Month: August 2016

The Great Big Blog Of Things I Should Get Marks For – Vol 4

So, for the unaware, I’m currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in Games Programming to compliment my Bachelor of Game Design. In order to get that, I’ve got to explicitly showcase a whole bunch of stuff I’ve done so that it actually counts towards me passing the course. This is that.

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Welcome To Singleton – Population: 1

Right, so unlike my other programming blogs as of late, this one’s going to be a bit more reflective than instructive, since I’m not fully deconstructing any particular system I’ve created. Hopefully it’ll still be informative to some extent though.

Anyway, let’s get to the point. This whole blog is about the Singleton, a particular form of programming design pattern designed to create a single unique instance of an object that can be accessed by any part of a game, anywhere, any time. Something which at first glance seems exceptionally convenient. And so far, in my experience, it has been.

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Synth Spelunkers – Mapocalpyse

Creating A Map Import Tool

Now, if you’re already familiar with Synth Spelunkers, you’ll know that it’s a rhythm-puzzle game where each level takes place on a grid, which is made up of a series of tiles. Each of these tiles may have various types of effects when a Spelunker enters them, or may activate these effects every so many beats of the song. If you’re not already familiar with Synth Spelunkers, hopefully you get at least some of the idea now.

The Old System

Until recently, we had a simple system for making maps implemented that made use of the Tiled Map Editor. These maps were created as a grid that simply specified what type of tile was in what position. This was then output as a simple CSV file (Comma Separated Values), and that file could be used to generate a map in game.

However, none of the attributes for the tiles in the map were set. All of this had to be done manually, which meant that if any changes to the layout of the map had to be changed, the entire thing would have to be re-imported and setup would begin from scratch again. As you’d expect, this was a colossal time-waster. This new system however, resolves that issue.

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Synth Spelunkers -The Big Loop That Makes Everything Happen

An Endeavor in Resolving Simultaneous Grid Movement

Synth Spelunkers is a rhythm-puzzle game in which players place small ‘Spelunkers’ onto a grid, which then move one tile every beat of song. When these Spelunkers move, they move based on a predetermined set of logic, which for a single Spelunker is pretty simple to implement. However, we’re not dealing with just a single Spelunker, but a whole group of Spelunkers, all of which must move simultaneously. And what’s more, when Spelunkers move to certain tiles, that may change the states of other tile which can affect where other Spelunkers are able to move, which in turn can have considerable run-on effects.

To put it simply, it’s a bit of a mess to try and work around. Our initially solution didn’t quite hit the mark and had a few issues with the order in which things happened, so I was tasked with reworking the system from the ground up to try and fix it. And goddamnit I did.

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Reaching New Heights – Arms Race (Game Jam Ver.)

Genre: Button Mashing Party Game
Platform: PC, Mac
Players: Two (Competitive Head-To-Head)
Status: Base Game Completed, Expanded Here

Team: Handsome Dragon Games
Role: Game Design, Management
Duration: 48 hours (Consecutive)

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Team Members:
Jack Kuskoff – Game Design, Management
Corey Underdown – Programming
Callan Syratt – Programming, UI
Lauren Bearkley – Lead Artist
Samuel McLean – Lead Musician

“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat.” ~ R. Nixon

Arms Race puts two players in the shoes of rival diplomats – one from Russia, the other: America – and pits them against each other in a diplomatic battle of focus and determination. When only one of them can walk away victorious from this frantic political free-for-all, who will reign supreme?

The game was developed in 48 hours, as part of the Brisbane Fab48 challenge, using the inspirations “Love”, “Power”, and “Surprise”. It was a hard fought development, and there’s still a couple of rough edges, but the Arms Race still has plenty of surprises waiting for you…

Since then, we’ve taken the time to amp up the game and turn it into a more complete experience, which you can get here!

Alternatively, if you want to try out the original game jam version, you can download it here!

Rather than hide my reflections beneath a read more tag, they’ve got their own post this time. You can take a look at them here!

Reaching New Heights – Secret of The Forbidden Groove

Genre: Rhythm-Puzzle
Platform: Android
Players: Single Player
Status: Prototyped, Indefinitely Postponed

Team: Handsome Dragon Games
Role: Creative Director
Duration: 3 weeks

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Team Members:
Jack Kuskoff – Creative Director, Art (and some programming too)
Corey Underdown – Programming, Art
Callan Syratt – Programming, UI, Art
Samuel McLean – Lead Musician

Secret of the Forbidden Groove (formerly titled Synth Spelunkers) challenges players to guide a series of intrepid explorers through the depths of an ancient jungle temple, searching for a mystical treasure. This is no ordinary temple however; the air is filled with music, and the entire temple pulses to its rhythm. Players aim to choose where Spelunkers will enter the temple and when, in the hopes that they will be able to dance their way through all the rhythmic traps and pitfalls, whilst opening paths for their fellow Spelunkers at just the right moment.

As they push deeper and deeper into the temple’s depths, there’s no telling what perils they will find…

There is currently no publicly available version of Secret of the Forbidden Groove, but in the next few months, there definitely will be!

UPDATE: There won’t be.

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Reaching New Heights – Ricochet Continuum (Prototype)

Genre: Puzzle
Platform: PC
Players: Single Player
Status: Prototyped, Unreleased

Team: Handsome Dragon Games
Role: Creative Director, Programming, Audio, Art
Duration:  2 weeks

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Team Members:
Jack Kuskoff – Creative Director, Programming, Audio, Art
Callan Syratt – UI

Ricochet Continuum is a game with a simple objective: shoot all the targets. But this simple objective is not so simply achieved. The player’s shots will bounce from wall to wall, around corners and up shafts, weaving a complicated path through each level. Aside from predicting where each shot will land, players must also predict when their shots will get there; a feat made particularly difficult by time shifting gates scattered throughout the levels, each of which shift time forwards or backwards when hit.

There’s currently no publicly available version of Ricochet Continuum, but there might be one eventually.

UPDATE (12/10/2017): We’re currently working on reworking, updating, and fleshing out the game, so there will hopefully be a new and improved ‘Ricochet Continuum’ somewhere over the horizon! (Although probably under a better name.)

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On The Wings Of An Angle

Developing a Simple Ricochet System

Recently I’ve been undertaking the production of project currently named ‘Ricochet Continuum’ (a name in desperate need of improvement), as part of Handsome Dragon Games. I say as part of HDG, although it’s a project I’m undertaking the entire project solo. Regardless, in this game, the player must carefully aim their shots to ricochet them off walls and ceilings to hit specific targets in the level. But the key twist is that certain points in the level will shift time forwards or backwards by a specific margin when crossed, changing the position or state of the targets.

Now there are plenty of flaws and talking points in the design of this game, but I’m going to be covering them another time. Right now I’m going to be looking at how it works. Or more specifically, how I pieced together the Ricochet System. Perhaps it will be useful if you’re looking to implement a simply ricochet system yourself.

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