Tag Archive for OneGameAMonth

March Into The Dungeons In March’s Board Game Quest

Board Game QuestMarch was a fun month for me. After spending 2 and a half weeks just trying to come up with an idea for a game, I finally got around to making it.

Back in February, I wanted to make a board game but ended up doing something different. The game I wanted to make needed to be timely for a specific event but wasn’t going to be finished in time. So I put it off.

So in March, I decided to scratch my board game itch with a slightly different board game. And thus Board Game Quest was born.

I was inspired to make this particular game after the Lego Heroica line of board games. I own all but one set of that particular game and my son and I love to play them. I think it is a great game and very much would like to make something along those lines as a video game. So this is my first prototype to that end.

The game was a lot easier to make than I had originally expected. Designing the board wasn’t bad at all as it is a simple spiral to the center. I could easily add more to it by expanding the size of the board to be larger than the game resolution. The hardest part of the game board was trying to design board elements that meshed together well. I went through various iterations of walls and spaces until I reach the set you see above. It turned out to be a lot more “brown and grey” than I really wanted, but it was the best I could make.

The characters and monsters were mostly chosen at random. I had no preconceived ideas of what I would do with them once they were put in the game. I just wanted to add variety. But lucky for me, as development advanced, I was able to use the character sprites to add mechanics variety to the game as well.

Once I had the very basics of the game down, I wanted to explore adding abilities to the characters to make them more unique and make choosing them to be an actually thought out choice. So I took the 4 character types I had and the four main aspects of the gameplay and came up with their individual traits.

While these individual traits are not too amazing in a single player match of the game, as I expand the concept and introduce multiplayer, they will become far more important. In a multiplayer match, the goal would be to reach the end and beat the end boss before the others. Which character you choose would help toward that end.

There are a few things I really want to change as I go forward with this concept. The first being the spawning of monsters. Right now, they just appear at random and disappear whether you beat them or not. As I develop out the concept of the game, I would like to leave spawned monsters in place until one player defeats them.

As the game board increases in size, I would also like to add a bit of a random encounter element. So not every move results in a monster, but perhaps only a chance to run into one. As you reach nearer your goal, the greater the chance of one spawning in front of you.

Another aspect I will consider changing is the potions. Right now, it is a single potion, or two in the case of the priest. This is fine in a single player game, but I think it would not work very well for multiplayer. I think a better system would be to replace the potion with a “rest” mechanic. With this, the player can choose to rest instead of move for a turn. Doing so would allow them to recover 1hp. This would allow the player to decide if they want to try moving forward and gaining an advantage over the other players or to rest and live to fight another day. I would change the priest’s ability from 2 potions to recovering 2hp.

One other issue that I have not decided on a proper solution to is the Paladin’s ability. The problem isn’t the ability itself, but its interaction with the final fight of the game. If the player attacks the final boss but loses, they are typically sent back a space and then must roll to move then attack again. The Paladin doesn’t move however and it feels a bit annoying to have to make a movement roll then attack. I guess the same could be said of other characters as well as any roll from one space away is going to pit you against the boss. But that can be a problem for another day.

Overall, I found developing this game to be a fun challenge. It is unique from all other games I have made and has a whole lot of potential. It could be the start of a path that leads to a tactical RPG, something I have wanted to make for a long time.

One final lesson, I would like to share. I really need to begin work on these earlier in the month. I waste a lot of time in the first 2-3 weeks and it cuts into the time I could be using to make these changes I always write about. Had I started work on this a week or two before I did, It could be a full multiplayer board game right now. That would be awesome. However, now that I have this prototype together, that could still happen and it will be great.

Dragon Canyon Has Been Updated

January 2014 One Game A Month Entry: Dragon CanyonThese updates were not too extremely necessary, but I felt like I should make them at some point. And the last few days have been that “some point”. So here is the rundown on Dragon Canyon‘s updates.

These were some updates that I wanted to put into the game since I created it. I didn’t think the game was right when it was first released and wanted to make a few changes.

The first one was just the size of the game window. It was way too wide. I needed to scale that back considerably. The game play just didn’t lend itself to such a wide area. If the game were to be released as a four player game, I could easily see a much wider game area to be a necessity.

The next update was a simple high score mechanism. The game now tracks your personal best score, in the current play session. If you refresh the browser window or close it, your score will be lost. But it will at least let you challenge yourself a bit better.

The final update is one that it badly needed, pixel perfect collision detection. The game originally just used hit boxes based on the size of the sprite. This led to a lot of transparent pixels overlapping transparent pixels causing a collision. This led to a lot of awful deaths and some seriously crazy shots. So now, the actual opaque portions have to overlap to count as a hit. Much better.

If I were to make this into a full fledged game, I would certainly add more. I would like it to be multiplayer. That would require more monsters and a larger play area. I also need scrolling backgrounds. Multiple levels with their own monsters and backgrounds. A greater variety of monsters with a greater variety of attack patterns would be awesome. This would also include monsters that shoot back. Boss monsters would add another bit of flair. Controller support would be great as playing multiplayer on a single keyboard just doesn’t work right. I would also add health and special attacks. This would make the game more interesting a varied. Of course I would also add animations, sound effects and music to the list too.

Come to think of it, this is pretty far from a “complete” game.

Defending Graveyards In The Month Of February

Graveyard DefenseThis is not the game I wanted for February, but it is the game I needed. To steal and butcher a line from Batman. I wanted to do something a bit larger and more political for the month of February but time got away from me and I was not able to complete that game. But I did not give up on my goal of one game a month.

Instead, I made something simpler and just for fun. The game is called Graveyard Defense. The premise is simple. You stand in the center of a closed off graveyard. The undead begin to rise from the graves as you attempt to defend yourself from the wave upon wave of monsters. They keep coming and keep coming faster and faster. Eventually, you find yourself overpowered and you fail.

One of the neatest things about this game is the fact that it has sounds. This is my first game to include sound effects. They aren’t the best sound effects, but it is pretty good for a start. There are a total of five sounds for the game. One when the monster rises from the grave. One when the player kills the monster. One if the player misses. One when the player gets hit by a monster. And the final sound is when the player dies. These sounds were created using the great free tool SFXR.

The game is played using the arrow keys on the keyboard. When a monster rises, you press the arrow that points to the monster. If you hit it, you kill the monster and gain a point. If you miss, the monster is there waiting for its time to attack.

If you wait for too long to attack, the monster will attack you and you will lose a hit point. If you lose them all, you will die. Did I mention that the monsters attack faster and faster as teh game progresses? At that point, you have an opportunity to try again.

The graphics were mostly made by Willis. I made the animations for the paladin based on his forward facing idle pose. I also created the gravestones, the walls and the “pow” image.

The paladin’s attack poses were a bit trick as I am not too skilled at creating action poses. They could certainly be refined and if I decide to expand on this game idea, I will certainly ask Willis to redo them. I would also like to add animations for the monsters, but that would not have been possible in the time frame I had.

One potential update I could make to the game is to make it more like the game “Simon”. Right now, the monsters just pop out at random and you attack them. In this update, the game would build up a pattern of monsters that you would have to attack as they come. If you mess up, then you would lose a hit point. Fail too many times and you lose. This wouldn’t be too difficult of an update to make, but not something I felt like I could get right before the end of the month.

I created the game from start to finish in about 8-10 hours. That includes creating the various graphics, sounds and the coding. Not bad for something that is this fun. I will certainly try to get a bigger game out soon.

We Showed Off Our Games In Front Of Other Oklahoma Game Developers

Every month, there is a meeting of Oklahoma Game Developers. This gives anyone attending an opportunity to show off their projects. So we took some time to show off our progress on Demon’s Hex and our January One Game A Month entry, Dragon Canyon.

We plan on showing off each of our One Game A Month entries at each meeting this year. It gives us a goal and a deadline for completion. Something that we didn’t have last year when we tried it.

You can see everything else that happened at the meetup over at OKGamDev.com.

One Game A Month January Entry: Dragon Canyon

January 2014 One Game A Month Entry: Dragon CanyonAs we posted on our new year resolution post, we are trying again for the One Game A Month challenge this year. We had made an attempt to do so last year, but only managed to get through February. But even those games were not ones that we actually worked on that year.

This year, we are actually going to go for it. As such, we have finished our first game for the year, Dragon Canyon. Dragon Canyon is a game in so much as there is gameplay, a scoring mechanism and an end condition. It isn’t a complete game in that it is missing a few things.

Before I get into all that, I wanted to explain the history of this game. It kind of fits into the mold of my previous entries into One Game A Month. Both of those were dragon themed and fairly simple. Dragon Canyon is kind of a successor to Dragon Fire in many respects. It is a shooter and you play as a dragon shooting various flying monsters. But it is very different from it too.

For one, Dragon Canyon allows the player to choose which dragon they want to play. Each dragon has its own projectile as well. With Dragon Fire, the player was given a dragon at random and all dragons fired the same thing.

Additionally, Dragon Fire restricted the player to only left and right movement. The player was unable to travel vertically. This has changed with Dragon Canyon. Along these same lines, rather than a top to bottom shooter, Dragon Canyon is a bottom up shooter.

Finally, the enemy behavior is greatly altered. With Dragon Fire, all enemies appeared at the bottom and flew straight up. In Dragon Canyon, I wanted to add variety to the enemies, not just in looks but in how they act. So I have some very basic enemy behaviors in the game. There are four enemy types and each behaves slightly differently.

I would like to expand on this game in the future. I love to play shooters like this from time to time and it could be a lot of fun when improved. I had originally started the game idea as a test for Ouya development. So the goal is to add controller support as well as play for up to four players. I would also consider increasing the screen resolution to allow for full use of HD televisions.

I also need to add a lot more variety to enemies and their behaviors. As of right now, there are no enemies that shoot back and that is something that needs to change. There are also a lot more movement patterns to experiment with.

I also want to further differentiate the player dragons. While it is great that they look different and have different projectiles, I would love to add special moves that are unique to each dragon.

The background is something else that really needs to improve. I want to add a scrolling background to the game as well as different stages with their own enemies. Each stage could be themed around the different dragons.

Outside of all that, the other improvements to the game would include sound and music, pixel perfect collision detection and player health and lives.

Overall, it isn’t that bad of a prototype to be used as my January entry into One Game A Month. I look forward to working on my February entry.

A Look Back At 2013 And A Look Forward To A Game Filled 2014

Happy New Year From Divine Knight GamingYears come and go. Game ideas come and go. But one thing is for certain, there is no time like the present.

This past year brought with it a lot of challenges and a lot of surprises. We entered the year 2013 with the idea that this would be the year that we completed Demon’s Hex and began looking forward to developing new games. We had hoped to take advantage of the One Game A Month Challenge to help spur that forward.

Sadly, that didn’t happen.

However, it is not all bad news. We entered 2013 with Demon’s Hex as merely a concept with visuals. It had no gameplay at all. But with some great motivation from local game developers, we were able to bring Demon’s Hex to a fairly playable state. You can actually play battles in the game and it is pretty fun. While the full game proper is not at all near complete, this makes a major milestone for us as developers.

With that success under our belt, we look forward to taking on the challenge of making Demon’s Hex fully playable. Everything will be done.

We also have a number of other games we want to start making. This year, we really want to achieve that One Game A Month challenge. It is a noble goal and one that we could easily do. We just need to sit down and do it. Just one weekend a month would get that done. Just some private game jams to get them done and out. They don’t have to be flashy or big, just done. That is all that matters. Completing the game.

That seems to be the gist of our New Year’s resolutions. We just want to complete some games.

With our technology pipeline pretty solidified this past year, that will make it far easier to complete. Now that I have my bearings inside HaxeFlixel, I can easily complete this challenge with the help of Willis. Together we can do it.

I can’t make any promises on what types of games we will create along side Demon’s Hex. I can just promise that we will try to do something different each time. While it would be easy to fall back on the same mechanics and genre’s it wouldn’t expand our minds nor foster creativity.

We were glad to make the strides we made in 2013 and look forward to making further strides in 2014. We hope that 2014 is the year that we make a name for ourselves.

With that, we wish you a happy new year.

2013 Resolution: Create One Game A Month For Twelve Months

I don’t know if any of you guys have heard about the latest craze hitting the indie game dev community. It is this idea of creating one game a month for 12 months. That is, by the end of the year, anyone participating should have 12 games done. It all started with a blog post by one Christer Kaitila, aka McFunkypants, in which he described his effort to make one complete game each month in the year 2012. This article sparked a lot of interest from fellow game developers and ended up becoming a thing. It is also a full blown website as well. Complete with a full slate of gamification to help prod developers along.

Needless to say, this has sparked something within me and I am planning to rope my brother into helping me do this. As you know, We are still working on Demon’s Hex. It is not as done as it should be and I feel ashamed. So hopefully, this will help. I am not sure if I can complete it all by the end of January, so I may split my time between it and another game for the first couple of months. It all depends on how far I get in the first couple of weeks. So yes, Demon’s Hex is my first effort, but my be pushed for full completion a little later, while smaller games fulfil my challenges.

The idea of completing 12 full games is kind of daunting. However, the goal is to just get in the habit of taking something from concept to completion quickly and simply. That means no filler, just meat. Take a simple concept and run with it. You will be surprised what can be done. Take a look at some of the current submissions for the project. For example, McFunkypants’ first submission is a clever use of A* pathfinding. Placing barriers in the way of the two AI characters is the primary goal. Simple concept and a number of maps to fill it out. That is all that is required. Can the games be bigger fare? Sure if you have time to work full time. However, for me, it will probably be something smaller. Not like Dragon Punch or Dragon Fire small, but something in between that and Demon’s Hex.

For example, I have had one game idea floating around in my skull for several years. This is a politically themed editorial game all about raising awareness for Oklahoma’s horrid ballot access laws. The object of the game would be to collect  enough signatures to gain recognized political party status in the state. With a new legislative session coming in and signature requirements at a high point following the Presidential Election, now would be a good time to get people aware so that they can pressure the state legislature to pass reform. I would just need to come up with a clever gameplay mechanic to not only demonstrate the trouble new parties face, but also frustrate the player.

Other game ideas are a more fleshed out Dragon Fire that turns it into a full fledge vertical shooter. Or a board game inspired on the Lego Heroica games I got for Christmas. Who knows where the year will take me. Perhaps within all these games we will find our first mega hit that gets us working full time for ourselves.

Regardless of what happens, the primary goal is to build a games portfolio for us to show off as we expand our company and seek funding from outside sources. So cheer us on and follow our progress over at my One Game a Month profile page.