Molydeaux 2013

Molyjam 2013 is inspired by a parody twitter account by the name of Peter Molydeaux. There are some interesting and funny ideas in there. The theme for this year’s molyjam used actual quotes from Peter Molyneaux, of course in the manner of promising a lot. I compiled a shortlist and checked and saw if I will be working in a group. Not! I worked alone so I also needed to pick something that would be do-able in 48 hours and that would be interesting in looks.

For my game I chose the quote “Pull the right trigger to see The Most interesting Thing in the World”. Hmm. OK. I had a random maze generator up and running, well, kind of, and I thought about googling the most interesting thing in the world. Based on that result I decided on how to fullfill that.

Here I will present what went right and what went wrong and what can be done to improve it.

molydeaux2

Since I wanted to do something interesting, not just plain and simple planes floating about, I decided to actually build tiles and then set them up in Unity. For that I went on with 15 different blocks and then I proceeded to model them. The whole modelling process took me around 8-10 hours, since I wanted the models to look good and because I haven’t used  3Ds Max in quita a while. My final results looked really good but when I imported them in Unity… well, it didn’t work out as expected.

The objects, once imported into Unity, had their direction scrambled. Which meant that I then needed to figure out a way to make them fit. So lesson learned from here: If you are importing an object and its axis is screwed, make it a child of a Game Object. Doing that solved the problem. Of course, it does not happen all the time but when it does…

Hand in hand with the rotation problem, I also had a problem with my models as they did not fit in a box as well as expected. The Maze was first tried with Unity’s primitive cube system, but it did not seem to work properly. It was Saturday night, a long day had passed and I needed to know what to do because to top it all, the smoothing I applied increased the number of polygons to such a degree that a 10×10 maze took around 30 seconds to generate which wouldn’t be ok at all. So I decided to redo the models and just apply a smoothing division to them to make them somewhat more smooth.

The result? Vastly improved performances and since I knew exactly which tiles I had to redo, it all went by quickly. The only problem appeared in the corners and I wanted to keep its flexibility and get to putting them in. I had the clock ticking against me so I decided to use a column on every corner to hide the imperfections and put a plane beneath them with the same texture as the walls. This way the imperfections would be somewhat masked on first glance. Lesson learned? If you need to redo an object, simplify it as much as possible by taking out until there is nothing to take out.

Another problem was with the possible combinations and figuring out how to place the right prefab and what orientation it should use. (It’s also a problem I have apparently not completely fixed but I’ll do that ASAP). Due to the nature of the maze generator, and the fact that I have 15 prefabs, I have 256 possible combinations. Luckily some combinations just disappear and I’m left with a lot less. To solve that I created a help table to list every possible variation, where it occurs and how. To improve efficiency, I used a variable to sum up a value for each of the tiles around our tile and then used that in a switch. This made the switch be about 500 lines long! If you have a way of going around that I would appreciate your help :D but so far it’s the solution that works and it works pretty fine, especially since a switch is optimized to work in a way similar to a BST.

Then, all I needed to do was test and fix with each model until they worked. Some rotations are still off, due to my sloppy calculations, but I aim to clear those up as soon as possible.
I could also say that the final models and the algorithm were pretty efficient. On my laptop it took 3 minutes to generate a 100×100 tile map, which means effectively building well over 10k objects. Not bad!

molydeaux4

The last part that I’m going to cover are the trigger boxes which some of you who have played the game have found already. I currently have a public array where I store the textures for the surprises (yes, I know, but I was tired, ok?!) and then just put them out. The problem with the  boxes is that they still are not placed as expected. Some are placed outside which comes to show that there are still bugs in the algorithm. That and a proper number of boxes should be found as I would like for a person to find at least one and soon as it would motivate one to keep on looking for more.

(Controls: W,A,S,D to move)

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What’s in store for the future?

Well, I aim to build a menu system where you choose the size of the maze that you’re going to play in. That and fix any possible prefab orientation and trigger position bugs. Other than that it would be very cool to be able to hook it with a internet meme website so that a random meme is shown everytime. It’s a would be cool but it’s to be saved for last. Furthermore, I would like to increase the feel of the dungeon by creating torches and putting them in there. So far I am pleased with what has been done in these 48 hours.

What’s the next project?

Since I am still currently unemployed and am working to fill up my portfolio with more stuff to show my skills, I aim on doing several projects before my allocated looking for a job time runs out. My next project though is a match 3 game, but in complete 3D. Kind of like a 3D tetris. I aim to try and develop it for google play and actually put it online and on google play for free for testing. I would like to use it initially to gather data but if it’s good enough I will try and find some help with the art side and making a good looking 3D match 3 tetris-like game.

Train Jam

So, I decided to do a game. What is that? Well, let’s say you have a very long train ride ahead of you. You could either: A. Read a book. B. Watch some series. C. Sleep or D. Screw all that and make a game! I decided to go with D. Not only that but I figured I could use something useful on my website and I did want to do a remake on my old game, speed so that I have a presentable version on the interwebz.

So that’s what I started to do and oh, do everything from scratch without an internet connection. Now that’s a challenge! I wanted initially to do things in flash but somehow flixel didn’t help me. It kept saying a class that was there did not exist. Weird enough, so I decided to go with Unity because A. It’s easy, B. I’ve used it before and C. Did I mention it was easy?

The goal of the game is to get a highscore while avoiding the obstacle(+s for future versions. Yes, I plan to keep working on this boy). You use your arrow keys (I haven’t connected WASD to axis yet, so sorry guys) to move around and collect pellets. The more pellets you collect, the faster you go! If you hate the blue background, don’t worry, I hate it too, I just haven’t made anything good enough to replace it, yet. I also have another couple of things that need tweaking like: checking to see if you jump over an obstacle because you’re simply translated over it, in order to make sure you don’t abuse the speed for nothing, a menu system, a score collection system and a better way to randomly generate the obstacle(+s so you can see I keep that in mind) and the pellets. Oh and I like so that I want to tryand reproduce it in flash AND in HTML5. Time to say what that big boy is made of.

(EDIT: The annoying blue background and one more texture have been fixed.)

But if you want to see the game and how it feels like, you can try it HERE. I did not expect the build to be that different from the version I was testing ( silly me) but after a few tweaks it works like a charm. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.

 

Bert Baker’s Cunnilingus.

OK… I will refrain from using a picture in this case… or… OK, I will use it, but open it at your own risk. I will keep it small and you can view it in it’s big size if you want. I will have you want to be memory wiped with that thing from Men in Black.

 

There. Now it’s so small you can avoid it :D Now, the game that we did over the weekend is not something you would want to play on a Sunday afternoon with your family around you. It is not a party game, it is not a social game. You can call it an educational game or an experimental game (Why? because you use your tongue, that’s why).

Now, this is a game that is different from what you would play normally. It has no graphics and the only way you know what you are doing is through audio output. The objective of the game, is to pleasure a woman by stimulating her lady parts with your fingers and (hopefully) your tongue. In short, you will rub the hell out of your iPhone.

The game is split into three stages: the first stage has you rubbing the sides of the phone with both fingers, one at each side. Doing so correctly has her moaning. Making mistakes has her ask you to perform better. After rubbing her a while, she will ask you to start stimulating the top of your phone. I guess you could imagine why. After managing to stimulate her through the second stage, she will ask you to lick the middle of the phone, where one of her most sensitive lady part is. You will have to go through all of these by rubbing the sides, the top and running your tongue down the centre of the phone. You win the game by having her achieve her climax.

There is no menu, no exit, so far it is just a straight forward jump-into simulation. That is also why we aren’t even thinking of taking it to the app store (plus the ridiculous amount of money apple asks for developing to which we say: Not Today!). So you’re left with the description, a couple of sounds and a presentation in the dark: since it is appropriate with the game. Enjoy ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Vn2D0CCaYNs#t=5m00s

I mention it again: enter at your own risk ;)

Day Two: One step closer to licking your phone

After a not very productive first day, the second day had us switch to iOS and actually manage to make a working prototype, at least when touching. The sounds have also been implemented and now they just have to be linked to the scoring system and have everything put into place. Our cunnilingus simulator is getting close to what it ought to be and even though I would like to keep working on it for the future, the only possibility would be Android since it’s too simplistic to get on the App Store but it would only work for devices that have more than 2 touch points. Still, it is a wonderful idea.

Also, while testing, I noticed how difficult the game actually is, something which the team designer likens to pleasuring a woman. (I just had to write that down).

Trailer or gameplay video is due to be made today. Now all that is left is tying in the score with the smashing vocals. They will be the best thing you have ever heard. No, really!

Frightday night on the Jam

Day 1 is almost over, at least in our case as we will not be going to crunch. Our game is going to be legendary:

A cunnilingus simulation game without any visuals, like in reality, for smartphones. We actually want to make players be forced to use their tongues on their smartphones by having them play a stimulating twister on their touchscreens and them having them be “forced”  to lick their screens. Benjamin, my teammate had tried to see if his iPhone registered his tongue and it worked.

We had the design pretty early set up and then it took a couple of hours to get everything set up. Benjamin had an android phone that he didn’t use too much so we decided to use that for debugging. After figuring out how to make your projects run on android and playing around with a couple of predefined scenes, i tried to see how to work out the multi-touch involved. After setting up an empty object to register every touch and it’s position I found out after a little debugging that the android phone we had did not have such a powerful multi-touch. At least, the number of fingers pressed went from 0 to 1 to 31?! But it could register as 0-2 fingers touching on one time, which is not enough so we will have to try and make it work tomorrow on an iPhone. This time we’ll try to prepare things in the morning as early as possible to spend the least amount of time setting up.

Lé start of Lé Jam

So it begins, at least it has begun for 15 minutes. The pilot of the ITU Game Jam, appropriately called, in ITU style, JamIT. I’m not going to go into detail on what I will be doing but my team is already set up, just installing the proper software at this moment, and then we will begun to make our ridiculous game. So ridiculous you will never forget, or you will forget it instantly :D Anyway, let’s see how awesome it will get! Go Jammin!

On Game Jams and the User-centric Approach

Q: Do you think user-centric approaches are at odds with the Game Jam approach?  If the idea is to get a player involved early in the process, how does this fit into what goes on at a Game Jam?

A: I’m a second year games student who has already either participated or been witness to a couple of Game Jams. Game Jams are made to be fast paced game development gatherings that usually end up being better in networking or a good game idea than in a finished product. I honestly believe prototyping is a lot easier since it fits in a Jams time frame and has a potential to provide cool ideas for a product, something that could be expanded, while when making a game you have to be lucky sometimes to make it really work out.
The problem starts from the way Game Jams take place: two days of work round the clock, thus it’s practically a group of people crunching away and designing a game from scratch. The only problem with it is usually the scope taken by teams. A game with a big scope has very small chances of being done in two weeks, let alone two days. The speed of production could also come into conflict with the user-centric approach.
In order to get a player involved early in the process, a team has to have a target already. That is one of the main rules of marketing when it comes to making a product: establishing a target, whether it is a niche or a wide audience. Target audience influences design and needs at least one representative from the target audience in order to continuously provide input. Besides that, constant communication must be present, meaning that in order for a game jam to work it needs to have the user be part of the team and yet separated. Constantly communicating and inputing information but being in the dark enough in order to make playtesting be attuned more objectively.
Due to the nature of game jams, I would say that game jams are generally not user-centric, but they could be made that way by getting either outside people to be “users” and thus the target for the teams developing. If that is not possible, then the users could be the members of other teams, though that might influence the design of other games. It is complicated to say which could be the right choice of action but in my opinion, user-centric approaches are more or less at odds with game jams as babysitting the user might require too much effort considering the strenuous and necessary development.