1884 – Golf over Africa, LudumDare 41

The theme for the Ludum Dare 41 was “Combine 2 Incompatible Genres”. I’m pretty familiar with genre mashup, and I accepted Jim Shepard‘s challenge to jump in.

As usual for the LudumDare, I wanted to do something different than what I always do. That usually means doing something more accessible to the casual public, as well as ditching pixel art, and including real-time stuff and animations.

Here’s what I came up with: (Play online!)

golf

1884, the European superpowers have met to decide the future of the African continent… now their leaders face each other in an Open golf tournament to divide the land between themselves!

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Title Screen

I went for a combination of a Golf game with territory based war game (think Crusader Kings / Europa Universalis, or maybe RISK). It’s made for 2 to 4 players who take turns to play, the first country to occupy 10 territories wins the match.

In order to try to occupy a territory, you must land your ball on it, every turn the player decides the direction and power of his shot. The outcome depends on the stats of his country.

You can also invade other player’s territories, where the success of the invasion depends on the Military stat of each country. Countries also have other 2 stats: Logistics affects how far your shots will fly (with Great Britain being the best on this) and Leadership affects how accurate your shots are.

Game Screenshot
In-Game

Since I knew in advance my time would be extremely limited during the span of the compo, I went for my usual toolkit: Phaser2 + ES6. All art was done on GIMP, basically a lot of repetitive work extracting the different countries from a colonial map of Africa, and some flags and UI stuff.

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Colonial Africa

Due to the “weird” square and “high” resolution of the game (as in being about 800x800px, high for browser games standards) ended up doing a lot of work to make sure it would display fine on browsers with a smaller window height (you’d be surprised this is still very common in 2018) as well as the fancy retina displays which always mess up with scaling calculations.

This one went from ideation to fully complete product in less than 12 hours. I’m really happy how it turned out. Here are some areas where this could be expanded in case I work back on it ion the future:

  • Adding a “zoomed” version of the territory the player is doing his shot from. And an animation of the country leader shooting-
  • Making the viewport landscape and adding scrolling (and maybe a scaled map)
  • Enhancing the appearance in general.

WorldCupAlbums.com, and Russia 2018

I decided to revive the “My Brazil World Cup” project from 2014, thinking it would be quick and easy to set it up for 2018. It wasn’t quick… collecting all the info and the pictures, setting everything back up… in any case. Here it is: worldcupalbums.com

In this web app, optimized for mobile browsers, you collect virtual stickers themed around the upcoming World Cup trying to complete a collection. You buy stickers using “Russios”, which you obtain by spinning a roulette every 10 minutes. You can trade repeated stickers with your enemies.

cccp

This is heavily based on a tradition (mostly South American?) of collecting stickers to fill an “album”. (I guess it’s the equivalent of Sports Trading Cards in North America). Panini has traditionally published and distributed the official FIFA World Cup Albums for ages (Since Mexico 1970). I grew up seeing my father do this, and the tradition keeps going.

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There’s also an official virtual album, but mine is better.

GDC 2018 – Parties

Here’s a summary of some GDC 2018 parties and events based on my experience, hope it’s useful for someone planning their next GDC journey!

For each one, I tried to categorize it under a type and rated how interesting it was FOR ME. I also marked the parties where I think you should still have a good time even if you go alone (this is important if you don’t have friends 😦 )

Kongregate Party

  • Type: Corporate, Academic
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes
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Networking like a pro. Also, free food yay!

After an initial networking time (lots of good food and drinks), there were three talks: one about the current status and plans for Kongregate (nice one), a pretty weird one about ideation in games which was fun, and another one (pretty good and practical) about taking the right amount of risks while developing a game.

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Pocket Gamer Party

  • Type: Club Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 1/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No
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Having lots of fun

This year, as far as I could see, it was a fairly standard club party. Drinks were a bit expensive. It’s loud so it’s hard to network except on the line to enter the club. Also since it’s on Monday it may be a bit out of place to get crazy when you are on GDC for business.

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IGDA Serious Games @ Google San Francisco

  • Type: Academic
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 2/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

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I’m not sure how I ended up in this one. It was interesting tho I didn’t do any networking since I just didn’t feel this was my target community. There was a talk about applying serious games to youth audiences and then a short ceremony to deliver community contribution awards. Still nice to check out Google San Francisco building with a great view of the Bay Bridge.

There was good food too.

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Github Party

  • Type: Game Showcase
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

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Some games (not many) put together in the awesome Github HQ at SF. The main conference area was occupied by a versus game where you competed in different obscure games for about 10 seconds. There was also a multiplayer coop game where you had to navigate in a ship-like thing with your friends, and another one you controlled with a telegraph-like device.

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Meeting Leaf Corcoran, one of the masterminds behind itch.io

The cafeteria was open for you to bring your laptop and display your game, I saw a couple interesting games there. This one was the one I liked the most for networking (with other developers) due to the nice ambient (great chiptunes!) and everybody being a geek there.

It was supposed to be a celebration of the Global Game Jam but I didn’t really see anything related to it.

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The Other Party (GameJolt Party)

  • Type: Game Showcase Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

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Lots of games put together in a club. Music was a bit loud but you could still interact with the game developers, play cool games and network. Pretty cool if you’d like to check and play some games.

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Roguelike Developers Meetup

  • Type: Networking
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 5/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

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We met together and talked about our games and projects, around 20-25 people showed up which was nice. Planning to do something cooler for next year (hope I can gather enough people again!)

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The awesome developers of Caves of Qud

GDC XPerience Networking Mixer

  • Type: Networking
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 1/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

This one was a bit of a let-down, but maybe I was expecting too much. Basically, the entry fee (around 20 USD) gives you access to a hotel rooftop bar to chat with other developers. Met a couple interesting people there tho, but I think they hyped the event and failed to give it more spice.

Nice view of the city tho.

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that.party

  • Type: Game Showcase + Club Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

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One of the most popular “public” parties at GDC time. Some interesting indie games were being displayed too, and I met some roguelike developers too.

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Drinks were a bit expensive, but the electronic music was super cool. Gather some Friends and go if you like electronic music and video games!

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Zynga party

  • Type: Arcade party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

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Zynga opened their offices for people to go in, interact with their employees and get a glimpse of what it’s like to work with Zynga. Arcade machines, slot car racing, shuffleboards, three type of hamburgers, beer and drinks. Great to have a fun time with friends! They also provided shuttle service from and to the Moscone.

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5th Latin American Gathering at GDC

  • Type: Networking?
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 1/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

This one had the potential to be good but I think the venue choice was not very good for the event: it was too loud, too dark and the space reserved for the event was far too tight to fit that many people!

A real shame since I was really interested in meeting other devs from Latin America. I hope next year it’s better!

Marioke

  • Type: Karaoke Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

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Same venue as that.party (smaller space tho). Nerd people yelling popular karaoke songs with their lyrics changed to be related to games and gamedev. Nice time if you like karaoke and you bring your nerdy friends.

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I’m told some famous indie devs can be found around but since I don’t know any that didn’t appeal much to me. This year they also had Botnik displaying cool predictive text stuff including Pokedex entries, sentences that Cloud would say to Tifa on FF7 and more cool stuff.

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I created this one

It was also open tab so cheap/free drinks, yay!

Pow x 7 Bonus Round

  • Type: Chiptune Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

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This one had two ambients, one more chill with video game music and the other crazier with stronger chiptune music and people dancing around. Nice way to close GDC, just for fun!

California, March 2018

Took 903 pics on this last trip:

  • 264 at Computer History Museum
  • 104 at Fort Point
  • 46 at North San Francisco
  • 96 at GDC Day 1 (Kongregate and Pocket Gamer parties)
  • 90 at GDC Day 2 (IGDA Serious Games + Github party + GameJolt Party)
  • 85 at GDC Day 3 (GDC Expo + Roguelike meetup + That.Party)
  • 129 at GDC Day 4 (GDC Expo +  Zynga party + Marioke)
  • 52 at GDC Day 5 (GDC Expo + Downtown SF + Pow X 7 Bonus Round)
  • 37 at Stanford Area

There is a lot of cleaning up to be done!

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Ananias Fellowship Edition hits 1.000+ installs on Google Play!

I missed the date, but we hit the 1K milestone for the paid version of Ananias on Android, last February 23 🙂

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We also surpassed the 1K mark on steam about 3 months ago (for sales), activations are waaay higher now (over 5K!) I wonder where I got that many? (maybe some bundles which I forgot to deactivate unused keys) while it took about 4 years in Android, it took less than a year on Steam. The Free edition on Android is now close to 60K cumulative installs

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Meanwhile, on the Apple Store,  Ananias has sold a bit over 300 units, in about the same period of time than Steam. So far, all of this has been without marketing campaigns or major advertising (besides some minor and useless facebook ads).

In other news, I decided to make the project board public, take a look if you feel curious 🙂

Haunted Mansion – 2018 7DRL – Day 7, Finished!

Another year, another 7DRL. 14 of them now. Play it now here!

You are a Real State agent who visits an old abandoned mansion to assess its market value and put it on sale, but when you are inside, checking some of its ancient artifacts, you pass out and wake up in a room…. what surprises await for you in the mansion? Every time you play there will be a new adventure!

Credits

  • Design, Code and Integration by Santiago Zapata
  • Game Art by Giovanny Ramirez
  • Cutscenes by Bombillo Amarillo
  • Ambient Music and Sound Effects by Ashton Morris

I was only able to fit less than 2 hours on the final day (!). During the day I precompiled the list of things to be done in my head, to make the most of out the limited time I knew I would have. Here’s what I did during that final push:

  • Integrate the walking animation for the main character (!)
  • Add ambient music
  • Add doors opening SFX
  • Add intro sequence
  • Add endgame image and logic control.
  • Add losing condition (time limit, 20 minutes)
  • Fix issue with conflicting camera fades
  • Add instructions

As you can see, all of it was polishing, no new game content but I think it was worth it to provide a better end product.

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I’m happy with the results this time. Following are the things I wish I could have included:

  • Slightly more elaborate puzzles: I wasn’t aiming for very complex puzzles, but hoped for more than just keys + doors.
  • Descriptions for objects in the mansion, including tying them to the (generated) history of the inhabitants.
  • More furniture and room types: Especially the beds, bathtubs, toilets and dining tables. I got some of them from Giovanny late on Sunday but it was too late to include.
  • A real mansion layout generator: A higher level generator which could decide the room types and positioning based on a general mansion pattern. (Sadly, right now rooms types are just randomly chosen).
  • Footsteps SFX: Time was running out and I couldn’t figure out a 5 minutes solution for this so had to leave it out.
  • Rooms of variable size with scrolling: Will probably require some tweaking to the engine since som many things are tied to the fixed size (had to do it because of the jam constraints)
  • Animations of the character walking up and down and a better walking animation.

On the other hand, this is a list of things I was very happy to achieve:

  • Setting the mood of the game, with the in-game art and the color palettes, as well as the awesome ambient track and SFXs and the intro scenes.
  • The engine for mansion exploration including item management (sadly couldn’t exploit it more)
  • The mansion layout generator, and tying it the engine which included transforming the 2D map into a logic structure.
  • The room generator which managed to create somewhat believable mansion rooms (and was pretty polished)

So far, only a couple bugs have been reported (and none of them seems to be a extreme blocker) which is good:

  • Sometimes you can escape the boundaries of reality and walk thru the background of the room
  • In some contexts, the game runs too slow. (Still trying to find out the causes)

I consider this is a complete game (go ahead and try to escape the mansion!), however I believe there’s potential to continue working on it. Here are some ideas I’m thinking on working on besides the ones already mentioned above (I’ll likely write a longer post about it in the future):

  • Multiple stories mansion: Stairways, balconies, towers.
  • Multiple ways to die.
  • Separate look and use commands.
  • NPCs lying around giving you info and driving the plot.
  • Scary moments!
  • Hidden rooms.
  • More!

Time invested: 30:31

mansionTime

Haunted Mansion – 2018 7DRL – Day 6

Getting close to a playable game, at least now you can roam the mansion and your advance will be restricted by locked doors for which you have to find a key. With some more efort we will have a basic game.

Coded the transformation of dungeon rooms into mansion rooms, effectively integrating the random layout generator into the engine.

Modified the Dungeon builder to generate sections separated by locked doors, and placing keys for the player to find, ensuring it’s solvable.

Splitting the mansion into sections, while not “realistic”, makes for a more interesting scenario given the time limitations. (Else there may be places worthless to explore, and determining the winning condition would be harder)

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While on a boring adults’ assembly, started thinking on the theming of the rooms, based on the list of objects at hand. Ended up with some room type definitions

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Used this to select the floor and wall types for rooms (as well as persisting the color selection).

Started integrating the content into the rooms, starting with some floor and wall decoration.

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To Do

  • Continue integrating different room types
  • Add character art and walking animation
  • Win and Lose conditions

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