Berlin Mini Jam February Presentation / The Fox & The Fish Now With Video

Hey everyone!

I’d like to share two videos with you! The first one is the video I just added to my blog post about The Fox & The Fish, presenting the game and the backstory:

The Fox & The Fish – Berlin Mini Jam Presentation

 

The second one is the february result presentation video from my very own Berlin Mini Game Jam:

Berlin Mini Jam 2013 Feb. Game Dev Results

 

I’m always amazed with what the other participants come up in such a short time! If you are living in or near Berlin, you definitely have to join us for one of the jams. We’re doing monthly 8 hour game jams about themes we vote on democratically. It’s quite relaxed, no competition going on, and a lot of fun. Also it’s not just for programmers (as some people seem to think) – we are jamming with all the disciplines, from artists to game designers to musicians, and get all kinds of results. So far we had: Digital prototypes, board games, card games, physical games, interactive fiction and pure concepts. And it’s getting quite popular lately – last jam we had over 35 participants. Youngest one was 9 years, making a game all on his own with Kodu!

If you’d like to check us out, here’s where you might want to go:

Burglary: A Ludum Dare Postmortem (Happy New Year Everyone!)

Happy New Year, folks!

I thought it’s time to write a postmortem for my Ludum Dare 25 entry. For those who haven’t seen my game yet, you can find it by clicking on this conveniently placed handcrafted icon:

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Burglary: Ludum Dare 25 Build

 

And now, without further ado, lets begin the postmortem!

Accept some supernatural help in: Gentleman & Ghost

For the September Mini Game Jam, I worked together with Martin Topolski (check out his art, he rocks!). His idea was to make a co-op game with asymmetric roles and energy transfer as a core concept:

  • One player controls a fighter, walking around and beating up enemies
  • The other player controls a ghost, floating around, catching the souls of dead enemies and supporting the fighter with various buffs (using up the soul energy)

That being said, I present:

Gentleman & Ghost

He imagined it as a jump ‘n’ run – which probably needs an editor to be made smoothly. Using a text-based level format might have been the smarter choice, but I decided that I might as well try to figure out Stencyl after seeing a fellow jammer coming up with remarkable results. The next 4 1/2 hours I spent in varying degrees of pain, until I finally decided to drop Stencyl and never ever use it again. (I’m not saying that Stencyl is bad; it’s not. It just has a few problems and is obviously not for me.)

3 1/2 hours left were obviously not enough, even after reducing it to a single screen platformer. I pretty much only finished what you see in the screenshot above, which is a damn shame because the concept is so promising. For obvious reasons I won’t post the prototype, I’d just waste everyone’s time. Instead I’ll give you some cool sprite sheets done by Martin:

So – is this going anywhere? Possibly! Martin and I, we deviated on the focus of the game: He still wants to do a jump ‘n’ run, and I felt the game would be cooler as an arcade single-screen platformer. Martin is now doing his version with a friend, and I’ll link here once they have something to show.

As for me, I might make my arcade version someday.

Protect the Mad Mage: An overly ambitious unfinished prototype

And the next one in our history series! This protoype sadly never quite left the concept phase – which is sad, because the concept sounded a like it’s lot of fun. One of our Berlin Mini Game Jams more than one year ago had the themes “anti coop” and “Together until the end”, and here’s what Iwan and me dreamed up:

Protect the Mad Mage

You are an evil mage, and on the verge of completing
the ancient spell that will make you immortal.

There’s only one step left: You have to die – at the
hands of one of the creatures you summoned.

You draw the magic circle and begin the incantations.

You summon the creature. It prepares to strike you.

You prepare to die and to rise again to unhol–

The door is reduced to splinters by the paladin bursting through it.
Killing the monster in one swift blow. Healing you.

Goddamn.

And the spell won’t last forever…

Now one of the players, the Mad Mage, has to kill himself, while the Powerful Paladin has to keep him (and himself) alive until the spell times out.

Sadly in my folly I tried to make it an online multiplayer game, which proved to be a task too daunting for 8 hours, so it was never finished. I’ve learned my lesson!*

You can see the assets on OpenGameArt. Free for use too!

*) It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever learn my lesson regarding jams and ambitious ideas.

BIGJam 2011 Aftermath: A few Updates

My post about the prototypes I made for the BIGJam 2011 just got an update!

New stuff:

SpaceJump

  • A version where it is shown whether you won or lost
  • Two versions with time pressure:
    • One where you shrink constantly while not moving, making it easier to navigate, but soon you’ll have totally vanished…
    • One where you grow while you don’t move, making it harder not to hit a red circle

SaviorCat

This quirky snake-like just got elevated from a toy to an actual playable game prototype with this update. Compete with a friend to be the first to save 40 cats! Dodge the very very advanced AI of the scientist, and don’t let your friend snatch your kittens right before you can throw them to safety!

Dragonflute, an EGP prototype in development

So – the EGP prototype for this month which I announced earlier is coming along quite well!

In Dragonflute you control this cute little fellow:
(<– Click the dragon to download the current Windows release)

(edit: This it the outdated development version. Click here for the release blog post.)

As the theme of this month’s EGP and the name suggest, you don’t do this my mashing franatically on your keyboard, but but by making sounds, recorded by your microphone. I hope you have one. :)

The dragon will either follow the PITCH of the sounds you make (which I prefer), be it by singing, whistling or by playing an instrument, or the VOLUME (which is fun too, though the game should then rather be called Screaming At Dragons).

Current status is that I don’t have any goals or gameplay yet, only the calibration and the initial control mechanic, so is a mere (but already quite fun) toy.

Next things up will be some things he can collect, and maybe some enemies.

And yeah, so far there are quite some keys which need to be pressed. This will be changed later, too, of course – I already have some great ideas for the GUI. :)

Well, try it out, make suggestions, leave feedback, have fun and stay tuned, more to come!

Catcher! – a beta post for an unreleased game

Since I’m showing my game around on the TIGForums, I thought I might as well leave a post here!

Catcher is a game about (surprise!) catching things! Especially geometric forms. (In SPACE!) With two spaceships, here depicted as circles. These two spaceships are connected by an energy line, which you will use to border your enemies and open a dimension rift by closing it – and thereby defeating anything inside! It features over two dozen unique enemies on more than 30 levels. :)

Among the various things yet to be done, the most notably one is the tutorial. I hope you can get it together alone with a description of the keys and the menu entry “Demo“:

  • X and C makes your spaceships (the blue circles) flying nearer or farther to each other
  • The mouse wheel, if you have one, does the same as X and C
  • Pointing the mouse makes your spaceships turn
  • Clicking the mouse (left or right) makes your spaceships move

The energy line breaks when
a) one of your spaceships touches an enemy or
b) the energy line crosses another part of the energy line (remember: DON’T CROSS THE STREAMS!)
If the line broke, you can restore it by holding X (so that the spaceships touch each other).

Enough babbling, more playing:

(It is Java Web Start, so no installation or unzipping needed :) )

While all and every feedback is appreciated, I especially want to know:

  • How do you think could the controls be improved?
  • What didn’t make sense to you? What wasn’t clear? What needs to be definitly in the tutorial?
  • And bonus question: Do you have any ideas regarding new enemies? (This is a bonus question because I don’t know if I will include any new enemies right now, but this will be good to know for the next version :) )
  • Ultra-special bonus question: Anyone has an idea for a better name for the game? I’m not sure I’m content with “Catcher”, it seems kind of too general.

Still missing so far:

  • Sounds/Music
  • Tutorial
  • Random Mode and Endless Mode need besser formulas
  • General polishing

More EGP! Furthermore BIGJam!

So again, it’s been pretty quiet here. Gotta update more often. Two news for now:

EGP: Zero Buttons

I’m working at a game/prototype for the Experimental Gameplay Project again! This time, the theme is ZERO BUTTONS, so we’ve got to use only mouse pointing/moving or alternative ways of input, like the suggested microphone.

I’ve chosen the last one as my weapon of choice, and try to make a horicontal scroller, one of these where you fly through a cave and should not touch the bottom and top – only that in my version you control the ship with either the pitch or the volume of your microphone input!

I would prefer pitch as input method, but there are some issues with determining the pitch of human humming (at least for me), and sadly I cannot whistle. Well, I will get myself a flute and check if purer notes are recognized better.

So far, the calibration screen stands and is working farely well (and is using a little bit more than zero buttons, gonna fix this later) – I will work on a basic gameplay prototype after the weekend!

BIGJam!

And the reason why I cannot start on the weekend is the second news: I’m going to the TIGForums BIGJam! I’m very excited how my second game jam ever will turn out, and whether I will survive one of these 3-hour-jams… :)
More later on! Stay tuned and expect games!

Silence, or: The Best Is Yet To Come

For the last months it was pretty silent here. So does this mean I turned my back to game development? Actually, no – it just means I am busy with projects bigger than a 7-days-prototype.

The first project I was working on is called Catcher. It began as a university homework and evolved into the first game project I ever started to make and was really determined to finish. Sadly my laptop was stolen, and while I have the latest (playable :) ) binary, the latest code backup is a bit older. I will have to rework a bit before I can publish it – and a few things like sound, music and polish are still missing entirely.

Furthermore I am working with some friends on an as of now unnamed multiplayer-tower-defense with the working title Netwars, which had reached quite a state but wasn’t yet playable. The thief stole me a month work on that, but since I really like this project I will work hard to make up for it!

And the best thing last: I am working with some students of the Games Academy Berlin on an as yet undisclosed Facebook Flash Game. Fame and fortune, here I come! :) (I am really excited about that and look forward to present it to all of you!)

Hope this doesn’t get rejected (yet another EGP prototype): “The Job”

And here we go for another (last minute) entry for the Experimental Gameplay Project! This month: Rejection.

Well, it is more a prototype than a game, but I will call it “game” anyway, simply because it sounds better this way. :)

Anyway, in the game you will be tested if you are good enough for The Job. It is sort of an art game, and it isn’t really good. To say anything more would be a spoiler, only so much: Yes, this game has an end.

Fun facts about the game:

  • Due to time constraints, I changed the concept at least 3 times. (Which might be the reason why it’s hard to solve. Or why it isn’t any fun. Like, at all.)
  • Since this is my first plattformer, I learnt much stuff about how they are developed. Or rather, how they aren’t. And when I think about it, it doesn’t really have any platforms, although the engine would allow it. Hu.
  • None of my recruted-in-a-hurry beta testers could beat the game without help.
  • Don’t try to insert artsy messages at last minute. It simply doesn’t work.

Oh, and some useful facts:

Here’s a screenshot:

Edit: Since this prototype wasn’t any fun at all, I decided to stop wasting everyones time and took the download down. I suggest you head over to the fine other games I have here at the blog!