August 31, 2015


Gatamari Escape 25

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Gatamari Escape 25 You blacked out while hiking and woke up in a lab-slash-prison of some sort, and those men guarding the exit probably won't let you by peacefully. As the introductions of Gatamari escapes go, this isn't one of the more elaborate ones, but it certainly serves the purpose of setting up Gatamari Escape 25. Where are you? How will you escape? And just what interest did these men have in you, anyhow? Tagged as: browser, escape, flash, free, game, gatamari, japanese, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g




The Neat Little Experiments of Ludum Dare Entries #LDJam

from GBGames

Since I’m on vacation, I’ve had more time dedicated to playing and rating the entries from Ludum Dare #33, and it occurs to me that I’ve never played so many games from a compo before.

And apparently I’ve been missing out.

When over 1,200 people submit games within 48 hours for a single theme, you’re bound to see some really amazing, innovative, and bizarre takes on it. While many might be mediocre, even the poorer entries might have a glimmer of brilliance hidden in them. It’s like having hundreds of people doing research and development all at once.

Monster Mash by Budda allows you to create and customize your own monster. Using the bones of the adventurers you defeat, you can upgrade your body parts and weapons to get more powerful and deal with the stronger and deadlier adventurers.

LD33 Monster Mash by BuddaT

The battle screen features your monster on the left and your enemy adventurer on the right. What I liked about it was how the interface was simple and abstract: click on the various body parts to attack and heal. When your enemy hurts you enough, you might lose the ability to use one of your body parts. It’s bizarre to see your head turn red to indicate it is disabled when the rest of your body is fine, but I bet it is terrifying to the adventurers as well.

I can see this experiment result in a genre of simple yet tactical mobile games.

Goloumo by HippGame is a quick platformer. While you can move about and jump, the way to make it through the game is to use your ability to manipulate other objects in space. Click and dragging a table or an elevator when you’re on it, and you can get to areas that would otherwise be impassable.

LD33 Goloumo by HippGame

It’s a rough experiment, but I can see this mechanic being used to great effect in a Nintendo DS game.

Sirens by miotatsu has you sing to lure ships towards your rocks. It’s art is a bit crude and the audio shows how little polish was expected, but it works well.

LD33 Sirens by miotatsu

It’s essentially a tower defense game in which the stationary rocks are both your weapons and your defense. Still, combined with the singing ability to lure ships in on purpose, I think Sirens has a bit more to it than might be expected.

Hydra Confusion by concalf has you controlling a hydra’s many heads, ensuring each one is fed and happy. If you mess up, a new head appears, which makes it more difficult for you to manage.

LD33 Hydra Confusion by concalf

Hydras were always cool, and I’ve never seen a game that featured one you could play! Moving about and controlling the individual heads isn’t terribly challenging, but managing them all at once is.

Fear Me by joe has you in the role of a monster trying to scare someone who is trying to sleep. You need to be just visible enough to scare without being too visible and caught.

LD33 Fear Me by joe

It’s kind of like playing a character in Monsters, Inc. You can hide under the bed or in a box, but it takes up precious time. While I suppose Metal Gear did similar stealth mechanics, this is the first time I’ve seen you in the role of a scary monster.

What’s funny is how each Ludum Dare starts with the announcement of a theme that many people will vocally hate. When “Roads” was announced for Ludum Dare #13, I remember people complaining that everyone was going to make a racing game and it was going to be a boring theme. But like most LDs, there was quite a bit of variety present.

Similarly, people whined about “You Are the Monster” for LD #33, citing how hard it was to come up with an idea, and yet in just a handful of games I found that no two are alike, and they sometimes bear little resemblance to professionally-created games, but in a good way. It’s mind-boggling how much creativity Ludum Dare unleashed.

Years ago, I was given a jazz album to listen to while I worked, but it was so bizarre and jarring that I couldn’t concentrate. I looked up the artists, and it turns out that they combine “modern avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences.” Ok, sounds great, but it sounded like random noise to me.

The thing is, I figured that it must sound good to a more practiced ear, and so I wondered what I was missing. When I asked a friend who is more of a music expert, he explained that avant-garde music is meant to be experimental. Often what someone discovers with avant-garde finds its way into the mainstream eventually.

Now, there is a lot more to avant-garde art. It’s not about being a proving grounds for new work but is instead meant to push boundaries and challenge traditional social values. It’s more political than commercial.

But the experiments do get leveraged to create commercial works.

And playing Ludum Dare entries, I’m reminded of this idea. The game mechanics might be rough and unbalanced, but there’s often a spark of cleverness.

Have you seen any interesting Ludum Dare entries worth noting?




The Terrible Old Man

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows, Unity — The Terrible Old Man There's a frail and senile old man, they say, who lives alone on the edge of town and pays for his groceries with gold dubloons... the perfect mark for a trio of goons in this short but supremely creepy freeware indie point-and-click adventure based on the original tale by Lovecraft. Tagged as: adventure, browser, cloakanddaggergames, download, free, game, horror, hplovecraft, indie, lovecraft, playthis, pointandclick, rating-o, unity, windows



August 30, 2015


Mega Man Legacy Collection

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Mega Man Legacy Collection Super fighting robot! Mega Man! Super fighting robot! Mega Man is here again with the Mega Man Legacy Collection! CAPCOM and Digital Eclipse join forces to bring the first six games in the series to the PC for the first time (legally), with all the platforming fun and random difficulty spikes every child of the NES generation will remember. The combination emulation/re-creation is a little shaky in its current form, but overall, this is a museum exhibit of a series that demanded to be preserved for future generations. Tagged as: action, adventure, affiliate, capcom, digitaleclipse, download, game, greenmangaming, megaman, platform, rating-g, retro, steam, windows




Hidden Expedition: Dawn of Prosperity

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Hidden Expedition: Dawn of Prosperity Join the Hidden Expedition League of Preservation as they attempt to uncover what is going on in the state of Montana in Hidden Expedition: Dawn of Prosperity, a rollicking hidden object adventure packed to the gills with entertaining gameplay. Tagged as: adventure, affiliate, bigfishgames, casual, collectorsedition, demo, download, eipixinteractive, game, hiddenobject, mac, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g, windows




GUILT

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — GUILT Lost and alone in the dark woods our heroine must find her way to sanctuary. With the strength to pull herself up onto the muddy cliffs and the will to descend into the dark caverns finding a way out seems to be a feat feasible until she runs into mysterious goo like monsters who are seeking her out to devour her very soul in this free indie horror stealth platformer. Tagged as: download, free, game, horror, indie, pixelart, platform, rating-y, stealth, windows, ylzor



August 29, 2015


Sisyphus Reborn

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows — Sisyphus Reborn You live to dig and must dig to live in this short, free indie point-and-click adventure game. Is there something more to this dreary life in this odd world where everyone is so lost with this tedious work? Tagged as: adventure, download, free, game, indie, mac, myshkinentertainment, narrative, pointandclick, rating-g, windows




Heatwave

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Heatwave Furry goodness and a cyberpunk futuristic California set the stage — but don't steal the scene — in Scavenger's endearing, all-too-brief and very human free indie point-and-click adventure. Tagged as: adventure, cyberpunk, download, free, furry, game, indie, rating-g, scavenger, windows




Play Demon Solitaire Online!

from A Shareware Life

Playdemon

Play Demon Solitaire online.  Demon is a 2 deck version of Canfield.




Stray Cat Crossing

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Stray Cat Crossing When you come across a little girl on the side of the road and agree to escort her home, you couldn't imagine the bizarre adventure you're about to set out on in this surreal and unsettling indie horror adventure game. Though short and with some frustrating puzzles, Stray Cat Crossing's gorgeous, creative presentation and heartbreaking story are top notch. Tagged as: adventure, demo, download, fridgegames, game, horror, indie, rating-y, steam, surreal, windows




Fran Bow

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux — Fran Bow After the brutal murder of her parents, Fran Bow finds herself locked away in an asylum for children, but she's determined to escape and find her beloved cat, Mr Midnight. What awaits, however, is an extremely dark and macabre adventure full of danger and nightmares, and in this thoroughly disturbing indie point-and-click adventure, reality isn't as straight-forward as you might think. Tagged as: adventure, affiliate, demo, download, game, gog, horror, indie, killmondaygames, linux, mac, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-r, steam, surreal, windows



August 28, 2015


Keeper of the Grove 3

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Keeper of the Grove 3 booblyc's popular tower defense series is back for more, as once again you find yourself defending your magical protons from the invading forces of an evil being. Place and upgrade defender towers with different abilities, while dealing with waves of baddies who want to carry your treasure away! Tagged as: achievements, booblyc, browser, defense, flash, free, game, rating-g, strategy, towerdefense, upgrades




Unsolicited

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Unsolicited Fill out and mail form letters quickly and accurately in Lucas Pope's time management simulation to gain clients and become the world's premiere provider of heaps of unwanted junk mail select mass-marketing mail services, all made in just three days for Ludum Dare! Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, lpope, ludumdare, rating-y, simulation, timemanagement




Episode 397: Closing In

from Casual Gamer Chick

No Gravatar

A good episode this time, if a little meandering. The episode is slowly reaching its milestone.

The news items for the week include:

  • Nintendo patents new hardware, doesn’t include a disc drive
  • VS. Excitebike coming to Nintendo’s Virtual Console
  • Nintendo increasingly considering movies
  • 2DS dropping to $100
  • Darkest Dungeon adds option to turn off controversial features

Check us on twitter: Jonah Falcon is @jonahfalcon, Paul Nowak is @stagermonkey, and Scott Dirk is @alphashard.

A good episode this time, if a little meandering. The episode is slowly reaching its milestone. The news items for the week include: Nintendo patents new hardware, doesn’t include a disc drive VS. Excitebike coming to Nintendo’s Virtual Console Nintendo increasingly considering movies 2DS dropping to $100 Darkest Dungeon adds option to turn off controversial features Check us on twitter: Jonah Falcon is @jonahfalcon, Paul Nowak is @stagermonkey, and Scott Dirk is @alphashard.



August 27, 2015


Time Clickers

from Jay Is Games

Platform: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, Unity — Time Clickers Proton Studios serves up a simple but addictive mash-up of shooter and incremental idle game, as you take up your pistol and purchase automated, upgradeable weaponry to shoot your way through stationary red cubes in levels packed with achievements, power-ups and more. Also free for iOS and Android, as well as Steam! Tagged as: action, android, browser, download, free, game, idle, incremental, indie, ios, ipad, iphone, ipodtouch, linux, mac, mobile, playthis, protonstudio, rating-y, scifi, shooter, steam, unity, windows




Play Fred's Spider Online!

from A Shareware Life

Playfredsspider

Play Fred's Spider Online.




Development Strategies for Game Jams #LDJam

from GBGames

As I play and rate Ludum Dare games, I see that games fall into a few groups:

  • Highly polished games that feel complete
  • Highly polished games that feel incomplete
  • Unpolished games that feel complete
  • Unpolished games that feel incomplete

By complete, I mean they have all the elements of a game: an objective, conflict, rules, unpredictable outcomes, endings, etc.

By polish, I am referring to the production quality. There’s few bugs, the aesthetics are cohesive, and everything feels balanced when you play it.

So how do you make a highly polished and complete game in 48 hours? What tips and tricks are developers using?

Make It Playable as Fast as Possible

Games are complex systems in action. You can’t design a game well unless you playtest it because it isn’t always obvious how the rules of a game interact. Making something playable early means you have more time to test it as you add, remove, or change mechanics. You also have time to make decisions, such as whether to kill planned features or spend time on making the controls feel better.

I’ve found that when I fail to submit a game to a Ludum Dare, it usually coincides with a game that either has no game play or gets the bare minimum of game play added at the very end. I have no time to play and see how the game feels, which means that even if I get it done on time, it’s more likely to be an unpolished and incomplete tech demo.

On the other hand, when I focus on getting something playable early, such as during Ludum Dare #24, it’s a game from the beginning. It might start out unpolished and incomplete, but by the deadline, even if I don’t get all the features I wanted in there and I can identify glaring problems, I have something to submit. For my entry for the theme Evolution, I didn’t get to add the features that take advantage of the theme, but I recall how sluggish the tank felt to move and I spent a little time tweaking it until it felt better to play. When you killed the enemies, I had points float up above their heads. I’m not saying it was a beautiful game, but it was more polished than most of my entries have been. And it didn’t have everything I wanted in it, but what was in it felt complete.

Ideally, your work in progress will be easy to deploy to other people so they can play test it and give you feedback. You might think the game is fine, but you’ve been immersed in it for hours and might miss how difficult it is for someone who hasn’t seen it before. Your game is ultimately for other people to play, so their feedback is very important.

Know Your Tools

If someone gave you a complex tool you’ve never seen before, you’d probably muddle through how to use it, but it would be slow and painful.

On the other hand, if you were given a tool you’re familiar with, you no longer need to worry about how to use it as it is almost second-nature. You can focus on the task in front of you instead of focusing on how to use the tool.

Years ago, I struggled with making programmer art in GIMP. I wrote code. I didn’t art.

Partly from learning during previous Ludum Dare compos, partly from talking with artists about their workflow, and partly from practicing outside of compos for my own projects, I learned how to do things I normally need to do during a game jam. For instance, I use layers, preferably named ones, to make it easier to create a complex image. I know how to scale images and layers with fewer artifacts. I know how to use an alpha selection to get an online of an image, and I can grow and shrink selections so I can create a silhouette or a border. I even learned common shortcut keys so I can quickly switch from the Pencil tool, the Bucket Fill tool, the Rectangle Selection tool, and the Ellipse Selection Tool, which saves me time.

I remember reading the manual for Applesoft BASIC and learning that instead of typing out:

PRINT “HELLO, WORLD!”

you could type out:

? “HELLO, WORLD!”

And that question mark would automatically get turned into the PRINT command. The manual mentioned that it saved four keystrokes and time. At the time I wondered how much time it could possibly save, but since I was typing PRINT almost all the time, I realized that it added up.

Today, knowing your IDE’s shortcuts similarly helps. As my friend Chris Freeman said in his presentation on refactoring, tools reduce cognitive load. Instead of using the mouse to hunt and click on everything in menus, you ideally should be able to unconsciously move your fingers to the right key combinations to make things happen. It’s like learning how to ride a bike or drive a car. Once you get the hang of it, you no longer focus on where your feet are. When you want to move forward, your feet automatically know what to do.

During a game jam, you don’t want to spend time reading a manual or searching online for help. You want to just DO things that move the game forward.

For my first Ludum Dare, I was learning how to use libSDL, and luckily I kept the scope of the game down because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do very much. I spent a lot of my time figuring out what SDL provided and how to write code to take advantage of it.

For the latest Ludum Dare, I was often very pleased with how even major code changes compiled on the first try. I was much more familiar with the language and with the interface of my tools such as Vim and Gimp.

Come up with a Plan

You’re two hours into a 48 hour compo. What are you working on now?

With only two days of development, it might feel like you don’t have time to plan. Every moment not working on game development is a lost opportunity.

But planning saves time, and it doesn’t even have to be very complicated to be effective. There’s no need to create a Gantt chart for your project.

Some game developers create entire detailed design documents to keep their thoughts organized, and other developers use nothing more than a list of planned features that they cross off as they get implemented.

But what about time?

You could work on one thing at a time until it is all done, but the risk is that the later items don’t get done at all. What you don’t want is to find yourself with an hour left and realizing that you forgot to implement a way to end the game or that your game is completely silent.

Some people try to get a good chunk of the game done early so that the rest of the compo is spent on balancing and adding polish. Some developers set aside blocks of time, such as a couple of hours, to creating sound effects.

Other people understand that their energy levels are going to be different throughout the day, and when they are too exhausted from programming, they can switch hats to creating graphics or music. Einstein actively relaxed by playing the violin, and you could do worse than emulate him.

No matter how you plan your two days, having that plan gives you more insight into what to do at any given moment so that you have the best chance of submitting a finished game.

Your Tips?

I’m not saying I’m an expert, and I still feel like I’m learning how to pace myself and put together something. But after participating in 10+ Ludum Dare game compos and a handful of other game jams, I think I’ve gotten some worthwhile experience to share.

I should probably invest in The Game Jam Survival Guide by Christer “McFunkypants” Kaitila.

What are your strategies when participating in a game jam? How do you ensure your game is complete and polished before the submission deadline?



August 26, 2015


LD33: Free Me, You Idiots! Ported to Android! #LDJam

from GBGames

Shortly after I ported my Ludum Dare game to Windows, I ported it to Android! You can download and install the .apk now and play on your phone or tablet. I’ve updated my LD#33 compo entry.

Here’s a handy link to explain how to install an app outside of the Google Play store.

LD#33 Game Play

Warning: it’s not really optimized for mobile yet. It pauses when idle, but it doesn’t pay attention to the back button, so you’ll have to long-press the Home button then swipe it away to close it.




5 Challenging But Fun Solitaire Games

from A Shareware Life

 

1) Interchange

One of the most played games on my new online solitaire site is the game Interchange.  Interchange is a 2 deck Forty Thieves type game (learn more about it here).  It has been the subject of much study, with an article written about its strategy.

Interchange

Interchange is a very hard game to win - it is very hard to win it even 1% of the time.  Often you don't even come close.  Therefore, several other games have been invented to make it easier to win.

Play Interchange Online

 

2) Unlimited

Unlimited

The first easier Interchange variation is Unlimited.  Unlimited is the same as Interchange except it allows unlimited redeals.  Interchange has no redeals at all.

Interchange is such a hard game that even adding unlimited redeals doesn't make it particularly easy, but at least it gives you a fighting chance in most games.

Play Unlimited Online

 

3) Give and Take

Playgiveandtake

Give and Take is a brand new game in Pretty Good Solitaire v15.20.  It is like Interchange, but also with redeals.  In this case, the first time through the deck cards are dealt 3 at a time from the stock to the waste pile, then there is a redeal, then cards are dealt 2 at a time, then another redeal, then cards are dealt one at a time until done.

Give and Take is a much easier game than Interchange, but much harder than Unlimited.

Play Give and Take Online

 

4) Breakwater

Breakwater

Breakwater is exactly like Interchange except that building in the tableau is down regardless of suit instead of by suit.  This makes the game considerably easier as there are many more possible plays.

Play Breakwater Online

 

5) Forty-Nine

Fortynine

Forty-Nine changes the tableau building method, just as Breakwater does.  In Forty-Nine, building in the tableau is by alternate color.  This makes Forty-Nine harder than Breakwater (which is regardless of suit), but easier than Interchange (by suit).  Even so, Forty-Nine is still not an easy game.

--

All of the 5 games above are in Pretty Good Solitaire, available for Windows/Mac/iPad.

 

 

PREVIOUSLY: 7 Interesting Yukon Type Solitaire Games




Oni Yu Can Scare Them

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Oni Yu Can Scare Them Oni Yu is on a mission in this cute retro puzzle platformer made in just three days. He's got to terrify the locals to make everything ready for his (long forgotten) dark lord. He can possess objects to scare people, but some characters have special abilities, and Oni Yu isn't invincible! Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, ludumdare, platform, playthis, puzzle, rating-g, retro, teamoni




Weekday Escape N°90

from Jay Is Games

Weekday Escape N°90 Games featured this week: The Senses Escape; Five Flowers; Find the Escape-Men 161: Hyperbaric Chamber — This week on your one and only Weekday Escape! Primera picks a pack of pretty pansies, and then locks you up with them. no1games goes all high-tech with a hyperbaric chamber. And Esklavos? Pretty as a picture... as usual! Tagged as: browser, escape, esklavos, free, game, no1game, primera, weekday-escape



August 25, 2015


LD33: Free Me, You Idiots! Ported to Windows #LDJam

from GBGames

I’ve updated my Ludum Dare #33 compo entry with the Windows version of Free Me, You Idiots!. Now most of the world can play it!

LD#33 Game Play

Next up: fixing my Linux-based entry so that it uses a non-custom install of SDL2.




Jack MacQwerty

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Jack MacQwerty A fast-paced reflex game-meets-typing tutor that has you playing as the fastest typist in the west. Simply type the name of each bandit as they come charging towards you to blast them away. Fast fingers are a must in the old west. Don't forget to reload! Tagged as: action, arcade, browser, flash, free, game, khromatique, minimalist, rating-y, reflex, retro, shooter, typing




Play Trigon Solitaire Online!

from A Shareware Life

Playtrigon

Play Trigon Solitaire Online, Trigon is a hard version of Klondike, the standard solitaire game.




Through

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Through A mind-bending puzzle platform game where you can pass through walls, causing the level to tilt on its side and reshuffle. Use the arrow keys to move and jump. If you get stuck, simply ram your face into a convenient wall and watch new opportunities appear. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, goshki, minimalist, platform, puzzle, rating-g, retro




Take Seriously the Responsibility of Game Creation #LDJam

from GBGames

After a marathon game development weekend in which I finished my Ludum Dare compo entry on time, I found myself looking forward to playing everyone else’s games. I pulled up the random list of games it provides for me to rate, and the very first game on the list?

A game about being a rapist.

Seriously? Ugh.

I know. I know the theme for Ludum Dare #33 was “You Are the Monster.” I know the very first thought most people will have with the word “monster” is some kind of creature, whether evil or good, and the second thought is, “Ah, but people can be metaphorical monsters, too!”

And there have been some amazing games taken in both directions. In just a handful of games, I played the role of a politician in two of them. One was humorous, and one was chillingly dark. Both were done well.

But I can’t comprehend how someone could think playing as a rapist would make for a good game concept, no matter how much it might fit the theme.

I’m having trouble articulating what bothers me so much about a game about being a rapist. We have lots of games that put you in terribly violent roles, and I would be one of the last people to argue that they shouldn’t be made.

But this game has you treat women as objects to overpower as a core game play mechanic. That’s horrific.

When I brought this up in the Ludum Dare IRC channel, I was told something to the effect of “If you don’t like it, then just don’t play it.”

I think that attitude works fine for matters of taste. If I am not a sports fan, I could just not play the next incarnation of Madden instead of whining about the existence of another game I don’t care for.

But this is a game about subjugating and raping women, of treating them as Less Than. I would not think it’s a matter of taste. I would like to think that it’s not a matter of some people being offended and some people not. I think it is perfectly valid to call out a bad creation. I mean, there are bad games, and then there are bad games.

It’s not “just a game”. I hate that phrase because it makes it sound like games are not important.

Games matter. And I know this is a 48 hour game made by an amateur and not a professionally produced controversial product. But games matter.

We live in a world where the tools of creation have been democratized, and as I wrote last month, anyone can create, and they do:

You could simulate complex interpersonal relationships, or you could go the easy route of hypersexualization, stereotypes, and power fantasy.

It’s a choice.

And with the increased availability of tools and publishing platforms, anyone can make these kinds of choices.

And many do. Sometimes without realizing that they are making important choices.

And some of these choices get front-page status, which means a lot of people get the subtle message that these choices are normal.

Being careless about this topic bothers me a lot. Rape is serious. It is dehumanizing to its victims. It is horrific. It should not be treated casually, because then you risk making rape sound as almost normal, maybe even funny. When rape is treated in an unserious way, it’s telling the world that it is no big deal.

I’m not saying that certain topics are taboo and should not be the subject of games. Other media have tackled it, and some have done better than others in not treating it as merely a plot development, and I believe games could as well. I think it may be possible to create a game about violent misogyny and rape that seriously deals with the issue.

I am saying that if rape is going to be addressed in a game, it needs more careful thought behind it. Making a game about rape is not something you just do.

A note to people who don’t play games: Games don’t have to be fun to be games. They don’t have to be for kids to be games. They can deal with adult themes. They can inform.

Games mean something and they say something to the world. Even if you think they don’t say anything, THAT says something. Playing a game featuring casual misogyny such as the Batman:Arkham series of games says something to us about the views of the creators, views that potentially get absorbed by the players. These games aren’t going to turn every fan into a raging women-hating fiend, but it sure doesn’t help to be exposed to hours of game play normalizing certain attitudes toward women.

A game about being a violent rapist says something about the creator’s views, views that can get absorbed by it’s players. People might see this game and think, whether consciously or not, “Huh, someone made a game about being a rapist. I guess that’s a thing now.” And rape gets even more normalized in more minds.

I don’t know what to call for in terms of this specific game. I’m not asking for it to be banned or removed from Ludum Dare, but that’s more because I don’t know if it should be. I’m still a bit shocked that someone thought to make it in the first place.

But in general, I am asking that game developers take the responsibility for what they put out into the world more seriously. You’re creating culture. Act like it.



August 24, 2015


Frozen Islands: New Horizons

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Frozen Islands: New Horizons The vikings have all been rescued, but that doesn't mean they're going to laze around. In this sequel to Deqaf Studios' popular action/strategy game, sail around the ocean conquering islands and hunting for treasure, though the way enemies are depicted may raise an eyebrow. Tagged as: action, browser, deqafstudio, flash, free, game, playthis, rating-y, strategy




Katja's Escape: The Pharaoh's Tomb

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Katja's Escape: The Pharaoh's Tomb Got a few minutes to spare? Take the time to help Katja escape! She ignored every piece of pop culture history ever, and now she's trapped in the very ancient tomb she wanted to explore in this short game from Carmel Games! Tagged as: browser, carmelgames, escape, flash, free, game, playthis, pointandclick, puzzle, rating-g




How to be a Gent

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — How to be a Gent Henryetta's got goals, and Henry is going to help her reach them in this short, cute puzzle platformer. Henry can turn himself into a step or explode to help Henryetta fly to where she needs to, though some fiddly, slippery controls make things a little awkward in places. Tagged as: browser, flash, free, game, mglockling, platform, playthis, puzzle, rating-g




Catch of the Week: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink Only $2.99!

from Casual Game Guides

This week's Big Fish Games Catch of the Week is the hidden object adventure game Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink! That means for this week only, you can get this game for only $2.99!
 



» Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink Walkthrough & Forum

» Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink Free Trial & Related Games




LD33: Free Me, You Idiots! Development Time Lapse #LDJam

from GBGames

Want to see the last 48 hours compressed down to a little over 3 minutes?

I uploaded the time lapse video of my development of Free Me, You Idiots!:

You can find the final submission at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=251. Thanks for playing!




LD33: SUBMITTED! #LDJam

from GBGames

I did it!

With 15 minutes to spare, I submitted my entry for LD#33, Free Me, You Idiots!

LD#33 Title Screen

It has no sound, and there is a lack of challenge which makes it hard to call it a real game, and the UI feedback is lacking to let the player know what is going on, but it’s complete and playable.

LD#33 Game Play

It’s also quite complicated! I created a simple yet effective goal-based artificial intelligence, a little economy, and upgrades. The thing I wish I had was direct conflict between the good and evil villagers.

But I’ll have more to say when I write the post-mortem.

For now, check out my entry at Ludum Dare, and if you submitted your own entry, please rate my game.

I’ll create a Windows port, soon. You can download the game for:
GNU/Linux (459K)
Windows (2.8MB)
Android .apk (3.6MB)

Congratulations to everyone who submitted a game! It’s been a fun weekend, and I look forward to playing your games!



August 23, 2015


Specter Knight

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Specter Knight Your old bones aren't just going to lie there forever, even if you DID die trying to defeat a wicked sorceror. In Iconic Games' action-RPG dungeon crawler, you're a reanimated hero trying to rid the land of evil one last time, with randomly generated dungeons, tons of loot, upgrades, spells, and bosses. Tagged as: action, adventure, browser, dungeoncrawler, fantasy, flash, free, game, iconicgames, rating-y, rpg




Play Acey and Kingsley Online!

from A Shareware Life

Playaceyandkingsley

Play Acey and Kingsley solitaire online, an easier version of Aces and Kings.




Kill the Plumber 2

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Kill the Plumber 2 You can't keep a good plumber down... which is bad for you when you're the villain of this fast-paced puzzle platformer! Figure out how to use the abilities of each enemy to take out the hero before he reaches the exit and saves the princess! Tagged as: action, browser, flash, free, game, iaminov, keybol, parody, platform, playthis, puzzle, rating-y




LD33: We’re Getting Tired, but We’re Gonna Make It! #LDJam

from GBGames

I wasted precious time last night trying to create an animated GIF of the game so far, but it was either terrible quality or took up hundreds of MBs, and so I gave up and went to bed.

LD33 2nd Breakfast

This morning I had peanut butter, raisin, and banana sprinkled with cinnamon on toast for breakfast with my trademark orange juice. Starting the day off right!

By my calculations, I’ve put in almost 15 hours of development towards this project, 12 of which came from yesterday.

We’re in the last 12 hours of Ludum Dare, and we’re starting to get tired.

LD33 We're getting tired

And while I have interactivity and have been toying around with it to ensure that things are working correctly, I don’t have a game yet. The player can’t do anything to meaningfully impact the game world, but the AI is having fun, I’m sure.

The AI needs to be there for this approach to the game. If the villagers don’t have their own goals and activities, then the entire premise of the game is thrown out the window because you are trying to influence their activities towards benefiting your own ends. But I can’t build an entire self-running simulation no matter how much fun it is take on that challenge because then there won’t be any time left left to allow the player to do anything but watch.

So my focus today will be on adding meaningful play. What can the player do that makes sense and gives good feedback? I’ve been thinking about and designing this aspect throughout the compo, and now I need to manifest it.

I will add that I do have another concern. This game is about being the personification of Evil and convincing the followers of a good deity to follow and worship you instead, allowing you to break free of your prison.

What it isn’t about is blasphemy, but in my attempts to add humor by poking fun at how moronic the villagers are, I worry that the game comes across as my indictment against organized religion. It’s not, but my intent isn’t necessary for it to be offensive or to act as a model for how people should act, so I need to make sure that I’m super aware of how the game could be received. I’m not the kind of person who throws his hands in the air and says, “It’s not my fault you interpreted this quickly-thrown-together game in this way.”

Games matter, even 48-hour ones.




Los Angeles Shark

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Flash — Los Angeles Shark How much destruction can you cause as you pilot a massive shark down through Los Angeles? Leap out of water to chomp swimmers, boats, hang-gliders and much more, while racking up combos and achievements in this short and simple but chaotic arcade game. Tagged as: achievements, action, arcade, browser, flash, free, game, mausland, playthis, rating-o




LD33: Ok, This Might Work Out After All #LDJam

from GBGames

LD#33 Praying Villagers

Last time, I said I probably couldn’t do a goal-based AI and so I was settling for a simpler state-based AI.

Well, I did a quick look at my last LD project, and I realized I had implemented a really simple goal-based AI. It’s kind of clever, and I implemented my own version of it for this project.

So now I have villagers who walk to the deity of their choice and pray, or go off exploring the world. I eventually want more behaviors, such as fleeing and bringing objects somewhere, but we’ll see if I need to.

I want to go to bed, but not before I ensure that the timelapse picks up something more interesting than a static screen.

LD#33 Visibly Worshipping Villagers

I put together a quick particle effect for when the villagers are praying to make it clear what they are doing. White particles are for good prayers, and black (not pictured) are for evil prayers.

20 hours left. Assuming my power doesn’t go out due to the storm, I think I have a good chance of getting something submitted in time.

For now, good night!




LD33: This Is the Point Where It Can All Go So Horribly Wrong #LDJam

from GBGames

We’re coming down to the end of the first 24 hours, and I can move around the world and select entities.

LD#33 Selection and HUD

Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling with getting them to do anything interesting. The villagers stand still because I haven’t given them a means of doing anything, nor do they have a reason to do anything yet.

That is, it’s coming down to how complex of an AI I want to create.

As is my pattern, I wrote down everything I could think of that I might want them to have as goals, with the idea that I would streamline it later. I want the villagers to think, “I want to explore, but I also have chores to do, which is a higher priority. I’ll go tend the farm, then explore. Tending the farm means I need to get myself to the farm, then work the farm.”

But then I realized that a hierarchical goal-based AI might be a bit too much for me to chew off. I mean, I could do it, but oof. How much time would that take to debug, amirite?

So I think I’ll go with a simpler state-based AI. While the full version of Stop That Hero! uses a goal-based AI to great effect, the Ludum Dare #18 (Enemies as Weapons) version did decently well with a state-based AI. The entire game worked with only three states, and one of them was AI_DEAD. So it’s doable and simple, which means it is faster and I can focus on the rest of the game sooner.

Hold on to your butts. It’s gonna get hacky.



August 22, 2015


LD33: Lunch Break and Progress Shots #LDJam

from GBGames

I came up with a name for the game. Originally, I wanted Imprisoned, but a quick search online found it was a somewhat popular name for a game.

So the name is now Free Me, You Idiots!, in the hopes that the game will actually feature some humorous personification-of-evil-interacting-with-morons action when I finally submit it.

In order to save time on art, I made simple solid colors with minor touches to indicate grass and water (water not pictured). I would have gone with solid colors, but now I can tell the camera is moving around the world.

To make a villager, I am just going to have a single sprite represent it. If I have time to create four or eight sprites to represent the different directions it could face, I’ll do it later.

So I took one of my wooden Mans:

A Soon-to-be Villager

pulled it into Gimp, adjusted the brightness and contrast, and added some eyes and an outline for a cape, and scaled it to 32×32 to create the little guy you see in the middle of this field:

The Villager in-game

As for the tree that imprisons you, I tried to make one, only to realize that the one I created in the mock-up looked a bit better, so I just took it and scaled it:

The villager next to your prison

Then I rewarded myself with lunch:
Peanut Butter, Raisin, and Pickle Sandwich

That’s my trademark peanut-butter, raisin, and pickle sandwich with cinnamon sprinkled in it.

No, I’m not pregnant. Why does everyone ask that?

What you can’t see pictured above in the screenshots is that the camera pans to wherever you click in the world. It’s a bit jarring, so I should probably worry about slowing down the interpolation at the end, but that will wait for polish time later.

But at least now you can navigate the fairly boring world.

Next up: I want to interact with the natives. The player should be able to select objects/entities by clicking on them, which opens up a menu and provides relevant stats in the HUD.




LD33: Breakfast, a Nap, and Some Ideas #LDJam

from GBGames

After getting up way earlier than I expected and doing some work, I took a break for breakfast.

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with freshly ground black pepper, buttered wheat toast, and of course a glass of orange juice.

I then felt that I needed a nap, and so did my cats. Here’s my angel food cat leaving his white fur all over my black Ludum Dare shirt.

Napping with cat

At various points, one cat would jump on me after the other jumped off, and I thought, “Ok, it’s time to shower and get the rest of the day started.”

Here are some ambitious ideas I doubt I will have time to implement:

Your followers can sacrifice something to you. It gains you energy, but sometimes they bring embarrassing things to sacrifice, like a mushroom or an old shoe. You can accept the sacrifice, but what will people think? I’d like some flavor text to make this kind of event more humorous.

Where are your enemies? Maybe your followers have to avoid getting caught by high priests and acolytes. If they find out what’s happening, they’ll triple bind your bonds, and you’ll never get out of that tree. But if you manage to convert an acolyte? Horrible things can happen, but not to you.

But even without these ideas, I have enough to start coding up something I can interact with. Let’s see how quickly I can build a world to move around in.




Save the Princess: Love Triangle

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Javascript/HTML5 — Save the Princess: Love Triangle The princess has been turned into a frog, and only the prince can save her with a magic potion! Too bad he's only motivated by cake, and he has not only a rival to contend with, but spikes, switches, and more are in his way in this cute HTML5 puzzle game. Tagged as: browser, free, game, html5, playthis, puzzle, rating-g




LD33: UI Mock-up #LDJam

from GBGames

Imprisoned Mock Up

It occurred to me that I would need a HUD and some stats to show the player. Here’s a mock-up of the UI.

So, it will look very similar to an RTS. I hope it will be intuitive.

I figured that a big component of this game will be the loyalties of the villagers. They have gods they pray to, but you want them to worship you instead. So, you nudge, and you cast doubt, and you otherwise encourage them to make the choice you want them to make.

The more followers you have, the more influence you have, which makes it easier to get followers and influence them to do more.

I might find that the focus switches from removing those magic stones around the tree to increasing the number of followers you have.

I decided on going with a tree instead of a boulder as your prison because it will be easier to see how strong or weak it is. A discolored and wilting tree makes it clear that it is losing its hold on you.

1 hr, 15 minutes before Ludum Dare is a quarter of the way through. I should start coding something up now.




LD33: Paper Prototype So Far #LDJam

from GBGames

Imprisoned Evil prototype

The top left is the village, complete with villagers. The top right has the four magic stones surrounding the boulder that imprisons you, represented by the barrel.

The stars are your Energy, which is how you exert influence on villagers.

The bottom left is the forest, and the bottom right is the river.

Right now, Energy resource management seems to be key. You only have so much to start with, but as you influence villagers, they start to worship you and give you more Energy, which means you can influence them more with greater effects.

For instance, you might be able to Cause Fear at first, which is enough to get someone to believe you exist, but too much fear can backfire in that no one will want to go anywhere near you, which limits your abilities.

Later, when you have a lot of Energy, you might be able to Compel a villager to go somewhere specific.

So, this game seems to require a lot of AI and content, which is what I was worried about. Villagers have to go about their own business, which means they need things to do besides walking around.

On the other hand, if I abstract away a lot of the behaviors, maybe it can simplify things, but I worry I will lose what makes this game exciting for me.




LD33: Good Morning, Ludum Dare! #LDJam

from GBGames

I’m either getting a head start on my morning, or I’m going to crash. I got up one hour and 45 minutes before my alarm for some reason.

I feel well-rested. Let’s see what happens.

My current task is to figure out the actual basic game play. I like the idea of keeping the interface simple and letting the player do nothing more than click on villagers and then click on an influence, but the dynamics that arise from causing fear or greed need to be solid and understandable.

Otherwise, I’m going to have the player directly control a monster.

So, now I’m going to spend a little time brainstorming with myself figuring out what the villagers can actually do and then figure out how to cause them to do it.




LD33: An Imprisoned (and Ambitious!) Evil #LDJam

from GBGames

Concept: An imprisoned evil

I was choosing between being a vampire drinking the blood of your neighbors while avoiding the vampire hunter’s investigation each day, and being imprisoned in a rock surrounded by magical rocks that you try to get rid of by influencing the nearby villagers.

I think the first is something I can see doing much more easily. I can see the game play, and I can make it as detailed or as abstract as I want. The second one is really complex and still kind of vague. I know what the player can do, but what results are possible, and in 48 hours?

I told my wife about my choices, and she gave me a look like she was worried. I asked why, and she did an impression of me:

“At the start of Ludum Dare, you’re like, ‘I’m going to take on this huge design!’ Then, partway through, you’re like, “I’m worried I won’t be able to get this done.’ Then by the end, you’re like, ‘Doh, I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.'”

Nailed it.

And I decided to go with the second one anyway.

My initial thoughts are that you are surrounded by four magical stones, each one represented by an element such as earth or water.

You can’t directly get rid of the stones, but you can influence the nearby villagers who have shown up in your area. You can click on an individual, then select an influence type. Examples of influence types are:

– Suspicion
– Fear
– Trust
– Greed

The vague part: I don’t know what happens then.

I can see Suspicion causing infighting among the villagers. Ok, they’re fighting. Now what?

I can see Greed causing villagers to use up resources more than their neighbors, or kill the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg, perhaps in the form of digging up cropland to search for gold.

My wife suggested that perhaps instead of using this indirect influence, the game play can center around being a monster trying to free something from imprisonment by dealing directly with the four elements. It would be simpler.

And I’m going to sleep on it. 1 day, 21 hours left. Good night!




LD33: Some Monster Concept Art and Milestone Deadlines #LDJam

from GBGames

Here are some quick doodles of monsters. I like the idea of the monster being a cute ball of fur.

Monster concepts

I’ve been thinking about what direction to take this game, and at this time I’m coming up with as many concepts as I can. I set a deadline for me to have a concept ready by the 2 hour mark. I hope to have something sooner, but in case I don’t, that’s the point I stop spitballing and start running with whatever I have that seems to work.

Have you set milestones for your project in a Ludum Dare compo? Or do you just keep going until you’re done?

The constraint I threw on myself: make a non-violent game. Basically, it means that attacking or being attacked can’t be part of the core mechanics, which cuts down the viable concepts quite a bit.

But the player could be a helpful demon or a sneaky creature. There’s still plenty of potentially good ideas here.

I tried to break things down a bit. Here are some notes I’ve made in my design doc to help me come up with the concept of the game.

Where did you come from?
– Outer space
– Ocean deep
– Frozen in Arctic
– Nuclear mutation
– Toxic waste/pollution
– Deep underground
– Psych Ward
– Meteor
– Forest
– Mountains
– Science experiment gone awry
– Magic/Summoned
– The Gods
– Birth defect
– Hell
– Extreme emotions manifested in three dimensional space
– I don’t know. I’ve just always existed as far as I know.

Where are you now?
– Feudal era, Modern day, Futuristic urban/rural
– Fantasty world
– The pages of a storybook
– On a ship (sea/space)
– In a cave
– Underground, waiting, biding my time.
– In a castle
– In a heavily secured experimental lab on a military base
– In a house, mine or someone else’s.
– Encased in a tree/boulder/etc

Games I can see making at this time:

– You’re a vampire in a village trying to suck the blood of your neighbors while avoiding detection. You’re stronger and faster at night, but you’re vulnerable during the day. It’s similar to a concept I came up with a long time ago, only you were the vampire hunter then.
– You’re a tiny monster sent to help a poor human family. You mend things and try to make things right, but if you’re caught, it’s bad news for everyone. So, a stealth game? I can see this being a platformer to really emphasize the height difference, but I don’t want to spend time on figuring out platformer physics.
– You’re an ancient evil imprisoned in something magical like a tree or boulder, but you have limited abilities. You are able to influence people from a nearby settlement and you want them to break the hold on you, but you need a lot of them and no one knows about you yet. You want them to free you without tipping them off about your intentions. So, a strange sim game?

And there’s 30 minutes left to decide…




LD33: It’s Started! And the Theme is: You Are the Monster #LDJam

from GBGames

Ok, Ludum Dare #33 has started, and “You Are the Monster” is the theme.

I can see a lot of potential here.

Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend pretty much ends that way. Maybe you are a stranger in a new world, or your own world that has changed dramatically to the point you don’t recognize it, and everyone is afraid of you.

Perhaps you are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster, created by a mad scientist and now on the loose, being chased by townspeople with pitchforks.

Maybe you’re a vampire trying to live in a village and feasting on neighbors without anyone figuring things out, such as the vampire hunter that came to town.

What if you’re a sea creature terrorizing ships and divers while trying to avoid being caught?

Jekyll and Hyde? You are turning yourself into a monster for…some reason. I never actually read this story.

There’s a lot of classic horror as source material to explore. The Invisible Man, werewolves, The Deadly Mantis, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, War of the Worlds, Godzilla, King Kong, Godzilla vs King Kong, etc etc etc.

And of course there’s non-horror classics such as My Teacher is an Alien, or Little Monsters, or…do Garbage Pail Kids count?

I’m going to doodle and try to settle on a direction as soon as possible.




Blank Dream

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — Blank Dream Death is only the beginning for 16 year old Mishiro, who plans to throw herself into a nearby lake that's the source of local legends. But when she finds herself trapped in a dark and dangerous world, she also finds herself without her memories, and she'll need to regain them all, and possibly those of others stranded there, to find a way forward in this creepy and unsettling free indie horror adventure from Teriyaki Tomato, translated by vgperson. Tagged as: action, adventure, download, free, game, horror, indie, mystery, rating-r, teriyakitomato, vgperson, windows



August 21, 2015


The Seventh Door

from Jay Is Games

Platform: Windows — The Seventh Door There are grim things happening in The Seventh Door. You play as Julian, a man who wakes up on a rooftop only knowing a name and as Detective Zikas who is investigating a murder on that same rooftop, unknowing it will throw them both right in the middle of a grand scale conspiracy in this free indie adventure. Tagged as: adventure, alterego, avmonesser, creation, criket, download, famasgame, free, game, indie, mapache, mystery, noir, rating-o, roiofthesuisse, rpgmaker, sriden, thriller, trotter, windows