Planet Sweeper development update

Since people seemed to enjoy my Ludum Dare game “Planet Sweeper”, I decided to develop the prototype further. The aim is to expand on the basic “particle flow reveals hidden objects” idea to add some depth to the game, polish everything, and build versions primarily targeted at tablet devices (iPads and Android tablets), and maybe the web and OUYA. How time flies when you are having fun – it’s been 5 months since Ludum Dare 30 and no progress updates, so here we go. Progress !

Planet Sweeper Title Screen, Early Feb 2015


Here’s a rough rundown of the work I’ve done on Planet Sweeper since the initial prototype: Continue reading…

Ludum Dare 30 post-mortem – Planet Sweepers

The game is here: Planet Sweepers. Here’s a postmortem.

Planet Sweepers LD30 screenshot

For Ludum Dare, I’m a firm believer of using the theme for inspiration and as a restriction to stimulate creative solutions – and then ultimately not letting it get between you and producing a good game. It’s a starting point, not a destination. A muse, not a contract with a client. Continue reading…

Deep Dome postmortem

This is the rambling postmortem of my Ludum Dare 29 compo entry, Deep Dome. Crossposted on the #LD48 site. Early in the jam I had a bunch of different ideas. This is pretty normal. I liked the theme, so much so that it almost gave me too many options for achievable small games I would have enjoyed making. In the end I went for my ‘fallback idea’ – something I’d wanted to try if I could tweak it to fit the theme: a Descent-like game with visuals similar to Zombie Gunship. What I wanted to achieve was: 1) Set up 6DOF ship controls that felt good. Not necessarily identical to the original Descent, but along those lines. 2) Recreate visuals similar to Zombie Gunship (essentially inverted greyscale, with object highlighting) 3) Incorporate this into a small prototype game, as a sandbox for something bigger.


All image effects applied

I’m happy since I feel like I largely met goals (1) and (2), with some detours, while the gameplay component of (3) isn’t nearly refined enough. Continue reading…

Ludum Dare #24

In case anyone missed it … I had a crack at the Ludum Dare 48 hour game development jam last weekend. It’s been a little while since I’ve done Ludum Dare – it’s much bigger than it was just a few years ago, and the amount of raw talent that turns up to compete is a little intimidating these days.

Nonetheless … I submitted some kind of “25 % finished” demo game at the end of 48 hours. I’m pretty happy with the result so far, and so I’m seriously toying with continuing to expand and develop this one because even though it’s got a long way to go, the flying mechanic feels pretty good.

I made this entry with Unity3D. A couple of years back I’d played with Unity but it never really ‘clicked’ with me. More recently, I tried it again, following some examples in an awesome little book by the guys at Deep Pixel – Unity 3 Blueprints – A Practical Guide to Indie Games Development. After following a few of their tutorials, the penny dropped and I had a much better understanding of how to best use Unity. As a result, my new found love of Unity enabled me to pump out a working prototype for Ludum Dare so quickly it really does feel like cheating compared with more barebones engines. But this is cool … it means game developers are free to focus on gameplay and design, without getting too bogged down with chasing memory leaks and the like, and ultimately more diverse and creative games will emerge … exciting times.

You can download my compo entry and see more here:

Belated Ludum Dare #14 “entry”

Well, it’s not an official entry, since it’s way too late. You can see what I was trying to achieve here and here. Essentially, I was attempting to entertain myself in the boring parts of a plane flight from Rome to Melbourne, via Hong Kong, by making my Ludum Dare entry. Various problems, mainly to do with finding working laptop power, prevented me from submitting it by the deadline.

Compactor LD14 Screenshot

This is the product of about two laptop battery charges (~2.5 hours), and one hour to polish, fix the odd bug and package .. so in total it’s about a ~6 hour game. It’s based on the garbage compactor scene from a particular space opera that had it’s heyday in the late 70’s and early 80’s. You could imagine it was one of the ideas that was considered, then discarded, before the early arcade developers went “Nah, we should do a 3D X-Wing game with vector graphics. That would be much cooler”.

You are the (inexplicably) green hero. You play with the arrow keys. You move bits of junk (grey) such that you can jam the compactor before it crushes you. Some bits of junk (white), are too large to move. There is only one level and no sound.

Play it here (Java applet, requires the Java plugin that you most likely already have installed).