Ludum Dare 31
December 5th-8th, 2014

Posts Tagged ‘unity’

I’m in!!!!

Posted by
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 11:35 am

Ludum Dare 31 will be my second time, and I’m going to be using:

  Cover photo

and for the music, Bosca Ceoil. And tea. Lots of tea.

I’m hoping to livestream on Twitch, so check out my channel at twitch.tv/jthistle during LD.

UPDATE: Possibly CFXR (the Mac port of sfxr) for sound effects. Good luck everyone!

TRI Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @RatKingsLair)
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 1:53 pm

TRI is a game with a long story, so I won’t even attempt to remember every detail. Instead, I will write down what comes into my mind. This way the following article might be a bit inconsistent; I hope it’s still an interesting read.

TRI

The story begins in April 2011, when I participate for the first time in a big Ludum Dare event. It was the 20th Ludum Dare, with the theme “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this!” (a quote from Zelda) – but the theme didn’t really matter, as I got the idea for my entry the evening before. I was inspired by working with 3D modeling software, where you create and manipulate polygons, and I thought: how could I use that for a game? Good thing the eventual Ludum Dare theme kinda fit – I just equipped the player with a “Tri Force Field Gun” (the “this” for the theme), and TRI was born, where all you do is creating triangles to walk and jump on them, and solve a few puzzles.

Old TRI

My entry was kinda successful: I submitted it to the Compo, but eventually switched to Jam, because I copied a character controller from the Unify wiki (as Unity’s inbuilt one was too wonky). The Jam worked a bit differently back then, so my entry didn’t receive any ratings. But PoV featured TRI in the results announcement post, and people who played the game (the community of Ludum Dare, and players on Kongregate) liked it well and some even asked for more levels.
A few months later, in October 2011, we were searching for a cool new project. Somehow we convinced ourselves that we could create a full version of TRI within a few months, which of course was very naive. We actually already made two commercial games back then, but as those were done in a much shorter timeframe and were for mobile only we still underestimated how hard it is to make a full-blown game with individually designed levels, somewhat complex gameplay, physics and a story-line. Also – and this was the worst part – a lack of clear direction (due to missing experience) hindered a straight development, and so we changed the design several times before TRI became the game you can see and play nowadays. Of course, we learned a lot during these three years, but I often wish we would have learned this stuff faster.

Soon!

TRI was made by Jana and me, Friedrich. Jana created the visuals and most 3D models, while I programmed in Unity/C# and also made the GUI. We both created the levels and searched for and worked on the sounds. The music was composed by my brother Ludwig.

It is still funny for me how each department is received extremely differently by different people: some love the graphics, some find them bland. Some adore the gameplay, some think it’s clunky or just headache-inducing. Some bought the soundtrack, some just found it repetitive. I know that tastes differ, but as most feedback nowadays comes from official reviews, it’s just silly how one piece of opinion claims that our levels are “not convincing” while the other describes them as highly genius.

Scribbles

But yeah. A lot of reviews miss the “polish of Portal” in TRI, and I can’t do anything else than concur. We are a two-man team, still learning, with a fraction of the budget of Portal. I guess the secret of success is to hide such facts as well as possible, but I don’t know how. So the biggest learning for us: we won’t do anything this big again soon. At least we shouldn’t.

We even had to take breaks during the years, because of interfering contract work, or just because we had to take some time off. Both didn’t make development any shorter, and if Rising Star wouldn’t have approached us to give us some funding and a deadline to kick our asses, we probably would still work on TRI (or having a break from it).

In reality, TRI was a good project for a small team, as the game has a narrow scope: the main gameplay is about creating triangles, and almost all of the other mechanics somehow work with this mechanic. For example, there are light rays, and you can reflect them – with the triangles. And you can walk on the walls and the ceilings – thanks to the triangles. There are also some basic physics puzzles (dropping crates on platforms and so on), but the physics are built into Unity. So how did TRI become a “too big game”?

By not being absolutely clear about the game’s direction.

More triangles!

One indication for this is the game’s story. We wanted a background story from the beginning; the original TRI has one, although fairly simple and only communicated via texts on walls. And yet it added a big portion to the package – so we still think some kind of narrative is necessary as a hook. Just think of how showing triangles would be boring for reviewers and YouTubers. This is why we needed some characters in the game. Unfortunately our story changed a lot during the development, or rather: the whole design and with it the story. From a sci-fi setting with a mad professor and a fantasy story with an alchemist, to the now present fable about a Monk and a Fox. This last iteration of TRI’s plot feels a bit tackled on sometimes, and really you can still complete the game (hopefully) even when you skip all story bits (hopefully not). So it’s there to entertain, but the narrative sadly isn’t an integral part of TRI.

Reading a scroll.

The most problematic thing was that Jana and I never fought over what TRI actually should be – at least there never was a clear winner. Jana was all for making a game about atmosphere and looking at nice architecture. I on the other side was totally focused on the gameplay, and how there should be a lot of puzzles, because I feared people would be bored otherwise.
This way TRI became a game with two souls – there are parts that are mostly about the design, and parts that contain a lot of riddles and obstacles. Thankfully it doesn’t feel too much like a game with multiple personalities because Jana added her personal touch to each level after they were done by adding the textures and decorations. And fortunately the Monk and Fox also help to string them together, at least in my opinion.

Puzzles

Nobody ever complained about the sound design – apart from our very own voices for the climbing. Still, this fact is kinda great because although we actually tried to hire someone to make sound effects, the deal didn’t come to place and we found our best partner in freesound.org – really a great resource for indie developers. Most of the sounds actually were done within a few days. Sound design may be something that we still neglect, but TRI didn’t focus on sounds anyway, even though we wish we had time to create atmospheric “sound carpets” for each level, because sometimes everything is silent and nothing happens, and it then feels a bit too lifeless.

Monk

Although we normally tell everyone that the game was released on 9th October 2014, we actually put TRI online for the first time in June 2012, as a “pre-alpha”, which was a stupid description. We renamed it quickly to “alpha”, and a bit later I also tried to get rid off the version numbers (like 0.3.0) which always were low and unattractive, by replacing them with something cooler: code names! The next version was then “MagicalMonk”, which sounds much more confident.
These early-access versions (purchasable via our website and Desura) were not very successful in terms of sales, but we actually never did much marketing for them. We rather tried to get feedback from people interested in the concept and art style, by pre-selling the game for a low price and adding a survey at the end of the game. The later versions even included the possibility to give direct feedback via an inbuilt form. (Thanks to Jedi for the idea!) This was great, because people could send us bug reports or suggestions together with a game save. And it was a solution for our QA problem – every game needs testers, and this way everybody can be one!

The Grid

In October 2013 we submitted TRI to Steam Greenlight, and some months later it was finally approved by Valve. It also made a lot more people aware of our game. But unfortunately Greenlight was a better marketing tool when it started in 2012. While the first batches of greenlit games were celebrated by the press, this effect became non-existent, thanks to the countless, bi-monthly batches with 100 titles approved at once – and TRI was part of one of these, in February 2014.

It was like winning $20 – nice, but absolutely underwhelming. On the other hand we’re a bit proud of being greenlit before TRI even reached the Top 100, although I am not sure what exactly that means.

Greenlit!

Anyway, at least we’re on Steam – and as the saying goes: “be on Steam, or don’t be”. A little anecdote: to be visible to curators (the new thing on Steam) we had to rename TRI, as the name was too common (think “Counterstrike”) for the search form to work, as it relied on auto-completion only. This is why TRI is now called “TRI: Of Friendship and Madness” (Jana’s idea) almost everywhere.

Thanks to Rising Star Games we’re also on GOG. GOG was great regarding the release, as they wrote a very cool release article. And you can also get our game directly on the HumbleStore, too!

Overall we are happy with the reception of TRI: more reviewers than I would have expected like or even love the game, and our Steam user score is pretty high – as of writing we have 30 positive and only 2 negative reviews, resulting in 93%. Yet, the game is still missing visibility – Steam, Greenlight and reviews alone don’t do that for you (anymore). We need more YouTubers with a high amount of subscribers, playing the game on their channels. And probably some sensible discounts, as it seems a lot of potential buyers are just waiting for the inevitable XY% off sale. I can’t even blame them: with so many games on my backlog, I do the same with most new titles.

Title

What can TRI offer you? It has 16 levels created by our hands, 5 different “worlds” each with a different background music and a new look, two animated NPCs, all degrees of freedom, and unlimited triangles. You conjure these to overcome abysses, to block and reflect light rays and lasers, and to walk on the walls and the ceilings. A lot of areas can be approached differently, depending on your own play style. Even some of the puzzles have more than one solution, and I sometimes see people solving them in a new, unique way. There are very open levels where you can fall into the void, and levels with a lot of narrow hallways. You can jump, crouch, climb, run, carry crates around and use levers.

TRI is a bit about celebrating freedom and possibilities, and we hoped that a lot of people would love that. For now, we still have to find out how to reach them.

WATCH THE TRAILER

If you enjoyed reading this, you might want to have a look at our Making-of video series, our our blog.

End

My LD game on Greenlight!

Posted by (twitter: @david_erosa)
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 2:08 pm

Almost a year ago I was posting my “I’m in!” post for the LD #28 (You only get one). That was my sixth Ludum Dare in a row.

Soccertron

I made a game in which you had to play some kind of 1vs1 soccer game and get the ball back when it got out of bounds. It was funny to play with friends, but I just let it sleep on my hard drive. Around February, I decided to give it a chance and started working on the game, changing some (many) mechanics but trying to keep the gameplay. And in the summer I released the game on OUYA ,Gamestick and Amazon’s Fire TV.

Today, I’m posting again to announce that the game is on Steam Greenlight, it’s fully playable and I’m still working on adding more awesoness to it! Like online multiplayer, 4 players, more game modes, etc.

It’d be great if this community could take a look at my game and vote. I’m not asking for a yes, just for your honest opinion.

Here’s the link: Soccertron on Steam Greenlight

Thanks, LD community!

Learning Unity

Posted by
Monday, October 20th, 2014 1:07 pm

First off, I’m already getting excited at the prospect of LD31, it seems to have come around so soon!

I’m new to Unity, and have got the latest version installed (as well as Blender) and was wondering if anyone knows any good resources to help me get a bit further in 3D or 2D and learn in a bit more precise way than the (very helpful) video tutorials that Unity provides. I’m not an absolute beginner as I know a tiny bit about C# and the basics of Unity. Any help would be appreciated as I’m hoping to use Unity for LD31 instead of Pygame (which was one of my most painful and long-winded game programming experiences).

Space Rails timelapse!

Posted by
Friday, September 12th, 2014 5:27 am

Here is the timelapse of how we made Space Rails:

 

We really enjoyed making it, but as with our other games (Macro Marines, Mighty-chondria and ❏♥❀) we spent a lot of time working on a complex system and not so much time working on the gameplay.

This time the complex system was the ability to draw rails freehand in space, and have the trains follow and branch different ways.  Also the supply/demand economy of the different planets has a lot going on behind the scenes.

 

LD30-screenshot-2

 

Will we ever learn?

Troll Away: multi + AR game postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @@_spolsh)
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 2:00 am

Comments under our entry encouraged me to share a bit how the game was made. It all started when I have been thinking about idea for game themed connected world. I was considering platformer with switchable environment but in the late evening of first day I came up with craziest idea I ever had at jams. Let’s connect real world with virtual.

troll away gameplay

(more…)

My First Ludum Dare: A Story and Post-Mortem

Posted by
Monday, September 1st, 2014 1:28 pm

harmonyBanner

My

Harmony

Post-Mortem & Story

Hello folks,

I know this might be a bit late but I’ve had a busy week, so here goes anyway. This post is divided into three parts (sandwiched with unashamed self-promotion at either end). The first tells the story of the event and what I went through creating it. It’s quite detailed, so if you’re not interested in that bit please jump ahead to the post-mortem and feedback sections, in which I critique my work and reflect on feedback from you guys so far.

The Game

For Ludum Dare 30: Connected Worlds, I created a game called Harmony, one of the many space-themed entries that made it into the gallery for the event. The game revolves creating an equilibrium in military (often accidentally spelt with two ‘L’s throughout the game, forgive my sins) and economic powers between the inhabitants of six planets so that they can live together peacefully. This is achieved by the player carefully selecting the geographic properties of the planets each of the six races start on and using various powers throughout the game to influence the rate of growth of the civilisations.

The game essentially takes place over three phases: the setup phase, in which the player creates the planets and settles the races;  the pre-space phase, in which the player is given time to balance each of the races strengths pre-emptively; and the final space phase, in which planets start  to interact with each other, the results of which can be catastrophic should the player have failed to setup and balance in the earlier points in the game.

You can read the story (with pictures!), post-mortem and feedback after the jump.

(more…)

Ludum Dare 30 Postpartum

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 3:43 pm

I wrote about my experience with Ludum Dare on my personal site.

LD30 – Planetary Devourers can be considered a puzzle game in which you have to navigate an all-consuming swarm from planet to planet in order to reach a warpgate to another solar system. The swarm consumes the planets it occupies, destroying them once they are completely consumed. This can cause the swarm to get stranded in space, sentencing it to doom with no way to escape.

More information about the game itself can be found on the official LD30 – Planetary Devourers game page.

Read the rest of the article on my site.

Writing a Match-3 game in Unity

Posted by (twitter: @dylanwolf)
Saturday, August 30th, 2014 9:44 am
Dr. Mario (source: Wikipedia)

Dr. Mario (source: Wikipedia)

This year in SeishunCon‘s digital gaming room, I was reintroduced to the match-3 game. I’d played Dr. Mario when I was younger, but more competitive games like Magical DropBust-A-Move, and Tokimeki Memorial Taisen Puzzle-Dama were something very different.

Ultimately, I realized just how many more-or-less neutral decisions are involved in making a match-3 game.

During this year’s Ludum Dare, I decided to jump in head-first. I did a bit of a warm-up the week before, trying to build a Tetris-style algorithm that detected and cleared out lines. This tutorial from Unity Plus was a huge help. Of course, the Tetris matching algorithm–a complete row of tiles–is much simpler than an algorithm that picks out irregularly shaped patches of matching tiles.

If you want to see all of these code samples in context, check out my Ludum Dare 30 repo.
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Crystal Planet – post mortem

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 5:46 am

Crystal Planet

Entry: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=29762

Description:

You have to send special signal to make connection to another planet.
Signal is a result of adding multiple lasers with different colors (RGB).
Lasers beam are created from generators(flying balls).
You can apply specific color to generator using crystals and your laser.

Your task is to prepare your SIGNAL similar to TARGET signal.

To change target, press [space].

Gameplay:

I started with idea of making 3d “laser and mirrors” type of game. Where you would have mirrors with different colours, and your beam react different on each one. I even succeed but find it very difficult to control beam direction. After fighting 1 day to make it enjoyable I dropped it. Finally I ended up with concept of split colour to R G B code and make objective to generate given colour (RGB code) to connect to another planet.

Graphic:

After last LD where I fight a lot with creating graphic by my own, I decided that next (this) LD I will start in jam. Possibility to use already created assets so I could spend few hours on creating effects, or level design and then focus on gameplay was good decision.

Audio:

First time I used electric guitar for sounds effect and I’m very happy of it. I planned to spend more time on recording audio, but because of loosing time on first idea that I dropped I could use only audio that I recorded for tests. Anyway final result is ok, and I’m sure I will make something better next time!

Evolve:

I’m thinking about possibility to run over planet, explore new crystals and then prepare special signals. Then each signal could create something, or make special attack for different targets.

Do not hesitate to try!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=29762

When Worlds Collide

Posted by
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 4:46 pm

Hi everyone :) the game I created for this LD is ‘When Worlds Collide

You can play, rate & brutally criticize it here!

Direct unity web player link here!

gameplay screenshot

No this is not real space, it’s honestly a gameplay screenshot. Believe it son.

Mechanics :

– Randomly generated solar systems, planets, moons etc.

– Hover your mouse over planets to see planet name, planet population, and planet wealth

– Grapple multiple planets to haul them around the solar system

– Solar system radar displaying location of planets and the sun

– Player health

– Destructible planets and moons

– Dogfight with enemy fighters (pretty tough; got it in last minute)

 

Keys :

‘Spacebar‘ = Grapple planets

‘F’ = Fullscreen

‘Enter/Return’ = shoot

‘R’ = Create new solar system

‘WASD’ = Move up, left, down, right

‘Left Click’  = Hide controls

‘Mouse Hover’ = View planet information

 

gameplay screenshot

This one is actually a picture of real space.

 

Extra : 

The game is a little rough, but I feel pretty confident with how much content I got into it. There isn’t a definitive goal but it’s still an interesting free roam concept :)

It’d be awesome if you guys & gals would check it out and tell me what you think and give it a rate. And again, criticism is encouraged. Have a good one! :)

- Follow Me : @OfficialDingbat

Spacecat Marines!

Posted by (twitter: @IcarusTyler)
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 4:49 am

It is done! Go check it out :)

In Spacecat Marines you go from world to world in your ship, the Bigglesworth. You have a crew of spacecats with their own unique appearances and equipement, which accompany you on missions. During those you have to defend power-cores in fps/td-hybrid. They also get more experience and level up in rank.

spacecatMarines01

Features:

  • Your unique team of Spacecat Marines
  • Neat Soundtrack
  • Spacecat Marines. With guns.
  • Non-linear progression – chose which mission to do next
  • 12 missions with different challenges
  • A ship to connect you between worlds

spacecatMarines03

I also made a timelapse, showing me working furiously:

-Matthias

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