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W26 SounTris

SounTris Screenshot1.png

A striped down version of Tetris with audio as its only interface.

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Controls

Menu

Buttons 1 to 10 – to select game mode,
Space – to enter, and
Tab – to hear description.

In Game

In game mode 1 use buttons 1 to 3 to choose columns, space to drop the pices, and tab to hear the highest position in each column.

Credits

Game by Christoffer Lundberg

Music Flower of Fall by Dee Yan-Key

Post Morten

Audio Game – I want to make a game with sound only, because I have been commuting a lot lately. I get car sickness when I take longer rides if I try to read, look at a phone or try to play games. I got a pocket operator (robot) for not to long ago, a pocket synthesizer, and it has been a life savior. But it go me to think about the possibility to make sound only games.
Other sound/audio games – I made some basic googling about other sound games. Theres a page called AudioGames which has a long list of game available. But it was pretty hard to get a overall impression of the different games. First because I don’t know about the standard genres, and second because you can look up screen shot or gameplay videos. What I really wanted was a top 10 audio games. I found some games that was like visual novels / text adventures but without the visuals, I wanted to make more of a game loop thing, so these was out of question. I also intended to make games that was not just a playable version of a visual game but with sound only, but a game that could only work as a audio game. It turned out harder then expected.
I watched this talk Gaming Without Aiming From Gamer Grace 2017 by Liam Erven. It was interesting, not exactly the info dumps of different games, but a great starting points from the perspective of how a blind person experience gaming, and try to develop games for it. Some great take aways from the talk was that its hard to play games without the visuals, but that he still enjoyed playing them, even when he was really bad at the game. One example from around 27 is when he and a none blind friend played street of rage, and Liam would rampage around the stage killing all the enemies but also damaging his friend, forcing him to evade the enemies and his copartner. After the game his friend said that he never had that fun playing a multiplayer game before. Also a not how old arcade games are great because you can always insert more virtuall quarters, aka never lose. Its great because its possible to play through the game even without the visuals
He also mentioned to games, super liam and egg hunt. Both of them uses 3D sound positioning to direct the player to different objects. Super Liam is a audio version of mario, and Egg Hunt is a game where you run after beeping eggs on a field trying to avoid the chicken. Super Liam seems a little minimalistic, but Egg Hunt sounded really interesting. I started with a simple 3D sound game, but abandoned it when I got the tetris idea. And also because it was hard to differentiate multiple sounds at the same time. But I will look more into it in the future.
Blind Tetris – Theres blind tetris out there, but they expect the player to memorize all of the playing field in there mind and show what pices you get and where you put it. So there was a couple of challenges:
  • Telling the playing field to the player.
  • Telling the piece,
  • telling the rotation, and
  • telling the position of the piece
Absolute vs relative position – One of the aha moments of the project was what I called absolute position. In most games you use arrow keys or joysticks to change the position of the player avatar in the game world. It requires the game to tell the player about the position of the avatar in the game world, because input only manipulate the position. One example of a absolute position system is pong which uses a wheel. One rotation unit corresponds directly to one position unit of the pad. So I tried to give the tetris piece position one button for each lane, which works on pc, but will get cumbersome on a controller. It kind of works and I kind of like it, also in visual tetris, because you don’t have to press multiple times to get the pieces to the perfect position. Although it takes some time to get used to.
TetrisBlocks

I can only think of the “Tetris God” when I hear Line-Piece

Rotation – I also intended to include one button for each rotation, but it got cut pretty early to cut down on complexity. But I would like to add it for the more complex game modes. Some thoughts on rotation: in tetris when you get a L-piece, its not really one piece, because you can rotate it in for different positions. Compare the L-pices four rotations to the square blocks one rotation, or the Line-piece or Z / squiggly, which only have two different alternatives of rotations. So one idea was to spawn all of the different blocks but lock the rotation, and also randomize it. Would it make the game to hard, because each rotation of for example the L-piece, it would require more set up to be able to place them any where use full. One quick fix could be to have two rotations for each piece, which would only require one button. And it would be interesting to add a variation of the square-block, transform it like the tank from starcraft. Because rotation is fundamentally transforming the piece, why not open up the possibility to alternate between different forms?
Telling the playing field – I decide to use a system where you can press a button to get a description of the playing field. You only get information about the highest piece in each column, which is kind of lacking, but it was the only doable alternative. You could use some kind of dot system, having a beep if it was a block there and a boop if it wasn’t, but I wanted to minimize top loading information. The problem with the field description right now is that it gets kind of clumsy with more then 5 columns. I have some ideas about grouping columns in pairs of 3, saying them faster and then having a small pause. But its not in the game right now.
Telling the piece – I used simple shapes then the standard tetris parts, mostly because its easier to visualize them, but also because its easier to tell the shapes to the player. Its not possible to tell the shape of a squiggly to the player with my current system. The system work similarly to how the description of the playing field works. A square is called 2, 2, a line- piece is called 4, (and if I would use the rotation it would have been called 1,1,1,1,). A L- Piece would be called 2, 1, 1 or 2, 3, but the other formations which leave vacuum slots in the bottom row, this system doesn’t work for them. I could use a different system which simply use words, like “squiggly” but then they have to be explained some where and the player needs to remember it. I don’t think that would be such big of a problem if people play the game a lot, but its not usable in a “first audio game”. Like in the same way you don’t introduce a first time gamer to Super Meatboy or Darks Souls, which kind of require years of gaming experience to be playable. Instead you introduce them to Wii Sports or I don’t know; Dear Esther.
Menu – I also like the menu. Its heavily inspired by Super Liam, and most of the audio recordings in the game is in the star menu. But I think its necessary to try to describe the concept. It might even be to short to be honest. The audio quality is pretty shitty, which is ashamed because the game is audio only. So when I make a second draft, the audio will get a lot of revamp. It would also be nice to have a lot of variations on the descriptions and sound details. Like different interactions sounds depending on which game mode you play. Or a “narrative mode”
Unfortunately the game is not very playable right now, because you can’t lose, and theres no high score. I want to add some kind of timer, for each part or “get the highest score in 3 minutes”. So its more like a experiment to see if it works to play tetris with sound only. And I put it up in its current state to gather feedback, and have it easier to reference to online.
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Valiant Knights and The Amusement Park

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Explore the world, but you have to return to protect the castle when the monsters attacks.

Download (65mb)

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Controls

Game Pad

D-pad – Move

A and Move – Dash

X – Attack

Keyboard

Wizard

Arrow keys – Move

L and Move – Dash

K – Attack

Warrior

WASD – Move

Space and Move – Dash

Shift – Attack

Credits

Christoffer Lundberg – Programmering

Oscar Lundberg – Art, Music & Sound

Victor Andersson – Narrative

Per Andersson – Art

A Passage of ICE

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Travel through a Ice forest, in a topdown platformer.

 

Move – WASD or D-pad

Jump – Hold Space (or X) and Move

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Credits

Programming – Christoffer Lundberg

Music Jörgen Häll

 

Post mortem

Inspired by Frogger – The inspiration of the games comes from a remake of frogger for ps2 (Frogger: Ancient Shadow) which I watched some gameplay of. Frogger isn’t the most inspiring game now a day, but I really like what they did with the tiled based movement, rhythm enemies and how the map looks. Its something I haven’t thought about before. And tbh really fresh compared to all the other sports games, racers or third person action games I saw game play of from ps2.

Game jam working from home – I made this game for a local game jam, but I was sick so I made it from my desktop. I was a odd game jam in the sense that multiple towns participated, with 5 different local meet ups. Like in Ludum dare or global game jam, but a lot smaller and with some of the people I know. We had a discord chat where we shard some progress, and offering to help. I got the music from Jörgen how worked in a different city. And in the end we had a video presentation with all the games from all the cities.

Story -> level design & components – I made the basic movement fairly quickly and then had some pondering over what to add next. I think I decided that polish on art and effect was the best thing to do. But I got some inspiration for the story instead so I started to write that. The idea was to have one line, poem like, for each room, and have some custom game mechanic for that room. The story was inspired from the dark souls introduction where they talk about how the world was and then how it changed into something bad. So the idea was to have one version of the room which you visit when the room is normal and then the other when it was bad. So I made some lines of animal that might fit in to a nordic forest, and then pick the ons with mechanics that was possible to build. This turned out well because I got inspired what to put in the room based on the story. Some problems was that the normal rooms was pretty empty, and I never go happy with the ending.

Trying Pixel art – I decided that I wanted to try some pixel art in this project. I realized that vector art works well for symmetric shapes, spheres, rectangles, or plotting out points. Theres things are annoying to make in pixel art, “one pixel more here, or one here”. But the pros of pixel art is that its easier to draw shapes, textures, and other things. Anyway I tried it. It didn’t turn out great, but was doable, and I like 4 shade palettes 🙂 (like gameboy but with blue tones instead of green) But I will need to make more projects to see if it works well. This wasn’t the first time I made pixel art, but the first time I made pixel art for games, and in time constrains.

To much button pressing on empty space – One problem with the Frogger concept is that you just press one time for each step. I think most of the level I made turned out to big, aka, you have to press a lot of times to move over the map. I tried to make bigger tiles, but it didn’t end up in the final version. If I make another version of this game I would make bigger tiles, make smaller levels or add hold to move multiple tiles. I also added a jump function which was nice, but it was kind of slow to use instead of moving.

Music + story -> epic – I got the music for the game when a musician posted a work in progress song of a epic anime battle piece. Before that I had planned the music to be more like phendrana drifts from Metroid prime (slow, semi mystic, frozen shimmering). But when I heard that song, and played the level with a lot of bullets on the screen, it was to epic to not include in the game. It was a little hard to have transitions between the songs. It was easy to go from slow to fast but it felt strange to go the other way around, from fast to slow. Some kind of sound fading might have worked or some kind of transition effect, like thunder or a animal cry.

Side stepping reimport art problem by making new objects that the first ons spawn – One of my biggest work flow problem with construct 2 is when I make placeholder art and then make new art and replace the placeholder art with it. Because they have different sizes, I have to go into every scene and change the size. Its possible to change the size of all objects in one scene but not of all objects in the game. Because this game had a couple of level, it would have been time consuming. So instead of replacing the art, I just made each object spawn a new object with the new art. It worked but later turned out to create slowdowns. But because I didn’t have any textures on the water and ground, I just used the bigger sized placeholder art and changed the color.

Spawing Player checkpoints like in Ori and the blind forest – First the game had a respawn point in the beginning of each level, but some levels go to hard so I tried to make a respawn system like the one used in ori and the blind forest, where you hold a button for awhile and then place a respawn where you stand. Its a little more to it in ori, like it consumes mana which is kind of powerful, so you can’t overuse it. And it cant be placed close to enemies. But tbh its, according to me, the one feature that make the game, which is otherwise kind of hard, very playable. Because its kind of up to the player if they need the checkpoint or want to go offensive and risky with other mana using attacks.

Any way in A Passage of ICE, I implemented it and let it be there for a while, but never really used it, forgot about it. So it feels a little silly to expect players to remember a mechanic I cant remember. I think it would have been used more if the game never created any checkpoints, so you had to make all of them. Because as it was, the checkpoints in the beginning of the level was ok, and you just realized that you would have needed a checkpoint when you died, but then you forgot about the placing checkpoint ability which was introduced in the beginning of the game. I think I could have introduced it better, and made it more necessary to use. Instead, I implemented a system where every time you got a coin you also go a checkpoint (darn, I should have implement it as a wasp or some bug flying between the gras and eat it, the them right now makes no sense. like you eat the grass and it spawns a magical hole, next time!) Its extremely forgiving, but the games focus isn’t to be punishing, If its to puniching it can risk ruining the mood from narrative and music.

Playable level design is good enough – I realized some things about level design, and its that if the level is playable its a big thing in its own. Like its hard to balance, remove difficulty spikes, make mechanics that the player can understand, make it interesting etc. And then you get to the question which games that have great level design, and what makes it great? And I would say that most games don’t have great level design, and the games that have, only have some levels that are top notch. But I would say that as long as the level is playable, at least the player isn’t going to rage quit the game. And then they can get to the one level that actually “magically” turned out to be good.

This is not one of the best games I have made, but I think its one of the games where story, gameplay and music add to each other. And that made something interesting.

W25 ¤seeds

Plant seeds to reach coins.

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Post-Mortem

Original idea from Warhammer deployment – The game idea comes from Warhammer fantasy battle and a critic I have for that game. The critic centers around the game being to front loaded, here the deployment of troops have a huge impact on the game. Almost like the deployment phase is the game (and tbh a lot of games are decided before the game begins based on what army lists each player has, but that’s a different can of worms). I mean, you still need to play the game to see the resolution, but its more like filling out the blanks, and making som minor decisions. So my original idea was: what if you make a game that actually focus on the deployment phase and make the rest of the game resolve very quickly with just a few fast decisions.

And that’s ¤seeds… No, I first intended it to be two players, but cut it because of lowering the scope. So I made it single player instead, and then made it so you didn’t have to plant all seeds at the same time. I still want to make a two player version, and a single player mode where you plant all of the seeds the same time. The reason you can plant seeds when every you want is just that it feels less forced. I just imagined myself the tutorial, plant your seeds, then press a button to make them all grow. And it kind of feels good to put down a seed and then see how it starts to grow up.

Random generated aided level design – I made a excel sheet of all the different variables in rooms, like seeds, earth spots, coins etc, and then made different room types, ex small challenge, big challenge, hallway, bonus level, there are only small challenges in the final game. And then put in a random range for the different room types. I also used a system where I would list all different versions of how you can interact with the seeds, like the mushroom can grow 3 times, and then you can interact with it, the first, second or thierd time, thats 4 different versions of mushrooms. I then randomized, 3 different plants and eachs grow version, and made levels where you could take the coins by using there’s. Excel can be used to randomize numbers, I used there’s commands:

 [Instert]
It worked well. Its a very stiff approach to level design, but theres really no reason to just make the levels that look interesting. Like normally, I would be like, it would be cool to have a level with only mushrooms, and the coins could be in a line but some in between so you have to touch the mushrooms to take the coin. But when I used this approach of random level specifications, I still made some interesting levels (tbh all levels looks just like a mess, before you start to think where you should put the plants to get the most coins) but because the specs was given I got more different types of levels instead of having to come up with the different specs. And the specs was fairly reasonable because I had set the min and max values. It would have been nice to have the levels also get randomized in a visual manner. But in a way this list approach was more versatile because I go the specs randomized and can build different versions of the same specs. Instead of having a ramdomizer, generate the spec and the position, and maybe generating interesting spec, but in a uninteresting position. Anyway, it was interesting to try a different approach. The levels are playable, but it would have been nice with some extra spice, like visual, or one time mechanics. And yeah, I generated levels for a seed that isn’t in the game, the “grass”seed which would grow three squares, one on each side, and you would touch it to grow longer on one of them. That the reason there’s so much coins in the lower section of the levels, which are kind of hard to take. And the barrels doesn’t drop anything.

level structure – I first made the “puzzle” mode where you get seeds in the room and put them out there. But it felt to static so I made the other mode that is now called challenge. I had problems coming up with a name for it, it felt more like a campaign, but it was to short, or like rought, but its not deadly enough, and has no roleplay elements. It got the randomness, but that is. Okay, the mode challenge, gives that play seeds to choose from (I also intended to have a shop where you could buy single seeds, or seed packs, or unlock new seed pack that would be put in to the pool of possible seed packs. I still like the shop idea, because it create a bigger loop which feed all the isolated rounds into each other.) And then you get a room with a challenge. If you run out of seeds or cant complete a room you lose. I also hade the idea of alternative routes. Like how a room would have two doors, one with a low coin number, that would be easy to unlock, and another door with a high coin number, which would be more challenging, but would lead to some kind of bonus room or a different route. Like if there was a map, and on the map you get small hints of what kind of seeds would be needed. So you could plan a little what seeds you start with, what you find along the way and what you might need to pass different rooms. Also having some seeds work like keys, like you literary need that seed to go along a specific route.

One off seeds – I wanted more different seeds. Like how that game flow would center around the player finding a seed but not really knowing what it would do. So you would save it, but then in a specific situation you would have to use it, and then you got to know what it does. So seeds would just be variants of the already existing seeds, like shooting two times, or shooting like a shotgun. Other seeds would be custom, like grow in a specific pattern, offloading a lot of the process on animation. And the seeds would be weird, bug wings, growing ears, growing pillars, or knife blades. And seeds which would effect adjacent seeds, changing how they grow. Or seeds which you could plant other seeds in, like pots. And seeds which grow into plants which drop other seeds, like in Odin Spheres health system. You can grow a apple tree from apple seeds, and then you got the apples, which you eat for health, and then plant the apple seeds for more apples. But the seeds need experience from enemies to grow, so you offer the experience points you otherwise would use to level up stats. Summa samaris, a lot of ideas on seeds.

Its a cool game, but it took way to much time, like 4 weeks, with the basics week 1, more level and challenge mode week 2, art sound 3 and start screen week 4. I done other things as well, but it feels a lot like I want to make more solid games but end up extending the week to add more things and never make the final push to wrap it up. I mean, I actually want more puzzle levels, and more grim dark art, but that’s all for now.

Hyper Strike

Temp

LD39 Argon

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Escape from hell with a twinstick plasma rifle fueled with souls!

Instructions

Firing drains energy and melee attacks regains it.

The first level is a scripted introduction level, the second level and the following is generated.

Game pad

  • Twinstick shooter,
  • Shoot & melee on the Shoulder Buttons

Keyboard

  • WASD & Mouse to Move & Aim
  • Shoot & Melee on Left / Right Click

(Unplug game pad to play on keyboard)

Play Online

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Credits

  • Art & Music – Tom Tavér
  • Concept & Sound – Victor Grenfors
  • Programming – Christoffer Lundberg

Powered by Construct 2

Ludum Dare #39 Page

Post-Morten

WIP

 

W23 Column 5

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A falling platformer with generated levels about digitally infiltration of machine ruled cooperations.

Autocratic machines rule world spanning cooperations. Everyday life is heavily regulated.  People go to Cyberspace to express their freedom. A world created only by the post human mind. Fear, greed or idealism, which one would you be?

The game is inspired by Downwell, but as the player progress and gather data from each column/level new abilities will be unlocked on that level. These ablities persist after the player lose and start from level one. When the game is completed (around 15 min) the data from each column is reseted.

The game started as a week long project but the game has been in development for three weeks so far. Most of the gameplay is the same as from week one but graphic and particles/ effects has been added along the way.

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1. Placeholder graphics form week one.

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Target graphic made in Inkscape

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Screenshot

 

Post-Morten

WIP