alamantus

Trade Winds is my entry for the #LOWREZJAM 2016! It’s “finished”, but it still needs a lot of work, which I intend to put into it because I think it’s a super cool idea.

In Trade Winds, you take control of a mercantile vessel and sail around a procedurally-generated ocean world trading among the islands. Every day, the world economy shifts based on each island’s supply. You’ll need to manage your money well and make long trips to get the highest profits. As you sail, you’re in danger of contracting illnesses, so you’ll need to stop at an island’s tavern to heal. It’s a big world out there, and it’s up to you to learn and conquer it!

I’ll be writing a post mortem and outline all the things I plan to add and improve a little bit later, but for now, I’ve finished the jam and I’m celebrating that for now. :D

An extra special thanks to Paws Menu for helping with the music and menu icons in the game! Check out the music for this game and some others they helped with on their Music from LowRezJam 2016 album on Bandcamp. And definitely be sure to check out the rest of their music, too!!

Rate Trade Winds for the jam!

Also, check out my Postmortem and Future Plans post to find out where I’m going from here!

So I just switched my default Unity 3D editor from Mono to Visual Studio and

Oh. My. God.

My coding life has improved 500,000,000%!!!! No exaggeration. Mono has always been buggy and frustrating to me, but Visual Studio is just so smart and fast and helpful! It’s such a small change, but I’m already so much happier because of it! You don’t even need to know everything that Visual Studio can do, just using the auto-completion sensor thingy is miraculous. I know it’s not perfect by any means and it’s a little bit bulky, but coming from Mono, which does nothing to help you and crashes a lot (for me at least), it’s wonderful to work with.

If you use Unity and want the same freedom I have just experienced, here are the resources:


EDIT: Updated the Visual Studio link!

Just a reminder that first episode of The Game Mechanics is NOW AVAILABLE!!!

You can find it through iTunes if you use that for podcasting, or you can just grab the RSS feed for whatever podcast client you use! If there’s anywhere else you think I should register the feed, let me know, because I don’t know where else I can/should do that!

If you ever want more details about or a higher audio quality of an episode, you can check out the episode on the website (http://thegamemechanicspodcast.tk) to get what you need!

So listen to it, tell your friends, share/reblog this post around, and let me know what you think!
There’s a link to give feedback right on the page when you’ve listened, and you can also use that to let me know what you’d like to hear about for future episodes. I really want to know what you think about it, so please use that!

Thanks! :D

Debugging OversimplifiedJS by making a little game! I’m frankly surprised the game is working a smoothly as it does. ~88 lines of code. on top of OversimplifiedJS, and that’s with all of my weird personal spacing conventions!

On a related note, debugging is infuriating.

So I’m making a little game in Visual Studio 2013 for my C# class this semester, which means that you can actually expect me to finish it unlike when I normally announce a game I’m working on! I’m calling it “Risky Chess” because it’s sort of Chess that’s a little bit Risk-y… It kind of pulls influences from both Chess and Risk, but not very much from either… Here’s what I’ve made so far:

Super impressive, right? Those Unicode chess piece characters are pretty handy. So far clicking the playing pieces just displays a message box—what pieces are surrounding it with a left click and the piece’s information with a right click.

The rules are pretty simple: Each player gets their collection of pieces (4 foot soldiers, 2 cavalry, 1 cannon, and 1 king) and moves one piece per turn. All pieces can move 1 square in any direction (including diagonal), but each different type of piece has a Strength and a Defense attribute. When a player moves a piece into a space with an enemy piece, that starts an attack. The attacking player flips as many coins as that piece’s Strength stat and the defending player flips as many coins as their piece’s Defense stat. You keep flipping the coins until someone has more “heads” than the other. If the attacker has more, the defending piece goes away and the attacker takes its square. If the defender has more, the attacker must return to its previous space. One player wins when either the opponent’s king is defeated or when the opponent has only their king (all their other pieces are gone).

It’s going to be local 2-player with no computer player because that’s just going way far beyond what I need for the class. :P I’ll probably need to make the game board a little bit smaller (right now it’s 8x8), but this all it will be! Unfortuately, I’m pretty sure it’s Windows only, but there may be a chance of porting it to other OSes because .NET is supposed to be cross-platform or something? I’ll have to do more research, but yeah.

That Game Development Podcast...

So I finished recording and editing the first episode of the game development podcast, and I’m currently planning the next one, so I think it’s time to announce some details!

  • The podcast is going to be called “The Game Mechanics” because it’s the greatest pun you could ever hope for when it comes to something like a game development show. (It’s plural to leave it open for other voices too.)

  • I’m planning to publish the first episode on July 22nd!
  • I’ll do my best to have an episode online every Wednesday from then on out (and if that ever changes I’ll announce it).
  • You can subscribe to the podcast via RSS or iTunes (soon) from the website.
  • The website can be found at http://thegamemechanicspodcast.tk because I can’t afford another paid domain right now and just plain “thegamemechanics.com” is already taken and I’ll have to really think about whether or not I want to get a .net before I run out and grab it.
  • I need your feedback and suggestions for content! I have ideas for somewhere around 16 episodes, but I’m always open to better ideas! There’s a link to a feedback form on the website, but it’s not really meant to be used until after you’ve listened to an episode or two.
  • I’m planning to reach out to (indie) developers to do interviews to give insight into the development process for individual developers, but if you want to be interviewed or know someone you want me to ask to interview for the show, by all means, let me know! I have a pretty small pool of developers I actually know, and I’d like to make developer interviews a regular thing.

So get hyped!

2

Update: Spellcasters 0.7.1!

Hey! So a couple days ago, I posted about my first Pico-8 game, and I’ve made a lot of progress! The biggest progress is that it’s actually a playable game now! You can progress, and you can die. You can’t win though—the monster horde is too endless for one mage to handle by themself!

Play it online here and try to get as far as you can!

Every time the game starts, the spells are randomized, so you’ll have to learn them quickly, because the monsters will attack you now and you only have 3 hits before you die! Every monster can only be hurt by its corresponding spell, and while the spells randomize, this weakness never changes. Learn the weaknesses and act fast, because each monster you defeat brings an even faster monster in its place! Your wand is very eager, too—you also can’t hold on to a spell for more than 2 seconds before it casts on its own. So learn fast and cast fast if you want to survive!

In the background, I updated my code to utilize the new Pico-8 v0.1.1 tokens feature to actually spell out all of my variable names and remove the need for many comments, which is very nice. Hooray for clean code! I also added some basic animations and more sounds, which is always good.

If you have a Pico-8, here’s the cart:

I don’t think I’m gonna work on it much more because I really want to finish Chompy! and this has been little more than a distraction from that, but there are a few things I’d really like to add to the game. I’d love to come up with some backgrounds and more animations to make it feel a little bit more alive, and I’d really love to make music for each of the three screens. I’d also love to add a high score feature, but I don’t even know if that’s possible with the Pico-8.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy what’s here!

LAND HO!

I can’t work much today, but it’s nice to have at least one island in the game so I can play with it. There are jagged rocks around the corners of the island to make up for the fact that collision detection only happens in full rectangles. XD Eventually I’ll add a dock (or two) to each island that you will interact with, because you can’t just trade on the beach, are you crazy?

Other than the pretty pictures, I implemented seamless transitions from one side of the map to the other when you reach the borders, and I decided the map is going to be made up of maybe 50x50 “tiles” that are 64x64 pixels big. Each tile will represent pixels on an in-game map that fills out as you sail over it, but your movement won’t be restricted to single-screen tiles (think Zelda Wind Waker’s map vs sailing). Every tile where there’s an island will show a green pixel on the map, and every tile there’s something interesting within (may not be implemented before the end of the jam) will show a yellow pixel. Your ship will be red and open ocean will be (dark) blue. I think those colors should be different enough to read the map…

So yeah! It’s coming along nicely, and I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to do so far. 10 more days!

checkpointer.tk
Checkpointer α

Reach your goals one checkpoint at a time.

Alright, everyone, here it is! The alpha release of Checkpointer. I got a free .tk domain because “checkpointer.com” is parked and for sale for like a million dollars or something stupid. It’s not really ready for super widespread use, so if you can use it, help me test it, and give me feedback about it, I’d appreciate that very much!

Features!

  • It just takes a username and password to get started.
  • Don’t lose your username or password because there’s no way to retrieve either yet.
  • You are the only one who can see your checkpoints. (Privacy settings and sharing will come eventually, but that’s not a priority for me.)
  • Every bit of checkpoint text is encrypted on the backend!
  • You can create checkpoints and drag them around to re-order and re-parent them by clicking and dragging on the arrow handles on the top left side of the checkpoints. (To re-parent to a different checkpoint, you need to open its drawer first.)
  • You can edit or delete your checkpoints at any time!
  • You can also pretty much have a checkpoint nested as deep as you want (but it gets hard to read if you nest too deep, so don’t go crazy with that).
  • Mark your checkpoints with statuses from incomplete to half-complete to complete with nifty Unicode characters!
  • Marking your checkpoints complete will also mark all its sub-checkpoints complete!
  • Minimal design!
  • Does NOT work well on mobile quite yet!

I’ll be compiling and uploading a road map as soon as I get a chance so anyone who uses it can know what to look forward to, but I think my next goal for Checkpointer will be adding due date functionality that updates the color of overdue checkpoints or something. Not exactly sure how I want to do it yet…

So anyway, yeah! Please try it out and let me know what you think! After this point, I’ll be preserving the database, so if you start using it now, your checkpoints will remain forever (unless you delete them, of course…)!

Enjoy! :)

So I’ve been working on that idea I had, Checkpointer, and after a bit of styling, it’s actually pretty cool! There are still some styling kinks to work out (making the window any smaller than this puts a scroll bar for some reason… also, there’s supposed to be padding on the right side of each block, too), but so far, I think it looks pretty nice. I’ll probably research color theory to find better colors that encourage “get-it-done”-ness in people, but for now, I like the pale blues and grays. Those “Add checkpoint to” links are buttons that make a nice little slide-down effect that shows a form that validates, which I think is a nice touch, too. :)

There are still some important features to add, like a delete button and a “change parent” functionality (right now, you can only move things up and down within their own parent and even that is a less user-friendly than I want), but it’s fairly usable and that’s awesome.

#LOWREZJAM 2016 : Work in progress of the types of things you can trade! None of them will have labels in-game, so enjoy the labels here while you can!

From left to right, top to bottom, there’s:

  • cinnamon/lumber (haha)
  • salt
  • dark spices (i.e. allspice, pepper, etc.)
  • light spices (i.e. tumeric, curry, etc.)
  • carpets/textile
  • clothing
  • iron/silver
  • gold
  • weapons
  • tea
  • coffee
  • sugar cane
  • poultry
  • cattle
  • pigs
  • horses

Your ship’s hold can only carry 3 different kinds of cargo (at first! If I have enough time, I’ll include upgrades), so you’ll have to sell everything of one kind before you can start carrying another kind. Demand for these items will be pseudo-randomized from island to island, which will affect your ability to sell and make money.

I probably shouldn’t have this many things, but I like the idea of being able to have a lot of options. I guess we’ll see what I cut out to make the deadline.

Here’s a (still small but better quality) new gif of ./Gather demonstrating how I changed the camera one last time, updated the boosters and gravity, and added flight mode to get from island to island! (A small amount of your jet propulsion is preserved when you change modes, resulting in the slight pop upward you see at the end of the gif. I like it, so I’m keeping it.)

I also cleaned up the code a LOT, but that’s not pictured here. :P

And with that, I can now move on to making stuff to collect, a place to put stuff you collect, and then some more diverse/bigger/better islands!

Also, in case you’re wondering, “./Gather” is pronounced “Dot Slash Gather”… Just so there’s no confusion on that. :)

Am I the only person in the whole world who doesn’t care at all about crafting in video games? I feel like every other recent game I see boasts an “expansive crafting system”, but I feel like that’s completely missing the point of crafting. The crafting craze in game development that arose from Minecraft’s popularity completely misses what (I think) most people actually like about Minecraft: you can make it your own. Nobody likes crafting. It’s just an inconvenience that takes you away from whatever you were building or exploring.

It was implemented well and just worked in Minecraft because it builds tension. “Dang it, my pick broke! I was just about to find something cool in that cave, I just know it! Gotta go make a new one so I can get back!” or “I’m almost done building this treehouse, but my axe broke! Do I have enough to keep building and make the supplies I need?” Crafting in every game since (obviously there are exceptions) is just out of place and annoying because they don’t actually stop and think about what the crafting is actually for. It’s not something you should stuff into any and every game because crafting isn’t fun!

It’s good for certain kinds of games because it breaks up the monotony and builds up excitement while you’re forced to stop for a moment to craft, to think about how you’re using your limited resources to make a tool you need to continue exploring, to imagine what you’re going to build or find next. It’s not something you just stuff into your game because it’s popular.

Anyway, sorry. I’ve been thinking about this a lot for some reason and I just wanted to share. :P