General Discussion

Game development streams every Wednesday (unless otherwise mentioned on twitter)

Use the comments section under this post for general comments & discussion!
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ESAdevlog
Twitch Stream: http://www.twitch.tv/hempuli

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  • Screensaver jam!

    So, over the weekend there was a little jam organized by JW with the theme of making screensavers. I was really really busy on Saturday and most of Sunday, but I managed to complete a little thing nonetheless:

    Island Screensaver!!

    Recursive programming, uh oh

    So over the past week I’ve been implementing a simplistic scripting language inside Multimedia Fusion 2 to make it easier to create a versatile in-game editor for a game project. Programs like Game Maker of course already do something like this, but it felt kind of funny to realize that I was augmenting the usability of MMF2 by adding a custom-made scripting language on top of it. Designing something like this has also been an interesting lesson in programming.

    Anyway, some examples of the syntax:

    1.
    if,node,0,3,<,0/else/goto,2
    add,node,1,3,1/loop
    sub,node,1,3,1/loop

    When this runs, an object called "node" with the ID "1" will add 1 to it's variable at index "3" (which is its X position) if "node" with the ID "0" has its variable at index "3" below zero. Else, the "node" with ID "1" subtracts one from said variable. Or in motion:

    The teal diamond is the node with ID 0, and it moves above and below the 0 X coordinate, causing the other node to move.

    2.
    aimrelative,node,1,4,node,0,4,0.05/loop

    When this runs, the "node" with ID "1" sets its variable at index "4" (i.e. Y position) so that it approaches the value of node 0's variable 4. The 0.05 defines the speed at which the value changes, being in this case 5% of the gap between those variables. Or in motion:

    Again the teal diamond is the node with ID 0.

    3.
    if,damage,>,1
    set,surface,1,19,3/set,surface,2,19,3
    set,mask,15,18,3/set,mask,16,18,3/end

    This is what I actually use in-game right now. Basically it checks if an enemy is damaged enough (the 'damage' variable counts upwards because SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP), its graphical masks change slightly, after which the code block stops running.

    As you can see, the language is very crude and dependent of hand-crafted commands. However, I use it mostly for relatively simple checks and to spice up enemy movement, so I'm sure it'll be more than enough for this job. The fact that it supports if-else functions, and that separate code "blocks" can also affect other blocks via "start" and "pause" commands also adds a lot of versatility.

    The year 2015

    Well then! It’s the end of the year, as well as the beginning of the 7th year of my blog! Wow, I actually hadn’t ever counted how long the blog has been around, but that’s pretty cool, I’d say. Lots of stuff has happened over the past year (and sadly most of it not in this blog). Anyway!

    Environmental Station Alpha was rated the Best PC Metroidvania of 2015 at metroidvanias.com, along with Axiom Verge and Castle in the Darkness! I’m really glad about the game’s generally pretty positive reception, even despite all the little problems and quirks that unavoidably accompany a larger game designed by a single person. As an extra-cool thing, SmiteTV, who was one of the first to stream the game, has returned with the intention to do a full LP along with his co-commentator, Madithen. There have been lots of neat LPs of the game already, of course, but what makes this one especially intriguing is that it’ll probably be headed to lparchive.org once it’s completed! Sweet!

    This year has been pretty interesting also in the sense that in a post-ESA world I’ve found in myself the ability to concentrate on game projects for longer period of time, even during those lulls in interest that have previously driven me away from a project for months; this is neat and makes me more certain about future projects. The weekly stream I’ve been doing since …April? has also helped a lot, although I’ve also noticed a tendency of hurrying and not concentrating enough while making games on-stream due to the feeling that I need to show “cool stuff” instead of working on more technical things.

    I’ve been feeling really anxious at times about things happening in different parts of the world over the past year; it definitely feels like there’s a lot of anger, frustration and bad will bubbling in people’s minds everywhere, and I’m scared of the prospect that there are people who believe that hurting others is justifiable who might eventually decide to take the law in their own hands somewhere. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

    (The year has also had lots of great things going on, though!)

    To cap this weird end-of-the-year post, here’s a list of the games I’m working on:


    1. The new metroidvania – It’s the thing I’ve been mostly showing while streaming. I couldn’t help it and ended up starting to work on a new metroidvania as soon as the old one was done. What I said earlier about hurrying and not concentrating enough has affected this project the most – I feel it has a lot of potential but I also feel that there are some things that I’ll eventually have to rework pretty heavily to really make the game work. Mainly graphical stuff, though.

    2. Snake game – I’ll post screenshots once I get a bit further with the project, but people who have watched the stream have probably seen bits of this. Flying on a plane and seeing snakes, that inspires me a lot. I’ve been very excited about getting this project forward! Alas, there’s a lot of stuff in the engine that’s wonderfully complicated and I feel there’ll be several problems to solve before I’ll get the game to a truly polished-feeling state. Right now there’s one aggravating graphical bug that I dread to touch.

    3.-6. Various smaller games that might need a bit more work before being “announced” – Yeah, this list is pretty silly because most of these games are in a pretty early form right now. But yes, there are some secrets projects I’m slowly also developing! These are mostly smaller, too, so it might be that I’ll finish them before my next “larger” project is done. Who knows!

    Happy new year!

    Stream icon!

    So, since I haven’t had much to discuss here for the past few months but have been streaming game development regularly, I finally added a proper stream button to the top of the blog. You can see there if I’m streaming, but do also follow me on Twitter if you want more detailed schedule information. Sorry about the silence!

    Exile game jam 2015!

    Spent the last week in Denmark jamming with various indie people, and it was a lot of fun! Saw some of the most immersive gaming experiences I’ve ever had while also having some nice saunas and making some silly games. Nice!

    I made two games; the one I’m more proud of is called Layers and it’s a silly little music thing. It was fun to make and I’m happy I got to do some composing work. Left & Right arrow keys to move, Up to jump, Down to pick up & drop things. There are 2 secret characters, can you find them?

    DOWNLOAD

    (Win only, sorry)

    The other thing is even sillier; it’s a simple chess game with some physics added in.

    Jams are always a wonderful way to concentrate on something lighter every now and then. (Although I got a pretty bad flu so it might take some time to get back to normal productivity levels.)

    Research Outpost update!

    As is standard, the news get to this blog somewhat late, but YEAH!!!! the update is now here. It contains a new area, new bosses, new secrets and new new new new

    Go to Steam and BUY THE GAME if you haven’t already! Thank you.

    Special update for ESA coming 18th of October


    Just that! There’ll be new content and secrets, and some much-needed bugfixes. Yay!

    Steam announcement here!

     

    I’ve been doodling some characters for a story idea which is based on a concept I’ve been pondering and working on for some years now. This story idea is basically the third iteration of the concept, although I think I want to work the second story iteration into a separate work (a comic, maybe?) ESA was such an action-oriented game that it would be cool to make a game with an emphasis on story. It could also help overcome certain fears related to expressing more emotional dialogue (I usually feel terribly self-aware if I try to do that; not uncommon but it’d be cool to get over it).

    I’ve played Undertale a lot lately, what a great game! It handles some game conventions in a really fresh way and has mostly amazingly good writing, both of which are rare sights in indie games. The soundtrack is also rather good. Gushing about the game here is probably kind of redundant, seeing how much attention it has gotten, but eh, I enjoyed it and wanted to say that. Here’s the Steam page.

    Weekly updates to come!! Maybe!!!

    Once my current projects get far enough to be worth posting about, I’ll start making weekly updates on this blog along with the weekly stream. Or at least try to. It’d be nice to get some more activity here and it’d help with combining my thoughts about recent developments. Woo

    Silence

    I’m not dead! Just tired.

    I’ve been streaming weekly throughout the Summer, and since there have been no big announcements to make or new games to reveal (yet), I’ve been forgetting to update this blog. I’ll try to get back to it, and hopefully soon enough there’ll be a new game to make proper updates about. I have a lot of ideas, though, and I’m not sure if I can really make all of them.

    The political/economical/humanitarian problems around the world and here in Finland have made life pretty anxious at times, and that has sometimes drained a lot of my energy to work on games – especially since it feels that it’d be nice to actually help people who’re suffering right now, which games do only on a relatively superficial level. It’s a dilemma I’ll have to live with, I suppose.

    Anyway! I’m going to update things more once I have things to update about, but fear not, things are under development. I’m also working on some comics :)

    No More Sweden game jam 2015!

    Well, that game jam was last weekend. And it was lots of fun! Swam in the ocean for the first time this Summer and talked a lot with cool people; game development tends to be not that social most of the time so these moments where I can meet other game developers stand out nicely.

    During the actual jam part I started to make a simple board-gameish online game where players have different jobs with different missions and have to carry them out. One of them is a traitor, with the mission to spoil everyone else’s objectives. I didn’t get quite as far as I had hoped, only managing the basic gameplay without the actual objectives, but it was fun making an online multiplayer game again. I probably wont keep working on it, but I might revisit the concept at a later date (although I do have several projects to work on at the moment anyway).

    In other news, the game development streams I’ve been doing have been really enjoyable because it’s easier to concentrate on a project when I can’t just stop the moment I feel annoyed by a bug. This has also helped working on multiple projects at once. So thanks, everyone who has joined to watch the streams!

    Also, Environmental Station Alpha’s Soundtrack is now out, for $2,99! Go check it out!