13Feb2013

Ektopy

ektopy is a 48-hour game that uses the player’s breathing via a microphone to create a sense of urgency and claustrophobia. The original concept was to create a horror game that used a feedback loop between an in-game heartbeat determining the required rate of breathing and the players own response to tense situations to artificially heighten the horror experience, but we ran out of time for that.

Won the Innovation award at the Sydney Global Game Jam 2013.

Best with headphones.


        01Mar2012

Minestein 3D

Made in a few days for the Glorious Trainwrecks GDC Pirate Kart. It’s a mashup of Wolfenstein 3D and Minecraft, sort of a Wolf3D construction kit. Unfortunately it needs kind of a beefy PC. If the default level runs badly, you might have to stick to building your own little stage in the empty sandbox level.

Here’s the web version, but the downloadable Windows version runs a little better.

Remember: Enter toggles creative mode, and you can open the crafting menu with Tab.

Edit: updated to v1.02, with some major performance improvements and bugfixes.


        30Jan2010

Gnilley

Gnilley was my solo entry for Global Game Jam 2010, put together in under 48 hours at the Powehouse Museum’s secret underground caffeine dungeon. It was originally about pitch and colour, but ended up being about screaming and colour instead. Just watch the video.

The hardest part of a jam can be settling on a single idea, so my initial approach once the theme is announced is always to think back through cool ideas I’ve had and shelved for later. Reminded by the interpretation of the jam’s theme of “snowing” (which can refer to white noise on a television screen), Gnilley originated from one of those ideas: a horizontal shmup where the player’s ship emits a beam attack in a cone which is wider the louder the player shouts, and changes colour depending on pitch. Having your beam at the correct pitch/colour would make like-tinted enemies die faster, and adjusting the beam width would allow you to concentrate fire on tough foes or spread it out for groups. I might still make it one day. Anyway, in the fifteen minutes we were given to come up with a pitch, I quickly simplified the idea to a Zelda-like thing (and even ended up using Zelda tiles thanks to the time limit) to make implementation a little more sensible given the time limit (scrolling shooters can require quite a lot of level content, unless you make them random, which always looks lame) and because I thought it would appeal to an audience better, as we’d been told there’d be some sort of presentation at the end.

The presentation went well, the video went viral for a couple of days, and Gnilley ended up being one of the most downloaded GGJ games of that year. It appeared in dozens of magazines and online news sites, and there’s like a million LP’s on youtubs. Check that out some time if you really like hearing people yell in German.

I’m hoping to finish a game-sized sequel for PC, Mac and mobile later this year.


        23Nov2009

Mario’s Macross

This game is meant to be Nintendo-hard. It’s stupidly fucking impossible-hard, so just watch the video unless you’re good at video games or something. It’s more or less a mashup of Super Mario Bros. and Macross (NES), inspired by how I always get the name of Mario’s Picross wrong. The first level was put together in two hours for Klik of the Month Klub #29. I liked it and spent the rest of the day making a bigger game. The weird inertia was an attempt to realistically adapt Mario’s platform movement into eight directional flight, with the intention of being deliberately fiddly and difficult–it’s a flaw, but deliberately so: I was just sort of probing people’s tolerances with a throwaway game. Believe that or don’t.

[DOWNLOAD (windows, 1mb)]


        06Nov2009

Popovkast games

Popovkast: Arthur “Mr. Podunkian” Lee’s occasional get-drunk-and-make-shit-in-an-hour IRC challenge. Since he and I tend to be the two drunkest people around, we’ve done a couple of these where the only two participants have been us.

THE WORST MISTAKE:

The Worst Mistake was built for the theme “the worst mistake”. You are a sperm who bounces off annoying crap looking for the joke.

[DOWNLOAD (windows, 1mb)]

Pod made “mistake“. Nobody else made anything.

GARFEILD ADVENTURE:

This time the theme was this image. I can’t remember where I found it or why, but it’s from the Japan-only Garfield: A Week of Garfield.

[PLAY (flash, 3mb)]

Pod’s game this time was Garfield Knight. Both of these were KNP originally, since this happened after he wanted to participate in KotMK but missed it.


        21Sep2009

Lonely Hermit Dorf

Another KotMK game. Question: can you make Dwarf Fortress in two hours with Klik & Play?

Rather than managing your dorfs, in this game you play a single dwarf carving out a home solo. Your goal is to really just to survive. Or whatever, there are elephants to milk too. Once you get the ULTIMATE WEAPON and put down a pachyderm or two there’s not much left to do, but getting to that point takes some figuring out.

[PLAY (flash, 300kb)]

[DOWNLOAD (windows, 300kb)]


        04Sep2009

2XUE

As kids, we’d use whatever was lying around to create games. A Cluedo set has everything you need to craft an exciting role-playing experience or a violent unit-level wargame. Chinese Checkers is nicely colour-coded to represent the forests, snowfields, lakes and volcanic plains of a star-shaped continent with some yellow bits left over for dudes. All you need is a box of bits, and two players can invent a game and then play out the story that emerges between them. It’s possible to roleplay without anything at all, but having some bits enforces limitations upon which a structure can find some footing.

Computers ought to be great at this sort of thing, after all if the bits can be entirely virtual then they can be virtually infinite. But still paucity sparks imagination better than the blank page, and while some games let you use their bits to make other things it’s a deliberate, focused activity totally unlike the convivial act of arguing over whether Colonel Mustard represents a Genestealer or a teleporter node.

So the idea was to make a game that’s totally about high-speed editing. One player wields the mouse and designs levels concurrently to the person next to them playing through the previously-designed level on the same screen. Ideally it should take roughly as long to design as to finish a stage (something I failed at here, since I didn’t have anybody to test the game with), but then again, won’t players make any downtime part of the game? Maybe it’s a valuable storytelling intermission! That’s something that’s going to vary from player pairs to player pairs, and the sort of thing that made this an interesting experiment. Originally it was to have been a platform game but I switched to top-down Gauntlet-style play to build the game in the 24 hours I had remaining after my first attempt at Ludum Dare 15 attempt didn’t work out.

Since then I’ve learned of other games that do similar things, but I think most of those are more recent, so this may be the first that set out to provide a bits box for this type of emergent play. It placed first out of 144 entries in the Innovation category of LD15.

While working on this I told my girlfriend that I was making something we’d be able to try together. But she hates games so I haven’t ever played this game, even once.

[DOWNLOAD (windows, 2mb)]


        17Aug2009

MOTORCYCLE COCK

The Ys series of games are interesting. They’re action RPGs, but combat is simplified to simply walking into enemies. While the damage you can do to one another varies based on stats as usual, whether or not you hit is totally positional–if you hit an enemy off-centre you’ll always score a clean hit. The inspiration for MOTORCYCLE COCK came while playing a Ys I & II on the DS. Originally it would probably not have been about a motorcycle with a penis, or even an RPG. Rather something like R-Type with all of the weapons stripped away leaving you a vulnerable ship behind an invulnerable weapon, always in a left-right configuration, exploring an omnidirectional environment where threats may either be impassable or trivial depending on from which side they are approached.

Instead the idea cycled back into an RPG for a small 48-hour RPG-making challenge, although there’s a remnant of the original idea in the final upgrade the player receives. It again takes inspiration from Ys, this time borrowing the drastic difficulty curve which takes the player quickly from being incredibly vulnerable to basic enemies to being able to deal with foes an orders magnitude more deadly, via a very rapid-fire level-up loop.

I approached it like a 48-hour Klik of the Month Klub. That means using Klik & Play, lots of hideous library graphics and stolen sound effects, dongs jokes everywhere and doing some wizard shit to manage enough global variables with KnP to make a large multi-screen RPG work.

Note: I didn’t emphasise this enough in-game, but you can spare yourself some grinding by using spacebar to teleport back to town for 100gp at any time.

[DOWNLOAD (16bit windows, 1mb)]

[DOWNLOAD (32bit windows, 1mb, introduces some bugs)]


        08Aug2009

Starman

Starman was my first Klik of the Month Klub submission.

KotMK is my favourite jam. It’s the ultimate in low-effort, low-expectations game challenge, which makes it a fantastic place for free expression and experimentation. Most klikwreckers use build their submissions in Klik & Play, an ancient and extremely limited 16-bit game authoring tool which was terrible even when it was new. There’s also a two-hour time limit, which means the entries need to be slapped together with ludicrous haste, from the nearest art and sound assets within arms’ reach, mortared with a sort of congealed paste-like form of love.

In this game, the player’s first steps into ostensibly familiar territory take silly unexpected turn. I took this surprise further for the intended audience (veteran KnP users) by disguising the game as a KnP game when in reality it’s built in Construct, allowing it to do something entirely out of the blue.

Jump on the goomba!

[DOWNLOAD (windows, 1mb)]


        19Apr2009

Standard Waiver

Standard Waiver, a short atmospheric first-person exploration game, was my first Ludum Dare entry, and my first Construct game. Now that I think of it, it was also my first faux-3D thing and my first attempt at making a game entirely an atmospheric experience. There’s a cute little gimmick too which I won’t spoil.

Longish postmortem on the LD site if you’re interested.

[Download (windows, 8mb)]