The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

It’s alive! Aliiiiive!

I’ve just started this new web site devoted to all the terrible games and game-like and game-related things I make. Check it out if you’re in to that sort of thing! If you’re not, well, eff off. Oh yeah. That just happened.

July 5th, 2013 Posted by | My games | no comments

Ludum Dare recap

Oh, I forgot to say: I came in 427th overall in Ludum Dare 23, which is not too damn bad when you consider it was out of 1401 submitted games. Top third! My highest ranking was in humour (189th), and my lowest were in innovation (674th) and graphics (620), neither of which is a surprise to me at all, since my graphics are horribad and I made a fairly standard item-catching game. The only twist really is that it’s in the round. The one ranking that is a surprise to me is sound — 363rd? I’ve gotten surprisingly consistent praise for the music in Dessert Planet, which is nuts, since it was something I bonked out in like fifteen minutes while trying to learn lmms. But I guess people are in to it, which is oddly gratifying.

So where do I go from here? Well, now that ld48 is over, I should probably upload the newer build, which has a bunch of bug fixes and also knows how to save high scores between sessions. But more excitingly: the Android version is almost ready! I have a few bugs I’m hunting (one is very stubborn) and a few promotional assets I need to get done and then I’ll be ready to launch. I’m planning on both Google Play and the Amazon App Store, so you can get a copy from whichever one you like best. I plan to launch at 99 cents, since, really, Dessert Planet’s a fun time-waster — I could see me playing it for a few minutes while I’m waiting for an elevator or something — but it’s not really a deep, engrossing game you’re going to spend dozens of hours on.

After that? Well, I have an idea that I might add another entire play mode to the game, and probably as a free update for anybody who already owns the Android version (though if it’s super awesome, I might raise the price — incentive to buy it early!). So Dessert Planet development is still very much alive, just… postponed a bit due to Diablo 3, is all.

Also in the pipeline for the near future: I’m going to swear at somebody about baseball! Been really lazy about that this year.

May 31st, 2012 Posted by | My games | no comments

Double dog Dare

It’s Ludum Dare again! This time around my project went much better, and I got it finished in just 24 hours instead of 48! That leaves me a whole day for skiving off and/or adding new features. If you’d like to play it — and who wouldn’t? — it’s over here. Feedback is appreciated, and votes also are appreciated if you’re in a position to do so!

April 21st, 2012 Posted by | My games | no comments

Jam, jam, here comes the man

So Sos Sosowski suddenly tweeted earlier today about a Sudden Death Game Jam — the jam machine spits out a random game theme, and you get two hours to make the game. So, naturally, I dropped every damn thing and made a jam game. My theme was "a game that plays the player," and here’s what I managed to poop out. It’s not much, but not too bad for two hours and me being terrible at programming. I had to cut a whole lot of stuff to get it done, but there it is nonetheless!

April 5th, 2012 Posted by | My games | no comments

Speaking of games you’ll hate

I’m absorbed by this weird idea I’ve had to make a multiplayer sneaking game based on ALF.

Is anybody still reading this post? I didn’t think so. Well, I’ll soldier on nonetheless. I have this planned out as a four-player team-based stealth game. Team one consists of Alf, Willie, and Lucky, and team two is Trevor and Raquel Ochmonek. The goal of the game for team Ochmonek is to catch Alf, and the goal for team Alf is to keep the Ochmoneks from catching him until time runs out (after which some deus ex machina occurs; maybe Kate and the kids get home from soccer practice or whatever). Here’s how it works.

Player one plays as both Alf and Lucky, switching between them. Alf can do nothing to defend himself against the Ochmoneks; if they get line of sight to him, it’s game over. So his main priority is to hide somewhere good. Lucky provides an interesting twist; he can be used to scout, so Alf isn’t completely blind, and he can also be used to create distracting noises to fool the Ochmoneks into thinking Alf (or Willie) is nearby, or to draw Willie’s attention. Also there’s a bit of metagaming available with Lucky; if the Ochmoneks find Lucky, and he’s not (seemingly) active, they may be fooled into thinking that Alf is on the move, and adjust their tactics accordingly.

Willie is basically the defensive character. He can move about the house freely, and, if he catches the Ochmoneks, he can throw them out of the house. The catch, though, is that he can only toss one Ochmonek at a time, and he actually has to drag the Ochmonek to the door — it’s not just a freebie /kick button. So Willie has to stay on top of his game in order to keep Alf safe.

The Ochmoneks can move freely, and win the game if they ever catch a glimpse of Alf, but it ain’t their house and Willie can throw them out, so they have to be a bit sneaky (on account of Willie can’t toss them if he can’t find them).

As play begins, Alf, Lucky, and Willie can set up anywhere they want in the house. The Ochmoneks always start outside the house, at the end of the driveway. Each character has variable movement speed — moving faster obviously allows you to cover more ground in less time, but also makes more noise, and making noise is usually bad for you. Strategically, the Team Alf game is about keeping the Ochmoneks distracted so they don’t find Alf’s hiding spot, and the Team Ochmonek game is about keeping Willie from locking them down long enough to make a thorough search.

As written, I suspect that an Ochmonek zerg wins pretty much every time; I’d probably need to add a balancing mechanic to prevent the optimal strategy being to say "eff stealth" and full-speed searching in different directions. Most likely what that would be is a temporary ban if Willie throws you out, on the order of you can’t reënter the house for twenty seconds. I definitely picture Willie having the most frenetic role, since he’s basically being tag-teamed by the Ochmoneks; Lucky can provide a bit of misdirection and scouting, but no actual defense, and Alf is completely helpless if the Ochmoneks are closing in. Alf/Lucky should be a metagame-y role, using very limited tools to try to stay a step ahead of pursuit. And the Ochmoneks probably depend heavily on clear communication and teamwork, since Willie always wins in a straight-up confrontation.

So that’s what’s been on my head all day long. We’ll see if I do it; network code is a bitch.

February 29th, 2012 Posted by | My games | no comments

Two new games!

That’s right, food friends: not one, but two brand new awful games you’ll hate. Who loves you? Yeah.

You heard about this Pirate Kart? Basically it’s a game jam; a bunch of people all got together and spent a weekend (or longer) making a bunch of weird, silly games, and then sent them to these dudes and they’ve made a compilation of them that will be showing on the floor at GDC next week. So, the important point: two games made by me will show at GDC. This year.

Now, since you’re more awesome than all those media flacks, I’ll let you play them right now. The first one’s called Kart Bomber, and it’s a brooding meditation on the sociopolitical climate that led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki disguised as a really dumb arcade game about Hitler nuking pirates and Frenchmen and cursing in German. The second one is called Grand Vampire Chase, and it’s a hack of Kart Bomber that’s all about clicking the fuck out of the grand vampire so you can win the game. You’ll absolutely hate them both, so feel free to play them and then come back here and whine that the free entertainment isn’t up to your lofty standards and you demand your fifteen United States dollars back. You’ll see where that gets you, Frenchie!

February 29th, 2012 Posted by | My games | 2 comments

Preview release #1

I asked on the Tweeter yesterday if anybody would be interested in a playable preview version of the game I’ve been working on. I got a rousing response! By which I mean one, single response. But it was very rousing!

Eh, good enough. So today I give to you a playable preview version of my game. You can play it here.

There isn’t a whole lot to do yet — and the graphics are, of course, all placeholders — but everything that’s implemented works, and you can get a rough idea of what the game is and what it’s about. The "level" I’ve included is, of course, not especially challenging, but feel free to play around with it and get a sense for the game. Any feedback is appreciated, especially if "feedback" is a euphemism for "money."

December 20th, 2011 Posted by | My games | 2 comments

Explicating that inexplicable screenshot

Y’all seen this?


That’s the first dev screenshot I posted to Tweeter a while ago. Tweeter’s great n’all, but 140 characters just ain’t enough to link to that and talk about it. So that’s why we’re here.

The best part about that screenshot is that absolutely 100% everything in it is a placeholder. Those graphics aren’t final, the level layout isn’t final, the UI isn’t final — none of it. But what’s there can give you a sense for the general play of the game once I tell you what it all is.

The carrots represent the mobs (there are actually two different mob types in play in this picture, but you can’t tell because I used the same sprite for both of them). They spawn and then run around. The line-looking things are walls, which alter the flow of mobs (and other things) through the level. The red and blue squares are placeable objects the player adds to the world to try to "trap" the mobs. Down the right side you see smaller, faded versions of them; those are the buttons you click on to place the respective objects. And in the bottom-right is the play/stop button (the system is running in this shot, so it’s currently a stop button).

Everything you see in the shot is currently fully-functional. The mobs will spawn and they will behave as they should. The placement buttons do create objects the player then adds to the world. The objects do what they should when triggered. It’s actually a fairly remarkable amount of progress, given how ‘orrible I am.

November 12th, 2011 Posted by | My games | no comments

New game+

Okay, time for some minor disclosure. Part of the reason I’ve been quiet lately is because I’ve been spending a pretty significant chunk of my free time working on a new game. Unlike the last one, this game isn’t intended to be some brooding, artsy "learning project;" first and foremost it’s a game, with a proper win condition and more than one minute of play time and everything.

In particular, it’s a puzzle game in the same vein as Rush, or Eets, or things of that nature; there is a board you need to configure, and then you press the "start" button and find out if you got it right. If you didn’t, you stop the system and then muck around with what you’ve done and try again. I’m being intentionally vague; as I get more stuff complete I’ll reveal more details.

As it stands, I have a playable build that starts and stops properly, and a few different moving parts that behave as they should. I believe there’s only one more significant programming challenge I need to solve, after which I’m in the clear, and can begin the arduous asset creation process. Keep an eye on the blog and follow me on the Tweeter for more updates. I hope to be ready to show off a screenshot this Saturday!

Quick question: if I were to post playable "milestone" builds so you can see what I’m up to, would people be interested in that?

November 10th, 2011 Posted by | My games | no comments

So I had this plan

"Keep it simple," I said. "Last time I got too bogged down in making art assets, which I’m awful at," I said. "This time, I’ll do barebones art so I’ll have more time for level design," I said.

Then I spent an entire goddamn day designing parallax backgrounds.

September 7th, 2011 Posted by | My games | no comments