Hello you all, I’m back after a very long while. I took a break from game developpement and Internet in general. It was very beneficial. Now I’m back with some renewed energy and hopefully new ideas (we’ll see).
As I was thinking about coming back to gamedev, I received the excellent indie game jams newsletter from Jupiter Hadley which mentionned the CoffeJam in july.
It’s the type of jam I like: relaxed, with no rush, no pression, no ratings and no prizes. So well.. I happily joined.
I had great ideas in mind but turns out my abilities are what they are so the final version is an indie game MVP (= minimal viable product). I’m still pleased with it even thought its very very simple and mosty different from my initial intentions (nevermind that!).
So it’s the end of the year and most people do some sort of sum-ups of the year, and I am no different. I think it’s an interesing excercise to make. End of year sum-ups or birthday sum-ups or whatever sum-ups one chooses to do on a regular bases are good because they help reflect on what was acheived and analyse whether the path that was chosen is satisfying.
I really liked 2017, from personal point of view it has been a great year with good balance between my work, family and personal interests (including games) and this is something to really make a person happy (in my opinion).
From my games point of view it has been a great year as well. Even though I know my games aren’t perfect and there’s so much that could be improved. But when I look at where I started and where I am now, I really like where it has led me. I think I might have achieved a level of skills that enables me to more or less express what I want to say. Obviously there’s still lot’s of stuff that I’ll need to learn like shaders, better sound design, the physics engine… but they are no longer obstacles to expression, but rather add some interesting challange that I need to overcome in each game I make.
I worked on 7 games in 2017. And 6 of them were published and created during game jams:
Feed of Comfort created for #ResistJam in March, which was a very cool jam, and the game is my statement on some feel-good hypocrisy of the western world
The Fifth Exponent – ridiculous adventure in space of some very quirky characters created for #LDJAM39, that is an unfinished prototype and rather unplayable because of lacking features but that was very well received in humor (ranked #34).
Supertone created for #MusicGameJam in September, a playable but unfinished prototype of a giant synth pad floor that I’m not going to work on, but that was cool to make as it was my first 3D game that I have released
My Sunshinecreated for #AsylumJam and 1+1=3Jam, very experimental and personal game on parenthood that was a joy to make and where I had some help from a little boy named Henk and his father Marcel
Where The Grains Are a poetic game created for #LDJAM40 (ranked #31 in graphics and #36 in mood!) where I worked with Loreleï who created the beautiful graphics. And we would like to make a post-jam version of it.
It turns out that people generally enjoyed the moody athmosphere or the humour of my games. For someone that genuinly would like to create some meaningful experiences in games, this is a really cool feedback!
In 2017 I also continued to work on my bigger game Another Variety which was all in 2D pixel art in the beginning of the year. Since then I have moved it into 3D to suit better the experience I aim for (being all alone and locked up to die), which resulted in some narrative changes as well. To be honest I don’t know if I ever am going to release this game. I think that it could be a very cool game, the story is original, the outcomes will all be meaningfull and it would make an interesting narrative experience. But the amount of work exceeds the time I can devote to it. So right now it serves me as a sandbox project where I test some ideas and learn 3D modelling, lightning and developpement, but nothing showable has yet resulted from it (except for the work in progress screenshot below).
So 2018 what are you going to be? I hope to finish post-jam versions of The Fifth Exponent and Where The Grains Are. I worked on the Fifth Exponent for 2 months after LDJAM and then left it at 97% completion and just can’t get back to it since (motivation…).
For Where The Grains Are Loreleï is preparing more polished graphics and I’ll add a few features, it’s in good position to be released this year.
I’d also like to do a few jams this year but it might be a bit complicated. So it would be cool to do all the LDJAMs, I’m also planing to do the Global Game Jam in January, and maybe a few more jams on the itch.io like the self-care jam or remember the dead (I missed these this year and I regret), maybe a jam or two from the game dev network or the meta game jam. There is the Twine Game Jam that starts this friday with a long time to create, so no pressure, I’ll maybe give it a shot as well. And I think that that’s a lot already 😀
I’ve been participating in AsylumJam and 1+1=3 jam this weekend and I created a slow paced narrative game called My Sunshine about parenting. It’s very experimental. And also a bit personal.
And it also features voice acting for the first time and I had some excellent help with it from little Henk from New Zealand.
You will need to play the game until the end to discover how it fits both jams and both themes. I prefer to leave it a surprise.
It’s the first time I fully created and animated a 3D character from scratch. I must say I was pretty amazed and proud of the result.
If you have 15 minutes of spare time, play the game on itch.io and please leave me some feedback (whether you liked it or not!). cheers!
I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but this project is in suspension at the moment and will probably be in this state for a long while.
While some people think using photos in videogames is just a “cheap” way of obtaining graphics, photo sessions on the spot actually are very time consuming and require a lot of preparation. Not to mention that some additional conditions such as the right time (required lightning, the tides…) and weather conditions can get in the way.
In addition to this there’s time spent on post processing, some photos just need some basic enhancement for nicer effect but in most cases there is need of some sort of modification (cutting out of “unwanted” humans, changes of some environnments, adding inexistant details etc)
All in all, the sequel to Roc’h Arnev Island will require a very important amount of time and at the moment I just don’t have it.
There was a time when I have been thinking about making something even cooler, with 3D graphics, but let’s face it, it’s not very realistic.
But I’d really like to finish the story one day, the way the game finishes on a cliffhanger (while it was a good way to interest people with the sequel, it’s also very cruel if I never get to actually finish the sequel).
so I’ve been thinking about doing a text adventure… it would certainly solve the problem of time-consuming graphics, so I might be able to create the game way sooner
At the same time, I am aware that the charm of Roc’h Arnev Island is in it’s athmosphere, and the photos contribute to it largely.
So it’s a question I’m asking the community: would you like to play Roc’h Arnev Island 2 even though it was a text adventure because you want to discover how it ends? Or would you rather wait for the full graphical adventure? Or maybe you just don’t care or never played the first game?
It’s just to help me decide whether the text adventure scenario is something to consider seriously, and whether there’s still interst in the game 2 years after the first installement of Roc’h Arnev Island was released.
I’ve just submitted by game Six Degrees of Separation Between Me and the Party to GDWC 2017! There will be lot’s of other great games submitted, but who doesn’t try, never gets anything!
I’ve created specially for the occasion a gameplay video of the game. If you haven’t played the game, I hope you will want to give it a try after watching this video 🙂
It’s been a long time with no update on the blog, but it has been very busy. I’ve been working on a post-jam version of the Fifth Exponent. I came attached to this little game with it’s quirky characters and think it has some potential, people judged the humor very well on Ludum Dare (it was ranked #34!) so I really wanted to put it into finished state. There was a lot of work to be done, most of it unseen.
In fact, after finishing Ludum Dare I started adding a few new features, especially the time rewind and hints. It wasn’t easy but it worked, and then during thorough playtests I’ve found out that the existing code was just impossibly buggy. And it just seemed impossible to correct with small fixes.
I have created my “adventure engine” during Resist game jam, which I have just adapted a bit in between. It has served me right during Ludum Dare #38 to create Six Degrees of Separation Between Me and The Party. For the Fifth Exponent though, where 2 characters are moving, animating and performing actions at the same time it just wasn’t sufficient.
So I came to realize that it had to be changed. At the same time I was reading a very good book, although somewhat outdated on certain points: “Mastering Unity 2D Game Development” by Simon Jackson. I was reading it and regreting not having read the book a year earlier when I started learning Unity. At the same time I’m conscious that reading the book when I didn’ know anything about Unity, probably would’t have worked for me, as I like hands-on experience, and turn to books when I need to deepen my knowledge. So I guess it’s only with my current experience of the tool that I find some of the hacks very interesting. The book uses Singleton pattern but mentions brefiefly Dependancy Injection and that’s what put me on track of searching for a better code architecture.
Well, my old code relied on the Singleton pattern heavily. I didn’t really think much about the impacts of this solution. The truth is, when I first started using Unity, I have been rather disturbed by the fact that there was no static Main function, no “starting point” function. My previous experience where with C, C++, Java, Actionscript… and even though apart C, others are Object Oriented they all have a static Main function, the root that is first loaded at the start of the application. So when I found a tutorial from someone at Unity using the Singleton pattern I just took it and implemened it without much consideration.
Recoding that engine nearly from scratch took a lot of time (spare time, but still most of my spare time), where you don’t really see the result for a long time. But when all the objects start to communicate and the game just comes to life as all by itself it’s kind of magic and a very pleasant moment. At least for me.
Now I’m doing the polishing, adding new features, and guess what? They really are easier to add in this achitecture!
Anyway that’s all from me, now that most of the code is done I’m febrile about it being nearly there after all this time. The PC version will be available much sooner then the web. I’ll need to figure out the persistent data save and create some medals for newgrounds before that.
I hope you found this post interesting. I suppose I should be writing these posts more frequently but shorter, but sometimes I just prefer to use the time on developpement instead. And I don’t know if anyone is actually reading these 😉
I was intending to put hints in-game but I didn’t have the time during the game jam so I I’ve made them available here on the site. Maybe it will help you enjoy more the game if you’re stuck. Spoiler free Hints & complete walkthrough.
For the last 3 days I’ve spend most of my time on making a game for Ludum Dare. I’m really drawn by narrative games so this time I worked on one again. The theme of the jam was “Running out of Power”.
My game is called “The Fifth Exponent” and it’s a sort of space opera, with a bunch of quirky characters living on space islands. In this world cars only travel by discrete exponential distance. It’s basically a Point & Click Adventure but with an additional proppeler puzzle which you need to figure out in order to get on the islands in the correct order.
I really had a lot of fun designing the quirky characters that I have quite certainly spent too much time on drawing and animating. The time that maybe could have been better used for music and sound design which is virtually unexistant. But Ludum Dare is all about fun right? So this time I consciously did something that was most fun even though it didn’t seem reasonable. And even though I love composig music. Yet some less funny stuff like dialogs had to be implemented as well and that turned out more pain than I had expected.
There were a bunch of features I wanted to implement like time rewind and in-game hints which would have made the game simplier. A few cool endings as well. But time is not extendible 😀
Expect those in a post-jam version if I ever get to make that. I’ll also try to add a brief web walkthrough.
Until that I hope you get to enjoy the game. And as usuall do not hesitate to leave me some feedback whether you liked the game or not. Maybe you see stuff you’d like to be added in the post-jam version. I’m really open for suggestions!
It’s been a long while that I haven’t written anything. I’m sorry about that, lot’s of stuff happening right now and not really related to video games…
I didn’t even have the time to write a wrap up of the last Ludum Dare or make a dedicated page for Six Degrees of Separation Between Me and the Party, what a shame!
Concerning Ludum Dare #38, I was really happy with the final results. That’s a great progression since last time!
I wrote a post mortem a few days before the results if you’d care to read. And I promise I’ll create a dedicated page for the game in a few days 😀
I was really pleased with the general reception of the game. With the warm feedback from players on Newground where additionally it was also frontpaged.
I also enjoyed reading these two cool articles written by Nataniel Nielson and Free Game Planet and these two cool gameplay videos from Jupiter Hadley and Mickey Blighe.
The game was also mentionned by Adventure Gamers in their monthly Following Freeware.
Thank you all! and I hope I’m not forgetting anyone!
Some people tell me they struggle to find all the 3 endings, which is a pity as I think it really is a nice thing to see them all.
I’ll try give you a few hints that hopefully won’t spoil all the fun for you.
spoilers below, please highlight the text to show the solution:
Talk with all your chat contacts. Some of them will eventually invite you to the party.
When you’re invited just go out.
There is a bug in the original jam version (corrected in version 1.1.4 and in Web version on Newgrounds) that makes it impossible to get this ending if you have talked on the phone. So if you’re playing original version, do not talk on the phone.
Ending 2 and 3
Some of the contacts will suggest contacting people outside chat. Don’t forget that your telephone is in your bag and that you like to look outside the window from time to time. When you’re invited just go out.
Regarding Newgrounds medals, you’ll get 4 medals if you find all the solutions.
“fresh air” medal can be obtained by (highlight the text mouse): talking to your neighbour outside at least 10 times
“Contact Rockin’ Dave” can be obtained by (highlight the text mouse): sending a message to fake Rockin’ Dave account at least 5 times