There’s a way to find things you’ve lost recently. You have to concentrate and retrace your every step, remember where you were at each time and what you did then. That technique might also work to recover a lost memory.
I could finally join another Klik of the Month Klub! Tried using Twine for the first time; it’s a tool for making ‘interactive stories’ (text games).
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to participate in this weekend’s Ludum Dare, as it had been too long since I last made (and released) a game. This time I didn’t make a fancy timelapse video or anything like, but I did spend some time on Friday learning to use the beautiful Flixel, and then the weekend bending it to my nonstandard needs. The result is a game, unlike last time, though not exactly what I set out to do. Still, it’s playable. And it fits the ‘exploration’ theme.
I made this animated GIF over a year ago, thinking of an idea for a game I envisioned for the Game Boy Advance. This game was to be a bichrome, Knytt-inspired platformer. I decided to reuse the core of this idea: that is, the running on walls and ceilings, and a tad more. It was simplified to the essence, though: the little guy won’t stop running, so all you can do is jump in order to steer him where you want to go. It feels a bit like controlling a jumping, sticky train.
I forgot to report back then, but my game, Viewpoints, got tenth place in the competition it was created for, TIGSource’s Cockpit Competition. Considering that there were 41 entries, that’s not too bad.
More surprising is that Sheets, the game I entered in TIGSource’s latest, the Adult/Educational Competition, also got me in tenth place. This is so surprising due to my making the game in a rush to get something in at all, and it being mostly just a ‘choose your own adventure’ interactive story. More so, because there were a few very good games that didn’t even make it into the top ten, such as Gregory Weir’s Silent Conversation. All I can say is that I got lucky, this time.
I had things to do and places to be Friday night and all Saturday, so only got started on my Ludum Dare entry by Saturday night. LD is a 48 hour competition in which I also participated four months ago; back then, I made Heart. This time, I didn’t get to make such a complete game. The theme was ‘caverns’, so I had planned to make a rhythmic game about flying through a cavern (okay, more like a tunnel) and avoiding obstacles to the beat. It was actually pretty hard to just get the visual effect right, so I got only as far as adding some randomized obstacles, and throwing in a sound effect upon hitting one. So, it’s far from a complete game. The code that would allow me to add in a music track and have it be synchronized to the images is already there, at least.
It was hard making this one. Or, rather, it was disappointing. It took me an hour an a half to realize that my approach was not facilitated by the software, so I ended up having to patch it up and turn it into a much simplified version of what I had envisioned.
This latest TIGSource video game competition has a double theme: adult/educational. I have to say, it’s a fantastic combination. The idea was that entrants could create a game under one or both themes. I wish more entered games had used both simultaneously, but, well, not even I did that in the end.
During most of the duration of the competition, I didn’t find the time to make my game. Also, I was finding it hard to come up with an idea. Educational games are tough to make; they require familiarity with the taught subject, therefore they involve plenty of research, usually. I wanted to make an educational game foremost, but the adult theme also intrigued me, so I was thinking of incorporating it somehow. When I finally came up with an idea, it was already too late to really consider trying it; a week wasn’t going to be enough. That idea was a puzzle game about additive and substractive color theory, which I still think is good enough to archive for a future opportunity. But since it would take me too long to make that, and educational games in general were already out of the question, I decided to just go for the other theme.
Next came the question of how to make any game in a short enough amount of time. I’ve had the idea, for some time, of creating a small engine for text-based games in Flash, which I would use to make a series of games, and which I would also release independently. Trying to plan that proved to be too difficult with my limited knowledge of programming best practices, design patterns, and whatnot. But I figured I could use the occasion of the competition to just hard code a game in that fashion, which would be an easy thing to program, and in the process figure out what kind of structure my code would need to turn it into an engine. So, by making this game, I fulfilled two goals: I entered the competition, and I learned a bit more about programming.
The game is text-only, but it does deal with subjects such as sex and rape, so it is meant for mature players.
The past five weeks I have been ‘attending’ an online course on game design, generously offered by Ian Schreiber, and named Game Design Concepts. His only condition was that one purchase the book he co-wrote with Brenda Brathwaite, precisely for the purpose of teaching, which turned out to be a very good acquisition in itself, and which I might review at some point in the future. The course itself involves a blog, a forum, and a wiki. In the blog, Ian posts, every monday and thursday, a ‘lecture’, and lists a couple of extra readings; plus, he leaves a ‘homeplay’ (as he calls it) assignment that usually consists of designing a game under certain limitations, or to make changes to an existing one. That’s when the forum comes into play, as everyone is expected to post their game and comment on a few of their peers’, to generate some inter-feedback. The wiki is mostly just an aside that has served no significant purpose other than as a space to offer translations of the different lessons.
I’ve had lots of fun reading the varied essays on games, some of which I would not have read otherwise, as they are about aspects that don’t particularly call for my attention. For instance, I’m not very inclined to reading on game systems, even though it’s pretty much the core of what constitutes a game, so it’s been very useful. The practical work has been stimulating; since I graduated from university, I’d missed that feeling of rushing things to get them in time for class, which ultimately helps to keep me active and on my toes. The course may not be the equivalent of an in-class course, but given the price of admission, it’s been fantastic.
I’ll be sharing the most noteworthy of my ‘homeplays’ in more posts to come. They’ll certainly be improved over the rather rushed state they’re at right now before I post them, though.
A few months ago, as I was waking up, and while I was halfway between being asleep and awake, I had this dream/idea for a game. When I woke up properly, I wrote it down in my sketchbook. And only a few hours ago, for this month’s Klik, I made it concrete.
Another month, another klik. I had no plan and I was late, so I just made the first thing that came to mind, which was this thing: the ultimate twitch-reflex action, color-based game. Yes, it’s that bad. Used Construct, once again, plus LMMS and sfxr for the audio.