Earlier this week I created a space-themed game called Verloren for a unique competition whereby each submission had to be no larger than 13 kilobytes in size. Despite having an entire month to work on the game, I threw it together in just two days.
Fitting all of the code and assets into a 13 kilobyte package was difficult, but the end result was a simple, but fun, game about avoiding enemies in space. You can play it here.
The competition kicked off on the 13th of August, but it was not until the 9th of September that the idea of creating a space-themed game came to me. I wanted the objective of the game to be about maneuvering a spaceship, firing projectiles, and avoiding enemies and asteroids. Due to size restraints, I had to cut asteroids in the middle of development, but enemies and projectiles survived.
At one point, enemies would fire projectiles toward the player, but due to a bug involving the speed of projectiles versus the velocity of enemies, I had to remove them. I instead changed the behavior of enemies to ram the player, and then ultimately decided upon having them carry out individual kamikaze attacks.
What Went Right
The graphics. Rather than load images from files, I opted to generate all of the graphics on the fly through the use of low-level calls to the graphics card. This resulted in simple graphics that did not impact the total file size, saving bytes for use elsewhere.
Creating a parallax scrolling effect on the stars. The star fields are generated in separate layers, with each having its own "resistance" to the camera. When moving at slower speeds, the result is a subtle sense of depth.
"Melting" the screen when engaging FTL. When the ship's FTL drive is repaired and is engaged, the canvas retains its contents between frames. This results in a sort of "melting" effect, which I think does nicely to convey traveling faster than light.
What Went Wrong
Stars do not generate indefinitely. The implementation of parallax scrolling in the stars really complicated things. While the stars do go on for a good distance, they eventually run out. I had devised a solution to ensure that stars would generate indefinitely, but I did not have enough kilobytes to spare.
The game is silent. When it was all said and done, I began working on sound effects, but by that point I had run out of bytes, so the game ended up being completely silent. I could excuse this as a pursuit for realism though, as there is no sound in space.
All things considered, I am happy with how Verloren turned out. I put the source code on GitHub for anyone who is interested, which can be found here. If you had fun playing my game, or found this post to be interesting, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to also take a look at the other 253 competition entries here.
Fixed several bugs
Added 5 new kittens to find
Tweaked the in-game clock to run out sooner
Added a "compass" which points to the nearest kitten
Added ramen noodle upgrades which increase Nini's attributes
Like with my other games and projects, Kitten Kerfuffle's source code and assets are open and freely available on GitHub. Viewing source code is a good way to learn code. ;)
What do you think about Kitten Kerfuffle? Let me know in the comments!
Last year I created a simple game about an eyepatch-wearing blue blob whose mission is to blanket a randomly-generated forest with snow. I made it in just 72 hours for a weekend game jam—where it scored 2nd place overall—and named it "Mori".
Fixed lots of bugs
Added a secret item
Improved the control scheme
Improved the readability of the code
Added more names for forest spirits to use
Visually and mechanically, the game is the same now as it was in its original form, but now it's conveniently playable in your Web browser. And just like with my other games and projects, Mori's source code is open on GitHub. Click here to play Mori now.
What do you think about Mori and it being playable on the Web now? Would you like to see me rewrite my other games for the Web? I'd love to hear from you, so let me know your thoughts in the comments!
My family and I recently flew out to California to visit a few family members and some old friends. Our first stop was my grandmother's place outside of Placerville. Here are a few pictures I took while I was there.
Visiting my grandmother and exploring her property again was a great treat. I have fond memories of climbing trees, sifting through sand in nearby creeks for gold, and building forts out of old materials on her property. Being there again was really nostalgic.
Since we were already in the area, we also decided to take a day trip to Sutter's Mill in Coloma, where the California Gold Rush began. Here are a few pictures of that.
We later visited Union Valley Reservoir, a massive reservoir that doubles as a fairly popular camping site. California was in a drought last time I was there, so the water was quite low. This time though, the reservoir was surprisingly full.
There are some high jumping rocks I used to kayak out to beyond the trees there. I didn't get to visit those rocks this time though.
After seeing Union Valley Reservoir again, we made a quick stop by the waterfall where my grandfather's ashes were spread.
After spending a few days in Placerville, we drove down to Santa Rosa, which I where I used to live before moving to Louisiana. There my brother and I played laser tag with a few old friends, enjoyed pizza with our old church members, and then later we drove to the next town over and spent an afternoon at a barbecue catching up with more old friends. My time in Santa Rosa was so much fun that I totally forgot to take any pictures. Whoops!
Have you gone on any trips this summer? Let me know in the comments!