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Game Jams, White Rose

Ludum Dare 34 Results


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And the results are in… *drum rooollllll*

  • Graphics: 4.20 (Score), #129 (Rank)
  • Mood: 3.50 (Score), #286 (Rank)
  • Innovation: 2.97 (Score), #631 (Rank)
  • Overall: 3.16 (Score), #668 (Rank)
  • Fun: 2.92 (Score), #701 (Rank)
  • Theme: 2.42 (Score), #1058 (Rank)

As hoped, White Rose scored pretty well in graphics! Woot! For a game with around 3000 contestants, that’s awesome.

Mind the Trap

Week 9: Online Networking Works, Next Year’s Plan, Profit Sharing Plan


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Online Networking

Our UE4 guru, Michael Lee, just finished his finals last week and of course couldn’t wait to get back to work. In a few days, he got the online networking to work! Woo! Trying to get this to work has been a huge pain for Chris this past week; apparently, it’s because of the way our router is set up.

Integrating online play is still up in the air. Mind the Traps is a party game that you enjoy with your friends, and if your friends are around you as opposed to behind the screens then it’s even more fun. Playing online actually does more damage than give convenience. There are a lot of games out there that only offer local play, e.g. Towerfall Ascension, Spelunky. It’s not an all-or-nothing option for the player.

Plan for Next Year

Chris and I will be finishing up the technical portion of Mind the Traps by the end of January, and our artist will come onboard around the February timeframe to touch up the game, add in new characters, design the bosses, etc. His artwork will be a strong tool for marketing and building up hype for our Kickstarter campaign in the summer.

Profit Sharing Plan

The elephant in the room. Running a business means everybody has to get paid! We’re very fortunate to be working with a flexible group of people that isn’t worried about being paid in the immediate term. Kenneth has been working on a profit sharing plan, which is a payment model in which everybody is compensated only when the game makes a positive profit. Everybody takes a percentage of the profit sharing pool based on how much time they can commit to the game’s development.

Ludum Dare 34

Judging is still ongoing for another week. If you’re a current participant, it would be an awesome Christmas present if you vote on our game!

 

Game Jams, White Rose

Creative Design Process Behind White Rose


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There has been some interest in the style of White Rose, so we would like to share the creative design process behind the game.

White Rose gameplay gif 7 - Combo (Tumblr, Itch.io)

Synesthesia, an Audiovisual Experience

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which different senses are linked together. Our character is a blind boy who has audio visual synesthesia and sees a plethora of colors with each bump to the beat. You’ll first notice this when you pick a song and press play. The layers of warm color fade in and suddenly give depth (parallax scrolling) and life to an otherwise dark and empty world.

White Rose gameplay gif 6 - Begin (Tumblr, Itch.io)

Unfortunately, due to time constraints we couldn’t add in the rhythm mechanics where you can combo to the beat of the song and be rewarded with more spectacular visuals. We noticed in your comments that this was exactly what was missing, and we love how you guys totally get it! We’ve been listening to your feedback and are working on a rhythm-based combo system. It’ll be available for fun as a post-compo version (not to be rated for this jam), so stay tuned!

Paint Splatter and Particles

If a blind person has audio visual synesthesia, what do you think he or she sees when music is playing? I don’t know myself since I don’t have the condition, but I imagine it being a vibrant, abstract painting on a black canvas that continuously bursts with more color to each beat. To signify that, we used paint splatter sprites and particle effects that exploded out in the direction of each punch.

You can never have too many particles… until the FPS drops and the game crashes… then it’s too much… But until then, particles are just so amazing and easy to implement, and add a lot of extra satisfaction to every punch.

White Rose gameplay gif 5 - Attack (Tumblr, Itch.io)

3D Character vs. 2D World

If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the boy is a 3d model while the monsters and the rest of the world are 2D sprites. From a technical development perspective, animating the run cycle for a 3d model takes less time than drawing enough sprites to account for 8 directions of movement in a 2D isometric view. From a design perspective, we wanted a clear distinction between the “real” him and the abstract painted environment that only exists in a world created from music. What better way to distinguish that than with a 3D model and 2D sprites?

White Rose gameplay gif 9 - 3d model vs 2d sprites (Tumblr, Itch.io)

Final Words

We hope you enjoyed the game and good luck with the next 2 weeks of Ludum Dare 34! Feedback is always greatly appreciated!

Game Jams, White Rose

Synesthetic Beat-’em-up | Ludum Dare 34


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In a world created by sound, play as a boy with synesthesia as he fights the ever growing darkness with music and his fists, painting the world in color with every damaging blow. Destroy the monsters before they spread the ever-growing darkness. Turn up the beats and enjoy the visual experience.

Check the game out on our Ludum Dare 34 post! Or, play the game directly on our Itch.io page!

Screenshots:

White Rose gameplay gif 7 - Combo

White Rose gameplay gif 3 - Parallax

White Rose was actually one of the first concepts we came up with when we got into game development, so we were really excited to be able to turn it into something playable. Unfortunately, due to time constraints for this jam we couldn’t implement all the features, such as combo-ing to the beat of the music and adding a rhythm element to it. Check out the game and have fun!

Game Jams

Week 7: Thoughts on the Itch.io Loading Jam; Getting Back to Work on Mind the Traps


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See summary below.

Thoughts on the Itch.io Loading Screen Jam

Two days left to vote for the Itch.io Loading Jam, and our submission has been rated an UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME 2 times so far. Yea! Fingers crossed.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 12.52.52 AM

In case you haven’t see it yet, check out submission Paradigm at the Itch.io Loading Jam page. Paradigm is a mystery visual novel with thrilling, alternate endings and it features pixel art, puzzles and nerdy humor. This time around we wanted to test ourselves and make something different from what we’re usually comfortable with. We stayed true to our studio values of integrating deep underlying meanings and created a game that was less mechanic-centric and more story-driven. Admittedly, we broke some rules from our “How to Make a Game in 1 Week” post—specifically not to waste time learning new skills—but we wanted to spice up our creative juices.

Story

Unfortunately, writing a mystery visual novel game turned out to be a lot harder than we expected. Branching dialogue (storyline changes depending on how the player responds to questions) requires a dialogue manager, which also needs to initiate sprite animations and cinematics. The more branches our story had, the more complicated the coding got.

post-24030-mark-wahlberg-confused-gif-img-bi1v

In regards to the story, writing a text-based adventure requires well-paced dialogue that develops the characters’ personalities and makes reveals without revealing too much. Guy Hasson’s Gamasutra post on how to write a mystery was extremely helpful. The following picture shows our brainstorming of possible story routes, with each smaller post-it being a sub-mystery that builds up suspense for the final reveal.

2015-12-11 15.10.40

For two engineers who haven’t done any creative writing since high school, writing dialogue was… quite a challenge! It ended up taking us 4 days to fully flesh out the story, leaving us only 3 days left to code, write the dialogue, and draw the art. You can imagine the smiles on our faces when the jam was extended 3 days.

Art

I [Kenneth] personally used to be kind of… anti-pixel art. Not in a bad way. It wasn’t until I tried it this past week and saw how much potential it had that I became fully converted. I was inspired by Hyper Light Drifter and Doko Roko and wanted to take advantage of this short break from Mind the Traps to try it out. It turned out to be so much fun.

I just put together a pixel art tutorial on the basics and tools you need in GIMP to get started. It’s a 3-part series (the other 2 are still in progress).

Getting Back to Work on Mind the Traps

This past week was a lot of fun, but it is time to get back to work on Mind the Traps. We’ll be completing a couple mini-games by the end of this week so stay tuned for screenshots!

Game Jams

Game Submitted for the Itch.io Loading Jam!


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One and a half weeks later, this game jam has been conquered. You can find the download link here. You can support us by playing the game, giving us feedback, and rating us on the jam site! It’ll be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, check out some screenshots below.

Paradigm is a visual novel, mystery thriller with alternate endings. It features puzzles, humor and pixel art.

TitleScreen_poster

Business & Marketing, Mind the Trap

Week 4 Updates: Kickstarter Analysis, Networking Fixes, Weird Play/Pause Bug


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Almost 100 Twitter Followers!

We’re currently at around 90 followers. Help us get to 100 and you’ll get endless kisses from Chris!

Kickstarter Analysis

by Kenneth

Like I mentioned last week, we’ve been doing some preliminary planning for Kickstarter next year. This week I came across an interesting article by Joey Daoud (sorry for butchering your name), which looked at the behavior of Kickstarter funders for film projects. I thought: since I did a short job as a data analyst and there’s no public analytics on Kickstarter video game projects to my knowledge, why not do a little analysis myself? This past week I compiled over 90 video game projects that have been successfully funded, are recent, and have a goal in the $1k to $100k range. I choose these criteria because I see these projects as being more “moderate”—they don’t come from AAA studios or developers who already have a huge backing. I’m sure there are many small studios out there like us who don’t have a huge social media presence and need to figure out how to mesh Kickstarter with their marketing plans to attain more followers.

In this analysis, I will be looking specifically at quantitative data, such as the number of backers, funding goal, and pledge levels. My goal is to figure out the average amount a backer pledges for a video game project and how that relates to the funding goal and number of backers. My findings will be published sometime next week on various sites, starting with reddit where I can get some feedback. My hope is that everyone will find this helpful for their own Kickstarter planning.

Development

by Chris

The majority of this past week has been… gruntwork. I’ve been working with online networking a lot to get it out of the way but have been met with a lot of hiccups. We did some testing between computers using LAN and came across some lag. After doing some research, I found that replication, or specifically rep notify, is the least intensive on networking compared to multicast and server-run functions. So I’ve been replacing everything that has been using these less efficient methods with rep notify.

I came across a really odd bug that’s actually been quite annoying. Whenever I simulate 2 players (server and client) in the editor window and press pause, any timeline functions I’m using continues to run. Technically, EVERYTHING in the level should pause when I press pause, including timelines, scripts, functions, and animations. I submitted a bug report and should hear back from them soon.

Mind the Trap, Tips & Tricks

How to Make a Game in One Week | Epic MegaJam Learnings


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Building a playable and presentable game in one week is no joke. In October we attended Epic Game’s biggest game jam to date, the Epic MegaJam. We would like to share our experience on how we accomplished it through scheduling, prioritizing features, coming up with the minimum viable product, and incremental playtesting. You’ll find that it applies to all forms of game development and not just to game jams. To see where it took us, here’s a gameplay trailer of our submission, Mind the Traps.

In the end you’ll find the download links for the winners of the MegaJam. I highly recommend playing their games for your learning.

Half of our team had school or a day job, so scheduling was key to get us started and to ensure we would finish the game on time. We listed out the phases of development, assigned what needs to be accomplished in each phase, and allocated the number of hours to be spent in each phase.

1. Choose an awards category (30 minutes)

Choosing an award to aim for helped create the framework for our game’s design. We wanted to make a game that we would enjoy making and potentially sell, so given our quirky personalities and love for multiplayer party games it made the most sense that we target the Addiction (most fun) award. (more…)

Wispy Willows

New Level Complete


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Woo!!!!!!! Just finished up the design for a new level of #WispyWillowsGame. This one caused me some especial pain. Lots and lots of unseen bugs came up during testing. I’m quite happy with the layout. All art are placeholders at the moment.

Level15