Mega-Update!

Okay time to get caught up with this. I have been pretty busy since the last post, my part time job has become more full time than I had anticipated. I’m just going to get straight to the games and jabber about all my personal nonsense after.

The game I had been working on a couple posts ago did get released, though not nearly as polished as I would have liked. The programmer I was working with had his hands full with his real job and was barely able to get the game out by the extreme deadline.tankslogo (1)

It is called Tanks a Lot, its a 2 player battle game in which each player controls 4 tanks simultaneously with an xbox 360 controller. The player controls their tanks with the left stick, and fires with the right trigger. By pressing the face buttons the player can select and deselect which of their tanks are moving, all selected tanks follow the same control inputs. This leads to a lot of strategy in deciding how many tanks to use. Friendly tanks can hurt each other with their shots, and the shots will explode and damage any units around. Positioning is very important and there are a lot of ways to play it. I have only actually gotten to play with people a few times, but I really like the game despite its flaws. Its a good party game in my opinion.
Just a heads up, if you want to try the game it does require two xbox controllers to be connected.

Next up is Pota-do
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I made this one for Ludum Dare 26. I had been working on making a playing card game for 1GAM but that is trickier than it sounds. Anyway Pota-do is a simple 2 player versus game. The objective is to attack the enemy by hitting a button. As time goes by the damage of an attack goes up, and is reset any time a player attacks. The idea is to wait as long as you can to attack so it does more damage, and try to strike just before your opponent is going to. Its all about mind games. I added an Advanced Combatâ„¢ mode to make things a bit more interesting and make the game more physical. Its just another stupid kinda fun game you can play with a friend to kill a few minutes.

Now for my latest released game

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This one was a lot of fun. I joined late for the Newgrounds Game Jam 9, but managed to find a team. This was by far the best collaborative experience I have ever had. I also learned a lot about game development (especially code optimization on the fly).

It was a pretty ambitious idea for a jam game. Tub Troopers is an RTS game in which you are commanding a squad of rubber ducks, and trying to gain control over the bathtub. You can click individual units, or drag the mouse to select multiple units, and then click to send them around the battlefield. The objective is to destroy the enemy base and protect your own. Units can be purchased with soap, which is acquired over time or by defeating enemy units.

It took about 4 days of the week long jam for me to even have anything playable. I had never done an RTS style game before, and it was a lot to figure out in a short time. The game required a lot of moving parts before anything could really work together. While I was waiting for art to be done I spent the first few days just laying groundwork and reusable code blocks so when it came time to start making things work, I could just plug in all these properties and have everything work on the same system. This turned out to be critical in my ability to get the game done, I was able to tweak and make changes easily in a short amount of time.

It got kind of rough toward the end. I found that when all of the behaviors were active, any time I had more than a few ducks on the screen the framerate would start to chug really badly. It took a while of optimization before I made progress on that. I finally managed to get it working back up with a script that would go through each duck on the screen and have them take turns targeting nearby enemies instead of having them all target at the same time.
Who knew having 24 units on screen all trying to pathfind and target 60 times a second would hurt framerate?

After I got that out of the way it was smooth sailing until the last day a couple hours before I was supposed to release. Somehow I had created a game-crashing bug that I couldn’t find the source of. It got pretty frantic in the team trying to nail down what was causing it. I ended up just using a scatter shot approach and putting in fail-safes anywhere I could think to put them. I think I fixed the bug but I really don’t know, it could still be lurking in there somewhere…

Overall though, this game was the best jam I have ever done, I am really proud of myself and the team for how it turned out. Our musician made an amazing song for the game credits screen that was a perfect end cap to the jam. It was like the perfect anthem for finishing a jam. Try to get to the end of the game to hear it, its totally worth it.