[ back to Tom 7 Radar ]

     Viewing posts in category video games...
(view all posts instead)
next
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
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 ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
Reverse emulating the NES! (31 May at 18:30)
Oops, I screwed up by forgetting that May doesn't have 32 days. Especially silly since I finished the content of this post days ago, and all I had to do was post it! Backdated 24 hours [cheating].

I finished the project I've been talking about for a few posts, and uploaded two videos:

Reverse emulating the NES to give it SUPER POWERS!
Reverse emulating the NES to give it SUPER POWERS!


Making of
Making of "Reverse emulating the NES..."


The first video is the project itself, a weird self-explanatory joke, and the second one is a longer explanation of some of the technical stuff and the process that I went through to create it. Of course, up to you, but I think both have something to offer for the audience that reads Tom 7 Radar. :)

I went to Seattle to present basically the first talk to two different audiences (first at Deconstruct and then at UW's PoCSci, which is like their version of SIGBOVIK.) I was delighted to have the privilege to do both of these without so much as telling anybody involved the title of my talk, let alone anything about its context or e.g. weird equipment, which allowed me to do a more sneak-attack "reveal." This was very fun. Here's me on the big stage. The screen is 40' diagonal, so these pixels are about 1.88 square inches each!

Tom 7 at Deconstruct
Tom 7 at Deconstruct


It was a fun project but pretty hectic. Now I am aggressively relaxing by cleaning my basement and playing some video games (Steamworld Dig 2; great so far!). I have some ideas for the next thing, but also a bunch of travel coming up, so I'm taking it easy.
Categories:  video games  hacks (7 comments — almost 2 months ago)   [ comment ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
Old man complains about discomfort (28 Feb at 23:37)
Here we are again!

My neck is still giving me and my arm nerves trouble, though it is not as dire as it was in January. I've tried running a few times when it wasn't hurting too bad, including a 5K (Race for the Cure) while on vacation in Florida. I did reasonably okay, finishing 7th overall (eponymous) and 1st in my age group (old mans) with a time of 21m08s. It's a good reminder that the daily elliptical machine or exercise bike does work OK for keeping me in shape, even if I feel pretty rotten. Hopefully next time I'll report that I got better on my own or have some plan to fix it, because this is NOT COOL!

Did I even do anything else this month? I finally built a table saw sled, which is useful for making e.g. other table saw sleds, and finished the basement shelves project I described in the last post. The Learnfun/Playfun work is coming along, though some stuff (from the 3Dification project) that I expected would be easy to apply turns out to be harder than I thought for my test game (Contra) due to the crazy way that game works. So I've done some generalization of that, which is at least a fun puzzle. Unfortunately it's unlikely that I'll have this ready for SIGBOVIK, so I gotta think of something else (presumably simpler!) for that deadline, which is in two weeks.

I can heartily recommend Celeste if you like a hard platformer game, as I do. It's familiar gameplay wise, but it does almost everything right, has charming art and story, and just loads of challenges and secrets. I've played it a lot this month and finished most of the reasonable stuff (almost all the berries, hearts, b-sides) in 25 hours and 6688 deaths so far, each delicious. 10/10 would buy again.
Categories:  video games  races (1 comment — almost 6 months ago)   [ comment ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
Happy 20th birthday Escape!! (31 Aug 2016 at 23:39)
Wow, it's really been 20 years since I first uploaded my puzzle game Escape to AOL in August 1996. I was only 16 then! The original was written in QuickBASIC and assembly for DOS.

Being old is not that impressive; it happens by itself. When we celebrated its 10th birthday in post #874, I was actively working on the modern version of the game, which eventually got to a pretty good state. I didn't touch it much over the last ~7 years (full time job, adulting, etc.), but there is still a pretty good community of puzzlers putting together some brilliant stuff. Despite my attempts to make it timeless, the app recently stopped working on new versions of OS X, and the code was getting a bit intractable. But I found some time this month to get it back into shape, and uploaded new versions for 64-bit macOS and Windows to the escape home page. I can now compile it with all free tools, so it's easier for me to develop, and I've been doing some painful but basically relaxing modernization of the source code too. Anyone who has poked at it will be happy to know the famously atrocious move.h is now gone. I've got some more cleanup to do and then some bugs to fix, but after that I can make some more substantive user-facing features. I don't plan to change the core game really at all, but I at least want to make it easier to navigate the thousands of levels for both new players and experts alike. Suggestions are welcome!

As I was thinking of making an image to celebrate, I found myself trying to draw a cake in the Escape level editor, and it coming out so badly, and then vaguely remembering that I tried and failed at the exact same gag 10 years ago! Instead this mechanically reproduced meta-hugbot:

Hugbot just wants to love you into the lasers
Hugbot just wants to love you into the lasers


Since the previous feedback thread is rather bursting at the seams, it's also time to designate this as the new feedback thread.
Categories:  video games  escape (33 comments — almost 2 months ago)   [ comment ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
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 ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
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 ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
The adventures of learnfun and playfun, episode 3 (20 Jan 2014 at 12:11)
It took an awful long time to finish, but I finally posted the third in my series of videos about my software that learns to play Nintendo games:

The adventures of learnfun & playfun episode 3
The adventures of learnfun & playfun episode 3


This one doesn't have too much technical materials, as it's the exact same program playing a bunch more games: Color A Dinosaur, Cliffhanger, Pro Wrestling, Pinball, Mega Man 2, Gradius, Double Dare, Arkanoid. There are also some new results for Super Mario Bros. It's a bit lengthy, but I tried hard to keep it dense and filled with entertainment.

I'm currently working on different projects for SIGBOVIK this year, but I also have some more ideas for the NES AI stuff. All we need is more time!
Categories:  sigbovik  video games  video (31 comments — almost 2 years ago)   [ comment ]
B
A
R
F
!
!
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 ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
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 ]
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
Summer is for video games (30 Jun 2013 at 23:26)
Just a short post for June, since not much happened in this month. It consists entirely of video game reviews.

I played two newish games that I really liked. The Swapper is a great puzzle game with a very well done mood, like exploring those deep caverns in Metroid where you felt like you weren't supposed to be there. What really stands out for me is the puzzle design: Like Braid, most of them investigated a single new idea, and you have enough information to solve any of them from about 4 minutes into the game. Though they all had clean answers, a lot of them admitted alternate solutions without being too exploitable. It's my favorite thing to beat games the wrong way, so this one was super. Starseed Pilgrim is a somewhat hard to place indie gem. It's part figure-out-the-rules, part exploration, part polishing your skills, part puzzling. I played a really long time in this game without realizing a basic fact, and I have a feeling that there are a few more things to learn. (I have made progress towards what I think is the final goal, but haven't "finished" yet.)


I played some other games: A Dark Room has been making the rounds and can be played in your browser no big deal. It's a text-only game pretty akin to the now classic Candy Box. A Dark Room ended up disappointing me, but it's not too long and it does have some good fun. Call of Duty Black Ops II was pretty disappointing. I feel like I sort of know what I'm getting myself into with these Triple-A shooters (it grossed half a billion dollars in its FIRST DAY, the most ever, though I guess that speaks more to the quality of its predecessors, most of which I did like), but this game was really uninspired. It was like they just got a bunch of level designers to put together some "missions" that had nothing to do with one another and you jumped from one to the next lookin' at axis-aligned crates and then there'd be these random ass "team" missions that had nothing to do with anything where you'd be telling all these idiots what to do but mostly you just wanted them to just stand there to attract the enemy fire so you could do it yourself. Like real war. On the other hand, Bioshock Infinite was much better than its predecessors and I liked it a lot. At its heart it's just a shooter (and only a mediocre one) but the map design is so lovely, and some of the characters and storytelling is really cool too. I do think this one is worth playing.


That is all. Any games you think I should be playing?
Category:  video games (4 comments — 5 years ago)   [ comment ]
     Viewing posts in category video games...
(view all posts instead)
next