Monday, 25 August 2014

Game 06 - Microsystem (LD30)

Here is a link to my Ludum Dare entry; Microsystem.

arrow keys - movement
R - restart
esc - exit

I was pretty busy this weekend and I only really had the final evening to work on the game. It's honestly not great but it was an interesting experiment nevertheless. All the organisms move around randomly and do different things under different conditions. The small purple creature is the player and the game system is much like a sandbox to explore and interact with stuff. There is no real goal but I was hoping that the player would get some enjoyment out of learning about the system and all the different conditions under which the organisms do different stuff. Similar to Starseed Pilgrim.

I think with more time and more polish the game could be interesting but it's not really an ecosystem at this point.I wanted everything to play off everything else in order to survive, so that changing something small would make a huge difference, like when they introduced rabbits to Australia and they had to kill them off again because they ate all the other animals food.

A big plus is that I learnt some very useful Gamemaker functions from this game.
I now know how to correctly use the 'floor' and 'random' functions.
This was also the first time I've been able to address a specific instance in one of my games rather than all of a type of object. Vary basic gamemaker logic that I should've learnt ages ago but never really had to until now.
Using this knowledge, my games should be better and faster to make from now on. From that angle, this game was very successful.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Game 05 - Sinking Ship Game: Now with music!

Pretty much just bug fixes and music since the last update.
Oh and the base for a tutorial. (Skip it with 'P')
Many thanks to Johnfn on Newgrounds for giving me permission to use his song 'can't move past'.
Check out his Bandcamp
and his Soundcloud

Since Ludum Dare is currently occurring I'll be channeling my time and creativity to that this weekend.
Level 2 (still needs couple of changes but an interesting level nevertheless)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Game 05 - Sinking Ship Game: New controls again

So I spent all of today working on the new control scheme trying to make it as slick as possible. In the process I managed to cure ALL of the massive bugs my game had previously so I am very happy with today's  work =]

I'm not 100% sure I like the new controls yet, they take a little while to get used to and require switching between the mouse and keyboard but it is much quicker to get around (arguably worse) and feel generally very smooth and 3block characters can now step up onto other characters (which makes the game way easier so I've added a limit on ropes now too).


- Use 1,2, and 3 to switch between characters
- Move left and right with the arrow keys
- use Right+Up and Left+Up to step up to the right and left sides respectively (Engineer/Hacker can only step up 1 block whereas Swimmer/Spelunker and Gymnast/Climber can step up 2 blocks)
- Use the mouse to place and remove cables whilst using a computer with the Engineer.
- Use the mouse to select which side to make a rope (as the Swimmer.Spelunker)
- Use Z to 'Use'
- Use X to 'Drop' (down ropes) (and off the ceiling for the Climber)

Tomorrow I will consider adding back the option to click 'Use' and 'Drop' as an alternative to Z and X. I will also work on level 2 and a tutorial style level/section of a level. I will also do other stuff probably.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Game 05 - Sinking Ship Game: Ice see holes in my boat

But I know how to fix them.
I think I've FINALLY found the cause of the obscure glitch stopping the player from moving too the far left or top of the room. The solution is going to require a complete rewrite of the control scheme. Yay -_-.

I have a HUD and everything

Controls are the same as last time.

The girl/gymnast/climber now climb along ceilings (although not very useful on this level).

'Jump' is now 'Drop'. You can use 'Drop' to drop from the ceiling as 'The Gymnast' and to drop down ropes as any of the characters.

I've included a (currently very minimal) score room for each level and currently have just one completed level + the very start of a second level.

This 'first' level is entirely possible without a single character losing any oxygen and with using only 4 (maybe 5) ropes.

I'm very happy with the direction the game is going. It's honestly exactly as I envisioned it when I first came up with the idea (minus the bugs). I'm starting to consider audio now. I'm thinking something similar to the 'Gods Will be Watching' OST or perhaps some 'Harry-Gregson Williams'. Maybe something a bit more minimal though to reflect the artstyle...

PS. Due to this game being kinda ambitious and having missed a couple of days due to that wrist pain thing (and also because there's less than a week until Ludum Dare 30), I'll be working on this game through till Friday (and I may even continue with it after Ludum Dare if I think it still holds up).

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Game 05 - Sinking Ship Game

I did almost no work on the game yesterday due to my wrist pain. It actually hurts in the elbow too. I think it may actually have something to do with the time I smacked my funny-bone really hard into a chair.

Done some work today though =]

LINK to Version 0.4

Since adding the ropes, the game has actually become playable (although still very buggy). That's a nice milestone.

I recommend watching (if not one then both of) these clips to get an idea of what stuff is and does in the game.

These videos are super low quality. The game itself looks much nicer =]

 Some things are still quite inconsistent:
eg. only the engineer can step up onto another character. The other two can only step sideways onto another character.
eg2. only the engineer can go up steps while crouched.

These are both annoying inconsistencies which, just for the sake of player understanding are worth solving. It's quite difficult to program for the 3block characters though because there are a lot more variables to consider with various wall heights etc...

You can see in the clips how climbing ropes works in the game and how multiple routes and solutions are available to the player.

PS. The level has evolved in 0.4 from these clips
PPS. Soon I will add a limit on ropes (or maybe a total rope length?) and give the characters oxygen + oxygen bars.
PPPS. There are a bunch more (some more efficient) ways of solving the puzzle shown (try and find them).

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Game 05 - Sinking Ship Game: Fish Fingers

It's amazing how long it can take to make something you thought was so simple. I've put in a good 10 hours of work today. It feels good to be so productive although my fingers hurt a bit.

Fun with cables
The game is slightly playable now. There are a few fun things you can do in it but not everything works still. I've implemented the new control scheme into the engineer/hacker and the swimmer/spelunker but not the woman/climber yet.

The engineer/hacker can now successfully hack the computer and rewire the cables spanning the walls (although he cannot delete cables yet) but be careful and each addition he makes will cost time and cause the (currently not a danger) water to slowly rise.

A few bugs still exist but fortunately they're not a big problem and could be solved simply by designing the levels carefully although I will do my best to fix them.

One particularly strange bug is one causing a character to jump back when the get too close to that left wall on the bottom layer. I think it's something to do with the low ceiling but the characters should never even come in contact with it so?...

anyway, I feel like I'll need to spend 10 hours everyday for this whole week if I want the game to be what I initially hoped it would. I'd like to do that if I can.

engineer + swimmer:
left click the character once - movement buttons
left click the character twice - special actions (jump still isn't a thing)

using the computer(engineer only):
left click - add cable
right click - exit computer mode
left click 'use...' button - exit computer mode

left click and drag - movement
right click - special actions

R - restart
esc - exit

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Game 05 - Sinking Ship Game: Good Start

All three characters huddled together
LINK to the game
Initially I tried to make the game genuinely out of pixels. So each character was only a couple of pixels in size. Game Maker didn't like that one bit so instead I just faked single pixels by making everything out of 32x32 blocks of color (with a few exceptions). It looks great. I'm very happy with the graphics so far.

I've spent about 9 hours working on this game today alone.
The programming has been quite problematic. This game is my most ambitious yet and it's all quite shaky. The characters teleport through walls and stuff but I'm getting there. I think If I changed the control scheme I could actually fix this problem quite easily but it would involve rewriting a bunch of hard work. I'll probably make a branch and experiment with it to see if I can get it to work well.

The aim of the game is to try and get all three characters to safety at the top of the room. Currently the water rises slowly every second but ideally I'd like it to be relative to the amount of 'moves' taken. This means that the game will become turn based rather than action but I think it will benefit from the change (I THINK it might actually fix two massive bugs too. I hope so).
Each character has their own traits. The guy on the left is 'slower' but he can hack computers (white squares) and build ladders whereas the woman in the middle next to the button is a fantastic climber and can scale vertical walls. The guy up the top right is a professional at swimming and can hold his breath for long amounts of time. his height and strong thigh muscles means he can jump high too.

I am very quickly starting to doubt how viable procedural generation for this game is since it's very strategy/puzzle based it could render some levels unbeatable unless executed very finely.

left click and drag each character to move them. They automatically fall to the floor so you shouldn't be able to pull them up a level (although you can).

right click a character to see their available options. 'Jump' is currently not implemented and the swimmer only is partially implemented.

PS. It's currently impossible to do much more than move side to side and push buttons but I honestly do feel like I've made a ton of progress.

Game 04 - Gravity Game: Analysis

I'm very happy with how the game turned out. It's a little shaky on the level design, by which I mean that I kind of hectically introduced new mechanics without full exploring the previous ones. I did try to keep this to a minimum and given the time frame I think I did quite well.

Like I said in the previous post, I lost a bit of momentum part way through making this game because I think I got a little hazy about where the game was actually going and I didn't have a clue about how to mess with the music like I did. It actually turned out to be easier than I'd anticipated although it wasn't exactly the effect I wanted. Ideally I would've had something similar to the aether soundtrack with instruments and melodies jumping in and out based on the direction the gravity was facing. I still don't even know if that's possible in Game Maker.
If I hadn't gotten sidetracked I would've played with the bouncing cubes some more for sure and just generally experimented with how the gravity affects other objects and perhaps other players too.

The game still has that annoying bug where you can get suck on the corner of a wall. Could never work out a fix for that.

I'm happy with the aesthetic and feel of the game. It could have done with more juice but that's more of a 'once you have all the mechanics and levels down' kind of thing anyways.

Although I think this prototype was a success I don't think it's something I want to make into a full game. I feel like the core mechanic just isn't compelling or interesting enough to consider spending a large amount of time polishing. On the surface it seems like it has a lot of possibilities but now I'm not so sure.

Anyways, on to Game 05 =]

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Game 04 - Gravity Game: COMPLETE

LINK to 'finished' game 
WARNING: Contains Flashing Lights

1 day late. 

I lost some motivation on this game somewhere in the process of making it but I'm glad I stuck with it. It's actually turned out quite nicely. A lot more could be done obviously. These are all prototypes after all. 

I'll properly analyze the game tomorrow. I'm too tired tonight.
Then I'll start work on my next game. Spelunky mixed with Gods Will be Watching set on a sinking Ship.

"Ouroboros" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Game 04 - Gravity Game: Fixed It

I fixed the lag bug. It was what I thought it was. Easy fix.

I also added a tutorial-esque level as well a fullscreen and camera scrolling. The game looks pretty nice I must say. It'd look nicer with more work and lighting obviously but I'm happy with it so far.

I need to redo the player character. I always seem to leave that really late.

The game desperately needs audio/music/sfx to bring it all together. I'm to scared to ask anyone on newgrounds if I can use their stuff since the game will probably get less than 10 plays. More than this blog gets =P

PS. I think I just saw a 2-headed moth

Game 04 - Gravity Game: I'm Like Turtles

I've worked on this game every day in small chunks. Today I attempted to implement some real time lighting but I couldn't get it to work. Then I realized that it wasn't really necessary so I just implemented some fake lighting instead. I've got a kind of neon club aesthetic at the moment which is why lighting is important.
It's also why music is important which is why I need to get some music.

I have different walls light up depending on the direction of gravity the player is experiencing. I'd like to vary the music slightly too but currently this is not an option. Acapella Club Music?
The rate at which you change gravity directions may be too high anyway (unless I change the way I'm currently designing levels).

 I've redone a load of art and animated some stuff too.

There is currently a big problem with the game. The longer you go without switching gravity direction, the lower the frame rate... This obviously wasn't programmed in and I'm currently not sure of the cause (although I do have an idea of what the problem might be). Nevertheless, enjoy.

PS. If you get an error that means you've won! I haven't implemented any other rooms yet so it just gets stuck when it tries to move you on to the next one currently.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Game 04 - Gravity Game 0.1: Back to Game Maker

Download Link to Gravity Game 0.1

Arrow Keys - Move and Jump (It changes depending on which direction gravity is pulling you)

I've compiled quite a large list of games I'd like to make now so I just decided to start on the one I wanted to make the most right now. That game is 'Gravity Game' (name subject to change).

I felt like the platforming sections in the side-scroller parts of Super Mario Galaxy were under-explored, or at least, could be explored further. I'd like to see what I can do with this idea.

The film 'Patema Inverted' was also an inspiration. The way they both rely on each other to 'stay afloat' is a super nice metaphor for their relationship.

I've spent about 3 hours so far trying to make the platforming feel nice and implementing the gravity changing areas. This 'level' is merely a place to test things out, it won't be in the actual game =P.

I have an awesome plan for the aesthetic of this game but it'll be difficult to implement.

 You might be able to guess where I'm going already

PS. this is not the final art style. This is programmer art =P

Friday, 1 August 2014

Game 03 - Shape-A-Shape: Download

Here is the download link for Shape-A-Shape: Print and Play Edition

1x Rules and Instructions
2x Shape Sheets
1x Object Cards
1x Answer Cards (print 7 times)

All criticism is welcome.