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!

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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.

Intentions and Specific Goals for December and January

I will have more free time these next days, So I should spend more time on game development and try to build something cool for the next update, which will be on Januray 18th. In general, I’m working on three projects: Midnight Journey, The Ace Programmer and Pizza Clicker.

I will stabilish some goals and what I want to do on each one of them.

Midnight Journey

Main Goal: Very simple, I just want to draw the main character animations and put them on GameMaker until January 18th.

The Animations are:

  • Idle Animation (Optional)
  • Walking Animation (Optional)
  • Running Animation
  • Attacking Animation
  • Dashing/Rolling Animation

Secondary Goal: Decide on the story and start writing it.

The Ace Programmer

Main Goal: Have a prototype using a visual novel engine (unity or gamemaker) and Phoenix Wright sprites.

Secondary Goal: Have custom images for the game, I should try drawing it or hiring a freelancer.

Pizza Clicker

Main Goal: Have a playable version in PixiJS or Phaser IO, not sure which one I will use.

Secondary Goal: Estabilish a differential for Pizza Clicker, there are tons of clicker and idle games, why pizza clicker should be special?

Last monthly update of the year

It’s been almost a year since I started this monthly update thing, although I didn’t do exactly what I wanted, I worked on so many different things and learned a lot, I might write some kind of yearly review or something like that.

I’m pretty happy with my progress this month, unfortunately, there’s not much to show here, but if everything goes according to what I planned, I will have 2 prototypes to show on the next update. I can’t help but to work on 2 or 3 projects at the same time and for some reason I like doing it.

Anyway, here’s what I have to show

This month I decided to focus on pixel art, I wanted to have simple animations for a character and have them on GameMaker. Unfortunately, I couldn’t effectively predict how much time the character design would take, so I ended up with just the character. I will talk a little bit about the process.

792b2e7479a370732d5e28353bd087ae
Cool Character Reference

That’s the “feeling” I would like to achieve with the character, not that easy, specially with a 32×32 pixel art canvas. Below is my main character for the Midnight Journey Alpha.

cropped-ethan
Not that terrifying.

So… It doesn’t fit. I heard about the game “Hyper Light Drifter” and I liked it aesthetics and the character proportions, so I decided to follow a similar style.

hyperlight
HLD Character

I ended up searching some references, trying some drawings and ended up with a lot of sketches.

ethan_01
First round of sketches, just trying some forms

 

ethan_02
Second Round of Sketches, working on the sword and 3 specific forms
EthanSides
The Winner

The image above shows the one I liked the most and decided that I would use it (even with better feedback on other drawings). As you can see, I even tried an animation, that would be the dashing animation (It didn’t quite look good). But still, something was off for me, it didn’t look iconic or anything like that, so I decided to play more with colors and the colors I would use in the game.

EthanWinner
The Real Winner

After aaaall of this, this is the winner, this is the main character for Midnight Journey.

So, that’s pretty much what I have to show on this update, took me like 2 or 3 weeks of sketching to decide how my character would look like

I will take a small break of a week or two to focus on finals and projects at University, and then I will be on Holidays! After that I will set some goals for the next update. I will try to use the extra time to put those prototypes together to post on the next update.

I want to start using more twitter for gamedev purposes, so follow me. I’m not sure how to do the transition from portuguese tweeting to english tweeting, I might just post random pictures and screenshots.

That’s it. See you next year!

Setting more Specific Goals

I wrote my Monthly Update on November 8th and I’m planning my next one to be on Sunday, December 10th. Some days ago it ocurred to me that I should have more specific and better planned goals, so I decided to think better over my goals and to write another post talking about them. I will start setting better goals on the end of each monthly update.

Overall Goal: I have two goals for this month.

  1. Working on Midnight Journey, working with GameMaker and trying to practice more with Pixel Art and drawing assets to the game.
  2. I wrote about the “Ace Programmer” game some updates ago, I want to finish 100% the tutorial script and puzzle design.

1st Week: November 8 – 15: I did a small improvement I think wasn’t on the update, now the game shows your stamina. I also tried some things with Pixel Art.

2nd Week: November 15 – 22: This week I wanted to work on Midnight Journey’s main character, I got a small idea but I will still work 1 or 2 more days on it.

3rd Week: November 22 – 29: 

  1. Midnight Journey: Liking or not what I have for the character, I want to start drawing animations such as running, basic attack and dashing and try to integrate them on GameMaker.
  2. Ace Programmer: Improve the current script for the tutorial level.

4th Week: November 29 – December 6: 

  1. Midnight Journey: Finish integrating the animations on GameMaker, evaluate how they look and decide if I should keep doing it or change the character or the animations.
  2. Ace Programmer: Link the script and the gameplay, introduce a character that will explain to you the puzzle system.

Setting Up Intentions

This month wasn’t one of my best ones in therms of working on games, but let’s go straight to the point.

The Present

For the first and almost only point of my monthly update, I bought GameMaker, yeah, it hurts. And then I was able to finish the course I bought on Udemy and get some more insights on how to work on GameMaker.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 5.23.05 PM
Yay!

As for how the game currently looks like, here is a video:

I’m pretty happy with the result and with how making it on GameMaker wasn’t much of a trouble as it was to do something similar on Unity. This made me want to get back to my older project: Midnight Journey.

ps: the sound is very poor because what you are hearing is actually the microphone, for some reason OBS can’t get sound from my macbook.

Briefly, the second point is that I wanted to try something with Pixel Art, some kind of a glitchy effect/animation, and here is what I got:

gameboyguy

It isn’t the most complex animation, but it looks okay and doesn’t require a lot of effort to do it, so I’m actually happy with it, I want to explore more on this on the future.

The Future

As the title says, I want to set some things that I want to do and write where my thoughts are heading to, for this month I will probably be working around these ideas:

  • GameMaker RPG Course – The course is over but I can try expanding it, adding enemies, messing with things, changing the UI to something that I like more, trying to use shaders, …
  • Pixel Art – I want to try more on the Glitch Art thing (because I have some ideas on how to use it on my games) and I want to come up with some sketches for Midnight Journey’s main character.
  • Visual Novels – I talk about this a lot but never show anything here, anyway, I hope to have something to show someday. I’ve been into playing things such as Ghost Trick, Ace Attorney and 999 lately, and I had 2 ideas of games on the genre. I’m trying to write some scripts/design documents for them and I pretend to keep working on it.

That’t about it for this month!

See you on the next one!