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MiniLD #72: elympics

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Friday, February 17th, 2017 5:13 am

MiniLD #72: elympics

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Ludum Dare 38 is getting closer every day. But first, let’s do another MiniLD!

Do you remember arcade games in dodgy cafes, dedicated amusement arcades or, as in my case, the local ferry? Games that were brutally hard and designed to eat your quarters, but they all had one thing in common: a high score leaderboard! Of course, getting your name on that leaderboard would be a sign of awesomeness.

What’s the theme?
For this MiniLD, I wanted to do something with high scores, so I’ve decided to call the theme “elympics” (sorry, but I can’t resist a bad pun). The aim is simply to make a game where you end up with a score that can be submitted to a leaderboard. What kind of score is up to you – the game could be a speedrun, a time-limited trial or simply a “collect the most points” type of challenge.

I have designed a simple API that your game may use to submit scores, and the idea is to show all the high scores of participating games on a single page. Of course, you can skip that part and just have a leaderboard internally in your game, but it would be fun if people would join in and submit scores to the API.

The theme is not meant to be restricting games to Olympic events, but if you want to use that as inspiration, go ahead! Remember that the Olympic games are ancient and that many events have disappeared since the ancient games started around 776 BC. Some examples are tug-of-war, firefighting and running while wearing armour.

When is the deadline?
This is February’s MiniLD, so you have until the end of the month. This post was published Friday 17th, so that’s around 11 days in total. For completeness, the deadline is Tuesday February 28th, 24:00 AoE (UTC-12).

Update: I’ll leave the submission open until there’s a new MiniLD/as long as possible :)

Are there prizes?
Nope – except fame and improving your gamedev skills!

What do I do?
Make a game, any game! If you want to submit high scores and have your leaderboard on the official page, go to https://dollarone.games/elympics/ to register your game and to find details about the API where you can submit scores.

All the leaderboards from games that utilize the high score API will be displayed at https://dollarone.games/elympics/leaderboards.html.

Good luck and have fun!

Railroad Shifter Retrospective

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Saturday, May 7th, 2016 9:33 pm

Play my LD35 game, “Railroad Shifter”, if you want!
Railroad Shifter

I made a game in 48 hours! It’s easy to forget the remarkable achievement this is in itself!

My goal was to try to make an original game that is not the first idea you get when you see the theme. I initially came up with two ideas to choose from: an anti tower defense game with shapeshifting creeps or a platformer where you can “shift” the level layout as if it was one side of a Rubik’s cube. I wanted to avoid platformers as I’ve made them for the last two LDs. I realised I could take the concept of “shifting the level” and make a pipe-dream/sliding puzzle style game instead.

The anti-tower defense game would need a lot of graphics, so I deliberately chose the “more comfortable” idea to try to keep it simple and get the game completely finished and even polished. And then I added an “extension goal” which was to have a character talk to you while you are playing. Of course, it turned out this “extension goal” took a lot of time that could have been spent on other things – but still, I think it makes the game better in some ways.

So, what went well? I think the brainstorming session I had initially was a good idea – get some options, weigh the pros and cons, before going all in on one idea. I did make the game I set out to make – and I even added the “extension goal”. I did some pixel art, and I’m quite happy with the result. I made music and I actually recorded a single take on my guitar (normally I make mistakes and have to cut and paste bits). I managed to record sounds and get the character act and respond in the way I imagined. I made a couple of good levels (4 & 5) – good in the sense that they can be solved but are not obvious – and I also made two decent introductory levels (1 & 2) to make the user understand the gameplay. And to boot, I think I fulfilled my main ambition of a non-obvious theme interpretation – I haven’t seen (so far) any games with the same mechanic. All good stuff!

But what about less good stuff? Now that I’m critically evaluating my game, and also getting feedback from the community, it’s easy to point out more and more flaws. But this is good – feedback is not just for this game, but for future games as well. For example someone pointed out that its unintuitive that the trains wait if there is no tile – you might in fact expect them to crash and fail the level. I agree – and I was arguing for and against this during the development. Also I wasn’t sure if I should allow tiles to be moved once they had been driven on – in the I did allow, and even made it compulsory in order to solve a certain level.

My main gripe, I think, is level 3. I included it as an introduction to re-using tracks and working with a larger level. However, because it’s so big, it’s really time consuming and because I didn’t explain that the trains can wait, one user was massively frustrated with this level. Level 3 should have been a nice transition from the intro levels to more advanced levels, and it’s not.

Some stuff I didn’t have time to implement – like collisions (now added to the post-compo version). The music was going to have more layers. The character was supposed to include hints and tips to the player, but that was kinda forgotten about when writing the script. More advanced tiles like tunnels, bridges, mid-stations and road-crossing were left out – I guess that’s expected. Some users reported a bug with trains driving off the map – I could have implemented that better. But what’s LD without bugs? :)

The reason for writing a retrospective is to learn for future jams, so what can I learn from this? Well, I already knew that designing levels is time consuming, but I’ll remember that a few well designed levels is fine – but do them early. Perhaps later in the day on Saturday, when the head is too hot for coding. Get enough sleep a few days before LD – it’s really worth it. I struggled mid-Saturday, and I think it was due to tiredness. As the deadline looms closer, I get hyper active and hyper-effective – next time I will try to get into the groove earlier by being well rested.

And the best thing with LD? At the end of it, you will have made another game! See you next time!

Super Tower Defence World

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 7:52 am

I really liked the theme for miniLD63. Immediately, several ideas started forming in my head. I guess a lot of games are fusions of two (or more!) games or genres, but thinking about fusions explicitly generated some new ideas straight away (and now, looking at the submitted games, is very inspiring, too!).

For some time I have been thinking of doing some kind of a Tower Defence game, so I started thinking about how I could add that to the mix. Most TD-games are top-down views where you place your towers and wait for the wave -style games. Having made some platformers over the last few months (mostly for the one hour game jam), I started thinking how a TD game would look if merged with the 2D side-view of a platformer, and thus Super Tower Defence World was born!

As usual, I started dreaming up lots of advanced features and cool ideas that could be added to this game: multiple levels, Super Mario -style, with different “Towers” that can spawn creatures or shoot out bombs or even generate jumping fishes or 16-ton “thumpers” that are a feature of most Super Mario (or similar) games.

But again, as usual, as the deadline crept closer, I realised that my goal should be to just finish the most basic version of the game that is functional and hopefully playable from a UI/UX point of view. And that’s what I have submitted – check it out at my miniLD63 game page!

Super Tower Defence World

I do want to continue development of this game. I think it would be a lot more interesting with different towers and creeps and player-types (from a basic “will only jump to avoid dying” to “player similar to elite gamer who will keep alive at all cost and backtrack if needed”) and extras such as powerups and other cool features.

Please do play my game and leave any feedback you might have! And watch my blog’s game page to follow further development of the game!

Day 2

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 10:30 am

It’s both inspiring and terrifying to see what other people have done so far! I will have to throw as much as possible into “non-essential” and focus on the best bits. Hopefully have time to squeeze in some sounds and music, not sure how animation can/will be done.

Anyway, I made a gameplay gif:
gameplay gif

First working prototype

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 6:16 am

Man, looking at all these updates is really distracting! :)

Anyway, I’ve got a first working prototype.  I mean, the game is practically done, right?

Compo compo compo

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 12:38 pm

I’m hoping to actually complete a game – the aim is the compo but the jam is always a nice fallback option.

I’m mainly writing this to get a profile page (thanks iostream!)

Good luck to everyone!

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