Ludum Dare 35 – Five Favourite Entries

I’ve managed to play and vote on over 80 entries so far, and while there is still a week left of voting, I thought I’d show my five favourites thus far, as there have been many developers who have pulled off interesting and creative ideas based on the theme, and this LD had a really good theme.

2ShiftDrift by 01010111

Very well polished game that combines vertical space shooting with racing, while tracks can eventually get repetitive there is a really good challenge with multitasking between going along the track and shooting down enemy choppers and the like.

Statis Core by Eshford

One extremely good looking boss battle, I love my bullet hells and this one was both easy to jump into but hard to beat, but actually succeeding is very worthwhile!

windowframe by managore

As soon as I saw this gameplay gif, I was immediately reminded of an entry back in LD31 called Screen Mover. I definitely like to say this game definitely expands on the concept of your game window having an effect on the gameplay, and seeing a real window move around on the screen is captivating to me.

CYGLiDE by ocarson

Some really nice low-poly graphics at work, this game does an interesting job at controlling flight that takes some getting used to, but feels great once you get the hang of it.

BlobWall by Sophie Houlden

It’s a shame that it doesn’t look finished (and I cannot rate it on any category) but out of all the entries I’ve seen which imitates the “Hole in the Wall” game show formula, this is probably the best executed one by design. Not to mention the camera work is brilliant, showing the perfect angle for each wall and position of the player.

You can go play (and rate) my entry Spinstar here. Have fun!

Secret of Escape Now Free

To celebrate my birthday, I’ve decided that from this day forth, my stealth game Secret of Escape will now be available to download FREE of charge. You can now get the game from either IndieGameStand or Itch.io if you want to download it and enjoy it as much as you want. I haven’t been able to change the price on Desura because it won’t let me set a price below $1.99, but since Desura’s bankruptcy I doubt anyone will use it.

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IRDC 2015 Review

So to sum up last weekend, when I went to Nottingham for the International Roguelike Developer Conference 2015’s UK event, I’m not kidding when I said I had little expectations, considering that the Roguelike genre is still fairly new to me, despite spending a year researching procedural level generation for my University dissertation. Despite this, I had a great time and was able to gain a lot from the games, the genre and the role of procedural generation from these two days.

Day Zero

Although I have met the event organiser Mark Johnson and Roguelike developer Darren Grey from the PROCJAM conference organised last year, I wasn’t sure if I was able to meet anyone at the pre-meetup, especially since Mark unfortunately went down with food poisoning before the pre-meet began. However I decided to head off to the Bell Inn and see if I could find anyone.

By chance, I went to the bar and a man sitting at the table asked me “You here for IRDC?”, that man was Johannes Kristmann, and with him was Paul Jeffries. We talked about games, had drinks, and they joked about IRDC events of the past and eventually more people showed up, including Alan Charlesworth, Tom Betts and Ido Yehieli. We all decided to have more talks and drinks at Darren’s apartment block until we all decided to head to our respective hotels to prepare for tomorrow.

Day One

These were all the talks that were given that day (taken from Mark Johnson’s blog):

1025 – “”And [my bot] vowed to return victorious!”: Spelunky as an AI Benchmark” (Tommy Thompson)
1050 – “Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup Development” (Pete Hurst)
1115 – “Alternative Death Systems” (Darren Grey)
1140 – “Generative Design” (Paul Jeffries)
1205 – “Modability and You” (DarkGod)
1330 – “Making a Roguelike that uses Twitter Data” (Sean Oxspring)
1355 – “KeeperRL Development” (Michal Brzozowski)
1420 – “The Curious Expedition Development” (Johannes Kristmann)
1445 – “Murder Puzzle – No Longer a Roguelike” (Ido Yehieli)
1510 – “Scaling Brogue“ (Flend)
1535 – “Creating a Procedural Level Editor” (Me)
1600 – “Sir, you are Being Hunted Development” (Tom Betts)
1625 – “Algorithmic Generation of Global Racial, Cultural, Religious, and Architectural Variation” (Mark Johnson)

There were so many great talks, some were really funny and others were really informative, I even managed my talk, despite all my nerves. I spoke about a part of my University dissertation, the Procedural Level Editor.

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If you didn’t catch them on Twitch, all of the talks will be online on Youtube in the coming weeks. These talks were followed by curry, and then drinks at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusulem, possibly the oldest pub in England.

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Day Two

This was an experimental part of the day, where members of the public got to try out some classic and modern roguelikes such as DoomRL, Angband and Incursion among others, as well as a selection of board games that possibly inspired Roguelikes.

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So I had a really fun time, and got to speak to a lot of talented game developers about procedural generation and gaming in general. I got to talk about my University dissertation, and I also got to speak on roguelike radio about the conference, which should also be online soon as well.

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So I think it’s time to announce my new main project, during my dissertation I wrote a short prototype game to demonstrate the procedural level editor. I’ve decided to extend this game to be Gemstone Keeper, the roguelike twin-stick shooter. It will use the Procedural Level Editor, which I will also release for public use when it comes to a stable enough point.

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Ralph Baer & Ludum Dare 31

https://i1.wp.com/www.vintagecomputing.com/wp-content/images/interviews/baer_harrison_pong_3_large.jpgI would first like to start this post by talking about Ralph Baer, wildly known as the father of video games who passed away on December 6th. Since 1966 he always had the idea of games that can be displayed on television screens, and developed what he calls “the brown box” which had rotary controls and played a simple tennis game with two panels and a square ball. This patented idea eventually got picked up by TV manufacturer Magnavox and became the Odyssey, wildly considered the first video games console. Along with essentially founding computer and video games as we know it today, he also invented the classic electronic game Simon (and its sequel Super Simon) and carried on developing and tinkering with electronic prototypes, giving him 150 patents to his name.

He lived a full life and his work has lead to the creation of the largest entertainment history, and lot of gamers and game developers are where they are today because of his work.

So last weekend was Ludum Dare, the 31st bi-annual 48-hour games jam. The theme for this one was “Entire Game on One Screen”, a bit basic for a theme but it’s much better than the joke theme that got a lot hype in the voting stages (no snowmen please!).

You can play my entry right now, it’s called Glow Drop and it’s a physics based puzzle game, just click the image below to go to the Ludum Dare page!

I initially wanted to develop my entry using HaxeFlixel, but software issues struck and I was unable to use it, and since on the Saturday I spent most of my time developing on a train to London with no wi-fi, I decided to switch to using Construct2.

While I didn’t really feel motivated to using Construct2 again after spending over a year developing a certain award nominated stealth game using it, turns out for the game I ended up making it was worthwhile. Construct2 has one of the most easiest physics set up out of any engine I’ve used, and since the entire game has to be on a single screen, it’s much easier to manage a visual layout than a coded game state

Since I was out with friends and family for most of Saturday, I was hoping to release for the 72-hour jam. However, when I noticed that most of the game and the graphics were finished with four hours remaining, I felt like I could pull it off and upload for the compo, and I succeeded!

I’m already getting positive comments so far, so I might use a day or two from my Christmas break to polish the game more and release it as a mobile game! If you guys like the idea let me know if there is anything I could add/change to make it work!

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Secret of Escape Shortlisted for TIGA Games Industry Awards 2014

I’m proud to announce that Secret of Escape has been shortlisted for Best Student Game and Game of the Year at this years TIGA Games Industry Awards. The ceremony will celebrate a year of game releases from the UK Games Industry from all developers of all sizes, from indies to the AAA.

This is definitely a huge honour to see a well known organisation in the Games Industry as TIGA to recognise the hard work of those, including individuals and students. I’ve worked very hard during my placement year to bring Secret of Escape to the masses, seeing people praise the game and now for it to be shortlisted for a major award definitely makes the extra effort worthwhile.

If you haven’t already, you can now download Secret of Escape, the fast-paced stealth action game, from Desura, Itch.io and IndieGameStand.

Readers and members of the public can vote for Secret of Escape for Game of the Year here, voting opens until 20th October.

Secret of Escape – Nearly Ready for Release

I’m happy to announce that Secret of Escape is now at the stage where release is on the horizon, so currently we are getting promotional content ready and getting a release date set so we can let as many content publishers and gamers know that we are coming.

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HaxeFlixel: Making a Custom Preloader

Today I figure I shall write a tutorial for a part of Flash/Haxe gamedev that isn’t really written much, especially for HaxeFlixel, one of the more popular frameworks for the Haxe programming language. While not very necessary for desktop and mobile games where data is loaded from the client side and loading times is usually very quick, preloading is used a lot in web based content where data is loaded from a server, so there would be less delays during playthrough. Even then, you are still able to customize the preloading itself to make it more appealing and to suit the game you are making, add links and other info or to include ads, as such I am going to show you the basics of creating your own preloader for a HaxeFlixel flash game.

Preload HaxeFlixel Default Preloader

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London Gaming & Anime Con and New Demo

Over a week ago, I was at the LGAC 2014 at the Rocket Complex. Secret of Escape was shown amongside nine other amazing indie games, and it was a brilliant experience to see hundreds of gaming and anime fans come down to the indie zone to check us out!

The Animeleague staff were brilliant to work with, providing us tables and equipment if needed, we were invited to speak at the opening ceremoney and a Q&A on indie games development so we had plenty of opportunities to get involved with the attendees.

I also had a chance to play through some of the other indie games on show, including some watch worthy titles such as Kraden’s Crypt, Legena: Union Tides, Narcisistic and #Dungeon, as well as other titles with potential such as Bard to the Future, Playtanic and some current releases like Spelmy and Space Farmers.

Of course several people had a chance to try Secret of Escape, and were thrown back by the challenging gameplay. While there were some technical issues, it’s good to see a lot of people enjoy the difficulty and showed a lot of determination to finish the eight level demo, some of them even succeeding in the LGAC exclusive challenge of finding the hidden passage to win a random mystery Steam Game Key.

In fact, you can now download an updated version of the demo right here.

The original LGAC demo had a video and the hidden passage challenge which have been removed to provide a more closer experience to the released game.

Many thanks to Animeleague for arranging the Indie Zone, as well as the other indie developers, exhibitors, vendors and attendees for making the convention such an awesome experience, I hope to return next year.

London Gaming & Anime Convention and the Indie Zone Tomorrow

Just a quick reminder of what’s happening this weekend (5th-6th July). I will be showing off Secret of Escape in the Indie Zone along with 9 other awesome indie game developers and their awesome indie games! Alongside us indies, there will be Capcom, Ubisoft, Namco Bandai and GAME in the gaming area! There is also lots of anime, music, TV, film and web related events as well, so it’s a weekend worth going to!

Here’s the full list of indie games at the Indie Zone

More info on the London Gaming & Anime Convention