Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category


February 17, 2012

Some time ago I took a class called Game Design Workshop. It was absolutely the best class of my entire education. For one of the assignments I created a concept for a game that was sort of like a reverse Earth defense shooter. That is, instead of your ship being at the center of the screen fending off enemies from all sides, your ship traveled along a specific path around the edges of the screen and shot at enemies coming from the center. I guess you could say it is a lot like the classic game Tempest. Well, I’ve made some modifications to that original design and I’ve actually decided to start developing it. I’m building it in Game Maker and have already got some of the ship movement completed. Like usual, I’m just using placeholder graphics for now.

At first I was totally stumped about how to do this, but then I started tinkering with Game Maker’s paths system. So basically, I created a predefined path then assigned that path to my player object. Then I mapped movement to the path speed and the player ship came alive! After some playing around, I decided to add a second ship at the exact opposite point of the path. So now, the player will have two ships moving around the path as they choose. I’m having some issues with the second ship not showing up on creation and then ‘popping in’, but I think I have an idea of how to solve that.

Anyway, there’s really nothing to show yet, but I at least wanted to let my current project be known. I’ll update as soon as I get some more work done with it.

Experimental Backlog: 100 Things

December 22, 2011

I’ve been following the Experimental Gameplay Project ( for about a year now. Every month, the guys over at EGP post a new challenge. Some time during the month, readers are supposed to take 7 days to work on a solo game project based on the theme. It’s a continuation of something they started back in college, when they challenged themselves to collectively create 50 games over the course of a semester, never taking more than 7 days for each game.

I’ve actually decided to participate in the current challenge, 5 Button Challenge, but since it runs through the end of January, I’ve actually decided to work on that one during the first week of the new year right before I start class again. I have also decided to go through the backlog of challenges on the EGP site. There are 26 of them. If I do two of them every month, it will take me about a year to catch up.

What I have done is written down all the previous challenges and assigned then a number. Then I used a random number generator to pick one of the topics. With that done, I adjust out the entry and in two weeks I will randomly pick a new topic.

This first time around, the topic randomly selected for me was 100 Things. This was a theme from before I started following the site, so I never actually gave it any thought before. I’m going to sleep on this and try to decide where I want to take the project. I’m going to try to follow the format the guys set up, so even though this challenge is long past, I’m still going to try to get something done in no more than 7 days. Hey, that’s quite a bit more lenient than the 72 hour Ludum Dare jam I just tried to enter.

Actually, I already have the beginnings of an idea forming. How quickly I am able to come up with an idea here will determine if I jump straight into it or if I save it for next week and continue work on what was supposed to be my LD22 entry, The Loneliest Robot. Updates as my brain allows…for now, I’ve got some thinking to do.

LD22: Alone, and in the Dark

December 22, 2011

I did not finish my game for Ludum Dare 22. It was incredibly disappointing. However, I also have a pretty good idea of what went wrong and how I can fix it.

I am not an artist. Not even a little bit. Yet I spent far too long trying to perfect the art. Next time, I’m going with a minimalist pixel approach.

I am not a programmer, though I can find my way around some low-level scripting. I wasn’t familiar enough with Stencyl, or Flash, or programming logic in general really, but I think I’ll be better prepared before April’s Ludum Dare 23 rolls around.

Oh and one more thing I’m not – a Ludum Dare veteran. When I was working on The Loneliest Robot, I was working on it with intent to win LD22. Dumb. Seriously. There are people who have released very high quality games and money-makers working on LD. I need to remember that the weekend is all about the practice and the experience of the competition.

The Loneliest Robot is still lonely, so I can’t abandon him before he finds a friend. I’ll post updates as I continue my work on the game and actually hope to have it done before Winter break is over. I’ve also got a few other projects going right now, one as part of a decision to go through the backlog of challenges over at the Experimental Gameplay Project.

There are still good things coming, and the weekend was not a waste. I have learned much and will apply it to the future.

LD22: Down to the Wire

December 19, 2011

Oh boy.

Just 3 hours left  in Ludum Dare 22. It took me forever to figure out a few things last night, so I’m left with a lot to do.

Mainly, it’s about building levels and the logic that goes with them. I’m just throwing a lot in right now, trying to stick to the half-of-a-level-outline I had written.
So much to do. More updates later.

Here is a screenshot of The Loneliest Robot

LD22: Late Night, Little Accomplished

December 18, 2011

Ugh. So I decided to try to get some sleep last night, which sort of worked out. I knew I’d be working on this thing all day today. Which didn’t work out. I just decided to stay up really late, maybe all night to get some work done. Knowing this, I decided to take a nap. Also didn’t work out. Still, I got something done.

The big thing I really wanted to accomplish was the movement. Now, that probably sounds silly, but since I’ve never really dug into StencylWorks a lot, and the purpose of the competition is to create something from scratch, I knew this was probably going to be my biggest challenge. It was, and demanded of myself that I get it figured out before I go to bed. It was rough. Here it is after 2am Sunday morning and I’m just now finishing up my goal for the day. There were times I almost gave in, “I’ll figure this out tomorrow.” But I knew that Sunday was going to be rough. I’m going to have to really slam this thing to get it done. So now I at least have a movable character. I know, doesn’t sound like much, but from here it’s really just content. Don’t get me wrong, that is going to take some time and energy, but what I have done is actually huge. It is a baseline for me. I can now come back to this when I am making any future games. I have something to work from.

Ludum Dare 22 ends in 42 hours (the Jam anyway, those Compo guys only have 18 hours!) What can I do in 42 hours? I know I’ll lose a lot of that time on Monday for work. For now, I’m calling another 8 for sleep. Well…maybe 6. I hope at least 6.

Screenshots tomorrow once I’ve made progress with some content.


LD22: Alone

December 17, 2011

So the official theme for Ludum Dare 22 is ‘Alone’.

Based on the first several rounds of voting, I suspected this was a strong candidate for the them. I think I’m going to be spending a couple of hours coming up with some ideas. I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with a platformer for this. Visually, I’m thinking silhouette, or at least a lot of dark colors to convey a sense of abandonment or loss. I guess my first order of business is to get a platforming engine up and running in Stencyl.

I’ll post some work as I get it done. I’m doing the Jam, not the competition, so I have 72 hours instead of the usual 48. The Compo is a little more prestigious, but this is still going to be a lot of fun and really important experience for me. I’ll enter the Compo someday when I’m a little more comfortable with writing code.

So, here we go. Ludum Dare 22, my very first LD event, is a go and I am all ‘Alone’.

LD22: -3.5hours

December 16, 2011

Ludum Dare 22 begins in a few hours and I’m going to be participating for the first time. I think I’m going to be using StencylWorks for this. I hope to be able to crank out something playable over the weekend.

I’ve already had several ideas based on some of the potential themes. For now, I’m just reading and watching some tutorials so I can be better prepared when I actually jump in. I absolutely refuse to complete this weekend without a finished project.

Anyway, back to tutorials. Updates throughout the weekend.


August 17, 2011

This blog is in serious need of some new posts.

Here’s one, though it will be a quickie. So many of the plans I’ve had just haven’t come together for whatever reason.
Game Career Guide finally did a challenge that I’ve been waiting forever for, and I’m just not going to have time to submit anything.
Experimental Gameplay Projects have come and gone. I’ve had ideas for several, I just haven’t had time to do any of it.

I’m nearing the end of my education now and I’m trying really hard to get some great portfolio pieces ready. That, and I’m trying to find an internship.

However, I am forming a solid plan right now. I’m reworking a game that I conceived some time ago. For now, it’s called Vertigo and the game has changed significantly from when I started it. I am actually building levels right now and really, truly intend to have it finished by the end of the month…so that I can start another project! I’m excited about Vertigo. I think it will be fun, and I hope others think so as well. It falls into that genre so lovingly dubbed by fans as a “tough-as-nails platformer”. A lot of people think those things have been overdone, but honestly, I could say the exact same thing about Halo or Modern Warfare, and the fanbase for those games is near fanatical.

I have a lot of great things in mind which I’ll share over the coming months. In addition, I want to start taking a closer look at games I play and what I liked or disliked about them. I hear from a lot of people how it is difficult to play games analytically, and that once you train yourself to do so, it can almost zap the fun out of playing games. Maybe that’s true for most people, but I actually have a lot of fun playing games this way. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how it can be irritating sometimes to be so critical instead of just having fun, but for me that’s part of the learning experience, and I think learning is fun.

So with that in mind, another thing I’ll be doing here is examining games new and old, not to review, but to really dig deep and try to figure out why the developers made certain decisions. It should be a fun endeavor, if for no other reason than it will give me an excuse to play some games or genres that I normally would not.

That’s all for now, but as I have some time off moving into my almost last semester, I’ll be sharing more with everyone.