New Years Resolutions

Good evening everyone! It’s no doubt that 2017 has been a hell of a year following what happened in 2016, but we fought through and we are still here fighting! This year has also been huge in terms of game development for me. I managed to finish SEVEN games this year, six from game jams such as #RemakeJam, PROCJam, Jamchester and Three Ludum Dares!

https://img.itch.zone/aW1hZ2UvMTYzMjc3Lzc1MjE2Ni5naWY=/315x250%23c/L0i8g2.gif  https://img.itch.zone/aW1hZ2UvMjAxMDM1LzkzOTE3OC5naWY=/315x250%23c/q5QpUK.gif

The seventh game was the nearly two year project Gemstone Keeper, which made an initial release on March 31st earlier this year and has since had numerous updates, although grouped together as four updates. The most recent of which was 1.0.4 that was announced on 21st of December. The game is currently on part of the Steam Winter Sale, and is currently 50% off!

Gemstone Keeper also had a second smaller release as it was ported to Linux, the build being available on Steam in June. I documented the progress to port the game in three blog posts (part 1, part 2 and part 3), and got a small amount of coverage from dedicated linux gaming websites as a result.

There was also an accomplishment in travel as well, 2017 was the year I went to both GDC in San Francisco and Develop in Brighton for the first time! Both events were great opportunities to meet up and socialise with fellow game developers and listen to talks from great minds such as Ken Perlin, John and Brenda Romero, Jordan Mechnar and Tim Sweeny.

As for 2018, I want to set some goals. As with many New Years Resolutions, chances are they will be forgotten and unaccomplished, but considering I managed to lose weight this year, I might pull through with a bit of committment.

First one is that I want to take part in at least one game jam a month, meaning I’d be finishing 12 games next year. I like the challenge and creativity from game jams, but this year I feel like six isn’t enough. At least spacing out the game jams to one a month will give me time to find a weekend or so to get my head down and finish something.

Second one is to get a game on console. It’s not like I haven’t bothered trying before (I’ve reached out to Nintendo about developing Gemstone Keeper for the Switch to no avail), but it would be nice to expand my work beyond desktop PCs and web development. Porting my own game to Linux should show how when I put my mind to it, building a game to another platform by hand is possible, and it would be great to show I can do that on one of the three main systems.

Thanks for reading and have a happy new year everyone!

The More You Have, the Worse It Gets

Ludum Dare 40 took place last weekend, the theme was the title above. Honestly it wasn’t the theme I was hoping for, but in the end, I took an idea I had and adjusted it slightly to work.

The idea I had was that a single level would slowly get corrupted and change, you can shoot away the corruption, but touching the corruption would kill you. This already could fit the theme quite well, the more corruption in the world means the worse it is for you. I wanted players to move around a lot, so I had the additional goal of collecting glitch boxes, which would create more corruption over time.

I used HaxeFlixel to develop the game, as it was bread-and-butter for me in game jams such as Ludum Dare, especially when there is not much time to work on an idea (I had spent the entire Saturday out with friends for winter festivities, all I did was write notes on what the idea would be, so in all I only had around 11 hours to work on a game).

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To get the corruption to update and move around, I used the tilemap system and updated the grid with Conway’s Game of Life algorithm, that way it gave the impression of mutating outwards or dying out depending on the numbers. Fortunately, with recent updates to HaxeFlixel, you could do collision response based on specific tiles, so it was easily possible to remove tiles and change the map when bullets collided with it. The extra artefacts also use Conway’s Game of Life. although the grid is 4 times larger than the main corruption grid.

The artwork was done in Photoshop, although it was a very simple and rushed job. The “corrupt” graphics was a multicoloured character set that I had to create and tweak by hand to fit into a 10×10 pixel grid.

The music was a combination of cgMusic and LMMS, quite a good combo to have because it meant I let one program generate a music set, then import it into LMMS as a midi file for me to set instruments (using soundfonts), effects and tweak the melodies how I like.

I managed to upload the game with around 30 minutes left before the compo deadline!

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On Tuesday I fixed that timer, which appeared broken when you reached a minute because I messed up how the string was being built. It took a few uploads for those changes to appear, something that kind of frustrates me about HTML5 and how web browsers will not always clear out the cache if the content has been changed.

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Feel free to play the game on itch.io as well as rate or comment on the Ludum Dare page.


This wasn’t the only games jam I did this winter, I also took part in PROCJAM, where I built a planet generator. It’s not my best work to be honest, although I was able to work and improve my 3D OpenGL rendering in the Vigilante Framework.

Windows 8 Competitions

So it turns out there isn’t just one, but two Windows 8 Competitions that are running right now.

First there is Scirra’s Construct2 Windows 8 competition (Deadline: Friday June 14th) –https://t.co/x5KFryPiQH

There are prizes for the top SIXTY entries –

“1st: a Windows 8 touch device, a Windows Phone 8 HTC 8X and a Construct 2 Business license

2nd: a Windows 8 touch device and Construct 2 Personal license
3rd: a Windows Phone 8 HTC 8X and Construct 2 Personal license
4th-10th: a Construct 2 Personal license
In addition to the above prizes, the top fifty entries will also receive a $100 voucher that can be redeemed in the Scirra Store! That’s right, there are 50 of these available!”
Also there is YoYo Games’ GameMaker Windows 8 competition (Deadline: Friday June 28th) –http://www.yoyogames.com/promotions/win_big

These have big money prizes!

“Here’s how the prizing breaks down:

$10,000 awarded to best game overall**
$5,000 for 2nd place
The best ’New Game’*** will receive $5,000
$1,000 will be awarded to 5 x 3rd place entries
There are also 50 runners up prizes of $200 plus GameMaker: Studio™ Master Collection (valued at $499)”

 

Even I’m not too sure which one to enter!

 

The Windows Games Ambassadors Website!

If you are interested in developing for Windows 8, make sure to check out www.windowsgamesambassadors.co.uk.

Not only is it the official website for the Windows Games Ambassadors, where you can find updates on what ambassadors like me are up to, but it is also a great starting point for finding all information on what you can use to make Windows 8 games, as well as how to implement Windows 8 Application features and services like Azure!

Stafford Windows Games Jam

Stafford Windows Games Jam

Yes, you heard it. I am running a Games Jam for students at Staffordshire University, taking place on Stafford Campus. Students will be working solo or in teams to make fun and short games made for Windows platforms, and the two best games will win either a Windows Phone 8 or a Microsoft Kinect for Windows! Games will be made using easily available game development tools such as MonoGame, Unity, Construct2 and Game Maker Studio, or for the more tech savvy, can be made using pure code to run on Windows 8/Phone 8 via HTML5 or C#, and can use the free platform starter kit to get them going.

Information on the Jam is on the Official Facebook Events Page.

 

Show us your Game Changer

As a Windows Games Ambassador, I think it’s write for me to tell you this!

Show us that you’re a game changer and collect points every step of the way to redeem rewards like a brand new Windows 8 RT Slate. Create the next app phenomenon by building your original and unique Windows Store and/or Windows Phone App.

Get recognised and rewarded for building your original apps. Further, get bonus rewards for migrating your Windows Phone app to Windows Store and vice versa or incorporating one or more Windows Azure Services.

Follow these 4 Simple Steps to Start Earning Points for your Awesome Apps:

1. Register yourself on the UK App Builder Reward Programme website.

2. Build & publish your original & unique app.

3. Claim points by telling us about the app you’ve published and we’ll award points to you accordingly.

4. Referrer your Windows Game Ambassador (which is me)

5. Redeem your points for a range of fantastic prizes and gadgets.

Introducing Our First Ever One Day Special

On Tuesday 19 March 2013, we will be announcing a special one day deal for the Rewards Programme. To make sure you can take advantage of this special one day deal, publish your apps and ensure you claim your points before Thursday 14 March 2013 (less than 2 weeks away) so you will have your all of your eligible points in your account to use. You do not want to miss this one day special! Look out for the announcement for the One Day Special on Tuesday 19 March.

Don’t forget about our Bonus Rewards

The bonus rewards are limited deals where you must fulfil the stated criteria. Once you have fulfilled the criteria, you will be notified by our team and delivery of your bonus reward will be arranged. The bonus reward is exactly that and it will not affect the balance of your points therefore, you will still be able to use your points to claim for your reward(s) of your choice. Nokia have generously sponsored the first set of bonus rewards. You have to be quick to take advantage of this special bonus reward.

Bonus Reward 1: Receive a Nokia Lumia 620 Windows Phone 8 Handset if you are one of the first 20 App Builders who accumulate 100 points from Windows Phone Apps published.

Bonus Reward 2: Receive a Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 Developer Handset if you are one of the first 10 App Builders who accumulate 200 points for publishing Windows Phone apps.