Blood Trial (Alpha Release)

The theme for the Global Game Jam 2013 was the sound of a heartbeat. After briefly pondering making a game about friendship, love and the joys of life, our thoughts drifted off a bit and we made something, uh, a little bit different. Enter Blood Trial.

Blood Trial (Alpha Release)

You are participating in an
ancient ritual to appease the blood god.

Rip out other warriors hearts and sacrifice them
at the top of the temple while they’re still beating!

Keep the favor of the thirsty god and he’ll reward you generously!

Super Smash Bros. meets Mortal Kombat in
this fighting game for up to 4 players.

Download the current version for Windows

Global Game Jam entry

I’ll make a proper post about the jam and the game later (with video and all that), but I thought that it couldn’t hurt to have a link on my blog in the meantime.

Credits

Programming:

Art:

Game Design, Producing and being all around awesome:

Super Sandwich Simulator 2013

We’ve been to the Codemotion Festival Berlin and made a game jam there! Two of the three themes were “Bouncing” and “How to make a sandwich”, so it was pretty obvious what had to be done:

You are two pretty incompetent chefs,
competing to complete the correct sandwich first.

The customer has ordered!
(Poor fool.)

Prepare delicious sandwiches in this frantic game
for two players with Xbox360 gamepads.

Play it in the web player!

Download it for Windows/Mac/Linux!

Super Sandwich Simulator 2013

Credits:

Kinect Artillery: A 9 hour Kinect prototype

Another Berlin Mini Game Jam was upon us, so I thought I’d prove once again that I have no sense of how much time certain things need whatsoever. I had the feeling that making a Kinect game would be a good way to do that, and together with Heiko Weible and graphics by Jana Leinweber I actually finished not too much after the allotted time frame.

Kinect Artillery

You fasten the grip around your gun and
check your shield once again: Everything’s fine.
You’re ready.

Will you shoot down your enemy?
Or collect enough stars to win?

Whatever you goal is, do your best to win in Kinect Artillery!

Download it for Windows!
You’ll also need the Kinect for Windows Runtime.

Kinect Artillery: Berlin Mini Game Jam Presentation

I’m quite proud with how that turned out. Obviously we didn’t write all the code in the 9 hour timeframe, but I think it’s still an impressing feat to pull off – and it plays fine. While it’s a bit awkward to turn to the side, seeing your silhouette following your motions is very satisfying, and the general look works surprisingly well.

Credits:

Wizard Defense: A Cooperative Augmented Reality Game

It sucks to be cursed. It sucks even more when you’re standing paralyzed in your own wizard tower while your arch-enemy sends hordes of hungry ghosts to gobble up your mana. Luckily your telekinetic powers are still working fine, and now you are defending yourself by redirecting energy beams from your hands with mirrors and whatever else is at hand.

Wizard Defense

You’re paralyzed. Enemies are closing in.

Redirect the energy beams with mirrors to hit the ghosts and
change their colors at the right time to exploit each ghost’s weakness!

A cooperative augmented reality game for two friends and a webcam.

Play it in the web player!
(Download and print the markers!)

Download it for Windows/Mac/Linux!

The source code is available further down in this post.

How to Play Wizard Defense: A Co-op Augmented Reality Game

You can quit the game by pressing Escape while the menu console is showing.

Solo Play?

If you play alone, you might have some problems – it’s made for two players. If you still want to play alone, here are some cheats you can press after the first ghosts spawned so you can at least experience the gameplay: F10 triples the power of your energy beam, and F11 makes you invincible.

Open Source

This was one of my three big projects this semester, this one for the Augmented Reality course. It’s built in Unity 4, with NyARToolkit to recognize the markers. The japanese documentation makes NyARToolkit a little bit hard to read, but good examples and method names go a long way and we had a lot of fun using it.

You can download the source code and Unity 4 project here. The source code is released under the terms of the GPL v3. The assets (meshes, textures etc) are not released under any particular license. Unless mentioned otherwise on their respective source websites stated in the credits, you are not allowed to use them. If you’d like to use them anyway, feel free to contact me. (Disclaimer: The project was for a university course. Due to time constraints and that not being a requirement, the code is not well documented nor does the documentation fit the C# standards.)

Credits

Screenshots

Finally, have a few screenshots:

The Fox and the Fish in: Candy Adventures

Once upon a time, the Fox and the Fish found a deliciously looking piece of candy. Being Canadian animals, they were very polite and decided that the other should have it.

“You should have it, for I value your happiness more than any candy,” said the Fox to the Fish.

“So do I,” answered the Fish generously. “And you love sweets, you should have it, dear friend!”

And each shoved the candy in the direction of the other.

The Fox and the Fish

Do the polite thing – give the candy to your friend.
Don’t let him give it back to you. A gift’s a gift!

A ball-game with snake-like trail mechanics
for two friends on keyboard or gamepads.

Play it in the web player!

Download it for Windows/Mac/Linux!

The Fox & The Fish – Berlin Mini Jam Presentation

The game was made in about 8 hours (plus about 1 hour later adding the small stuff, like a new font, a mute functionality and a bit of bugfixing) at the Berlin Mini Game Jam together with Norbert Haacks who contributed his artistic talent and game designer wisdom to our endeavour. Special thanks to Jana Leinweber who inspired the trails idea with a comment while playtesting early on!

I’m very pleased with how this one turned out. The trail-mechanic makes the game a lot more tactical than just pushing the ball around, and the game favors the loser increasingly more, making comebacks possible: You have to push the candy on the ground of the other player – but that ground will start to shrink in the process, giving you increasingly less space to work with.

Apart from our own result, the jam set records – when I counted midway in, we had 35 people working enthusiastically on their own games! That’s the most we ever had in the years we are organizing the jam, but then again, the number seems to be consistently rising. And the atmosphere at the presentations at the end is simply amazing! Iwan Gabovitch will make a blog post later at our blog, and there will probably be a video too.

Credits:

Hammertennis: Tennis, But With Giant Hammers Instead Of Rackets

Take Hammerfight. Add Pong. Mix and stir. Sprinkle with a little realism and Tron.

Recipe serves 2.

Hammertennis

You are playing Tennis. Well, you’re trying to play Tennis.
You’ve lost your tennis rackets, so you take hammers instead.
Also you’ve forgotten most of the rules.

Hammertennis: A fast-paced ball game for 2 players.
Supports Keyboard – or Gamepads! (You only need one stick. Choose any.)

Download the Windows executable

Hammertennis Gameplay

You get 2 points for scoring a goal, and 1 point if the opponent hits his own goal.

Normally only the hammers can hit the ball – but if the ball is red, the blue player can hit it once, and vice versa.

This is the first game I ever started with Python, featuring Pygame and pybox2d. Lovely language! It is also the first game that I ever made that uses any serious form of physics.

Both are thanks to Florian Berger, who is teaching the university course that got me started on making a Python game featuring any form of physics in the first place. Thanks a lot, it was great fun and (obviously, see above) had great results!

You can also download the source code (New BSD License) if you like! It needs Python 2.7, pygame 1.9.1 and pybox2d 2.1.

Credits:

The Great Hunt: A Massively Multiplayer Offline game prototype for up to 10 players

June Berlin Mini Game Jam. The theme is “hunting”. My secret theme is “Massively Multiplayer Offline Game”. One man, one mission, 8 hours to go!

8 hours (plus 3 hours bugfixing) later I’ve got this:

The Great Hunt

Enough with the monsters killing off the villagers!
You are a brave hunter, and you’re getting paid to deal with these pests!

Well, you’re not the only one hired though. And only the best will get paid.

Be the last man standing, or at least finish first with 60 points!

Play here, as always directly in your browser!

 

While the game is playable and actually features up to 10 players (on 4 keyboards, no less), it fails in many other ways.

The basic idea behind the game was “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”: You need other players help to take down monsters, but the more players participate the less points you get. So when you’re standing in front of a monster with others players beside you, you’d be like “Dude, back off, if you stay here we won’t get much points anyway!”, or maybe you’d switch last second to another monster.

So much for the theory. In reality everything goes down so fast (and is so chaotic) that there isn’t much communciation or tactics. Fights also take too long and are not balanced, and there are not much real choices.

I have to admit that I’m not sure how I’d fix the game without introducing more complexity like power-ups. Anyways: It was a fun experiment, and lessons were learned. (The main lesson being that 10+ people games are possible in 8h. I guess I’ll never learn, haha. Looking forward to next jam!)

Noise: A split-screen game for 2 players about stealing sweet stuff in the dark

For our March Berlin Mini Game Jam, the themes were amongst others “Thievery” and “Noise” – and that’s what my friend Dominik and me combined into an ultrasonic burglary simulation:

Noise

A dark room, full of jewels – and stuff to run into.
Luckily you have your ultrasonic locator to “see” in the dark.
A few moments later, you realize you’re not alone.
You ready your bludgeon…

Play here, directly in your browser!

 

This game employs a Hidden Information Split Screen™ (which can optionally be simulated by having two monitors):

Global Game Jam 2012, or: Keep rollin’ in Super Snake Wheel

At the end of every January, people all around the world gather to make awesome games in an absurdly short time. Developing a game in 48 hours is nothing short of insane, and I don’t think it comes to anyones surprise that this appeals a lot to me. And here I proudly present our result this year:

Super Snake Wheel

“We can’t stop here! This is bat country!”
Well, Mr. Snake might have been a bit drunk when he and his companion Mr. Gecko ignored all the warnings and set out to their adventure. Being one of the few snakes who can form a tire out of himself, he’s now rolling down the hill while Mr. Gecko defends him from birds, barely keeping his balance! Take control of this duo of odd heroes in this quirky adventure for one casual and one hardcore player!

Play the updated version online at Kongregate!

Check out the original GGJ build!

And of course credit where credit is due, and these amazing guys deserve a lot:

  • Game Design: Matthias Niebergall
  • Art: Kirill Krysov
  • Programming: Dominik Hübner and myself
  • Music taken from the wonderful Kevin MacLeod
  • A big thanks to all the people organizing the jam, globally and locally here in Berlin. You’ve done a great job!

By the way, we even satisfied a diversifier (an achievement for the developers) this year: “Collaborative Casual/Hardcore (Two players: one casual, one hardcore): Collaborative play for two, but one player has more to do than the other (or the difficulty level is different between them).” I am sure you will agree after you’ve tried both the casual Mr. Snake and the slightly more hardcore Mr. Gecko: The former just has to jump and duck, while the later has to balance on the snake, jump at the right times and use the mouse to shoot at birds!

Lessons learned

Even though this is not my first jam, it seems that every single one has some valuable lessons to teach. These are mine this time:

  • Even though it’s an a very small timeframe, make a rough project plan with milestones so you won’t lose focus.
  • Every milestone should be playable (player interaction and a goal), especially the first one – which should ideally be ready when you go to sleep the first time. It does wonders to your motivation!
  • Programmers, make a task list. It keeps you focused.
  • You cannot say if something is fun until you can test it. Halfway through the project I felt like giving up because nothing seemed to be coming together, and 12 hours later we had this amazingly fun prototype! So even if it seems like the game won’t be any good, at least implement the first playable prototype.
  • If your code is based on a pixel oriented framework like Flashpunk, don’t mix in vector based stuff like MovieClips. It just leads to a whole load of implementation overhead.
  • If you want to pull an all-nighter, at least sleep the first night. Otherwise you might fall asleep the second night which will surely lead to you missing the deadline.

This year the GGJ was certainly not easy and at times tedious and exhausting, but the result totally makes up for that. I daresay that it is one of my best prototypes so far! I am very happy that I have participated, and I’d like to thank everybody who made the weekend as amazing as it was!

Color your world in Extreme Painting: An 8 hour prototype

After skipping December, even the Global Game Jam in two weeks couldn’t stop us from doing our own Mini Game Jam yesterday. 13 people assembled in the co.up coworking space and in 8 hours, multiple game prototypes were created for either the topic “Future” or “The End is the Beginning”. Here’s mine.

Extreme Painting

In the future, a sport called “Extreme Painting” is all the rage:
Two contestants are equipped with particle cannons and try to color as much of a field as fast as possible, only stepping on their own color.

Each field which has your color is one point, independent of how strong the color is.
But the stronger the color, the harder is it for your opponent to erase it.

Play it in your browser by clicking here!