Archive for the ‘Other’ Category.

Weekly progress post #85: Uhhh

I think I streamed last week but I guess I didn’t make a blogpost? Sorry!!

I tweeted some progress stuff on Baba’s actual level editors and those got a lot of attention and that was cool! I also made some watercolours of Baba:

baba_yeah

Woo!

Markov things

I put parts of Lord of the Rings script and recipes into the generator:
frodo
frodo2
frodo3
frodo4
frodo5
frodo6
(Some of the later ones use only the script and no recipes because I accidentally overwrote the recipes that best fit with the script + the results weren’t that interesting.)

Weekly progress post #76: Recipes

Today’s stream was kind of a silly one; I spent most of it working on a markov chain recipe generator. I had made the generator itself last spring, but the recipes I used then were written by random people and thus had fairly different ways to express themselves, making the generation less interesting. On top of that I was a bit uncomfortable with showing the generator off with the data being recipes ripped from the internet. Today I went and dug up an old Chinese cookbook I have and started adding recipes from that instead; the book is from 1984 and old enough that tofu wasn’t a common thing in the west yet (it’s referred to as “bean cheese”). Since the book is in Finnish, I had to translate it on the fly which probably butchered a lot of the grammar, but at least now I have something I can actually show off! As can be seen in the gif above, there’s a lot of repetition (I think I have 7 or 8 recipes in the database atm); I suspect there might be a bug in the algorithm itself because there are large parts of recipes that basically never show up in the generated ones. Gotta look at that! Fun projects.

Baba was also worked on; I implemented a level selection dialogue for when a level has a more difficult variant available. This has been on my to-do list for a long time now but various things (laziness, The International 2017) have reduced my motivation to actually get it done. The way the variants themselves are implement is terrible right now so that’ll need some looking at. As a nice side effect of this work, I separated the names of the levels into a separate file because previously they had been stored in a very nonsensical way that is somewhat hard to explain. Progress!

Noita

The reveal trailer for Noita, the game we’ve been working on at Nolla Games, is now out along with its website! I made the most of the pixel art & enemy designs. This has been under covers for a long time, so it’s great to finally get to announce it to the public!

Website
Twitter
Press kit

Nolla Games announcement

Nolla Games has now gone public!

I’ve been working at this studio for the past 4 or so years mainly as a graphics artist. The studio consists of me, Petri Purho (Crayon physics deluxe) and Olli Harjola (The Swapper). Our secret project, one we’ve been constructing all this time, is almost ready to be revealed, and thus establishing the company behind it is now relevant. As can be seen, we’re dealing with some complicated pixel-based physics simulation here.

There’s going to be an official Nolla Games stream in 11 AM PST 7/13/2017!

We will announce our project on Monday the 24th!

Nolla Games website

Official Twitter

Official Youtube

Press kit

Map generator (open-source!)

Well, that sure took a long time! I’ve promised to release a tutorial of how my map generation works multiple times over the years; for various reasons I haven’t managed to fulfill that promise until now. But better late than never, eh?? EH???

I kinda want to add a tutorial for generating towns as well, plus adding names for the different biomes. On top of that, road generation & area-of-influence generation are the two big things missing; the former is basically just A* so it’s not super interesting, but the latter might be a cool thing to add as well. We’ll see! No promises.

GET THE GENERATOR HERE!

 

The generator is fully MMF2-made, but should run on Clickteam Fusion 2.5, assuming that you have the plugins required. There’s a nice little executable included, so not owning MMF2/CF2.5 doesn’t prevent you from toying around with the generator!

The plugins required are:
– ‘Surface’ by Looki: http://lukasmeller.com/mmf/extensions/beta/Surface1.5.zip
– ‘MT Random object’ by Chris Branch: http://www.clickteam.com/webftp/files/mmf2/Exts/MMF2ExtPack1.exe

I’m not sure how the MMF2 Extension Packs work these days since the program itself has been discontinued; if you can’t install it, tell me and I’ll try to resolve the issue (or contact Clickteam).

Questions regarding platformer development

I was asked these questions on Twitter and since Twitter is Twitter with its letter limits, I decided to import the questions here and answer them more elonquently:

What are the key features a 2d platforming game should have?
“2d platforming game” is a fairly abstract concept and defines only a very small part of a game’s design; there are 2D platformers that vary from each other greatly, and most of their defining features don’t stem from being 2D platformers but rather from other things. Technically I could try to find some defining features that 2D platformers should have that aren’t dependent on other factors, but the list of said features would be pretty limited. Let’s try:

Things a 2D platformer needs to have:

  • A playable character
  • Sideways perspective
  • Obstacles that block your way or offer something to stand on
  • Gravity (although even this can be done without)

There are also things that 2D platformers usually have, such as collectibles, goals, failure conditions, enemies, HP, lives, levels, environments etc., but with a strict definition none of them are required to call a game a “2D platformer”. (Note that the list of things 2D platformers need was just something I made up on the spot, I’m sure there are valid arguments to reduce even more things from it!)

If someone were to learn game development via making a 2D platformer, I’d say that using something like Super Mario Bros. as a guideline on what’s expected from such a game could be the best way to go, because it contains all those strictly platformer-related concepts listed above, but also lots of handy learning opportunities in form of those other, less definitive but nonetheless handy things such as coins, score, level progression and losing.

What’s the best art style for a side-scrolling platformer?
This is a very subjective question! The definition of “best” definitely hinges a lot on both the budget and the personal taste of the developer. The game screen should be easily readable, i.e. it should be clear what is background and what is a wall, an interactable object etc., but there’s a huge amount of options to choose from in terms of unique artstyles that achieve that, and whether one of them is better than the others depends entirely on the opinion of the player/developer.

I’m personally rather biased towards retro-style pixel art graphics with stretched pixels (see: Cave Story, Eternal Daughter, Maldita Castilla). It’s important to note, though, that even stretched-pixel pixel art doesn’t have to look retro (see: WitchWay, Fez, Hyper Light Drifter for a non-platformer example) and that non-stretched-pixel pixel art is definitely also an option and can be achievable by a smaller team (see: Within a Deep Forest, IJI). Outside of the realm of pixel art things require a bit more work pretty quickly which might not be worth it for a smaller team, but on the other hand the results can be sweet (see: Saira, Braid, LIMBO). Taking a nonstandard approach to the artstyle might also be a good option (see: An Untitled Story), so nothing’s really that clear. These are obviously just my own personal tastes!!

If I were to suggest an artstyle for someone making their first 2D platformer or aiming to learn game development, I’d probably recommend something like the visual style of the NES Megaman games; stretched pixels, limited colour palette, very high readability, fairly easy to work on, tile-based background art to lessen workload and so on.

What type of music would go well with a pixel art style?
I don’t think I can really answer this properly. “Pixel art style” in itself is such a vague concept that depending on other factors pretty much any kind of music could go well with it. There are good examples of orchestral(-style) music (see: Owlboy, Titan Souls, Gods Will Be Watching), retro-style music (see: Cave Story, Spelunky classic, Shovel Knight), music with more modern instruments that I can’t think of a good category name for (see: Nuclear Throne, IJI) or minimalistic electronic music (see: Within A Deep Forest). Games like Undertale combine stuff from several musical styles very successfully, and some utilize existing music as their soundtracks (see: Space Funeral, Hotline Miami).

Again, retro-style chiptunes might be the easiest way to go, but really the answer to this question is pretty much “anything”.

EDIT: I actually haven’t played Owlboy and added it in because I checked that it has an orchestral soundtrack and pixel art graphics. I’m fairly certain that the musics fit the game but I implied too much up there. My apologies!

Nordic Game Jam 2017!

voittoisuus
(Cool photo & cool cake by my girlfriend, Anni :3)

Nordic Game Jam 2017 was last weekend, and I ended up winning it with my game, Baba Is You!

I went in not really expecting much; I wasn’t initially really in the mood for making new games so the plan was to kinda feel the situation and possibly just work on ESA 2 and/or Snake Game. The theme of the jam was “Not There”, and at some point it got me thinking about “not” as an operator in programming/logic. This in turn made me think of a puzzle game where the game logic is part of the game world, and eventually this idea turned into my entry. I was expecting to run to some really hairy coding problems and not be able to finish, but hey, that very much didn’t happen!

notthere

I’m not totally sure where to take the game from here; during the event my plan was to polish it a bit and release it mostly as-is, but since people really liked it and it even raised some philosophical considerations in some players, I think I’ll be working on it further.
hihi
notthere2

Download the game on itch.io!

 

In other news, Environmental Station Alpha’s second anniversary was also last weekend, and I almost completely forgot to announce the sale that went with that. Oh well! Let’s hope we won’t get to its 3rd anniversary before ESA 2 is done.

Next up in the indie gamedev event schedule will be No More Sweden in June; we’ll see what happens there :O

TURTLES

ITS NAME IS BLOCK THE TURTLE

THANK YOU ANNI

Another student magazine cover

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So, another cover illustration for the psychology student organization’s magazine, Kompleksi. I made this together with my girlfriend (<3), it was great fun to work on! The theme of the magazine was "celebration", so we went with a fantasy party. Click the image to go to the DeviantArt page.