Into…A PIXEL SQUID! No really. I bought a domain and web hosting package this week! I have just launched the website so go check it out: pixelsquidgames.net. I will no longer be posting here as I have a new blog located at blog.pixelsquidgames.net. Farewell, lonely pixel!
Well I thought I’d do a little update here on what’s been going on with game development.
While I have had a great deal of work from school, I’ve been putting my free time into the development of the new primary project that I have dubbed GRIDNET for the time being. The best description I have right now: it’s a mash up of Geometry Wars and Magicka tossed into a vertical shmup. Some other notable features; 3,001 attack combinations, perks, experience/levels, random stages, and modular bosses. The game is still in fairly early production stages so I can’t post any decent screen shots at the moment.
I’m also working on a graphical dwarf-fortress like game, a project I’ve been meaning to start for awhile now. I used Caved In‘s level generation as a base to get me started. It’s not very far along, but I’m happy that I’ve finally got it started. I hope to release it in the future as a free game for everyone to enjoy. =]
Of course I have a few other games I want to do after the primary project which includes a new version of Voyage of Discovery and a new game based on Expelliarmus‘s core mechanics. Both of which I am very eager to begin, but will have to wait until I finish GRIDNET.
The post-compo version of Caved In is now live! I’ve fixed a few bugs, added a proper menu, Mochi API, and a compass that points to the ladder on each level. Enjoy!
It still amazes me what someone can accomplish in 48 hours, especially when it comes to making video games. There is so much that goes into make a game – artwork, sounds, game design, programming, etc – that I am surprised what comes out of Ludum Dare is even playable. Nonetheless, most of the games I’ve looked at so far are awesome! I’m going to try and not touch any more though until the ratings open up. Anyway, this is supposed to be a post mortem.
When I was first presented with the theme, I immediately thought of rouge-likes. Mostly because in such games, you are always put in situations where your two options are fight or flee (escape). Not to mention, once you get to the bottom you have to escape all the way back to the surface with your prize. This how the ascending from the depths mechanic came about.
Of course Minecraft and Terarria had some influence here, but just because I wanted some sort of destructible terrain. There really isn’t any sandbox elements present unless you like channeling water and lava away from you. Either way, going in this direction allowed me to explore tile maps in Flashpunk/AS3. I have used them before in a couple of my past games, but not to this extent. Prior to Caved In, I only used tile maps for platformers or any games with some sort of pre-defined level. In this case, I am procedurally generating entire levels that the player can interact with – every single block is manipulable.
In my first LD game, Voyage of Discovery, every tile was an individual entity which caused some pretty bad frame rate issues but since it was turn-based, it wasn’t too much of a problem. Obviously the same technique wouldn’t have done too well in Caved In as there are 875 blocks per level, but the tile map technique does wonders! Yet, as expected, the code is VERY messy since I was sprinting through the whole thing. I always want to add more than what I can comfortably do in 48 hours.
The rest of the game was the usual, nothing new. I will be revisiting this someday as I want to make a graphical, simplistic, and user friendly game similar to dwarf fortress. Until then…
Ludum Dare Entry [ORIGINAL]
Play Caved In [POST COMPO]
I started work on SpaceJunk back in March with an idea from my desktop background at the time. I had originally intended the game to be a month long project in order to get my feet wet with Flash development and selling games on FGL. It ended up turning into about a three month project that I put about roughly 60-70 hours into. When comparing the original idea with the current, feature complete game I realize how much it has evolved. I had imagined the game to be an endless, but I had soon realized that the game play became quite stale. A few friends made jokes about battling other planets, but I took it to heart and added them as bosses. As with my other games, SpaceJunk started out with a very steep difficulty curve that I slowly brought down after the months of development. Even now there are people still complaining about difficulty, but statistics show that at least half are reaching the end so I am content (as most could not even beat the first boss before!) All in all, I’m very happy with the way this game turned out. I’d like to once again thank Chris Sinnott for working with me through the last leg of the project and writing some kickass music. The both of us plan to continue our work together on future games. I’d also like to thank my friends who did a lot of play tests while I was working on the game, especially Eric Liaw.
What I Have Learned (Aside from the various technical things related to Flash)
- Record the hours you’ve spent working on the game, its more important than you think.
- No matter how harsh feedback can be, you need it to make the game please a wide audience.
- Really do think about how the code will be organized beforehand as proper organization is key to an efficiently and sanity.
- Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, other developers were once in your shoes.
- No matter how hard you work on obvious tutorials and in-game tips, the majority will not read them anyway.
- Pace yourself while working on the project as it will help prevent burn out.
- Create to do lists and goals to help fuel your motivation.
SpaceJunk has finally reached the feature complete stage! I am going to leave it up for general testing and feedback for about a week before I put it up for sponsorship. I’m very happy that it’s done and excited to see how it will do! I’m going to write up a post mortem here in the next few days.