Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Cat Tidying: the post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @mahalis)
Thursday, May 5th, 2016 8:03 am

Neko Katadzukeru is a puzzle game where you take delivery of an endless assortment of contortionist cats and must package them neatly to send them on their way. It’s my fourth compo entry (see the previous ones here), and the first one where I actually had the whole weekend to work on it; here are some tales of its development and bits of advice.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 6.14 p

Things what went good

  • Sleep. Seriously, I know the jam tradition is to grind late into the night and hypercaffeinate and so on, but in my experience that results in making sillier and sillier mistakes as the weekend goes on, and being totally burned out in the last couple of hours which are the most critical for finishing things up. I aimed for ~7 hours a night, and while I did have to keep working down to the last few minutes of the deadline, I spent way less time staring blankly at weird bugs and wondering where my life’d gone wrong than I would have otherwise.
  • Early ideas. It’s really important not to spend too much time agonizing over finding the Perfect Idea that is Definitely Better Than All The Other Ideas. Think of as much as you can as quickly as you can, pick one, and go. I typically look over the list of theme finalists on Friday and try to brainstorm at least one or two possibilities for each one. Another thing that’s helpful for this: not just staring at your computer trying to think of something. Go outside; take half an hour to wander around and mull things over. Brains are really good at taking random stimuli and building ideas out of them; the more stimuli you’re exposed to, the better your chances of finding a good idea.
  • Hand-drawn art. A lot of people go for a pixel-art style in the compo. When that’s done well, it can look really cool, but it’s hard to stand out unless you are a pixel wizard (in which case I hope you are enjoying Pixel Hogwarts—bet it’s rad). Somewhat less common is a hand-drawn look, which, even if you’re not great at drawing, instantly gives your game a unique character. You don’t need a scanner—take as straight-on a photo with your phone as you can, then use Photoshop or similar to make the image grayscale and adjust the levels so you have a pure-black-and-white image, as in the image below. This time, I made most of the art using a Pencil, but the principle is the same if you’re working with a pencil of the lowercase variety.
    • levels example
  • Mouth sounds. Again, lots of games use tools like sfxr to generate old-school beeps and boops, and that’s fine, but you very likely have a way more flexible sound-effect generator at your disposal. Every sound effect in Neko came from me standing in my closet with a towel over the door (to muffle outside sound and echoes) making noises into the Voice Memos app in my phone. Record a bunch of variants on the same sound in a row, then get the file onto your computer, chop it up in something like Audacity, and you’re good to go. It’s quick, efficient, and it makes your game stand out; the only downside is feeling kinda silly standing in your closet trying to do cat noises.

Things what didn’t go so good

  • Difficulty. This has been a perennial problem for me, and I’ve seen it in a number of other games too: when you’ve spent all weekend playing and replaying the same game, it becomes much easier for you than for someone approaching it for the first time. Neko is really hard; a number of people have told me they couldn’t even finish a single box. It’s critical to have other people play your game while you’re building it, or at least early enough that you can tweak it before you submit it—if the game’s too hard, people miss out on the fun of succeeding at it.
  • Tutorials. Think you’ve taught players your mechanics? You probably haven’t. People will misunderstand things you tell them, or forget about them, or not even notice your instructions at all. Games I’ve seen that do this well will show you prompts that don’t go away, or don’t get out of your way, until you’ve successfully done the thing they’re trying to teach you—there’s a reason basically every AAA game makes you go through a “press X to jump over this thing, press Y to crouch under that” section at the beginning. In Neko, I put instructions on the title screen, which is an incredibly easy place to not see them. Don’t do that, and really don’t put the instructions on the download page (at least not as the only place they’re available). Make sure your players always know what they’re doing.

This has run on longer than it was meant to, so I guess I’ll wrap it up here—I hope some of this proves useful for your next jam. If you haven’t played Neko Katadzukeru yet, please do; I think it turned out pretty well. Thanks for reading!

Nightshift – Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @AurelDev)
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 1:04 pm

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 03.13.01

PLAY NIGHTSHIFT NOW

(this is a mirror of this blog post on thenet.sk)

As is tradition, I participated in another Ludum Dare, with the theme ‘Shapeshifting’. Though the game is rather simple and certainly not revolutionary, it might be one of my best LD entries to date.

For a change, the important life-changing exam week was not right after the LD, but just before. So I didn’t really have time to make sure all my libraries are ready, nor to make a wallpaper for this LD (I used the one from last LD, terrible, I know!) … But it felt like a relaxing weekend after the weeks of studying. For the second time, I was at my girlfriend’s, not at home. So, once again:

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And so on with the yumm.

The theme

I didn’t really go through the themes the day before, didn’t try to calculate the most likely one. Mostly because I wasn’t truly happy with any of the themes. So on Saturday morning, seeing the theme was ‘Shapeshifting’, and inspired by Elvie:

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And also this derp that goes by the name of Ninja:

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I thought, shapeshifting into a cat could work as the basic plotline. My initial idea was that the player was a werecat, turning into a cat every full moon. The intro could be somewhat fun, making the player think he was going to turn into a classic werewolf, and in the very end revealing the truth with a dramatic meow.

A roguelike approach

As far as the game itself goes, I first thought I’d make a simple topdown roguelike – the player / cat would go through ‘dungeons’ that would turn out to just be the rooms of the player’s house looking extremely exciting and dangerous to a cat. There could be some basic RPG levelling, gaining experience, etc. To go with the theme a bit more than just the intro, I wanted the player to learn new ‘shapes’ along the way, by scratching scratchposts.

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Each shape would have slightly different abilities, advantages and disadvantages. For example, most basic cat shapes would be ‘jumpy’ – automatically jumping / teleporting to nearby sources of noise, with a QTE overlay to scratch up whatever the source was, otherwise continuing in regular combat. The catloaf shape would reduce this radius of jumpiness, or completely eliminating it. The player would not be able to move as a catloaf, however, so it would be a purely defensive shape.

Another idea was the idea of some meta-game progression. Every night, the player would turn into a cat, but during the days, they would wonder what happened, clean up the mess, etc. Or maybe they have just moved in to a new place, so everything is packed in boxes, and every day the player can unbox the furniture of another room, thereby allowing the player to add elements into the nightly ‘dungeons’ one by one.

Shmup time

I was somewhat committed to this idea already, and yet, it didn’t feel extremely exciting. I realised that I was not really using the theme, that a roguelike game is quite a lot of work to make, that I wasn’t exactly sure how the game would play, I just knew the intro was okay. Luckily, it was still morning, and I changed my mind while talking about my ideas with my girlfriend. I thought a shmup, while not an uncommon or new genre, would be interesting to try out – I could focus more on proper polish of the game, instead of getting overwhelmed by implementing difficult game mechanics.

And the introductory shapeshift would just be slightly more goofy – as a werecat, you decide to put on your space helmet and fight the evil space mice (for no real reason).

I have decided to keep the idea of different cat ‘shapes’, however, as an analogue to weapon selection in classical shmups. Destroying scratchposts stations would produce a power-up for one of the player’s shapes.

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Then it was quite easy to make progress. With the idea being a bit silly, I didn’t have to worry about consistency, or a horror mood like I did with my previous point ‘n click entries. So – space mice, guard dog, flies and bees, scratch stations, yarnball magnets. The graphics were old schoolesque and, as usual, I limited myself to a small palette – 11 colours in this case.

Music

At some point, I thought about a boss fight. A guard dog seemed appropriate, it could attack by barking, jumping, scratching, et cetera – a lot of room to make various boss attacks. Before I got to making any of that, I thought of the music for this boss fight. Surf rock seemed fitting at the time. Misirlou (covered by Dick Dale) is a good example of this genre:

So I attempted to make some music. Using my own music library, coding the notes like this:

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While the library certainly has some errors, it works. But writing down notes like this is most definitely not a good method of making music. I need to get around to making a GUI for it one day, enable MIDI input maybe – then release it for fellow Ludum Darians. So, the end result was that the music I made was not exactly stellar. It fills the silence, but it’s by no means good.

Accepting my defeat after about two hours or so of messing around with it, I just left it as it was and moved on.

Level design

Then it was high time to make actual content. I had some cat shapes, some enemies, some power-ups, but nothing to hold it all together. I thought no levels could be complete without walls! They worked somewhat … But as someone pointed out in the comments, they were mostly frustrating, with the hitbox being too large and the walls dealing too much damage.

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I made my job somewhat easier by typing up the levels as text, then using a PHP script to convert it into a Haxe array and paste the result directly into my source code.

My time was running out, however, and I decided that three levels + a boss should be the bare minimum. The result is that the levels I had were somewhat rushed and, unfortunately, they introduced a lot of artificial difficulty by swarming the player with lots of enemies or difficult mazes. Nonetheless, I was extremely happy to submit something resembling a finished game at 3 in the morning.

Post-jam

The reception was very positive, mostly complaining about the difficulty, which motivated me to make the casual easier version so that people may get to the boss and enjoy the full game.
In fact, this is the very first LD game I will remake and try to get greenlit on Steam, with the help of my friend for the music. Here’s a trailer:

The Deluxe version will include different areas, many more levels and bosses, additional shapes, good music, and so on. Here’s to hoping. :)

Swine Fortress: Here’s a gif of my LD35 Compo entry!

Posted by (twitter: @oneseedfruit)
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 12:34 am
Swine Fortress: Bacons On Strike!

Like I said, pigs have rights too!

Swine Fortress: Bacons On Strike!

Posted by (twitter: @oneseedfruit)
Monday, April 18th, 2016 2:04 am
Pigs have rights too.

Pigs have rights too.

 

My Ludum Dare 35 entry is about pigs going on strike because they’re sick of being processed into bacons.

Neko Katadzukeru: complete!

Posted by (twitter: @mahalis)
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 10:07 pm

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 6.15 p

I was polishing this until the very last minute—the cats were all white until about an hour before the deadline, when I started reworking all the assets so I could colorize them in a shader. The new assets look like this:

head@2x

With a couple of lines of GLSL, red areas get the “base” color, purple areas get the lighter version of that color, and green areas become pink. This way I could make arbitrary colors of cat without having to make a bunch of different versions of the same asset. I’ll go into more detail about that and some other fun tricks that went into this in a more detailed postmortem later on. For now, check out the game!

Further Cat Tidying

Posted by (twitter: @mahalis)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 11:54 pm

Lots of progress—there’s more logic around where you can place the cats, some of the graphics are in (though wow do they look bad with GIF compression), and they now spawn endlessly in the tube until you run out of places to put ‘em. Onward!

arrangement-2

Cat Tidying Continues

Posted by (twitter: @mahalis)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 8:55 pm

Taking a break from code to figure out the scene layout. Cats arrive via the pneumatic tube on the left (because where else would they come from?), you poke them into the shape you want on the table in the middle, then you place them in the box on the right. Once the box is full, a lid—with a bow on it, natch—drops on, the box moves off, and a new one appears. Thoughts?

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Cat Wallpaper + We’re In

Posted by
Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 9:15 pm

Ludum Cats

Full Resolution: http://imgur.com/jyyA2xZ

Google search “Cat Font” and you will not be disappointed. The kittens shall not be ignored this time!

 

Me and my newly-expanded team are in again for this LD. This will be the teams third competition, and my fourth.

We’ve all got Monday off, so we’ll have plenty of time to make something great.

 

Tools:

Programming: Groovy + LibGDX

Art: Paint.net

Music & Sound: IDK. Ask Ben.

 

If all goes well, this should be a great weekend.

Edit: Fixed link again

Roboticon: An Evolution

Posted by (twitter: @recursor)
Friday, May 8th, 2015 2:39 pm

For LD27, I created a robotic face-matching game, and I have since rebuilt that prototype into a new game with more modes, more polish, and more fun called Roboticon.

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It is free for iOS and Android. It gets really fun to play with friends when you get to the upper levels. Oh, and I also added cats (an optional IAP)! Please check it out.

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Progress of our unnamed game creation!

Posted by (twitter: @kacperski1)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 3:53 pm

We’re getting closer and closer to passing the first day mark.

Our concept is a game where you control a serial killer who uses cats with knives duct-taped to them. The main idea is that the main character stays outside the target building and murders people by inserting the kitties into ventilation channels. Cats aren’t very smart, yet are intelligent enough to walk.

Cats!We need name ideas for these fluffy kitties, got any?

You could ask us – but BlackCode, how do cats actually kill? – and here’s the answer: they don’t. It’s the people who just can’t resist petting their fluffy bodies, harming themselves to death in result.

Here’s a little sneak peek of how it’s going to look:

And a little less interesting screenshot – how it looks right now.

Anyway, back to work! :)

– kacperski1 / BlackCode Studio

“A Cat With Only 1 Life”, status after 1st day

Posted by
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 2:49 pm

CatWithOnly1Life1stDay

The first day is done for me. I managed to do around 4 hours of game dev today (from 18:00-22:00 local time). Installation of tools took some time and being a family man, 4 hours is what I had so the progress was limited, but this is where I’m at.

The idea is to build a game of a cat with only 1 life (when everybody else around him has the typical 9). How he still can beat the others is something that you will see day 2… (hint: cats are stooopid, but the cat with only 1 life has to be smarter than the rest).

The tools used: Visual C# 2010 with JyPeli game programming library. Paint.NET was used for drawing sprite graphics.

What was produced in that 4 hours was 10 or so sprites and ~250 lines of C# code. (and then I spent another 1:30 to prepare the timelapse, screenshots etc., but where is the fun in LD if you do not share?).

If you are longing to see more of my process, see the timelapse:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmxUpGqhEfk

2 Days compressed into 4 minutes

Posted by (twitter: @IcarusTyler)
Monday, August 26th, 2013 11:39 pm

Here’s me working furiously on Every Ten Seconds A Kitten Drowns

Timelapses makes that always look awesome :)

Play | Entry

-Matthias

Cats, space and others trashes… all in 10 seconds

Posted by (twitter: @Griffablanc)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:31 am

kiiiitens

Hi everybody,
For this Ludum dare #27, I started cooking a P’n’C/EscapeRoom about space, survive and… kittens, of course. This weekend I can’t create a game during all 48 hours so I hope I will complete my game & properly make what i had in mind. To achieve this purpose, I made my arts with Paint photoshop & i will put together my craps with MultimediaMedia Fusion 2 (Yeap ! I’m not kidding).

 

Declaration of bleurgh

Posted by (twitter: @IcarusTyler)
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 12:57 pm

Hey Guys,
So I’m in. duh

My tools of choice are once again Unity and my trusty guitar. I won’t be using WolframTones again, as it’s results proved too similar too others.

*Frantic Announcer-Voice* How will this Ludum-Dare go? Will Boxy the Space-Cat survive it?! Or will unspeakable things happen to her?!

Tune in next week to find out.

-Matthew

 

(here’s the game with Boxy, btw)

I. Am. In.

Posted by (twitter: @arkeus)
Friday, December 9th, 2011 12:02 am

I’m in for my third Ludum Dare. The last two have been incredibly fun, so I don’t want to miss this one! For LD 20 my entry was Diamond Hollow and for LD21 I made Glissaria. Each time I’ve made sure to create a timelapse, and this one will be no different. However, I also plan to stream my progress live this time right over here. Also, I’ll keep updates on Twitter, so feel free to follow me if that’s your thing. And finally, I have a circle of LD people on g+, so add me there so I can stick you in my ever growing circle!

I’m going to stick to my strengths with pixel art and flash. Going to try to brush up on music this time, so I can at least have something listenable. I might try to find a music generation program simpler than Fruity Loops due to me being musically challenged. More formally, the tools I will be using are:

Programming: AS3 (Flash) via FlashBuilder (Eclipse)
Library: Modified Flixel (extra plugins such as a flixel bitmap font library, etc)
Graphics: Photoshop
Music: FruityLoops (unless I find something better)
Sounds: As3sfxr + Audacity
Other: Fast food, sleep, cats, alcohol

Last time I was overambitious, writing 3 games in 1, most of which I had no experience with. This time I’m going to play the safe route and make a platformer. It’s something I have experience with, is easier to make art for, and will hopefully mean I can create a full game in the alotted time. Let’s just hope the theme lends itself to a platformer. Also, if kittens wins I will cry because I can’t draw a cat to save my life.

One Of Two Partners In Crime

Good luck all. =]

mailman progress – now I can move the char

Posted by
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 2:20 pm

LD20 mailman first movement in the city from Hamilton Lima on Vimeo.

now I can control the char and the camera follow it !!!
used the default character controller and a camera following script

there so many streets here to name … I think I will change plans !! the mailman now need to deliver letters from a cat to the other cats !! lol just need to find the cats in the city, and fight the zombies !!!

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