Tag: 1gam

June Catch-Up, Featuring Beards

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:

screenie08There 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.

What Went Wrong

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.

I first had the roguelike racing game idea in March, but I was busy on Disco Dungeon, (another multiple-month game that didn’t get finished,) so I didn’t start on it until April. It took a while to build a prototype, but I liked the idea of turn-based racing, and quickly came-up with all kinds of ideas of cool things to add: a career mode where you carry your car from race to race, until you die in a racing accident; online play-by-mail style multiplayer; a victory dance minigame.

However, I still managed to keep myself fairly controlled with development – my todo list was split into ‘Need’ and ‘Want’ (a technique I highly recommend) and I mostly stuck to it. I was happy with all the new things I was learning – using a physics library, creating levels in Inkscape as svg files, touchscreen gestures, and generally getting familiar with libgdx, the library I was using.

Sounds pretty good, right? And it was. But as I got closer to the end of May, the second month, it felt like I never got closer to the game being complete. I’d built this perfect game in my head, and I couldn’t seem to reach it – I kept getting bugs I couldn’t explain because physics was new to me. I got frustrated with my inability to make it within what I thought was a reasonable amount of time.

Why the pressure to get a game done? Because of 1GAM: One Game A Month. Releasing a game in a month is possible. Plenty of others are managing it, and after all, I can make a game in a weekend during Ludum Dare, so a month is plenty of time, right?

Wrong. Sure, a game is possible, but I’ve been trying to make games that are too big and too polished to manage in a month. Three months is more likely, and even that might be too little. I’ve been giving myself unrealistic goals, and trying to reach them has affected me very negatively.

The only game I’ve made start-to-finish within a month so far is my LD entry DropPix. Every other month I’ve rushed to try and complete something, and often failed. So, I’m not going to worry about 1GAM any more. I’m in no way leaving – I love the community, and incentivising game development is great – but it won’t be the focus any more. Completing a game will be a nice bonus, not the be-all-and-end-all.

May 1GAM: Turn by Turn Racing

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.

Disco Dungeon is Not Done

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.)

February 1GAM: Disco Dungeon! (Working Title)

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!

Meteor Strike Update

I’ve switched over to working on Meteor Strike for 1GAM as it’s almost complete, and Goblin Fortress needs a lot more time. Last week I fixed some issues and gave the player a nice rotating biker sprite. Today I tried making music, realised it was harder than I expected, and found some on http://incompetech.com instead. That’s all in, after some confusing issues where one track wouldn’t play and had to be reencoded.

Still all the sounds to do, and menu graphics. And probably other things. I’m kind-of hoping to get it on flash game license, but I’m not sure if that’s a waste of time.

Goblin Fortress Dev Update 2

Today: More streaming! Whooo!

Worked on the world map some more. There are now little villages, with randomised names and population counts. You get a pop-up box when you hover over one. It’s all pretty rough-looking at the moment though – polish will come later.

Goblin Fortress

Goblin Fortress was my entry to the recent Ludum Dare 25 contest. I didn’t finish the game in the time limit, but I got some pretty positive feedback for it, so it makes sense to continue it! So it will be my January game for One Game A Month.

I only just had the opportunity to begin it today. I streamed an hour and a half of development this morning, which was fun! Mostly it was planning out what to include. I did begin on the ‘world map’ screen which will be used to send out raiding parties, though.

The current state of the game is always available on Github, if you want to take a look. In particular, there’s a todo list on there.