#1GAM December14 – Unreal 4

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This time of the year is rather busy so I decided to stick to something small this month and end the year on a laid back little project. This month I’ve started dusting off some of my old unreal 3/UDK knowledge and learning Unreal 4.

I followed one of the tutorial series over on the Unreal Engine youtube channel which put together a neat little level. Using this as a foundation, I tweaked, expanded and swapped out some elements to create a simple little level.

I’ve barely touched the surface with the blueprint system but managed to add my own set of swinging doors as a first step. It looks to be quite powerful so I’m excited to play around some more!

Nothing too fancy, but a good introduction to the engine.

With this submitted, I’ve managed to complete another year of One Game A Month. I look forward to next year.

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#1GAM September 14 – Progressing

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This month has started fairly well. While I’m still finding the move to Gamemaker rather annoying at times, I’ve made some decent progress and my comfort level is improving.

The game is still very much a prototype but I’m liking what it is becoming. The idea was inspired in part by a Warioland 2 level in which the player had to charge through the walls, roof and floor around them to move between rooms. Also serving as inspiration is a Mario Party 5 mini game where you race to be the first to ground pound through all the blocks.

Out of this comes the basic idea for my game – a randomly generated area that the player can destroy in all directions. Destruction will reveal collectables, enemies and upgrades for their miner. Their goal is to reach a set position before the time runs out. I want the game to be pick up and play with plenty of juicy extras to keep the gameplay interesting.

My focus has been getting the player movement and actions feeling as slick as possible. For the first week I worked towards getting the basics up and running; platformer movement and destruction.
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This past week, I’ve been working on tightening things up as much as possible; getting destruction in all directions working pretty well and getting the controls more responsive. I also added some simple animations to give a bit of an idea of where I might go art-wise.
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For the rest of the month I’ll be working on the actual game loop, essentially, giving the player a goal with success and failure conditions.

#1GAM May – Public Domain Jam

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My, May was a busy month but I’ve managed to keep my #1GAM streak going thanks to Public Domain Jam! The game is called Patience and is based on the poem of the same name by D.H. Lawrence. Play it here.

The jam went okay for me. I had a rough idea going in and had found a really lovely poem by D.H. Lawrence which was to be my basis. The game took a little while to come together into something playable and I’m still not happy with it really. But what can I say it was about 2.5 days work so I can’t expect magic in that time, especially given that I got really sick on the Friday and had to rush to submit before feeling worse.

The annoying thing was that the jam time was extended last minute and the rules tweaked to allow public domain assets to be used. The time wasn’t an issue as I was sick anyway but the asset thing bummed me out a bit. I spent a good chunk of time working on a backing music track because I’m no good at it, this time could have been spent on other aspects (and the music which you know actually be good) if I had the option to choose public domain music from the start.

All that aside the jam went well, @gritfish did a great job organising it! This was my first jam outside of GGJ and I’m happy with my results:

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Check out the winning entries and more at here.

Now back to Reversal!

#1GAM April – Updates galore

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I’ve neglected my blog recently so I’ll catch you up on what has been happening.

#1GAM April

For my April entry to One Game A Month, I created a short little game in just over a day. The  game is called ‘Belong’ and was inspired by this GDC panel. It turned out reasonably well and I’ve been happily surprised by the response from peers.

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Click the image to play Belong.

Reversal

Reversal is at a bit of a roadblock currently. I’ve gone ahead with development adding in 20 more levels since first reveal in March. I haven’t revealed much since then simply because I’m not happy with it. The second level set (levels 11 through 20) turned out really well and plays with a new mechanic of destructible walls.

A level from the second set. Note the destructible wall in the top left.

A level from the second set. Note the destructible wall in the top left.

The third set (levels 21 through 30) is not going as smoothly. These levels introduce lines which aren’t always straight and are proving to be tricky to achieve. It seems as though each day I sit down to work on the game, I’m met with a new bug that I hadn’t seen the day before. This is making development really frustrating and killing motivation to continue working on the project.

A level from the third set. Note the angled line in the top right.

A level from the third set. Note the angled line in the top right.

I’m resigned to the fact that I may need to remove the set all together and opt for a different or simplified mechanic, It is just not worth the struggle if the game will be worse off because of it.I have to remember that this is okay. I’ve only been working on the game for two months and have achieved a fantastic amount thus far. It will get there eventually.

I’ve already got a big list of things to change, tweak and add so I’ll will keep at it and think about getting some feedback from players.

Check out the game here.

IndieCade

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In a slight spur of the moment decision I’ve submitted Devolution to IndieCade. I’m mostly interested in the feedback received from the judges as I’d like it to help spark some inspiration into the game’s further development. Fingers crossed it is received okay.

Check out Devolution here.

#1GAM Feb14 – Local Multiplayer

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Earlier this month I mentioned that my iteration goal was to improve path generation by removing the appearance of long boring paths. Turns out that only took me a few more days of head scratching to fix up and it’s now working perfectly!

The rest of the month has been extremely productive:

  • I’ve changed up the UI. I’ve simplified the buttons making them sleeker and there are now paused/quit menus for every scene.
  • I’ve added more levels. Now from level 11 to around about 16 the grid spawned has an added level of difficulty with pulsing scale and colour changes.
  • Removed the timer and score elements instead opting for an accuracy rank. This has also improved the levelling system.
  • Added a local multiplayer mode.

Get the game here (android tablets, PC, OSX and Linux builds available).

Local multiplayer is something I’m quite excited about. It came about because I was feeling down about the game and struggling to see how to improve it. I looked through my design doc and remembered I wanted to try a multiplayer mode so decided to give it a try.

Basically, two players are shown a grid and must remember where the barriers are. Each take turns revealing squares (similarly to pool, their turn will end if they hit a barrier). The player with the most squares wins. I want it to become a game for train, car or plane rides where you and a friend are stuck together with little to do.

I’ve already started working to improve the mode for next month – allowing players to select difficulty, the number of rounds played and their colours. I took the game along to IGDA Sydney’s Beer and Pixels event and while I was rather shy, those who played it liked the premise.

#1GAM Onwards to February

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wanderlust-gamejolt-newI’ve made some great progress with Wanderlust and have already submitted it to onegameamonth.com as my Jan14 entry. Some of the notable changes for the Jan build include:

  • Basic level system (Tutorial, through to level 10) including progress save
  • Pause screen
  • Android, PC/Mac/Linux standalone builds
  • Changes to input
  • UI scaling according to device resolution
  • Tweaks to path generation

This month is more of the same really; tweak, add and improve. My big aim for Feb is to fix up the path gen even more – the long lines I mentioned in my previous post. Anything beyond that will be awesome!

I’ve decided to use itch.io for distribution while I’m in development (the goal being that once at a suitable level of completion I will put the game up for sale on other marketplaces such as google play). The decision was kind of made for me by the way the google play store handles free. I didn’t want to charge for the game while it was incomplete but the store doesn’t let you swap between free and paid. This way I have the game up for download at what ever price the user wants to pay, even if that is zero which is more than fine.

Also, the marketing side of things is proving to be tricky so itch.io is a great place to test things out without too much risk.