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Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend [9 PM EST] — Theme: ??? (Theme Voting!)
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    Posts Tagged ‘development’

    Grasshopper, Post-mortem

    Posted by
    Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 3:39 am

    Background:
    This was my 5th Ludum Dare 48 and the 3rd time I actually submitted a game, so that alone made me happy =).

    For the first time in LD I didn’t have any stress and the design phase didn’t feel like “endless grind”, which for some reason usually happens for me.
    This was also the very first time I’ve ever used Love2D and Lua for well, anything, and I really learned valuable things in just one short weekend (actually made me order the Programming in Lua third edition to help me integrate Lua scripting to my work-in-progress engine).

    In general this was the most fun I’ve had in LD ever, I’m very satisfied with my game, mainly because of the earlier mentioned “no stress” approach and that the tools were new to me.

    The finalized game

    The short story
    I woke up at 06:15 Saturday. The theme was announced 05:00 Finnish time, but I’ve learned from previous LD’s that it is much better wake up well rested even though it means hour or few head start for other than to wake up feeling like you know what and just forcing yourself to design.

    When I noticed that the theme was minimalism I immediately knew that I wanted to be shown in the game-play itself rather than just graphics or audio-visuals in general.
    Took me a good few hours to get the design down, and at first I kinda doubted it, but when I started to actually working on the development I grew more fond with it.

    The coding went fairly well even tough working on a new language always poses its own difficulties. If I could change 1 single thing from Lua I’d definitely would prefer that variables and functions would need to be declared before used. This might be just because of my own sloppiness, but I had few occasions where I had typoed some name and the error didn’t pop up until much later.

    Art has always been my main nemesis especially when the schedule is tight. I just can’t do it. The game only has 2 distinct tiles (and few variations of them) and a few sprites, yet making the art took about 3 times as long as the coding… not good!

    Music is along with coding my other passion and I had a real blast making the “main theme” for the game. I had this strange inspiration/”image” in my head of a sad Russian cartoon when composing the song and I think the music kinda fits that. I’m not saying the music is any good, but the fun alone I had making it, made it very worth while.

    The Good

  • No-Stress approach, having much more fun, which echoed itself in to the end result I belive
  • Learning new tech gave the event even more meaning for me, which helped me motivate myself
  • Simplistic design, which could’ve been easily expanded if I so should’ve desired
  • The bad

  • Art, as usual, takes way too much time for me and the result itself does not justify the time spent
  • The verdict
    Not even knowing (or really caring about) the results yet I can say that this was the best LD I’ve had so far!

    Some screenshots from development
    Coding in Geany, a great editor for Linux & Windows
    Composing in TuxGuitar

    EDIT: Ofc I forgot to link the game in the post, so here it is: Grasshopper

    2 Thirds October Challenge

    Posted by (twitter: @colincapurso)
    Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 11:44 pm

    2 Thirds October Challenge

    At the time of writing this, we are 2/3 of the way through October.

    I started developing my game on October 1st and I would say I’m am actually about 2/3 of the way to completing the game.

    This is a sort of log of what I went through to get to this stage.

    Week 1

    Idea

    Not much time was spent thinking of an idea. I was determined this time to make a game that I myself want to play even if it was an existing game. With that in mind, I chose the game mechanic (drop7 by Zynga, originally from area/code) and thought about what I’d like it to have to be more appealing to me.

    • More colour
    • More character
    • More particles
    • Adventure Mode

    The first 3 are just visual things, but they make a difference to the feel of the game and as a graphic designer/illustrator it’s kind of important to me.

    Adventure mode: I’ve yet to implement this as I’ve had many many ideas on how to do it. I know how I want the player to feel. I want them to want to progress, to want to beat levels and explore the world I’ll make for the game.

    Platform

    It’s definitely a mobile game. I intend it to be played in short bursts, 5 minutes here or there. Options:

    • iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
    • Android (Phones, Tablets)
    • Windows Phone

    These were the 3 platforms I was thinking of. I’d love to do a windows phone, but not owning one means testing is just can’t happen.

    That leaves iOS and Android. Now, I have a couple of really old iOS devices to play with but developing for iOS will cost me $99. That is $99 I don’t have. So, we’re down to Android, a mere $25.

    So I’m developing for Android. That will require me to know Java. Which I don’t know well.

    There are a few other options for developing for Android, the 2 I looked at were

    • Phone Gap
    • Unity

    I don’t know Unity and I don’t want to spend too much time learning something new when I only have 1 month to complete my game.

    From what I understand about PhoneGap, it throws HTML5/JS into a webkit browser on your phone as if it were it’s own app.

    Well, I’m very familiar with javascript, so I’ll give PhoneGap a go. (Spoiler: it doesn’t work out)

    Time to get started.

    Coding went pretty smooth for my first prototype. I had much of the game working by the end of the week.

    The code itself was a huge mess. I was just learning about MVC architecture and attempted to implement it as I went  along. BAD MOVE. The code just got worse and worse and became unworkable.

    Week 2

    Rebuild!

    My code was a mess. At this stage in my life as a game developer, I’ve gotten accustomed to re-writing all my code from scratch and that’s exactly what I did.

    I re-coded the whole thing in about a day. It went amazingly well. I changed the grid model from something overcomplicated (list of tile entities) to something super simple (jagged array with integers) and wow was that the best thing I ever did. Coding from here on out was a breeze.

    By the end of the week, the game was working and had the added benefit of being able to change the grid size on the fly. I played around with 4-10 grid sizes. Funny thing, 7 grid spaces was the magic number in terms of fun and difficulty.

    I tested the game on various browsers and touch device browsers. Turns out Safari is a dick and doesn’t support “.bind()” which a significant part of my event system. That was a pain to sort out, but I ended up adding some code so that it would work on browsers that don’t support it.

    Weird thing, the game worked super fast on my old iPad 1 (Safari) but slow on my Nexus S (Chrome). Craziness.

    Time to test out Phone Gap. I copied my files over into Eclipse. Tested it. It didn’t work. Crap.

    Turns out, requestAnimationFrame won’t work. That’s an easy fix, I switched over to my teeny setTimeout loop.

    (function loop(){ setTimeout(function(){update(), draw(), loop()}, 1000/FPS)})();

    It is my prototyping game loop. If I have to write something from scratch really quickly, I use this.

    Back to the Phone Gap test. It works!

    I started working on the graphics, which took no more than an hour or so. (It is my speciality after all).

    Coded my new view class and test it.

    It works!

    but…

    slowly.

    Well.. that sucked.

    I implemented all the performance improving hacks I could think of (FYI working in canvas no CSS3).

    • ~~ Double Not. Rounded out all my draws coords (canvas hates decimal numbers)
    • Pre-rendering. All my sprites were resized and pre-rendered into their own canvases.
    • Non-full screen clearRects. I only re-drew things on the screen that changed.
    • Layered Canvas and draws on their own layers. Turns out this actually made things slower despite there being significantly less re-draws.
    • Frame skipping. Well.. this really had the same effect, everything was just as choppy as before.

    Well, clearly javascript was just not going to cut it.

    Now, this isn’t to say PhoneGap is terrible for games (it is), I had right from the very beginning a particle system that I was unwilling to part with. It added some 100+ particles on the screen every time something happened and is the sole reason for laggy perfomance.

    oh and I want my game to run at 60 FPS. None of this flimsy 30 FPS.

    Week 3

    Hey that’s this week!

    I decided to re-write the whole thing over in Java.

    I knew that the hardest part of this would be getting the thing up and running because really, to me, regardless of the language, all games are the same thing.

    • Game Loop
    • Game Logic
    • Game Rendering

    The things that were different were;

    • Game Loop Code. Involves pausing threads and what not.
    • Event system. Turns out you can’t pass a method reference as an argument. There are work arounds and I ended up passing anonymous functions but I wasn’t happy with it and ended up scrapping my whole event system. I didn’t actually need, it was more a proof of concept.

    As for the game logic, it just so happens I write my Javascript like I write my C#/Java. So it was mostly just copying and pasting with some type declarations.

    I’ve just finished writing much of the code for rendering/drawing.

    It works! and fast! and that’s just in the emulator, on my crappy old phone it’s super awesome.

    So that’s where I’m at right now.

    Things on my to do list:

    • Particle system
    • Title Screen
    • Score Keeping/Submission
    • Implementing ads for free version
    • Adventure Mode
    • Hats

    I expect to have the game ready for submission some time next week. Initial version won’t have adventure mode. It’s not a vital part of the game, just a bit of variety/fun.

    So yep, this has been my process for making one of the simplest of simple game development over-complicated.

    There should be screenshots of the progress.

    Oh and the name of my game will be Panda7.

    New development blog

    Posted by
    Saturday, April 7th, 2012 2:30 pm

    Hopefully I will have the next ludum dare off if I do not that is okay I will participate next time in the mean time I will be working on my new game that I will be publishing 3 months from now. If you want to check it out visit my blog here simbstudio.tumblr.com or directly play the demo here http://dl.dropbox.com/u/70771337/WebPlayer.html This blog is to help me feel motivated to keep programming and having fun if you have any suggestions or useful tips or programs to use drop me a message or comment here or follow my on tumblr. I am posting this here because I know this is a great supportive community. I wish everyone luck in the next compo have fun guys :)

    Hour 6

    Posted by
    Saturday, August 21st, 2010 1:44 am

    Progress update. I had a small sleep between 5 and 7 as I was getting pretty sleepy and my body still thought it was night time.

    Desprite this im making progress:

    It doesnt look like much yet, I have mostly been laying the foundations for later development :)

    So far I have the foreground layer in, need the other layers in next then some camera movement, tho Im going to have to get some breakfast soon!

    LD14 Baby!

    Posted by
    Monday, April 13th, 2009 10:22 am

    I am pretty sure I’m going to make a go of LD14 this weekend.  I will be voting in the theme rounds all week long and take a look Friday to see the theme that is picked.  I will make up my mind then for sure.  Why the hesitation?  Well, I have a lot of things I’m already working on game wise so I have to make sure working on ANOTHER game is the best use of my energy… ;)  I do love the LD compos though.. it’s what got me back into game programming again so it will always have a lot of pull on my heart.  It is just so much fun as many of you know to participate in this event.

    As far as programming tech and libraries go I will be making a change for the first time in all my LD experience!  Previously I was rocking the Ruby language and using the excellent Gosu game dev library (which I still highly recommend!)

    This time I’ll be using Flash / ActionScript 3.0.  I have spent the past couple months learning ActionScript (first used AS2 for one game) and then another game I did in AS3 to work on my knowledge in that.  Plus I’ve cranked through a couple really great books I picked up that I also highly recommend to anyone looking to make the leap.  Essential ActionScript 3.0 (O’Reilly), ActionScript 3.0 Animation (Keith Peters), and Flash CS4 Professional  (Katherine Ulrich). The Kongregate Shootorials were also a great place to start for AS2 and they have an AS3 version of the finished tutorial to learn from the code (it is well commented.)  I learn good from books so I had to grab a few to help out.  Anyway, I’ve been having a blast with Flash / ActionScript!

    I’ve been very impressed by how quickly you can rough out a game prototype using the Flash authoring tool and some simple ActionScript classes.  I used to think that I’d be hard pressed to find as rapid a dev environment than what I was already using with Ruby / Gosu but all I can say is DAMN.. flash is fast.  :)

    Plus, the added benefit of having both rapid playable cross platform versions for compo feedback as well as not worrying about the various builds after the compo and I think it builds a strong case as rapid prototyping tool geared for quick compos like this one.

    Tool Set I want to use:

    Flash / ActionScript 3.0

    Libraries I want to use (if this seems ok par the rules?):

    GreenSock’s tweening engine TweenMax / TweenLite

    Looking forward to a great theme and a great compo everyone, take care!


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