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?
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.
I’ve started a plugin that implements some useful base widgets and a simple menu manager to create game user interfaces in Unreal Engine 4. It’s sort of a spiritual successor to the SharedXNA library used in most of my XNA games.
It’s open source under the zlib license, mirrored to GitHub at https://github.com/joat/SharedJamUI. There’s a bit of usage information in README.md, but it’s pretty early and should be considered ‘jam quality’ code that hasn’t been really battle tested yet. Drop me a line if you end up using it and have some feedback.
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):
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:
Roll down the ramp
Transform to start flying
The floor is lava, so don’t touch it
Grab some snacks
Secure the best seat on the couch
Lake water setup (stretching the definition just a teensy bit)
Cat model [saved for later]
[saved for later]
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 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.
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.
Tappy Chicken is the first UE4 game shipped on mobile platforms. It’s a very accessible one-button game, and you can download the entire game source assets and blueprints from the UE4 marketplace for free.
The shipped version targets the following platforms:
iOS: iPhone 4 / iPad 2 or above, running iOS 6 or above.
Android: Devices with an OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU that run API level 9 (Android 2.3) or above.
HTML5: Browsers that support WebGL (Latest Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera)
A Blueprint Macro lets you reuse a set of nodes over and over, and can be created in any blueprint (using the Add Macro button on the ‘My Blueprint’ toolbar). You can also turn a selection into a macro by right-clicking on a selected node and using the ‘Collapse to Macro’ option. A macro works a lot like a collapsed graph; you can define arbitrary inputs and outputs, which will show up as pins whenever you place a macro instance. Here is an example of a macro named IsValid, which checks to see if an object pin is valid or not:
This macro can then be placed as an instance in another graph as ‘shorthand’ for the nodes it contains, allowing you to reuse code and hide complexity:
As you build larger projects with Blueprints, it’s easy to end up with an overwhelming sea of nodes. However, we’ve built in a number of different encapsulation and code reuse mechanisms to help you battle the chaos.
To encapsulate something is “to show or express the main idea or quality of (something) in a brief way”; in other words we can hide a complex sequence of nodes with a simple stand-in that conveys the same meaning or idea. You can still drill down and see how it works ‘under the hood’, but you don’t have to worry about the details when looking at the broader picture. Continue reading “Managing complexity in Blueprints”