ludum dare

Certainly been a while!

Wow, I have not updated this site in quite some time! So much has happened since my last post on April 20th. For starters, I participated in Ludum Dare 33 and produced a game called Eat Humans:

I was fairly happy with the entry, but the gameplay was kinda...meh. I barely did any focused play testing...maybe 15 minutes. As with all my previous entries, I nearly ran out of time. Mostly because I was learning so much on the fly. It was one of my best Ludum Dare experiences to date and I am expecting my next entry to be even better.

Right after Ludum Dare 33 I had to start packing for our move to our new home. I was away from doing any game development for several weeks. In November, I slowly started getting back into the groove and planned on doing Ludum Dare 34.  However, after a half day into the jam, I had to call it quits for several reasons. One, my wife needed my help. Two, I didn't have Monday off work.  I did end up with a decent idea that I will be developing later into a mobile game, but I am currently working on one and need to get that finished first. Speaking of which, I will be meeting up with Ryan Looney of Electric Ally Music on Sunday to discuss the audio for my upcoming mobile game: Core Influence.

The current version for Core Influence is much different in gameplay than my Game Jam Entry version. I am not sure how well this game will be received or if it will provide me with some supplemental income, but I am really looking forward to finally releasing a game that I am proud of.

I bought an android tablet from Best Buy on Thursday, so I can hand it over to collaborators and play testers. It is a Digiland 7" Tablet and it only cost $50 and some tax. The only thing that was a bit of a pain was loading the drivers so that I can build directly to it from Unity. These little tablets are a decent way to get your game into the hands of some play testers without having to worry too much over the cost of a device.

Tonight, I set up a way to allow for loading/streaming assets from a google drive folder into the game. Sending out links for collaborators to upload files to a google drive folder is a cinch and updating the files by right clicking the file and selecting "Manage Versions..." is pretty awesome. Older versions are kept for 30 days, but unfortunately right now you can't switch between the versions to make one the current version.  However, with a bit of coding and switching up the workflow slightly, switching between versions can happen.

First Game Jam - Ludum Dare MiniLD #58

I'm glad I took part in the MiniLD before heading into Ludum Dare #32.  I learned so much about actually taking a game idea from the conceptualization stages to getting the game into a working, playable state.  I've created small games before, but nothing that I've actually put out into the world and into the hands of the people who kindly gave it a playing chance.  I did not think I would actually get a game done within the 48 hours, but I guess staying up late and doing all those tutorials over the weeks leading up to this jam to prepare myself was worth the time.  Much of that was just review and learning better ways to manage code, mostly.    I'm happy with how the game turned out and it is always fun to see projects come to fruition.

Since I wanted to know if I could actually complete something within the 72 hours for the jam (minus sleeping 6 hours/night <my daily average/week>, eating, bathroom breaks, whatnot), I left myself with 48 hours.  I finished just under that mark; timing myself with my iPhone stopwatch, whenever I did anything related to the game over the week.

Some of what I wrote down was just quick ramblings, but my creative process is pretty much throw every idea on the table and sift through for what is good.

Some of what I wrote down was just quick ramblings, but my creative process is pretty much throw every idea on the table and sift through for what is good.

I started out with a short one liner: “A game where the player must defend their core element from negative influences and allow positive influences to add to their core”, then worked the PONG theme into that.  The one liner came out of the thought of the influences that we encounter throughout our life cycle and how we reject or accept those influences; developing ourselves as a result of those encounters.

Originally, I planned to have one mode that involved a strange idea, which you can read under "SCORING" above. &nbsp;The game board was divided into 4 equal parts in respect of this idea of 4 different personality types. &nbsp;Not sure how successful this would have been, but&nbsp;I have the code to enable such a game mode. &nbsp;There would be a level&nbsp;tree of sorts with different stages&nbsp;you would have to max out to get that 90-100% overall completion. &nbsp;I opted to do something that would not take such a long time to tweak the gameplay as best as possible in the time given.

Originally, I planned to have one mode that involved a strange idea, which you can read under "SCORING" above.  The game board was divided into 4 equal parts in respect of this idea of 4 different personality types.  Not sure how successful this would have been, but I have the code to enable such a game mode.  There would be a level tree of sorts with different stages you would have to max out to get that 90-100% overall completion.  I opted to do something that would not take such a long time to tweak the gameplay as best as possible in the time given.

From there I began jotting down ideas and sketching out scenarios into a notebook.  Once I got enough down, I opened up illustrator and photoshop to make my initial game art to get things started in Unity.  Throughout the whole development process, I learned so much and found focal points of study to improve my skills.

I did not get to incorporate the other feature I had planned for the current play style, which involved "Contamination Influences", as below:

I am planning on continuing to develop this game further and release it on the Google Play store.  It does not cost much to register and I need the experience submitting it to a digital store.  I am hoping to have the game running on my tablet by next weekend.  It shouldn't be too difficult, as I've already done several other small test games.

Next game jam is #1 Game A Month.  During that time is Ludum Dare #32.  Then, More Is Better.  I really like the Indie Game Jams timeline. Fun times ahead!