Last week I finished a new game for the 2012 Week Long OHR Random Collab Contest. This was a collaboration, and my randomly chosen team-mate was Sid “Thespazztikone” Tyler. He happens to be a master at making maptiles, which is one of my biggest weakpoints, so I was very happy to be teamed with him, and he didn’t seem too mad about me hogging all the plotscripting and textbox-writing fun.
The game we made is called The Death of Von Stabbingmore, and you can download it from here: slimesalad
The game is intended to be in the style of a point-and-click puzzle-adventure, although there is no pointing and clicking. All the controls are the standard OHRRPGCE interface for running around the map and fighting RPG battles. The puzzles are all built into the battles, requiring you to use the correct sequence of commands to win. I tried to make the dialog funny, and based on reactions I have gotten to it so far, I think I succeeded.
The game uses tall hero walkabouts, based on the WalkTall tech demo scripts that I wrote a few months back. In writing this game I found a fixed a few bugs with the OHR’s support for modifying walkabout sprite slices.
The controls are a little klunky. I think if I was doing it over again, I would have abandoned any attempt to allow free-pixel movement, and I would have instead bound all movement strictly to the grid.
I also recorded a timelapse video of me making the game, at a rate of 1 screenshot every 60 seconds (not including the times I hibernated the computer when I went to sleep)
Last weekend I participated in the 21st Ludumdare 48 hour game making competition. It was a lot of fun. Mahlena came over to keep me company, and I programmed almost all weekend. I used the OHRRPGCE, and talked the OHR community into timing our own annual 48 hour contest to be simultaneous with the Ludumdare competition, so that people could double-enter. Several did.
The theme of the contest was “Escape”, and the game I created was called Escape the Wolf: OHR You can download it from here:
Basically, you run away from the wolf, and try to find the cabin. I hacked together some pretty decent-seeming ai for the wolf, and took care to avoid overusing randomness. The map is generated randomly, but the gameplay is pretty deterministic.
Procedurally generating the forest was pretty fun, and not as hard as I feared it might be. I allocated layers 2-7 as overhead, then I generated trees from the top of the map down to the bottom, dynamically placing the tiles in the lowest free layer. That means that seven trees would have to overlap before there would not be room for the tiles (possible, but very rare). Trees layered badly when they wrapped over the top of the map and onto the bottom of the map, but it was too minor for me to care about in such a time-crunch.
In retrospect I really should have added some landmarks scattered around the forest. I did have one landmark, a cobblestone path that lead from the cabin to a well. It made a big difference in finding the cabin, since the cabin was only 3×3 tiles, and the footpath could stretch over as much as half the map. Still, it is a big map, and more landmarks would have helped.
I am also very happy for Mahlena’s brief playtesting. The wolf chomped her rapidly and repeatedly, and that convinced me that the game mode I had been working on should become “Hard Mode”, and that I should add Normal and Easy modes.
So far the ludumdare responses have been mostly positive, and all the OHRRPGCE users who have played it seemed to like it. I will update this post after the voting period is over.
The voting has completed, and out of 509 contestants, I scored in 12th place for Audio (which really surprises me, because I was just doodling and warbling into the microphone) and I scored in 17th place for Humor, which I am proud of, because so very many of the contestants tried to make funny games.
I had recently been playing a lot of Words-With-Friends with my Sister and my Brother-in-Law, and that had me thinking about word-tile games.
One thing I don’t like about word tile games is the limited size of the board quickly cramps the word space, and the double and triple score boxes force any winning strategy to emphasize small words on score boxes in favor of long words.
So I set out to make a word tile game that rewards long words most of all. The result was Vocabulary Mosaic.
NeoTA clued me in to MyPaint which is a nifty paint program. Unlike most computer programs for making pictures, this one attempts to simulate the feel of actually working with pencils and brushes and inks. At this it failed, because I did not get any paint on my clothing, or in my hair, or in my eyes. I didn’t get dizzy from chemichal fumes. I actually did not make any mess at all, nor did I have to spend any time with turpentine cleaning my brushes. But for the non-unpleasant aspects of painting, it has done a great job of simulating the painting experience, which the caveat that it provides so many fancy magic brushes that it almost feels like I am cheating sometime.
For example, I did most of the work on this one using a brush tool that simulates a flurry of vertical brush strokes along a gradient of shades. Cheating? Well… actually, it is probably not really possible to “cheat” when it comes to creativity.
I know I can do better with this tool. I have always had a dual fascination/fear with painting, and this tool takes away most of the things that I dislike about painting and adds UNDO and LAYERS. That can’t be anything but good.
Soap is bad for you to eat. It is good for washing your hands, but very very bad for you to put in your mouth. If soap ever accidentally gets in your mouth, spit it out! This game is an educational simulation using the latest in 8-bit gaming technology so that you can experience mouth-related soap accidents from the safety of your living-room without risk
of actual hospitalization.
Remember! This is only a game! Do not try it at home!
Ogg Nayboomer and the Fla’arns of Tra’al
With formious churnations, Rog Ogg Nayboomer lifted his p’nurk ashurn the lerg mundions of Tra’ali.
“Mullgow Tra’ali!” he began, “our first gronom besets us! Now is the k’lurn to set balsern our trovels, and to take up our marguls and knit!”
“Knit!” chorused the askanseled Tra’ali, clashing their trovels together with great formio.
But Ogg Nayboomer scowled. Snurk among the Tra’alim narselled him. He leaped down from the uld’low, and seized a margul from the aleenest Tra’ali.
“What h’murk of margul is this?” he demanded burmiously.
“One gifted to me ve’sek’varingly by my flune Gloriak.” said the Tra’ali neberously.
“Foma!” bellowed Ogg Nayboomer. “My pleen have never seen an opsorn fla’arnious wagoo than this pegl of a margul. Do you think to change this boozel-knitting from a boozel-knitting to a blurk-floshing?”
“Never” said the aleen Tra’ali.
“I also boast for this Tra’ali,” uttered the lurg Tra’ali boolsern him.
“Do you all boast?” shouted Ogg Nayboomer, looking fulsern the mundion.
“We knit as one!” came the formious de’ponk.
“So be it.” said Ogg. “Knit like the blurkhog of Pummelgog were agstern thee!”
* * * * *
So the lerg mundions of Tra’ali, sat glomsern their polmoons with their trovels mumsern them and they knitted boozels with their marguls from mog’bok until mog’nuk. And Rog Ogg Nayboomer knitted boolsern them. Being the lergest of the Tra’alim, Ogg Nayboomer needed no polmoon, and walked, marguls in p’nurk, as he knitted, overlooking the baleen of the oms.
Sorgenly, Ogg stopped, dropping his boozel and garfing formiously. “Who dares?” he demanded, seizing a margul and holding it sern boomsern his pleens.
The wagoo that he held was bargolly the same fla’arnious margul that he had taken from the blurkey Tra’ali only mog’hark.
“Our glub is facing churmious gronom, and you play Fla’arniak.” roared Ogg Nayboomer.
“But Rog,” said the Tra’ali in de’ponk, “behold my plurn of boozels!”
Ogg looked amsern, and saw that indeed, the Tra’ali’s plurn of boozels sernly glomed his polmoon.
“How,” demanded Ogg with grof, “How do you so barmiously knit boozels with such a fla’arny margul?”
“Thus did my flune Gloriak teach me.” said the Tra’ali, “for my flune Gloriak and my berf Fla’arn are the same!”
Ogg Nayboomer gasped, and he raised his trovel to do that blurky baleen which he knew he must do.
But the other Tra’alim fulsern him siezed his p’nurks and stayed him.
“Fla’arns! Fla’arns!” shouted the Rog, struggling churnaciously. “All of thee Fla’arns!”
“Flunest Rog,” said the aleen Tra’ali. “We all knit in the blorp of the Fla’arnim. We are lagsorn boozel-knitters and opsorn boozel-fla’arners.”
“We beg toglosity,” said another. “We wogsorn meant to pa’bargol you!” He showed his margul which was also fla’arnious.
Rog Ogg Nayboomer fell to his p’thorks and wept.
After his pleen had no more spurks to shed, he stood, and with great neberosity he spoke “Gronom besets us. If we must knit as the Fla’arniak do, then so be it. The Fla’arn of Tra’al we shall be!”
I am delighted to note that my book is now available via a few more distribution channels, particularly amazon which is the cheapest place to buy it if you happen to already be buying enough other books to qualify for free shipping, and createspace which is the cheapest place to buy it if you aren’t buying anything else at all.