Hungry Crocodile: An experiment with webcam/marker-based interfaces

For the July Berlin Mini Jam, I experimented with the input interface. Turns out a cardboard contraption with fiducial markers and Unity3D + NyARToolkit on the software side makes for a fun crocodile maw control system! I didn’t finish the game (you can’t win or lose, you can’t even score), so I declared it a story-focused artgame. That’s how it works, right?

Hungry Crocodile

The crocodile is hungry and wants to eat,
but despite all the food, it can’t!

Because of explosions.

Moral of the story:
Explosions make everything better.

Play in your browser!

Download for Windows!

You’ll need these two markers: Hiro and WD (taken from here).
You’ll also need cardboard to build the maw.

(If you’re wondering why I didn’t use the standard Hiro & Kanji markers –
I just took what was lying around from earlier experiments.)

Despite being unfinished, it was a lot of fun to present:

Hungry Crocodile: An experiment with webcam/marker-based interfaces

Here’s a more detailed look at the cardboard maw:

Fiducial markers to find the positions of the upper/lower jars.
Nom nom!

Credits:

Screamy Bird, A Yelling Game Prototype For A Small Crowd

It seems like everyone and their dog has made a Flappy Bird clone by now, but so far I just didn’t feel inspired. That changed at this Mini Game Jam: I wanted to make a game with audio control (which I had tried before) and needed simple gameplay for it – and then I realized that a scrolling avoider-type would fit perfectly. So without further ado, this is how Flappy Bird might have played like if it was made by the GNILLEY developer:

Screamy Bird

Screamy Bird, A Yelling Game Prototype For A Small Crowd

Yell to make the bird fly up,
be silent to make it fly down.

Fun for the whole family AND the neighbors,
even if they aren’t in the same room!

Play in your browser!

Download for Windows!

I don’t know where people could possibly play this game without bothering anybody, but it was a big success fun-wise and was well received in the presentations. My favourite part is that it’s easily playable with crowds!

(And it would probably be perfect on smartphones, haha.)

Credits:

  • Programming: Tobias Wehrum
  • Font: GemFonts

Thanks to:

  • The stars of the video! If you want to be named and/or want to have a link here, please tell me!
  • Huel Fuchsberger for helping me with the video editing!

Apologies to:

  • Anybody who was sharing a room with me while I was developing this. I’m so very, very sorry.

 

And now, because social media websites love pictures when linking, here’s a picture. You’re welcome, social media websites.

Heroes in Pension

Last month, a friend asked me to help out a group of his students at the School for Games who were missing a programmer for their student project. Charming art and not that much work for me, who could say no? And now, a month later, I proudly present to you…

Logo

Teens are attacking the old man’s home,
but a hero knows how to defend himself
even if he is already in pension!

Shoot lawn gnomes, flowerpots and wheelchairs
out of your trusty cannon and show those
whippersnappers how to respect one’s elders!

Play it right here in your browser!

Later on, there’ll be versions for Android/iPhone.

Heroes in Pension

Credits

Team:

  • Cihan Ceyhan: Lead, Game Designer, Web Designer
  • Philipp Kapp: Game Designer
  • Sibylle Hell: Art Director, Animator
  • Dennis Dabergotz: Game Artist, Animator
  • Tobias Wehrum: Programmer

With assets by:

Special thanks to:

  • Norbert Haacks and the S4G team

Zombie Planet, A Game Prototype For The Leap Motion

For the Human-Computer Interaction course at my university we had to do a 3d interface prototype. My team decided to make a game with the Leap Motion. And thus, Zombie Planet was born in about 3 weeks: A game that you control directly with your fingers.

Zombie Planet

Zombie Planet, A Game Prototype For The Leap Motion

Use your fingers to strike the zombies
with lightning and throw asteroids at them!

Defend your world against the invading
undead and save your people!

Download for Windows

Screenshots

Credits

Made with Unity 3D.

Massive Defense: A Cooperative Game for 27″ Touchscreens and Android Tablets

Game Jam time! And when I saw Heiko with this beauty of a touchscreen, I knew that I had develop for this. We wanted to do something where players can cooperate against a common thread. 8 hours later, we had this:

Massive Defense

An asteroid storm threatens your mission,
but your trusty spaceships stand ready.

Defend your home base!
Defend your friends!

Try to survive as long as possible in this
cooperative asteroid defense game for 4 players.

Exclusively for 27″ touchscreens!
(Or alternatively for 4 XBox360 gamepads.)

Download:

Windows (Gamepad Version)
Windows (Touchscreen Version)
Android

Video

While it’s certainly possible to play on a tinier touchscreen, playing it on 27″ was a lot of fun! Here’s a video of us playing it at the jam:

Massive Defense: A Cooperative Game for 27″ Touchscreens and Android Tablets

Credits

Programming:

Art:

Sound Design:

Music:

Fonts:

StarCoder: A Short Game Programming Workshop For Total Beginners

15 Minutes in the Shoes of a Game Programmer

For a workshop at the YOU, a youth culture fair, I was asked to make a concept for a short game programming workshop.

The requirements were:

  • The workshop should give an impression of the work of a game programmer.
  • It should take about 15 minutes and allow groups of varying size.
  • I should assume that the participants have no experience in programming at all.
  • Instructions should be kept to a minimum; the focus should be on hands-on experience.
  • The workshop should produce a quantifiable result.
  • It should be an enjoyable experience.

No easy task. Luckily, inspiration struck, and a few days later I finished the game StarCoder.

StarCoder

Move the player to the star by using
Left/Right and Space to jump.

An easy game if it weren’t for the spikes –
or if you could jump far enough, for that matter.
Luckily you can edit the source code.

There are 15 distinct solutions to win the game.
How many will you find?

Download for Windows

Source Code (License: CC BY SA)
Creative Commons License

StarCoder: A Short Introduction To Game Programming For Total Beginners

The Workshop

The workshop went extremely well. Everybody found at least 4 solutions, with some finding up to 10. The game also seems to be surprisingly fun, even (or especially?) for non-programmers! Results were often accompanied by laughter and some of the participants even asked for the program so they could try it again at home. And I remember a teacher who sat down to try it himself after I finished the workshop with his group of pupils.

If you use it yourself (which I’m totally fine with – I’d love if you drop me a message that you are using it!), this was my approach:

  • Tell your attendees that the goal of the game is to get to the star. Ask them to click in the left part and try it themselves: Arrows keys to run, Space to jump.
  • After half a minute admit that it seems rather impossible – but luckily there’s the source code on the right side which they may edit. Ask them to notify you once they have a solution.
  • Once they have the first solution, congratulate them for their achievement. Then ask them to click on “Reset” in the lower right corner and tell them that there are 14 more solutions.
  • After a few minutes (or a few solutions, depending on their speed), tell them that there’s also the “Creation” tab in the upper corner.

The ideal number of attendees seems to be 1 to 3 per computer. You might want them to write down their solutions if you want to assign a score to each group later.

So… how about you? Did you find every single one of the 15 solutions? Try it yourself first – and then check it with this handy walk-through. (No cheating though!)

And if you’re interested how hard solutions are and which are found the most and least easily, you can check out these statistics (contains spoilers!).

Credits

  • Concept, Programming and “Art”: Tobias Wehrum
  • Sounds: Moritz Ufer

Thanks to my playtesters: Moritz, Tobias, Kelvin, Sebastian, Simon, Christiaan, Lukas, Florian, Marina, Jana, Jens, Paul, Ronja and Nadine. You guys have been a huge help!

Made in cooperation with:

Burglary: An Action/Stealth game made for Ludum Dare 25

Ludum Dare 25 is over and I cannot wait to go to bed, but first I wanted to publish my game here too!

Burglary

Explore the premises. Evade the guards. Pick locks.
Steal the treasures! And then escape with them.

Burglary, an action/stealth game about stealing from
the rich and giving to those in need: Yourself.

Burglary: Ludum Dare 25 Build

Play the game on Kongregate!

Visit the Official Ludum Dare Submission!

Made completely in 48h – well, according to the Ludum Dare competition rules. I obviously used some base code and publicly available libraries. Apart from that, everything (but the preloading graphics and a very small generic shadow tiles bitmap) was made by yours truly in the 48 hours: Music, sound, graphics and code.

Used libraries/tools:

Winter Sports: Ice Skating

Here’s an old one I never posted, and it’s about time – it’s really cool! So now without further ado, enjoy “Winter Sports: Ice Skating”, a heart-warming minimalistic game made for the TIGS Advent Calendar 2011 in about 16h.

Winter Sports: Ice Skating

You are ice skating and try to relax,
but these rude other people are making so much noise.
You are fed up, don your ice slicing skates,
and do the only reasonable thing:

You let them fall into holes in the ice.

Make holes by crossing the line you’ve sliced in the ice before.
The holes freeze again over time, but until then, try not to fall in yourself…

Winter Sports: Ice Skating Gameplay

Play the game now directly in your browser!

Music by Kevin MacLeod
Sounds by petenice and malexmedia.

Defend your villages and people in: Trap 3

The October Mini Game Jam was a lot of fun – 17 attending people in total! Whoo! Out of the available themes, I picked “Trap”. After some brainstorming, I combined it with a Match 3 concept, and finally arrived at:

Trap 3

Obviously I didn’t work with an artist this time.

It draws lots of inspiration from Triple Town: You get a tile, you place it somewhere, you get the next. When 3 of them match a so-called “recipe”, they merge into something stronger:

3 adjacent “person” become “people”, and 3 adjacent “people” become a “crowd”. They bring points per turn.

And then I added monsters. Monsters come in from the side every few turns, walk a step towards their next prey every time you place something, and later in the games, the monsters get stronger. Monsters have recipes too, for example:

If a spider and a person are adjacent to each other, they “merge” into a spider. So basically: it eats them. Same with spider and people.

Now if monsters could only eat people and cost you points, there wouldn’t be much of a point in that. And here comes the trapping mechanic, which is also a recipe:

Put two green blocks down, and if a spider walks next to it, the spider and the trap transform into nothing and give you points in the process. Same with snakes, only that you first need to make the stronger snake-catching blocks and have two of those adjacent. So this here is essentially a spider trap:

If you want to see the complete list of recipes I had, you can click here or on the screenshot at the top.

So much for that. Unfortunately, I somewhere along the process I got lost and everything took a lot longer than anticipated. Most of what I described above works, but there are no points and no goal, you can’t even lose. If you feel adventurous, you can try the prototype anyway by clicking here. I’ll probably not finish it, but I think there’s something cool hidden in there, and I might make a new prototype once I find out what it is!

Fight for your life in Guardian of the Void Children

Another month, another Berlin Mini Jam. This time, two of the topics were “Guardian” and “Void”, so I teamed up with Michael Kessler and did this:

Guardian of the Void Children

The Void is a harsh place to bring up children.
Our particular mother here is just about to find out how harsh exactly,
now that a swarm of drones located her nest…

How long can you survive their relentless assault?
Defend your nest, your children and your life in this
Tower Defense/Top-down Shooter crossover!

 

Play it here, directly in your browser: