Bacon and Games

Year: 2012 (page 1 of 3)

Animal Sorter – Update #2

Here’s a quick teaser of the progress I made this weekend and a quick summary of the stuff that’s changed:

  • removed the springboards, clicking on an animal now makes it jump
  • added food (drop food to temporarily stop animals) – only carrots for bunnies is shown. Eventually these will be in limited supply. Mechanism for placing food not implemented yet
  • warning icons for impending traps
  • added furnaces – these will eventually open and become traps that you’ll have to keep the animals from walking into
  • added saw blades – not deadly yet, but they will be
  • added mines – jump on to kill them, otherwise if an animal walks into one it’ll blow them to pieces
  • added some new placeholder art (warp pipes, simple poof animations for item droppin, sorting bin icons, etc) – just to clean the look up a bit

There’s still quite a bit to do, but I’m extremely pleased with how it’s progressing after only 3 partial days of development. I’m really getting excited about the idea of this on an iPad with touch controls… that could be REALLY fun but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Prototype first, then I’ll worry about release platforms. More to come soon, I promise.

Code Name “Animal Sorter”

I had a chat recently with Ajay Karat about building games inspired BY art, rather than designing a game and then dressing it up with art. He sent me a bunch of his concept art to dig through and this is the one that stood out to me. (Not sure what that says about me…)

This movie requires Flash Player 9

I could really imagine those dudes bouncing around in a game and, much like Happy Tree Friends, I kept thinking how much fun it’d be to kill something so darn cute. The concept I landed on takes place in a classic arcade format where the animals drop in from the top and bounce their way to the bottom. Your goal is to sort them into the 4 different openings at the bottom of the screen.

Get them in the right bin, horray! Get them in the wrong bin and… well let’s just say the sorters don’t take kindly to receiving the wrong fuzzy animal. The 5th gap, at the bottom center, will eventually be fire or lava or something equally nasty though the level isn’t close to being designed yet.

You can’t control the animals directly, rather there are different “gadgets” spread around the level that you can click on to modify the paths of the animals. Right now all I’ve got is conveyor belts, trap doors, warp tunnels and springboards but I have many more in store for this game. Anyway, not bad for a Friday’s work. I’m excited to see where this one goes. I meant for my boxy, pixelated versions of Ajay’s characters to be placeholder but I’ve kinda fallen in love with them :)

Here’s the first sketch…

Flixel Forums Fmod and Protos

OK, the F in “Fmod” is superfluous, but I like alliteration. So sue sme. Waka waka waka.

Adam Atomic recently put out a call for volunteers to help moderate the Flixel Forums and I was happy to lend a hand. Flixel has lowered the barrier of entry for a lot of budding (and seasoned) game developers and so stomping on the throats of spammers seemed like a worthwhile cause.

Mmmm, SpammyEven though I’m pretty much just tasked with spam patrol, it didn’t seem right to be a mod on a forum without knowing too much about its focus (at least not from the technical perspective). I’m a long-time contributing member of actionscript.org and thought it’d be nice to be able to contribute to Flixel education in the same way I have to general AS education. (That’s AS education, with one S)

So in the spirit of learning Flixel, I’ve decided to add to my ever-growing pile of prototypes a game loosely inspired by Super Crate Box and other single-screen twitchy platformers. Right now it’s in very early stages (all art is 100% placeholder 1) but so far it involves catching coins and stomping on ninja stars before they eat up the ground and drop you into the searing hot lava below. It’s a game about postponing your own inevitable demise whilst being as greedy as possible. Hooray, take that priorities! Here’s a screenshot:

Mmmm, jumpy

I’m amazed by how easy Flixel is to pick up and how simple it is to implement a lot of really powerful things. With some creative thinking you can do quite a lot without writing very much custom code at all. Many thanks to Adam “Atomic” Saltsman for sharing his framework and for allowing me to lend a hand in keeping it going. The Flixel project above is aimed at helping me extend my contributions beyond, “Can I spam you?” -> “No, no you may not.”

Re: “ever-growing pile of prototypes”
I’m a fan of all sorts of games, but on mobile I tend to gravitate towards word and puzzle games. As a result I’ve been working on a few concepts of my own. Here are some screens from other games I’ve got in varying stages of development.

Holy crap, ship something!

Looking at all the works-in-progress I’ve got (and this is just some of it) the phrase “Holy crap, ship something!” comes to mind. I think it’s time I pick a pony and put a bet in play. Back to it!

  1. background borrowed from DemonSpawnn purely for experimentation

A Letter “to” Rovio

Today Rovio launched their first non-Angry Birds sequel since the original dropped in 2009. Since then we’ve seen 3 sequels and just about every Angry Birds tie-in imaginable. From Angry Birds gummies to Halloween costumes, Hollywood movies to pistachio commercials, the Angry Birds seem to be just about everywhere.

With all that flying around I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sick of the franchise. In fact I might have gone so far as to say that I disliked Rovio. But then I thought about it some more and realized that’s silly. Disliking Rovio for their success is a bit like disliking Tim Tebow for all the hype, which I constantly have to remind myself he is NOT to blame for. He seems like a decent enough guy and if people want to go nuts about him that’s not really his fault. By the same token if people really want to buy Angry Birds home pregnancy tests, so be it.

Although Angry Birds first appeared in 2009, Rovio goes as far back as 2003. It feels like they debuted in 2009 because their early mobile games didn’t have a sliver of the success that Angry Birds did (and they didn’t have the Apple App Store either). Amidst all this Angry Birds madness I’ve had to remind myself they’re still a company who has been at it a while. Angry Birds is their golden goose, so to speak, but they broke plenty of eggs trying to find it.

Rovio is not Zynga. Rovio is not EA. Not Apple. Not Google. They’re rich, but still not a huge corporation. They’re a relatively small game company. But still it’s been tiresome to see them constantly reskin Angry Birds with a Seasons version, a Rio version, a Space version. Coupled with the unrelenting wave of tie-ins and merchandising, which make perfect sense as a business model, it’s been really hard to maintain any sort of interest in what Rovio is up to. And their success masks the fact that they’re still a company worth rooting for. They’re not the bad guy, they’re just the popular guy. Sometimes it’s hard to make that distinction.

Bad Piggies ScreenshotThat’s why I’m so excited to see what they’ve done with their new title, Bad Piggies. Yes, it’s a spin off of the enormously popular Angry Birds franchise (as well it should be), but it’s an entirely different game than Angry Birds. And not only that, it’s an entirely fresh concept (save for maybe Incredipede or some distant ties to The Incredible Machine). They didn’t make an Angry Birds pinball app or an Angry Birds tower defense game, they went for something totally new. They took two things they know people love, the characters from their Angry Birds world and physics based “puzzle” mechanics, and did something different. I love that!

Rovio revived my interest in their success. I feel like I can root for them again because they’ve shown me that they’re more than just an Angry Birds factory. I am once again curious about their future, the way I was before Angry Birds Seasons plopped out of their game duplicator. I don’t fault them for riding the wave, they’d be stupid not to, but I’m glad to see they’re not resting on their laurels.

A small-ish company trying new things is far more interesting than a company of any size churning out sequels. They could probably ride off into the sunset right now with giant Angry Birds-laden sacks of cash and been happy to do so. It’s nice to see they have more in them than the desire to print money. They’re making games again!

Congrats, Rovio and thanks for reminding me root for you. If you haven’t seen it already, here’s the trailer for Bad Piggies. You can download the app to your iPhone here or the HD version for your iPad here.

As promised, I’m back to announce that my cartoon, Facebook Parents, is done and ready to view on Newgrounds. We shall see how it fares in the end, but the initial reaction is about average. I wasn’t expecting this to become the next End of the World or anything so that’s fine by me. I just wanted to do something fun and simple. Something to take my mind off business and programming, the daily grind… yadda x 3.

It feels good to have started something and have a finished piece of work to show for it (I have far too many incomplete prototypes rotting in my digital graveyard). Even better still, it feels good to be writing about something that I made, for a change. However successful the product may be, I think I’ve forgotten how nice it feels to make something of your own. It’s harder to face the critics than to be one, but I think that’s part of what makes creation so rewarding.

It was recently pointed out to me that my personal presence on my own site is quite lacking. No photo. No bio. No background and most sadly… not much of my own stuff. I need to work on that and starting, finishing and sharing this was a step in that direction.

I’m happy with what I was able to bang out in just a few days work, but more importantly I’m glad to have been reminded of how much fun it is to make stuff and hope I can ride that feeling into getting more of my own work out there. [Or at least get into the habit of sharing more of the stuff I DO finish]

Next project.

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