Posts Tagged ‘xna’
I usually don’t know how to write these kind of things but I figure I try and write as much as I can about how my game turned out and what it was like taking part in and actually completing my first Ludum Dare.
Long story short, Only One Shot is a game where you must shoot all the enemy squares to complete the level. However, the game adds a twist where you must do this with one bullet otherwise you fail the level (Hence the game title). But how do you kill more than one enemy with just one bullet (especially when the enemies are spread quite far apart)? This is where the reflector blocks that are placed around each level come in. When a bullet hits a reflector, the reflector will spawn a bullet from each side apart from the side that it was hit on. In levels containing more than one reflector, the game almost feels like a Rube Goldberg machine where one bullet starts up a long chain reaction just to kill some enemies in one go.
What went right:
- The Graphics: Having minimalism as a theme meant that I didn’t have to worry about the art (since I can’t draw to save my life XD) and sort of essentially get away with simple (if somewhat crude) shapes.
- The Gameplay: Trying to interpret minimalism in terms of gameplay mechanics was a bit difficult. Whilst I could have made a simple one button game, I wanted to convey minimalism in the sense that the simplest of things (either one or nothing) are only needed to start a huge reaction hence the one bullet rule of my game. From this core concept, I managed to create a game with simple, yet deep mechanics.
- Having a Plan (and mostly sticking to it): Once I had decided on the core idea of my game as well as figured out the type of game I wanted to make, I decided to flesh my idea out a bit further by brainstorming and jotting down notes on a pad before I get started on doing some actual coding. Although some features I had planned in my notes did not make it into the final version of the game that was submitted, doing this really helped in two ways: Firstly, having a plan to stick to meant that I was able to get most of the essential concepts of my game done in time without the distraction of bloating up my game with unnecessary features and secondly, having a plan meant that I would have a concrete idea of what to code without the risk of suffering mental blocks (if I had decided to just jump in and start coding without one).
What went wrong:
- Time Management: This was probably by far the biggest fault I had with the game. Originally, I had planned to get the game completed and submitted in time for the compo but overall, I wasn’t really making full use of my time as I was either too distracted to work or taking too long on one task (The collision code for my game between the player/enemy and the walls took one long tedious Sunday afternoon to do and most of it was wasted on trying to work out which parts of the collision boxes have overlapped before I eventually realised that I could just use the direction vector of the player/enemy and use that instead whenever the two collision boxes interect and reposition accordingly). Having to work on a Monday didn’t exactly help either which meant that I was only able to work on the game during the evening but fortunately, my game was nearly done and luckily I managed to submit it in time for the game instead (despite the fact
- The reflectors: Although the basic function of the reflectors worked out pretty well (spawn additional bullets when hit), there were a few glaring bugs in the overall functionality which meant that they didn’t work out exactly as I had envisioned. The most obvious bug was when a reflector would spawn bullets when it wasn’t recently hit. During early playtesting, an endless stream of bullets would sometimes spawn from a reflector for no reason causing the game to unfortunately slow down and crash. Although the bug still persists, I managed to work my way around it by adding an extra flag in the logic that checks for a game over condition.
To my own actual surprise, the initial feedback for my game so far was really nice with most saying that they loved the overall concept of the game (with some saying that they would love to play more levels) whilst criticising the fact that the player moved too slow and that there was no way to tell which way the player was facing (a fault of my own in trying to keep the art as simple as possible).
Post-Compo Version? :
Due to the positive feedback that I have received, I am considering making a post-compo(post-jam?) version of my game (depending if I have time) fixing all the bugs I wasn’t able to fix during the 2/3 days of development as well as tweak the game based on feedback (i.e. a faster player and a way to work out where it’s facing) plus add some extra functionality whilst keeping the core mechanics and art the same (although I may consider adding some extra polish to the art as well). To keep things fair however, I would only consider starting work on this version once the judging period so that way I can take all the feedback and work out what needs to be changed.
Overall Experience and What I’ll Do in the Future:
For me, taking part in my first Ludum Dare and actually completing it was a rather scary yet fun experience and despite the fact that some things didn’t go exactly as planned, I feel that my gamedev skills have improved (a bit I think) further. For the next Dare however, I will be working much harder to ensure that I am able to submit something for the compo rather than the jam by working hard to improve on my graphics skills (which I find terribly lacking) so that I don’t have to make something rather crude and simple (unless it’s actually better to go that way). I might use another engine for the next Dare (I’ve used Unity before) or perhaps learn a new one (I’m looking at you LOVE). After all, there’s only roughly 3 more months I have left to start improving my skills until August
And now for a selection of some of the nice comments that I have received for my game…
“Really cool concept. Would have loved to play more levels ”
“Cool bullet splitting mechanic! Work on this, you have a neat puzzle game idea on your hands ”
“Great game, I loved the concept.”
“Simple, challenging, awesome. Simple, yet smart design.”
In order to make my entry more accessible, I decided to port my game to the web using JSIL (check it out, the project is great: https://github.com/kevingadd/JSIL).
It even supports an Xbox controller (at least in Chrome), so give it a try: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=12344
Oh, and if you also want to port your XNA game and get stuck, don’t hesitate to write me a message!
This was, as always, an absolute blast. I’ve had to miss the last two, due to commitments beyond my control, and last weekend I remembered just how much I’ve missed.
# is a game about shooting squares. That’s really all there is to it. Wait… and sometimes the squares grow back. And sometimes they shoot out at you. Oh… and there’s a piano.
We all know the theme. My take on it was more of an aesthetic than a game play one. Soft colors, simple objects, piano music playing simple chords. I think it worked.
# was a lot of fun to develop. I had the basic concept in my head prior to the theme being announced, but some of the big mechanics, basically the “layer” shifting and the audio component just sort of happened.
The layer thing was introduced as sort of a player control mechanic. It is really easy, as was pointed out, to beat the levels by holding the left arrow and space bar. The layers gave the lower squares a fighting chance to get established, as well as forced the player to do something than just “sit and spin”.
The balance however, was off a bit. I initially balanced the game, unaware of a bug that could would make the last square invincible to most, but not all bullets. This made the game considerably harder than it really was. When the bug was fixed… the game became super stupid easy.
I made corrections, but didn’t get a chance to get back in and really do the balance work the game deserved. You can eventually get yourself comfortable enough where it’s not frustrating, but probably not in the time the average person plays a LD entry. I tried to make the early levels as accessible as possible, then ramp up the difficulty rather quickly there toward the end for the more interested. Not as hard as pre-bug unfortunately… but a decent challenge if the dice don’t roll your way.
Like I mentioned before, I wanted to go clean and simple, and that’s what I did. Not really a lot to say about it, except I really like the green, and the purple. Red needs work.
I’ve never been an “audio” guy, and this game has a lot of sound happening really fast, bullets flying, blocks breaking… I knew sounds generated by sfxr would have a high potential for ear bleeding (at least the ones I generate). As I was shifting through layers, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if the music chords changed when the layer did?
I jumped into the idea with absolutely no idea how I was going to accomplish it. I almost scrapped the whole thing entirely. I generated a lot of sound files, and tried to tweak them to work with the rapid pace, with ear splitting results. I did, somehow, manage found a bright piano sound that would pass, although not perfect.
What went right
- Fun and easy to develop
- I believe there’s a solid concept in there somewhere.
- Graphics / colors were nice and fitting
- The audio idea worked.
What went wrong
- That stupid invincible square bug wasted a lot of time.
- Balancing issues, especially consistency.
- The Red Layer
Thank you all for your kind feedback. I look forward to playing some more games!
So I decided to do Tower Defense type of game. Again I wanted too many in too little time. I’m happy with what I came up with. Take a look: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=5974
sell it to the butcher at the store….
My LD26 Entry is called #. It is a game about shooting squares. Get it now while it’s still full of those tasty bugs I haven’t found yet…
Off to bed… but managed to cause quite a bit of damage tonight.
The game fits in with the minimalism theme very well, while still being somewhat complex and interesting (at least by my standards). Game is feature complete. I’m very happy with it’s state this far in. All of the gameplay features are in, level control and difficulty are implemented, and even the menu states are complete. Spent a bit of time on audio this evening, and while it’s rough… it’s more ambitious than anything i’ve tried in a Ludum Dare before and i believe with a little polish, it will be quite the little go-getter (or a massive failure).
The game runs in two difficulty modes currently. Really frickin easy, and “Oh for the love of everything that is good, please make it stop” hard. I see this screen a little more than I’d like
The Plan For Tommorow
- The combination of the bullets firing, and cells exploding creates chords. The sound files need to be just right for this to work, and they are not right now. It’s not BAD, it’s just not good. This will hopefully be a quick fix tommorow
- I want the game to be difficult… but the kind of difficult that can be appreciated by the person that is playing the game for 30 seconds before they rate it. Currently we’re at the “rage quit and send death threats to the developer’s family” level of difficulty. The balance hammer needs to come out.
Well.. after almost a full days work… I’m here
It looks exactly the same as it did last night… however, menus, and levels, and collisions, and powerups and a whole lot of little things are in place.
Just a couple minor things on those front to clear up tonight…
Hoping that clears the way for a full day of polish and audio tommorow.
Welp…. after a somewhat heated argument between me and a quadtree, i got off to a start at least. think its about time to call it a night.
I’ll be streaming most the day tommorow.
Let’s do this! Stuff I’m going to use:
C#&XNA, Visual Studio 2010, Paint, Gimp, SFXR, Audacity, lots of junk food.
edit. also energy drinks!
Barker Games is in for the jam!
The problem I had last Ludum Dare was that I worked between 13-14 hours on Saturday which burned me out. All I did Sunday is fix a few bugs and publish it. My motivation was depleted
I plan on working normal work hours(8 hours a day). With Monday being the only possible exception. Hopefully that way I wont loose motivation and will feel more confident about our entry.
Language: C#, XNA
Art: Gimp, possibly InkScape
Good luck to everyone!
Happy Ludum Dare 26
Gonna be in for this one… after missing the last two (sad face).
Using this LD to say goodbye to XNA, probably try and port it over to monogame once completed.
Also throw some paint.net, sfxr and FL Studio in the mix.
Using my 2D starter project, with basic gamestates and such, P32D.
Going to follow my traditional Ludum Dare plan of attack
- First Hour : Panic because I have no ideas for the theme
- Next 2 Hours : Start working on the game
- Next 43 Hours : Continue working on game
- Last 2 Hours : Finish working on the game
Gonna attempt to stream some of the dev time as well, if all goes smooth… don’t want to spend those precious minutes working out streaming problems…
First off this was the first Ludum Dare that my team and I have competed in. We decided to enter the 72 hour jam as a team so that we could create a more complete game than if we had entered the 48 hour compo. Initially we had a large team planned but a few people dropped out last minute which left us with 3: Myself and my friend Paul from University as the programmers, and our housemate Leela, who has never created any animations before or been involved in creating video games at all, as our artist and animator. So how did it go?
What Went Right
A lot went right to be honest. Like a few others we were expecting ‘End Of The World’ to win the theme vote. As such we’d started having a cheeky think about what we’d do if that came up the day before. ‘You Are The Villain’ took us by surprise a bit. We were a bit stumped for a bit but Paul came up with the main idea and we had decided on the sort of game and rough features we wanted after a few hours. I feel that the game fitted in with the theme quite well. We didn’t want to create the obvious you are a thief/bandit/zombie/vampire type of thing because we knew that many people would be going for that. As such Mother Nature as the villain was a little more left of field but we felt it was justified. After all she is trying to take down the entire human race in the game. Interestingly some of the criticisms we have had from the game is that people can’t see how Mother Nature is the villain and therefore how it fits in with the theme – If exterminating an entire species doesn’t make you a villain I don’t know what does
We got a lot of the features we wanted into the game. When we were first discussing the game we were talking about upgrades, different types of enemies, different landscapes and all sorts of different features. We were realistic about what we could achieve in 72 hours though and we managed to whittle this down to the core features, leaving other ideas as things we would add on if we had time (which we didn’t J) The game’s features are therefore fairly Spartan but they are the core mechanics and any other features would be built off of them. So we feel they enable the game to be played out as we had envisaged it.
Gameplay is one of the areas where we could have done a bit better. However I believe it is still enjoyable, if a bit short. We wanted to lock down our features on the Sunday So that we could focus on refining the gameplay and building levels on the Monday. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. We had a discussion on Monday morning about whether to hard code in our levels or to build a simple level editor to streamline the development. Paul was in favour of hard coding as he believed it would take too long to get a working level editor up and running AND then to create the levels. I believed I could knock up a level editor in a couple of hours and that it would save us time in the long run. I also thought that hardcoding would mean creating less interesting levels and more problems if we wanted to move things around after testing how it played. As it turned out it took me almost twice as long as I’d thought to create the level editor. Nevertheless by around 4pm we had a working level editor which could place our tiles and objects, set tile passability and so forth. It took Paul a short amount of time to create the level he had designed with it after that so I believe this is something that worked out well. I also believe that if we decide to enhance the game post-compo then this decision will pay off.
A few criticisms have been aimed at the need to invest early on or be swarmed by enemies in later levels. But this was a design choice. You can spam comets for the first couple of waves and get by but after that it becomes very hard to make it to the end. If you look at RTS’ such as AOE you will see a similar design pattern. You can build a barracks, spam the militiamen and send them over to the enemy. Whilst you might do damage initially you won’t do enough to finish the enemy off and they will be investing in their units. When they have better units they will destroy your militiamen then come and destroy you! Our game requires you to think a little and make an investment in the early waves to help you out in the later waves. Waiting and buying a volcano early on helps you out enormously!
I was particularly impressed with the artwork. As I’ve mentioned Leela had never made any sort of animations before or created graphics on the pc. On top of this she could only take part for about 2 days due to coursework commitments. So I was very impressed with what she produced for us in such a short space of time. The graphics fit in with what we had envisaged. They are bright with a good amount of contrast. The artwork she produced for the menus was my personal favourite.
The sound is something that only made it in at the last moment. I had created a simple sound manager on the first day but we didn’t have any sounds to really test it with until the last day. As it wasn’t central to gameplay it was left until the end as a less important feature. Nevertheless we all knew how important getting good sound into the game would be for setting the right mood and atmosphere. Once we had sourced some sound effects from online suddenly our comet impacts and lightning and so forth came to life. Our other housemate David, who couldn’t take part until the Monday night created the main theme and in-game music for us in a couple of hours and that really made the difference as well. Overall I am satisfied with how the sound turned out given the limited time we were able to spend on it.
What Went Wrong
Our biggest problem with the theme was that we didn’t realise that there was a bonus goat theme! All through the jam we were wondering why everyone was making games with goats in it but we’d just completely missed this extra aspect of the theme!
As I’ve said we would have liked to have added more features into the game. In particular a couple more weapons would have been good to have in. A hurricane/tornado was one we wanted to do but thought it would be a bit tricky on the art in the time we had so it was dropped. An upgrade system was something we really wanted to get in as well. This would have meant being able to upgrade the radius of attack for different weapons or their damage and so on as a trade for resources. We were hopeful that by limiting the number of weapons we had we could still keep the upgrade feature but it had to be dropped due to time constraints.
Whilst I like the gameplay it is also the area we are most disappointed with. Not so much in terms of how the weapons work and so on but more in terms of the levels themselves and this is all due to time constraints. The biggest issue is there is only one level with 5 waves. These waves are all too predictable. What I mean by that is that when the level starts all the humans spawn at a fixed time interval and all together. When we originally envisaged the game I wanted the waves to come down in groups. So rather than a continuous stream of people running to the spaceship you’d have little groups running together. I also wanted these groups to be separated a bit rather than all coming down at a fixed interval. Again this was all a case of running out of time. Another aspect that never really materialised was the points system. Although you earn points for kills this doesn’t actually mean anything to the game. We wanted to add in a highscore screen or something so that the points had a purpose but never had the time.
My biggest issue with the artwork was a lack of content. Again this is all about the limited time our artist had. We are missing animations in places which had to be replaced with static images instead. For example our volcanoes are static when idle when we really wanted them to be gently puffing out some smoke and ash. Our comets don’t animate when they fly just when they land. I don’t feel this has a huge effect on the gameplay but it would still have been good to have those animations in the game.
A lack of sound and music was the key problem although I think we managed to scrape in an acceptable amount at the end. Sound is a key component in games (amazingly I’ve played some ludum games without sound at all) which was demonstrated for us when we started putting the effects in the game. The game really came alive with the sound of comets exploding and volcanoes erupting and so on. There were other issues as well though. Some of the sound effects aren’t as loud as others, some go on too long or not long enough. When the music repeats in the menu it is not seamless as it should be. I would also have liked for you to only hear the sound effects emanating from the part of the game world you’re looking at, with all others either faded out
Most importantly though was the game ultimately fun to play? I believe that it is. One of our biggest criticisms was that the game does not last long enough which I will agree with. But that was a result of lack of time rather than design. I think that had we managed to create a few more levels the game would have entertained a bit more. Nevertheless I believe that it is still a fun game as it is. Whilst I have a few regrets over some of the features lacking in the game I am on the whole very pleased with how our game turned out. None of us had ever actually completed a full (largely bug-free) game before. The entry for our last game was riddled with bugs and almost unplayable. It left us very frustrated at the end with the time we had invested into it. But that was 2 years ago when we were starting out as programmers. This time I believe we have created a full game which is fun to play and looks and sounds good. It has also left me excited and looking forward to the next ludum dare. Can’t wait!
I had a blast with this Ludum Dare, mainly because my tools were in such good shape. All the work I had done on my libraries beforehand let me focus on content creation for the most part.
What went right:
Helper classes – I made a bunch of helpers before the compo to automagically handle sounds and particles and static objects in the map. Saved tons of time.
Update entities – Really saved the day. Allows you to change entity objects in the map without rebuilding.
Acoustic guitar for music. I couldn’t remember how to play, but just tried random stuff and fixed it all in audacity
What went wrong:
On map building I only had one major mistake, and that was losing an hour or two to leaks and map errors on the third level attempting to create a windy branchy maze by duplicating and rotating. Brush maps tend to break when you do that.
I also had a bug where a switchable light set to on wouldn’t be on if you built the map with update entities. I chased that one for awhile.
Sleeping in small chunks. Didn’t really work that well. I usually set the alarm for 4 hours, but only once was actually awakened by it. Usually I just woke up on my own and got back to work. I’d always awaken feeling refreshed, but I’d be tired again after just a few hours.
My “full build” button doesn’t actually save the final product. You have to “Save Zone” after. Several times I forgot, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
My alpha sorting broke! I was so mad. I spent a lot of time on that and even tested it in my warmup!
Story – I might have left too much unexplained. Is the apprentice the lover? Is the prisoner a man or a woman? What happens at the end? Also if the power is out, how did the first door and the elevator work? Also if you don’t hit the triggers in the right order it can tell you stuff you already figured out, or reference stuff you might not have seen if you missed picking something up or hitting a journal trigger.
Stuff I want for next time:
I’m planning on making a game specific entity class creation tool. This would allow you to specify what fields and default values an entity would have in a gui, then at the press of a button it would automagically edit quark’s entity file, and maybe even generate some C# code as well.
Pathfinding – I have some basic A* code but it isn’t integrated with anything.
Terrain integration, working on this in another project. BModel style mini bsps for landscape objects like rocks or ruin chunks, or full buildings with portals that look out and in.
Doom3 style gui screen surfaces. These would be great for making interesting puzzles.
So I managed to finish my super-simple game about a contract killer in a timely manner.
Here is the link for my entry: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25/?action=preview&uid=8403
The game was almost done yesterday, so I had a whole day to just polish it. Aiming really low payed off for me nicely. I just hope it won’t get too bad ratings due to its simplicity.
Unfortunately I still couldn’t make music for the game, I have to practice it before the next compo.
Here are some screenshots:
I see there a lot of games submitted already, I can’t wait to try them out!
And for those of you who are still working hard: Don’t give up! You can do a lot in 2 hours!
So the first day is over and I think I’ve made enough progress to be able to finish tomorrow.
This time I wanted to aim really low, because in the past I felt overwhelmed with the complexity of my game ideas and I wasn’t able to completely implement them in time. I’m also trying to improve my graphics skills, so it was better to have a game with the least amount of code possible.
I didn’t want to make a game with a stereotypical villain (aiming for world domination, commanding an army of minions, kidnapping people, etc.), instead I made the player have a villainous occupation – as a contract killer.
At the beginning of each level you get a picture of your target(s) – early in the game you only have one per stage, later you will have more. You have to memorize the targets’ appearance, find them in a crowd of people, then kill them with your rifle.
Once you fire your first shot the police will make their way to the scene as indicated by the progress bar at the top of the screen. You have to finish the job before they get there, otherwise it’s game over. The game is endless, each stage will have a bigger crowd, and you’ll have more targets to hunt down.
The code is almost complete, but I will still have to make sound effects, music, backgrounds, title and game over screens, etc.
Anyway, I wish you luck with your games, as I can’t wait to play them. There have already been some really cool looking games presented here.
So this is my first attempt at Ludum Dare… so far it seems to be going okay!
I woke up incredibly late after a night of no sleep. Then I crawled out of bed and started brainstorming ideas until inspiration struck in the form of a Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch. So the overall idea for the game is that you are pitching your genius plans to a board of investors and have to ‘deal’ with people as fear and doubt gets the better of them.
By about 2pm I’d managed to wrestle with my C# classes and get my XNA game working in the most pre-alpha sense:
I’ve since then started improving how the game looks and works, I’m going to add more traps and things and put in an end-game mechanic soon… but I’m gonna take a break for a few as I’m feeling pretty knackered. Here is a video of it as it is right now – the people start to panic more when the people around them start dying.
Heck… even if the game isn’t done for the competition submission… I’m still enjoying making it.
I don’t have much time this weekend but I’ll try to find a few hours to make simple-simple game. This would be my 4th LD if I remember correctly.
Tools are almost the same:
And here’s my workspace. As you can see, I’m currently away from home (“studying” engineering
Good luck to you all and of course – have fun!
I might get a late start since I have some stuff to tie-up for my actual main project, which is bringing the board game Hive to Xbox. Been working on that for 14 months and it should be released ANY FLIPPING DAY! We’ll see.
Will be streaming here most of the time: http://www.twitch.tv/bluelinegames
Languages: Either HTML5 or C#/XNA. Kinda depends on what comes to mind, based on the theme.
IDE: Visual Studio Express (if C#), or Notepad++ (if HTML5).
I’ll probably do the Jam instead of the contest if we find collaborators at The MADE.
This will be my 3rd shot at the 48 hour compo.
My only goal is to be able to make a better game than I did the last 2 times.
Tools I will be using:
- XNA with C# in Visual Studio 2010
- Paint for basic pixel art, Paint.NET for more advanced raster graphics, Inkscape if I decide to use vector graphics
- Bfxr for sound effects
- Renoise for music if I have the time (I never do)
This time I decided against using a base code, I’ll build everything from the ground up. I hope it works out alright.
Anyway, I wish you all the very best with your game making endeavors and I hope we won’t be wiped out in the looming apocalypse, so we can do this again next year.