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    The Roaring Silence …


    2014 - 05.03

    Alas, being busy with real life stuff, my blog ( and gamedev ) has slipped a bit from my attention, which is always lame when your last post was last year. So this is me addressing this fact and getting back into the froodiness that is gamedev.

    I’ve worked on a few projects in the past few months, but nothing which has really seen the light of day in a release way – which is a terrible terrible sin for an indie gamedev to commit, which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. Publicly stating stuff get things done :) So with that in mind, I’m stating for the record that I’m taking part in #lowrezjam. Which is a pretty cool idea for a jam where you have to make a game that fits that will fit inside 32×32 pixels. I’ve got a game idea I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, and I think it will fit this theme quite nicely, and be quite challenging to do ( how do you fit a decent UI within 32×32 pixels? only time will tell :) ).

    So this means in around ~15 days from now, there should be ( finally! ) a new game to play :)

    Now to make this entry a bit more media friendly, here are a couple of screen shots from some of my WIP’s that I’ve been toying with in my spare time :

    Physically Simulated Tentacles
    Physically simulated tentacle monsters. There is a reason. I’m not going to say what until I get further along. Each tentacle can navigate using A* and can grow and contract as is required to manipulate obstacles. A screenshot doesn’t really do it justice – the physics produce some really cool organic looking animation

    Splat
    More physics, and blood! This was an early experiment with box2d and impact which resulted in many, many hysterical bugs. This game is actually game complete, but only has one level currently. And terrible programmer art.

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    Wastelands Beta


    2013 - 06.12

    Introducing : Wastelands Beta

    A relatively simple Drugwars clone with an additional twist – your friends depend on you keeping them alive! Try and make money and keep your friends alive in an alien apocalypse scenario. This was written for last months #1GAM, but I’ve only just had time to do a write up because of personal matters :( The idea was first brought to me by my boss, who knows my passion for coding games. After several discussions, we had a story and some mechanics in place, and I went away to play with impact.js to produce a working prototype.

    After several internal iterations, Wastelands: Beta was born!

    How to play

    Story
    Day 1 – An asteroid crashes in rural Russia. Scientists go to investigate the impact site – expecting to be able to investigate the remains of the asteroid but instead just find a massive crater and no asteroid fragments. The impact crater seems to confirm that something massive hit the Earth – the scientists are at a loss and begin to examine the impact site in greater detail.

    Day 3 – After frenzied activity, the scientists discover two strange things. Firstly there appears to be small ( almost microscopic ) pools of some form of organic matter located in and around the impact site. Assuming these are some form of residue from the crash, the scientists call in biology experts to help identify the organic matter. The second thing is that the number of these pools seem to be increasing, as if they were coming up from the ground.

    Day 5 – Police are called to a small mining village near the impact site. On arrival the police make one of the most shocking discoveries in modern history – someone has slaughtered everyone in the village. The village has been ransacked – fires are still burning, and the streets and homes are full of gore. Bodies have been eviscerated, limbs are missing and there is not one living thing left in the village.

    Day 7 – Many of the scientists who involved with the initial investigation of the crash site have become deathly ill – blood tests show that their blood streams are swarming with complex and strange looking microorganisms.

    Day 10 – Another village, this time further away from the impact site has had its population annihilated in a similar fashion to the first village. Realizing it must be related to the impact site, the army cordons off a huge area around the impact site. Evacuating several nearby residences inside this zone, martial law is introduced. The scientists, now very aware the impact site is present a biological hazard implement Level 4 Hazmat containment along with the army assisting them. No one is allowed within 50 miles of the impact site without a biohazard suit and armed escort.

    Day 14 – Just after midnight, one of the army garrisons on the edge of the quarantined zone are attacked by groups of monstrous creatures, with three distinct types – one of which is employed as a shock creature, damaging and killing troops, another type which seems to hold back, and coat the ground with goo, a strange fog around it and the final type of creature seeming to be constructed from random body parts from the initial victims of the village massacres. The garrison is quickly overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of creatures attacking it. Several thousand creatures escape the quarantine zone before a series of carpet bombing raids are called in, destroying the remaining monstrous forces – reinforcements from other garrisons plugging the hole in the quarantine zone.

    Day 20 – The contamination levels near the impact site reach levels even dangerous for hazmat suits, so remote controlled drones perform a fly-by of the impact site taking photos and collecting air samples. The photographs reveal that the ground all around the impact site is now coated in a thick organic substance, and several spore/mushroom like structures have appeared, as if they have been grown from the organic carpet. The air samples reveal an even more shocking discovery – the very air around the impact is full of alien spores and what appear to be heavily mutated airborne human viruses.

    Day 23 – “The Red Day” – many small towns and villages far outside of the quarantine zone are attacked by hordes of the creatures causing a death-toll at the end of the day in the hundreds of thousands. No event in modern history has been so full of bloodshed – so many lives lost in a single day. Social media websites fill up with information, hastily typed accounts, pictures and videos of these terrifying creatures and the slaughter they brought down on these unprepared victims. Army reserves are called in from all over the country – airstrikes are authorised on friendly civilian buildings for the first time in history.

    Day 28 – The armed forces are unable to contain the problem any more and all over the country more of these spore like buildings are being spotted, more attacks are taking place. The organic carpet spreading out like a cancerous growth. Towns and cities fortify themselves, creating walls and barricades around themselves, establishing martial law. The very air all over the country is now swarming with dangerous microorganisms. Every unprotected breath filling peoples lungs with unknown contaminants.

    Day 41 – Your adventure begins …. you estimate you have 30 days to create a new safe haven for your friends before the aliens overrun the current safe zones. Taking out a small loan to buy an APC you start to round up supplies and to keep your friends healthy before the end comes.

    Controls

    Mouse only :) Click on the red blocks on the map to move between safe zones, use the buy and sell buttons to buy and sell, and watch the prices! Every town produces and consumes different items, the key is to identify which and make as much profit as possible. You can upgrade the storage on your APC. Certain safe zones have your friends in them – they will give you hints as to what is needed in each safe zone. The more friends you save, the higher the score. It is VERY possible to get a negative score :)

    It is completely safe to use your friends e-mail addresses on the page – check the source :) I’ve left it unencrypted so you can double check I’m not harvesting anything – the email addresses just call gravatar to see if there is a picture to personalize your game.

    If you have some performance issues – click on the static image at the bottom of the right hand side of the page, it will turn off the noise filter which should improve things greatly. Likewise, the speaker turns on and off the sound.

    Notes

    I will write more about this game in a following post – but Wastelands : Beta is essential a very simple and quick version of the game. Dependant on feedback its a game I really want to expand greatly upon this.

    The game can be found here : www.greenslimegames.com/games/html5/wastelands_beta/. You will need a modern browser to play it. If you find any bugs feel free to let me know! My #1GaM profile is : http://www.onegameamonth.com/BeeBug_Nic feel free to leave some fan mail <3 ... or not :)


    The first person to tweet translate of what any of the number stations are saying will become an NPC in the next version of the game :) Though if your name is ‘HairyMonkeyScrotum’ I may choose to change your name :)

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    Steam Greenlight and UK Kickstarter …


    2012 - 07.10

    What a crazy day it has been with two very, very exciting bits of news not only for indie developers but especially for UK based indie developers. Being one of those, the excitement levels are high indeed! The two bits of news which are causing me almost orgasmic levels of excitement are : Valve annoucing Greenlight and Kickstarter annoucing they will let UK based games be funded.

    Why is this exciting?

    GreenLight – Getting a game onto steam has always been rather of an opaque process, with no idea why a game has been rejected/accepted. Greenlight is going to address this by letting the people who play games on Steam actally rank/vote and get games into the approval process. You need only a very small amount of information in order to get your game into Greenlight – even having a playable demo is optional ( though probably a sensible idea if your trying to grab votes :) ). To get a game on Greenlight, you’ll need the following :

    •   A square branding image (similar to a box cover) to represent your game in lists and search
    •   At least 1 video showing off your game or presenting your concept
    •   At least 4 screenshots or images
    •   A written description of the game along with tentative system requirements

    (taken from the current Greenlight homepage) That is a pretty low bar to get something into the system – my biggest worry is having good projects lost due to the inevitable deluge of ‘I WANTZ 2 MAKES A MMORPG LIKE WOW BUT WIV CARZ AND STAR TREK ( AND PONIES!!11one)’. Having said that, with community feedback, it allows someone to tweak and adjust their ideas – a useful side effect to this system. Gamers getting games they want to play into the approval system makes a lot of sense, and promises some intresting times ahead :)

    Kickstarter allowing UK funding – I honestly can’t decide which is getting me more excited, this of Greenlight. Simply put, it was tricky to get crowd funding for indie games in the UK. Not impossible, as many sites offered an alternative venue for crowdfunding games – however, none of them really compared to the pull that Kickstarter had. Now, with this adjustment, it will be possible for UK based indies to get their game crowd sourced, without having to trust a friend in the US to handle the cash for you :)

    Why is this so exciting to UK Indie developers?

    GET MONEY + GET APPROVAL AND FEEDBACK ON STEAM = HAPPY INDIE DEVELOPER :)

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    Unity3d and Clouds inside the prototype


    2012 - 07.08

    Just had a comment on an earlier video on my building prototype asking why I had no skybox :) Well, as it was an early build, I had no skybox :) But thought it was the perfect opportunity to show of my alternative to a skybox, procedurally generated clouds :

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    Sigil : The Future


    2012 - 06.23

    After the crazy amount of feedback I’ve had on Sigil, I’ve decided to carry on with it. Totally loved the first person shooter tower mechanic, so now I need to do several things to turn it from a 7dfps entry into a fully-fledged game. Below is a list of random ideas I’ve had. Dependent on feedback, I may drop some – need to actually write a proper GDD quite soon.

    •     Code Refactor – as a 7 day game, I have to admit, the backend is in a bit of a mess. All the AI is currently derived from a base class, along with the turrets. However, the GUI and spawning systems are a bit of a mess. This needs cleaning up.
    •     MOAR Turrets – I have so many ideas for turrets – I’m going to create a load, see how they play for people, then probably trim them down to the most useful ones. Current turret ideas :
      •     Freeze Turret – does exactly what it sounds like, freezes enemies in place so your other turrets can decimate them.
      •     Electric Turret – Arcs between different enemies, gradually getting weaker.
      •     Energy Gathering Turret – Does no damage, but collects energy automatically within a set range.
      •     Bounce Turret – causes the enemies to bounce backwards in a random direction.
      •     Elemental Turret – four different turrets doing different amounts of damage to the enemy dependent on resists.
      •     Mortar Turret – Launches an AOE projectile.
      •     ‘Lazer’ Turret – Does damage to one enemy, keeping it the sole target while it damages it, damage increasing over time.
      •     Poison Turret – Applies a DOT to an enemy.
      •     Decloaker Turret – Makes invisible enemies visible while in range.
    •     MOAR Enemies
      •     Elemental variants – similar to currently spawned ones, but with resists to the elemental turrets mentioned above.
      •     Cloaked Enemies – Originally the transparent cube was meant to be a cloaked enemy, however, with time constraints I had to drop this idea.
      •     Reverse Vampire Enemies – They start with 1 health, then as they move towards your Life Sigil they gain more and more health.
      •     Flying Enemies – exactly what it sounds like, will really confuse the current turret AI :)
      •     Buff Enemies – Enemies that speed up or heal surrounding enemies.
      •     Teleporting Enemies – They appear in front of you and stay there for 5 seconds, before teleporting closer to your Life Sigil.
      •     Ninja Enemies – not quite ninjas, but will try and work out a route to your Life Sigil by avoiding as many of your turrets as possible.
    •     Configuration screen – music/sound/mouse sensitivity/misc game options.
    •     Levels – More than one level, a set way to complete a level, proper wave system etc;
    •     Game Modes – The current game will become survival, I want a story line one as well. Also would like a craft mode, where instead of you using energy to make turrets, you build them from fallen foes.
    •     Graphic/Level/Model Improvement – the current art style sucks, very much need to move to a cooler look.
    •     Turret Upgrades – Very much needed, as currently the only way to survive is just to spawn more and more turrets.
    •     Online scoreboards – Would be epic, hopefully will start the implementation of this today.
    •     General polish – improve the GUI, overview map, etc; etc;
    •     Add different difficulty modes – including an unlockable one on completion.
    •     More effects – unity can produce some amazing looking graphical effects, I need to harness this for overall sexiness.
    •     MOAR EASTEREGGS – Seems no one has discovered any easter eggs in the current game – but I want to add more, as I love them :)
    •     Better tutorial screen and menu screen, along with a decent game over screen.

    As you can see, that is a fairly long wishlist – no doubt there will be some things removed and other things added. I’ve got the freeze turret already in my test build, along with a new enemy type that spawns other enemies. Once they are balanced and working properly I will add a global high-score list, which should be fun :) I’ll branch the game at this point, keeping the #7dfps entry separate and focus on creating and updating the new instance.

    If you haven’t played the game – why haven’t you? :) http://www.greenslimegames.com/games/sigil <– see it is big and red, you know you wanna click it! Mac and PC downloads are both available on that page as well. Let me know what you think, either comment here, tweet me ( @beebug_nic ) or feel free to email me ( lamentconfig AT greenslimegames DOT com ). Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

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