Topic: games

Postmortem: Puzzle Game in 48 Hours


I recently participated in the 20th Ludum Dare, a competition to make a brand new game from scratch in 48 hours, going solo!

The theme for the competition was from Zelda and internet Kitten meme fame: "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." I made an old school, top-down puzzle game for this theme. After the 48 hour competition ended, I polished my game a bit and also re-submitted to the 72 hour Jam.

You should play both versions of my game!

I've also written a postmortem for the Ludum Dare site, that I invite you to read.

Screenshot of intro.

HTML5 Game: Commander Clone Training Mission


I've finished a level of my Run N' Gun video game that I have been working on for the Experimental Gameplay Project theme: "Cheap Clone." I have been evaluating the Akihabara HTML5 game engine in the process of making this level.

I present to you "Commander Clone 0.2 - Training Mission" — you should play it right now!

Eyeshot Blinking. Commander Clone shooting.

If you don't like something about it, please tell me! If you really love something about it, please invite your friends to play.

There are still some bugs, and this training mission level doesn't have a ton of content... but it has been fun to draw the sprites and modify Akihabara. I also like to think the level has a certain charms. ;)

Video: Why Mario Has a Wide Stance


So I've been hacking on the Akihabara HTML5 video game engine. I'm trying it out while I put together a platformer. I think I've come to an answer for the question, "Why does Mario have a wide stance?" Being from Minneapolis, MN I've heard my fair share of wide stance jokes (thanks Larry Craig) … in this video I talk about video game sprites with wide stances and why that is important for platformers. I also discuss how I applied this new knowledge to some code improvements in Akihabara.

I'm sorry to have recorded you such a long video, I didn't have time to record a shorter one. ;)

JavaScript Video Game: Infiltration at Dusk


UPDATE: My video game won 2nd place in the Boing Boing Games Inspired by Music contest! It is apparently now an "instant old-school classic." heh. I couldn't have done it without the support of everybody who voted. I really appreciate it. ALSO: Check out the very nice write-up I got in MinnPost from Phil Wilson!

Why hello there reader, I'd like to announce a video game I created called "Infiltration at Dusk". It is the near future, and the Artificial Intelligence is trying to rid Earth of all humans. The remaining villages have installed batteries of gun turrets as their only defense against the hordes of biomechanical abominations sent on raids by the AI. You, gunner, are the last hope remaining!

Screenshot of Infiltration at Dusk. Boing Boing Arcade - Play and Vote.

Play my game online now in your browser with Firefox 3.5+, Chrome, or Safari. It is an old school arcade/action shoot 'em up game with a couple twists. I created this game for Boing Boing's "Games Inspired by Music" competition where the idea was to make a video game inspired by a chiptunes song. (Vote for "Infiltration" in the poll at the bottom of the competition page!)

I chose the song "Infiltration at Dusk" by the very talented Tettix, off of his Technology Crisis II album. The album inspired me to create biomechanical monsters that you have to shoot, and the song inspired me to create a game that starts at dusk and gets darker as you play. The bullets from your gun and the exploding enemies light up the dark scene — that's one of the twists of my game.

I set out to enter this competition with two major goals in mind. My first goal was to raise the technical bar for games written in JavaScript rather than Flash. I wrote the game engine in JavaScript using the canvas tag for graphics and HTML5 audio tag to play the music. I wanted to show realtime lighting effects and have fast paced action with lots of sprites on the screen at once to help demonstrate the massive improvements in JavaScript performance. Rob Beschizza of Boing Boing and Offworld says:

Zachary's Infiltration was built with JavaScript and HTML5's canvas tag, but contains powerful lighting and blending effects normally the province of Flash — a perfect showcase for plugin-free browser gaming.

Keyboard control instructions for game.

The other big goal I had for this game was to introduce a new input style for desktop gaming (my second twist). In Infiltration, you control where your turret shoots bullets by mashing on the keyboard. The entire keyboard becomes almost a touch input surface roughly mapped to the game screen.

Typically with action games on the desktop you target your bullets with the keyboard using WASD or the arrow keys, or you use your mouse to point in a particular direction. This always felt a bit too controlled to me when playing manic "bullet hell" style action shooter games. I would play my way up to dozens of enemies on the screen at once and end up dying in a keyboard crushing or mouse tossing fit. That's when it kind of dawned on me that it might be a bit more fun to mash on your keyboard in the general vicinity of the oncoming horde of enemies. I think it turned out pretty well!

If you haven't already, why don't you go play my video game and then be sure to vote for "Infiltration" at the bottom of the contest page.

Update: Check out this gameplay footage video and controls tutorial:

Equip > Pants, a "Bare" Minimum RPG


Play the full Legend of Equip > Pants Game!

The Legend of Equip Pants: Adventure RPG

Original Post:

I've been tracking the Experimental Gameplay Project blog since its return earlier this year. I decided to enter the competition this month when I saw the August theme, "bare minimum," which they suggested could be anything including "graphics, sound, gameplay — some have even been so crass as to suggest clothing!"

My idea was to create an extremely basic RPG with gameplay throwbacks to NES titles like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, but with even simpler graphics. The graphics concept I came up with was basically that anything in the game would be represented with giant square pixels of color. And then playing off the theme's implication of bare-as-in-naked, I came up with the game title: Equip > Pants. Here's a very brief review:

Having perhaps the highest hilarious: number of pixels ratio, equip > pants follows the exploits of a pantless hero who must don pants. -Experimental Gameplay Project

In the spirit of the Experimental Gameplay Project competition rules, I spent just seven days developing this game. I put in less than 40 hour of development time total.

The game is written in JavaScript, and should run fine in most browsers. Play it now. Click START below.

And after you've finished, check out the other games from the August theme. Just to give a few more technical details about the game: I used the DOM to draw the graphics instead of a canvas tag. Those of you with Safari, Chrome, or Firefox 3.5 should see a beautiful pixel font in the game thanks to an @font-face rule.

Oh, and don't mind the ABOUT / CREDITS link... that just goes to this blog entry. (Some places have linked to the game directly rather than this post.)