Weekly Game Jam: Week 4 – Classical Music | Wrap up

Out of time!

We kept this one under wraps because, to be frank, we didn’t know what we were going to do. We just knew we were going to try something with the new Dota 2 Hammer Editor. In the end the idea we settled on was a Noah’s Ark theme, based off this section from Disney’s Fantasia (there’s your classical music tie-in).

Dota 2, why no unicorns :(

If you’re familiar with DOTA or DOTA-alikes, you’ll know that dotted around the map there are camps full of neutral monsters separate from the teams of the game, that players can farm for gold and exp. The idea of our gamemode was:

  • Neutrals spawn at a single camp at one end of the map
  • They try to make their way to an “ark” at the other side
  • “Bad” (dire) creeps attack them along the path
  • Your job is to defend the neutrals (and yourself) from increasing numbers of creeps
  • You lose after a certain number of neutrals die

Where we got

Unfortunately too much time was spent figuring out the map editor. We didn’t get to the stage of having a functioning game mode, but we do have some pretty pictures:

path1
Starting point of the path. The tent at the top of the hill is a creep camp.
boat
“The ark”
map
The whole thing

Hammer (Hammer 2? Hammer 2014?) is awesome to use – much less work went into this map than it looks like, and that’s a good thing for the editor, not so much from us :)

Hopefully the next project will be more functional.

There won’t be a game this coming week as I am going on holiday starting this Saturday, coming back next Friday. We might possibly cram one in for the week after.

In any case, we’ll keep you updated!

Adam

Weekly Game Jam: Week 3 – Slides | Wrap up

Game is up!

Draw with your mouse and press start, pretty simple.

Definitely turned out as more of a tech demo, there were just too many little things to learn about Unity. Once I had got the core of the game working there wasn’t much time left to do anything for gameplay except slap on a restart button and some background colour changes.

I really enjoy working with Unity; despite the warts (*cough MonoDevelop *cough* C# *cough* *cough*) and its “newbie” rep it seems to be a very rich, very flexible engine. So watch this space for possibly more 3D endeavours in the future!

Game plan for next week up shortly.

Much love,

Adam

Weekly Game Jam: Week 3 – Slides | Brief

Linerider: 3D edition. That’s basically this game. God help us.

It’s going to be more of a tech demo than a game as the mesh generation code and 3d art will take basically all of our time budget, but we hope it’ll be fun to mess around with anyway!

Gameplay

  • You get presented with a screen with markers A and B
  • You draw a line between A and B and click GO
  • You switch to a first-person view and watch the laws of physics guide your character down the slide you created
  • If you reach B, you win! Well done.

Stretch goals

  • Collectable coins, so you can have coins if you want, I guess
  • Forbidden zones – you can’t draw here so you have to get air
  • Tunnels – you have to draw through these at some point
  • Loops – will never happen
  • > ?

This will be in Unity, so if you want to play you will need the web player. It pretty much has to be in Unity to have any chance of materialising :)

See you on the other side!

Adam & Andy

 

Weekly Game Jam: Week 2 – Downfall of Pluto | Wrap up

So this week we worked on the Downfall of Pluto as our theme, and it went much better than last week. The base idea was a lot simpler and more within our range. Therefore without any further ado we have a flipping game that you can download and play!

64-bit executable: downfallofpluto-win64

32-bit executable: downfallofpluto-win32

Löve file: Week 2

Please enjoy it and let us know what you think.

The Gameplay

The objective of the game is to get the groups of purple Plutonians to the teleporters are on the surface so that they can safely escape the unstable Pluto.

The groups can only be controlled once they’ve got the lift to the surface. To control them simply left-click the group then right-click on the spot you want them to move to. Remember to dodge the laser blasts emitting from the large crystals in the core and the Plutonians will eventually die from exposure on the surface. So be quick getting them to the teleporters! Lose 3 groups of Plutonians and it’s game over!

The Coding

Not too much that was really clever in the coding part of this project. Setting target angles for the plutonians turned out to be a little hairier than anticipated. Last minute adjustments might have dirtied what started out as quite a nice clean codebase.

What’s important is that the core of the game is eminently reusable, with two tables (game.data and game.logic) encompassing most of the functionality. Asset loading is completely hands-off, with images being imported to game.assets by name and subdirectory. Rendering is nicely customisable, with rotation, scaling, a layer system and show/hide ability.

Things to work on:

  • Animation system (unfortunately not ready for this project, should be up and running next week!)
  • Context switching (Level loading/unloading)
  • Audio system
  • Better separation of entities’ core state and their representation, allowing for more granular animation, clearer public interfaces etc
  • Global event triggering, with time delays
  • Shaders

The Art

Once again I went with a simplistic pixelated look for this game. Building the background was a very simple process.

1

1. The background stars were made with some simple noise.

2

2. The surface of Pluto using some large scatter brushes to create texture.

3

3. Building the planet further by adding smaller circles, using shadows to create depth and more texture brushes on the core edge.

4

 

4. The core was probably the trickiest part for me to get right and if we had longer time I would probably redo some bits of it. I drew it with the pen tool and accented the edges to make them seem more crystal-like.

5

 

5. Added in the lift shafts and the inner core buildings inbetween the large crystals (which will shoot the lasers).

6

 

6. Added the last bits, the teleporters and the title.

There you have it the process for building the background, the last bits of stuff were the animations for the lasers and the Plutonians.

plutonianHere is a Plutonian who didn’t scale up too well…

Conclusion

This week was a lot of fun and we actually made a game which is much further than we got last time. Maybe next time I will be a bit more adventurous with the art and try something with a bit more detail.

Here’s hoping for a good theme tonight!

Andy & Adam

Weekly Game Jam: Week 2 – Downfall of Pluto | Brief

Yeah, this theme being included was entirely the fault of the Rick and Morty episode “Something Ricked This Way Comes”, where Pluto is imploding because the core is running out of plutonium.

The game is a shameless knock off of that idea, and will look something like this:

pluto

Plutonians living in the bowels of the planet are the last to evacuate as the plutonium core becomes dangerously unstable (the surface dwellers have already left via launch pads in cities spaced around the planet).

Gameplay

  • Plutonians are lifted up to the surface in groups, at multiple locations around the planet, at different times (increasing in frequency as the game goes on)
  • The player moves groups around the surface, trying to get them to the cities. The control scheme for this is undecided, but the player can only move one group at a time
  • When the group reaches a city they are no longer vulnerable (they leave Pluto in a rocket)
  • Periodically, lasers shoot from the spikes in the core, frying any plutonians caught in the beam
  • The spike glows for a small amount of time before firing, and the laser beam lasts a second or two before depleting
  • The game is infinite and score is based on the number of plutonians saved
  • You lose either when a group dies or after a certain number are lost, we’ll decide as we go

Stretch Goals

  • The core rotates
  • Pluto shrinks over time
  • Earthquakes destroy cities
  • City building/repair
  • Anything you can think of?

See you at the end of the week! (well, on Monday, this post was a bit late, no excuses etc etc :] )

Adam & Andy

Weekly Game Jam: Week 1 – Mathematical | Wrap up

Hi there

Welcome to the first proper blog post on dTap Games, having previously only made games to compete in game jams such as Ludum Dare and Bacon Game Jam we have decided to have a go at making some more. Instead of starting too big and inevitably not completing any of the games that we concept we chose a different strategy.

I created a table with a list of potential game themes or starting points for cool and different game ideas. Then each week we roll a dice to get our theme for the week (obviously re-rolling if we get a repeat).  After we have generated our theme, we have an evening of brainstorming how we want to the game to be. Eventually we have a usable game at the end of the week. If not we just stop there and debrief on what we did and what we can learn for next time.

So moving on to last week and the first game that we attempted. The  theme we generated was “Mathematical”; one of the broader themes on the list. We had a long think on what aspect of maths we wanted to focus on for the game. As well as how the maths side of things was going to be implemented we also thought about what style the game could fall into.

Game Idea

After much discussion we settled on a 1v1 fighting game, where the players would have to complete maths problems in order to strike their opponent. Each player would have their own list of sums to answer, with correct answers in a row allowing them to build up devastating combo attacks. The equations would be generated randomly as they were needed to fill the space in the queue.

As well as using sums to be aggressive there would also be the option to be a little more defensive. We had an idea for a “Block” equation which would be a little more complex than the attacking questions and would provide your character with a temporary damage reduction on the next incoming attacks. Blocking continuously seemed like it could be overpowered so we concluded that it should have a period of time when it wasn’t active or have an answerable problem ( the skill would be on cool-down).

The players would have health bars that would deplete as they took damage from the opposition and if they completely ran out of health they would lose that round. As well as there being a “KO” mechanism we also planned for a timer in game to limit how long the games would go on for and if the timer expired then the player with the most remaining health would be the victor.

To control the game the players would play on the same machine on a single keyboard. Player 1 would be on the left-hand side of the screen and use the number keys along the top of the letter keys. Consequently player 2 would be on the right-hand side of the screen and use the number pad keys to answer his/her equations. You would have to answer the equations in order as they fall down their respective problem boxes and the game would automatically pick up if they answered the block question from the numbers they input.

Coding

The trickiest part of the coding for Adam on this game was to create the randomly generated equations along with the answers. Once we had a working equation generator the rest of the game should have been simpler finish up just have to make sure that it all worked properly and that it was well balanced.

He did manage to complete the generator however we ran out of time and that’s as far as he got. The picture below shows the randomly generated equations that he was able to produce.

equations

Art

This game was quite daunting to me from an art point of view. There would have to be 2 distinguishable player characters, with a huge range of animations to make. Considering that the only art/animation I have done has been for the games we have made I wasn’t too sure where to start on the characters.  So I sidelined the characters for the start and decided to focus on other aspects.

For the style I decided to stay close to the pixel  art that we have leaned towards for all of our games. I just feel more comfortable working with small canvases and working on individual pixels. Then beyond that I went for a robotic/cyborg theme, choosing neon-blue and grey as lead colours.

In the gallery you can see the art that I completed by the end of the week. You can see the blocking timer as well as the block question slate. Below that you can see the attacking question slates as they spawn in and move down then track and to the right of that is the animation of the colour transition if you get a problem wrong.

Lastly is the UI for the top of the screen, with the player health bars, the scoreboard and space for the game timer to fit. The bottom three images show what it looks like as the players win rounds, the different lights turn on with each won round, eventually a player will activate all three lights and win the game.

active_block4 question_block

sums_spawn sums_wrong top_banner_preview left_wing_1 left_wing_2left_wing_3

 

Debrief

As you can tell we didn’t manage to finish the game, unfortunately we were both away all weekend so lost two whole days of game development which really hampered progress. The game we felt had a bit of potential to be good fun and challenging as well as being within theme. However we now know the amount of work that we are going to need to produce in order to complete a polished/playable game in the time-frame.

The artwork needs to be produced quicker and more focus put on the intensive parts like characters and their animations before trying to beautify the areas that can remain simple.

For the coding, it needs to also be produced quicker. Nevertheless Adam is still trying to fully learn the language.

Overall even though we didn’t produce a fully-fledged game there is hope for this project to eventually produce some decent games. Alongside our own learning of the game development process and all the aspects that go with it.

P.S. we were “away” watching TI4 :) – Adam