Archive for February, 2010

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Rating: 4.7/5 (7 votes cast)

Our expert team of archaeoludologists has pored over the historical record, piecing together and translating ancient artifacts. We are pleased to finally be able to present a scientifically-accurate reconstruction of one of the very first forms of electronic entertainment, in a playable form for the first time this millennium: SPACEOUT COMBREAK VADERMAND!

On a less absurdly counterfactual note, this game is a classic example of what happens when my game-designer instincts seize upon a goofy “what if” premise and run with it. In this case, “what if someone came across a description of several classic arcade games, mistook them for a single game, and tried to make a game that fit that description?” Something like a round of Telephone as applied to game mechanics, I suppose. Anyway, you should probably just try it and see what I mean. Go play Spaceout!

Wavespark loading issues

Several people have reported long load times/appearing to be frozen with Wavespark. I’ve uploaded a version without sound to see if the loading of sound assets is the issue. Please let me know if this helps or not – my access to additional computers to test with is limited at the moment.

Game 04: Wavespark

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Rating: 4.6/5 (25 votes cast)

This is another one of those games that’s been sitting in my head for a while. It’s a simple premise – use one button to control gravity in a hilly environment, and go as fast as you can. Inspirational sources include Excite Truck and Sonic the Hedgehog, both of which have a joyful “use your surroundings to go fast” aspect to them. I’m very satisfied with how well the game worked out, overall – it’s easily my favorite so far from this project.

A brief rundown of the game modes:
Distance: Scoring is based entirely on how far you get before running out of time. Hit checkpoints to extend time.
Bonus: Earn points by making jumps, nailing landings, and hitting checkpoints.
Time Attack: A combination of Distance and Bonus scoring, with a limited timer and no checkpoints.
Free Play: Sparksurf the waves in peace, with no time limit, scoring, checkpoints, or HUD to distract you.

Go play Wavespark!

Stargrazing with less lag

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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Several people have mentioned that later levels of Stargrazing suffer from very slow framerates on their computer. I’ve compiled another version, with a faster but sloppier rendering engine, playable here. This should help substantially with lag issues.

Game 03: Color Meltdown

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Rating: 3.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Kind of a strange story to this one. I wanted to make a puzzle game that was specifically not Bejeweled or Tetris – it seems that there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in puzzle game mechanics lately, and I wanted to do my part to contribute to exploring the field a bit. I came up with a core mechanic and did some experimentation with variations on the theme – clearing the board Collapse-style, or building patterns from scratch – and it just fundamentally wasn’t fun.

By Sunday I was ready to chalk it up as a failed experiment and switch over to my backup-plan game; I was making some final changes Monday night in order to make it a playable game rather than a toy (adding a timer and scoring), intending to post it to the site as a “B-side”. What somehow happened was I switched the game’s code over to “build patterns” mode while leaving the random board generation of “collapse” mode… and it actually worked as a game. I mean, it’s certainly no runaway hit like Bejeweled, but it’s solid and playable.

Tips for playing: Look for symmetrical-ish areas on the board, and use the color pieces you get to build them outward, then put a white piece in the central area. You gain one second of time for each tile that gets cleared beyond the first. Scoring is based on the square of your combo, so bigger patterns are much more valuable than smaller ones.

Go play Color Meltdown, and feel free to post your high scores in the comments!

Game 02: Stargrazing

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Rating: 4.8/5 (5 votes cast)

This game’s premise was largely inspired by games like Ikaruga and Giga Wing – I’ve always found the ability to turn your enemy’s attacks against them to be very satisfying in games, and so I decided to make a game that revolved centrally around that concept. Given the time constraint (and the amount of time taken coding the engine), it seemed best to go with a procedural difficulty curve rather than trying to orchestrate proper levels.

Sound effects were made with sfxr (except for the 1up jingle, which I did in PXTone). Code-wise, this game’s a bit cleaner than the last one, but there’s still some things that are rather boneheaded in retrospect.

Join us next week, when NMcCoy attempts to make art assets out of something other than ellipses! Until then… Go play Stargrazing!

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