Hi, internet. Today I'll be filling you in on how my made my most recent game for Ludum Dare, SMASHASAURUS. For this project I used GameMaker Studio (I got the pro version during Humble Bundle recently, woo!) photoshop and paint (yes I like making pixel art in paint sometimes).
For those of you who do not know, Ludum Dare is a long-running game jam where game developers of all experience levels from around the globe challenge out their skills and compete to create a game from scratch in just 48 hours. There is also a 72-hour jam for teams or those who wish to use outside assets, which isn't treated as a competition.
Check out their website!
So, I'll cut right to the chase and break down how I created by game this time around.
Humble beginnings (Day 1)
In my time zone, Ludum Dare began Friday night, so even though there was only 48 hours, I'll be breaking it down over Friday - Sunday (3 days).
Pretty quickly on Friday evening, I decided that I wanted to make a destructibles-driven game. I didn't come up with the dinosaur theme until later, but I ran with the endless beat-em-up idea almost immediately and set to work doing the bulk of the programming and problem solving.
I find that I work best if I wait to make art until the game is mostly done, so I just had blocks and an obnoxious magenta background for quite some time. I had a lot of trouble with the enemy AI (I am kind of a noob and have never made something so complicated), but by the end of the night I had (most) of a functioning, albiet ugly endless beat em up.
Starting to look like something (day 2 - Morning)
After the basic mechanics were set up, I made some slightly-less-ugly placeholder sprites and started to work out the smashing particles and level design. This whole period was a lot of tweaking to make the enemy AI actually work, the player animations work, and to set up the global variables so that it was easy to tweak the scaling difficulty. Nothing super exciting.
At this point I was convinced that I wanted to make the game become more and more difficult as your points increased, so I put quite a bit of time into this, as well.
Spawninggggggg (Day 2 - evening)
The game involves spawning mechanics, so I ended up spending a lot of time figuring this out. I have never made a game that involves spawning more than a few item types so there was a lot of tweaking involved. Initially I wanted to spawn random objects all over the house, but eventually I decided that the spawning would be specific to the furniture in each room.
I also started making some sprites, and set up the 'dino-level' system that levels you up as your score increases and increases spawn-rates and speed. I also made health and taking damage, and end-game conditions.
SPAWNING??!?!?!?? (Day 2- Night)
At this point I basically had the 'game' done, but there was a lot of work to be done on the spawning (thus the endless toilets..) So I stayed up way into the night correcting this. By this point, I had working enemies, the (almost) final level design done and had made a BG tile set. I went to bed knowing that the final morning would be spent making a LOT of sprites for smashable objects.
SPRITES AND STUFF TO SMAAASSSHH (Day 3- Morning)
At the end of Ludum Dare I spent several hours making sprites for all of the smashable objects, adjusting spawn logic and making a few different enemy types that appear as the game becomes more difficult. This was time-consuming, but refreshing after spending so much time on programming (which I am admittedly, not great at).
I opted not make sound, as I am bad at it and was worried that making sound effects for each item getting destroyed would end up sounding annoying. At the last possible moment, I complied the game and submitted it on time. Yay!
Gameplay Video + Download Link
Thanks again for checking out my Ludum Dare game- I have a lot of fun doing game jams even though I'm not an expert. You can see a quick gameplay video below if you'd like, or click the link below to where you can download Smashasaurus.
It's been a crazy few weeks, but I'm officially getting started on a new project! I'm working on the illustrations and design for a new children's book for Alberta Author Skye Durocher. The book is tentatively titled "Spirits of the Northern Lights". I won't give away much about the plot and structure, but I'm very excited to work on the art for this unique book.
Currently, I am beginning on the illustrations and have done some preliminary designs for the characters. Some of the details will change in the next iteration, but I'll share a sneak-peek of some of the character designs that I've worked on so far.
Thanks for taking a look, I hope you'll follow the book's progress and support the Skye when the book is released. You can look forward to lots of new watercolor illustrations and a personal, touching story.
And as always, thanks for taking a look! More details will come in the next couple of months.
It's been a little while but I am now back from my vacation, so it's time for an art update.
Lately I have been working on a lot of miscellaneous paintings that aren't for larger projects, just to keep myself busy and to try out some new techniques. The latest series that I finished is a set of 6 Mini watercolor paintings. They're about 5 x 7" and are mostly fanart-related.
In the next few posts, I'll share all six paintings, starting with two today. I used a pretty unusual style in these pieces which is quite experimental, but I'm fairly happy with the results. Let's take a look at the first two paintings:
In case you're interested, here are the basic supplies that I used to create these paintings:
Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time
The first painting that I worked on is a little fanart piece for the Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time. I tried to avoid perspective as much as possible and make the characters very flat, colorful and surreal. Another oddity of this style is that everything is inked with a 08 Pigma pen; usually I use a 01 and 05 pen so the lines are much chunkier than normal.
The paper is 5 x 7" with a taped border on each side, making the finished painting more like 4 x 6". I hope you enjoyed my weird little Link! I will probably make prints eventually, for next convention season.
I lied, I actually painted this before the Zelda painting, hehe. This is the only painting in this series that isn't fanart, it is just a painting of a surreal princess in a strawberry-themed dress, surrounded by mushrooms. I tried to keep the colors as bold and shifting as possible, and finished it off with a dark black background.
Thanks for Looking
Thanks for checking out the first two paintings in this series! I will reveal the next four over the next couple of weeks. If you enjoy my work, please check out the links below for more artwork and other goodies. You can also see a full list of all of my blog articles here if you'd like to see more of my work or writing. Ciao!
Hi there internet,
It's been a few weeks since I gave an art update so I figured I'd share another illustration that I made recently - "Forest Promise"!
Forest Promise is a watercolor and ink pen illustration- I had a lot of fun detailing the background and working my way through this illustration. The scene was not inspired by a specific artist, but I've really been enjoying developing my watercolor art style lately. I used to work mostly with really solid, cel-shaded shadows and lately I've been working with slightly more realistic, softer shadows.
Just for comparison, here's a painting that I completed for a project called Fever Dream in 2014, versus a recent painting. I've definitely gotten more comfortable with soft shading.
Anyways, this new painting is set in a forest and involves some sort of magical promise. I hope you enjoy it!
"Forest Promise" Grace Avery-Parkman, 2016. Watercolor and Ink on Paper, 9 x 11".
If you enjoyed this post and my artwork, please follow me on other social media and comment your thoughts on this blog. I love hearing from you. You can also click the button at the top of this post to buy me a coffee (by donating $3 to support my artwork) and receive my everlasting gratitude.
Hi there, Internet.
This weekend I completed my third Ludum Dare (and second solo Ludum Dare). Things were a little different this time since due to some scheduling and resource weirdness with the site admin, there was no ratings portion of the competition.
I did, however finish another game using Game Maker 8 and am pretty happy with the results! I think I definitely managed to make more of a 'game' this time than with Bear (see here for my last entry). It's not even (that) broken, which is nice. There are a few glitches here and there, but overall it isn't super broken considering I am not really a game developer.
Here is a breakdown of the game and what I ended up with and the process of developing the game.
In case anyone doesn't know, Ludum Dare is 48 hour game jam that goes on around the world. Users have 2 days to make a game entirely from scratch using the tools of their choice (including graphics, code, audio and so on).
The theme for this Ludum Dare was 'ancient technology'. I did not particularly like the this theme (I really prefer themes related to game play style) and find that themes that encourage certain kinds of visuals and plot sort of limit the variety of the entries. I decided to make my entry mimic a game-and-watch style LCD handheld game, and also to set it in goofy ancient Egypt in order to have the theme represented twice.
I started out with a pun, honestly, as will 99% of my ideas. So I set out to make a bomb throwing side-scrolling game of some sort. I tweaked the controls to feel more like a LCD handheld, and eventually the game morphed into a puzzle game, which was cool and unexpected. The first solid day I basically built the engine, physics and tweaked elements of the game play itself.
"The first solid day I basically built the engine, physics and tweaked elements of the game play itself. "
After I finished the engine and had it working fairly well, I moved onto level design. Once the game started to lend itself more and more to a puzzle game, I started creating different block types for each level. There are key blocks which destroy lock boxes when exploded, timer blocks, and so on. I built ten levels and play tested them to make sure that the puzzles progressed somewhat logically and worked consistently. I was still working with placeholder graphics at this point, and I ended up leaving better graphics basically until the end, which is unusual for me. I really got caught up in making a playable game and designing elements that could easily apply to future levels. The end result is a pretty simple game, but I'm still quite content with it.
After creating the levels, I updated all of the sprites and tweaked some gameplay elements that needed fixing. I also made sure that the levels flowed properly, added intro and outro sequences and added sound effects. In the end, there are ten levels to play. I am actually pretty happy with how the game came out, so I will likely go back and add more levels and fix some bugs in a few weeks.
After a couple more hours of tweaking, the game was done! Thanks for checking out this post, I've really been enjoying doing Ludum Dares the last couple of years and it has definitely sharpened my game-making skills and renewed my interest in making games.
If you'd like to play the game, it's available for download through the Ludum Dare site here:
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