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LD48 #42: Running out of Space (18 Aug at 10:19)
After a several-year hiatus, I found another well-timed free weekend to do Ludum Dare, the 48-hour video game making competition! Here's the game I made, for the theme "Running out of Space":

SPACE GAME
SPACE GAME


Hereafter, some mild spoilers. It's a point-and-click adventure game, but the "twist" is that the interface is all in gibberish space language. If you find it too confusing or tedious, you can call up the universal translator with your browser's javascript console (e.g. ctrl-shift-i in Chrome).

Progressive hints (ROT13; you could decode these with e.g. rot13.com, which is an entirely different kind of space language):

Gur jbeqf ng gur obggbz bs gur fperra ner ireof. Gur cnegyl pbafgehpgrq npgvba nccrnef va gur gbc-yrsg.
Ab, lbh pna’g qebc guvatf! Lbh arrq gb trg gb gur hccre qrpx.
Gur genafyngvba bs gur svefg ireo vf TENO (abg r.t. GNXR). Lbh qba’g unir gb or evtug arkg gb gur guvat lbh teno, ohg vg unf gb or ovbybtvpnyyl cynhfvoyr.
Lbh pna’g qebc guvatf, ohg bar bs gur ireof nyybjf lbh gb chg n cnegvphyne xvaq bs vgrz va n cnegvphyne xvaq bs irffry. TENO (svefg ireo) gur fcnprzna guebhtu gur tengr. TENO gur fperjqevire. BIVCBFVG (guveq ireo) na rtt vagb gur obql. HFR (ynfg ireo) gur fperjqevire ba gur tengr.
Gurer’f fbzrguvat gb TENO va gur perj’f orqf.


Hereafter, plenty of spoilers: I've always loved the graphical adventure genre, and I've wanted to make one for some time. (I even spent rather a long time trying to build an adventure game editor/engine in Flash about 13 years ago, last mentioned in post #784 I think. As an example of the reason that this post took nearly a week to go up after finishing the LD entry described above, I wanted to post a final link to this game, but it had some serious breaking issues since one of the reasons I abandoned it was that I ran into some super-weird Flash bugs/quirks. So this morning I dug out that old thing and tried to repair it as much as I could; you can try the final abandoned demo if you want.) I spent a lot of the weekend on some game engine basics, to the point that I repeated the failure mode of "I'll draw spaceship graphics so deliberately crappy that I'll HAVE to come back and improve them before shipping," and then, "Oops, I'm out of time!" but also "I want every pixel in this animation that will be on screen for 100ms to be just right!" There's still so much more efficiency to be found in contests like this.

My intention was that people who know the genre could figure it out purely from conventions (but there are some twists on that), although many people opted to translate the language, which I also deliberately left as a possibility, with some clues. Several people reported having fun with that, so maybe I shouldn't have assumed it would just be annoying—in retrospect, I think I was mostly just averse to it because the idea that an alien would speak English but just with a different alphabet is annoyingly absurd to me, and I didn't want to commit that narrative sin. But there's only so much you can fit in the weekend. Speaking of which, there were several ideas I had to cut from the game on the last day (of course). For example, one of the two airlock people was supposed to be an entirely separate character with an associated puzzle; there was supposed to be a functioning door to the bridge; the airlock puzzle was supposed to make a little more sense than it does (explaining the fact that both doors start locked) and you were supposed to need to talk to that character to scare him into locking himself in the airlock, etc. There was of course supposed to be atmospheric music for the main game, and I know about all of the path-planning bugs and areas where your player can show through objects, ugh. But I ran so low on time that I only got the game even remotely winnable in like the last 30 minutes of the contest. So I initially felt kinda bad about it at submission time, but enough people have enjoyed it that I feel mostly cured of that now. I may fix some of the worst issues (path planning; misspelling "oviposit") so as usual I've archived the 48-hour compo version at the /compo URL, but the main link in this post will point at the best version.

Once everything is set up, it's not a hard genre to expand with content, and I like writing and animating in this style. Some day when I have a solid week to spare, I'd like to make a complete game in this style.
Categories:  video games  ludum dare (8 comments — almost 3 weeks ago)   [ comment ]
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The Entire Screen of One Game (08 Dec 2014 at 16:12)
This weekend was the 31th Ludum Dare, the 48h video game programming competition (which I have participated in many times). The theme was "Entire Game on One Screen". But this time I had several prior obligations such as flying to Zurich, where I now write you from. But, undaunted, and perhaps even freed by the inability to apply the normal polish, I put together this quick weird game, "Entire Screen of One Game." It can't be won, at least formally, and exists only to destroy your mind, but people seem to be getting it. Use the arrow keys and space.
Categories:  video games  ludum dare (45 comments — almost 4 months ago)   [ comment ]
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Connector World by Tom 7 (29 Sep 2014 at 23:37)
Old news now, I know, but earlier in the month I made Connector World, a video game, for the 48h programming contest Ludum Dare.

Connector World by Tom 7
Connector World by Tom 7


This is another browser game using just HTML and JavaScript, having divested of Flash. It should work great in Chrome and OK in Firefox and might not work on other browsers.

Since I took so long to post this one, I can report the results of the contest! I got 73rd place overall (there were about 2,500 entries) and 11th place for "humor."

Anyway, it's an adventure-puzzle game that's pretty short. You can do it! Click to confirm your order.

Some hints:

I regret that the rules require you to leave open spaces for the "in" and "out" indicators, since there's no real point to this and it's not that fun to figure out
Once you get past the metal balls, you're almost done
If you get stuck on the last level, perhaps your current approach is wrong? There shouldn't be any dead ends.
Categories:  video games  ludum dare (14 comments — almost 4 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Ludum Dare 28: Single Dragon: You Owe N. Lee $1 (17 Dec 2013 at 09:10)
For this weekend's Ludum Dare, I made another video game in 48 hours. The theme was "You Only Get One", and my lexicographic pun convention has reached the level of self parody, as my game is called You Owe N. Lee $1. It's a beat(?)-em-up game in the style of Double Dragon or River City Ransom.

Single Dragon: You Owe N. Lee $1
Single Dragon: You Owe N. Lee $1


I am trying to give up Flash, which is what most of my other web games are made in. Flash is great, but I got stuck on ActionScript 2.0 (old, slow), it's hard to customize the editor, it's expensive for-pay software, and most importantly, it's dying. This game is made with whizzo HTML5 technology, which appears to be the future. (At least, unless you are using Internet Explorer, in which case it may never work.) Chrome seems the best, and the newest FireFox also works OK.

I wrote my own AudioContext music player for this, so I don't have any MP3s of the soundtrack yet, but I will try to put it to tape.

This version has a secret; can you find it? Play the game!
Categories:  video games  ludum dare (4 comments — almost 4 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Ludum Dare #27: Point One Hurts (31 Aug 2013 at 12:26)
Last weekend I made another Ludum Dare game in 48 hours, because it's one of my favorite things to do. The theme was "10 Seconds" so my game is "Point One Hurts". As usual this one can be played in the browser:

Point One Hurts
Point One Hurts


The game is more challenging than usual, due to my own bad planning. There's something to figure out there and it definitely can be won (and some people have enjoyed figuring that out!) but I didn't save enough time to work on the way the game presents its ideas to you. That's actually my favorite thing about game design: Interactively leading the player to figure out what's going on. Here, I just need to give the hints that you need to use the arrow keys and Z and X, to pay attention, and that your gaming instincts may betray you.

The part that came out best is the music, so play with headphones or download the themetrack MP3s.
Categories:  t7es  video games  mp3  ludum dare (3 comments — almost 4 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Ludum Dare 26: Dragon Drop! (29 Apr 2013 at 12:07)
As usual, I participated in Ludum Dare, the internet's favorite 48 hour video game programming competition. This time's theme was Minimalism and my game is called Dragon Drop.

Click to play Dragon Drop!
Click to play Dragon Drop!


Mild hint: Every game can be won. There's more (or less) than there looks, should you think of dismissing it.

Play Dragon Drop!
Categories:  video games  ludum dare (15 comments — almost 2 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Ludum Dare 25: Age of Umpires (29 Dec 2012 at 13:53)
Hello! As you know I like to make video games, especially in a 48-hour binge called Ludum Dare. I did the 25th edition a few weeks ago. The theme was You are the Villain, and my game is called Age of Umpires:

Age of Umpires
Age of Umpires


I don't want to spoil the surprises in the game since they are fairly shallow. I think it came out fairly well, so if you have a soft spot in your heart for Nintendo's Ice Hockey, go ahead and play it online. The two-song 8-bit soundtrack is available.

Many more projects in the works. Even worse than usual about finishing them. :(
Categories:  t7es  video games  ludum dare (7 comments — almost 4 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Ludum Dare 24: One of the best birthdays (31 Aug 2012 at 12:44)
Last weekend was Ludum Dare time again, my eighth-ish time participating in this 48-hour video game making competition. The theme was "evolution", a classic which has made the final round of theme voting like 10 times without winning. This particular competition I ran into some problems, but the game is charming in its way:

A pixelated cell with a charming but ambiguous facial expression wears a birthday hat. The text reads, 'One of the best birthdays'.
One of the best birthdays by Tom 7


At first I was trying to come up with experimental gameplay, since I got a big kick out of doing that in some previous contests. But I couldn't get excited about anything (of course 2/3 of the way through I had an idea I really liked, but it was too late :)) so I decided I'd just make a game in a style I really like and spend loads of time cranking out content. The game is a large-map dangerless exploration platformer. I initially attempted to make the map 16,000x16,0000 pixels (256 megapixels!) but found out hours into working that some tools I expected to be robust (Imagemagick, for example) did really weird bugs on such-size images, and it also turned out that libpng was like the one thing I had not installed in preparation. Wha-wha, I know, cool story bro. So there are some epic hacks going on behind the scenes to make this work, and some of the game world is conspicuously barren, and I didn't finish the in-world music so the game is silent except for the characteristic title theme song. But the game can be completed and I think it's pretty fun and it was a weekend well spent! Play it!
Categories:  video games  ludum dare (3 comments — almost 6 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Ludum Dare 23: T in Y World (24 Apr 2012 at 23:37)
T in Y World
T in Y World - Play that thing!


Sup guys. I made this game in 48 hours for Ludum Dare #23, whose theme was "Tiny World". It is an experimental homage to an old game called ZZT, with some twists like that everyone can edit the game world, making it a Moderately Multiplayer On-Line Rule Playing Game. Other features:

Very expensive simulated color-ASCII graphics
Content & technology double-whammy
False dichotomy
Four new music tracks, including shamelessly self-referential theme song
You can turn off the annoying music
Spoiler 1
Thrilling Computer Science based gameplay
Integrated level editor
Spoiler 2
Boss battle!!


You can play it or get the soundtrack, or both!
Categories:  mp3  hacks  video games  ludum dare (16 comments — 2 years ago)   [ comment ]
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Escape Cod - Ludum Dare #21 (26 Aug 2011 at 08:49)
Last weekend I did another installment of the 48-hour solo video game programming competition Ludum Dare. They announce the theme on Friday night and then we draw and sing and program all weekend to try to put together a game. This time the theme was Escape, which was a weird theme for me because I've been working on a game just called Escape for like 13 years. The game I made last weekend is called Escape Cod and it's kinda like recursive fish pinball:

Escape Cod

The game's best understood by playing. The basic idea came from Ryan. Thanks Ryan. Initially there was going to be more pinball stuff to do inside the fish, but I knew that the transitions and animations were going to be tricky, so I did most of that first. By the time it got to mid-sunday, I was burned out on implementing physics and I had come to actually like playing the game in its current form, so I just kept doing polish. As usual, when the weekend ended I felt kind of down on the finished product (because of all the things I knew were wrong or wished I could do), but after seeing a few people play and the feedback on the entry, I'm pretty happy with it now. Escape Cod for yourself.

Do you recognize the Cape Cod scene illustrated? I had this canonical image in my mind that I thought was from a postcard or t-shirt that we had around the house growing up. I wanted to get it right so I searched around for image. Turns out I was imagining the bag of potato chips! The title screen is a tribute.

I recorded screenshots from my computer every 15 seconds as well as webcam shots of me touching my face a lot. It's stalkertastic.

I've now entered this a few times. Only Disco? Very! placed in the top 20 overall, but I have done well in the audio category several times. Priority Cats was #2, for example. Since all I care about is winning (winky-wink) I spent a bunch of time on the music for this game too, which you can get in a separate soundtrack.zip. Or make it like an interactive music video by listening while playing the game.
Categories:  t7es  mp3  drawings  tom 7 music  video games  escape  ludum dare (8 comments — almost 5 years ago)   [ comment ]
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