#1GAM September 14 – Forget Me. Not.

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Earlier in the month I mentioned I was working on a prototype for this month’s game. The game is going really well but a change of circumstances means I’m going to pursue further dev on it in Unity instead of Gamemaker. I’ve been working on switching over these past few days and I’ve already matched what I was able to achieve in a month of work in Gamemaker. Oh Unity how I missed you.

Anyway, back to this month’s game. The end of the month was quickly approaching and while I had made some good progress in the GM prototype, I just wasn’t happy with it and wanted to scratch the itch of releasing something of decent polish. I had been mulling over an idea for probably most of the year but hadn’t figured out a way to implement it in a good way. The idea had been to make a game about Dementia within the context of data corruption.

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I spent about a week putting the game together and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It isn’t a long game but I feel it gets my point across with the impact I was hoping for. I shared the game on twitter and it received a really lovely response which has been a wonderful and surprising bonus!

If you’d like to play the game, Forget Me. Not, you can over on itch.io or gamejolt.

#1GAM June – Daily Levels?

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This month I have been pushing hard to get Reversal polished. This has meant removing the old yellow level set and replacing it with a new set. As much as it sucks to throw out work, the old set was just full of bugs and bringing everything else down with it – including my motivation.

This new set introduces a new mechanic – moving walls. There is still some work to be done removing various bugs and issues but the set is coming along great! You can get the new version over on itch.io (if you’d like a key to download for free I’d be more than happy to oblige).

Towards the end of the month I have spent my time tweaking UI and prototyping a possible new addition – daily levels.

The UI has really come along nicely (even since creating the below gif) and is getting nicely polished. The gif demonstrates how the game will remember which level you last played and have the level select screen bring up the relevant level set should you return to the screen.

The idea for daily levels was completely stolen from the game Lyne by Thomas Bowker. Lyne has a similar target audience and I think it is too good of an idea to leave by the wayside. So far prototyping has been going well. Of course there are a bunch of difficulties with procedural generation but I’m excited by the mode so happy to power through them. Check out some procedurally generated levels in the gallery below!

I’m planning to take a bit of a break for the next week or two. Hopefully I can still make some more progress on the daily levels and have a demo of it out by the end of july. I do have a neat meeting coming up though so stay tuned in the event anything comes of it!

#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.

#1GAM Jan14 – Moar Games

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This year my aim is to release something. I’m not entirely sure what that something is at the moment but the goal is to sell something for real world money somewhere. Nice and vague I know. Thanks to the revamp of One Game a Month (i.e. iterative work counts) this goal can also coincide with my 2014 12 game goals.

With that in mind January’s game for 2014 is an android version of Wanderlust, my December 2013 entry.

Running on Nexus 7 second gen.

Running on my Nexus 7 second gen.

Things are going pretty well. Things ported over really easily thanks to some Unity functions that work for both a mouse and touch controls. Most of my work thus far has been making things look good so basically making everything scale and place correctly no matter what the resolution. The many android devices out there make me very nervous as I’ve always been reluctant to release games untested on every device/platform I’ve targeted (hence why Linux builds are few and far between). Outside of UI work I’ve made input better suited to a touch screen, added a levelling system and added a few bells and whistles.

There are however issues. The pathways spawn far too similarly sometimes (even repeating) and they can be too easy (long lines on the same row). I’ve been having trouble figuring this out with my current code so that means I will likely need to spend more time on the game. I’m not too fussed by this at the moment as I would like to release the game on the google play store with more features I don’t have time for this month anyway.

In case you hadn’t noticed/are new here I’ve revamped my website quite a bit so let me know what you think 😀