What Time Is This?!

Six in the morning… I think I’m seeing things in my living room and I’m getting tunnel vision. I think it’s about time for me to call it a night here on my frantic programming and artistic madness. It’s probably for the best as I think I’ve got the vast majority of the major work completed… now I’ve just got to polish and add more features when I wake up in the morning/afternoon. I also need to balance the game a little as there are points where the player isn’t doing much for long periods of time, and its far too easy to kill people right now… maybe a health bar is in order?

Goodnight to all! Let’s hope I don’t sleep in too late…

Ludum Dare 25 Afternoonish Update

I’ve been working on the game most of the day and now have a working basic prototype. I’ve got to work on the art and UI quite a bit before its completed, but things are going quite well! I’ve implemented a group of board members who each have a ‘fear/doubt’ meter, when it gets to zero, they will flee and attempt to alert the authorities to your dastardly deeds. I’ve also put in a basic trapdoor trap… but I’m considering changing it into a spike trap and making things a little bit gorier.

Unfortunately tonight is also the pre-Christmas meet-up and night out with some of my friends who have just arrived home from their respective universities. So I’m going to have to put the programming on a hold for a few hours and go and have a few drinks – I hope some awesome ideas strike whilst I’m out there so I can implement them when I get back.

My First Ludum Dare!

So I just started work on my first jam for Ludum Dare. I woke up kind of late this morning so I’ve only just started programming and brainstorming for the game… whoops! This dare’s theme is “You are the Villain!” which I hope will lead to some awesome games in the end. I’ve still got fond memories of playing Evil Genius very late into the night during my teenage years and relishing every minute of it.

After a chat with Alex Saye I’ve decided on my final idea for the game, you play an evil CEO of a giant corporation. You have decided to call a meeting of all investors in order to reveal your dastardly bastardly evil plans for world domination. Of course not everyone in your company is particularly happy with this change in the company’s image… so you have to “deal” with them.

Each person at the table will have a ‘fear’ meter which will slowly drain, when it reaches the bottom they’ll dart for the door and try and escape. You have to kill them before they leave the room and blab about your plans to the local authorities. To begin with I’ll add trapdoors to the game as the most basic trap… I’ll add more if I have time. (Shark Pits, Fire-Traps, Acid Showers etc. etc.)

I hope to have a basic prototype completed before I go out tonight for a few drinks with my brother. Then I’ll polish it up early tomorrow and feature creep late into the afternoon! I’m not expecting to enter the competition this time around… considering this is my first Ludum Dare and I’ve not really planned ahead for it – so I’m not really prepared for super late-night crunches right now.

Oh, and good luck to everyone else I know who is competing!

“The Legend Of Groomp” and 1st Year Game Challenges

Each year I’ve been at the University Of Lincoln I’ve really looked forward to seeing the games made by the new first years. This year I wasn’t disappointed, there’s some real talent in that group, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them all progress through the year.

Each year the first years have been tested with the creation of a one-button game, here was my attempt. Below is 2011 video for the first year “One Button Game” challenge:

One game that really caught my eye this year (2012) was Alex Saye‘s “The Legend Of Groomp” a tower defence game, here is a basic description:

The Legend of Groomp is a simple tower defense game where you must defend against a horder of soldiers using up to nine different spells. Spells are cast by either tapping or holding the Space bar. To unlock spells, you must get experience by killing enemies. Stronger enemies give more experience!

My gosh is this game fun. It’s got a really clever take on the one button game genre, using taps and hold-downs of the space button to decide which power to use. The game itself is so juicy – spells feel incredibly good to use, even those at a low level. The spells the player can use also can chain together, for example the flame-thrower can be chained up with a push spell to set other enemies on fire!

One of my personal favourite spells is the lightning spell, as it makes enemies spasm wildly and forks across the map in a very cool way. I also love the way that catapults lob rocks at the castle, and then they bounce off under physics… hilariously killing their own men. There is so much to this game, which is especially impressive when you think that they only had two weeks to develop it from start to finish – it has a very high level of polish.

I highly recommend trying the game out it’s so good. Also it’s free to download and play… so what exactly are you waiting for?! Download it  for Windows!

If you’re interested in playing some of the other games made for the 1st year game-maker challenges, check them out here:

Good News Everyone!

Today I received my initial mark and feedback for the first Advanced Games Studies assignment, I got 79% which is a reasonably safe 1st. It also means I don’t have to work on sprint 2 to improve my grade, which gives me extra time on my dissertation, and I like extra time for everything!

I’ve also implemented some more stuff in my PhysX Games Engine assignment, there are now blocks that the ball destroys when it hits them, I’m pretty happy with it (The video below doesn’t show the ball reacting to the blocks, but it does now… trust me.) This coming week I hope to finish implementing some extra PhysX features like joints and convex objects in order to get a higher grade!

I’ve also hit 20,000 words in my novel, I should hopefully have a complete first draft by the end of December. I’ve had a look into getting it printed, 100 copies should cost around £300… which is steep but I can reclaim the costs if I sell the books for £5.00 each. Where I’m going to get the initial funds from I do not know, but hopefully I’ll have a job come summer to pay for it! I’ve also looked into releasing it for the Kindle, which could be a cool idea.

To quote my old history teacher Dr. Perry: “Happy days chums!”

Now for a well deserved drink in the nearby student pub!

Game Engines Assignment – My Idea!

So I really wanted to use cloth in my Game Engines assignment. Our task is to re-create the basic idea of breakout but with interesting PhysX mechanics added into it. I’ve come up with the following idea to implement cloth into the game:

A piece of cloth is attached to two boxes by its edges like a suspended parachute. The games ball then lands in the centre and then rolls into the centre. When the player holds down the space bar, the two boxes move away from each other, making the cloth pull upwards quickly – the resultant force should propel the sphere up into the air!

The player then has to control the two boxes in order to re-capture the ball and then fire it off in different directions (depending on where it is on the piece of cloth…) in order to destroy the blocks above. Of course the cloth will be un-tearable so that the ball won’t crash through and ruin the game.

I’m going to try and implement this over the next few days depending on how much work I can get done on my dissertation project. I am not sure if the sphere will actually collide correctly with the cloth, so this will be an experiment to see if the idea is actually viable as a method of gameplay.

Advanced Games Studies Work (Slimy Goodness)

I think from now on I’m going to add slimes to every game I make. They’re just so damn adorable! I’ve also added some sound effects for the background and the slime’s jumping action. The sound effect for the slime is one made by a good friend Louis Bartlett, who is looking to get into sound design – some top notch work!

Next thing to do: Get the player shooting projectiles at the enemies… simple enough!