games. It’s better to have poor sound effects than none (unless they are unpleasant of course)

Add graphics. I know you want to. It’s ok. Now you can.

Add some juice: Screenshake, particles… There are a lot of things you can do in that domain, and a lot has been said about it (content that is just one google search away). This is usually the last thing I do, as I can keep adding “one more thing” until the end.

sq_chain_reaction

chain reactions are awesome

Add a story

What now? A story? I thought I wasn’t suppose to add a big feature!

Well… Yes. If you go for a story, you can’t deliver an incomplete one. But it is hard to break something if all you are doing is adding a bunch of if (eventX) display(textEventX); Worst case: you don’t have the time to finish it, and you just have a few lines of code to comment.

You don’t even need to have many kind of events: onLevelStart, onLevelEnd, onDeath... is enough. Before you know it, you will have a complete, narrated game. Or even NPC expressing their personality.

Boom! you gained a few stars in mood, maybe humor, and a new kind of comments “Man, I love the little dialogs in that game!”

“But I just have a bunch of squares running around! How could a story–“

 

Final thoughts and TLDR

There are a lot of rules and tips to succeed at a gamejam out there, and I just added a handful to the mix. You might not agree with some of them, and that is totally fine. Just remember that one:

You are making a game for people to play. Try to make something enjoyable, not a half-baked version of what you wanted to create.

Now get check you tools one last time, and join us while we wait for the theme.

Have a nice week-end!

Any young developer here?

Posted by
Monday, April 6th, 2015 11:19 am

I’m 13, I have been coding since i was 10, but i have been interested in computers and programming almost all my life.

I used to make (extremely simple) python games…

I’m wondering if there is any other young developer participating in Ludum Dare!

If so, feel free to say how you started, etc!

 

Cheers!

(I hope i have posted this on the right place…)

I’m (musically) in! (+ Bonus Advice)

Posted by (twitter: @qrchack)
Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 5:51 am

So, after my failed attempts at trying to Ludum Dare, I had a little break of it. But you’re too awesome, so I’m back here, though this time I’m organized and focused on the thing I’m best at: music and SFX. I’ve teamed up with Sigrath, he’s gonna do the actual game stuff and I’ll be doing just audio.

My setup:

  • As usual, a ridiculously old laptop (Intel Dual Core 1.73 GHz and 2 GB of RAM)
  • FL Studio / Reaper (depends on the style we’ll be going to use: Reaper for orchestral stuff, FL for electronic/ambient/chiptune)
  • Plugins: stock FL/Reaper, Kontakt (with my favorite libraries, Kontakt 5 Factory Library, Drums of War 2, Evolve Mutations, Shevannai Voices of Elves, and some freebies here and there), Sylenth1, 3xOsc (it’s FL stock but it just had to be listed separately for its awesomeness)

Now, onto the advice part: currently I’m trying to really get OOP and generally train myself how not to fail and actually make games. It’s a sort of weekends research project, though I aim to finish a game this way. I decided to use NetBeans for a couple of reasons:

  • Although I love coding in Sublime Text (I code most stuff in it, including my website), the autocompletion feature is really lacking for me (even with SublimeCodeIntel). I really miss being able to CTRL+Space and select functions from SDL/LÖVE, or my own functions from other files in the project folder. Sublime suggests just the ones in the file I’m on currently, which isn’t gonna work well when I’m trying to learn classes and code separation
  • I want a sort of unified experience (same IDE) if I decide to try writing in Java (and I’ll need once I get to university) – NetBeans supports both C(++) and Java
  • It’s free and open source, and I like free and open source :)

My piece of advice I’ve learned while coding: make a test run, write a game a week or two before Ludum Dare actually starts using the setup you’ll be on. You can’t afford losing first 5 hours reinstalling MinGW, setting up your environment variables, changing compiler settings and adding include directories. Have your libraries installed, tested working, with a skeleton project ready to code in. Make it already include loading settings, main menu, renderer code, audio engine. You’ll have time to focus on the game, not the engine. More time spent on what your game is about = more fun coding and more fun playing.

Second advice: team up! You don’t have to make a formal team and code together. Have a friend (or a whole bunch of friends!) with you, so you have someone to talk and give ideas for your game. Plus, hopefully, you won’t lose sanity that fast.

I guess that’s pretty much it for now, can’t wait for Ludum Dare, good luck everyone and most importantly, have fun!

How to make sure a game idea is good?

Posted by (twitter: @strong99)
Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 7:20 am

You finally came up with the game of your dreams. You wrote everything down, used all available studies and it sounds too good to be true on paper. But how do you make sure it ends up being fun to play? You could build the game and throw in endless testing afterwards until your test subjects think it’s fun. But is that really the way to go? I think not. There are better ways to do quality checks. So what easier and quicker ways are there?

Periodic player involvement

Don’t shy away from asking potential players to try and review your game concept. Besides the obvious part where they give feedback on what they like or dislike, they are also the first to try the game itself when it’s finished. If you gain their interest the chances are they will be the first group to spread the word. Not to mention they feel a part of the game since they were involved. It’s a good way for a small indie developer to get some attention. But let’s get back to the obvious part. If you think developing your game takes around 5 months. Make sure to involve your future players at least once a month. It gives you time to act on their fears and comments. Later on this will lower the time taken during testing.

Prototype, prototype and implement

I learned that creating your game at once with all features feels good, but it gave a headache to test it with my audience. Instead, I tend to build smart prototypes in the GameCreator with the most important game features. When I’m making a platform game with a special boss I take the bosses mechanics and put it in a small level which I can easily fine-tune. It’s quicker and easier to get done for your next session with players. Nothing beats seeing your involved audience smile for five minutes rather than get stuck on issues you didn’t want them to comment on.

 

Analytics

To further know if your game will be a success, write down which statistics to record and how you expect them to analyse. Letting players test your game is one. But how do you record the necessary information you need to know the players act as you wish? Is watching enough? Do you need to record the screen and eye moments? Before I get to play-tests I write a simple table with bullet points I need to know in Excel. It often contains: time needed to finish a level/section, amount of retries, keys being pressed, the player’s emotion and their average compared with all others.

Use structured tables to keep your data at hand

This is just a small set of techniques I use and have seen in other companies. They give you the edge and act as a forward warning system when users freak out about your concept. Large game development companies even have their own departments with data analytics who analyse every pixel of a game during game-play.

How do you make sure your users enjoy? Did you ever use play tests? Or are you planning to? I would love to know!

View all blogs from the series “What makes a good game?”

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