Rad as fuck since 1983
About SonnyBone (twitter: @Phantom_Green)
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 20
Ludum Dare 18
Ludum Dare 17
Ludum Dare 16
The Spirit of Ludum Dare Award
Awarded by Hazard on May 2, 2012
You cut all the trees!
Awarded by caranha on December 22, 2011
A whole lot of pizza award
Awarded by Tyler on April 26, 2010
PLAY IT HERE
This weekend was crazy. Ludum Dare 23, the 10th anniversary of the best dang game jam around, was number one on my list of priorities. I wanted to go all out for the 10th anniversary, and I did. I altered my sleep schedule so I could work during the night, which is my most productive time. I started working on the game after midnight on Friday… then I went to sleep sometime the next morning. I then stayed up ALL night on Saturday… and stayed up all the way until submission time.
Then … I crashed.
I crashed hard.
And on Monday… I was met with some terrible news. My aunt had just passed away.
Normally by this time, I’ve already played 15 – 20 LD games. But due to my sleep schedule, I couldn’t follow through. I was gonna start on Monday morning. Then I got the news about my aunt and things obviously changed. So here I am… on Tuesday morning… and I still haven’t played a single LD game. I spent some time adding a dedication to my aunt in ZUNZANDA’s credits, which I hope the judges are OK with. I then ironed out some bugs that I discovered while playtesting and getting feedback from others… but only game killing bugs. One glitch even caused the player input to stop completely, so I had to deal with that ASAP. Dropbox also borked my upload link… but I didn’t know because the site was so jammed up that I couldn’t even get to my own entry page. I said “SCREW IT!” and passed out.
But I did find a horrible bug. Well… less of a bug and more of an I’M AN IDIOT AND FORGOT TO ADD THIS VERY IMPORTANT FEATURE TO THE GAME issue. I won’t reveal what it is. Maybe you won’t notice. *cringe*
What the hell is Zunzanda?
Well… it’s a game about a tiny world. But the twist is that the world is getting smaller by the minute… and you gotta stop it! How?
With this totally rad terrain sculpting system, of course!
Well, that was going to be the primary focus of the game, but the dynamic tiles and terrain destruction features sort of fell out of the spotlight when I realized that what I had in my head would not be possible in 48 hours. I originally wanted the player character to have two forms… one that could attack but was forced to stand on solid ground, and a form that could not attack, but could float between platforms. The terrain was originally going to change drastically over the course of a ‘stage’, but now you’ll find that it’s much more gradual.
It took me a long time to get the dynamic tile system working, but it turned out MOSTLY alright. It’s kinda fugly and it’s not incredibly seamless, but it does what I wanted it to… and HEY… for 48 hours… it’s GREAT.
So what else can this game do?
The game is broken down into waves… with each wave throwing more enemies at you. Your goal is to kill those star jellies as quickly as you can before they eat your world. The only way to kill ‘em is to collect those starshines that fall from they sky. Get enough of ‘em and you’ll unleash a burst of light that fries ‘em dead. Then you get a bit of a break so you can ‘cash in’ your dead jellies for new terrain tiles to rebuild your world. It’s a constant battle of dodging holes while racing for those precious starshines… and staying away from those jellies while they try to gobble up your land. It gets pretty intense… even if it did end up being a bit unforgiving with ‘deaths’.
If you wanna keep reading… follow me after the jump and we’ll keep it going.
This will be my last progress update, as I didn’t get any sleep last night and I need to finish this game SOON or I’m going to collapse. The game is pretty much done… just gotta add the sounds. Got the HUD working… the player can now be damaged by enemies… the ZUNZANDA effect is in full force… and waves flow like melted butter. It’s kinda fun but needs some tweaking. The randomness of the starshines can make some waves REALLY HARD. Gotta find the sweet spot. Probably won’t have time to tweak unless the music and SFX creation goes smoothly.
When it’s done, I’m gonna submit the game and then crash. I’ll do a post mortem or whatever some other day… lol
I’ve managed to add an energy pickup to the game. I had plans to do several versions and sizes, but time is short and this is all I can do. They are randomly generated somewhere in the sky and randomly find a home on the ground. If they fall into a hole or miss the terrain entirely, they’re lost forever!
CODING ERROR!!! SPAWN RATE TOO HIGH!
ABORT ABORT ABORT
Well, I spent a lot of time working on the core mechanic, and now I have to find a way to make it FUN. Right now, it just feels like a tech demo.
I added two enemy types… they will hunt down the player and occasionally pause to destruct the terrain.
They basically work the same, but one is faster than the other. I will add another of the same type that is even faster AND has a larger destruction radius.
So this is what I spent most of my time on… THE TERRAIN GRID SYSTEM of ZUNZANDA:
The white blocks represent negative space. If you step into these areas, you will fall into the unknown. The other tiles change dynamically based on the neighboring tiles. If a section of ground is destroyed, then the tiles surrounding the new negative space will change form.
The white areas will obviously be invisible in the final game, as seen in the first screen that I posted.
Now I just have to figure out how to handle game progression and make it fun… then add SFX and music. I think I’m gonna have to cut a lot of features out, as usual. I had so many rad ideas and the terrain system just took too long.
I ain’t goin to sleep, yet. I’ll be up for the next 10 hours or so… then I’ll get about 4 hours of sleep and finish it all up tomorrow afternoon/evening.
Here’s a comparison shot of an example of the terrain before and after destruction in ZUNZANDA.
LOTS OF WORK TO DO TODAY! Slept for waaaay too long and now I’m gonna be in a rush to finish this… although I’m still sorta torn on a few things. Not sure where to take it because I have 2 great ideas, but they both contain serious challenges. LUDUM DARE!!!
So… I fell asleep and woke up 2 hours after the theme was revealed. Whoops. Didn’t plan that.
I’ve been working on the game ever since, and now it’s 10 AM. Didn’t plan that, either.
So here’s what I have so far…
I spent most of my time developing the world tiles and the … un … way that the tiles ‘work’.
The environment is destructible, and the world will reform itself after tiles are destroyed.
The core gameplay will be focused around the destruction and regeneration of these tiles.
Basic character movement is working, and the main character has a walking animation for all 4 directions.
My next move is to create the special abilities of the main character, then I’ll work on the enemies and the overall structure and flow of the game that will lead to some sort of endgame.
Then… SFX and MUSIC.
See ya’ll suckaz when I wake up… ugh.
SEE YOU ON THE DAMN HELL ASS BATTLEFIELD
Also, don’t vote for exploration. Please. We already did that in LD 16.
I’ve been playing games steadily since the end of LD22, and I’m going to share some of my favorites that I’ve found along the way. There are a few others out there that are doing the same thing, and they’ve helped to turn me on to games that I may have overlooked otherwise. I THANK THEM!
Some of the games from Volume 1 are games that have since blown up with recognition since I started compiling this list, but OH WELL. They deserve to be played by as many people as possible.
First up… I’m going to jump straight into the game that I consider to be the GREATEST thing I’ve seen in any LD competition. PERIOD. Yeah, you may not agree… but this game really appeals to me on every single level. It lacks audio, but I was able to play something from my own collection to fit the mood.
One Final Trek – by vandriver
This game is AMAZING. It’s a platformer with two very interesting mechanics. First… you have a jump with a pre-defined radius/distance. You can’t change in midair, and you can’t shorten or lengthen the hop. This restriction sets the game apart from just about every other platformer out there today. The areas are PERFECTLY designed so your jumps are appropriate. Second… the LANTERN / LIGHTING MECHANIC IS GENIUS. And it’s beautiful. It has to be seen to be appreciated. Just check it out, and play it to completion. I want to see this game get a proper ‘FINAL VERSION’ with music/sfx.
Braille – (Jam) by Rudy and Cole
This is an atmospheric platformer with an obvious nod to the graphical style of Limbo. What sets this game part is the unique stone throwing mechanic that you use to light your path. You can’t see in front of you, so you have to toss a stone. When the stone hits, it makes a sound and briefly lights up the ground. There’s lots of great art to be seen here, and the game follows the theme beautifully.
The Love Letter – (Jam) by axcho
BEST USE OF THEME. PERIOD. You control the main character, a young school boy, by clicking on the screen. You have been giving a love letter from a secret admirer, and you must find a secluded spot to read the letter in order to avoid taunting/humiliation from your classmates. The game currently lacks a proper ending, and I desperately want to see this game reach a conclusion. This game is incredibly charming, refreshing, and just plain’ ol’ dang ol’ FUN.
Final Trip Soccer – by Benjamin
You’ve probably already seen this, but it still deserves to be pointed out. The gameplay is framed by an actual story that handles the theme WONDERFULLY. The game is a HUGE pile of originality from top to bottom. The animation and sprite work is INSPIRING to say the least. So… it’s soccer? HOW IS THAT ALONE? You’re a soccer player that ends up alone against alien blobs after everyone vanishes MID-GAME in a giant stadium. BRILLIANT! You kill the blobs by kicking a soccer ball. It is awesome. GO PLAY IT.
Super Smash Lander Suicide Party, Bro? – by Black Ships Fill The Sky
OK, so this game doesn’t really follow the theme. AT ALL. I don’t care. It’s amazing. I don’t even know what the hell it really is, but that’s why it’s so amazing. Two alien bros do bro-like things by zooming super fast and blowing shit up, bro. There are THREE individual phases and playstyles in the game. You start by circling the earth to hit asteroids and satellites, then you enter the atmosphere and try to land without blowing up from SUPER HEAT (you can hit flocks of birds to cool down) and then the third section has you bouncing off of the earth … slamming into buildings and cows and other things to earn points. Then you explode and do high fives of EPIC proportions. This is mind numbingly amazing.
The Lonely Sphincter – by Crackerblocks
I always love what Crackerblocks does. The games are always hilarious, and this is certainly no exception. This is like NOBY NOBY BOY… except it’s actually fun to play. You eat people and either hold them in your body or you poop them out. You can chomp down on their bodies and crunch off their heads/arms/legs/etc. It really is amazing to be able to control a giant, flying sphincter while people say nice things to you. LOVE IT!
And my game, Ab-Alone, only has like ONE actual review comment. So this is me blatantly begging for plays/reviews. You can check it out HERE. I don’t know EXACTLY when I’ll do another one of these review posts… but I’ll certainly be back.
For those that get stuck, can’t play the game, or just don’t have the patience to experiment… I’ve created a game guide / mini walkthrough for my Ludum Dare 22 game, Ab-Alone.
You can check it out and rate the game HERE.
I’m also working on compiling a list of some of my favorite LD22 games for a future post.
Ludum Dare 22 marks my fifth entry into the 48 hour game design competition of the GODS. My most critically successful competition thus far … was my first. Way back with LD 16 and the “EXPLORATION” theme, I created a Wall-e meets Fallout sidescrolling adventure that didn’t even have 75% of my planned features. Maybe it was because there were only 121 entries that time, but my game somehow ranked 8th in graphics and 20th overall. I was pleased with the warm reception, but I knew I could do better.
Fast forward to NOW… with Ludum Dare 22 and over 800 entries… wow. There are some AMAZING games floating around out there, and I can’t wait to dive in and try them out.
So what happened during this LD? The most important thing that happened is… I LOST MY MIND. I have never really been able to take a game from idea to completion in 48 hours. It haunts me. Even when I scaled back my idea for the “ISLANDS” theme with Savory Sea Hoss, I still ended up with a game that just felt incomplete. I decided that I would do whatever it took to release a ‘finished’ game this time, and it nearly killed me. I didn’t sleep during LD22.
Did it work? Sort of. I ended up with a much more ‘complete’ game, but I felt horrible throughout the entire competition. I flooded my body with worthless snacks and energy drinks to stay awake, and I made some stupid errors that wouldn’t have existed with a WELL RESTED perk.
I was desperately hoping that the theme would include an actual GAME MECHANIC and not a setting or ‘idea’ theme like before. I wanted RANDOM GENERATION, as that’s one area that I don’t have much experience in. I wanted to learn how to do that. I certainly could’ve incorporated that into the “ALONE” theme, but I ultimately decided against it.
WHAT IS AB-ALONE
Ab-Alone is a hybrid adventure/survival/crafting/puzzle game that combines BEING ALONE with BEING IN A STRANGE/NEW PLACE.
From the official page:
“An alien creature crash lands on an unknown planet and ends up on a remote island. With no way to repair the spacecraft and no way to call for help, the stranded alien is forced to survive while attempting to find a way home. The small island is covered with sand, grass, rocks, and trees… but no other life forms can be found. A startling discovery reveals that there may be more to this world than originally thought…”
FORMING THE IDEA
The “ALONE” theme immediately made me think of a deserted island. I knew right away that there would probably be MANY, MANY games based on this basic idea, but I decided to go ahead with the brainstorming phase. I knew that the core of my game would be based around being trapped on an island, and the overall goal would be to escape. I decided very early on that I would take the theme literally. I didn’t want there to be any other characters in the story, and I wanted to create a sense of desperation by making the player as clueless as possible without creating a complete TRIAL AND ERROR experience. That’s when I decided that the main character should not only be alone… but alone on an unknown planet. Instead of a space marine with guns and gadgets… it’s an alien with NOTHING. The player is just as clueless as the alien, as there is no tutorial or extensive explanations/labels. This is a design decision that I made early on, and I stuck through with it even after realizing that it had the potential to create an incredibly frustrating game.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- A Beginning / Middle / End – I wanted the game to start and end with a story sequence to frame the action. I did it, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
- SOUND – Thanks to the beauty of SFXR, I was able to create a large amount of custom sounds in a very short time. I even had time to make two songs that really add to the feel of the game. The ‘main theme’ that plays during gameplay is a mixture of island ambience and breezy melodies that work with one another without feeling too repetitive.
- Pretty Lights – I wanted a day/night system. I also wanted the ability to make a fire. I knew that this would require lighting, so I spent a large portion of my Saturday designing the day cycle/fire lighting. This eventually led me to experiment with particle creation for the fire. I decided against the particle fire, but I kept working with the particles for other effects.
- HUD Creation – I knew that I had to come up with an inventory/crafting HUD system that wasn’t too invasive. I didn’t want there to be any sort of PAUSE or pop up menu, so I decided to design a HUD along the bottom of the game window. The HUD can be switched between an INVENTORY and a CRAFT view. It isn’t the most intuitive or beautiful system, but it does what I wanted it to do, and that’s a victory in my book.
- Crafting/Building – I wasn’t convinced at first, but I really dig the ability to craft ‘structures’ and such. It isn’t much, but I think that it really adds a nice touch to the game.
- Water / Waves / Tide – I knew that I wouldn’t be able to create a fully-functional tide system in this amount of time. I designed the island as if it only had one beach… with the rest of the coasts being covered in rocks. The beach features a wave that carries in new collectibles every morning. I originally toyed with the idea of a moving sun that creates a reflection in the water but I stopped being stupid and immediately stopped thinking about it.
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Sprite / Color Cohesion – I never really stayed true with any specific art style or color palette, and I deeply regret it. The shades of yellow and green that I used to form the island tiles are just plain UGLY. There are some sprites, like the crashed space craft, that are very well done. Then there are others, like the rocks and trees, that just look out of place in comparison.
- Forgotten Features – I wanted too much. I wanted more items, more crafting combinations, more food, more EVERYTHING. I have a very small collection of items that can be found/crafted, but there just wasn’t enough time to do more. I have an entire document drawn up that shows fish, a fishing pole, and a way to grill fish over a fire. None of this was included in the final game.
Bad art – Some stuff is just badly/sloppily drawn. The rocks are ugly. The dried leaves look like bananas. The seashell look like a jelly fish. The axe, which is made out of a seashell tied to a rock and a stick… looks like a jelly fish tied to a rock and a stick. ETC. Not too thrilled with a lot of the aesthetics this time around.
- Controls – I’m not too happy with the way the character moves, and some of the ways that you have to interract with the cursor are confusing/nonsensical. I just didn’t have enough time to iron out these details to perfect the interface.
- Delivery – I was so tired after not sleeping that I completely bombed the LD 22 entry page process. I posted a link to my game site without making the page public. I could see the page, but nobody else could. I lost several plays because people couldn’t get to my game. With over 800 entries, I may NEVER get those plays back, and that sucks.
In the end, I feel as though this is my greatest LD triumph. It may not be reflected in the voting, but I think that this is the best ‘overall’ game I have made since I started these crazy things. I took an idea that has been played to death (crafting / survival) in recent years, but I was able to put a new spin on it. The game includes a bit of humor, which is always good, IMO. It’s very hard for me to be SUPER SERIOUS in life, and this should be reflected in the games that I make.
I’m working on a guide/walkthrough for the game… as I’m sure that there will be questions. The game is meant to be a bit of a puzzle, so you won’t be able to plow through it without some experimentation and careful studying of the slight clues.
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO PLAY AB-ALONE!
I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished very much today… so I’m going to take the time to list what I’ve done. Maybe that will remind me.
- Finished the zoom feature (in and out via mouse wheel)
- Added HUD
- Added health / health bar
- Added health regeneration via pickups
- Added 5 additional inventory items along with HUD/counters
- Added important set piece
- Created Day/Night system (10 RL minutes = 24 hrs in game)
- Created dynamic lighting for night
- Constructed particle system
- Changed tree / rock sprites to be more cohesive with the rest of the tiles / objects
- Converted resource-hogging objects to static tiles
- Tweaked player collision system
- Adjusted layering system
I still have a LONG way to go if I’m going to implement all of the features on my design doc… especially if I’m going to make time for music/sfx… which is a MUST, imo. So here’s what I have left to do on the design doc…
- Create at LEAST 12 more inventory objects (code + sprite + counters + player variables)
- Create stamina system
- Create tool system (hammer, axe, fishing pole, etc)
- Create crafting system
- Create randomly respawning resources for DAY+1 events
- Create title screen
- Create death/lose scenario
- Create winning scenario
- Draw a very crucial set piece
- Create SFX / Music
- Tie it all together with a story sequence?
Yeah… that ain’t happenin’. I need to find out what features to cut and FAST. Tomorrow needs to be an incredibly productive day if I’m actually going to pull this off. I’ve never really ‘finished’ a Ludum Dare before… all of my games end up as tech demos or incomplete nothingness with no end / purpose. I want this to be different.
I will leave you with the latest screenshot from my game, AB-ALONE
After an incredibly long night of arting and idea-ing… I’ve come up with my idea.
So what is it? I’m not sure, yet… but I have a dang good idea. The main character is partially animated, and the set pieces are partially drawn. The code is partially started, and my mind is partially blown. It’s late. I’m tired. SEE YOU ALL TOMORROW!
Not feelin’ too sweet about this one for some reason. I wasn’t around for the last LD due to schoolwork. Now that finals are over… I just feel DRAINED. Been sitting at the computer way too much recently. Sitting at the computer for another 3 days straight? OH GAWD.
So maybe I’ll just jam a little.
Either way… rad games are gonna be made, and that’s always a good thing.
SEE YOU ON THE BATTLEFIELD, SUCKAZ!
This LD48 took me to my limit, everybody to the limit, I said come on Fhqwhgads!
It’s a 2D beat ‘em up with a twisted theme interpretation. The majority of your entertainment is gonna come from the audio and basic mechanics, as there is not challenge at all… since you CAN’T DIE. Or win. You just go through the rooms and then the game resets after the last room because I didn’t have time to make a ‘win’ screen or whatever. I prefer to play in full-screen… which you can do with F4, or you can manually change the game window size.
GAH I’m tired. Going to sleep now.
I can’t wait to dig into these games!
I had a few crazy setbacks today and it looks like I’ll be falling short once again.
I’ll get a few hours of rest and then wake up and work like a dirty rotten sumbitch.
Ran a few art style rendering tests and I’m still not sure what to go with. Performance takes a huge hit, but I have a monster rig so it doesn’t reflect well on my end. I’ll have to turn the knobs down a bit before releasing it for the compo so more people can play at a steady frame rate.
See you suckaz tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll be there… at the deadline… with an unfinished game.
CURSE YOU, OH FOWL FATHER TIME!
Instead of just saying SCREW IT, IT WON’T WORK, I decided to mess around for nearly 3 hours trying to create a specific death animation/scenario for the enemies.
What a waste. Now I’m behind schedule AND I can’t make it the way I wanted to.
PRO TIP: If it can’t be figured out in 30 minutes, simplify it and move on! NO TIME TO WASTE!
BACK TO WORK!
And all I could think about was my game…
RUNNIN CROSS DAT MEAT!
SO YEAH. Back to work! My plan is to get the core gameplay down TONIGHT and use tomorrow for SFX / MUSIC / POLISH.
I have my main character sprite MOSTLY animated. I have the runs, the jumps, the falls, the turns, the stops. Now I just need the fights and the swims. Then I have to draw enemies, the rest of the level sprites, create the sound effects, write the music, record the voices, then slap it all together with a story.
Yeah… that’s not gonna happen.
Now I’m going to sleep. See you suckaz in a few hours.
… I’m going to twist it and turn it until it suits my personal fancy.
48 HOURS LEFT
AND I’M GONNA GO WASTE PART OF IT CUZ I GOTTA FOLD MAH CLOTHES
IT DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS FABRIC SOFTENER!
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN
I missed LD 19. I bombed LD 18. I did well in LD 17. My debut was LD 16.
I’m going to turn this around and make LD20 my biznatch.
Something is different this time. I can… feel it. But I can’t quite put my finger on it. It feels like we’re going where the going is gonna be gone before we even get there. Maybe we’re blazing blindly towards a blank horizon on the backs of beasts of burden… oh so brazenly. Maybe this time… Maybe this time… things are gonna be different.
Or perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps we’re all just milling about in an incandescent pool of transendental insubstantiation.
Either way, I’M IN IT TO WIN IT.
I have a full suite of tools and I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.
XNA, Unity, Game Maker, Python, Flash…
Maya, 3DSMax, Mudbox, Zbrush, Motion Builder, Photoshop, Gimp…
Pro Tools, FL Studio, SFXR…
See ya on the battlefield, suckaz.