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Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend [9 PM EST] — Theme: ??? (Theme Voting!)
  • Ludum Dare 29 Compo (48 Hour+Solo+Scratch+Src) Begins: in 2 days, 15 hours, 39 minutes, 46 seconds
  • Ludum Dare 29 Jam (72 Hour+Teams OK+Relaxed) Begins: in 2 days, 15 hours, 39 minutes, 47 seconds
  • [ MiniLD 50 | Warmup Weekend | Real World Gatherings | Ludum Deals | Wallpaper ]

    About caranha (twitter: @caranha)

    Hello! I live in Tsukuba-Japan, and I work in a University!

    I do a lot of AI programming for my job, but I have very little experience with UI and game programming.

    I love Ludum Dare because it gives me a hard deadline so that I can finish my Hobbyist game projects. I've also "met" some awesome people here.

    Here are short comments on my former entries:

    Namcap - reverse pacman: My favorite LD game so far.
    Maxe Explorers: My first LD game, and not bad at all, compared to later ones. A testament to the KISS principle.
    The Fair King - My first Android game, you can find it on the Play store as well!
    Dinosaur Rush - This game is full of awesomeness. Rawr!

    Feel free to contact me via twitter or through my blog.


    Ludum Dare 28
    Ludum Dare 27
    Ludum Dare 26
    Ludum Dare 25
    Ludum Dare 24
    Ludum Dare 23
    Ludum Dare 23 Warmup
    Ludum Dare 22

    caranha's Trophies

    Top Reviewer With Class Award
    Awarded by Hazard
    on April 27, 2012
    Quality Reviewer Award
    Awarded by SonnyBone
    on December 22, 2011
    Author's Journal Link Repair Award
    Awarded by Dry Tree
    on December 20, 2011

    caranha's Archive

    I’m doing Video Reviews!

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Sunday, August 25th, 2013 11:47 pm

    With more than 1500 games + work, I have given up the idea of playing even a significant part of these games. So, if we can’t go for quantity, we go for quality, right?

    This LD, my plan is to do a Mini-LP of every game I rate! These videos will be recorded as I play each game the very first time, so all the bugs, surprises, emotions and annoyances will be there :-).

    If you want to see my video reviews, just go to this Youtube playlist.

    IF you want me to review your game, just leave a comment! I will do what I can (time restrictions pending).

    That was a rough one.

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:33 pm

    Yay, managed to submit my entry! … barely. Please play it here.

    Samurai Cafe Screenshot

    Samurai Cafe Screenshot

    This time around, I only had a satisfactory prototype at the 40 hour mark. I barely had time to create the Menu/Game Over/Help/About screens, and a lot of very interesting eye-candy I was planning for the game had to be cut (or at least postponed to post-compo version).

    This was because of a bad mix of work on weekends + me thinking about the code from the wrong direction. Once I managed to fix both of these, I had already used a very large chunk of time.

    But I think the end result was quite fun. And I even managed to get some friends to play test my game and find some bugs. Now is your turn!

    Congratulations to all of you for finishing another LD!

    A good idea is not necessarily a good theme

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 6:53 pm

    Let me put my rant hat on:

    Death is useful +426

    “Death is useful” is a really cool idea. I’m pretty sure that a game made around this idea would be really unique and interesting.

    But I don’t think it is a good theme for Ludum Dare. The reason is quite simple: It directs too much. It points very clearly to a direction, and removes a bit of surprise, a bit of creativity.

    Ludum Dare nowadays has upwards of 1500 submissions. With this many games, I think a good theme has to be as open ended as possible. In short, not a “sentence” term (“death is useful”, “you are the companion”, “protect your enemy”), but rather a “noun” theme (“Glitch”, “Illusions”, “Colours”, “Castles”).

    A noun theme allow first time LD’ers to make simple games with simple interpretations of the game (A 2D platformer in a castle), while veteran LD’ers can spend their creative juices trying to surprise us out of our socks (A dialogue-adventure game where the end goal is to convince feuding families to collaborate in the construction of a castle to defend against foreign invaders).

    This LD, let’s try to choose an Open Ended theme, even if it doesn’t sound cool at a first glance (or because it doesn’t sound cool at a first glance!). You can always use the cool candidates that didn’t make it to further define the open-ended game (A castle-building game where progress must be paid for with the deaths of your workforce!)

    Off with the rant hat

    Checking in for LD!

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 7:59 am

    Argh, life got in the way, and just now I had time to write an “I’m in” post. I’ve been participating since LD24, and this time it won’t be different. The timezone for LD is just perfect for me: The compo starts 10:00AM my time on Saturday (Tokyo) and goes until 10:00AM Monday – Already took the day off work that day ;-).

    The only snag will be a school event that will take 3-4 hours Saturday afternoon. I will try to use that time to do some game designing.

    Anyway, tool call:

    Coding: Java+libGDX, the goal is to make a game playable on android and the desktop. I might drop android or add html5 depending on the theme and the design. Using Eclipse+ADT as my IDE.

    Graphics: Gimp + Inkscape + my handy WACOM tablet. If the game design calls for it I might use a cool android-based random sprite generator that I found these days.

    Sounds: BFXR + possibly a voice synthesizer.

    Music: Probably I’m just going to go with Autotracker , even though I can now recognize an autotracker-bu generated song by smell :-P If I have the time and inclination I might try to compose something using the dozens upon dozens of trackers that I have tested over the months, but every time I’ve tried to do so it ended in utter disaster :-(

    Here is my base code (right now it is just some empty classes for handling state changing and asset loading). Good Luck and have fun everyone!

    My LD26 game on the Play Store :-)

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Thursday, June 27th, 2013 9:33 pm

    I have finally finished the post-compo version of my LD26 game, “The Fair King”. Please give it a whirl! :-) (Click on the image to go to the Google Play Store link)

    Fair King at the Play Store

    In this version I largely improved the user input (now the game will be smart about throwing away failed lines, for example), and did a bunch of minor polish changes. Feedback is appreciated! I already got some from my first users — I never thought that the “select your stage” menu was non-obvious! Many people thought the game was broken because they didn’t know they had to select a stage to start playing.

    If you want to play the desktop version, you can go directly to the game’s page in my blog. Or check the post-compo link in the submission page.

    Thanks all, and see you on LD27!

    Android Help! My fonts look crummy :-(

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 11:16 am

    So, I’m working on the post-compo version of my LD26 game: The Fair King.

    One of the problems I’m trying to solve is that the game’s fonts look really shitty on android. Take a look at the original version, linked above, for the desktop and then take a look at the new android version here.

    All the fonts in the game look flimsy and ugly, even when I tried to make them bolder (in the “Help” pages). The fonts look much better in my computer.

    Does anyone have some suggestion on how I can improve this?

    Thanks a lot!

    Adding a Post-Compo version? Help!

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 10:39 am

    So… about one month and a half after the end of LD26, I have started working on a post-compo version of my game. I finished a first version of my post-compo, but I can’t find the “edit my entry” button.

    So, is it possible to edit entry pages after the compo is finished to add information about a post-compo version? Am I missing something really obvious here?


    Question: How do you rate mood?

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Sunday, May 5th, 2013 9:36 am

    Just throwing a question for everyone out there. I have my own answer, but I was wondering if it is the right one afterall.

    How do you rate mood? Can you give some examples of high mood and low mood games?


    The Fair King, Post Mortem and Time Lapse

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Sunday, May 5th, 2013 12:00 am

    I have finally uploaded a time lapse video for my LD26 entry, “The Fair King”. Feel free to watch it here!

    Fair King game screen

    Clear the stage by dividing the colors by as close as 50% as possible

    For me, Ludum Dare is a chance for me to try something that is out of my usual reality. Game making, art creating, very short deadlines. In keeping with this spirit, I decided that I should move myself outside of my comfort zone, and try a brand new game engine, and a brand new platform. I decided to use libGDX for the first time, and make a game aimed towards the Android platform.

    I know that it is not best practice to try out new libraries in the 48 hours alloted by LD, but I wanted this to be a learning experience, so I went ahead with it anyway. Here is the usual “what went well” and “what went poorly” breakdown:

    What went well:

    • Think 5 ideas, pick the 6th: My game idea became simpler each iteration, until I had an idea simple enough that I could implement in a day.
    • Porting to android: LibGDX made porting to android really simple, and it motivates you having your game on a mobile platform
    • Image levels: Levels in my game can be stored as images. I used Isopix to work on puzzle levels while I was in the train.
    • Version management with Git: I had to rollback the game a few times when I tried to add some functionalities, and Git made it really simple.

    What went poorly:

    • LibGDX is quirky: You have to use power of 2 textures for portability, the font class is a mess, and different drawing models use y-positive or y-negative axis.
    • I’m tired of autotracker: but I haven’t yet learned to properly use any sequencing software for linux. I want to fix this by next LD.
    • No playtesting: means that I missed some pretty obvious interface mistakes. For example, I should throw away invalid moves, instead of showing an obvious “lose” screen for these, also it is not obvious where you should begin the line from.

    It was fun, and I’m happy with the result. Please give me your opinions here.

    The Fair King Submitted!

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Sunday, April 28th, 2013 5:10 pm

    Finally! I have posted my game :-)

    I’m kinda sleepwalking and can’t think straight… but I *think* everything is all right. I’ve spend the last 6 or so hours polishing and adding levels. There were still a few things I wanted to add to the game, but it is mostly completed as I imagined. :-)

    Making mobile games is kinda fun! libGdx has some very strange bugs and pitfalls, but I will let that for the postMortem.

    As for now – I will go get some sleep, and you will go play my game :-D

    It’s Playable! Now time to Polish.

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Sunday, April 28th, 2013 7:21 am

    Finally got all the essential functionalities in, and my game is basically playable!

    Fair King game screen

    Clear the stage by dividing the colors by as close as 50% as possible

    There are 14 levels — on each level you need to draw a line that divides each non-black/white color into exactly half (you can miss by 5% and still clear the stage). At this moment, you can play all the stages.

    Now it is time for me to add more polish:
    * Music and sound effects
    * A level selection screen
    * An “about” screen
    * Some more cleaning up and improving of the game screen

    Please do try and let me know if you have any feedback! These last 12 hours are the best time to fix problems on the game that I can’t find by myself! :-)

    Linux/Win/Mac Version: http://claus.castelodelego.org/games/ld26/FairKing.jar
    Android Version: http://claus.castelodelego.org/games/ld26/FairKing.apk
    Source: https://github.com/caranha/ludum26


    (EDIT: some people on Macs have had problem to make it run. If you can give me some info, that would be wonderful)

    Another Prototype

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Saturday, April 27th, 2013 8:42 am

    After 13 hours, I polished the code of my game a lot, changing the “game” class so that multiple level files can be loaded, multiple colors can be used to compare the “sharing” level, and so that flood fill can be done asynchronously. It is still a bit ugly, but at least now the game is quite responsible on android too.

    The Fair King - Title Screen

    The Fair King – Title Screen

    Now I need to get some sleep. There is still a lot of stuff on the pipeline though: Scoring a level, moving from one level to the next, and lots of bells and whistles like winning and losing animations, fades-in and out, music, sound effects etc.

    Levels and Polish will make or break this game, which makes me kinda scared about the reaction. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow!

    You can play the current version here:
    Desktop (windows, Linux, Mac)

    Gameplay Complete – tech demo ready!

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Saturday, April 27th, 2013 12:14 am

    After thinking a bit more about ideas for the Theme, I decided to go with a very simple gameplay mechanic:

    You are a fair king, who decided to divide the land between two warring lords. You drag your mouse (or your finger) to draw a line on the land. The goal of the game is to, simply, try to divide the valuable land as closely between the two lords as possible.

    This might look trivial, and maybe it is, but now I have plenty of time for polish, music, and a number of levels. If I have the time, I might add an extra mechanic or two to the game.

    You can try it here:
    Java (all platforms)Android (a bit slow)

    And the code is here:
    Git Repository


    Thinking about Minimalism

    Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
    Friday, April 26th, 2013 7:23 pm

    That is a hard theme… but using the good, old “think of 5 ideas, throw them away, and pick the 6th”, I think I got something.

    I have this notion that “theme” is something your game should move around, not just the window dressing. Using “minimalist art and sound” is something that went out of the window right away.

    So what can we do? Minimalistic gameplay… another quick idea is a “1 button game”. That might be fun, but I decided to think about things a little bit more.

    How about a game where “minimalism” is the goal? A game where “less is more”? (Strip poker? Lol, kidding) – Hmmm, I work a lot with “minimization functions”. Not the same thing as minimalism, but close.

    Most “puzzle” games are about putting pieces together to form a system. How about the opposite? A puzzle game where you have a very complex system, and you need to take as many pieces from it as possible, while still allowing it to work.

    Now we got something! Of course, creating rules for such a different puzzle game might be a bit complicated. I will give myself one hour to think about it, and if it doesn’t work, I might just go with a 1-button action game anyway.


    Thinking about the theme

    Thinking about the theme

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