US/Eastern -- (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
more...build 2, some bugfixes
I discovered it's quite a bit more fun to fly around and look for interesting compositions than it is to play the "game," but I'm quite happy with how the whole thing turned out.
Some minor changes, updated unity and made sure everything was hunky-dory. Covered up but didn't really fix the bug when you fly into a corner.
Anticipating this to be the last build for a while. So long, it's been a blast!
more...godspeed, noble spirit
Well, uploaded with literally one second to spare. Although, I'm on the beta 4 version of unity, so I have no idea if it will even work!
Will it? Play here, if it does!
Will be updating more I'm sure.. there's still quite a few bugs involving corners... and I'll have to upgrade unity and re-upload (amateur hour over here!) at some point too.
There turns out to not be much of a game here. I don't think the goal is ever explicitly stated. And the challenge? Well, a bit laughable. But it is shipped (if a few bugs here and there).
The biggest help today was splitting every task out and working backwards from the deadline, setting aside time for each thing (so I'd know when to move on, if need by). I gave myself an hour of free time at the end, and it's a good thing too because it got used up somewhere.
The major tasks of the day were:
-modeling the room
-modeling the furniture (had to cut the bookcase short, poor books)
-textures on everything
-outside scenery (had to cut this entirely)
-test (barely did any, this hour was mostly used on lighting)
Wasn't super happy with any previous title ideas. The final title came to my while making the win screen.
The game benefits greatly from a couple tracks from opengameart.org by cynicmusic and raizercrow, respectively:
Big thanks to you two random guys on the internet, if you ever happen to read this.
May do a postmortem at some point, when there's enough distance to the project.
more...dat flat blue void
A rug would really tie the room together.
Been baking AO in blender for fun and <strike>profit</strike> learning!
more...one day left, already?
Sooo so far to go. Will probably have to do some emergency feature cuts tomorrow to try and finish on time. Underestimated modeling time.. design time.. programming time.. and time I'd have available -- but I'll leave all that analysis for the postmortem... we're still alive, have hope! Haven't given up yet! Still crawling, one arm at a time, towards the finish.
Finished, finally, blocking in the maze. Though, I don't think I'll have time to flesh it all out, and it might come down to just one room, in the end. We'll see.
Controls are tweaked well (for a jam), though I'm starting to realize the 3D flying might get sort of nauseating.
Don't have a name yet, Fly Home works as both a list of the main things in the game and as a description of the goal. But it's sooo boring... Maybe a play on nanowrimo.. Nano Fly-o? Or we just go with Bzzzzzzzzzzzz... what you'll be hearing continually when playing.
Let's sleep on it. Here's to an early and productive morning, good luck!
more...how to blender, again?
I just realized I've completely neglected the S of FPS -- shooting. Right there in the name of the genre. Ha! Take that, establishment.
A while back a hummingbird got stuck under the porch skylight. It reminded me of the way flies get stuck at windows: they are caught at local maxima. The only way out is to turn around and go deeper into where you think you don't want to be.
If I manage to target a theme at all in this <strike>mess</strike> maze, it's that. Not backtracking, exactly (which just seems tedious), more like: having to go the one place you don't want to go.
Of course, if there were some actual threats (instead of just a passive environmental maze) this might be easier... But I'll be lucky just to finish a very basic maze! Fugetabout extras like ventilation fan blades or (gasp!) people swatting at you. (For now, at least... *shifty eyes*.)
more...the midway slump
I've barely scraped together an hour or two between the past couple days. I'm banking more and more on the mythical "Friday!" as a hope to finish everything. The maze is only roughly, maybe, 20% blocked out. And it's meant to be quite small!
So the player isn't too familiar with the layout (and there aren't too many contextual clues), I have pictured a kind of fictionalized architecture/style to the house. I realized today what I was picturing is largely inspired by Jim Woodring's Frank. As for whether I can actually make something visually interesting at all remains left to be seen.
I'm hoping there will be some sense of exploration driving the player as much as this goal or puzzle or sense of having to escape/get outside.
Wednesday is my break day for some other somethings, so I might be able to finish the maze then, at least holding loosely onto my initial timeline. I'm thinking worst-case we'll at least make it a good chunk in and won't be too far behind schedule. We'll see!
more...stage 2: player movement
Got some basic player controls down, though still need major tweaking. If I can get them playable by the end of the day (oops out of time already!), then in order to remain on schedule, I'll have to design and build the entire maze Mon/Tues. Hmm........ Haha! This will be fun.
Had this little epiphany that most of my game ideas revolve around mechanics and controls. Like, what would the controls be like to fly a bird? What mechanics would govern the flight: banking, soaring, etc. And the game or demo or whatever, grows from there.
It's not bad necessarily.. to approach things this way... But this little thought I just had was: what if I started, instead, with a theme? I don't mean like a ludum dare theme, like "ninjas" or "escape" or whatever -- a vague thing, intended to just be an impetus, a springboard for ideas. No, I mean more like a narrative theme. Like the kind you'd find running through novels and at the heart of short stories. Things like "you don't know what you've got till its gone" or "you don't always get what you want, but often, you get just what you need" or "happiness is only real when shared," or "sadness is beautiful" or whatever... (bad examples but maybe you know what I mean.)
Getting way off topic. Next post will be about maze design, I suspect.
more...stage 1: direction chosen!
Tried out the brainstorming method I've been wanting to try and it worked well. Almost too well! Now I have more ideas calling me than I can possibly do.
It seems like going through the process of finishing a project should make your list of projects-to-do smaller? But its like the classic netflix queue paradox: the more movies you check off your list, the longer your list grows.
Does this just end at death, with todo lists longer then they've ever been, never to be finished? That doesn't seem right somehow! Although maybe that explains the contents of Feynman's chalkboard at death: "Know how to solve every problem that has been solved." If that's a todo list, it's a monster.
But back on topic... Some ideas I was tempted by:
idea 1 - Permanence. Player doesn't have implicit control over time like every single game with a save/load system. Would probably have to be narrative-driven (as skill-based games almost *require* repeating moments in time). An exercise in making decisions matter, and forcing the player to adapt to and roll with their mistakes, instead of trying to eliminating them.
...rejected as too big and broad for this jam.
idea 2 - No gravity. FPS in space. In spaaaaaace. Could be a lot of fun, maybe shooting to propel you? Full 360° looking around, you'd probably need some kind of control to rotate you around normal to the screen. No sure about a goal -- maybe trying to navigate through a series of room challenges a la portal, or maybe some kind of combat, maybe escaping a destroyed spaceship that lost atmosphere?
idea 3 - A play on the no gravity concept, you control a small, agile bird. Changing direction too fast would lose your momentum. Flap wings to gain height/speed. Maybe goal is eating bugs out of the air? Like this idea, but the next is a bit of a simplification and refinement of it.
idea 4 - FPSs nearly always sit the camera right at adult human head height: it makes sense, we're human. But what if the PC was too big? Or too small? What if you were tiny, just a point in space? Suppose you controlled a fly. Everything would seem giant. Suppose you were just a fly, trying to get outside, the way flies get stuck in windows...
I think #4 is the winner: nice simple, small project. Perfect for the time available. It's basically a 3D maze. I also like this project because it will be mostly just modeling which is a weak point I've been wanting to practice. It also distills the genre to it's most basic form: simply moving and looking.
We'll start on it and see how it goes, may pivot if it gets stale.
Right on schedule so far, finished some other things early today so I'll have the afternoon to prototype, though not the evening. That'll be good because Sunday I have less time than today. Still targeting basic game completion Tues or Weds.
Listening to a samba mix on songza, highlights so far:
-Zumbi by Jorge Ben
-Bala Com Bala by Elis Regina
-Samba De Duas Notas by Luiz Bonfá
It's a cold, windy, rainy day here. Perfect for gamedev!
Random Bonus Video!
more...stage 0: initial ideas, rough schedule
Been wanting to do what I call a "risk legacy" analysis on something, which is just this simple brainstorming method Rob Daviau outlined somewhere... (ah, found it, first few minutes here: http://vimeo.com/82383614)
1. list all the assumptions you have about a project going in
2. consider a what-if for each one: why is this an assumption, what if it wasn't?
E.g., a few assumptions for FPS:
-it's first person
-you walk around looking at stuff
-probably, at some point, you shoot things
(and so on.. the list gets big quick..)
Then you can start to ask: is this necessary? Usually you assume in an FPS you shoot things to harm them, what if shooting things helped them? (You get the TF2 medic, basically). You're usually surrounded by enemies, what if you were surrounded by allies? You want to shoot things, what if you didn't? What if you wanted to avoid hitting things?
(And so on... you can get really crazy like: you assume there's gravity, or time goes in a linear direction, or.. space is Euclidean... what if it wasn't? What then? Anyway, I'll save it for tomorrow.)
That's the theory anyway. I've been wanting to try it in earnest, this jam seems the perfect opportunity since it's designed around a genre (of sorts).
(essential to any project I intend to actually finish -- I find it's best to cut the time approx in half: finish the game in the first half, make it better in the second.)
1. Saturday: if nothing else, come up with a good idea and have fun exploring hypotheticals with the above brainstorming method. Come up with a more fleshed-out schedule.
2. By Tuesday or Wednesday have a fully functional game. All essential gameplay included. This only gives us Sunday and a few evenings to basically make the core game. We'll target Tuesday but Weds is ok since I've got lots of time Friday.
3. Rest of the week is for polish, major bugs, tweaks, feel, unexpected disasters, extra art passes, etc.
more...proverbial hat-in-ring post
Have some other projects going on, but feeling generally like I need to finish something as a little motivational boost.
Though there's not much time, I'm going to try to document the process as much as possible since sometimes, at the end, you value your devlog more then the the actual game.