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Solo no goal gamejam

February 8, 2013

It’s CNY, After having sucha productive time at the Game Jam two weeks ago, I promised myself I would try to and repeat that productivity explosion, and build / finish a game this weekend…


9PM…I have been thinking about what to make…(see I am all ready way behind the game jam progress, not having people around is making me lazy!) I started at 8, but havent even set up a project.

Unlike the game jam, obviosuly I have no theme, and have to come up with one myself…Over the last hour I have kind of designed a game in my mind that fits nearly all the criteria of what I want to make, however it’s dice based. A quick search of the app store in the dice games category reveals that they dont do well as a genre, people seem to like cards and slots more.

Don’t get me wrong I dont really like dice games or card games, it’s just the idea I have is kind of interesting…but I am hoping to make something that sounds fun, and people want…despite the game possibly being good…I just don’t think people will download any dice games.

10 PM – I am still trying to figure out what the hell to make.

10:30PM – I give up time to start drawing dice!

11:15 – the dice are drawn:

11:19…I am feeling tired from teaching all day, and thinking! so I am going to go to bed in the hope that I wake up super early tomorrow!


8:00 am – so much for waking up early…So I did dream about the game, and I am more excited about making it regardless of whether people buy it (bad sign right!) I could theme the game over conquesting a map, or exploidng a dungeoon….or anything really..the name I have so fa is “Pixel Dice Dungeon” I might make a “pixel dice” app too where you can just use the app for digital dice rolling, sure there are loads of these out there already, but maybe my style / 8-bit sounds etc will make it a bit cooler for nerds like me….but that is ultra low priority right now.  The problem with the dungeon concept is that I need to draw 100 or so enemies…and I am a bit crap at the drawing of things…That is one of the longest nights sleep I have had in ages!

10:34 – I have realised I am kind of making a pixel version of infinity blade…but that makes it sound grander than it is…I just started drawing the dungeon, however I realised I am letting the features balloon already as I started off drawing the outside…where there is only one fight….hmmm, maybe I should stop doing that and just draw the interior…

12:40 – I havent done anything…this isnt going so well is it.

2:00 PM – well I have 10 monsters drawn…it’s actually quite good fun, because there are so many of them I can be stupid, and give them all funny names. I am starting to think this is not a 2 day project!

3:30PM all ten monsters can now be drawn, and the player character is also there…I have set up some rough stats for the enemies, which means I should be able to bring in the dice gameplay mechanic soon. This is very unlike my last gamejam, where I started by making the front end This game is complex….which is why I am finding i hard to focus on it…I keep on thinking I have started something impossible. However I should be able to fight people in a few hours and try out the main mechanic.


5PM – Now the enemies have health bars, and a mc delivery is on the way….go go game dev lifestyle.

6PM – Since the revelation that the Android accepts instant updates, I have started idly thinking that I could release this game as a beta, and accept suggestions and assets from the community….but then I realsed that is a waste of my time..and I should get back to thinking about making the game…it really could be pretty good this game…maybe….but then I probably always think that when I am making something, otherwise I just give up. I am super critical at every step, but I have to believe it wont suck, Heart beaten and Atomic Test pilot kind of suck, but I know how to make them both into better games, and I plan to do that for the eventual Playstation mobile releases…

6:37 – It seems cool that the first implimentation fo the dice rolling has a bug that means no matter what I do I always get 6-6-6!

My game is based on an old game called “pig” that I found while researching for the game history class at digipen, they say it’s an amazing way to teach probability maths. It also looks perfect to me for the simple strategical gameplay. Since looking up dice games on the iPad, I found zombie dice (stave jackson games) it’s one of the most popular games on there, however it’s interactive implimentation is just horrible. The funny thing is it looks like they took pig as their influence too. Mine get’s deeper as you play more, but only marginally so.

11:00PM – So I still can’t really play the game, I can roll the dice, but thats about it, However I have some fancy zooming code in the I nabbed from mini space war, that allows me to make the camera focus on enemies….not that I am using it for anything yet, but I realise that I should get it in sooner rather than later as if I am not drawing everything correctly then it will cause death-pain if I have to fix it. I am going pretty slowly, I can’t see myself finishimg it.

1:00 AM – So I just spent most of the last two hours trying to fix a bug with my “fancy zooming code”…and guess what! I didnt manage to fix it! anyway, I should probably go to bed, I still can’t play the game, but I am really close now to being able to actually start attacking things (as you can see from this screen shot)


Making games is so epic, when I look at things like this, I realise just how fast you can get things going. it’s just the polish / finishing that takes so long! Heart Beaten’s development was mainly specnt on menus and other things that werent gameplay. The actual gameloop bit (where you mash the heart) probably took 30 minutes. This game will no doubt be the same ratio, which means it will probably take about a month to make!


6:30 am – Time to make this thing playable! (still)

11 AM – the HUD is getting better, now we are off to the airport for a change of scenery


so we went for Chinese New Year booze and Yu Sheng at 5:30 or so…in the 5 hours of airport time I got more of the HUD working, and got a skull to spin round when you roll a one…I still can’t play it, and I am a bit dissapointed with the lack of tangible progress

6:30 AM – I woke up, sat in front of my computer, then decided I should go back to bed.

8:00 AM I woke up again, and am now getting back to making the action happen…

1PM – the knight walks on to the screen it tells you whose turn it is (player or monsters) but you still can’t fight anything….GRRRRR!!!!

4:30PM – Well my turns ends, with a fancy transition…however I still can’t re-roll the dice, and my attack animations arent done….equally there is no enemy AI…which means, no I still cant play the game…You Tube video maybe later…

7PM – its amazing, these days I realize I can write mountains of code without needing to hit run…I used to get in a cold sweat doing that, thinking that every new line I wrote was another potential bug. When I first started coding I’d try and click run every 4 lines or so….these days I sometimes write a 300 – 400 lines without clicking compile…and the crazy bit is, it tends to work (bar a couple of compile errors)…anyway, yeah I still havent got the game playing. I am making fire balls fly around now….

10:15 – those have to be the lamest looking fireballs ever! well they will do for now!!!

1:30 AM – I keep getting side tracked – I really wanted to enter the Ouya competition, however I decided I wouldnt win as my game would not be in 3D….the finalists are here: there are a couple of good ones, but on the whole I really wish I had bothered to enter. Ahh well! its only 45 thousand dollars! however now I have AI that can stop rolling dice….they dtill dont know how to hit the attack button…well they kind of do, it just doesnt really work…

2AM – the game kind of loops….no one can die, and there are lots of timing issues. While this game isnt as big as Mini Space War, it certainly isnt as small as I planned it to be. I think at this stage I am about 30% done. still it’s pretty good progress. this is a pretty dull post so far right!? Well tomorrow I will post a video and then maybe it will be alittle more interseting…now under the wings of defeat I shall go to embrace restless sleep.

2:30 AM – Went to bed again (I failed the first time)


8:00 AM – Started working on tidying things up, got sidetracked and played with Linked in for a bit…

8PM – so after an epic lunch and a walk round town looking at crazy giant CNY statues…there were a few hours spent making the risk / reward system…if you “overkill” an enemy, ie hit them with way more attack points than they have HP left you get those extra points added to your health…the feedback isnt there though so no one will notice.

Sometime later….I ended up without a finished game, and pretty disapointed. I guess that unless you are working with people it’s hard to remain focused, because there is no “show and tell” type event at the end (or during)….on the plus side, I actually think the game is very cool, and has the potential to do really well…so I just need to dedicate a bunch of time to it and make it good….when I will have that time I don’t know….this is why I don’t want to share the video just yet, but in a month or so I expect the game to have had a lot more time psent on it and I should be able to show more…but for now, I need to get back to focusing on the important stuff….which is shipping things!

To Be Updated in a month or so with the actual video of my four days work (I uploaded it to youtube, but have kept it private for now..)

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