Super Stems Post Mortem

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B4L4pozCYAAHAwj Super Stems, originally called Stems, started on a gamejam weekend, Ludum Dare 31. The theme was “Entire Game on One Screen”, which many people complained about, me included, since a lot of people were expecting the snowman theme to be chosen. Aside from that, once the theme was announced, I started to make Stems.

So what is Super Stems? Super Stems is a board domination strategy game. You have tiles and board slots. Each tile has three sides, a number attached, and adjacent sides on the board will battle. Upon battle, the higher number will win, and the losing tile will be captured. This is a simple concept that I stripped down from another game I’m planning, which has this basic gameplay with more gameplay mechanics, inventory and multiplayer in it. B4M3HkVCAAAjR2a But since I had only 48 hours to make it happen, I stripped it down to this. A few hours in, I had the tiles and placeholder models and ready to be used in Unity.

I don’t usually take much time in planning during gamejams, I usually go all in with a minimum planning and knowing what I must do and sort and solve problems as they arrive. But since Indies vs Pew Die Pie gamejam went really bad because from the lack of planning, this time around, I took some time to plan ahead and think of what I wanted to make.

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So with my plan written down and my idea right fixed in my head, I started developing the game until I had basic gameplay done. If you asked me by then, how much more time would I take me to finish a minimum viable product, I would’ve said a week, maybe less, but oh boy was I wrong. First things first, the gamejam atitude of coding this and that without taking much care, because time is of the essence, is bad. I don’t use magic numbers, nor hardcode anything. I usually take care in writing beautiful and maintainable code. So for that end, I was good. On the other hand, I manually placed the grid and linked neighbors, one by one. Since the original grid had only 9 pieces, it was fast and did the job. Finding after a few days that some of those links were broken/switched, was bad tho.. Mistake #1.

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But nonetheless, everything was in place, I had the grid, the basic Turn-by-Turn gameplay, basic animation, tile capturing, teams, score. I was just missing an opponent.. better yet.. an Intelligent Opponent. Making the Artificial Intelligence was hard. It was hard because of mistake n# 1, not having a generic grid, in which I could make the calculations required to make it easier for me. Having a properly made grid system, I could have made methods to make my life so much easier, but nooo.. I might have written the battle, capture, AI play code at least 5 times! And by this I mean, really starting from scratch. Taking pen and paper, putting it all in a new perspective. And every time I did it, something good came out of it. Every time it god better. Obviously by now, the 48h period had long gone. I was more like two weeks after the deadline, mainly because I was working on it part time, after work, 3 or 4 hours a day, and you can only do so much.

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But still after those AI changes, it wasn’t working properly yet. I wanted to make it smarter. After another brainstorming session with pen and paper, I finally tweaked the algorithm to make it the way I wanted to. You can now have decent battles with it. It will lose, but also win. So far, from online gameplay and local testing, my analytics say that the AI wins above 60% of the times, so I’m ok with that. During that time, while I was trying to get the AI right, I kept changing the UI, textures and models. The images speak for themselves.

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Right now the game is ready to be published. Its maybe not as polished as I would like it to be, but I have to release it, get feedback, and then I’ll see what I’ll do with it. I’m already thinking of other games I want to make. This is my second ‘board’ game. This one has a new gameplay type, which is good, since I always try to make new gameplay on each game. So I’ll be releasing the game in the upcoming weeks, hopefully this will get some players. At least more than my previous one.

Indies vs PewDiePie Gamejam

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I’ve entered this week’s 72 hour gamejam hosted by Gamejolt with PewDiePie in which the top 10 games would be played by the man himself and broadcasted to the internets and his endless number of fans. As if making games wasn’t reason enough, having the chance to have your game broadcast to millions of his fans sure was another great one.

tl;dr : Didn’t finish the game. Still had fun.

So I’ve put up some time to make a game this weekend, starting on friday night (16 hours late), I didn’t plan much, booted Unity, Maya and Photoshop, and started to make stuff. I’ve came up with a small idea based on Boson X, and wanted to make a fast paced game. I started to model tubes or portals and a spaceship, and laid the foundation of what could be a level.

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First of, I set it all so the level would fall down on you, making the camera look up, it would give the impression of moving forward. I then changed it to side to side, only changing gravity’s axis. Which, again, I changed by making the player move so I would have realistic jumps, instead of moving the world.

About physics. I didn’t plan much of the stuff I wanted to make, I just did it on a necessity basis. So first I made a custom gravity to pull the ship back in the center after a jump. I had the world rotate instead of the ship due to jump + turning issues that would dislocate the ship to places I didn’t wanted it to go. I’ve later removed the jump and animated it, so I would have more control on the behaviour, which turned out pretty nice actually.

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I had a level, level parts, obstacles and items. I soon ditched the obstacles and put bigger ones with doors, changing the game mechanics. Now you would have to jump above the empty space in the doors. Which worked quite nice. At a certain point you would get enough speed and get to the end level and be warped to another one.

Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the game, due to lack of skill, the theme being highly abstract “fun”, mindset maybe, or just because I went to see Interstellar (which was aweeesooomee!!). Overall I worked around 20h on the game, which is not enough to make it. Mistake number one was to not plan. Eager to make something new and something move on screen, I jumped in, thinking, “mehh, It’ll be a small game, I’ll just make this and that, and it will all work”.. but nooo.. I did had to doodle my thoughts into a piece of paper when I was stuck. Mistake number two, take time to fucking plan your game!! Do not start placing things around without knowing what you want to do. Ok, I got it. Mistake number 3, due to the lack of planning, changing scope delayed progress, making it harder to see the end of it, and ultimately missing the deadline.

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Overall, it was awesome! I’ve not been making these gamejams for some time and it felt great. I’m not sad I didn’t finish it, because I’ve learned awesome stuff while making it. Now I guess, I’ll enter the next competition, letting this game go, since it didn’t struck me as fun, so.. it was a great run πŸ™‚
According to CompoHub.net, The 96 Jam with rules is next, and there’s always the One game a month, so I’ll see you around πŸ˜‰

Simple Achievement System in C#

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Achievements are becoming more and more usual in games. They provide the player a sense of accomplishment and progress by rewarding them with badges that proves their skill and experience. Some achievements are simple and other require a combination of particular actions to unlock. In this article I show you how to make a simple Achievement System using C# and will demonstrate it using Unity3D, but this should be easy enough for you to port it to whatever language you’re more familiar with for your games.

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Non Blocking C# Task Cancelling

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In our previous sample snippet, Cancel a Loop in a Task with CancellationTokens in c#Β , I try to explain how we can get out of a looping c# task, but a problem may arise from that situation. If we were to wait for any result out of that Task, we would be blocking the calling thread until the task returned, which is not good if we are on the main thread. We would locking our UI and might crash our application.

So I’ve been testing different ways toΒ get out of that loop without causing any trouble, and you can achieve what we want many different ways.

So, to begin with, I think I would correctly assume that it is only necessary to wait for a task to complete if that task will return something. If there is no return value, why would we want to call wait on it? We can just break out of it, correct me if I’m wrong. If we have a return value, then it is necessary to surround the wait call on the task with try/catch to receive its result. But then again, we can avoid the locking here with a continuation task, which will create and start the task after the first one completes, giving us the result from the previous task to work with.

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Measure Method Time Performance

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Quick snippet to let you check the time used by any method you have.

This will write to the console the time spent on the method.

Just remember to use System.Diagnostics.
More info on Stopwatch.

That’s it. Enjoy.

Cancel a Loop in a Task with CancellationTokens in C#

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This post explains the use of Cancellation Token in C# using Tasks, which are available since .Net Framework 4.

Say you’ve created a asynchronous Task. The method you’re running inside your task contains a loop ( infinite or not ), and you want to break out of it peacefully. You would need to create a CancellationTokenSource and pass aΒ Cancellation Token to the Task so it can be accessed in the main loop. Continue reading

Final Flapasy on Android

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Hey!

So this couple of weeks, I’ve been mostly working on my Thesis, or at least should have been. But the urge of making games has lead me off track. I’ve participated in two gamejams: #candyjam , to protest against King.com and #flappyjam , to support Flappy Bird’s creator.

#candyjam wasn’t that great for me, I was able to make something, but its no fun really, and the artwork wasn’t made by me.

On the other end, #flappyjam was really nice to make. I’ve made all assets and ended up making a clone of flappy bird under a week. My theme of choice was Final Fantasy, hence the name Final Flapasy, so I’ve made a chocobo for the player and some cactuars as the enemies. I hope you like it.

You can play the game for free either at itch.io or gamejolt.com , and you can play it on your Android phone or tablet for free, obviously. Just follow the link to download it for android .

The game is still buggy, and it has no catchy tune, but I’ll keep updating it if enough persons like it and play it. πŸ™‚

If you like the game, please share it with your friends and family πŸ™‚

Now back to the “serious” work. πŸ™‚
Cheers.

Memtiles Kids and Updates

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So, I’m about to release Memtiles kids for Free. Why? Well, because no one is buying the game really. So I’m going to try another approach. I’m going to insert ads, one or two, and I’ll see whether that ends up creating revenue.

The objective here is to make some money in order to fund other games. I have some games in mind already and as soon as I get some time from my Msc Thesis, and occasional game jam participations ( #flappyjam, #candyjam ), I’ll work on two new titles I have been prototyping and playing with.

One will be of the same style of Memtiles Kids, but with a new twist and for a broader audience. The other is completely different, and hopefully challenging.