onsdag 17. august 2016

REVIEW TIME - PART 3

Silviu Shader - Snake 

Unfortunately, I was unable to make a screenshot of this game.

The game starts with a cool fire shader and an intro story explaining the plot. It was impossible to skip the intro which was somewhat annoying. However on the next run of the game the intro is skipped entirely. You move a couple of skulls around and try to collect more skulls. As you collect skulls by moving onto graves your line of skulls get longer. There is a minimap over where stuff can be found, and there you can also see some dark shadows that hover around and collect skulls as well. Sometimes a figure looking like a fool appears, I was uncertain if I was supposed to collect him or not. As you move around your skulls shrink starting from the back of your line of skulls - when the last skull has shrunk you die. The minimap is a little confusing as it is not aligned with the direction you are moving. Sometimes I died without knowing what happened. The music sounds like something from a spaghetti western movie, and the sound of collecting skulls sounds like a cartoon voice? I don't think either of those things fit the game. The frame rate is very good and the graphics are very glass and crystal like with lots of stars and reflections - that was what I liked best about the game. The text showing your score and the icons could also use some work. I got a little dizzy playing the game after a while. The game was not very original or entertaining for long, it needs more variety and better feedback to the player about what the goals are.

Slaughterhouse Gaming Corp - Light of Felin



When starting the game, it complained about a missing substance plugin. Luckily that warning could safely be ignored. The game starts with a very good looking intro, however buttons and text looks bad. Also there are options for entering an ip address and port, but who knows what it's for. Multiplayer? I have no server address so who knows. There are no settings or instructions. I start the game, and play as a wizard that moves around using WASD. I can also kick. There are spell icons but I was unable to choose any of them, even trying every key on my keyboard. I press space and hear a sound but nothing happens. I can go over to a button and press it to open a door, and zombies appear outside. A couple of hits and I am dead. I restart the game and manage to run, avoiding zombies, to the next area. I can light a fire using the left mouse button. I can step on a switch to open a door, but it closes before I am able to reach it. After trying to figure out what to do for several minutes, I have to give up. I guess this is a puzzle game of some sort them. Seems like I am missing some part of the puzzle? It's a shame for the game looks very good and the sound and music is good as well. I will revisit this game if I get some hints on what to do. :-) Oh, and I think some debug options was left on on the final build on the game because I can see hit boxes...

Something Fun - Shadow Raider of Ruins



I had to do a search to find out what this game was called. Maybe put it in the start menu? The game has a nice tutorial. I also like the level select very much where you move your character into the level you want to play. You guide your character around in an urban-like 3d environment to find treasure chests. You have to avoid the spotlights or you die. The lights move around randomly but if they get close they start to chase you. You can go invisible for limited amounts of time to avoid the lights. The graphics are simple but clear. The special effects look good. Part of the challenge is to find out how to get to the chests in the dark environment. I don't think the treasure chests fit with the rest of the graphics however, maybe something more modern would be in order, like a safe? The sound and music is OK, but the gameplay was more fun than I'd like to admit, as it is a quite simple idea. The game had a very good.... feel, mood... whatever you want to call it - that made me want to explore more and continue playing. I can really see this as a successful mobile game.

Stout Walrus - Stellar Salvager



You navigate a starship towards the sun collecting salvage in the form of small barrels, but you have to keep in the shadows of asteroids to avoid overheating. Don't get too close to asteroid or other space junk though, as you will crash! At first I had a really hard time controlling the ship, and the camera flew all over the place, but after a while I got the hang of it and it got a lot more entertaining. The graphics are good, I especially like the sun ray effect. It was a little hard to know if I was in the shadows of asteroids or not, that should have been more clear - maybe light up the ship in red when hit by the suns rays, or darken the ship a bit while in the shadows? Sometimes I overheated very quickly and died at times I was certain I was in safety. The sounds are good and space-y and creates the right mood. There is no music but I think that fits the game well. Also the menu screen font is good and fits well with the rest. A can easily see this game evolving into something more with a bit of a story and different types of quests.

Thaumaturge - The Shadows Twisted



It is a first person slasher where you walk around in something looking like a collection of bones killing shadows with a knife. You can also block attacks with a shield. You can also turn the light up and down - when the light is down you heal, but then the enemies are stronger - as if they were not strong enough in the light! You walk around in something looking like a skeleton world. There you meet some dark apparitions, different shadows, some attack you close up, others shoot balls at you. You can locate shadows by listening to where they are as they moan a lot, which is helpful. The game is quite hard, I usually died within seconds - the shadows were just so much better at hitting me than I was at hitting them, and if I tried to run I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of shadows that appeared. I could block but then I could not move, and when I attacked after blocking the shadows had lined up to kill me. I played several times but did not seem to get better at it. There is no music, but an eerie background sound with some moaning and something that sounds like wind. The graphics are simple polygonal but works well. The game was mildly entertaining for a while, and had little variety and depth. Maybe a ranged weapon in addition would help, or different types of attack?

Unicore - The Awakening of Prometheus



You are Prometheus, a titan, and the Vrykolakas are coming! You move around and rearrange and rebuild a temple to keep the baddies out. You move blocks around, and you can also 'evolve' blocks to better versions. This is all explained in the intro but it is impossible to remember. Luckily there is a supplied 'cheat sheet' .png image that explains the evolutions. Good thing I have multiple screens so I can keep it up at all times. But first you have to kill some skeletons and collect their bones, as this is the currency in the game. The evolved ruins have different properties, like it can generate more bones or shoot missiles at enemies. I like the combination of moving a character around and the city building. However, the character moves too slowly, and the skeletons become too numerous too quickly, so I quickly died time after time before I managed to evolve much. If anyone can offer a strategy I am all ears... I would love to see the evolved ruins in action. The sound of the game seemed very loud! I had to turn my speakers down for this game. The music sounds like a mixture of greek music and country and western? The sounds were very simple, 8-bit like. There was no movement animation, and the different tiles looked very simple, and it was hard to remember which were which and what they did in the thick of it all. It was a nice touch with the death screen (that I saw all too often...) It was a little annoying that the intro showed each time I started a new game.

tirsdag 16. august 2016

REVIEW TIME - PART 2!

KSEH - Doom in the Shadows



After three crashes and 'not responding' messages I was finally able to start the game. You point to click to walk around and shoot skeletons using shadow orbs, aiming with the mouse. Now and then a skeleton appears that you have to shoot. You have to charge each shot, so you have to fire twice to throw an orb, something I found a little annoying. If skeletons are too close they are impossible to shoot and you can only run. The music is very eerie and sets the mood. The graphics are very simple but gets away with it by looking retro. And after all It's no problem to see what's going on. The sound is very simple and if a skeleton attacks you a scratching sound is played over and over and that has to be damaging to the ears. When I died I could not restart the level but had to quit by closing the game entirely. New crashes and timeouts...

Mousetail - Undead Evolution



It is a kind of city builder game. You have to protect your citizens. You build buildings with different properties during the day, and watch zombies come for your citizens at night. You can build houses, clinics, spike traps and a genome lab. You can also upgrade each building. Citizens can evolve using the genome labs. You can also move the citizens around to avoid the zombies. The citizens have different properties. The controls are a little confusing. To cancel city building it is the right mouse button. To cancel citizen select it is the left as you move citizens with the left. I liked the day night cycle, and there is something there, but I just could not get the hang of it - maybe some more instructions would be in order - or at least some more mouseover help text for the different choices? The music is sufficiently eerie and sets the mood. The graphics are simple, especially the UI, but I like those little guys!

Neon Light Games - Relic Hunter



I died taking this screenshot. You search for artifacts in 5 different ruins. Sometimes you have to find different colored keys to get through the doors to the artifact. When you find the artifact, you have to escape the ruins. Sounds simple? One problem - in the ruins there is a monster that eats adventurers for breakfast and you have no weapon. If you hear steps you quickly have to turn off your light and hide or suffer the deadly consequences. The light effects are very good, so is the music, and so are the graphics (although there is no animation) and sounds. The levels are timed so you can play each level several times to beat your own high score. The artifact is placed at a different place every time so you can get lucky and get a very good time. I had fun playing this game.

New New Things - Forbidden City



The menu screen looks very good. You walk around in a dark maze - not a city as the title would suggest. Your oil is running out, and if you are too long in the darkness you die. The goal is to escape. You can refill your oil by touching lamps. You can also light new lamps that you find in the darkness, improving your reach. Find a key, and find the door. I had a hard time finding the door at first, it looks too much like the regular walls. The instructions also come after level 1, when you have already learnt what is said, maybe they should have come earlier? Later in the level you have to avoid spikes, and you pick up some purple things I assume is coins? It seems I can pick up coins at several meters distance. If you die you respawn at the latest checkpoint. I like the level design and the light effect. The animation is simple but sufficient, so are the rest of the graphics. After initially having some problem playing sound that problem resolved itself after a computer restart - the music is very good and sets the mood, the sound effects are so-so, especially the footsteps could need some work. I think it is maybe a little too easy to die on spikes considering the small light radius and the slow movement - If I have to move even slower to watch for spikes it will take a very long time to clear levels... Also, I would prefer to move with WASD instead of the arrow keys... Old habits die hard. I was impressed that I got keyboard shortcuts in my native language! A good game with potential - I hope the author continues work on it!
REVIEW TIME - PART 1!

Half the fun of Week of Awesome is playing the other participants games. I know how much I enjoy reading about others experiences playing my games, so that's what I will be doing now for YOU, offering my opinions on graphics, sound and gameplay. I will try to be as honest as I can - I hope I don't offend anyone! I try to be constructive in my criticism. Also remember, all praise also comes straight from the heart!

I am not an official judge in the competition, so I will not hand out scores. I will try to include screenshots of every entry if that is doable without too much hassle. (I.e. 'Print Screen' works).

So - on with the reviews!

7 day masochists - Nameless

After a rather huge download of 800MB, I'm finally ready to review this game.



At first, I'm going 'WOW' - the graphics look great! It is a first person shooter. The main character and animations look very good. I start playing, and it is kind of hard to navigate as it is difficult to tell the difference between a glass wall and a walkway. The zombies seem invulnerable, I did not manage to kill a single zombie even if I emptied my magazine in the zombies heads and several restarts. The zombies killed me easy peasy however - but there is no feedback when the zombie hits, except the health bar decreases. The zombies seek you out, but the motion is very jerky. There is two kinds of zombies - patients and doctors? No discernable difference between them except different graphics. The area you play in may be a prison or a hospital. When I died I found no way to restart the level short of exiting the game using ALT-F4. The menu screen is cool. The sounds are also good, however after a while you get tired of the zombies repeating the same sound over and over.

A game with good potential, but it seems kind of buggy at the moment.

Aletheia Game Studio - Resurrex (aka Dino Zombie Adventure)



The game starts with a good looking 16-bit retro intro telling the back story of a magic super-t-rex that has to eat flesh to survive and to regenerate its flesh. Click zombies to approach and eat them, to regenerate some of your flesh.

You go from room to room and eat zombies. You can kick doors and headbutt boulders that are in your way. Sometimes there appears a policeman that will shoot at you so some of your flesh will disappear. You seem kind of invulnerable to the zombies, they only play the role as food. It is a nice effect that you can see the dinosaurs skeleton if it is in the dark. It is also nice that you can see the flesh progressively cover the dinosaurs skeleton. However if you stand around doing nothing, nothing happens. Also there is no real challenge - zombies are completely harmless and the policeman is weak and quite easy to neutralize. I ate over 70 zombies and were never close to dying. When you get shot by the policemen it takes a while before this is reflected on your pawn so it's hard to know the amount of life you have at some points. I got stuck in walls and other objects and the graphics were a bit jerky at times. The music was all right, nothing special, but not bad. The sounds were a little crude. Graphics were okay, especially the dino and the wall decorations looked good, the rest was so-so.

Bytetroll - Runic

I had some problems starting the game at first as there were no instructions, but after a 'java -jar runic.jar' I was good to go!



The game is essentially a slot machine with runes and cool music. Choose how much money you want to bet, choose number of lines and push the big red button. Repeat. The background graphics looks great, the collect button and the big red 'start' button looks kind of out of place. I think there are 3 different fonts in the menu screen - maybe a bit much. I think the runes don't look distinct enough, maybe there should have been different colors to easier see the difference between them. Also, the gameplay is a little lacking - depending on if you like slot machines or not.

dmatter - Gamut of Blob



It is a light puzzle game with some narration. You steer blobs around small mazes and solve puzzles. You can pick up genes to get new blobs with special abilities to help solve the level - you switch between the blobs with the spacebar. Red blobs move in red areas, blue in blue etc. You turn on light switches to open up new areas of the maze. If you leave a blob in the dark it is paralyzed and can't move! The puzzle difficulty ramps up nicely between the levels. Not too original but enjoyable. Great instrumental/vocal mood music, and different music for different levels. Lovable characters. The graphics are simple but crisp. The game looks very professional and is well made - the creator has put attention to detail. Sound is simple but does the job nicely. My favorite entry so far,

Frango Digital - Lab Rat



The game screen looks very cool, as you can see from the screenshot. The game graphics are quite simple as is the music. The concept is that you have a limited set of lights, and each light lasts for 5 seconds only, so you have to light up the maze - memorize it - then move around by radar to pick up more lights and ultimately find the exit. Not a bad concept, I just wish I could play it... I must admit I think this game has kind of a bug on my computer as the character moves around slowly as molasses - it takes 6 seconds to move from one square to the next which makes the game unplayable for me.
Also it is pretty easy to cheat using screen dumps ;-)

Grey Army - Sepulchre



The menu screen looks great. The game is a kind of turn based tactical combat single character rpg where you are a necromancer that can summon two of three pets (with names like Undead Kitty Tiger) to help you during combat. You follow the quite well written story of a girl who comes home to a mansion trashed by intruders. Quickly you are thrown intol combat with some knights that claims your face is on wanted posters. Your summon minions that can attack, swap summon and defend. You can also throw some spells: heal, revive and buff. The first enemies die quickly..After the combat ends, you go to another room and another combat and so the game continues. I'm uncertain if there is a big difference between the different minions apart from different amount of health, making switching between them kind of pointless. The graphics look very good, maybe hand drawn, however there is some problems with z ordering a places (the bottles). The animations consists of the minimum amount of (good looking) frames. The combat music is cool but tends to end before the battle is over, maybe it should loop. The sound is good, but has some background noise at places, especially noticable when there is no music. 

søndag 14. august 2016

FINAL DAY

I have now uploading the final version of my game here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByvrLHH7mGvpVWlHekEyMTZxNTA/view

I'm quite happy when the results. When I'm just starting the game up to test something I often ended up playing it for 10 minutes or more, that is usually a good sign.

Today I added some quests (well, more like narration), 10 levels, a final boss fight, a simple and cheesy extro, and did some more tweaking of weapons, enemies, graphics etc.

I did not have as much time as I'd like to work on the game during the weekend so I brought out my big feature-cutting axe and cut down to the bare essentials.

Now I'm going to spend the rest of the evening (it's 23pm here now) to catch up on the other contestants developer journals, that is always interresting. I'm also looking forward to play all the other games - and will do a review of each and every game this year as well.

Feels good to have delivered something! Good luck to all.

fredag 12. august 2016

Tweaking, tweaking, polishing, polishing

A demo of the game is now out: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByvrLHH7mGvpVWlHekEyMTZxNTA/view

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pwiZb37Pxs

The day was spent mostly with adding more enemies, graphical tweaks, new sounds, and postprocessing. I also added a intro story, added some new textures etc. Also I changed the weighting of how often different enemy types appear so that tougher enemies appear more rarely. I also gave the different enemies different sizes and colors and weapons to make them more easier to spot and discern between.

I repeat the same mistake as I always do, spend lots of time on sound, music and graphics, and too little time on the actual gameplay. Luckily my game engine makes it quite easy to cook something like a twin stick shooter quickly together - but games should be fun, and even if shooting stuff is fun in itself I feel I have to add more stuff for the player to do... Preferrably an interresting story of sorts - one which is hinted at already in the intro.

Let's see what the weekend brings! Even if I can't work anymore on this game I'll still be happy that I managed to deliver something that is quite enjoyable to play - if the response is good I may continue working on it and maybe try to Greenlight it? Who knows?

Keep on jammin'!


torsdag 11. august 2016

Interresting choices

Game is coming along nicely. The mechanic where you have to find a key and go to the exit is now done. Tuning of difficulty takes a lot more time than anticipated! I also have to find the right balance between light and darkness to create the right mood...

There is not a finite goal for the game yet, only the goal of going to the next level.



It is now a quite basic twin stick shooter (actually, right now it's move with the keyboard and aim with the mouse) - but I intend to add some interresting strategic choices for the player.

* You can shoot gravestones and crosses for items, but they provide light, so the environment gets dark and makes enemies harder to see
* You can shoot spikes and rotating saws to make the environment safer for yourself - but that also makes the environment safer for enemies.
* Different weapons - powerful weapons have less ammo - know when to use them
* Different enemies - slow, powerful ones and fast, weak ones

We'll see how this turns out!

onsdag 10. august 2016

Menu screen done

The somewhat simple menu screen is finished. Is it obvious that you have to click the skull to start the game?



Also, I have implemented different types of enemies, some large slow ones, small fast ones, and some flying skeletal dragons that breathes fireballs.

Also health and ammo pickups are implemented, and a goal of each level - the somewhat simplistic 'find the key and go to the exit' to enter the next level.

Here a debug screenshot of the current state of events:



The mood for the game should be dark, eerie, and somewhat panicky when the enemies storm you.
I'm quite happy with the results so far today, tomorrow I will start on sound and music to create the right atmosphere... Also I will have to add a final goal (maybe an end boss?) and some kind of story.


tirsdag 9. august 2016

Game is coming along

Here's a few seconds of (really low quality) video.

video

Animations for the protagonist and some zombies are done. Now I need to work on pickups, keys and exit logic.
Week of Awesome IV!

Last year's Week of Awesome was -- well, awesome! -- so even if I have very limited time I'll be participating again this year.

The ambition level has to be lowered a bit, and I will go for a twin stick shooter kind of thing with limited graphics assets, and rather try to work with sound, lighting, particle effects etc. to make something interresting.

The themes for the competition are: Ruins, Shadows, Undead and Evolution.

I don't know about the evolution bit, but I'll make a game incorporating the other 3 elements.

So the basic idea: Twin stick shooter where you are a marine, shooting varying types of zombies. Some health and ammo pickups, find some keys and unlock the door? We'll start out there, and build on the idea if time permits.



lørdag 16. april 2016

Ludum Dare 35

The theme this time is 'SHAPE SHIFTING'
Not my all-time favorite, but I'm IN!

My idea is to have the player shift shape/color and then enter portals with the same shape/color.

The protagonist: