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Caved In – Post Mortem

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

(originally posted on the Ludum Dare blog)

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]

Categories: ludum dare, post mortem

Torch Is Live!

May 7, 2011 Leave a comment

IT LIVES!

The post-compo version of is now live on Kongregate! Special thanks to Chris for whipping up a brilliant song in such a short time.

http://www.kongregate.com/games/alexlarioza/torch

Please report any bugs. =]

Torch Post Compo Release Coming Soon

May 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Prior to LD #20, I was working crazy hard on my first game to be sold on FGL. So when it came to that weekend, I was debating on actually doing LD or not because I needed a break. Of course I couldn’t resist the temptation and decided to make a quick game. It took me roughly 16 hours to finish Torch and I’m quite proud of what came out. Still there were things missing and bugs that needed to be fixed, so over the past week I’ve slowly built the post compo version to be put on Kongregate. All that’s left are the sounds and music, but right now I’m finally taking break. You should see it on Kong sometime next week. ;]

By the way, I’ve found a fantastic composer to aide my musically handicapped self. Definitely go check out Chris Sinnott’s work over at his website.

Categories: ludum dare Tags: , , ,

Torch – Post Mortem

May 2, 2011 1 comment

Torch is my Ludum Dare #20 entry. The theme was “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this!” I had already set my mind to making a platformer prior to the competition. Once the theme was chosen, I immediately started thinking of a companion cube like object to give the player. A torch actually came to my mind first but I was scared that the lighting system would take too long. After about an hour into brainstorming I figured a torch was my best bet at an interesting game.

I first tackled the physics which took a bit of time as I had never worked on a platformer before. After a few hours I got to a point where it was acceptable even though it’s still a little buggy. The lighting system must have taken me the longest. I first tried using a similar system to Voyage of Discovery, but it didn’t fit well with a physics based platformer. I then tried the standard circle gradient but it looked way too tacky. What you see in the final version is a few hours of tweaking and browsing forums posts. I’m quite proud of the effect outside of the torch’s radius which distorts the level yet still allows the player to see what’s around them.

After the lighting, all that was left was to add hazards and create the level. After getting through a few creatures, I realized I wouldn’t have enough time to finish.  I ended up rushing the level design and only doing a few play tests. I’m disappointed that I didn’t have more time to add a few more creatures and detail the tileset before I submitted it. Nonetheless it turned out to be an interesting little game that I plan on polishing up for a post-compo release.

There’s one thing that I’d like to point out before I wrap this up:

A few people left comments about the blind jump near the end of the level. It took me a minute to realize they were talking about the ‘forked path’ section. In the image above, players who complained about the blind jump were following the red line. To actually get past this section, you are supposed to follow the green line. This was a bit of a design flaw on my part because the hidden route isn’t quite visible enough, but I figured players would see the path once they tried jumping down and dying.

For the post compo version, I plan to add fall damage, particle effects, sound effects, a sound track, more creatures, more detailed tileset, and a proper ending. Most importantly the latter. Until then…

The future of Voyage of Discovery

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

As a personal goal, I really want the game to make it on Indie Games or another popular site. It would be so awesome. =]

I’ve already started to clean up the code and fix small bugs here and there. Plus I’ve been adding more notifications of certain events and cleaning up the interface. I’ve gotten a few comments about the screen being small, so I might make it a bit larger.  Anyways, everyone loves lists! Here’s the list of things to come:

-Support for custom sprites and item stats
-Options for game play (number of pirates, starting money, etc)
-More starting conditions
-New items to be bought from colonies.
—buoys, fishing boats, defenses…
-Negative events when exploring
-Weather conditions
-Different types of pirates
-and hopefully more. =]

Ludum Dare Post Mortem

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I finally have my first complete game available on the internet. I’m happy. =] I’ve always been better at getting things done when the end product got a grade, or in this case, a rating. The first 5-6 hours into the compo was pretty easy, but the following day was a bit of a struggle with the lack of sleep. All the coffee helped keep me awake but didn’t do so well for an empty stomach. Empty stomach you ask? Yeah, I kept forgetting to eat. I’d go say “I’m hungry, but I need to finish this script before I get some food” and of course that led to “Wait, one more” then I’d eventually forget I was hungry. Horrible, I know, but I was so focused and motivated on my game. It was such a great feeling and the fact that it actually turned out fun was an even better reward. Like I said in my previous post, this isn’t the end of Voyage of Discovery. I am really proud with how it turned out and I want to push it to its full potential. Now that I’m not under a deadline, I will be rolling out new versions with new features within a few days. I’m just taking a break now and getting things in order.

Not to mention cleaning up the rushed code, though I do feel like I did a much better job and modulating the code.

Ludum Dare #19 – Voyage of Discovery

December 19, 2010 6 comments

[Sorry! Don’t know why wordpress uploaded the screenshots so small]

Download Voyage of Discovery | Ludum Dare Entry | Timelapse

To be honest, I was not expecting  this little game to turn out so well or to finish at all even. But hey, I did it! And I even finished 4 hours early. I have also learned how far I have come with my programming skills; a year ago a rouge-like was far from my capabilities to even think about doing. More importantly, I know what it feels like to finish a game…and it feels damn good.

I’ve only slept roughly nine hours over the course of this compo so I’m very tired at the time of writing this. I can’t even remember what I’ve eaten which isn’t very good at all. I had loads of fun and I’m very surprised I stayed focused and motivated throughout the entire thing.

I will most definitely be revisiting this project soon to expand on the features a bit. I will also be taking this general concept to another project I had been working on before the compo.

Special thanks to the LD community for inspiration and assistance.

Please let me know if you find any bugs. =]