Former designer / writer / script programmer in Pterodon, Illusion Softworks, 2k Czech, currently freelancer
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
There’s no sound, but I’ve at least put some annotations to explain what’s going on.
I’ve finally compiled together a post-compo, 1.1 version of my space simulator Screaming Cubes (incidentally just in time to maybe get some rates for the original version too).
Version 1.1 is vastly improved (after all, it’s several more days worth of work, not just two days), while still (of course) buggy, bit unbalanced and rather bare-bones prototype of a much bigger game then small tidy polished proper LD entry, but I prefer it that way anyway… I’ve decided to take SC as my official hobby project (I needed one anyway after all those years) and I have a lot of plans what to do with it… but right now I need to know – are there other possible players? I like my game a lot, but you could say it’s a custom made for a guy who spent hours and hours flying x-wing and Tie-fighter and elite and privateer and X Beyond and others and who always wanted a game like this but made in his own way, with a lot more freedom…
So calling for all space pilots! Let your voices be heard and force me to do another update!
Since I hit a 100 rated games, I’ve decided to check my scoring and pick some of the best I’ve yet found, in no particular order:
Potato Dungeon by _Rilem – JAM
Very good platformer (although I wasn’t able to get past the horse).
Square Space by Berkano – 48H
2d shooter combined with mining and building.
Steve Can’t Zen by DaanVaanYperen – 48H
Excellent and funny action game. I laughed (which was very rare while rating).
Syntesthesis by TheFuntastic – 48H
Great concept for musical puzzle game, too bad there’s just few levels and no free play.
Mustache Armies by TurboDindon – JAM
Great platform action game, both idea and visuals are incredible (I’d probably mark this as THE best game I’ve found in one hundred tested.
So, after getting some well deserved sleep I finally had to play my game for a while, other then quick tests here and there during the weekend… and I’m pretty impressed with myself, if my say so, even though there are no potatoes. I’d guess this is my best entry so far, even though it’s plagued with imbalance, few bugs and especially some missing features. I think I’ll probably make a post-compo extended version with at least some of the stuff. First I’m gonna play and rate some of other games, although it’s getting more and more hopeless with each new LD… I wonder when we’re going to hit the 5000 games record
Now, having said what I said, let’s go to introducing my entry, The Screaming Cubes, a scifi flight combat / mining simulator:
This here is player’s mothership, crashlanded on unknown planet (currently shooting at annoying enemy drone). It needs a lot of resources for repair, but luckily the area is rich in minerals and also enemy bases which can contain a lot of resources (and that build drones which can be harvested after some shooting for bits of useful stuff).
So after shooting first enemy, it’s time to raid his base (there is only one that close to player’s starting position that it’s drone will automatically attack) and return the visit… it takes some time to destroy the base, even with the cratering missiles, but there’s a lot of resources and occasionally some free upgrades inside. On the other hand having one close enemy base means you will have a constant if annoying source of missiles and some ore from the drones…. Depends on you.
The simple winning goal that I put in the game is to gather 2000 ore and 2000 uranium to leave the planet… and it takes a lot of time.
There are few things which are really missing in the game, making it a bit too complicated. I managed to cram almost all of the stuff I hoped to get inside, way more then I though I’ll be able to do. But still, some pretty simple stuff which I just hadn’t time to do is sorely missing, namely ability to call your mothership somewhere else, reducing time spent ferrying ores back and here…. Good radar/map is the second missing feature. And of course, balancing, balancing, balancing… I managed to break the game game a bit with addition of engine upgrades… making first version too slow and last so fast you’re going to hit your own blaster shots :/
If you’re interested in reasoning / inspiration about me making this game for Ludum Dare, especially for the “Minimalism” theme, here goes:
I really disliked the theme. Really. Hated it. Meaning of the theme can be interpreted in just a few ways… and essentially every LD game is minimalistic by nature, because there’s just no time to do something really big / complex. So artistic minimalism is usually a must anyway. Gameplay minimalism? I wasn’t interested in design studies on the theme of minimal game play elements (I admit some of the entries using this approach were interesting to look at, but less to play)… other meanings? I just plainly hated it (and admit, had no really good original idea) and therefore I went the road of cramming the element on something I’d consider playable… Didn’t take much time to decide to put together a Magic Carpet style game… although I quickly changed the setting to scifi and after some experiments with Unity terrain and my ability to deform it a bit left idea of doing Elite / Asteroids 3d clone and stayed on earth or well, whatever that planet is called. I thought about making a randomly generated levels (doable, but just hadn’t time) and Magic carpet mirroring terrain style that would leave me without a need to artificially enclose the area (I hadn’t dared to even try this… it would be easy enough for terrain, much worse to sync all game objects etc, so I got stuck with 8 by 8 km terrain).
The overall idea is mostly captured in the game as it is now… wish list contained several more features, like the already mentioned ability to control and upgrade the mother ship, mothership mining lasers, homing missiles, maybe few more types of enemies / structures, making it more tactical (currently enemies don’t attack the mothership, I originally imagined the game as a combat between two mothership / player fighters in the area with universally hostile enemies and little bases). It was way too ambitious for two days (as my attempts usually are) and I’m surprised that it went so well in the end. (Of course, only if you like flying sims and are willing to invest some time to learning to handle your craft and shooting, that it’s way too tricky right now… ).
So to sum it up, what went good:
- Unity… this time it mostly worked as I wanted, with the exception of constant strange crashes of the editor… that were caused by using it mod files – converting them to ogg meant serious size increase, but no crashes anymore… also I was quite happy that I can just cowboy code and put the stuff together in a way I’d never do if I was doing something “real” for the fear of the later problems and optimalization issues.
- Overall concept / idea and chosen goals
- Art style (originally meant to be a bit more boxy, but whatever, it fits anyway, and can be considered minimalistic)
- Mood – I wasn’t sure, but in the end using ultra simple skybox with the simple setting / distant sun and quite dark feel is pretty good (or possibly just grew on me… you’ll have to decide for yourself)
- Craft handling / dogfights – although the shooting is now needlessly hard, you can learn pretty quick and (with some upgrades bought in the mothership) the dogfights tend to be real fun. Handling (don’t let the stupid last time decision to give player weak level 1 engine fool you, buy the level 2 at start of the game in the mothership) is pretty good - and it should be considering the time I’ve spent to patch stuff in it’s physics model.
- Few attempts with autotracker managed to get me three songs that are happily cycling in the background, so this time I even have acceptable audio, both sfx and music.
-and ESPECIALLY: I succeeded in making a game that I myself enjoy and play and would love to make even better nice change from making boring commercial casual games that pays my bills….
What went bad:
- I spent a stupid amount of time of making the stupid turrets behave as they should… I hoped for some simple and quick solution without resorting to some more formal math needed for IK… and I got my ass whipped by my fast attempts to hack quaternions and geo math to do what I want (only to find out that my problems were mostly caused by wrong model)… succeeded in the end, but it took valuable time from balancing game
- Balancing (almost not done at all, only when making the flight model), that got broken a bit by the last time addition of the upgrades. It works much better then I hoped, but it is still far from perfect.
- Not giving player enough information (ie beating his head until he realizes what he can and should do) – I made some notes in both loading level and in the main menu, but it was clearly not enough (questions like “why doesn’t the big ship shoot at me”, “oh, I can fly, I though I was a turret”, “what? ore can be mined from terrain with rockets?” and “what? there are missiles?” shows this oversight pretty well).
- not exactly bad, but could be considered so, especially for someone who tries to dig through the entries and rate at least some of them: I made a too complex game that requires some time to familiarize with before it can be enjoyed
Oh, and before I forget….
And so I am done… Web and windows version uploaded, sources uploaded, game seems to be working… I’m happy and I’ll go sleep
Hopefully no stupid bugs (I’m sure there are some, but hopefully not very annoying)… game balance is a bit of a joke, but everything seems to be working…
Scifi flight sim with shooting and mining and upgrading
Quite a lot of work for two days, I guess this is my most “finished” entry ever. There are few things that remained in the wishlist, like enemy battleship and upgrades for player’s ship, but maybe I’ll do a postcompo version… maybe not. I’m so sleepy I don’t even know who I am.
Sooo… time to get some shutdown time. Still a lot to do, even for the minimalistic version, but if anyone’s bored, take a look on a day 1 build.
Not much to do yet, just three annoying enemy ships and some terrain (which can be destroyed with crater missiles, press 2 to select them).
I originally though about making it in space, and maybe I will in the end, but for now the unity terrain and some minimalistic blocky textures….
First prototype done (I really should prepare some framework for LD so I won’t have to start from the scratch next time).
Controls are mouse, WASD for movement, R + F up and down, Q and E for roll, X fires the missile.
Not much done yet, but I feel good about it anyway….
Unity plugin required:
Once again I have to denounce the theme and express my dislike for it :/ every LD game is minimalist by nature… I have no wish to experiment with some minimalist game play like one button game… and art would be minimalistic anyway…. so I’ll probably just do something and more or less ignore the theme
Unless something bad happens, I’m in….
Going to use Unity (almost sure about it, but depending on the theme / idea I might use something else like c# + OpenTK or maybe even html5.
And I DEMAND MOAR POTATOS!
I’m in, but since my annual LAN party collides with LD, I guess my submission will be more or less symbolic. Or maybe I’ll force other players to help me and do JAM
Going to use Unity since I don’t have any other dev tool on my lanparty playbook.
So, the time has come to write some post mortem (in not so hidden hope that my game will have a chance to mess with heads of more poor victims).
Introducing Tiny Inspiration, adventure game about LD programmer who searches for inspiration in his dreams and finds himself tiny, on his own table. As you can see from the thumbnail, it’s a bit (cough, cough) adult theme. Although no actual porn takes place, sex is what is this about. It was my intention to mess up a bit with people’s head and since most of the people in LD are guys (sorry for you, girls, but unless I’m seriously mistaken, there’s not much of you here… anyway if you drop me a comment declaring yourself a girl and demanding woman themed game next time, I’ll consider it).
Even before LD started I was thinking about maybe making and adventure game (doing two commercial right now so I got them stuck in my head now…). When the theme was announced (3 am of my time), I scratched my head and went to sleep, hoping for some inspiration. About the only dream I remember was really weird one with two headed redhead…
Next morning (actually, more like noon) I went for brunch with my GF and started brainstorming. Soon enough I’ve scratched all other ideas (sperm racing game, battle bugs clone, Tron like shooter) and focused on the adventure. From the start I knew I wanted to have some sex hints there and that I want as many possibilities to finish the game as possible. With that came idea of giving player achievements and then that I should really try to rattle player’s bones.
Originally I wanted to have three episodes with three screens each. First on the table, than among the bugs, and in the end having player to find love among amoebas and bacterias. Quickly found out that my ideas are just spilling too fast so I concentrated on the table. I started making design notes and quickly sketching screens.
I originally planned 8 game screens, one intro, one outro and one noninteractive in the middle. I had some ideas for more, but even than I was pretty sure it would be tight run against the time. Sketching was fast, each sketch took me about five minutes, so I was full of optimism!
Then I fired up photoshop and picked tablet… and found out that I just really really suck. I have no problems with pencil, I’m even able to produce quite nice drawings, but tablet… horrible. Took me a too long time to finish first screen and then I started to cut corners so I can make it in time. I grossly underestimated how long it will take me just to redraw finished scanned sketch and add some colors
So I had to put out intro that was supposed to be a bit interactive, with player killing bad ideas (like sex, go to sleep) and promoting ideas like RPG, adventure etc. In the end Yoda was suppossed to show up (probably in a blond wig ) and tell player INSPIRATION YOU’LL NOT FIND, IT WILL FIND YOU!
Outro was also cut out, with protagonist girlfriend waking him up and asking him why he’s sleeping on her dollhouse instead of making that stupid game. (And if player shaved himself in the game, she would have asked “and why have you shaven your beard, honey?”).
And one of the game screen went out of the window too (Ken trying to enroll in french legion to show Barbie that he’s man, fluffy dog doll, which could have been converted into dog disguise for more achievements, some other stuff).
So in the end, 8 screens, one of them almost without any interaction, few dozen active items, 11 achievements, and two goals, with 4 possible ways to reach it for each.
While doing all the art and exporting it out from photoshop I fired up Unity. I decided to use it again because a) I’m quite confident I can force it to do anything I want, although sometimes painfully for both of us, b) it gives me possibility to do web / flash version (I’m still mostly untouched by html5 and flash, so it’s the only way I can make web games now), c) abusing full fledged 3d engine for a simple 2d “art” is amusing
Putting items into screens, doing some basic scripts took me almost no time at all. About the only problem I had was stupid unity gui (last time fixes while trying to get flash version working introduced so stupid bugs in the inventory that I had to do quick bug elimination after compo) and flash export ignoring anonymous functions (had to rewrite them, luckily I had no time to implement some better dialogues anyway).
I ended up with playable game about ten minutes before the end of the compo…. So ideas about some sounds, music (at least from autotracker) and having some interactive dialogues just went out the window :/
But I’m happy with the result anyway
Procrastitracker stats (rounded):
12 hours photoshop
2 hours text editor (where I had my “game design document”, seems too much)
4 hours Unity (creating screens, testing)
7 hours Monodevelop (writing scripts, debugging)
add about two hours for sketches / initial brainstorming on the paper, about hour for smoke breaks (that I use when I’m stuck and need to think out something through).
Overall about 28 hours of real work… seems I wasted a lot of time by sleeping and eating and getting inspiration (ahem…). But that’s the stats here.
Anyway, I had real fun making it and even more fun listening to comments of some of my friends (Too bad I hadn’t implemented some server upload of stats). So I’ve mostly succeeded in my goals.
If you hadn’t played my game yet and you’re willing to risk it even after reading through this… go ahead!
Am I the only one with Ludum Dare post pages locked and no new posts showing?
Not as bad as I feared, not as good as I hoped. Good anyway Postmortem will follow….
I’ll do the flash version later, since currently it’s buggy :/
Time to get some sleeeeeeepz….
I’ve removed two scenes from the game, but it seems I won’t be able to finish as much as I hoped… (again).
So probably no sounds and animations, server saving statistics wasn’t even a hope…
Still pretty good, but could have been better :/
Once again I’ve found out how much I suck when I try to draw something on the tablet, so I’ll stick with the “art” I’m using always (should have stayed at sketching with pencil and scanning it in computer… it’s faster and looks much better).
Anyway, first scene is finished, now seven more and code it all together….
(And hope I won’t get kicked up for “adult” take on both LD and the theme…
Alright, I have basics of what I wanted to do written, going to do an FPV adventure. I’ve planned 4 chapters originally, but it will end as one but polished, because there’s no way I’d be able to do more, especially considering that I want different posibilities to solve two main problems in the first chapter (you’ll be rated in the end based on your decisions, I already can see some people screaming
Time to fire up tablet (I’ll probably post some WIP images if they’ll look good enough, this time I’m trying to do something looking a bit more like art then random scratches)
I’ve waited for the theme, brainstormed a little and then went to sleep (LD started at 3 am of my local time) with hope that my crazy mind will show me inspiration in my dreams. My mind decided to stay in gutter and I dreamed about two-headed readhead which isn’t exactly fitting to the theme… unless she was really tiny and you could carry her in your pocket….
Anyway, going to fill myself with coffee, put together some ideas and then start putting it to something playable (sadly most of the good ideas I have I probably won’t be able to do in time, sigh…)
All right, once again I’m in. This time I like most of the possible themes, so I hope it will be fun.
And I’ll be of course using my now almost copyrightable “art” style consisting of mostly random scratches on the paper or with tablet, if the theme and idea will permit it.
I spent a lot of time during last week going through the entries, playing them, rating and dropping some occasional praising/scalding/(maybe)helpful or just random comments. Since I’ve hit 25 percent coolness and I no longer have time to do rating (I originally thought I’ll be already on traditional new year lan party, but I got delayed for a few days before finally declining challenge of Unity Flash to Flash compo) I’ve decided to post a list of few games that IMO deserves your attention.
It’s (in no particular order) a list of some games I’ve rated high enough (4-5) for whatever reason stroke my insane fancy at the moment. I might have missed some from those I’ve rated (and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some interesting entries in 75% unrated remainder) – so… sorry for those of you who were left out
Arzea – arkeus – one of the nicest platfomers I’ve encountered, with RPG stats, nice art and music, quite playable and with a lot of content.
Final trip soccer – Benjamin – one of the biggest surprises… at first I thought what the hell, soccer sim? For the idea alone this would deserve some high rates
Super Smash Lander Suicide Party, Bro? – Black Ships Fill the Sky – no link to theme at all… but very funny and crazy game I enjoyed playing for a while.
There Can Only Be Static – cards – very nice “programmers” action / puzzle-ish game with minimalist art:) I probably wouldn’t put it here (even if it has nice gameplay), but using breaks and speed++ and other stuff appealed to my inside programmers mentality.
Last breath – deepnight – platformer puzzle story of lonely dog and his shadow. Interesting gameplay and great visuals.
alone I art – Make A Game very funny looking “stealth” type game. It gets boring later on, but I enjoyed it a lot.
Farrokh – Doktor Ace – gameplay of this running kitten on the moon simulator is pretty simple, but I was awed with the resulting retro – lowres – voxel visuals somehow made in Unity.
ASSAULT THE DARK FORTRESS – FrankieSmileShow – probably contender for the best LD entry in terms of sheer gameplay, this Zelda clone is one of the games I made copy on my netbook so I can finish it later when bored.
Space Ghost – madmaw – At first I looked disbelievingly at the description… Matlab-esque shooter… WOT? And after clicking on the link I found out one of the most innovative game I’ve seen in this LD. Yeah, it’s definitely for everyone, target public is pretty small, so if you hate math / don’t know what sin(x) is / you don’t want to flex your math/coding skills (or you don’t have any), you probably won’t like it as much as I did.
Insanely Awesome Physics Saga – Merrik – platformer which tries (quite successfully) to innovate the gameplay using physics.
Abandoned – Noel – I guess enough was said about this innovative puzzle game, but I would feel bad if I wouldn’t list it here.
Warrior cursed by Loneliness – Spotlightor I really liked this FPS combat simulator… probably because I wanted to try it exactly this way for some time
/follow – 01101101 – One of the best pixel art in compo, great music, simple but enjoyable gameplay (with several types of it), nice fitting story… Enough said.
The Invention of Colour – bach This is one of them entries “not a game, buddy”, which is really shame, because visuals/audio/mood is one of the best. Worth looking at.
The Chosen – Balooga03 Almost same as above… not much of a gameplay, but wandering around in a strange land was very… meditative? From the aesthetic point of view this is definitely best looking 3d game in compo I’ve seen.
And then, alone at Epsilon-1 – eld Very good little scifi adventure. It’s short and hacking puzzles could have been better, but it’s one of the few games in compo which feel mostly finished and polished.
Midas – Wanderlands another “highprofile” game I noticed in the feed, but it’s really deserving your attention.
Well… that’s it. See you at next LD.
(PS: Can I has ratez too?)