So, it’s half-way through June, and things have been going pretty well!
Firstly, I’ve been working on my LD entry, DropPix. I’m giving it a Mayan/Aztec makeover, and hoping to get it released this month. Here’s a screenshot:
There are still bugs, and a whole bunch of things to add to it, but I’m happy with how it’s coming along.
The second thing I want to mention is the Midsummer Jam Week, a game-jam being run by Folis this week. The theme is “growth”, and I decided to use it as an opportunity to finally start work on Beard SImulator 2013. I’ve been recording short videos to show how the game is going, which you can watch here. I’ve yet to tackle the really tricky stuff, like facial recognition, but I already have a big picture of my face with a fake beard you can shave off, so it’s off to a good start.
I’m not sure I’ve spoken about BeardSim before actually, so here’s the idea: You take a photo of your face, and your bard hair grows each game-day. There’s a shaving segment, and you he attributes based on how well-shaven you are: Attractiveness, Coolness, and Respectability. Gradually, you rise through the ranks of society with only your well-maintained facial hair. And then you share pictures of your bearded face to impress your friends with.
The amount of stress I experienced in trying to finish Turn by Turn Racing the past few days made me want to analyse what I did wrong. Why didn’t I finish it? Why did I get so stressed about it? Below is what I think my problem is.
So! My turn-based racing game, now known as Turn by Turn Racing, is my May entry for 1GAM. It’s unfortunately still not done, but I think it’s complete enough to submit anyway.
This game has been giving me so much trouble, and it’s frustrating because people seem to like it! (Caution: Rant incoming.)
For one thing, physics is hard, even when using an existing library. Things bug-out for confusing reasons. Physics libraries themselves are immensely complex. I have a race replay system which is disabled, because the physics is non-deterministic (it gives different results each time). I think this might be a timing issue: Ideally, all the turns should be precisely 1 second long, but thanks to floating point maths, or something, the turn length varies a tiny amount.
Apart from replays not working, it also means my various hopes for multiplayer can’t work, because it’s possible both players would see themselves as winning.
The physics is broken in other ways, too. Cars sometimes start pinging around, which as far as I can tell, would require an unpleasant rewrite of how steering works, to fix.
Basically, I’m tired, and irritable, and it’s been winding me up. I still hope to release a full, paid version on desktops and Android, but I need a break first.
My idea this month was a racing game where you don’t directly control the car, but tell it what to do, then watch it go – somewhat like Frozen Synapse. I mentioned a couple of the ideas behind it a little while ago.
It’s still very rough, but I’ve uploaded a playable (download) version here. (Alas, I haven’t figured-out how to get applets to work yet.) I’d really appreciate it if you could give it a go, and tell me what you think, either in the comments below, or on Twitter.
To play, you adjust the two sliders, the top one being steering, and the lower one is acceleration – forward and reverse. When you’re happy, click ‘Go’. The car will move for a second, then you can give it new orders.
The current track is pretty dull, and there are other things I’d like to add – AI players would be good, as would some nicer graphics. We’ll have to see how much I can get done by the end of the month!
This week, two things have come-up on twitter: Games played through twitter, and farming as a mechanic. I thought the two make a good match: farming involves a lot of waiting an inaction, and a twitter game shouldn’t need constant input! So, here’s some of my ideas:
- You have a certain number of ‘plots’, starting with just one or two. Each plot is an empty field with nothing planted. You can buy additional plots if you have enough money.
- You choose what to plant in each plot.
- Time is accelerated somehow, as waiting a year for something to be harvestable would be really boring! Perhaps one real-life week per in-game month.
- There’s some sort of weather simulation – if it’s dry, you might have to water crops to stop them dying.
- More drastic weather conditions can occur too – floods and droughts. Also, insect infestations and crop diseases.
- There’s a basic economical simulation based on supply and demand. Demand randomly varies over time, and supply is based on how many other players are selling a specific crop.
- You can perform one action per day, such as irrigating a field, or spraying with pesticide, or fertiliser. For additional actions, you need to hire workers which cost money per day.
The idea is something that you can spend 5 minutes on a day, and make gradual progress.
I had intended to complete Disco Dungeon in February. Then, I intended to complete it in March. It is still not done.
This month, I just haven’t managed to complete a game. It’s a bit disappointing – I attempted to create something quick near the end of March, to not miss a month, but trying to create something in only a few days was too stressful. I started and gave-up on two projects.
I think part of my problem is that I don’t want to create the sort of things that are easily doable in a month with plenty of time for polish. Breakout, or space invaders, or whatever. I feel I have to create new, exciting things, and they have to be polished. It doesn’t take a genius to realise you can’t fit a multi-moth project in a single month. And to make matters worse, I have a lot of ‘off’ days, when the depression or the withdrawal from medication mean I don’t get anything done.
ANYWAY! I have made some progress on Disco Dungeon – you can select a song from your computer to play, and… some other things that have slipped my mind. (I should blog more often…) It’s not really a game yet though, as you have no way to heal except pressing ‘h’ as a test of the healing and status-effects code. You can’t win, just lose by dying to monsters. Still, I’m making it public now because I think I’ll switch to a different project in April, try and actually finish something, or at least get the idea out there as a prototype.
Download Disco Dungeon (10.3MB, Executable Java file, should hopefully run on Win/Mac/Linux, by downloading you agree not to hold me responsible for any damage this incomplete game may cause to your computer, but it never creates any files so it should be safe.)
This is basically just me brainstorming and wanting to keep this for future reference – I thought I might as well make it public in case somebody else was interested.
Lots of car customisability – being able to buy replacements for each individual part. Each component has randomised stats, and you can tune them to reroll them slightly, depending on your mechanic skill.
Components also individually receive damage, and have to be repaired or will eventually break.
In this way, the ‘permadeath’ comes from finances – if you total your car and can’t afford to replace it, you’re stuck!
I’m undecided whether you would actually be the driver, or would hire one. If you have to hire one, then you’d need to pay them, and rely on sponsorship deals and prize money. Randomly, they might upset the sponsors with a bad publicity event, based on their stats.
If you do drive the car yourself, it might be interesting to have racing be turn-based. Each step, you adjust steering and acceleration/braking, then see how these decisions play out. Perhaps the permadeath in this case would be actual death from crashing?
EDIT: It’s now playable on GameJolt here! With scores, and everything!
OK, not actually a sequel – but as I was way out of time for February’s 1GAM entry, I spent today adding some polish to Heinous Yak Destruction and putting it on Kongregate. Mostyly, this involved adding more building variety.
Unfortunately, the high scores are broken on Kong, because they’re having some issues with their server code… but I’m working on getting it on GameJolt as well – it’s taking more time than I expected, as there are a whole bunch of things to fill-in and link-up! And a whole different API to look through.
So, yeah, you can play the new version on Kongregate.com! And soon GameJolt.com, and hopefully high scores will work on both shortly!
The 1GAM optional theme for this month is ‘sound’, and I’ve wanted to do something generative based on audio for a while. So, a dungeon crawler where the genre of the mp3 file the player gives it determines the theme of the game. Western/country music would produce a game set in the Wild West. Rap of hiphop would be set in a city. Chiptunes and electronica would result in a neon, tron-like world.
This is potentially a crazy amount of content. The content for each theme will be stored in its own directory, with a tilesheet, entities sheet, and json files that define what enemies there are and how they behave. That way, potentially I can release a barebones game this month on desktops, and next month release an Android version, with more themes. (And adding these to the desktop version too.) I can do an Android version pretty easily because I’m using Java with libGDX. It’s pretty cool!
Unfortunately, I’ve had a bit of a slow start, but today, I finally have a 2d grid where you can walk around (smoothly sliding between grid locations) and a bunch of rooms placed, based on the mp3 file. No collisions, rooms aren’t connected, etc, but it’s finally starting to take shape!
WHOOOOOOOO! It’s the very last day of January, and MeteorBike (previously ‘Meteor Strike’, but there’s already a flash game with that name) is ready to play!
There are things about it I’m not completely happy with, but that is the nature of deadlines. It feels good to get a complete game out though!
Play it on Kongregate