Way Behind Schedule

Ayy, this month was a pretty conturbed one, it envolves doing some extra time on my internship, traveling, having to focus writing my final graduation project, presenting it, correcting it and writing some more, quiting my internship (so having to put on some extra time to finish my tasks and help others) and also has to do with getting a bit lost on where I am in game development.

Match 3 Roguelike

This is the last gameplay footage I recorded:

 

It has all the scene transitions and it is almost enough to start getting an impression of what the game really should be like.

After this footage I’ve written some code to reach the end of a floor and go to a subsequent one, the more you advance, more difficult the game is.

What still needs to be done for a playable version:

  • Data Persistence between the dungeon part and the Match3 “Battle” part, it just restarts everything;
  • Write the code to actually make the game gets difficult according to current level;
  • The “Garbage System” – Difficult is represent by puzzles getting faster, but also by the enemy throwing “garbage” at your puzzle area, which occupies a certain area, turning it harder – But if you play well enough, the garbage turns into new pieces, so you can use it to your advantage.

I’ve already said that after doing this first playable version I will just need to tune and polish it, but damn it is being hard to get this minimum viable game.

Tetris

Tetris? What?

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 3.49.22 PM.png

I applied for a job in a Mobile Game company in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

On the technical interview they asked “If you were to implement Tetris right now, how would you do it?” – My answer was pretty bad because I wasn’t expecting this and I got a bit nervous. After the interview I decided to check my answer and really implement a tetris.

It is playable right now, you can play it on my itch.io page.

If you are interested in more details, you can go to the devlog on the tetris page.

That will be it for this update!

Hope you all have a good month!

Advertisements

Almost July

Another month has come and gone and it’s time for another update!

There’s not much to type here, there are two videos that pretty much sums up the progress during this month, but as I always do, I will divide in sections and end up talking a lot about the projects.

The Puzzle Roguelike

It’s been almost 2 months since I’m working on this project, yikes! I wanted to finish the “Minimum Viable Product” for this month’s update and then spend a week or two reaching people asking for feedback and honest opinions. Here is the video on the current “game”:

There are basically two parts: (i) The Roguelike Part, where you explore some sort of map and when you find an enemy you transition to the puzzle part. (ii) The Puzzle Part, it works as some kind of substitute of a regular combat, your matches remove enemy health, being rewarded for combos and bigger matches.

I’m planning to finish the minimum product in a week or two, I just have to add the transistions back and forth from battle and do a simple main menu which is already designed in my head (hey, that’s the hard part!). With the MVP I will start all the marketing stuff and see what people thinks of this game.

After that I will, well, finish the game. The interesting thing is that probably there won’t be much to add to the mvp, just polish it, tune difficulty, interest curves, make it more appealing, fix the camera, etc… Shouldn’t take more than two months (I hope so).

The Unity Thing

I realized months went by without me doing something in Unity, also I realized that it has change way too much and I tried to do something on it, also probably because I will be using Unity more than Gamemaker on the future.

I grabed a course on Udemy and did a metroidvania section, called “Tilevania”, the result is on the video below.

 

I recorded the whole Unity screen because I’ve just realized that the camera and the UI breaks on Full Screen, so I just recorded like this and I will lie by saying it was to also show the scene and hierarchy.

I honestly liked the end result and it was fun to try doing some metroidvania, it was a genre that I always had some kind of curiosity on trying to develop.

Adding some more things on top of this simple demo and doing my own art for it should result into a nice portfolio piece, so I might return to this game next month!

Weeell, that was it for this month, I hope to have some more interesting stuff on the next one!

See you!

Moving Forward

Time for another update! Not much progress overall but the important thing here is: (a) I’m moving forward a little bit everyday, working at least half an hour on something game dev related and (b) I feel like I finally have a game with a small scope and that could result in something that is fun and actually slightly different from the other games out there.

Progress

Last month I talked about my puzzle game prototype (based on Pokemon Puzzle Challenge), by that time all I had was this simple puzzle with moveable pieces.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.17.28 AM

Since then I have written the code to check matches and generate new rows from the bottom.

But testing this puzzle without any kind of visual feedback was hard, often I was randomly moving pieces and some pieces just disappeared, and I was like: “Is it a bug or a match I didn’t see?” – I have already heard of game genres that requires to be polished soon on development, I though that maybe this is one of them.

So I went on to write the functionality of having the pieces glowing for 1 second before they disappear, and, although it worked on the end, I had to change the structure where each piece was represented which led me to rewritting all of my game’s code. Oh well, things like this just happen. See the video below for the current state of the puzzle

Changes on the structure: Before, the structure was just the piece represented, now, each position where there is a piece, there is actually a vector, this vector has (i) a piece to be displayed; (ii) a value indicating whether the piece is set to be destroyed and (iii) a timer indicating how many frames has passed since the piece was marked to be destroyed.

When a match occurs, the piece to be destroyed is marked, and they are destroyed after a second on the Step function (or Update function) – The glow is achieved by a simple “is odd” function on the timer, if the time is odd, it is rendered a white sprite overlaying the piece.

Next on my To Do List:

  1. Adaptaing the “fall” algorithm (the piece of code which runs after matches to check if any pieces above should fall) to make it seem like a smooth fall, not just changing piece positions.
  2. Reinserting the new row generator.
  3. Make the new rows appear slowly so the player can play around what pieces are coming.
  4. Write the “Overworld”/Roguelike Part.

Talking in Roguelike Part…

Let’s talk Design

One of my intentions on this blog was to also talk about programming and design, I recently realized that I’m just writing what I’m doing, time to change that. I’ve written a little bit on programming above (on how I structured the pieces and how the glow was made), and now I am going to talk about some of my design process this month.

I tried to do a definitive simple game design document and it had 5 pages, the 2 most important pages are below, I’ve written about Game Identity, Design Pillars, Genre/Story/Mechanics Summary, Art, Music, Flow

The most important is the Flow, actually, all 5 pages could be just the flow (Please forgive my handwritings)

p1p2.jpg

 

But these writings doesn’t matter anymore because…

p3

Yeah! I’m proud of myself for cutting stuff from my games!

Last update and on the first two images it is possible to see that “Turn Based Like” gameplay was a feature of the game, the scope seemed too big and I asked myself “Why Turn Based Like Combat mixed with the Puzzle is important?” and it isn’t. So I removed it from the game, making the puzzle and the roguelike part much more simple. After all, the aim is for it to just be a puzzle game with some kind of a roguelike progression.

That’s enough for this months update. For some non gamedev related news, I’m embarking to the US tomorrow! Yay. I will be a week in Orlando. I just hope that I can move on with my life after buying a Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild there.

See you on next month!

A dollar, please

GameMaker Jam Feedback

Last month I joined the GameMaker community Jam with the game Newton’s Laws of Roguelike – I knew it wasn’t that great, and the critics reflected that, well, what should I expect?

newtons

But having real people criticizing my game was actually an interesting experience, the main critique was that the game didn’t have a goal (it really doesn’t have) and it was more of a mechanic demonstration than a game (which is totally right).

But some people said that it had potential and it was fun, one user even said my game was the best use of the theme! (Newton’s Laws of Motion) – there was also some video reviews, here @ 6:07, here @ 0:44:15 and another I lost the link (damn.)

In the end, I got 19th place (out of 26) and I got really happy with this placing.Place19.png

Heartjam

What? Another Gamejam?!

Well, yes. I liked joining one, so I joined another.

This time the theme was Scarcity, what came to mind was Resident Evil and how the bullets were scarce, so I did a shooter roguelike trying to get that feeling, the game is called Zombies on the Basement, you can go to its itch.io page for more information, download link, etc… There were also some feedback on the jam entry page – overall, the mechanic seemed to be fun but I think it doesn’t quite work as a Roguelike, maybe it would work as a 2D Survival Horror Shooter, who knows.

If you are interested visit the itch.io page, gameplay footage below:

This entry was almost a game, it doesn’t have menus or tutorial for time reasons.

Puzzles!

After working Newton’s Laws of Roguelike and Zombies on the Basement I decided to go back to my projects/ideas – I’ve written some ideas and I came up with an idea based on Pokemon Puzzle Challenge and an idea based on Final Fantasy Tactics.

The interesting thing is that both ideas use the same universe and same characters (one happens 4 years before the other) – So it is like a puzzle game which the sequel is a tactical turn based.

Don’t worry, the story is damn simple and these are games that shouldn’t take a lot of time to develop. The goal is to develop the puzzle one in about 2 months and release for $1 – And the other one the goal is to finish in 6 months and would be kind of a real game.

The Puzzle Game Prototype:

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.17.28 AM.png

Example of how it might begin

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.18.34 AM.png

Some reorganization (The Matching 3 Functionality is not developed yet)

How it works: 

  • You have 4 pieces (heart, bow, sword and axe) and you have to align three or more of them horizontally or vertically.
  • The cursor can be moved up, down, left and right and, as you might notice, the cursor is on 2 pieces, when an action button is pressed, the two pieces change position (the position are changed whether that was a match or not, different from some match 3 games where if there isn’t a match, the pieces goes back to their original place)
  • The starting pieces are all random, and as time passes, an entire row of new pieces appear (from the bottom of the screen).
  • Also as time passes, new pieces appears faster.
  • If any piece reach de top of the screen, you lose.

The idea of this is either one of those two:

  1. Be some kind of a Turn Based combat game where the attack is doing this puzzle. So you would have a team and would fight some enemies and to attack them you would have to align the pieces.
  2. Be some kind of a 1v1 combat between two characters, where a match means that you are directly attacking the oponent and the heart means healing

For both of these ideas, the progression is similar, you defeat an enemy (or group of enemies), you gain some experience, level up (or not), evolve your character(s) and goes on to the next battle, you can do this until you lose (Roguelike Turn Based Puzzle Game, yay!)

Conclusion

  • I Joined two gamejams and liked it (I will probably also join Ludum Dare in 4 days)
  • I came up with some ideas I feel like I really can develop and that feel right for me (a lot of old projects of mine doesn’t really feel right for me anymore)
  • The future is bright.
  • Collecting Sticker Figures Album (FIFA 2018) is really expensive.

That’s it for this month’s update!

Hope to see you on the next one!

I also hope to have better games to show there.

 

pizza laws of roguelike

This month I’ve tried something different: It’s not a secret that I always had difficulties finding time, fitting gamedev into my routine and these sort of things. This month I’ve chosen to work on game development only on weekends, this way I could turn off my gamedev self on weekdays and do what I had to do and on weekends I could turn off my regular-student-worker self and focus on game development.

Speaking about hours of work, it’s pretty much the same, but I’d rather work 3 hours straight on something than work 1 hour on three days.

This month I had an ok progress on practice/developing but I really liked what I got on the subjects on ideas, writing documents, creating a roadmap, etc… This won’t be shown right here, but I hope this can be reflected on next months updates.

Pizza Clicker

I actually wanted to have this game finished on 2 weekends but 4 weekends has gone by, in my defense, the last one I spent working on a Game Jam, so technically I’m only 1 weekend behind schedule.

pizzav1.pngThis is my roadmap for the Pizza Clicker game, as you can see, I have pretty much everything for the first version, the only thing I’m missing is making it responsive/adaptable to all screens.

Not being responsive is pretty much of a big deal since is a game played on a web browser, so I decided not to “release” it yet. Probably next weekend I will be able to finish it.

Other point is “Better Aesthetics”, but I don’t really think that’s a key factor for this kind of game and shouldn’t forbidden me to declare the first version finished and release it.

Besides those two things, what is in my roadmap is to try to share the game with as many people as I can, get feedback, fix broken things and keep developing it (I have until v4 planned)

Currently it is on v0.9 (almost released!) and you can click here to play – but I should warn you, every save file will be wiped when the first version is release.

 

GameMaker Community Jam 7 (Newton’s Laws of Roguelike)

It’s been some time since I wanted to join a Game Jam, I decided I would take part on the GMC Jam 7, whatever the theme, whatever kind of game I thought on doing, whatever the result.

My intention on this jam was: a) Feel how a Game Jam is, b) develop something different and quickly, c) get more comfortable with GameMaker Studio 1.4 (which I will be using on the future) and d) work on something I wanted to work for a while, which in this case is Roguelike games.

The theme was Newton’s Laws of Movement which was kinda interesting at first but difficult to find something to work with, I got three ideas brainstorming:

  • Doggo’s Laws of Movement, which is the same but dog version, something like: In an Inertial Frame of Reference, a doggo either remains at rest or continues to bork, unless acted upon a force. I don’t how this could become a game.
  • Use the F, A Star Wars based Action 2D Puzzle Platformer, you don’t need to think a lot to know why I gave up of this idea – Basically it was going to be a 2D Platformer with Combat Elements and you could enter a “Use the Force” state, where you would be able to use the force (F) to manipulate objects around you and solve puzzles.
  • Newton’s Laws of Roguelike, the idea I tried to go with, a simple roguelike where the enemies are based on newton’s laws.

First I went to watch some of HeartBeast’s Procedurally Generated Dungeons Tutorials, which creates a dungeon in a very simple, fast and effect way that works fine.

newtons.png

After that, I took some pieces of code of an old project of mine, which is the result from a course also from HeartBeast, and rewatched some of the lectures to get a good combat system going on, always adapting everything to what I wanted;

My original plan was to also do the art, I got this ones as a placeholder from ArMM1998 on OpenGameArt, lucky me, this art is great and had fit perfectly on what I wanted, I didn’t have the time to do my own art so the placeholders became the definitive art.

There are Four Enemies:

  1. The Log: A log that is sleeping and only acts when you attack it (First Law)
  2. The Light Log and The Heavy Log: Enemies that are strong either because they are heavy (high mass) or are super fast (high acceleration), and this is the Second Law.
  3. The Bomb Log: If you try to kill it, it will explode and punish you! (Third Law – Action and Reaction) – gif of this one belowthird_law.gif

 

These four enemies looks the same, you have to differentiate them by their movements and how they react to you hitting them! Put that with a random dungeon and you have Newton’s Laws of Roguelike. There are many known issues and things I would like to have improved, but, that’s the feeling of joining a Game Jam I guess.

As a footnote: I used to think that doing something for a game jam would be like “OH MY GOD I ONLY HAVE 48 HOURS LEFT, I HAVE TO HURRY!!!!!!!!!!” – but it was more like “Hm, A day has passed and I have no ideas, meh, I can do a simple roguelike”.

This update was quite long, so I’m leaving!

See you, hopefully, next month!

Pizza News

Time for another (late) monthly update! Yay!

What has been going on: As I like to do, I wrote two posts after my monthly update trying to set up some intentions and goals to the new month and the new year, as well as an evaluation of the year that has gone. To keep it simple, I will just talk a bit about my goals in 2018 (see the previous post for full information, if you want to, of course).

2018 is the year I will start calling myself “hobbyist gamedev” and focusing on getting things done instead of desiring to learn this or that, it is also the year I decided to focus on art/design stuff.

That being said, my biggest and only goal for the year is to set something free and feel how it is.

I have basically three game projects that I didn’t give up: Pizza Clicker, The Ace Programmer and Midnight Journey – What is in my mind right now is to release Pizza Clicker (shouldn’t take more than a couple months) and then focus on Midnight Journey, so the Ace Programmer would be on an hiatus (or I could work on it when I have blocks on other projects).

A side idea from now on is to also get more into Game AI, because it is something I study and like a lot, also there isn’t too much content about it. I have two projects of mine that, if I have the time, I would like to develop and release it as open source projects – The first project is the Game AI Prototyper – An “engine” that abstract game logic so you can just write your AI algorithms for a game without having to code a game – The second one is the Evolutive Hearthstone Decks, an AI that generates decks for Hearthstone and constantly improves it (using Evolutive Algorithms)

I think these AI projects would be interesting to design, code and make it available on GitHub – Let’s see what the future holds for them.

ANYWAY, The Monthly Update

The Goal: The original plan was to have a playable version of Pizza Clicker and an usable version of the Game AI Prototyper Project.

The Reality: Click Here to play Pizza Clicker – As I had to travel my projects were delayed and I spent more time than I expected on Pizza Clicker, so I couldn’t reach a releasable version of the Game AI Prototyper.

Below you can see an Image of the Backlog of the Game AI Prototyper, as you can see I was pretty much halfway through, which is very far. So next month I will get back to it.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 11.11.25 PM

About Pizza Clicker – It’s been some time since I’m thinking on this game, since I’ve been playing a lot of Clicker/Idle games lately (Cookie Clicker, Adventure Capitalist, Communism Simulator, Crank, and a lot of others…) because they are very addictive to me.

As it is right now, it is just a very raw clicker/idle game with basic functionalities – The idea is to have it mixed with management and storytelling features, I have pretty much everything planned, see the backlog for the Version 1 below:

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 11.16.05 PM

How Pizza Clicker will work? The idea is that you can get “Cursors” and hire employees (Gennaros) and they make pizza for you. You can also buy ovens so that they can do even more pizza, you can also make your own pizzas by clicking. As you progress through the game, you start getting famous and the story will be told through the newspaper as you make to the news, from local to worldwide.

Pizza Clicker Overview: The game progression is simple; At the beggining (V1.0) you have a pizzeria, and then you start hiring more Gennaros, buying Ovens and you will have to open more pizzerias. On V2.0 there will be upgrades available, you can train your Gennaros in Italy, buy Japanese Oven Technology, make more pizzas and be the best Pizzeria in the World. On V3.0 you will have to create your own research and market center to study oven technology and study where to open the next pizzeria. On V4.0 You will be selling your pizzas to other galaxies and eventually other time periods, until you discover the Automatic Oven. The Automatic Oven doesn’t need Gennaros, so you start firing them, this will lead to millions of unemployed Gennaros, and bad things will happen.

The idea of having multiple version is that I would officially release it on V1.0 and keep the development going, but only if at least a few people play and like the game, otherwise I would spare my time and start working on another project.

Aaaanyway, That was a long update I guess. See you on the next one and hope you like Pizzas!

You can always follow me on twitter: @guilhermepo2

2018

2017

Although 2017 wasn’t the year I earned my first dollar with game development or either the year I released my first game, it was a year with a lot of experiences and learning (i.e. failures).

The year of 2017 made me realise some things:

  • I have all the programming skill I need to develop any game I want to.
  • I can do Pixel Art.
  • I can do Music, even if they are just simple music.

These topics were the ones I tried the most in 2017 while developing some prototypes, Midnight Journey and Ghost Game. But 2017 also teached me a lot of things related to game development.

  • Game Development is way more than programming/art/sound, it is about reaching people when you have the finished game, about PR, selling your game, talking to others.
  • Game Development as a hobbyist is more of a discipline exercise than anything else, also a motivation exercise.

2018

With all that said, what I should expect for 2018? Better, what should I aim for in 2018? My bio in this blog is “Gamedev Blog. Programmer trying to learn pixel art and game music composition” – Well, this were my goals in 2017, but now I want to change it because I know I can do those things, I just need to practice with them and for me to practice with them I need a game, I need to develop something because my main thing is not being an artist or a music composer (sidenote: maybe thinking I need a game idea to practice pixel art or music composition isn’t the right mindset)

I just want it to be “Life of a Hobbyist Gamedev” – I won’t play the role of the “I’m a Gamedev in this cold world” guy, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have goals or anything like that, this bio means that I’m not aiming to turn into something, I already am. So I can just focus on working harder and improving.

Two Sides of “my” Game Development

Game Design

I love Design and Games, so, Game Design is a natural extension. Programming, the wish to do the art and the music is just a way for me to be totally in control of the design of my game, to be totally in control of the outcome.

This year I want to focus (focus should be the biggest priority, given my historic lack of it) on three projects: Pizza Clicker, The Ace Programmer and Midnight Journey.

Artificial Intelligence for Games

I’m not sure if I talk about it a lot or if I ever talked about it, but I’m a computer science undergraduate studying AI for Games, my final graduation project is related to AI in Games (using machine learning and evolutive algorithms) and I want to apply for graduate studies also on AI in Games. I’m realizing that AI in Games is not something a lot of people talk about, and I asked myself: “Why?” – Well, I don’t know but I will search for the answer. This field is growing on universities and pretty much any game nowadays use some form of AI, so most of the companies should have Game AI Programmers, where is all this people? /r/gamedev has more than 200,000 subscribers and /r/gameai has a bit more than 4,000, why? That’s just some thoughts.

What I wanted to say here is that I will start doing some AI Projects that I had saved for later, currently I have two and they should take all the time I’m willing to give to them and some more. These projects are going to be open source and my plan is to have people using and contributing with them,

These projects are:

  • Game AI Prototyper (needs a better name): A Simple framework that tries to replicate the mechanics from action/rpg games like The Legend of Zelda from SNES, that is actually the same core mechanics from roguelike, dungeon crawlers, etc… – It will replicate the mechanics and have an API to control the character and observe the environment, the purpose is to abstract game logic so it is easier to develop, test and learn artificial intelligence algorithms applied in games. It is in progress and I hope I have a beta release until the next monthly update.
  • Hearthstone Deck Builder: YES! AI FOR CARDGAMES! This is an idea I had more than one year ago and I wanted to use for some graduation related project, I still couldn’t find a way to do it so I’m just going to do it by myself. The name explains itself, it is an AI that will build decks for Hearthstone.

Conclusion

The conclusion is that on 2018 I want to change my bio from “learning something” to “hobbyist gamedev” – For that I will focus on game projects (pizza clicker, the ace programmer and midnight journey) but also on game ai projects (prototyper, hearthstone deck building) – not all of them on the same time, and I’m not saying I will finish and do all of it, what I’m saying is…

My Biggest Goal: The Biggest goal of 2018 is to set something free and feel how it is – I like Pizza Clicker and these AI Projects because they are fairly easy to build a releaseable version (shouldn’t take more than a month each). After releasing something I want to ask for feedback everywhere possible: friends, groups, reddit, youtube, whatever, and then I can build upon it and improve it.

I never had the feeling of what comes after releasing a game, releasing a piece of software, so this is what I’m aiming for this year.

Finally, Why AI Projects?

  1. Because I want to.
  2. Because it is something different.
  3. Because I hope it can help when applying for postgraduate education on AI in Games.
  4. Because I want to release something and I want to release something open source (games are harder to release as open source).
  5. Because I want to practice more with C++ and Development in General.

These were just some thoughts I had in mind and I needed to organize them and put it on words, I hope now I can do a better work and achieve my goals.

You can follow me on twitter: @guilhermepo2 – Using more twitter for game development purposes is one of my minor goals for this year.