Planetary Garden

Ludum Dare 38:

For one reason or another I’ve never managed to participate in a Ludum Dare before this past weekend (LD 38). Planetary Garden was made under the compo rules (worked alone, created all new assets, finished within 48 hours of starting). However, I got a late start (3 PM Sat) and did not submit in time for the official deadline, so it’s technically a jam entry.

The theme was “a small world”, and I started riffing on various ideas for many connected small worlds: perhaps a platformer on a circular planet or mini golf where you switch worlds.  These ideas didn’t quite jell or seemed out of scope considering compo rules, and incremental games have been on my mind as well, so I ended up going in that direction (tho Planetary Golf seems like it has legs, might revisit it in the future).

You can download the compiled version for Windows as well as the project with source code and assets at itch.io, and vote / leave feedback on the LD 38 project page. Unless otherwise noted, assets created for the compo are placed under a CC0 license and game code under a MIT license.

Art Style:

Entering the compo means that you have to make all of your own art and audio (with some very limited exceptions for fonts and brushes/samples, etc… that are suitably transformed). I’m not a particularly good artist, so I went with a watercolor artistic style that let me leverage materials for most of the impact, and created the actual art as simple RGB masks (outer border, inner border/outline, and fill color). I wasn’t going for realism but just something evocative of watercolors, with variations in opacity and splotichiness generated by a couple of noise samples operating in screen space so it looks coherent across objects.

How to play:

  • Repopulate a barren planet (Earth?) with life by seeding new plants
  • When the time is right, enlist animals to help automate the process (one of them knows an ancient secret).
  • Eventually other things happen. No spoilers.
  • Note: Progress is saved between sessions, but time does not advance while the application is closed. Keep it open to continue amassing life.

Tempo Tantrum

The music is having a tantrum and can’t decide how fast to play. You move with the tempo, as do the enemies. Watch out for environmental objects like spike blocks, they don’t have ears and will keep moving regardless, so don’t get caught in their tracks when the music stops.

 

Download from itch.io and give it a go.  Here’s how to play:

  • Two players (or one ambidextrous player) race to the end point.
  • Don’t move when the music has slowed down, and avoid anything red.
  • Collect coins to raise your score.
  • WASD moves player 1 (green)
  • IJKL moves player 2 (blue)

The theme for the 2017 Train Jam was ‘unexpected anticipation’, which was pretty challenging to work with. The first thing that came to mind was Johann Sebastian Joust, which fits perfectly but already exists. We bounced some ideas back and forth and ended up wanting to do something similar to Joust or musical chairs with stop and go gameplay, leaving you anticipating needing to stop but not knowing exactly when. The environmental enemies give a nice risk-reward mechanic, do you try to cross their paths and hope you don’t get stuck, or do you go the long way around?

Jammers:

Additional assets:

  • Used the character model and animations from the free Couch Knights sample, which is licensed for use only with Unreal Engine based products

Boops, Beez, and Bears

In Boops, Beez, and Bears, your voice is your weapon: hum, whistle, laugh, or cry – whatever works for you, just do it fast! It’s a cross between between a horde-mode survival game and a participatory art experience; best enjoyed with a crowd, who are likely to be amused by your vocal antics while avoiding the annoying beez.

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Global Game Jam 2017

For the first time, we’ve actually got a couple of sites in the triangle area for the 2017 Global Game Jam, but the one I’m attending and focusing on is the UNC / NC IGDA site. As part of this, I’m giving a two-part talk with Travis Thompkins at UNC about game jams and using UE4 on Tuesday, Jan 17th at 4 PM.

Here are the slides for the first part of the talk (game jam thoughts):

Game Jam Workshop – Part 1

They’re not really meant to stand alone so I don’t know how useful they’ll be in this form, with the exception of the resources links on the last few pages.

Super Simple Slime Kat Slalom

A 1..4 player local multiplayer game where cats (made out of slime) compete to grab snacks and get the best spot on the colored couches, strewn about in a lake of lava because why not.

Created for the Simple Jam in a weekend using Unreal Engine 4.12. Simple Jam aimed to keep things manageable by limiting the number of rules and assets to 5 each. Here is how I spent that budget:

Game rules:

  1. Roll down the ramp
  2. Transform to start flying
  3. The floor is lava, so don’t touch it
  4. Grab some snacks
  5. Secure the best seat on the couch

Imported assets:

  1. Chamfered cube
  2. Sphere
  3. Lake water setup (stretching the definition just a teensy bit)
  4. Cat model [saved for later]
  5. [saved for later]
Menu screen
Menu screen
Gameplay
Gameplay

Turns out learning Z-Brush in a few hours is not actually a thing, so there’s no cat model yet; use your imagination. I’m watching Z-brush tutorial videos now and will probably work on it a bit more post-jam as I had a lot of fun making this.

You can download and play it from itch.io (Windows only ATM).

Angry Duck Diver

Angry Duck Diver was created as part of the 2016 Train Jam (March 10th to March 12th).

It’s a bullet-heavy vertical scrolling shmup/STG which contains neither ducks nor diving. Instead you have to constantly balance your avarice and cowardice, building up bonuses and choosing the ideal moment to bank your points before you are destroyed.

The theme was maximum capacity and I interpreted that as a risk/reward mechanic where you increase your bonus gauge as you approach maximum capacity, but you also increase your hit box and risk destruction, losing all your unbanked points.

Train Jam
The Train Jam was an amazing experience, both as a jam and as a journey. The scenery is gorgeous and inspiring, and jammer disciplines seemed much more diverse / evenly spread than I’m used to at local jams (which tend to skew heavily towards programmers). I’m certainly planning on doing it again next year. However, one downside was the venue for the theme announcement/team formation before boarding the train; it was narrow and loud so it was hard to hear pitches or mingle with different folks pre-jam, and so I didn’t form or join a team before we got on the train.

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Unstoppable Grave Looter

An intrepid grave looter accidentally disturbed the ritual of the groundhog and was cursed to never stop running. Trapped in an eternal hell, they fall back on old habits and decide to loot some graves.

  • Each grave you destroy will either provide delicious loot or disturb the dead.
  • Collect ingredients to perform rituals that cleanse the restless dead. When enough have been gathered, cross over the altars dotted thru the cemetery.
  • Use your shield amulet in a pinch, or gather more armor from the merciful angels.

Made for the 2016 Global Game Jam

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Cowtastrophe

Cowtastrophe is the game I worked on for the 2015 Global Game Jam (Jan 23 .. 25). It’s sort of a co-op cow sandbox score attack thingy.  We start by assuming a perfectly spherical cow…

Premise

Overlord Phil has ordered all of his minions (that means you and up to three of your friends) to bring him cows, lots and lots of cows!

What do we do now? Cooperate to make Phil happiest or compete against the other minions to raise your status. Poor cows…

How to play

  • Gather cows and deposit them into the ‘teleporter’ (marked by a hovering sphere) to gain points.
  • The overlord is a very fickle boss, changing the desired type of cow frequently. If you fulfill his current order, you’ll get lots of points, but any old cow will keep him pleased for a bit.
  • Feed cows hay first to fatten them up.
  • Keyboard+Mouse:
    • WASD to move
    • Mouse to look around
    • Space or Left-Mouse-Button to activate your cowscoop
  • Gamepad:
    • Left Stick to move
    • Right Stick to look around
    • A to activate your cowscoop
Gameplay shot 2
Gameplay shot 2

Team

Additional credits:

Download

Download the full package (including project files) or just the packaged game.

Tested on Windows and Mac, but the packaged release is for Windows only.  Multiplayer requires multiple gamepads (use the ~ key to enter the console and type  to add a 3rd or 4th player).

Socket Saga

Socket Saga is a deck-building card game where your vision of the cards shapes their behavior. Socket together cards and lock in edges to activate their abilities.

Earn internet monies, slay memes, and defeat your opponents for everlasting honor.

Developed during the 2014 Global Game Jam with Nick Darnell. Check out the card list and rules here, or the GGJ site for more pictures.

Peter Needs A Pint

Created for the 2013 MolyJam at the Durham location.

Peter is down at the pub and needs some drinking buddies. Gather up the townsfolk so he won’t have to drink alone.

Gameplay
Gameplay

Play by yourself or with a friend. Earn more beer for yourself by bringing the most people down to the pub. If you have a MolyBot, it will pour your beer for you at the end of each round; otherwise you’ll have to pour the beer yourself (MolyBot and beer not included).

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