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 made this video for a local competition of short format videos, called Nanometrajes. Sadly, I couldn’t come up with anything to make, until it was already only a few days until the deadline, so I came up with a simple plan. I didn’t have a video camera (the one I use usually is my dad’s), so I’d have to animate. I decided to use my photo camera to capture the zooming shots you see in the video, taking two steps between each frame. Since I didn’t have much of a story or context, I decided to make these oneiric, and basically make it all the interpretation of a dream. That’s how I came up with the narration, which, translated, goes as follow:
I dreamt that, in a fish tank, there was a whale. Every fish wanted to be eaten by it—they crowded in front of its mouth. The rush was such, that, shortly, only the whale was left in the fish tank. Alone, and without sustenance, the whale died.
I thought that a fable was perfect to complement visuals that didn’t have much to do with it. I meant it to represent the metropolis, but it can be read in several ways.
The other sounds all came from my own mouth. I used a Nintendo DS and NitroTracker to sample my voice, and to structure the sounds into what you hear. The video was made using After Effects. This whole project was completed in around 10 hours. […]
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.
What you see above is my computer screen during the past weekend (each hour reduced to 2.5 seconds), as I make two games for two events that were held concurrently. One is a competition called Ludum Dare, on which, during the 48 hours of its duration, participants are expected to create a game by themselves and ‘from scratch’. The week prior, participants vote on a theme. ‘Advancing wall of doom’ won this time, which is not one I’m too fond of, but I did participate and make a game. Or two, in fact, because for the other event, my usual two-hour Klik of the Month, I made a game based on the same theme.
Heart is the name of my Ludum Dare entry. The game is not final, and neither is the name, so let’s say it’s the competition version’s name. It was inspired by Stephen Lavelle’s Defect. It was made for Flash, using the Flex SDK and coded in Actionscript 3. I’ll probably post more about it in the future, when I decide that the game is finished.
I’ve completed a new videogame—another entry in another TIGSource competition. The theme, this time, is ‘cockpits’. My game is pretty much on the fringe in the way it implements the theme, though. What I originally intended to make was some manner of car driving game, inspired by the original Out Run, since I’m such a big fan of the series, and because I love the aesthetic of that kind of low-tech 3D. I might do this in the future; we’ll see how creating such an engine will go for me. But the game I ended up conceiving, because I only had roughly a week to make it (until the deadline was extended another week), is not about driving anything at all, it is merely about looking; how much more simple can a game’s interface and set of verbs get? You are still in some kind of convertible sportscar, but you’re just sitting on the passenger’s seat.
I’ve coined the term ‘narrative exploration’ to describe Viewpoints, because the very core of the concept is about exploring, but not a physical space, like in, say, Metroid, but, instead, a space of different possible stories—a narrative space. The concept itself was shamelessly ripped from Terry Cavanagh’s Pathways —a short game I can wholeheartedly recommend—, though his execution is different from mine (I’m not quite that flagrant).
Also, for this past April Fools’, I made a variation of Viewpoints and released it as if it were the finished game for the competition. I took the Out Run and Sega inspiration further, and created something quite ridiculous. I call it Winner. (It may be worth mentioning that some of the contents of this variation were taken straight from Sega-made games.)
increpare (Stephen Lavelle) just released an entry for the CODEAR Single Boss Game competition that is currently running, called Infidelidad (Infidelity). Since the competition is held by the ADVA (Video Game Developers Association of Argentina), I offered him to translate it into Spanish, and so I did. The dialogue is brief but quite comical, and I had lots of fun doing the translation. The game itself is short, but sweet. Put a smile on my face.
This is a video I made in 2007; it was my final exam for an experimental video class. It’s the story of a young girl, as she documents her own cathartic ritual. The script uses some stereotypes, to match the ingenuity and simple mind of the main character, and also to leverage immediate recognition. I also let many scenes drag on, despite the initial storyboard’s briefness, because I felt that such a contemplative style suited it best, and a fast editing would have done a disservice to the aesthetic. This was proved later, in fact, when I made a 30 seconds ‘digest’ (no subtitles) that didn’t really capture what I was after. That short version was created for an awful contest which I only entered because the topic matched perfectly: stories of sneakers, and it was an advertising campaign for a department store.
As you can see, the video could not have been made without the help of the star, Sigal, who was also the main camera-person. In fact, the concept was created around her, so, had she not agreed to help, I would have been forced to make something else entirely.
And since I’m on the subject, here’s another video I made for that same class, as an exercise in shooting and editing. All of the material was recorded at the Diana arcade in San Diego, Santiago. My original idea was to make it much more musical, but due to time constraints, I was only able to do so much. […]
I made a very quick game (though not quite as quick as the Klik of the Month ones) for a competition that is due today. The game is called The Lake, and it’s for the TIGSource Commonplace Book Competition. The objective was to create a game inspired by one or several of the brief ideas that H.P. Lovecraft jotted down in his Commonplace Book, most of which never got turned into full stories. This is what I did; my game is not ‘based on’ as much as it’s just ‘triggered’ by one of these ideas, though.
My goal was to create a game that would not take me too long to make. I wanted just a full day’s work, it ended up being three, but that’s quite okay. It was created in Construct, which truly is a great promise for the future, but so full of bugs for the time being. I managed, though. The end result is more of a short interactive story; it’s completable in about a single minute, which is a common factor for all my games so far, but in this case the experience is more focused on the narrative. I’m pretty proud of the fact that everything in the game was created by me (well, except for the engine, of course), though I wish I had the time to do something more with the sound design, which was part of the original plan.
As I mentioned above, the idea for the game just came to my mind as if it was a dream when I read one of the entries in the Book. This sounds pretty romantic, but rather than describe the creative process, I want it to be apparent that I applied very few filters on this initial flash. This is why the game may not be very coherent, or have a palpable meaning; nevertheless, it’s there, and I tried to make it as close to this initial spark as it was possible in the time that I had available to do it. I think I’ve just always had a thing for surrealism and their techniques, and this is why I like this kind of pure, unadulterated slice of subconscious, which I oftentimes value more than very produced and over-thought pieces of work. There’s more to life than logic, is what I say.