Archive for April, 2009

this week’s reads

24 April 2009 1 comment

Here’s some of the things that I read this week:

  • I am adding and subtracting – Eskil Steenberg shares his know-how on game programming, giving tips on what you should know and do to be an effective programmer based on his experiences.
  • Software That Guards Virtual PlaygroundsNY Times article on various applications that are used to monitor content aimed at minors. The virtual world is moving more and more towards addicting children. Protecting them from predators and the like is therefore a key component for virtual world creators, and a booming marketplace for those creating the tools to protect minors.
  • Author of Play – Infocom is one of my favorite game companies of all time, and Steve Meretzky designed some of my favorite games of all time. Technology Review sat down with him recently and interviewed him about the good old days of Infocom. A must read for any Infocom fan.
  • What Went Wrong? – the subtitle says it all: learning from past post mortems.
  • when the bomb goes off – auntie pixelante does a good write up of “when the bomb goes off,” a flash game in which you have five seconds to figure out the goal of a level.
Categories: ludowebzen

looking at lundum dare

20 April 2009 Leave a comment

Lundum Dar #14 Games

Lundum Dar #14 Games

Lundum Dare #14 came and went and while I didn’t actually compete due to not coding my own game, I was very pleased with what I did do: design a very basic game using the theme LD voters came up with. That was my goal for the weekend, and I accomplished just that. I am, to be perfectly honest, quite proud of myself as I’ve been trying to inspire myself to actually use these kinds of contests not to program games, but to use my nogin to come up with designs, no matter how simple.

This was the perfect exercise for me. “Simple” and “basic” were the two most important words in my vocabulary this weekend. My tendency is to sit down and think a lot about a game design and then explode the idea. The idea then tends to float around in my head all bloated, and I never actually get around to writing it all down because I never know where to begin. By forcing myself to keep to a simple design I was able to easily craft a game that would have, had I been a coder, been something I could whip up relatively quickly and most likely well within the timeframe of this contest. Now I don’t know if my game would pass the playability feature, but that’s the beauty of keeping it simple: I would have been much more able to tweak with a simpler design than I would have if I thought it out to death.

That’s not to say that I didn’t start coming up with all sorts of complications to my basic beat-the-walls-back theme. Several times I wanted to take pen to paper, map out changes, write down ideas, but I was able to stop myself for once. The challenge for me was to keep it simple, shithead, and I’m really glad that for once I did.

I noticed that a lot of the participants ran into this problem fairly early in the competition. They most likely did not map out their concept, or if they did they weren’t thorough enough. Or, and this is another most likely, simply said to themselves, “hey, what if I add this, or let me tweak this and see…” and then get wrapped up in their work all the while leaving the basic design that should have gotten them through the first phase of coding behind.

Another thing that I noticed is that some focused on the wrong thing first, such as graphics and splash screen before they actual had a playable something (by “playable” I mean at least their basic game play functionality coded). When you have only 48 hours in which to design and code a game, don’t get caught up in pretifying the whole thing, especially if you have to playtest (another thing some competitors did not have time to do) your game.

I liked how various participates interpreted “advancing wall of doom.” Some interpreted it literally as I did, creating a moving wall or walls, some with spikes, some entirely made of flames or lava, moving towards a player. Some turned the AWOD into a maze, others, numerous spherical objects. Two (that I saw) turned the wall into a static object that the players had to climb. One created an interactive fiction game, which amused me because I had said to myself, “wouldn’t that be an interesting challenge.” Imagine my surprise when I saw someone take up that mantle!

You can check out all 121 entrants by pointing your browser here.

Categories: design, ludum dare

kevin codes “advancing wall of doom game”

18 April 2009 Leave a comment

Kevin has been threatening to code my game ideas for the last year or so. I had told him about the Ludum Dare contest, but he said he couldn’t design his way out of a paper bag (or something like that). So we’re unofficially teaming up on this. We can’t enter because teams are not allowed.

Kev’s design inspiration is Rogue, a game he passionately plays. He has yet to code the walls. Here’s what it looks like so far.

Advancing Wall of Doom sans walls

Advancing Wall of Doom sans walls

He’s created two difficulty levels, and you fire with the arrow keys.

Categories: design, ludum dare

Design Idea for Ludum Dare #14 Competition

18 April 2009 2 comments

The newest Ludum Dare competition has been announced for this weekend, and the theme is “advancing wall of doom.” As I’m not a coder I can’t compete, but I can still come up with an idea! So here’s mine.

  • 4 wall tiles: N, S, E, W.
  • avatar in middle of screen
  • wall tiles advance towards avatar
  • avatar shoots them back
    • 4 bullets on screen at one time maximum
advancing wall of doom concept game

advancing wall of doom concept game

  • gun direction/fire:
    • W – north
    • A – west
    • S – south
    • D – east
  • each hit moves wall back 1 space
  • game difficulty increases with time – faster wall movement towards avatar
  • end game – when a wall hits avatar

thus goes my first casual game!

Categories: design, ludum dare

What I’m Reading…

17 April 2009 1 comment

BTW, hopefully I won’t be as lazy this weekend and I’ll finally write the article I have floating around in my head.

Regardless, here’s some of the things that I’ve read this week:

Categories: ludowebzen

Japan + Manga + Video Games

12 April 2009 1 comment

Found this happening in Friday’s New York Times:

JAPAN SOCIETY: ‘KRAZY! THE DELIRIOUS WORLD OF ANIME + MANGA + VIDEO GAMES,’ through June 14. This show addresses a vibrant chapter in the history of visual storytelling: a specifically Japanese set of approaches that has gained a worldwide following over the past two decades. It will not live up to its promise for devoted followers of Japanese pop culture, but as a multimedia sampler including comics, graphic novels, video games, action figures, animated cartoons and more, it might entice the uninitiated to explore the field more deeply. 333 East 47th Street, Manhattan, (212) 832-1155,

Categories: events

Check this out…

10 April 2009 Leave a comment

Here are some links to what I’ve been reading of late:

Categories: ludowebzen