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2017 is gone, what’s up 2018?

2017 is gone, what’s up 2018?

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.

My game jam games from 2017

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

Six Degrees of Separation Between Me and The Party created for #LDJAM38. Humorous adventure with a hidden message that was very well received (ranked #75 overall and #36 in humor!). Some people even wrote articles about it, I was thrilled 🙂

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 Sunshine created 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).

Very erly WIP from Another Variety – tests of lightning

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 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 😀

Thank’s for reading! Cheers! 🙂

New code architecture for The Fifth Exponent

New code architecture for The Fifth Exponent

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 😉

Here are the links to some great developpment ressources in case you found them useful:

Ludum Dare #39

Ludum Dare #39

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!

Play The Fifth Exponent on