Wan

wan #2

Joined 2 years ago

Bio

Entries

King of Mithril
by Wan, Thrainsa
Team
on Ludum Dare 39
Assault on Mosul
by Wan
Solo
on MiniLD 74
Word Defense
by Wan
Solo
on MiniLD 72
A silent game.
L'Hypnose
by Wan
Team
on Ludum Dare 26

Latest posts

Wan

I've been making good progress with my jumping game, with the core mechanic now mostly done (…although physics were harder than expected to set up).

The next steps will be to draw final art… and more importantly, balance the difficulty. That difficulty part is quite tricky, as a good level design should be able to avoid "impossible situations" where deaths are forced. How could we do that yet keep the game hard, and even make it get harder with time? I see two main approaches:

  1. Keep the levels procedurally generated, and do some clever coding to make level generation harder & harder without being unfair ;
  2. Use pre-made "level chunks" of various difficulties, that would be playtested by hand.

Solution 2 would be too time consuming & unexciting, not mentioning I'd need to playtest again from scratch if I decide to tweak physics constants… So yeah I'll stick with fully procedural levels. To quickly get something I can ship, I've wanted to avoid being too concerned about imperfect levels: a trick was to introduce an "oxygen management" mechanic. The way it helps with level design is that it lets players do (limited) air jumps, which means that even if there's a huge hole in the level it still leaves a chance to survive.

Now, for the ideal solution…

The main idea I've had for "100% solvable" level generation is to place an AI player below the screen, before rockets are even spawned, that "plays" exactly like the player would. It would randomly decide to swap sides & jump, the trick being that the AI also decides when it lands: When reaching one of the 3 "rocket lanes", he'd be able to trigger rocket generation. A rocket would then magically appear right where the AI is, so we're 100% sure that the game is playable :)

We could then adjust the difficulty in various ways:

  • Especially in early phases of the game, filling voids with some additional rockets would help make things easy and the "AI path" not too obvious
  • The AI could play with increasingly tight timing
  • The rockets could be made shorter, or positioned so that there's little margin for error

I'm not sure how widespread this technique of using an AI is, but it may be fun to try. To be continued…

Wan

The theme of the January 2019 Kajam is Hyper-casual gaming. As usual, you'll have about one month to make a game exploring the topic, with submissions due for Sunday 27th! Will follow a week of ratings on how addictive your game is, with the results out on Sunday 3rd February.

About "hyper-casual" games

I discovered this new term pretty recently, thanks to Bitslap sharing an interesting article about the trend. We're interested here in a particular niche inside the world of mobile gaming. It's been years now since casual games have taken over the world of app stores, from match threes to strategy games to puzzles. But now, the idea behind "hyper"-casual is that there's a growing number of successful apps that are actually very small games, focused on a single simple mechanic.

The obvious examples would be Flappy Bird of course, or 2048. Both were made in 3 days or less. An older one would be Doodle Jump. There's been a lot of games like this now that have been successful, even commercially successful, while at the same time seeming like they did not take that much time to develop. Studios like Ketchapp have outright specialized in such games ; their recent success Stack is a good exemple.

Tips

It seems like the overall hyper-casual recipe is as follows:

  1. Rely on a very simple but fun mechanic
  2. Make it require lots of practice to master (either by getting timing and precision right, or by perfecting strategic decisions)
  3. Make the game infinite, having the player aim for a high score
  4. Balance the difficulty right (to avoid boring or frustrating the player)

While I can't promise you this will make your game a success, it's certainly a type of games worth exploring. For me it will be a nice change to finetune a simple gameplay rather than cramming as much features & contents I can in a limited time :)

Bonus: One Hour Game Jam meetup!

Because those games are super easy to prototype, let's try something special and join the One Hour Game Jam to get our games started! OHGJ is a weekly event, and completely informal (no prizes nor enforcing any rules, ie. it's ok to submit late, reuse existing art etc.) so it's perfect to get your Kajam entry started.

I'm proposing either of the next two events for us to gather and give a try at a hyper-casual game!

  • Saturday 5th January, 8pm UTC
  • Saturday 12th January, 8pm UTC

See you there maybe! And even if you don't, have fun making a minimal but addictive game!

Wan

I have tried to think about any simple but fun and mobile-friendly mechanic I could find, and here's the result:

Story: It won't be told explicitly (except maybe through the game name), but I always need a story to get me engaged in my projects. Here, humanity is escaping Earth due to an imminent disaster. Thousands of rockets are launching into space, except you have been forgotten behind :D You had the brilliant idea to just hop on a launching rocket, so now let's just try to stay alive…

Gameplay: It's simply about staying on screen for as long as you can, by jumping between rockets that scroll at different speeds. Maybe you just you can't stick to the rockets correctly and are constantly sliding along them, forcing you to jump to something else before you fall off. Anyway the controls are just:

  1. Hold touch for the right time to jump on a neighbor rocket
  2. Tap to switch sides of the rocket you're on
  3. Use 1 & 2 to stay alive as long as you can

I aim to build this both for PC and Android. And will probably prototype this during a One Hour Game Jam.

Wan

Hello there! I'm looking forward to be the host for the first event of 2019. See you on January 1st for the announcement of the topic of the month. I've already chosen it, and the picture below is a little teaser :) Follow us on Twitter to stay updated! Have a nice holidays and see you then.

Kajams are month-long gamedev events in which people focus on a specific aspect of game making. From Storytelling to Artificial intelligence to Retro gaming, each Kajam is a new excuse to practice game development skills and have fun! Detailed rules here.

Wan

For december, we are reviving the Feedback Fortnight concept that was introduced last year as the launch event of Alakajam.

More details to be announced soon…

Wan

The month is over and we tried our best to release a commercial project this month, with various degrees of success. What is the next step now?

Winning the challenge

As the month ends, you are supposed to have released your game in any marketplace where you can earn money. From now on, you will be considered a winner as soon as you get purchases for a total of at least $1/1€! (or whatever your local currency is).

Here is a victory stamp you can use anywhere to boast about your participation ;)

I could not make it in time!

If you didn't manage to submit your game in time, it's okay. After all the goal was to make us move our butts and try to release a project, and you joined the party.

  • If you have a playable build, feel free to link it to your entry so we can all playtest your game
  • If you still plan to release your game, feel free to do so and try to be a late winner!

We're leaving entry submissions open to any late entries for the time being.

Winners list

Did you win the November Challenge? Let us know by posting a comment below!

Entry Author
Px Editor @DaFluffyPotato
Idle Snowflake @Laguna

Wan

A quick update on my A.G. Hope update towards a sellable game (now renamed to Modular Hope).

I think I've spent roughly 8 hours on the game so far, and it's been mostly dedicated to rewriting the controls and physics for the game. What made things a bit slower is how I've been trying to take advantage of "data oriented programming" patterns that are making their way into Unity good practices.

I think I have a good base now for managing & structuring those modular spaceships, the current step being to implement docking on top of it. My first attempt hasn't been too great :P I attempted to optimize things by creating a single, large circle trigger on each room to detect other rooms within docking range… Except not only I have a little direction detection bug (see below!), but I just realized that in fact it wouldn't behave correctly in all cases. What I need to do is put a trigger on each of all 4 sides of the room.

To be continued…

Wan

Today's a big day, as the community just launched its official Discord server!

The decision was taken after debating it thoroughly among the team and community regulars: while we love our current chat hosted on IRC, we also felt it was needed to have a place on Discord, as a lot of gamedev enthusiasts are using it. From now on we'll be supporting both services, with bridges between them thanks to the discord-irc bot.

We hope to see you there!
 

Click this invite to join the server

Wan

With the unranked jam now over, now is the time to play and rate each other's games!

How it works…

For the next two weeks, all entrants will be able to give ratings on other games. Take some time to play & rate games, and even better write some feedback about it! Constructive feedback is one of the best ways to learn and improve your game design skills, so please dish it out in buckets. While people who didn't enter the event cannot rate games, they can still post reviews.

By rating & commenting (even on Unranked entries), you will gain Karma that will make your game more visible to others. A high Karma gives you more chances to get ratings yourself and reach the minimum of 10 to be classified. Otherwise, you will not get a final ranking!

On October 28th, at 7pm the final results will be released and the winners crowned :)

Go go go! Play and rate games!

Wan

Just spreading the word for streamer MrJoshuaMcLean who is planning to stream Alakajam entries on his Twitch channel tonight.

If you'd like your game to be reviewed on stream, submit it below!

Submission for Joshua McLean Stream