Monday, April 28, 2014

Ludum Dare 29 #1 - Agents & Assassins

This last weekend I competed in Ludum Dare, which is a 48 hour international game jam. This time though, I did it with the folks of Jamalaide, Adelaide's own game jam group. There wasn't a very big turn out but it was a pretty fun experience nonetheless, if not also stressful and busy.

The jam theme was "Beneath the surface", which wasn't the most interesting theme but led to some interesting interpretations. I went hard literal and based it on the quote from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and the built the game around trying to route out dissenters hiding beneath the surface of Rome's neighborhoods. I also had a side challenge of hiding the "Tree of Life" in there somewhere, which I managed to secret in there.

Getting something made in 48 hours was tough but mechanic-wise I got the basic stuff in there. I spent way too long coding things in unnecessary ways, like dynamically placing the city layout and how the enemies are handled... Things that would be great if this was something I was actively developing but not great when I could've used that time for polish/better graphics/better bells and whistles. More on that in the upcoming postmortem.

If you'd liked to have a go, the game's Ludum Dare page is here, or you can play it at my website here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Repeat After Me #1- Programmer art ahoy

After the Cyberpunk Jam I decided to continue with previous blog name-drop Drew Fellows on another game of his own design, which is now "Repeat After Me". It seemed like a relatively easy build, but at the same time was going to offer a chance to learn some other features of GameMaker that I hadn't got around to learning yet, so it seemed like a fun little project to do.

I had intended to do this post last night, but I seem to have a habit of coding myself into infinite loops while working on this game, so I didn't really want to stop and call alpha until I had that sorted out. If you want to see progress so far, check it out here:

Drew has handled the basic design and will be handling look and feel, but I'll be doing construction and tuning it I'm guessing. At the moment, the basic mechanic is in and working, but it's very rough. Also it's not exactly suited to a computer, but it runs fairly well on mobile/tablet.

Anyway, it's late and I'm tired. I'm not sure if I'll move on from this dev for the moment or get my iOS developer license and make a demo. If I move on though, I might do a quick pass of the main website or move back to Mighty Hammer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Apex Diver #2 - Demo's ain't dead

Have an android device? Know how to install apps? Why not check out my first android game!
Download it here :

So from what I was saying the other day:
- It now scales depending on what your phone can handle. Scaling to screen size should be fine and most current phones should be able to run it fine with scanlines and lighting effects turned off. I'm pretty confident this is working as expected.

- Tracking and analytics are somewhat in. It's a really basic implementation, and at the moment I'm not sure if it's working or if using Google Analytics is the right choice. I figured I may as well make stand alone copies that I can just test randomly in the meantime. There's a lot of room for improvement but I'll make sure it actually works before messing with it anymore.

- Ads are in too. They work as they should (I'm pretty sure) but they came with a couple of odd problems that I need to remember for next time. Firstly, they need to be placed according to the device width/height... using the room as reference ended up with it sitting off center. Secondly, while the shaders are on, it drops performance a fair bit (enough to drop my galaxy S3 from showing lighting effects to showing no effects). I was tossing up between having an onscreen banner or having ads appear after retrying or something similar, so the performance loss alone might be reason enough to change it.

- I totally forgot to look into storing user preferences/high scores, so that's not going to be a thing until the next time I come around to Apex Diver.

This is probably as much as I'm going to do on Apex Diver for at least a week. Onto something different in the meantime...