Flow of Four – Intention Postmortem

One of the big advantages of JS13K game jam is there is plenty of time to finish the project, a month should be enough to elaborate an idea. If there is an idea. Surely I’m not alone in enjoying directionless coding, discovering tools meanwhile implementing random features. Turns out a competition might be not the right place to play like that to me. Let’s check out why.

Preconceived Idea

Way before the theme was published I was sure to do something with the Web Audio API, positioning sound sources in the 3D space promis great gameplay advantages. Recorded samples obviously out of the picture, a simple drum sample nearly ten times more than the compo size limit.

The plan is to create sounds using oscillators and filters. I started to make an audio graph editor and a simple sequencer to be able to save loops on a format I can play back. This could be an interesting project too, but when it started to do the job roughly I abandoned it, I want to make a game not a synthesizer. This is what I should realise earlier, I didn’t touch A-Frame or Three.js for two years and that time nearly scratched the surface. Knowing the tools properly instead of browsing manuals could save a lot of time.

Work in progress which didn’t make by the end
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Whirled on the JS Game Jam Code

Somehow JS13K Games appeared on my Twitter feed. I’ve heard about similar JavaScript game jams before, but this one was new to me. I checked its homepage and it says there are multiple categories, one of them is to create a VR game using A-Frame framework. It caught my attention, I remember I have an online course with this topic but I never watched it, I was thinking it is a good opportunity to do it because participation is enough motivation.

I watched the course, it was pretty short because A-Frame is not a huge topic. It’s an overlay around Three.js with extra functions, add VR view by default, also easy to describe the virtual scene, one object is an HTML tag, pretty straightforward.

I didn’t really have any idea what to do, what I did is just throw some objects on the scene and try to move them. This is what I did in the entire jam, I wasn’t even sure I will finish something by the end. Luckily I managed to upload something, it’s a very simple experience. The player inside a tube made by moving rings to make the illusion of constantly moving forward. Objects are coming, look at them for a short period of time makes the player move forward, don’t look at them move the player backwards, the goal is to move forward to the end of the tube. The name becomes Whirled on the Spirit Spiral thanks for shower thoughts.

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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.

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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.