Another game jam down, another toy game/prototype to show for it! Drunkle is based on the theme “two button controls”, and was made with the help of returning team members Nathan, Peter, and Luke.

Drunkle seems to keep getting himself excessively inebriated. Help him navigate the precarious hallways of disreputable inns and taverns so that he can reach the exit before he makes a terrible mess.

As usual for projects I do in Unity, you can play directly from your browser, or grab the Windows 32-bit or Windows 64-bit build.

If you were a participant in Ludum Dare 34, we’d welcome your ratings and feedback on the Ludum Dare entry page. (more…)

Reviews of my Ludum Dare 32 game Deserializer are going well! Feedback has been very positive, but has also provided some useful critiques. I’m looking forward to the rankings being finalized and published Monday evening.

But I haven’t been sitting still. Although I’m proud of what I accomplished in three days, I know that the game is far from perfect. I believe that the core mechanic of a Frogger-style play field and movement plus pattern-matching is solid, but the specific type of pattern matching and its associated mechanics are definitely not ideal. So yesterday I spent some time away from the computer doing some paper prototyping. After a few iterations of conjuring up and tweaking new rules, I believe I’ve found a game objective that will work better. Allow me to describe a bit of the process I went through. (more…)

I tweeted about a month ago about an “interactive storyboard” that I was working on for my city builder design. But I only made it halfway through my intended development before I got distracted with my planet generation and turn based strategy shenanigans. The result was that I never got it to the point where I was planning to blog about it. Since it is apparently delayed indefinitely, maybe I should at least show what I do have available.

You can try it out yourself here, though be warned that the UI and overall user experience is far from perfect. This was in part an experiment to get a feel for how the interface would function (or not) after all! (more…)

Ludum Dare 30 Retrospective

Physical prototype with Risk cubes and LEGO axles.

Physical prototype with Risk cubes and LEGO axles.

Not that there’s much on which to retrospect, since I threw in the towel less than a day into the game jam.  My brain simply was unable to appropriately concentrate on the task at hand, no matter how much I tried.  Eventually I decided to simply cut my mental losses and not burn an entire weekend on a stressful activity that was clearly going nowhere.

Part of the problem was certainly that I had some personal stuff on my mind.  While that overall fact obviously impacted my efficacy with the jam, the details are irrelevant.  But there were some aspects of my mental processes that are very relevant to a retrospective.  First, and of course most notably, I’ll cover what went poorly, followed by those few elements that actually went well.  Such as the physical prototyping you see here on the right. (more…)

It’s time for the Ludum Dare game jam, once again.  This trimester I’ll be doing the 3-day jam rather than the 2-day competition, since I might have some outside assistance, and my schedule doesn’t really line up well with a Sunday evening deadline.

As before I’ll probably use the HTML5/JavaScript/CreateJS/jQuery combo, and take advantage of any of the code from my prior two jams or the other prototypes available here on my site.

Although I’ll note that I’m tempted by the recent release of the Unity 4.6 public beta, and the new GUI contained within.  Trouble is, I’m not very proficient with Unity, so it would definitely slow me down during a jam.  For some reason, every time I use Unity, I very quickly find myself confused by urges to fight the engine, rather than work with it.  So if I go the Unity route, the entire purpose of the jam will simply be to have any game completed to a playable state, whether innovative, fun, or otherwise.

If I focus on game mechanics, however, innovation is generally my objective.  This time around, I’m toying with a game style inspired by collectible card games like Magic:  The Gathering or Hearthstone.  Note the word “inspired”, as I don’t intend to literally create a card game.  But there are a lot of fascinating elements that I think can carry over into other game styles, and I’ve recently been working on doing that with some of my larger projects.  I don’t have anything to show for those larger projects yet, though, so this might push me to test the waters with some concrete functionality.  Always a valuable benefit of doing a game jam.

(crossposted to ludumdare.com)

I recently had a spontaneous idea for a card game while reading a game design book (Game Design Workshop:  A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, very good, highly recommended).  After some playtesting, experimentation, and tweaking of the rules, I decided to write up the rules.  Regrettably, most of the rule tweaks seemed to fail at improving the gameplay experience, so what I ended up with feels only mildly intriguing, not excellent.  But perhaps someone else might be inspired and find a clever way to improve it. (more…)

Jesse Schell recently requested brief videos from anyone who likes his book The Art of Game Design.  As is obvious from other content on my site, I’m a big fan of the book, so I took the time to begin learning a new skill and recorded a two minute video.  It summarizes two key features of the book that have helped me overcome periods of demotivation:  guidance on where a designer’s focus should be (helping me to get past a misplaced focus), and fresh perspectives to take advantage of the mental space freed up by stepping away from a ill-chosen focus.  Without completely repeating the short video in text, here it is (or view it on YouTube): (more…)

What a confusing tangled mess!

Ludum Dare is over, and my entry, Symptomatic, can be viewed here.  (If you want to judge the entry on the Ludum Dare site, you can find it here.)  The non-competition jammers are probably wrapping up their 72-hour game jam entries as I type, but having done the 48-hour competition, I’ve had the luxury of relaxing for a full 24 hour already.  Time to look back and reflect. (more…)

Ludum Dare #29 just started, and I’m jumpin’ in by blogging my first thoughts.  The theme is “Beneath the Surface”. (more…)

Having decided to declare my latest project a prototype, and further to declare that it has outlived its usefulness (see my prior post), it’s time for a prototype retrospective.

As I described in my previous post, I failed to outline ahead of time the questions that the prototype would seek to answer, so it’s hard to say whether the prototype achieved its goals.  But I can at least go back and infer what those questions might have been, given the answers I have acquired.  (more…)

I think it is time to say goodbye to my first major prototype.  It’s hard.  I want to keep pushing through the hurdles, extending it to the point where it is a fully playable game, even if highly simplistic.  I’ve been told that forcing myself to complete projects is important for gaining valuable experience, and I definitely still believe that.  But perhaps I was applying that advice incorrectly.  For a project that is meant to be shippable, it’s probably great advice.  For a project that is meant to be a prototype, it’s important to be able to drop it when the time is right.

Up until now I’ve been ambiguous with myself about what I’ve been working on for the past two months.  Was it the beginnings of a shippable game, or was it an early prototype that would inform a future project?  I wanted it to be both, but I think now it is valuable to make a clear distinction:  I’ve been working on a prototype, and it has now served its purpose and is beginning to outlive its usefulness. (more…)