Showing posts with label Computer Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Computer Games. Show all posts

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Fan Tan!

My family has often played a very simple, silly game at family gatherings. We call it 'fan tan,' although it's clear that has a history as a very different kind of game. Our game is a card game where players take turns plaing sequential cards in suit, starting with 7's and moving up and down. The goal is to get rid of all your cards. There's very little strategy, although there's a little bit in terms of when you play what cards, and how to try to force others to play the cards you need. My family can't be together this year, so I went ahead and programmed a version of this game on my website. It's pretty clunky, but it works, and it recreates the experience of the game pretty well. We all played it via Zoom yesterday. It's written entirely in PHP and Javascript, and it makes use of AJAX http calls to make and record moves. Not a thing of beauty, but still pretty cool.
It's not well-documented, but it's here: Anybody who goes to the website can start a game (hit "Reset All" if one is in process and you want to start a new one), and anybody else who's visiting the site can take part simultaneously. Note: The response to moves is a little slow - it takes about a second for moves to register.

Monday, April 6, 2020

New puzzle game - Doctor Esker's Triad

As I've been stuck at home over the last few weeks, I dived into a puzzle game project. It's called Doctor Esker's Triad (co-branded with my puzzle card games). It's 48 puzzles in 16 unique puzzle types, all coded in JavaScript/HTML5. It's 100% free, made for people who might like to spend an afternoon or two with some puzzles during our current social distancing efforts.

It's available here: Doctor Esker's Triad

Feel free to try it out, and please share if you enjoy it or know somebody who would.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ludum Dare #41: Mortal Keybat


I didn't post about this back when I wrote it, but I did an entry for Ludum Dare #41. The theme was "Combine Two Incompatible Genres," so I did a Karate Champ style fighting game with a typing tutor. I did pretty well in some categories of the judging, and it was a fun time.

The game page is here, with a link to the playable game.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Results over Four Ludum Dare competitions

I just got the ratings for my Ludum Dare competition game, Domain, written from scratch in 48 hours last month. They were good - this is the second-best finish for me in the ratings, I think. I was curious how I compared, so I did some graphs with my four entries over the past few years. The competition is rated in eight categories, with "Overall" being the most important. My four games were as follows:
Here are the results for those four games, first by percentile (vs. other games in the competition), then by overall rating (1-5 stars). In each graph, the categories are sorted by my average performance for all four games.

Apparently, Audio and Graphics are my weakest categories, which isn't that surprising. Theme and Innovation seem to be my strong suits. Teeming (blue line, my first entry) was clearly my worst showing in nearly all categories, and Evo (red line) my best (by percentiles), but Domain (purple line, most recent entry) actually was rated higher in terms of stars. I wonder if the judging has gotten easier over time? Or the games better? Hard to say. Anyway, I seem to be improving as I do these, which is cool. I'm hardly going to sprout an artistic sense in my late 40's, but it's fun to do these, and I still get some props for innovative, so that's OK by me. 

Ludum Dare 37 - Domain

I competed in Ludum Dare #37 in December, where you create a game from scratch in 48 hours. This was a rough one - it came right at the end of the semester, which is tricky, and it was also happening right after my wife had surgery, so I was focused on her needs first. The theme was one I'd voted against - "One Room." Many creators just ignored the theme, or made whatever game they wanted as long as it nominally fit in one space. Only a few really integrated it. That made for a lot of similar games, all limited in scope. So, not the greatest competition topic, I think.

I had a hard time figuring out a concept, but I ended up making a game which was a tank game, but in a weird world where you're trapped in a room and just shoot the walls, not at other tanks. I thought it came out OK, although I didn't have much time for polish. I did it using Unity, which I've been experimenting with for a few years, as opposed to CraftyJS, which I used for my previous three games. I turned it in a few hours early, actually, so it's not as polished as I could have gotten if I'd ignored the rest of my life, but that wasn't in the cards.

The game, called Domain, is playable on the web here. Let me know what you think. I did OK on the ratings - made the top 100 games, sitting at about the 90th percentile of the 901 games submitted for the single-author competition. My competition page (with rankings) is here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ludum Dare 26 Results

Here are my results from the Ludum Dare competition this time around.  Not as good as the last time, but better than my first entry.  My audio didn't work on Firefox for the first period of the judging, so that may have hurt me a little bit (probably not much, since Chrome is more common for LD users and only about half the ratings came in while it was broken).

Some of the games in this competition were really great, and it seemed like fewer of them were terrible than in earlier sessions.  The theme was a challenge; obviously, if you're going for minimalism, it's hard to shine in some areas (particularly sound and graphics, but also depth and complexity of gameplay).  Art's not what I'm good at anyway (see above), so Minimalism should maybe have helped me out :-).

Ludum Dare 26 entry

Here's my entry from Ludum Dare 26.  The theme was Minimalism.  I went with a game set in a Piet Mondrian painting that only has one control.  The Ludum Dare page is here.  A direct link is here.  I was pretty happy with it; I spent a little too much time on the dialogue opening (also minimalist, I thought).  I got some really nice comments, too.  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CraftyJS examples

I've been pretty excited about learning more about JavaScript and HTML5 programming.  I've been working with CraftyJS, a cool game-design library for browser games.  I've mentioned a few of my projects before (e.g. Cairo, Evo, Teeming), but I've also been doing an independent study course this January with a student.  She's made great strides in working on this kind of thing.  As part of helping her learn this stuff, I made a couple basic demos, heavily commented, for CraftyJS; if you're looking for an easy way to do some pretty neat things in JavaScript, have a look at Invader and Platform - they're bare-bones and hardly games at all, but you can see even from these tiny examples that the library runs well.  View source to see the code.  Plenty of other information at the CraftyJS site.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Planetside 2, SOE, and fraudsters...

I played a little bit of Planetside 2 over the past week.  It's an interesting hybrid of MMO (but without quests) and FPS deathmatch (but with strategic points), and because it's free to play, it's got a bunch of enticing content and powerups that you can't really afford without playing forever or shelling out some cash.  I really enjoyed Tribes Ascend when I played it a few months ago, and this feels a little bit like that, but with slower, less frenetic gameplay, a different, more complex equipment system (though Tribes has lots of options) and longer protracted battles.  And no jetpacks.  I think Tribes is a better FPS, and there's no beating the jetpack play, but the strategic elements of Planetside (terrain control, the potential for coordinated vehicle/infantry/air assaults) are pretty cool.

With the end of my semester coming up, I thought it might be fun to play some more once grades are in.  So, I tried buying a month pass.  As a shareware author, I very much think I should support the games I like, so I threw some money at Tribes also.  But in this case, I entered my information, but my card was declined when I tried for the payment.  I tried entering again, and it didn't even let me enter the information.  I had to call the credit card company to get my card returned to service.

So, what does this mean?  They instantly assume every transaction with Sony Online Entertainment is fraud?  I, a guy who buys video games pretty regularly, couldn't even pay for it.  That's got to reflect badly on the nature of users of online games, particularly Sony customers, and on the state of credit card fraud. I know, one datapoint and all, but it was definitely a surprise.  I wouldn't want to be Sony in this case.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ludum Dare 24 results

Voting results are in from the 24th Ludum Dare competition.  The theme was Evolution, and I made a puzzle game in which little critters gain traits.  I've got it hosted here at; the competition page with all the comments and feedack is here at LudumDare.

How did I do?  Pretty well, I think; much better than last time.  Here are the numeric ratings and rankings:

The #44 overall is really neat; there were 1006 entries, and I have a lot of top 100 or top 50 ratings in various categories.  I'm not sure why I'm so much worse with the theme, since I actually thought my adherence to the theme was better this time than last, where it was my highest ranking (#71).

Anyway, a good experience, and very encouraging results.  I think I'll try to develop the game further and get it up on Kongregate or somewhere.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ludum Dare 24

I took part in the 24th Ludum Dare competition last weekend and produced a computer game in 48 hours (well, more like 15 hours - I had to sleep, eat, celebrate my birthday, and perform in two improv comedy shows at the Idiot Box).  The theme (revealed Friday night at 9pm) was Evolution.

I've now rated around 40 of the other games, and there's a huge variety of ideas, themes, game styles, and choices, and also skill levels at putting games together.  I've gotten some nice comments from mine; like a lot of my stuff, art isn't the strong part (especially with only 48 hours to work), but the gameplay is pretty fun.  Give it a try if you like; it's at:

The Ludum Dare page for my game is here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ludum Dare results

So, here are my results from the judging for the Ludum Dare competition for my game, Teeming.
The rankings (at left) I think are out of 1,111, so I was top half in all categories, top 1/3 in many of them.  

#71 Theme 3.82
#220 Innovation  3.38
#265 Overall 3.25
#325 Fun 3.00
#394 Graphics 2.95
#410 Mood 2.71
#453 Humor 2.18
#455  Audio 2.43
Coolness 100%

The worst one for me was Audio, and that makes sense - the game has only simple sound effects and no music track. Mood is supposed to be how immersive your game was, but I'm not sure people all used the same standards there. Likewise for Humor, which is hard to gauge.  I'm happy to be up there in the Overall and Innovation categories, and apparently I hit the theme (Tiny World) pretty well.  Graphics will likely always be a problem for me, lacking as I am as an artist.

The last item, Coolness, refers to how many games I rated - I rated (or tried to rate) over 100 games, so I get that one by default (or by dint of hard ratings work). A rank list another guy made shows that I did the 104th most ratings (the average participant made 35 or so).

I'll need to look at the rankings in more detail if they publish more of them.  I don't know how they handle it, but if it's just raw numbers, I'd guess that there are some games near the top of these categories that have relatively few rankings.  Maybe that's not an issue with so many people rating so many games, but you never know.  It would be cool to do a graph of rank vs. ratings received, although there are other factors in play determining how many ratings you get on your game (e.g. you get rated more often if you rate more yourself).

A fun experience; I'm happy with how I did, but I think I could do better. I'll definitely try again next time.

Two cool things

Two things coming up in the next 6 hours -
  1. The judging for the 23rd Ludum Dare competition will close. Mine (Teeming) was one of 1402 entries (1,111 in the solo 48-hour competition) with the theme of Tiny World (I went with microorganisms in a petri dish). I've never done this before, so I don't know exactly what to expect, but I did judge 102 other entries over the past 3 weeks, so I've probably seen a representative sample. I hope I make the top 50%, but we'll see. There are some really good ones out there. There were a couple that I saw that were obviously way better than mine, but they were in the Jam segment (72 hours, multiple people designing, relaxed rules on preexisting content)
  2. My entry for the BGDF monthly Game Design Showdown should go live. This month had a couple of cool restrictions - one was that you had to use asking permission (from Mother May I - Mother's Day plus May), and the other was that you had to use springs in some way. We'll see how many entries there are and how I do - I feel pretty good about my entry this month, but that has historically not been any kind of indicator as to how I do (maybe even negatively correlated).
Game on...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teeming - Ludum Dare Entry

I figured I'd try my hand at the Ludum Dare game competition, which I learned about earlier this year. The goal is to produce an entire game from scratch, in 48 hours, solo. I think I did pretty well for a first try; give it a try if you'd like.  The theme for this time was "Tiny World," which led me to make a game about life in a petri dish.  It's been interesting looking at the other entries (all 1111 of them) and seeing what people did.  Huge variety in interpretations, game formats, and programming ability.

Thanks to my Mom for putting up with me coding for most of a weekend while I visit her in New Mexico. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sound effects

For any of you game programmers out there, here's a sound effects generator called SFXR that is very simple but cool - I often start making sounds with raw noise and alter them significantly in GoldWave, but this does a lot of that work for you with a simple interface.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Game in progress - Wordy

Wordy in mid-game - bonus points for
anyone who can tell me the last word...
I spent a chunk of December working on a JavaScript-based game.  My wife and I had enjoyed playing Zynga's WordTwist very much, but Zynga canceled that game earlier this year.  So, I decided to recreate it, or something like it. This is not a very original concept - Word Whomp is basically the same thing, and there are numerous others - but still a fun way to exercise one's mental muscles, and I learned some cool stuff about JavaScript and browser-based games.

I'm still working on it, but give it a try if you want.  I haven't done much interface work - e.g., no instructions!  But it works.  We've played a bunch of games of it already.  To play, type any words you can make out of the letters provided, and try to get them all in the time limit.

I built it using a little PHP and a lot of JavaScript with a bunch of help from the CraftyJS game library, which I'd recommend to anybody.  The dictionary I used was a subset of  Kevin Atkinson's SCOWL project which was super-useful - I didn't want to use the whole Scrabble dictionary with all the really obscure words, but I wanted it to be mostly complete, and SCOWL let me decide what level of obscurity I was comfortable with.  I'm still editing my list as I discover words it doesn't have (or words that it does have that it shouldn't!).

Anyway, give it a try, and let me know what you think!  The game is here:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zeno Clash review

Ghat has some mommy/daddy issues
I bought a game on Steam over the weekend - Zeno Clash.  It was on sale for $3.75, so I figured I could hardly go wrong.  Heck, I spent that much in quarters on countless arcade games back in the day.  Including this one.  I'm not proud.

The game was built on the Halflife 2 engine, and there were some weird similarities of interface and graphical appearance there, but it was otherwise very, very different.  The game is very, very weird.  The stuff you do is weird (I just finished a level where I shot at rock-throwing eskimo dudes while being rowed along a fanged canal and discussing the nature of crime with a deep-voiced blue-faced ancient sage).  The art is chaotically bizarre, and the plot and dialogue are sort of dream-like - you're doing things that sort of makes sense in context, but you don't know what's going on, and you're just supposed to accept the weird stuff mostly unquestioningly.  There's some backstory where you were moved to kill your hermaphroditic parent organism with a skull bomb for reasons that only slowly become clear.

Usually, this kind of deliberate artsiness turns me off, but it sort of works here. I've been engaged with the story, and even though the art is strange, it's OK.  It's actually the game part that is not working well for me.  It's a first-person shooter, but you don't shoot much - the weapons are kind of powerful, but you lose them whenever you get hit.  Most of the combat is punching and blocking.

This is fun, kind of, especially when you land some good punches, but they keep putting you in battles with multiple opponents, and you only have the standard 120 degree field of view, so you don't know where the other enemies are.  You are trying to fight one guy, and then you get beat on or shot by a guy you can't see.  A radar or something would really help, or maybe less complicated battles.

Compounding this is a lack of save points.  You get to save after most major battles, but sometimes not, and when you get sent way back to re-fight a battle that you only barely won after 12 tries, it really kills the experience.  I am currently stuck in a fight where you have to beat down three to five guys who are brought back to life by a weird dancing drummer, then kill the drummer.  I've done that once, but then you have to (without life refill if you've eaten all the magic berries, which you need to do to survive the first fight) smash a big strong guy (who also has a sidekick) who can only be hurt with a club, which you lose whenever you're struck.

I've tried this series of fights probably 15 times and never even come close.  Some of the earlier fights were like this too.  I don't mind a challenge, but I'd like the option to manage it better - I don't see a way through this.  Maybe there's a difficulty setting - that might do it, but it's not obvious in the interface.

I've noticed that in several computer games I've designed - I get pretty good at them while playing, so I don't have a good sense of how hard other people will find it.

Anyway, even with the issues, it was definitely worth $3.75.  Hard to imagine how that kind of pricing works for the original authors, who must be getting only a tiny cut after Steam and all the other middlemen take their cut.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Follow through...

Now that classes and end-of-year reports and such are finished, I've made some progress on the puzzle game project I mentioned back in March.  I've been working with CraftyJS, a pretty neat-o game engine for javascript games.  I'm still in the baby-steps stages of javascript coding and of using Crafty, but I do have something working - see the demo page here.

I'm hoping to turn this into a puzzle game, and I've got the game part mostly thought out, but I'm still working hard on the programming mechanics.  Visually, my quick-and-dirty demo art looks OK, although because I'm using simple rotation of 2D art, the lighting is all wrong on the tiles in the demo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Keep hope alive...

I had a neat idea for a simple computer puzzle game in the middle of last week.  Given that it's nearing the end of my semester, I won't have time to implement it for a month or so, but it's great to have that to look forward to.  I'm going to base it on Cairo tessellation, which is a cool pentagon-based geometric pattern rumored to be common in Egyptian streets.

I always struggle to keep the spark of excitement and enthusiasm that comes with a design alive until I can actually do the work.  Sometimes the spark fades away; other times, I come up with a new idea and lose interest in the old one.  The result is a train of half-baked game ideas stretching back into my childhood, and only a few realized projects.  Hopefully I can keep the fires going for this one.

But now I have to grade stuff.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Typing game - Z-Type

This is an interesting game - neat graphics, and fun mechanics. It runs in semi-advanced javascript, so you'll need a newer browser. My only complaint is that it starts too easy and doesn't get harder fast enough, at least for a reasonably fast typist like me. I made it to the 54th wave without much trouble.  I've been looking into HTML5 javascript as a possible platform for some game ideas, and the library this is based (ImpactJS) on looks pretty easy to use.