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Me + The Week of Awesome II = ???
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Just thought I'd give everybody a rest and fix the controls.
You can now play the 'Easy' mode!
- Increased the mass of the car
- Reduced angular drag of the car
- Drastically increased acceleration to compensate for mass
- Drastically increase rotation to compensate for mass and insure more responsive turns
The car still doesn't feel perfectly right, but it is much easier to control nevertheless.
Game: The life of a bear
Game Link: http://aletheiagamestudio.com/builds/lifeofbear/
Archive Link: Web based game, follow game link
Overall I liked this entry, but I think the focus should've put towards having a small array of multi-purpose tools that are easy to find, but let the player wonder HOW they need to be used to accomplish the goals. As it stands, I found myself struggling to find the branch and to actually throw the rock in the window...
This is a fetch quest, which isn't inherently fun except for the exploration part (trying to figure out how to attain each object).
Movement of the character was very slow which increased gameplay time but not fun.
Collisions appeared broken in a variety of places (between the tree and sand pit).
Level seemed too large for its own good.
'Dialogue' with the dog seemed glitched. Was possible to get killed by the dog without seeing him (under the tree)
Also, some of the trigger boxes were hard to guess, and the gardener would rotate 90 degrees at once and so did his box, mysteriously putting me in a dire situation.
It wasn't made clear from the in-game text that I shouldn't be spotted, just that I shouldn't be spotted moving, so I moved carelessly and stopped when the gardener turned, but I died anyway.
Spacebar input was a bit iffy at times, and diagonals would not change my heading, but the item would change direction however.
Would've loved to see tools being used more than once as well. It seemed like it lacked a lot of depth.
Graphics were interesting, particularly the cutscenes. Everything else was rather simple. It worked for the most part, but some parts should've been overlays but weren't (dog house for example).
Tiles didn't tile well, and it wasn't clear if an item was in my hands or not until I moved and realized it did not follow.
Some of the items (branch) were not easily identified (I thought it was part of the tree) which made it harder to explore. This turned the game more into sprite-recognition than actual tinkering about what item I need.
Very strong theme usage, I really liked the small narrative it had going, and there was some immersion involved as well.
Audio was decent, non-intrusive music, but sfx were lacking to keep the scene alive.
Perhaps I was being dumb, but I've spent a long while using the rock around the rope, to no avail. On my... 7th life, I finally saw the window and threw my rock, and I didn't feel dumb for not thinking of that before, I think it needed more visual appeal to lead me to explore this area of the map. I was blocked again at the screwdriver until the developer told me that I could take a branch from the tree.
In-game tips seemed bugged, and if I didn't speak to them at the right time, they would revert back to a previous state, leaving me wondering.
HTML5 can be restrictive. Phaser seems to serve the dev well, but no doubt, there's some hard work involved for animations.
Single dev programmer art? Deserves full points given the results.
Game: The last toy in the box
Game Link: http://neonjesterdesigns.azurewebsites.net/TheLastToyInTheToyBox
Archive Link: Web based game, follow game link
This was a very risky gameplay pick. This looked as if it was going to be one of these crappy social-games where only time prevents you from advancing, but somehow, the dev made it work. Very good execution. Inclusion of a turn-based battle system and stats in a meaningful way along with options that are never clear about their actual outcome greatly improved this system.
The strong narrative made me care about the outcome.
I died often, always learning from the process, always determined to minimize the amount of time lost and explore further. I liked the fact I could lose, but I felt starting from scratch was a bit penalizing.
Although minimal, the extremely 'sad' scenes were really well made, akin to some kid storybooks. The interface felt a bit gimmicky, but it otherwise conveyed sufficient information (which was a lot for what appeared to be primarily a kids' game) without overburdening the player.
These spiders and rats were awesome!
I couldn't imagine a UI-heavy game without animation creating this level of immersion! Good job!
Very VERY strong theme. Toys are alive, being dismantled, fixed, they ache, they're in pain, this world is totally desolate, and really feels like a children's book. It could probably be turned into a book that tells the brave story of the last toy in the toybox (my daughter would love this).
Single song, repetitive, and no sfx. Rather on the poor side, though I'll admit the song does a great job however.
There's a lot on the screen, but somehow, it appears simple enough to use. I didn't need to be taught anything: I saw the timer going down with each action and that was amazing.
Just not sure why there's a "real time" system involved though. This isn't a facebook game! Thanks for the "fast" box!
Systems were probably simple to develop, but there's a lot of text involved and a lot of visual as well (although not animated).
Game: Save my toys
Game Link: http://www.gilldave.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Save-My-Toys.zip
Archive Folder: /Save my toys/
It is a decent puzzle game, not terribly original, but it works. Some levels were a head scratcher, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Most levels seemed to have a single solution, but I would've liked a bit more open-ness if only for replayability. Controls worked well too.
The graphics greatly support the theme, it is evident that a series of (somewhat varied at that) toys are moving about like lemmings and that it's up to the player to save them. Most of the gameplay ingredients' ('tools') functions are made clear from their actual visual.
The scene is very readable. Visual quality was a bit lacking: undetailed tiles, limited shapes and animations.
The toys work in this scene, but it is somewhat unclear that they are 'alive'. They are moving aimlessly about. I also couldn't help thinking I was playing a reskinned version of lemmings. If I stripped the theme and changed it for something else, I feel this game would've still worked, and the premise of the game does a big job at introducing Frankenstein (which is never shown) to explain this. It could've been a zombies game and still use the exact same gameplay.
Tracks are simple but feel right, there's also a variety, which is very good. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any sound effects, and I would've loved to have more audio feedbacks for deaths and collisions or door unlocks and key pickups for example. The guide seems to hint that these exist, but I haven't heard any unfortunately.
Game did not require an install and the attached readme was useful. I had 2 crashes and had to make good use of the built-in cheat key (n) to restore my progress.
The progression did, for the most part, a good use of levels to introduce new concept and insure players learned the notions to progress further.
Special points here for integrating a cheat key. Possibly initially meant for debug, but a great help to recover progression in the event of a crash (or closing the app between user sessions). Save systems were probably out of scope for this competition, so this comes in as a very welcomed addition! Some custom art as well, good job.
Team: "Still Flying" - Eck, Laurie, Kaylee:
Game: Toys GI
Game Link: https://www.gamedev.net/blog/1922/entry-2260272-the-week-of-awesome-ii-day-7-crossing-the-finish-line/
Archive Folder /ToysGI/
Game was a lot of fun. It felt like I was playing some kind of team sport moreso than a mere tactical game. I really liked how it allowed me to reconsider movement on the fly or move different units at the same time. This appears minor, but it allowed to cut straight to the action which is amazing.
There was sufficient depth to the stats system that I started devising plans to min/max my strategy, unfortunately the game was too easy for me to bother doing so. I'm pretty sure it's possible to beat the game with any unit composition (aside from racing cars alone?).
Unfortunately, some of the enemies (especially the boss), made it very hard to select/target units within its area as there seemed to be a deadzone around them which was not specifically part of them. On a few occasions, I ended up with my tanks 'lost' inside of the boss, clicking a few times to figure out where they were specifically.
It took me a while to figure out that, aside from defending hope, I could also benefit from claiming it as my own to empower my units, which was a nice touch. That being said, it didn't seem like the enemy AI knew what to do about that and ended up attacking whichever unit was closest instead of preying on my units with hope.
Also, the way the battlefield was setup, I didn't feel like I had a choice but to make a swift advance and have a few tanks upfront or simply choose to boldly sacrifice a unit. Since the enemy always had the upper hand and we were an equal distance from the center, I felt at a disadvantage.
I wasn't too clear on what the enemies were specifically, however the friendly units were very iconic. They also appeared intentionally color-coded which really allowed to keep track of everything on the fly from a distance.
I felt that a lot of visual elements were missing however, starting with the lack of a battle map / landscape which could've added to the theme and immersion. That can be said, these omissions can be easily excused by the very a-propos cutscenes.
UI clutter was a bit of an issue. As much as I liked the extra info, it often ended up hiding some of the units.
There's something about this game that really captures the innocence of a child. I really like the very short but effective backstory elements (cutscenes) and felt compelled to play the role of the toy army and protect the child.
Hope was perhaps a mcguffin in this case, but it still allowed for a memorable combat setup where toys seized the day.
Cutscenes really help tie the gameplay with the theme as it could've been an otherwise reskinnable tactical experience.
I was a bit confused by the hit vs hurt sfx, which could've been made a bit clearer, but everything else was amazing. Each of the toy really had a strong personality and I really didn't want them to die as a result. Sounds were cute and in-line with the tone of the game. "Gimme gimme gimme!"
I wasn't sure about all of the songs involved, but the battle song did it for me.
I was lucky enough that it didn't require me to do anything special before being able to play. I know others have had issues (specifically with Media Player being uninstalled I believe), but it went fine for me (perks of having a development setup I guess?).
There wasn't much in-lieu of tutorials in game. Though the objective was made clear from the initial cutscene, I had to resort to the instructions files to figure out exactly how it works, and I've lost my first match without truly understanding why, though a second playthrough of the cutscene made me realize the yellow asterisks were hope (should've remembered that from reading the journal!).
I also wasn't sure about what represented attack range, and ended up guessing a lot, often choosing the tank for my battles as I knew it had a long range.
I appreciate the effort put towards having custom sounds for the game. It would've been extremely hard to emulate the same feel without custom-made sfx.
Special mention for going through the process of adding cutscenes. Though they help little with gameplay, they really added to the game, and I'm sure, to the complexity of production.
Game: Toy Mission
Game Link: https://www.gamedev.net/blog/1924/entry-2260275-the-week-of-awesome-ii-day-7/
Archive Folder: /Toy Mission/
I'm not clear on the gameplay as of yet. It is clear I was manipulating a ball and was attempting to recover colored boxes, but beyond this, and actual obstacle physics, I'm not sure if I understood everything about this game.
There seemed to be a jump limit, though it never seemed to take effect and I could jump around endlessly. Furthermore, I could achieve similar results in roughly the same time without jumping.
More importantly, I was unsure whether there was any obstacle aside from time that prevented me from grabbing the boxes, which would hint that this was meant to be a competitive multiplayer game where you seek to beat someone else's score or time, but it didn't seem to support that.
Overall, I feel this was the base for a system that could've worked in a more complex game, possibly even a metroid-vania of sorts, but it was left unfinished without all of the core gameplay elements it needed to be a great concept.
Slightly painful to watch, but definitely unique. I think this is something you either love or hate. It took some getting used to, but I was ok with it after a while. It was an interesting take on the concept of pixels in a 3d environment.
Unfortunately, the pickups looked a lot like some of the obstacles and I ended up chasing boxes that weren't good as a result.
I felt the scene was hard to read. More color variety to differentiate objects would've been welcomed. Most of the visual appeared to be there out of sheer need of existence and didn't directly contribute to the experience, though the style, undeniably, was present.
I did not feel the theme to be honest. There seemed to be a few blocks that couldn've been some kind of construction blocks, but it wasn't made clear, and the ball didn't necessarily feel like it was a toy itself. I feel a strong portion of the theme was omitted to focus on the gameplay prototype, but given this category is worth 20 points, I believe that was a costly decision.
There's a decent entertaining track that supports the retro vibe, but it's not directly linked with the theme. There are also a few sfx but I'm having a rough time figuring out how a ball would make such sounds.
It was a lot of work to get it working. My initial reflex was to play, but I needed to press the play button first. Unfortunately, after clicking it a few times, it still didn't work, and I ended up exploring all menu options. A lot of the UI was broken for me, which meant I ended up rebooting the game once. On that second playthrough, the play button ended up working on the first press and I was able to play.
I ended the first level by... reaching the far right. I didn't know about this, and it was purely accidental. Also, I was looking for the cubes and found none.
The second level made more sense and I started experimenting with the controls, but the level progression itself remained hazy.
There were some help files, including a form of legend for the UI which helped me getting the game to play, but it didn't tell me much about gameplay itself unfortunately.
I'm not thoroughly impressed by this entry. I was hoping more from the initial art direction and I have failed to find both the theme and the fun. To me, this is a single mechanic being displayed in an original art style, but I don't think it entirely fits the definition of a game.
Game: The Night of the Living Toys
Game Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jbiindg1n2qfjto/LivingToys1.3.zip?dl=0
Archive Folder: /Living Toys/
While I didn't find it particularly fun or original, I felt it was engaging as the game progressed. There was a single core mechanic (shooting) which was implemented efficiently, but I felt it dragged on and could've used a bit more. There was a general lack of depth.
Some of the targeting was very restrictive without proper visual cues to explain this limitation sufficiently. On a few occasions I was sure I had hit something but it turns out what I had hit was not vulnerable.
Also, the helicopter was activated but kept on moving even after the light went to a different toy.
The scene looked great, and there were quite a few different toys/objects to stop which made it visually interesting. Some of the surfaces suffered from being hard to see (certain light/shade effects made some things appear black over black and hard to target). I wasn't clear on what one of the objects was however.
Most of the theme worked: toys were alive, and I had to do something about it. It's one of these games where I couldn't exactly replace toys with something else: why would a zombie stop moving and come back to life later? This seems like a good example of top-down design from that standpoint.
I'm not very sure how the lightball fits into this however, and it feels like it was being forced in to gamify the theme in some way. I wish there had been more to explain this.
Very interesting usage of music. Also very good use of sfx for the most part (contributed to give the player feedbacks about what was being activated, thus giving him hints should he lose focus on the light ball).
Worked for me without any need to install anything. Would've liked to have a readme.txt of some kind, though I must say everything was pretty straightforward and didn't need much explaining.
I wish I knew how much was done by the developer vs how much was taken from other sources, but I don't speak a lot of spanish... My guess is that a lot of this is custom?
Game: Action Average Joe
Archive Folder: /AAJ/
Game suffers from an identity crisis and it shows: on the one hand, there's a super-mario bros level design up there, but it is never used because the game is actually a defender-type, so you're always needed at the bottom.
Additionally, there doesn't seem to be any drawback to losing your first two civilians, so you're better off just going to the bottom left and striking at incoming monsters (which will net you 140+ kills effortlessly).
The powerups were a nice addition (although they appear to be timed, with no indication on-screen), yet serve little purpose because: you can kill anything with your punches, and, you don't seem to take damage yourself.
The goblins aren't very pretty at all. I liked how the level was made using legos however, and the main character as a 8bit retro feel to it, but little of this actually inspires 'toys' (aside from the legos, obviously)
Loose at best. Legos were there, but this could've been any other game (kill zombies, etc.)
That one song is a bit catchy, and there's a sfx when a goblin dies, but not for when you attack, which I felt meant there could've been a lot more audio in there.
Simple to use, only controls mentioned on the front screen (although it begs to wonder why pressing 'space bar' instead of x when spacebar serves absolutely no other gameplay function..)
Most of in-game content generated by dev. Arguably, flash is easy to use, but that's still a bit of art and sounds.
Game: Building Blocks
Game Link: http://www.georg-rottensteiner.de/files/BuildingBlocks.zip
Archive Folder: /BuildingBlocks/
An interesting lemmings concept. Unfortunately, a number of ingredients had strange collision patterns which made certain puzzles artificially harder to beat (units would end up stuck in flat surfaces without reason on several occasions).
Also, controls were unnecessarily complex (mouse wheel intensive).
The visuals worked well, good readability, unfortunately, the 'toys' aspect wasn't conveyed much.
I guess the building blocks covered the 'toys' part of the theme, but the walking soldiers were hardly a compelling fit to be 'on-theme'.
There was a decent music track, and some sfx. Worked for the most part.
Controls were a bit of an issue to get things working well. Took me a while to figure out how to select items, rotate them, etc. Rest of the UI was mostly intuitive.
I'm assuming was made from scratch. Though it looks simple, a lot of work was probably put into the AI handling of collisions (hence the lingering bugs).
Game: Your Soul Alone
Game Link: http://azureblaze.idv.tw/ursa.rar
Archive Folder: /ursa/
An interesting gameplay idea sadly under-developed. There are too few levels and ingredients, leaving me on my appetite.
I'm afraid the colors were off. Color-coded platforming suffered as a result, but for everything else, the blend between 'kid-level art' and a good level of polish was simply perfect.
Not only was the theme strong, it was also well executed. That was a sad story
Kept to a minimal but it works great.
I was afraid that the amount of controls would make this hard to use, but I ended up using only two buttons aside from the arrows, which fits any decent controller. Worked well, just the color-coding didn't seem like it worked, so there was a lot of trial and error to get it right.
Very good theme-centric entry. Lots of good work in there.
Game: Toys in space
Game Link: http://renegadeninjanl.itch.io/toys-in-space
Archive Folder: /Toys in space/
Very satisfying concept from a theoretical standpoint. Unfortunately, the 'FTL-esque' gameplay here is superfluous and makes the controls more complex in a game that would've otherwise shined by its simplicity. You could say the interesting twist ends up backfiring after a while, and ends up limiting options (sitting in an area and alternating between guns / magnets and forgetting movement appears to be the dominant strategy).
Simplistic, but highly readable. Aside from a few times, I was nearly always sure what was a toy and what was an enemy.
Theme is weak. Toys in space... seriously? The theme was forced into this entry and it shows. Also no mention of 'alive'. Unless I missed the whole Buzz-Lightyear drift?
Good enough. Sci-fi track and sfx, works for a space shooter.
Simple to understand, yet hard to play. Moving the character was a twist, but it didn't really add all that much in this particular setup but it added a lot of friction.
Oversimplified concept, somewhat hard to control, seems out-of-theme.
Game Link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58334662/Darkholm%201.0.exe
Archive Folder: /darkholm/
The core concept seemed good, however, a number of items made it much less interesting:
- Usage of weapon not quite good enough (can't kill a damn thing)
- Random level generation was interesting, but it appeared broken, and patterns were so repetitive I had no sense of direction.
- There didn't seem to be a cooldown on collision damage
- Enemies could hit me as I entered a new room (same with holes)
- Items are too rare, movement is tough to control
- some room generation lead to impossible links / setups
All of the above contributed to make this game "hard" but not in a good way.
UI did not line up properly on my screen
The repetitive use of 'desks?' and lack of variety made it forgettable.
The plank is hard to see on first screen, making it likely I will go in without a weapon!
Room generation lacks a lot of polish despite being a nice feature.
Loose implementation of toys. More horror-centric than about toys. Clockwork crocodile seemed interesting though.
Great track and sfx!
Simple to learn, but very unforgiving.
Custom models, textures, images and sfx + coding. Pretty amazing.
Music is imported though.
Game: Toy Crush
Game Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6xoa8jx6c5xouj9/Toy%20Crush%20Setup.exe?dl=0
Archive Folder: /toycrush/
Actually had a lot more fun than I thought I would on such a simple canon defense game. I like the variety of the enemies.
Perhaps would've been better if the knights scoring home did something special (more pts or gave you lives)?
Scene looked great and very kiddy (highly colorful!). Monsters looked nice. I felt this was an interesting microcosm of its own.
The theme was strong despite having no direct gameplay ramifications. The art really conveyed it well. I'm still unclear why the toys were moving however, and why they were attacking me... but having been a kid before, I've created such stories myself where I needed to defend X from Y for no reason.
Interesting track, ok Sfx.
Simple to learn. Liked that the canon had physics,
Was probably a very simple entry, but most content is undeniably custom.
Game Link: 52028761.fr.strato-hosting.eu/multi/jeux/XOON.zip
Archive Folder: /XOON/
Gameplay was very simple, and I wasn't too sure why the fire button was a toggle (much less responsive).
The game was more random than fun however, and controls were iffy.
Very average for the most part.
Theme felt forced. Looked like an average side-space fighter game. Not sure why there are cars in space. And why are they alive?
Easy to learn (up down and fire) but doesn't controls-wise. Despite trying, I hardly get better at hitting targets.
This entry was under par in terms of complexity and content.
Team: CafeCrew - 0sok, Bohee, And girlfriend:
Game: Recolor Me
Game Link: 52028761.fr.strato-hosting.eu/multi/jeux/XOON.zip
Archive Folder: /RecolorMe/
Gameplay is interesting. It is a platformer with a twist. Most levels are insanely hard, though that is generally because of the inaccurate hitboxes (dinosaur) and fail to release (helicopters).
Very neat, has its own feel to it, most of the assets rock. Loved how the cubes actually gave the player hints!
There are a lot of toys, that's for sure. The same mechanic could probably apply to other themes however. I felt there was still something missing to tie the two together efficiently.
I wish there was a soundtrack. Some of the sounds are ok, but it gets boring in there (sound-wise).
At first I didn't know how to play. My instinct told me to go with WASD and space. That seemed to work, if there are other controls, I'm not aware.
I wasn't too sure what I was shooting on my first playthrough and missed (thus missing the core mechanic).
It's a good entry, made from scratch. Good usage of theme, good gameplay, it's all around 'good'.
Game: Shelves The Game
Game Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5pc0_HxcjLubGtFamFJZEJBaWM/edit?usp=sharing
Archive Folder: /Shelves/
Very simple yet effective gameplay. Wish there was more to it however (levels? Extra mechanics?). Also, the implementation of the pig was original, but forced button mashing a bit.
Hand-drawn hastily, some of it works, some doesn't. The menus looks good,
Definitely theme-centric. Stressful!
Audio does the job for the most part. Perhaps a bit too 'happy' considering the urgency?
Simple to use, very efficient (and detailed) tutorial. What this game has to offer is well packaged.
Didn't encounter any issue while installing.
Tried to do everything on his own, explains why gameplay comes short from having sufficient variety.
Still a solid entry.
Game Link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33776055/Mindfield/Mindfield.zip
Archive Folder: /mindfield/
Despite hasty execution, this entry was reminiscent of the old Sierra adventure games (albeit with more of a platformer feel and more action-based). Some of it was rushed, and the game isn't particularly long or tough to beat.
Some of the controls are iffy (walk speed, trying to jump while moving down a ledge, etc.) but for the most part it works.
Amazing retro-looking graphics. Highly detailed scenes, it really felt like a small submarine with a few extra platforming elements.
Unfortunately, the theme was really forced into this one and it didn't really work. It even gave the game a feel of self-derision that actually lessened its quality.
The song was too quiet/happy for a submarine in distress.
Also, given the amount of visual cues, there werw a lot of sfx missing.
Simple to use, however some controls responded poorly (jumping was hard to pull off during down ledge segments, leading to being killed by train repeatedly)
I'm afraid this didn't stick to the theme much, possibly the idea started before the theme was unveiled and the devs decided to stick with it. It is an otherwise stellar entry.
Game Link: http://www.donaldsmay.com/Teddystein.zip
Archive Folder: /Teddystein/
Simple entry, I was wondering if we'd get a shooter afterall.
The shooter is ok, though most of the collisions respond poorly (there is no wrapping around corners, etc.)
The Teddy looks great, some of the animations appear a bit out of line, and the enemies are... aliens?
As can be expected, there's a live toy, but the theme feels forced. It is unclear why a teddy bear is shooting stuff at aliens.
Song is a bit too quiet (although menu song fits well). Some of the sfx rocks, whereas others are so-so.
Simple to use, but the collisions make navigation a bit complex.
Simple to boot and learn.
Nothing spectacular, was hoping for more content or features.
Game: Missing Marble
Game Link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68091416/week_awesome_2_final/week_awesome_2.html
Archive Folder: Unity web game
Platform: Unity webplayer
The camera angle made this entry much harder than it needed to be. In addition, the collisions with the marbles felt constrained.
The level designed left much to be desired, and the helping arrow appeared to ignore collisions, making it less helpful.
Constant camera out of walls, but most of scene looks great.
Theme isn't really introduced. There are marbles, and a race car. That's all I know.
Lacks a lot of sfx (acceleration of car??) and marbles or bombs have the same sfx.
Simple to learn, though camera is a real problem.
Going for this level of complexity in Unity (3d) was a bold move, but it is compensated by faulty execution (handling of camera, drag/sfx, level design).
Team: Team Opifex - Garrett Hoofman:
Game: Ultimate Bro-Down
Game Link: uploader.opifexentertainment.com/Data/UltimateBroDown.1.1.zip
Archive Folder: /Ultimate BroDown/
Love the core idea. Love the fact I could choose my own toy. Gameplay execution was a bit random however. It was very 'noisy' and unclear. I kept hammering left and right like a madman.
With better readability, and multiplayer, this could be a great party game though.
As it stands, I help my team a lot more by standing idle in an angle that allows me to kill as many enemies as possible from the enemy's spawn (not much room for emergent gameplay).
I felt that a few low-effort items could've improved the game a lot...
Amazing. Loved the 2d sprites cast on a 3d plane.
Very cool use of theme. This felt a lot like the battles I've had with my friends as a kid.
Nice track. Unfortunately little else in terms of sfx, and this was really lacking.
I'm not too sure how the game works. It looks like a MOBA, but there are many units on the board and the flow keeps changing. I'm afraid there was too much noise going on. Perhaps reducing the amount of units would've helped?
Original idea, great concept, but rough around the edges.
Game: When it's dark
Game Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7AkuhunCLJTMlA2VVRON0xNVnc/edit?usp=sharing
unity webplayer: http://icefallgames.com/Games/WhenItsDark.html
Archive Folder: /When it's dark/
Platform: Unity player, windows
I wish there had been less waiting, but everything else was amazing. Delayed puzzle sequences is not my forte, but it worked well! And how cruel is it to kill a teddy intentionally when it is actually part of the walkthrough!
Game is sadly too short, but I'm sure the dev has plans to complete it! It says trial version, and I found myself pondering whether I'd buy this game.
Very good looking. Amazing rendition of actual toys.
Splendid. Turning off the light and letting the toys live was simply amazing. Though toys are never seen moving, it clearly depicts the mysterious world of toys.
Loved the contrasts between light and darkness. Also amazing use of footsteps and gunshots. Clever and subtle.
Took me a bit of time to figure out everything, but it wasn't a pain. The reset button could've been more prominent however.
Some used content (music, boy model) but otherwise stellar work.
Game: Little Jimmy
Archive Folder: /LittleJimmy/
Platform: Unity player, windows
Took me a while to guess, but there's some stealth involved. Moving the toys to force action on Jimmy is imaginative, but not a terrific manipulation. There's hardly any choice involved.
Looked like decent 3d. A lot of textures were missing (intentionally?) but it looked nice overall.
Very a propos in terms of theme. Player ends up making toys 'alive' to force action on a toddler.
Very nice (although annoying) baby sounds makes this more immersive.
Was a tough one to figure out. I spent a lot of time figuring out why the teddy bear couldn't be selected for starters.
A bit boring to be honest. Though it looks good.
Game: Toys of the Night
Game Link: http://www.jcamtech.com/GDNJAM.rar
Archive folder: /Toys of the Night/
There wasn't much to it. The toys didn't follow very fast and could be avoided. The clues were a bit cryptic and the level design was very barren and much too large.
Theme felt rushed-in. Not sure why there are toys in a circus.
Song was good, no sfx that I can tell.
Tough to learn at first, and most of the puzzle is about fetching clues in all corners of the map.
Made in 2 days, and it shows.
Team: TBA - TheMasterRat, Will:
Game: Atlas of Extinction
Game Link: http://weekofawesomeii.tumblr.com/Download
Archive Folder: /Atlas/
Interesting take of customizing component-based entities. The core idea was good.
In terms of execution, the controls and balancing were off by quite a margin. There were also dead zones to attack enemies without retaliation.
Kinda worked, but some of the custom parts were really too large.
Level tilesets worked well.
I guess that you could say these monsters are 'toys'?
Track was good, many sfx missing though.
Relatively easy to pick-up.
A lot of borrowing, and relatively simple to implement in Unity.
Team: Moonlit House - Line:
Game: The toys are alive
Game Link: http://moonlithouse.com/thetoysarealive/
Archive Folder: Web based game
Simple memory game. Single level, took 5 seconds to beat.
Fair theme usage. Had a narrative buildup to it.
Missing a lot of audio (music?) and kid voice acting is obviously not a kid.
Locked in cutscene on first play
Game: Escape From The Toy Tower
Game Link: http://geoffreysangston.github.io/EscapeFromToyTower/
Archive Folder: Web Based game
A lot was missing to make this an interesting survival game.
First, all teddies had the same amount of life and same countdown, which turned the game directly into a 'rush for one teddy and shoot exactly 5 times at all other teddies you come across'.
Second, it also meant you couldn't rush for the key/door. You generally had to deal with everything on your way...
Or lack thereof. Only the teddy to be fair. Black walls worked for readability however.
That felt forced. Teddy bears retaliating against me in a labyrinth? And why the heck did my dad leave me with a shotgun?
A lot of sfx were missing. Song worked well however.
Easy to use, no crashes.
Random level generation was interesting. A* on the monsters too. There was some undeniable work put towards achieving this, but the core didn't quite work.
Team: Grey Army - Servant of the Lord(and artist!):
Game: Grey Army
Game Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cn6r2sswvcywhku/GreyArmy%20entry.zip?dl=0
Archive Folder: /GreyArmy/
Game was undeniably intense. I liked moving the mice around and was a bit disappointed that I did not control where they fired. Most of the gameplay however was really about keeping the mice together in a pack. I would've liked to see some kind of grenade attack from the toy soldiers that would've forced me to scatter more.
Could've had a few more waves to victory.
Gorgeous. Very nice.
However, the decay of dead units was too long and I was stuck with a lot of corpses. When my single mouse was killed, I wasn't sure that it was because it was in a pile of toys. Also, the sniper is already crouched, so he can pass for a dead mouse sometimes.
Toy soldiers, I get. Mice? Not entirely sure that they fit the theme.
Song was great, gunshots too. Not sure about all of the voices and I felt a few sounds were missing (selection, etc.)
Easy to use, however I would've wished for the instructions panel to go away.
Also, the game could be put in fullscreen, but mice selection did not work in fullscreen.
One of the very fun entries, I had a lot of fun.
Team: Slaughterhouse Gaming - Riuthamus, Bytetroll, Goss:
Game: The Harvest
Game Link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41065/theHarvest.rar
Archive Folder: /TheHarvest/
Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac
Appears to be a relatively mundane farming game.
Looks good, the character looks nice, and so does the environment. There was some thought put into the level.
I didn't see any mention of toys anywhere...
Song gets very repetitive after a bit, lacks a lot of sfx.
I wasn't sure what to do. I've managed to figure out I could switch action using 1,2,3,4 and pressed space. I cleared some land with each of the tool and planted some seeds to no avail.
I visited the barn and the player house, but there didn't seem to be anything to interact with (was very lucky with the 'e' input on the way...)
Also, it seems I had to wait until the animation had stopped before pressing any kind of input otherwise it would not register.
Ultimately found the inventory on 2nd try, dragging it to inventory and watering my plants, but they still stopped growing fast.
I really can't play this it seems. I am not sure why... Either it was left in a rather unfinished state, or I am missing something (or facing a gigantic bug!)
Game: Docent (not 100% sure)
Game Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3259nmhbhxzmymv/Docent314-Default-184.108.40.206.exe?dl=0
Archive Folder: /docent/
All I've done is drop items on the floor and watch the kid interact with them. It never really evolved from there, nor was I presented with any meaningful decision.
Some of the toys look nice. UI is rather minimal.
There are live toys for sure, but I can't help but feel it is forced.
Not sure if all there is to it is drop new toys are they become available through reproduction?
Game kept crashing on me unfortunately.
Also, this game felt more like a Toy than a Game (following Will Wright's classification)
Game: Santa clause and the dark order
Game Link: https://www.gamedev.net/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach_id=23985
Archive Folder: /SatDO/
I'm still not sure what is happening. I feel I can't lose this, no matter what.
Minimal to say the least. Hand-drawn hastily? I'm not sure what I'm seeing.
Not sure how Santa Clause, the Dark Order, and the visual I am seeing fit the theme of Toys are Alive, but I guess Santa can be loosely linked to toys?
Some nice souns in there.
Readme explained a bit, still unsure about everything else though.
If anyone knows how it works, please let me know.
Team: Erik Rufelt
Game: Timmys toys
Game Link: http://www.rufelt.se/Timmys_Toys.zip
Archive Folder: /Timmys toys/
This is a tower defense, I believe, scrapping off toys I've killed to build strange towers from them. It does not appear complete (win/lose condition, what to do after upgrading all towers?)
Reasonably rushed. Some parts look good, others not so much (I like the arms).
Toys vs toys. Not sure why it ended up in a tower defense, but at least there are toys!
Dragging from right yellow boxes to left yellow boxes wasn't very intuitive. It wasn't clearly messaged how I acquired new resources either.
Not sufficiently developed to be fun yet.
Game Link: https://www.gamedev.net/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach_id=23989
Archive Folder: /Diorama/
Simple platformer, single level, there could've been a lot more to this.
The 2.5D twist using 2 depths was interesting but under-developed.
Looked very well. Loved how the level structure (toys) supported the theme.
There were toys, one of them (rabbit) alive, but none of this was explained.
There was a catchy tune but no sfx.
Simple to learn (standard control scheme), but the controls were tough to use. Also, it wasn't made clear we could move along the depth axis.
Could've been a lot better with more content (levels).
Team: Herd of Nerd - doboss, supervacanea, makokvak:
Game: The Older Rolls - Toys are Alive!
Game Link: https://www.gamedev.net/index.php?app=core&module=attach§ion=attach&attach_id=23980
Archive Folder: /The Older Rolls/
Strange survival game of sorts. Seeing a troll rush for you was a bit of a high moment, but it went down from there.
I'm giving this 12 because it introduced a... TROLL
Not sure how this fits. Still, there WAS a TROLL.
Interesting song. I wish there had been SFX to support that.
Strange controls mapping: WASD + E, I, shift and left alt?
Has some potential, especially because it fielded a toy I hadn't seen in forever, that was somewhat iconic to the 90s (Trolls). Most other games stuck to Teddy Bears, so this was a nice sight.
Team: Rocket Powered Operatives - Latch, sugavanus, Robert
Game: The toys are alive
Game Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z5sor4pperh7b10/Rocket-Powered%20Operatives%20-%20The%20Tous%20Are%20Alive.zip?dl=0
Archive Folder: /ToysAreAlive/
I gave up after a while as I wasn't sure what I was doing. There didn't seem to be any goal aside from shooting, and I didn't seem to take damage. Targeting was horrible, but movement was 'ok'.
I liked the environment and the protagonist's face. Not sure how aliens worked with toys, maybe I missed something?
I didn't quite see how this would link to actual toys.
Great track, unfortunately, a lot of missing sfx to give it life.
I was left figuring things out on my own... figured out how to jump (which didn't appear like it was necessary however).
Work was clearly put towards getting this entry where it is, but it appears incomplete by a wide margin.
Epilogue - A Post-Mortem
[indent=2]"That chilling moment when I have learned the truth,
[indent=2]and suddenly, my car became nothing more than a toy.
[indent=2]I had lost innocence on that day,
[indent=2]and I fought tooth and nail to get it back"
[indent=2]- Phillip Morris
About the game (SPOILERS, you have been warned!)
[indent=1]"The Life of Phillip Morris" is a game developed exclusively for "the Week Of Awesome II" gamejam event (#gdnjam).
The player is prompted to play the "live" car of Phillip Morris and experience important events in Phillip's life which he isn't willing to live through himself just yet. The car is empowered by the kid with "sentience" to act on his behalf as a form of sanity shield. It helps him process through events that have been happening in his life as of late, and the car becomes the catalyst of this process by indirect cuasality (his dad gave him the car as a response to these events).
Throughout the game, the player experiences challenges (a figment of Phillip's mind) which serve as a visual representation of Phillip's struggle. The player is also confronted to a few notes that help connect the dots regarding the events that surround Phillip's life. Also beware the clutch of insanity (depicted by growing darkness) as it could leave Phillip scarred for life...
[indent=1]Ultimately, after several obstacles and a good deal of grief (projected on his teacher, miss Ferguson), Phillip comes to terms with these events and learns to deal with them headfirst, and no longer needs to believe that the car "lives" of its own accord. The player is left with an immobile car and the events that justify this game are unraveled.
What a week that was!
[indent=1]I'd like to preface this epilogue by thanking Slicer4Ever. Organizing this event was no small feat, and he's gone above and beyond to do more. Furthermore, he reached out to me so I would be part of the judge panel after I declared I wanted to participate, so I get to thank him for not winning any prizes if I make it to top 5!
More importantly perhaps, I'd like to thank everyone that has joined the competition and congratulate those of you that ended up submitting a game. Given that I was on the other side of the fence myself, I realize how tough this has been on our own lives.
Today is the "go-back-to-normal-life" day, where my soon-to-be-wife and two children realize they have me in their lives again, and I'm thankful for that. Holding your breath for so long makes you appreciate these moments even more.
But we're not here to discuss how fun it can be to spend time with family and friends, so let's go back to business shall we?
[indent=1]Up to about 2 months ago, I was developing two games. I was using Dart Language (A google language heavily influenced by C# that actually outputs as HTML5) to produce two different web-based games. One of them, a larger project that hoped to be the next 4X game, was left in indefinite hiatus, whereas the other, a smaller scope arcade game, was put on temporary hold.
For the better part of 2013 and 2014, a developer friend of mine (along with a lot of peer pressure) forced me to consider Unity as a reliable means to produce games in a timely manner. Given I wasn't entirely sure of how it compared to Dart, I was hesitant to switch gears (it's hardly ever a good idea to start the same idea from scratch with a new tech when it is said to be supposedly faster and more efficient: the sheer amount of work you've lost usually compensates for whatever gain you earn in the end). I was obviously hesitant to drop everything and move to Unity, and doing so would've been incredibly reckless.
That's about when I read about Week of Awesome II. The timing could not have been any better: On the one hand, I wanted to test Unity, yet I did not want to take huge risks. A small scale project (time-boxed to 1 week) would give me just the right feel of the engine all the while not endangering any ongoing development I had elsewhere. It sounded perfect, and was the exact thing I needed to achieve in order to get a better feel of Unity.
A week or two before the competition actually started, I browsed a few of Unity's tutorials to get a feel of how things were done in Unity. I've discussed with a few colleagues / friends about what to expect, etc. But as far as developing in Unity is concerned, I had never done anything in the editor until Day 1 (for me, Sept 22 evening).
While my primary objective was to test out Unity before migrating my projects, I had another secondary goal, one I did not realize until much later. In 2002, I participated in an event known as the "Magnus Sequel Marathon". This was my first game jam (and it became a yearly thing afterwards but I did not participate in any subsequent edition). Therefore, WoAII was my 2nd serious game jam ever, 12 years later. Part of me wanted to compare how far I have come in the last 12 years, whether I became a better developer, etc. I was seeking some form of feedback to confirm that I had grown in experience.
I won't show you what my Magnus game looked like (although, googling it up this morning, it seems I've managed to find a dusty copy on one of the old OHRRPGCE repositories!), but I can safely say it looked like what any first game should look like: absolutely fugly. The scenario was pretty random, and the last level was thrown together by lack of time. Essentially, it was a crappy game hardly deserving to be in that competition.
Part of me wanted to right this wrong, and deliver something that felt right: a game that at least deserved to be entered and looked like it had a complete arc working as intended. These are the two main reasons why I chose to join, and also why I wanted to be a one-man-team.
[indent=1]That's also why I went ahead and did everything from scratch (art, sound, music, design and programming).
What went right
[indent=1]Unity - Editor
[indent=2]Unity is a powerful engine. It is an editor. I wasn't particularly fond of the concept of editor (I like to control everything by code if possible), but there's an undeniable advantage in dealing with visual elements and setting properties independently from code.
[indent=2]Given my previous experience of editors was Visual Basic, I wasn't too keen on using Unity at first, but the prefabs are used in such a way that allowed me a lot of freedom and I'm grateful for that.
[indent=1]Unity - Physics
[indent=2]Coming in, I knew I had to do a physics-based game. Everyone I know praised how effective they were, especially at getting prototypes out of the door. Without minimizing the effort I've put into this game, let's just say that without the built-in physics (thank you rigidbody!) I wouldn't have delivered half of what I did. It allowed me to quickly pitch together an idea and run from there.
[indent=1]Development Process / Inception
[indent=2]I started by laying the foundations for a top-down game movement. This was my very first task in this project, and it went a long way. As soon as I had basic movements into place, I had something I could reliably test and build upon. I've always prioritized the Minimum Viable Product, which insured that by Day 5 I had a complete game flow, and 2 days to add wish list items. It was amazing as it allowed me to focus more on adding quality into the game (which is a big morale boost) and dwell less on the fear of not completing the project (as I'm sure others have had a hard time dealing with).
[indent=2]Prioritization is something I've undeniably have learned from my time in the industry and I'm grateful for that.
[indent=1]Test soon, Test often
[indent=2]Another thing I've learned from my earlier days in the industry (once upon a time, when I was a QA) is to test often and test as soon as possible. This allowed me to validate whether there was anything fun about what I was doing instead of falling into production-silo-mode.
[indent=2]I really appreciated the theme because this is something I would've never done on my own and is entirely out of my comfort zone and areas of interest for the most part. Following in that trend, I chose a type of gameplay I also tend to dislike (Racing Games) and decided to take my stab at it: if I can find the fun in something I generally don't like, then perhaps that means I've made something original enough.
[indent=2]I ended up making a single player racing game (which really goes to show how weird my concept is) based around a linear progression reminiscent of platformers. There's even a boss! I doubt there are a lot of racing games boasting this feature set!
[indent=2]At least, survival is time-limited (depicted by how light seems to eat away at the world).
[indent=2]I felt this was some kind of top-down design that really suited the theme in the end. I was also careful to be subtle with it as much as possible (I had put "blood" in the game originally and decided to remove it afterwards to insure I didn't strike at my fragile equilibrium with regards to the very fragile theme).
[indent=2]Overall, despite a very slow design process, I feel I was very inspired by the theme (especially how I'd break apart the wording of the theme and put it back together into something that made sense to me). I like how I've ended the game from a flavor standpoint; I think the game conveys the message very well.
[indent=1]Time and Support
[indent=2]I tend to consider myself a busy person. I have a wife and two kids, a demanding day job, my own business (mostly consulting) and I also have my own game development projects. Choosing to put everything in limbo while I was participating to this event was really reality-bending.
[indent=2]However, because of the strong support from my family, and a sheer amount of luck, I was able to sink more hours into this than I had thought possible (though, mind you, sleep suffered quite a bit starting on day 1!).
[indent=2]Also, as I pointed out in public threads, I had mistakenly assumed the competition would last 5 days, which meant I would've liked to have everything nailed down after 3 days. I initially scoped for a much more simplistic game, and it allowed me some extra room to expand on the mechanics as soon as I found out the 'extra time' I had.
[indent=2]That being said, though I had a lot of time, I did not read about the theme until 3/4 into day 1, but still managed to turn up a reasonable idea by then.
[indent=2]The interaction amongst participants, particulaly through gamedev journals, was awesome. We really felt like this was a friendly competition and that we were all in for the fun of delivery a game at the end. That was awesome and very motivating. It was good knowing other people were having a tough time too, not just me. When developing on my own, I don't get that kind of support from other indies nearly as often as I'd like. It happens, but you need to look for it (go out for a beer where other devs might lurk, tweet about it). The problem in other circumstances is that the feedback is not immediate, and you can't capitalize on the boost it gives.
[indent=2]I used journals before, but never quite like this. I'm pretty sure I'll do a more thorough usage from here on.
What went wrong
[indent=2]Up until 7 days ago, MonoDevelop rants were part of the subculture around me, and I always figured these were just casual small-talk amongst programmers that sought to "belong" to the same elitist crew by sharing personal experiences. Little did I know how bad of a code editor this could be. In fact, little did I know that a code editor COULD be bad until I saw MonoDevelop. It made me look back at all of the editors I've used in the past (namely Dart's, Visual Basic's, Eclypse's and even notepad++) in awe.
[indent=2]I'll say this again: MonoDevelop is the devil incarnate.
[indent=2]Now, to be fair, most people complain about it's user-friendliness, but I'm used to very raw tools, so I will only complain about 3 very specific issues:
[indent=3]On 17 separate occasions during day 1, I saved a script in MonoDevelop, and it did NOT compile back to Unity (for some strange reason), leading me to believe my code was flawed when I knew for a fact that it wasn't. Problem is, I was learning a new tech: when learning something new, always assume the problem origins from your noobness (NOT the editor!). This has resulted in me losing over 3 hours attempting to fix physics/trigonometry issues that simply didn't exist. GRRRRR!
[indent=3]Worst yet, the only fix was to close and reopen Unity!
[indent=3]When double-clicking a script in Unity, MonoDevelop will open, but that script won't necessarily have focus. Though not extremely damaging, this HAS led to a few important mistakes on my part. For example, I double-clicked my carControl Script simply to add 2 public variables at the top to make them accessible from the editor for fine-tuning, but ended up putting them in the clock class because, well, for some reason, MonoDevelop felt I REALLY needed to see the clock at that time. Arguably, it might have been telling me to go to sleep, but I didn't quite catch that ;)
[indent=3]IntelliSense is simply terrible. I'd rather have it turned off... At some point, it wanted me to access this: object.transform.position.transform.position... for some reason, it felt like it was a good thing to access a transform's position's transform! (and we all know that makes perfect sense).
[indent=2]So, put simply, MonoDevelop is one of the biggest time wasters I've faced during this project. I will investigate whether there's any way to modify this, but I suspect there isn't.
[indent=1]Choosing 2d over 3d
[indent=2]Rookie mistake here... On day one, I started using 2D physics based on my theme (see below for more info on why) but the prototype differed from that theme very quickly. I never stopped to consider or refactor after figuring out it was going to be a top-down racing game. Additionally, I never imagined I would need the 3rd dimension in a car game... that is, until day 2, when I realized I was going to have HOLES in the game
[indent=2]On day 2, I ended up starting to code my own abstract reference to a third dimension, a piece of crappy logic I've looked at with disdain ever since, especially when looking at the top-right of my Unity editor where each object's Z coordinate shows up (but somehow, in my game, it is only used for draw order!) I knew then I could've started from scratch to leverage the 3rd axis, but I was afraid of the amount of work lost doing so, choosing instead to limit my usage of the third dimension.
[indent=2]The end result is that the collisions in my game are heavily flawed: the car doesn't necessarily looks like it's falling at the right place.
[indent=2]I've also had to do a lot of custom work unnecessarily.
[indent=2]More importantly though, I've had to scratch a wish list feature I really wanted to develop that would've been very easy in 3d: I wanted the player to be able to push collision objects into the "holes" and use them to reach optional areas (extra save points for example). This was a neat mechanic which I felt really added to the game, but was simply unsustainable with stupid hand-made 3rd dimension mechanics...
[indent=1]Unity - Level Editor
[indent=2]There's a lot good to be said of Unity as an engine, but the level (scene) editor isn't great. Lining up the floor was a pain because of the pixel to ratio (somehow turning a 200X200 sprite into 20.75 X 20.75, because, well, dividing by 10 was too hardcore?). Granted, I could've shifted the pixel to ratio, but I found out about actual in-game measurements too late for this. I wish it had a 1:1 ratio by default.
[indent=2]At certain points, I felt like I should have made the level in Tiled, as I had initially decided, and looking back now, I think it would've been a wiser idea, especially for a larger scope game.
[indent=2]For those that have read my original blog posts on the project, this shouldn't come as a surprise:
[indent=2]On the one hand, it wasn't a theme I would've picked. Mind you, I'm not saying the theme was bad, but it didn't play into my strengths, and to a degree, I would've liked to do something more along the lines of what I "like". That being said, once the theme was out, I came up with a complex idea of what I wanted my game to be like: a top-down roguelike where a person interacts with the environment to explore his own insanity and escape: toys would start moving, etc. That was a cool concept...
[indent=2]But it turned out I went a totally different way with my prototype. After implementing the controls for what felt more like a racing game, I realized I would have a tough time reconciling my original idea with the prototype I was building. Though the end-result is an original blend, and that it might make for a better game, I feel like I went close to disaster by miscommunicating my intentions in the original prototype and this is something I'm a bit concerned with. Regardless of the positive outcome, I feel I should do a better job at following my own plan in the future.
[indent=2]I am no artist, and if you've played my game, you should now be convinced of this. I don't draw well. For the most part, I've managed to keep working with my strengths and avoid my weaknesses, but ultimately, I didn't have a choice but to do art.
[indent=2]While I think most of the objects are decent (the style I went for allowed me to be extremely minimalist and play with outlines/gradients a lot), I feel that I can't draw characters.
[indent=2]I had to resort to making the boss a damn "ball" (which is something I absolutely loathe in games! damn eye-shaped cloned bosses!). I really wanted to introduce at least another toy ("the toyS are alive"), possibly a teddy bear, but I couldn't pull it off, especially on the last day. So I went with a temporary visual for the boss and it stuck there to the end. It looks ok, but it's not what I wanted.
[indent=2]There are several ways in which my artistic abilities have limited the scope of this game. I felt I had to make a lot of decisions based around what I was able to do from an art standpoint, instead of reaching for the sky. Possibly, having a strong artistic partner could've helped with that, but because of my original goals, I really wanted to complete this on my own.
[indent=2]I'm generally good with sounds. For starters, I've been playing music since age 5, and have learned a variety of instruments. I was also part of the MOD community in the late 90s (using primarily Impulse Tracker during my peak) and had a few bands afterwards (one of which actually went all the way to record a demo). I've always scored my own games, and took pleasure in doing so.
[indent=2]The last few years, my apetite for music has calmed down, due to the necessity of life. I had to prioritize the things I really wanted to do (family/friends + making games) over other activities I could no longer dedicate myself to, short of time. Music sure took a lot of axing, and though I did get to play occasionally, and compose a few songs here and there, it was mostly absent.
[indent=2]I did manage to put something together (a .mid file) but I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to this, leaving me short for SFX.
[indent=2]Another contestant (0sok) suggested using JFXR which produced decent results for me in a timely manner.
[indent=2]Overall, I think I've let the audio part down a lot (there's no song for the actual game, just a victory one) and all of the sfx are very simplistic designs which sound a lot less polished than the rest of the game.
Closing words (and a full walkthrough!)
[indent=1]All in all, I had a serious blast. This was an exhilirating experience and it really put me in a state of flow. I'm very happy with what I've delivered (When I stop looking at all the defects I keep seeing) and I'm satisfied I decided to jump into this.
[indent=1]Before closing this article, I'd like to remain true to my word and add a full walkthrough. As some have stated, this can be a tough game to beat, and I believe the conclusion deserves to be seen by all.
[indent=1]Greatest Pride: Completing a MVP on day 5.
[indent=1]Walk of Shame: Choosing to build the game using 2D Physics on Day 1.
Here we are, the competition is finally over!
Here is my Build.
(I've hosted in for convenience, so I can easily issue new builds as the day progresses until the Final countdown elapses.) - Thanks @TheMasterRat for the wonderful link!
Things I managed to sneak in:
- Putting actual floor everywhere (*facepalm!*)
Things I might be able to sneak in by End of Day:
- Revise all prefab collisions
- Disable particle effects on death (yes, really...)
- Fade to white/black for ending (though I like seeing the car just "be" there like a baws!)
- Test other platforms
Also, I'll write a post-mortem (titled Epilogue) later down the road. I'm sure everyone joining this event had their own reasons, and I never intended to win this competition. My sole intent was to test Unity and see how I could adapt my production workflow to this engine (and also, to a lesser degree, to show that I can do everything on my own).
To this effect, I've made this game under 7 days with my spare time (whatever is left after a very demanding 'day' job and 2 kids!) from total utter scratch. Everything in this product is custom (art, programming, sounds, and everything not inherently included by either of these).
I'm proud this is completed, and I hope other people find some fun in the product of my labors.
Now, I need some much needed (deserved?) rest!
I've modified the link.
This last stretch has been one of the most productive (against all odds!).
New as of this version:
- Tweaked car acceleration and rotation drag to make it easier (especially for the boss fight, which can be a real joke now if you know the game inside out like I do!)
- Floor now behaves like a parallax: I didn't want to add in new features, but this seemed so simple to do that I just had to do / test it. Works like a charm!
- Added sounds for 'oil' and 'slime' patches. Not terribly fitting, but better than without.
- Revised collisions for desks, making it more believable. I refrained from editing rulers because I felt the game was hard enough as is and that extra padding makes it more manageable (some sequences could be very troublesome without).
- 'Muffler' animation tweaked to make it slightly more believable (appears upon acceleration only). I could've done a much cleaner job, but I didn't have enough time to squeeze that im.
There we are, tomorrow is the final day, therefore day 6 was critical: whatever I did not complete today simply won't be in the final game.
So what DID I get in?
- Sounds: That was my primary focus. The game had a single sound (was arguably, more than one, but they were all part of a 'system'). Now, I've added sounds to most gameplay ingredients (some fitting, some not). Two notable elements are still lacking sounds, so I *might* be able to squeeze that in tomorrow if everything else is up to specs.
- Music: There's one, but it will only be revealed to those with enough courage to complete the game. Good Luck with that!
- Visual assets V2: My artistic talents are lacking, but I still managed to fix a few assets that didn't work. For example, I had an 'oil patch' that was scaled up so much that it felt pixelated. I went back and made the asset from scratch to accommodate larger resolutions. It still looks weird, but it is a definite improvement on the previous one.
- For a while, I only had 2 'notes' to explain the entire story. I've added a few more to help the player figure out the story (and how the game actually links with the theme, which may appear a bit subtle until you actually read the notes).
- The Boss now works appropriately. (YAY!)
So what DID I fail to implement?
- On day 2 I had an awesome idea, but sadly, as days passed by, it became clear that feature would take too much time compared to other interesting features. At that point, I had 3 choices:
* 1 * Opt for this kickass feature, and nothing else (which would've made a rather empty game)
* 2 * Make my peace and forego that feature (which is what I did)
* 3 * Refactor the game into a 3D game (which I'll speak more about in my post-mortem for this project)
The idea was simple: objects that 'fall off' surfaces become surfaces. Simple eh? I had a number of ideas on how the player would end up pushing obstacles (erasers, etc.) to make a path, and possibly include a means for the clever player to bypass most of the game that way.
Of course, with 3D objects, that would've been easy, but given I started in 2D, and refused to refactor on day 2, I had to sulk it up.
- Proper menus / credits roll, etc: I chose to focus on gameplay alone, therefore the game kicks right into the action and finishes in the same way. In that regard, it would be ideally played as a web-browser game, but given I've tested it out mostly as an exec, I'd be hesitant to change this now...
A couple of things I will tackle tomorrow
- Level Design cleanup: A lot of my ingredients have collisions boxes that fit perfectly fine, but this also means that my car can't virtually hold on any surface so long as it has barely a wheel touching. I could try to refactor this, but at this stage, it would be more efficient to look at each prefab individually and compensate on their collision boxes.
- Test / Troubleshoot: I've mostly tested from my dev environment this far. Luckily, I also have another station (desktop) and a laptop I'll be able to test against. That should allow me to cover Win7, Win8 and WinXP configurations. Since the laptop belongs to my GF primarily, I don't suspect it contains any development runtimes, etc. So it should be a good environment to test against pre-requisites, whereas my XP machine is old and should give me low-specs results.
All in all, I don't expect for day 7 to be a productive day: I'm tired, and social obligations are kicking in. I'm happy I have managed to get something playable early on as it allowed me to quickly switch gears when needed and focus on the end-result. I find myself in a comfortable position where I can ship anytime at the end of day 6, and can really focus my attention on actual polish / QAing.
Once again, no video today. I'll post a full walkthrough after day 7, along with my post-mortem though.
(still, a screenshot in attachment!)
Day 5 was the last day to implement any new gameplay element and was also supposed to be 'audio day'.
Therefore, I can say I am 50% successful on day 5.
I've successfully implemented nearly all gameplay elements I had originally envisioned for this particular project. They don't necessarily look/feel right, but they're in there (and I've struggled for a long while to get the 'boss' behave more efficiently).
Audio was a mess, which I didn't touch much partly because of some sound card faulty drivers... I'll need to look into this more seriously tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, my plan is:
- Integrate some audio for collisions and deaths.
- Revamp Level Design
- Adjust boss AI (if I can)
That would leave me day 7 to package a decent build, fix issues, and polish polish polish (especially getting all collision boxes right and tweaking the controls a bit).
No video tonight, I can't risk spoiling the walkthrough :) (seriously, I'm just tired as hell, that's why).
I had great hopes and expectations for day 4. It turns out there was a lot of hit and miss, and I have mixed feelings about where I stand with this game in the competition:
On the one hand, I got a lot done:
- The 'Evil Eraser' is now functional (it is the second dynamic element in the game the player has to interact with), and it is a reeeal b****!
- Timer and reset now work efficiently. Initially, I wanted to have everything fade to grey as the timer advanced, but it turned out I didn't quite have the shader I needed to do that, so I ended up making the scene fade to black to give an impression of 'darkness is eating the world away'. Not as 'glamorous' as the grayscale effect would've been, but good enough. Also saves me yet again more UI!
- Fixed how the car acceleration worked (suspending acceleration when falling or while mid-air). Still needs some work, but overall, it prevents making unrealistic moves (flying?)
- Implemented a cheap method of making the car jump over chasms. On day 2, I had wished I had gone for 3D physics instead of 2D, and it's been an uphill battle ever since. Post-mortem will probably list this as my main point of concern with development of this game: I'm simulating cheap 3D physics when I could've taken them directly from Unity...
- Save / Checkpoints now work! Whenever hit, these lights restore the 'light' (read: countdown) and become the new respawn area. I've placed one in the 'tutorial' area (right at the end) and one at the end of a tougher sequence, right before the boss.
On the other hand, I've got a lot of concerns:
- It has become clear I won't be getting much more done before the end of the competition. I'm still short on sounds (and have no music), I still have a lot of issues to resolve/fix, and a lot of the mechanics require polish.
- I'm getting a feeling my game will have limited depth, and very little actual breadth. I think it won't take more than a few minutes to beat, which is very discouraging given the amount of time I've sunk into each individual component. I wish I had a better feel of when to stop devving and switching gears to actual level design. I feel like the game currently looks like a developer's test level.
- My initial concept was simply too much. I can't build the progression I had in mind to support the game from a narrative standpoint. It would require too much asset production, and I can't afford to spend much more time producing assets for the game: I need to focus on things I do better.
- I really wanted to introduce a kickass feature (my first boss!) but I've hit a few roadblocks that have made it less interesting and more time consuming. I had imagined there would be an easy way to use a particle emitter to emit particles that had actual collision, but it seems this only works well in 3D (one more reason why I should've used 3D collisions and not 2D!)
All in all, the game is taking shape, and I'm confident I'll have a full game loop and actual conclusion by the time of delivery, but I'll be leaving a lot unfinished, and some of the potential will remain latent in the final build... I'm pretty sure other contestants are hitting this reality-check on day 4 as well, so I'm not worried, just disappointed.
Chapter 3 - Doom!
"If I could just..."
The 'Hero Car' finally has some challenges: it's no longer just a question of slipping in cruising mode, there are threats to handle.
For starters, darkness is falling upon the car. This is a symbol of Phillip's loss of grip of reality. The deeper he sinks, the darker everything gets. If everything becomes black, then the car is lost, and so is Phillip's mind: he couldn't cope for what's lurking in his mind.
But there's more!
I've introduced my first 'boss', essentially, a very evil pencil that does not want you to move from his deck to the next.
You can now see both of these threats at work (along a few new assets and moveable objects!) here:
Oh hey and I've added some sounds! (acceleration/deceleration of the car!)
Chapter 2 - Reconciling Theme and Gameplay
"Miss Evangeline just doesn't get it!"
Phillip Morris, age 8, is waiting by the Principal's Office sinking in his chair, holding his dear toy car in his hands firmly.
He can't fathom the reason why he's been sent here... again.
3 days prior, his dad gave him a car, a real car! And ever since, the teacher has been sending him to the principal's office for 'no reason'.
"She just can't understand that the car needs to reach the end of the track... It asked me!"
Gameplay & Theme reconciled
It sure took me a while to reconcile the 'Only Sane Man' approach with a somewhat topdown racing game, but I've made it.
The game is really just about one kid in school obsessed with his toy car. He needs to bring the car to the end of the circuit, it compels him.
Of course, there are many hazards along the road and should the car hit the ground, it's game over, and an almost certain visit to the principal's office!
One of the main lacking features at this point is the inclusion of a Countdown timer: Currently, the player loses if he falls from the track, but nothing compels him to 'go faster'. Rushing it is what will force players to make decisions on the fly, and I feel that a countdown will really help (possibly with toy-fashioned collectibles along the way to increase the timer).
I'm hoping that this could even compel a few people into challenging one another for best time!
Another feature I'd really like to sink a few hours in would be some kind of basic AI-governed traps to keep things fresh as you move. One such thing could be a stapler which forces you to time your approach carefully and move through between two hits (failure would result in severe collision/slowdown or possibly bump you out of the track).
SFX and Music are yet to be done, and I'd like to get some out of the way before Friday so that I know these won't be a problem I need to worry about at the end. (One can always dream!)
I've been toying with the concept of car physical integrity: On the one hand, I think it could add an interesting layer to the game to manage a new resource (life) and possibly have a direct impact on how hard/easy it would be to pilot the car with damage received, but I also like the fact the car feels invincible, which is probably how the kid thinks of it anyway.
I'm also toying with the concept of different surfaces. For example, a book cover or sheet could be harder to decelerate on than other surfaces. It could add a bit of depth.
I'd also really like to bring something similar to Scarecrow's gameplay in Arkham Asylum, where the teacher would throw her glance at specific areas of the track from time to time, and that ending up in her crosshairs would be another direct 'game over' sequence. Probably won't have the time for this though.
Lastly, I'd like to implement some form of jumps. Since I still need to fix how the game reacts to 'falling' and recovering from that, I could also implement jumping at the same time if it proves simply enough. It wouldn't allow the user to press a key to jump, but rather, would allow certain gameplay ingredients to increase the car's height based on its velocity. Could be very cool now that I've paired height with scaling!
If possible, I'd also like the landscape to evolve from a quiet school setup down into something more imaginary (a clear representation of the 'flow' of the kid, and how focused he gets in the process).
Once again, Unity surprises me by it's simplicity. Looking back at my code from yesterday, I've noticed that there was a MUCH easier way to do car rotation. What started as a means to resolve a bug turned into a very profitable optimization (all thanks to 'addTorque'!)
I had a bit of trouble wrapping my head around how events work in Unity (they differ a bit from Dart) but after looking up the appropriate syntax, it was rather easy to implement a falling animation for the car (still needs some tweaks, obviously).
There are several great ideas currently being made by other contestants, and I don't believe that my gameplay will really come close to top contenders in this competition. I just hope that my rendition of the theme will help a bit.
Since I'm doing everything on my own from scratch (although, I still get to use Unity!), I'm finding it very hard to produce half-decent art and still progress with the codebase. I'm concerned that the end result might fall short from having any 'real' gameplay.
Oh, but I'm veeeery proud of that desk texture! Probably looks too rich to belong in a school, but meh: it looks right!
Chapter 1 - Addendum!
As the light died out, I was afraid I would have nothing to show for. So many ideas, and yet...
But in the end, I triumphed with a... rather limited expose of my talent!
All art is obviously placeholder, though I must admit these must be the best rocks I've ever drawn, and I'm ok with the landscape this far.
The car? Well... that was rushed in...
But HEY! I've finally managed to put in some physics in there! (though the collision is struggling!)
Shame I've lost so much time figuring out how angles are handled in Unity, and more importantly, how MonoDevelop disregards changes made to a script at random intervals!!!!
Chapter 1 - Theme... theme... theme...
[background=rgb(250,251,252)]The toys are alive![/background] [/font][/color]
So early in the competition, it's all about inception: securing the RIGHT idea from a sea of incomplete thoughts.
The possibilities are endless... and yet, the reminiscing thought of Toy Story dominates.
"I don't want to go there!", I hear myself scream aloud.
I search for toys, google-ing up hundreds of images to no avail. There's nothing there I haven't seen a thousand times before.
And, to be fair, I can't think of anything original enough to make it entertaining, so I take a second stab at the concept and focus on the entire theme, not just the "toys" part.
A first concept emerges...
What if the events of the game led to toys becoming alive?
I hear myself chuckle...
It would probably be a bit out of theme: if the theme is only the final consequence, it could be replaced with anything and still work, much like a game about a toy invasion could be a reskin from a zombies game... in essence, I'd be missing the theme.
I'm deep in thought for what seems a lifetime when I realize I'm talking to myself aloud, and there's no one else in the room.
The ominous silence beckons me. I will get no reply now that I am aware. My thoughts have stopped to wander...
A second concept emerges...
I've been reading on TV tropes for a bit longer than I should've, and have been cutting back on sleep a lot more.
Trying to remember movies that have left an impression on me, I look back to "The Usual Suspects".
A Rashomon-styled movie led by an unreliable narrator...
"That's a start?"
I let my mind wander, and the thoughts evolve on their own...
"Yes!" I shout, almost laughing.
What if "The toys are alive!" was an exclamation? Something someone shouted aloud, quite unexpectedly?
"It is understood that sentient toys live in a masquerade of lies, trying very hard to conceal their existence to the world. What if one person saw them for what they truly were?"
"They shouldn't be allowed to hide in plain sight, they deserve to be made, and if I'm the only one that KNOWS, then it falls unto ME!"
"That's my idea!"
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]"Judges Score", a very short entry...[/background][/font][/color]
[indent=1][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]Although most (if not all) of my entries will be entered from the standpoint of a participant, this one is written from the perspective of a judge.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]A few days back, people have started to describe how they'd go about building their game from a technical standpoint. People have come up with varied methods to "get their game out there" for this competition, some including high-level programming and a bunch of available resources, others going deep below the trenches with nothing but their fingernails.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]The Week of Awesome II...[/background][/font][/color]
[indent=1][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]Since this is a competition about making a fun game, this should all be irrelevant, but there's still the question of how much you can reasonably squeeze within a given amount of time.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]If you build your game in, say, GameMaker and you have pre-made assets ready along with a few basic scripts to help you along the way, then you're in a pretty good spot to ship something rather advanced. Conversely, if you intend to make something in C++ and do your own pixel art on the side as a one-man-army, chances are what you will deliver at the end will be of limited scope.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]My intent is to leverage the below rule to help "even the scores":[/background] [/font][/color]
[indent=4]Judges score: 5 pnts(this score is up to each individual judge, with no individual category to hold them down, overall it's up to each judge to define what criteria they will choose for this category!)
[indent=1][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]Here is how I plan on judging the "Judges score" (and thus avoid being too subjective about this category).[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]Please note that this will only apply to my rating (not any other judge's):[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]In general, the lower the tech a person will employ, and the least stuff they'll bring along, the highest the score I'll award for this category.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]For example, someone coming in with a C++ approach and no framework whatsoever or code already done will probably get a 5 (because I'm assuming no one will go straight to assembly, though I'd be happily surprised if they did).[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]Conversely, someone that comes up with a very high level engine (let's say, RPG maker for example) and a bunch of pre-made assets / code, I'll award them maybe 1 point.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]I'm also considering awarding more points for a one-man team that does "more" (someone that does both code & art for example) as I suspect they'll have a harder time coming up with much within the time frame.[/background] [/font][/color]
[indent=1][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(250,251,252)]I realize that it's still a bit subjective, and may not be inherently related to fun factor, but I feel there's room to encourage those that "do it from scratch" wherever possible, and I don't feel like 5 points is an exaggeration. It should, hopefully, help balance out quantity and quality![/background] [/font][/color]
Given that I'll be both partaking in the event, and a judge for the competition, it is only fitting that I start blogging about this!
The Week of Awesome II?
While the linked thread does a good job at explaining what this competition is, I'd like to take a moment and define the reason why "I" chose to join in this event.
Bit of background here: I'm an indie developer with industry experience that does a lot of freelancing in many different areas of game development.
My most recent indie project, Grand Strategy: Space Wars "Mercenaries" is an HTML5 arcade game inspired by games like Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Spacewar! and a variety of other similar games.
HTML 5 vs Unity?
When I decided to develop games again after a while of focusing on the industry, I picked up where I left off but chose a new technology (without any good reason). I ended up using DartLang, which is a web language developed by google (and probably isn't the most fitting for game development).
Several fellow indie developers argued that I should take a look at Unity.
After several months, I finally gave in and took a look only to witness, with awe, how Unity could contribute to the games I was making.
Let me put this out there first: Unity isn't GOD, but for indie games, it's goddamn close!
I took a bit of time to consider how long it would've taken me to produce results similar to what I had in DartLang in the last 3 months, and I realized that I could probably squeeze everything into 2 or 3 weeks of dev time. Several elements such as input management and cameras made me realize how "promising" Unity could be for game development, but I simply wasn't sold... yet.
This is where The Week of Awesome II comes in. I knew that, if I was to change techs midway through my current project, I'd need to have a feel of what Unity is really like, and verify how I was to adapt to its editor environment. In essence, I needed a short-term, small-scope project to work on in Unity.
Also, I did not want to define the parameters too much, because my subjectivity for or against this technology could've allowed me to pick something simpler/harder on-purpose. I needed something a bit more random.
Having a week-long competition sounded just like what I was looking for: 1 week to do something based on a theme defined by an external entity.
Put simply, Slicer4Ever reached out to me after figuring out I was participating and offered that I be a judge. I was hesitant because I had good reasons to partake in the event as a regular member, but I was also interested to look at what the others had done from a critics standpoint.
As an Indie, one thing I'm trying to get better at is to judge the worth of other people's work (hopefully, in turn, helping me best determine the worth of what I do).
There are very few scenarios with an practical approach to this, and judging a "game jam" is possibly one of the most formative (or so I hope).
Judging in an event where I'm also partaking is thus even more formative as I'll be able to try and evaluate how "well" I've done compared to others, as objectively as possible.
Since I'm not in for the money, and that I like to promote the indie culture wherever I can (I think it's a bubble only so long as it is unsupported), I stepped up as a judge, forfeiting any of the prizes (which I insisted on) and even going as far as adding a tiny tribute to the prize pool. I figured that, as many more members would join the cause, it would only be fitting that a 4th position also be awarded a prize (thankfully, someone followed in my wake and helped craft a 5th!).
Where did you get the time?
The single most prevalent question I've heard ever since I've told my close friends I was taking part of this is: Where did you get the time?
I'm a father of two, deeply encroached in the industry and I also happen to do both freelancing and indies projects on the side. Adding "game jam" to the list is possibly an extremely risky move that could break the foundation of my entire schedule (especially the part where I sleep/eat, etc.) but I'm willing to try.
I feel that, without incentive, nothing ever gets done. Committing to something with other people constitutes some form of bond, which in turn, allows me to overcome fatigue and deliver more on an average day. While this does take a toll on other aspects of my life (social what?) I feel it's worth it.
It is entirely possible I won't be able to deliver a quality project, especially under limited time constraints. I anticipate other competitors will be able to sink in several hours a day where I, anticipate that I will spend at most 1-2 hours daily (if even that). My intent is to try to squeeze as much potential under these limited conditions as I possibly can and more importantly, deliver something within this timeframe.
I don't have much of a plan. What I know is that I will do a 2D game. Given that I'll do everything on my own, this allows me to put together visuals fairly quickly and focus on simple physics and easily readable mechanics. The theme will probably determine everything else.
I'd really like to try my hand at a platformer, but I feel Unity is too supportive of that genre (making it artificially too simple) so I might mix things up a bit and see where that leads me!
- Language: C#
- Engine : Unity
- Graphics: Paint.net / Possibly Tiled
- Sound FX: Goldwave / Possibly freesounds.org
- Music: Goldwave, Audacity
- File hosting: On my website
I'll post again once I know the theme!