#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!

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#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.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.14.23 pm

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.

I’m Looking At You 2013

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I’m excited at the prospect of the new year. I’m pretty keen to start 2013 off on a much happier note than 2012 and kick my game dev up a notch. This year has proved to me that I really do love making games but I’ve struggled to take any projects through to the end. That is going to change in 2013 as I’ve signed on for One Game a Month (all the details are here if you’re wondering).

As the name suggests I’ll make one game a month. So far I’ve got a bunch of ideas ready to take further and am pretty darned excited to get into it, at this stage I’m unsure whether Perception will be included but you never know. Hopefully out of all this my coding and art skills will grow exponentially and my design ability challenged in new ways plus as a bonus get to know more peeps from the awesome game dev community.

I’m still figuring out a game plan but for now I’m thinking:

  1. One week for rapid prototyping and general concept development
  2. Two weeks working through and refining the core gameplay + art adding desirable/secondary elements where possible
  3. With the final week spent on more refinement through some testing (I’m looking at you buddy) and technical implementation (i.e. making sure it’s playable by others via web etc.)

I would also like to get together with some buddies of mine (you know who you are) for a month or two so hopefully I’ll be able to report some awesome team-ups!

I guess that’s all I’ve got for now so have a Merry Christmas and all the jazz, stay safe and I’ll see you guys in the new year!

Some Super Awesome Links

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Just a short note to give a bit of a shout out to some websites I am finding really useful currently.

#AltDevBlogADay

#AltDevBlogADay is a wonderful site where there are, you guessed it, daily posts about game dev. It is super interesting and quite easy to spend hours at a time just absorbing as much info as possible. They have a massive line up of writers with varying degrees of industry experience who talk about everything from getting a leg up into the industry to practical tools for game creation. It’s truly awesome check it out! http://altdevblogaday.com/

IndieBits

IndieBits is also an excellent resource! It provides all sorts of info in getting started as an indie developer, how to stay motivated and much needed tips on the business side of the industry. The site also has regular input from practising professionals which is always a useful and interesting read. Have a gander : http://indiebits.com/

Kongregate

Finally, Kongregate a site which is home to tens of thousands of free games. What good is being part of the games industry if you don’t play a few games once in a while. The site also a potential way for developers to earn some cash as they offer developers percentages of ad revenues, have regular cash prize contests and even sponsor talented developers. Kongregate is a site I hope to use in the future as means to get my games out to the community and I encourage any and everyone to do the same! http://www.kongregate.com/

Current Project: ‘High’

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So the individual project I mentioned in my earlier post today is a game called ‘High’. It’s a small simple 2D game where you attempt to gain the highest score by staying airborne as long as possible. I’m creating it with unity3D with the intentions of a multi-platform release at some point (unity is an excellent and flexible tool for achieving this).

I’ll be doing pretty much everything in the project at this stage with some help in the art department from my sister Lucy. It’s my first programming project in a while so it’s somewhat daunting but I know I’ll achieve my goals if I just work at my own pace.

Below is a concept image with a style that I think is achievable with my current skill level. It’s also working really well with the proof of concept/prototype work I’ve been doing.

Hopefully I’ll update again soon with some gameplay footage in the coming few weeks.

2011: A Year of Firsts

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So I’ve been pretty absent from my website for close on a year now. This is primarily because in 2011 I got my first gig in the gaming industry; I was a games designer for Foundation Mobile (now known as Foundation Games) and really didn’t have a whole lot of time to maintain the site. I say ‘was’ as, unfortunately, a month ago I was let go from the company due to financial issues. I’m thankful to have had the experience, even more so that I got to do so with some of my best friends. While there I was also lucky enough to get my name on my first shipped title ‘Lumi‘.

But enough dwelling on what was and what has gone. Right now I am working alongside my second love; comic books through a retail position at a comic book store. I’ve only been there a short while but it’s great! This doesn’t mean that I’ve left video games behind, actually quite the contrary, with the position allowing me to finally get into my own indie work.

I started my own project strangely enough on the day that I found out I had a position with Foundation. I haven’t been able to continue anything since so I’m very excited to get into it again.

This year I intend to better my skills as a programmer and 2D artist as well as cementing my skills as a designer. That said, I’ve got a few projects in the works at the moment that I feel will help me achieve this:

  • A solo unity game
  • A group UDK game
  • A group review/news/writing website
  • A secret but super awesome project

I’m proud to show you my new look website and here’s to the future!