The aforementioned project that I found that I think other people might actually be interested in finally got a name and a writeup. It’s named Star. Ship. Story. and the basic gist is skill based co-op with a procedurally generated world and short form gameplay so you’re always in a unique setting and the game only expects 30 or so minutes of your time. There’s lots of details at that link so I encourage you to head over there if you want more info.
Another Phoenix IGDA game jam has brought forth yet another game. This time around the theme was much more open ended with 5 options to choose from (you had to pick at least 2). An artist, Blake Bjerke, was “assigned” to me by the jam’s organizer Tyler Coleman and for which I was very grateful to have. Blake turned out to be quite a competent artist and he was able to produce assets at a rate that often exceeded my ability to get them into the game (and looked quite good to boot!).
The themes we chose were torque and wholesale. The original design involved launching a taxi full of customers through a city in order to deliver them with as little force needed as possible. The eventual design strayed from this a bit, as the city setting was not very interesting and the concept of customers in a taxi was too hard to get across in such a short time frame. So we settled on a capsule full of colors delivering to stations that matched the same color. With a bit of extra time those colors could easily become passengers, or widgets, or energy, or whatever fluff was needed for the final presentation.
I ended up wasting about 6 hours trying to get the capsule pathing around corners to look good and work consistently. In the end I opted for my original solution, which had some problems that could be covered up by level design and a hacky little “fix up” script that looked for errors in the capsule placement and corrected them. In the end, I thought of a solution that would actually work in all situations and be free from the issues that plagued each of my 3 prior attempts, but there was at that point no time to implement it. So if you see the capsule stray from inside the tube and then snap back, that’s my hacky solution at work.
On the design front, the variety of puzzles we were able to create felt a bit limited. We had several hours at the end to just make levels, which was a fantastic change of pace for my normal game jam timeline. The problem was, we needed another special type for one of the tubes to add some more tools to our palette. It’s easy to come up with a handful of ideas, we just were constrained by time. I believe the first and last levels of the main game are the best we created, but even those feel quite basic and easy to solve. With a few more components I believe we could have some devilishly difficult challenges, as befits any proper puzzle game.
Overall I’m quite pleased with how this one turned out. It’s certainly the most polished game I’ve created in a game jam and it feels nice to have something playable and mostly complete. My goal this jam was to build the tech part as fast as possible so I’d have a long time to polish and refine. My capsule pathing issues sort of held that goal back, so that’s something to consider for next time. I should have just taken my hacky solution and stuck with it from the beginning. That would possibly have bought me the time to implement a new pipe type that would have provided a lot more interesting puzzle design.
Well I’ve been rather silent on this blog for quite some time so I wanted to post a bit of what I’ve been working on.
This game includes:
- Sailing around and shooting stuff
- Procedurally generated worlds
- And of course, buried treasure
Target platform is online gaming portals such as Kongregate. ETA is still unknown but now that the game is moving along again at a good pace I expect it to be within a month or so. I know, famous last words…
If you’ve ever heard of this “esport” thing but never really got what it was or why people would be as passionate about some game as they are about, say, soccer, I have some videos for you. First off is the well known and very excellent Day Daily Episode #100 in which Sean “Day” Plott recalls how the game of Starcraft has influenced and shaped his life. What I only recently came across was two videos relating to the 2005 WCG USA finals that coincides nicely with Sean’s story. It’s fascinating to see big esports personalities such as Artosis and Tasteless right before they “made it” and started their professional careers. Hope you enjoy.
Day Daily Episode #100
WCG 2005 Footage
WCG 2005 Footage cut with episode #100
In case anyone didn’t notice, I’m not doing updates as blog posts here anymore, but on a page dedicated to the visual editor. Also, I’ve stopped maintaining my own unity package and have just been releasing new versions to the asset store.
This is a highly delayed post, mainly because I was waiting on Unity 3 to not be in beta anymore, and then once the full release happened my project crashed when opening. Well that’s all resolved now and I can finally publish UFO No!. This game was produced on the weekend of August 13, 2010 at a game jam hosted by UAT. The theme was “continuous motion” which I thought was a great theme for a game jam, much better than most.
I worked with a partner this time, an student artist from UAT named Arielle. She did some fantastic work and far exceeded my ability to implement features to use the artwork she created. One of our biggest issues was that since Unity was still in beta I couldn’t get a copy for Arielle to use for level design and layout. So a larger portion of my time went into level layout than I would have liked. Which leads me to all easily identifiable mistakes I made:
Mistake #1 – Choosing the wrong tool. Not Unity in general, but the Unity 3 beta. I should have just started the project in Unity 2.6 so we each could have a copy to work from.
Mistake #2 – Building the wrong game. When we developed the general idea for the game it quickly evolved into humans being hunted by a big alien ship. Initially we drew out a 2d design but my eyes being bigger than my (programmer) stomach I bit off a nice big chunk of 3d. Visions of using the detonator framework to make awesome cinematic cutscenes ran roughshod over what would have been a far superior game in 2d. In the end the 3d gameplay made the level design and basic character control much more complex than it needed to be leaving not enough time for creating more level and refining the game.
Mistake #3 – Spending too much time on things that don’t matter. I got distracted by the shiny pebble of awesome cinematic cutscenes when I should have been building more levels or implementing a proper menu system. Those things are not sexy though and so the cutscene won out. This was not a situation where theatrics wins out over weak gameplay.
So that about wraps it up. Not the most successful game jam game I’ve ever done, but not a terrible distaster either. Thanks again to Arielle for putting up with me for 48 hours and building basically any asset I asked for on super short notice.
I fondly remember playing Oregon Trail back on a Commodore in elementary school. Now the joy of dying to dysentery and running out of food is joyfully updated and brought to a modern audience via Organ Trail. Yep, Oregon Trail + Zombies = Awesome.