#LincJam 24 Hour Game Jam

Hey everyone! Just a little post to let you know I’m running a game jam soon!

LincJam

Ever wanted to try your hand making a game in 24 hours? Find out by joining us for #LincJam at the University of Lincoln! Game jams are an excellent way of quickly prototyping games in a friendly and enthusastic enviroment. You’ll learn so much about game development in a ridiculously short space of time!

How does it work? You (or a team of up to five of you) come along to the jam in Complab B(3rd Floor, MHT Building) and at 10:00am you get given the jam’s theme – at this point you’ve got 24 hours to make something cool! These games will then get judged at 12:00 on Sunday by a panel of experts, they’ll then hand out awards for:

  • Best Use of Theme
  • Most Innovative Game
  • Juiciest Game
  • Best Overall Game
  • Best use of The Wildcard

There’s also the chance to be the first winners of the Hitpoint Trophy – which will be decided by Kieran Hicks and Sean Oxspring, developers at Hitpoint Games Ltd.

You can vote on potential themes via this link: http://poll.fm/5gxvn

LincJam is graciously hosted by The University of Lincoln School of Computer Science

You should be a university student over the age of 18+ to participate in this game jam! If you are a developer and want to come along then please contact the event organiser (Sean Oxspring) as soon as possible to ensure you are allowed to participate!

The main jam is at the University of Lincoln, but if you want to develop a game for the jam and upload it to the itch.io jam page from somewhere else in the world, feel free! Making games is fun afterall, and this jam is all about making games for the sake of making games.

If you’re a university student and you want to come along to the Lincoln site for #LincJam then please sign up for a ticket on this Eventbrite Page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lincjam-24-game-jam-tickets-19636258578

You can vote on the themes for this jam here:

Advertisements

The Scary October Jam #ScareJam

Boo! So it’s time for the first of my many little game jams that I’m going to be running at the University of Lincoln! Since it’s Halloween soon I thought it might make sense to make it a spooky-themed scary game jam of occult hi-jinks!

Halloween

So ‘The Scary October Jam’ will be coming this Friday (18th October) to the University of Lincoln. I’ll be starting it at around 5pm and it’ll be finishing 72 hours later on the Monday! Anyone at the university is welcome to come along, we’d like to see as many first year games students there as possible – you can use the weekend as a crash course in GameMaker!

Let’s make some games that make people jump. Make games with all those creepy things that go bump in the night. Make something terrifying that’ll terrify the judges!

This time around we’re having an online poll to decide on a mechanic to add into everyone’s games. This should give people an interesting challenge and push them to think a little outside of the box with their game ideas. (Let’s avoid having a thousand and one jump-and-run games, people!)

You can come in a team of up to five people. The event will be in Computer Lab B on the top floor of the MHT building. Don’t be afraid to ask me some questions about it: if you want some more information on the jam then send me an email or drop me a message on Twitter.

#1GAM January Post-Mortem

So my game “The Food Chain” has been published and I like to think that its gone down pretty well. We did a few play-tests of it in the university’s computer labs and everyone seemed to really enjoy playing it. I even had my lecturers playing it (one of them said that they think it could be quite addictive) along with the students.

Playtesting

If you want to play my game with friends you’ll need to set up a LAN network – you can also get a feel for it by playing it yourself on two screens (but that’s hardly very fun…). Here is a link to the game in action: Play “The Food Chain” Here!

Some cool things I learnt:

  •  Oliver is a gaming troll and he intentionally would get bitten in order to lure the shark towards where other people were hiding their fish. (Not gonna lie… clever tactic – but a little mean.)
  • Unity networking isn’t too hard – but I’m still only able to run things on a  LAN network… which is a real shame. But i’ll definitely look into getting it working over the internet as soon as I have a spare couple of days.
  • My laptop is a trooper and can run a good few copies of the same game at once for testing.
  • SCRUM development methods go out of the window when it’s just me working on a project. Whoops.
  • Amelia and Kirt are both awesome 3D Modellers – and I really want to work with them in the future!
  • It’s surprisingly cheap to get some assets from the Unity Store… and they can be really good quality.

And lo: January turns to February and game number is about to rear its ugly head! Working alongside first-year games computing student Alex Saye, we are developing a game named:

HideousLogo

I’ll post up more information about this delightful little game as soon as we have something to show!

Games Engines Assignment – Tasty Data!

Today was my first day back at university! So it was time to start working once again on my Games Engines assignment. I’ve fixed a good couple of bugs today including an annoying little problem I had with the PhysX cloth occasionally becoming too still and therefore not updating with the rest of the scene – I tried adding a constant force to it… but it didn’t seem to work at all – then I found a really nifty little function:

gMyCloth->getNxCloth()->wakeUp();

That pretty much fixed one of the biggest problems I’ve been having without much fuss at all. Occam’s razor eat your heart out! So now the cloth ‘wakes up’ every frame and no longer stops working properly if left alone for too long. I’ve also changed the colours in the game and made the blocks explode into a shower of debris when the ball collides with them… just to make the game a little juicier.

Another important part of this assignment is the collection and analysis of user data. One of the ways I’ve decided to implement this is by getting the computer to do most of the work and record my data into several files at run-time. The first piece of data I’ve decided to record is the location of the ball in space… this allows me to see where players mostly die and where the ball travels most often. I played a single game and then made the data I collected into a graph… here are the results:

Graph

This graph could also be considered as a really dodgy version of a heat-map. I can see where the ball tends to be often by looking at the concentration of points in certain areas – this could be useful to see if players have trouble getting the ball to land on the bat in a certain place or (as the case above suggests…) where they have used a strategy to destroy blocks vertically without risk of angles interfering!

3rd Year Project Update #2

After a few hours of fiddling with sizes today I’ve finished texturing the character models for the crowd simulation. I’m using Oliver’s original textures as I want to focus on the body-shape changes and how they affect the visual variety right now. Next on my plate are the wonderfully time-consuming process of fixing all the normals… I’d lie if I said I was looking forward to that bit…

BeforeAfterCrowd

It’s not overly noticeable from the photo above as everyone is rather small, but there is most definitely an increase in the variety between the people in the original simulation and the new one! My hope is that I can run a test alongside the ones I have planned which uses extra textures… this will help me develop a conclusion as to whether the geometric variety is less important than the texture variety or not.

 

Games Engines Assignment – Scores and Extras

Today I managed to get back into the computer labs to continue work on my PhysX assignment. The plan right now is to have about 90-100% of the implementation done before I leave for home on Thursday – when I get home I won’t be able to work on the code properly as I don’t have the right set up on my laptop. Today I implemented a scoring system now and physics feedback for when the ball hits a block. I’ve also added rotating motor joint objects on either side of the screen to enhance gameplay.

Tomorrow I hope to add in lives and an end-game mechanic. Then do some cool stuff to make the bricks explosively shatter everywhere when they’re hit. (Not sure how I’m going to implement that yet… probably with an array – but we’ll see how much time I have to do it!)

“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: