Hack the Grid in NetRush: An 8 hour prototype

A few weeks ago, we had the September Mini Game Jam of our Berlin Game Developers Meet-Up. This time, the topic was “hack” with the alternative topic “share”. After an hour of brainstorming, dismissed concepts and talking to a lot of people (especially Iwan), I arrived at the concept for NetRush.

Each of the two players has a cursor with which they can navigate through the grid of nodes. Green nodes are free: Free for you to be invaded, that is. You get points if you hold them at the end of the round – if you’re not dead. The first one to gain a total score of 100 wins. You have multiple stats which you can assign freely:

  • “Speed Up” lets you capture nodes faster
  • “Spread” gives you a chance to capture neighboring nodes for free
  • “Success” defines your chance of invading a node
  • “Shield” is your health – it takes damage for you, and if it falls under zero, you’re dead

A more visual explaination is available here:

Play the game online here:

Yet another (very colorful) Mini Game Jam

Yesterday we organized Yet another Mini Game Jam in Berlin, and well – it was nothing short of awesome. 8 jammers, 5 of them the first time at one of our Jams, and everybody learnt something and enjoyed themselves. We even had (gasp!) working prototypes at the end: Raising the bar to 8-10 hours the best thing that could happen to us. It’s so much less stressful and easier to get something done that you can actually play. The ever friendly and helpful staff of the wonderful Café Osswald made the combination complete.

The first theme choosing resulted in a tie between “Catharsis”, “Side-effect” and “Colors”, with the latter winning the following vote.

This time I teamed up with Robert Bergner, a student who actually came from Magdeburg for our jam, with whom I also worked together this years Global Game Jam. And this is what we made, in about 9 hours including idea finding, plus a few minutes bugfixing afterwards:

Working Title: “Colorful”

“You” are the red-blue-yellow colorbuckets in the middle of the screen. You can steer freely with WASD. The other circles are the enemies – they can only walk on their color, and they will try go straight to you as far as possible. Your buckets have 10 shot each, and they get refilled if you touch their color. By clicking on the buckets and dragging in the direction of enemies, you can fire color projectiles at them, mixing their color or recoloring them. It works like this:

If you shoot a primary color enemy (red, blue, yellow) with one of your color projectiles, they mix:

If shoot a secondary color enemy (green, magenta, orange – highlighted by their white border) they simply get replaced:

Enemies which change color try to get to the next patch of their new color as fast as possible.

This way you can control the enemies – which is as far as we’ve come in our prototype at the jam. What we’ll add in later:

  • Your goal: One of the color patches is the Collector Zone – you get points for luring enemies there. After a few enemies, the Collector Zone switches to another patch.
  • A time limit
  • Hit points: The enemies hurt you if they hit you, or maybe they even try to shoot at you!
  • Better algorithms for the color patch distribution

So, here’s the jam prototype! Please comment if you find a bug or have some kind of suggestion!

edit: The newest prototype in development is accessible here!

Yet another Beat’em up: BashZone

As some of you might know, I’m studying International Media and Computing, which includes a course called “Media Programming” – and for all I know, it might also be named “Game Programming”, because that’s we what did there. I like my studies more and more!

This monday was the presentation of the games we made over the last two months. Ours is a Beat’em up. It’s rather generic due to time constraints (after all this wasn’t the only project we had to make in the last months) and the absense of a game designer, but I learned a lot about 3d programming and XNA while developing, and it’s fun to play anyway!

You should easily figure out the buttons on the gamepad.

Keyboard layout for player 1:

  • Left/Right: Move
  • Up: Jump
  • Down: Drop through plattform
  • J: Punch
  • K: Kick
  • L: Block
  • Backspace: Back
  • Space: Start

And for Player 2:

  • D/G: Move
  • R: Jump
  • F: Drop through plattform
  • Q: Punch
  • W: Kick
  • E: Block

Download BashZone! :)

You’ll need a Shader 2.0 compatible graphics card and the XNA Framework 3.1 to play it. XBOX 360 Gamepads are fully optional, but it plays way better with than without!

Mini-Jams in Berlin

So… what is it?

Over the last two months, Christiaan Janssen and me started a little regular game jam at the moment called the Berlin Game Developers Meet-Up. Basically, we meet up, decide on a theme and then started making small prototypes about it, alone or in small teams. If you are interested in how it all started, the participiant Miguel Angel Alvarez asked us both and did a blog post about it. Here I want to tell you about what I did at the 4 jams so far, though!

Jam #1: Revenge of the Flying Spitballs

Revenge of the Flying Spitballs: Screenshot

On the first jam I grouped up with Norbert Haacks, a game designer I met at the Global Game Jam in January. He came up with the idea: A fight in the classroom, like back in our school days with spitballs and sandwiches, trying not to be seen by the wary teacher. The “flying” is covered by the aerial weaponry, and the revenge part could’ve been (if time didn’t run out for us) that when you are hit, you have limited time for payback and doing extra damage! Sadly I felt the effects of the short timespan we had, and didn’t come very far – at least not far enough for the prototype to be worth an upload. Though development in Flash was pretty fast – I just needed a bit more pre-made classes and helper.

Jam #2: Balls of Steel

Balls of Steel: Screenshot

This time, I teamed up with the programmer Dominik and artist/programmer Kyrill. (And whew, it is SUCH a huge difference if you aren’t the only programmer in the team. And I guess the experience from the first jam helped me too, but I digress… back to topic!) The theme was “indirect control”, so we thought about controlling the environment in some way. After pondering a few ideas, we went with pseudo-magnetism. You have a little labyrinth-ish level and you’ll navigate the ball through it by placing magnets at the walls and the surroundings of the field, while being cautions not to touch the flames or the mines. Time ran out before we could do another level besides the one we were testing with, but it is playable, fun and it feels like it has potential.
See for yourself: http://dragonlab.de/projects/ballsOfSteel

Jam #3: Ghost Hunter

Ghost Hunter: Screenshot

For this jam, I tried to do something solo to the topic “ghosts”. The idea is that you are a ghost hunter, and are trying to catch ghosts which are invisible to you. You should have various means to detect them (think radar or distance detector), things to attract and repel them, and finally something to catch them. You probably see by reading this description that I havn’t worked out the exact mechanics – well, working alone never did any good to me. So at this jam I mostly got frustrated, chilled, made smalltalk and experimented a bit: http://dragonlab.de/projects/ghosthunter

Jam #4: And They Called Me Mad!

For the 4th jam Dominik and me teamed up again, featuring me as artist (haha). We didn’t like the theme “several contextual actions for one button”, so we tried to make something for the theme “invasion”. We were a bit too ambitious for 4 hours: We wante to make a game where you are a mad scientist trying to take over several strongholds with self-built robots. You have several “roboter recipes” from which you can choose and a material pool from where you can put things into the assembly line to build your robots, which will then start to attack. A bit too much as aforementioned – and so this was the jam Dominik and me decided that 4 hours are definitly too short and we should try something longer.

The future

Since we all agreed that is was most certainly nice, but the 4 hours we had aren’t quite enough for us to produce something meaningful, we decided to raise the duration to 8 or 10 hours. The next jam is this Saturday, and I’m curious how it’ll turn out – I cannot come, sadly. Though: It won’t be the last! Expect more (and with more hours, better) prototypes!

BIGJam 3 hour jam: One Fish, Two Fish

So, here is my first BIGJam 3 hour jam game/prototype/something: One Fish, Two Fish! The theme was “fish” and “attraction”.

Click the image or here to start it.

The fishies follow the cursor when they are very young (and/)or want to make a baby. If they just made one, they will evade the cursor.

It’s more a failure than a prototype (much less a game), but it was worth a try :)

Somehow it also qualifies for the current EGP (“Zero Buttons”), but since it isn’t any good I won’t sent it in.

Trivia: The fishies like to stick together and make babies, it seems. Click here for an image of some fishcest