Ludum Dare 41

We attended again to a new Ludum Dare competition. I was quite busy recently and I couldn’t pay attention all the theme voting process, but the last round titles were very promising.

I have decided to not vote for 0, it’s just pointless, I can choose on something whether I like them or not. And there is a theme what I really like.

Combine 2 incompatible genres. I just can’t believe this one won, this was my personal favourite! Even I had no idea what to do with it, I think this theme is perfect for a game jam. If you play with some of the entries you’ll find some really good ones.

Of course I woke up with fever on Saturday morning, so I kinda skipped the first day of developing, but at least we could come up with an idea. It was mainly Starlin’s, but I liked it. A car racing game versus a rhythm game.

I was focusing on the rhythm part, I have never made anything similar, although I was a huge fan of Guitar Hero with my friends. I remember we played with Frets On Fire which is a rhythm game with numerous downloadable songs, so I had the idea the game notes for those tracks are not auto-generated, but I ignored this information, I wanted to run the game by the music beats.

Spolier alert, it didn’t work. I’ve downloaded one of my favourite nightcore song for testing, it keeps the bpm around an energetic 162, I wasn’t afraid I get too sleepy. Unity has some great tool to get some data about a song, I was checking some beat detection algorythm, even I tried some 3rd party plugins, but I was sure a day is defenetly not enough to finish it. So I went to the good old manual solution and tried to hit the tempo by myself and record it, drop the beats randomly.

Meanwhile Starlin made a car model and a few building with great textures with some Japanese spice. The Japanese style was with us for all weekend, I was listening a lot of Jpop (PassCode, Babymetal) which is totally not my style but I started to kinda like it. And we had just a few hours left from the submission, so we just put everything together. There was no chance to write our own song so kept the test one. Actually if we write our own song probably would be easier to auto-generate notes, I would know exactly the tempo and I could hide some reference point in the track, but that is another story. So do the car racing part.

You can try the game on, I recommend to download it for smoother gameplay. Have fun!

Ludum Dare 40

We attended to Ludum Dare 40, Starlin and I. It’s 72 hours long game jam, that means we need to make a game in 72 hours, but for the better understanding watch this video:

A decision, go to sleep or stay up until 2am to know the theme? I’ve skipped Friday drinks so I would feel stupid if I don’t go to sleep. Anyway who cares the theme, I was sure it will be pretty cool. It’s my first Ludum Dare the theme can’t go wrong, I really liked some of them.

There is that little feeling when I leave REM and wake up, my first movement to get my phone and check the theme. Oh my god! It’s really unlikely, I think the stupidest theme ever won. The more you have, the worst it is. What can we do with it? Starlin woke up and we started to brainstorm, even before our morning coffee. We knew that we want a game with a pigeon. So bird game. The idea is, bird eat too much, become fat, hard to control. But why bird has to eat? To feed the kids!

Ok, what kind of game we should make? We ended up a 2D platformer where the bird has to fly, handle obstacles and somehow go to the next level. We are very inexperienced game developers, we thought it’s enough idea as game design and we are ready to make it alive. I opened Unity and started to coding something, fly left and right, and hoped it will become something fun.

Generate landscape. That’s first. Of course, just for temporary, I didn’t want randomly generated levels, I wanted everything well designed. (didn’t happened) The character can go in any direction and I add new platforms when it’s necessary.

The main problem was the lack of plan. I just didn’t really know what to do. I was playing with the code and hoping something cool gonna happen but it was more like desperate commands what never made to be a part of the game.

To make my life harder I wanted to stream the whole process on Twitch. Just for the fun. I think it wasn’t really successful, I didn’t narrate and I didn’t really know what I am doing during the whole jam.

By the end of the jam we had a basic platformer with controls and we didn’t have anything that makes it enjoyable. The gameplay. This is what we missed during the planning. Our idea was way too complex for this little game, I had a lot of variables to change the experience, so I just added random levels with random settings, I’m very surprised it kinda works.

Anyway, we made it, we could release the game in time. The main thing what I learned is there is never enough planning. If I do this next time I will spend hours of planning in the beginning and never have that moment when I don’t know what should I do.

Here it is:

There will be three difficulty levels. Main difference between them is the speed of the gameplay. The original idea was using obstacles in completely random order, but during testing I found out some pre-defined patterns would make it more enjoyable. A tiny PHP script helps me to generate JSON files that contain object sequences. I mix resulting JSON data with random items to make it better or even harder to get higher scores. This also allows me to add various power-ups, even I just add some coins in the beginning.

Help to Find Cats

Somebody mentioned me Global Archiact Jam, a VR challenge. Task is clear, do anything with Unity3D for Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR in two weeks. Using any kind of legal assets were acceptable, so it sounds like something achievable alone. To be honest I didn’t know there are differences between these VRs, I picked Cardboard and started to work on it.

Using Cardboard SDK is surprisingly easy. It’s automatically creating two cameras for both eyes, the job is making a standard FPS. I already had experience with game controller support, so my hardest task was the actual level design, also testing. Using Cardboard a lot made me motion sickness. I don’t think virtual reality on mobile is bearable more than a few minutes long experience. (Or it’s just my phone.) I had to find some tricks to prevent it, like disable side moving, setup proper player height, physic factors and add a reference frame.

I’m happy I could come up with something in time, it’s very buggy but at least it’s working and I learnt a lot about terrain and level design. Available on Google Play.

Mechanic is the following about:
– Have a pool full of cubes
– Seeder decides the next pattern
– Spawner throws cubes on the field
– Player tries to don’t collide
– Cubes go back to the pool
– Repeat;

Version Control

Hello World! Let me introduce myself. My name is Andras Serfozo, I was born in Budapest and I’m living in London at the moment. I’m web developer, I know Php, JavaScript, Html and surrounding technologies, but I’ve found time to try something different: to create games.

When I got this idea first I’ve tried to do something with JavaScript but I had to realise it is not exactly what I want. I know that there are plenty of amazing tools to make awesome 3D WebGL stuff but I’d like to leave web browsers. Reason is simple, I like the feeling when all browsers are closed on my computer (what is almost never happen).

Once upon an afternoon, I’ve found Unity game engine, it matched to my criterias (easy to use, mobile deploy, the usual things) and I decided to learn it. I started with the basics. I made a Pong. I spent a lot of hours to make it work, I added extra features, like multiplayer game via Bluetooth, AI against computer, but for some reason it wasn’t enough for Google to release it to Play store.

After a while when I tried to organised my code I had to realised I just lost the source code of my Pong game. Died hard drive never helps. I had to face it I can’t modify it anymore. From that moment I decided to store all my source codes in cloud. I have already a lot of stuffs on Bitbucket, it’s great and free, should work for Unity files too.