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Post Game Jam Wrap-Up

This was the first time Jake and I had ever done a game jam together. Jake has done a few here and there (check out his Ludum Dare game here: Humphrey’s Tiny Adventure), but this was my first ever jam of any kind.

Taking our individual strengths into consideration, I wound up doing about 75% asset work, and 25% programming work.

Most of the coding I did was game-related, rather than engine-related. I implemented the system for importing Ogmo Editor tilemaps. Much credit goes to Zachary Lewis and his videos for getting me going with this. Not much else for me to say about coding.

Graphics

The artwork was a big, time-sucking black hole. This is primarily because I’m no real artist. Given enough time, I can make it look acceptable. Unfortunately, for this jam, “enough” time was too much time. I would spend so much time on animations that, by the time I was done with one, my brain was fried. I would have to take a break or do some sort of ritual to get my mental state in tact enough to be useful again. However, I am pleased with the general look of the characters.

Audio

I wrote, programmed, and recorded the music myself. This didn’t take too long, and I am quite pleased with the track. At one point, I was struggling to get something going, so I decided, just for the heck of it, to hop into 7/4 time and see what I could make from it. It was enough to spark my creativity again and what you hear is the result. Here’s the track: “Our Life Now”.

Jake and I worked together on the sound effect(s). For our basic cheesy punch sounds, we took a big fuzzy blanket and whipped it in front of a microphone. Then we sprinkled some studio magic on it (excessive compression, noise gate, EQ, pitch shifting). Recording the sound effects gave us a nice break from coding and the monotony of pixel pushing. Plus, it feels good to do it yourself!

                                                                                                                                                                                    

Overall, here’s…

What went well:

  • Creation of the music went smoothly, quickly, and gave a good result.
  • Working with Flashpunk was great. It’s a beautiful framework.
  • Discovered Ogmo. Far easier and simpler to work with than Mappy.
  • Learned about XML. Yep, this was new to me.
  • We came up with cool ideas that we feel broke out of the clichés and stereotypes of the themes (Post-Apocolyptic and Sci-fi).
What didn’t go well:
  • Unfortunately, we were unable to implement almost all of our story ideas.
  • We struggled with designating individual tasks, and consequently would occasionally work on something unhelpful for some time.
  • We started at an odd time (10pm). This was our decision, though. I don’t think we’ll be starting at the same time again, because it made for difficult sleeping schedules.
  • We didn’t initially plan things out very well, which resulted in an unclear vision of what the final product should be.
  • The art took up way too much time. It kept me from doing more useful things.
What I would like to do differently in the future:
  • Get an artist to join us, or find a way to do simplistic and minimal art.
  • Start around noon, and get some regular sleep (minus a few hours each night).
  • Put time aside in the beginning to get a realistic end product in mind, and a general course of work to follow.
  • Trim our ideas down to size, and go into “idea freeze” early on.

                                                                                                                                                                                    

Thank you to everyone who voted in our polls and gave our game a run. This was a good learning experience, and I am overall pleased with the result. I look forward to participating in more game jams with Jake in the future!

Also, if there is anyone interested in working with us as Thaumaturgist Games, we invite you to participate in our next game jam. Think of it as an interview of sorts. Get in contact with us if you’re interested.

Check out the game here!: Thirty Years After Year Zero

And check out my timelapse videos here:

Main (Part 1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXTeW1BVS4c&feature=plcp

Main (Part 2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TfngDL3eWQ&feature=plcp

Audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuANAKkG6cA&feature=plcp

Software used:

Game

IDE: FlashDevelop

Framework: Flashpunk

GUI: PunkUI

Tile Editor: Ogmo Editor 

Audio

DAW: Cakewalk Sonar X1 Producer

Soft Synths: Native Instruments Massive, Native Instruments Absynth

Drums: Native Instruments Battery

Graphics

Image Editor: Paint.NET

Animation Helper: Sprite Animation Helper (add-on to Paint.NET)

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The Thaumaturgist game jam

Starting next Thursday (August 9th, 2012), we’re going to be programming like crazy for 48 hours straight in our own personal game jam, and we want you to help us decide what kind of game to make.

The polls will stay open until the jam starts. Just like the Humble Bundle Mojam, we’ll be combining the most- and least-popular choices from each poll into the finished game. You can only pick one of each, though, so choose wisely!

Genre

  • RPG (25%, 7 Votes)
  • Survival (21%, 6 Votes)
  • Adventure (18%, 5 Votes)
  • Dungeon crawler (18%, 5 Votes)
  • Puzzle (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Shoot-em-up (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Beat-em-up (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Theme

  • Cyberpunk (21%, 6 Votes)
  • Post-apocalyptic (21%, 6 Votes)
  • Horror (18%, 5 Votes)
  • Fantasy (14%, 4 Votes)
  • Far East (14%, 4 Votes)
  • Underwater (11%, 3 Votes)
  • Sci-fi (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Codename: Ifrit Alpha 1

Codename: Ifrit Alpha 1

 

Ifrit has reached Alpha status! I’m very excited about all we’ve done so far, and I’m looking forward to moving forward with the project. First, however, I’d promised we’d release a preview build this week, so here we are. The project is hosted over at Bitbucket, and you can download the release here.

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Codename: Ifrit (A Series of Fortunate Events)

It’s been about 2.25 months since I started my “Intro to Game Design with Programming” course. Before I started, I heard from some friends of mine that a friend of theirs would likely be in the same class. I looked forward to meeting him, seeing as this would be an easy way to have a friend/partner in the class. Well, this friend was Jake, my partner on this project we’re calling Ifrit. From the very beginning of the school work, I went to Jake when I was desperate for help, because he was and is a bit of a programming genius. He would always be happy to help.

To jump to the end of this story… There was one class where I was working on what is now Ifrit, and Jake was helping me out with some bugs in the code. Coincidentally, we were sitting literally inches from our professor. He told us he overheard our working together, and decided that we worked very well together. Despite that this course normally does not allow students to work in groups, he deemed us a team; and we were to work on my current project (Ifrit) together. This would count as our Final Project for both of us, which meant that we got an extra 2-3 weeks to work on it. If this all ends well for us, supposedly the course will have students work in teams starting the following semester. We’re guinea pigs.

All this to explain the history of our duo and our project Ifrit. I hope to write on the development of it on a regular/semi-regular basis, as does Jake. My posts will likely have an artistic/creative and asset-related tilt to them since the game idea originally sprouted in my head.

Without going into too much detail (that will be a separate post), Ifrit is essentially a “Hack-and-Slash” Platformer, with a fantasy theme (swords and magic and such). Think classic Sonic or Mario, but with more dynamic fighting and visuals similar to Final Fantasy I.

 

I am thrilled to be working with Jake, and I am very excited to see how this project turns out.

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