Candy Jam Recap

The Candy Jam is official over, but is still accepting submissions til the end of the week. For those that don't know, the Candy Jam was a sort of protest that spawned out of King.com's trademark over the words "Candy" and "Saga" then use such trademarks to send legal warnings to developers whose games contain such words regardless of whether those games had any similarities to their game Candy Crush Saga. Well game devs, being a creative bunch, decided to protest this by creating a bunch of parody games involving those words. Over 300 games were created and submitted. Having participated in the game jam with a game of my own I decided to check out what others had made and here are some of my favorite (Ie that ones that I played):

Candy Nom Saga - Lets start weird. This game is weird and dumb. You guess which flavor candy the face likes. BUT THE MUSIC. I really hope Vinny could find that music since it was apparently found on Freesound.org.

Candy Match Forever - Match 3 is a great and popular genre... sometimes it's a bit too easy though. Some games in the genre are even known for their great stories.

Candy Chasm Saga - This is an actual game with challenge and is actually rather fun. It was made by the guy behind the upcoming Loot/random dungeon/Metroidvania game, Chasm.

Candy's Crushes Saga - This is a cute little puzzle game about a gal's romantic relationships. I didn't get to the end but it was fairly well designed and rather tricky.

The Candy Apple Crusher Saga - It's a shoot'em'up. The controls are a bit awkward, but that art is pretty damn nice!

Candy Escape Goat Saga - This was made by the guy who made Escape Goat and uses the engine that Escape Goat 2 will use. There are 6 puzzles that combine the mechanics of Escape Goat with match 3 mechanics and it's some of the best puzzles I've played. It does require you to install it however.

Too Much Candy - A fairly simple avoidance game. It was pretty cool.

There's a bunch of other nifty ones on there I'm sure, but I have yet to go through all of them. Sooo much candy. You can find more games on the official site.

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I made a game for the Candy Jam

UPDATE: I fixed a few things with the download. Had the wrong kind of file up there. Whoops

Here's what I made for the Candy Jam - http://d_w.itch.io/candy---a-space-horror-saga

Don't know what the Candy Jam is?

This is the first actual entirely complete game I've ever made by myself. I did all the programing, art, and audio. It's a rather simple game. You click to move your guy around. Once you start moving you can't stop. Clicking drains fuel, but you can regain fuel by collecting lollipops and it'll slowly recharge on it's own. You want to avoid gumballs, rock candy, and the dastardly Candy King as they'll all lead to DEATH.

Have fun! All feedback is accepted and encouraged.

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Sound Design - Replacing sounds from video game cutscenes - Parasite Eve - Sheeva Transformation

I'm a sound designer who wants to work in video games. So I was looking for things to do to expand my portfolio and figured replacing the sound effects from video game cutscenes is a pretty spiffy way to do that. Here's one that I did recently. It's the Sheeva transformation scene from Parasite Eve.

All the sound effects except for the dog barking were created, recorded, and preformed by me.

I plan on doing more in the future, and was thinking about doing the opening to Shadow Hearts next. Maybe I'll do a few scenes from movies as well. Suggestions and feedback are welcomed. Hope you all enjoy it!

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NYC Molyjam: The Journey and the Aftermath.

I had never attended a game jam before. I never really thought I was in a position or skilled enough to complete something in such little time. But I love ridiculous ideas and the mock twitter account, PeterMolydeux, was one of the reasons why I signed for twitter so I could not have not gone to Molyjam. (Now there's an awkwardly worded sentence!) 
For those that don't know. Molyjam was (is?) a game jam based around ideas from tweets made to satire things the real Peter Molyneux might have said. The one rule of the game jam was any game made had to use at least one of the tweets posted by the mock account.
 
NYC Molyjam was at one of the New School's buildings and was free to attend. After some introductions to the jam and rooms everyone there mingled and eventually over the course of Friday night about 4 or 5 teams were formed and ideas were discussed. The team was able to get into consisted of the organizer for the NYC jam, the UI designer from Doublefine, and various members from the New School's Game Club. We ended up having  4 programers, 3 graphic artists, a writer, and a composer/sound engineer which was me. The whole process of what idea we choose base our game off of was pretty organic. We had a few. One of them being an idea for a roguelike that generates it's game map by a string a text from any of the tweets that Molydeux has made. Which is awesome, but a bit to ambitious for the 48 hour limit. Eventually we settled on the idea from this tweet: "What if your son was the sun? If he sleeps, the sun vanishes. If he cries then woodlands set on fire etc." 
 
And thus Prodigal Sun was born. 

The goal of the game is to appease your son, the Sun, and prevent him from burning everyone alive. Originally it was going to have parts where you answer its questions and where you have send various objects to the Sun, but we kind of simplified that so that you're just launching rocket platforms containing people, animals, and such into the Sun. Which is never not fun.
I had made a good chunk of sound effects and music for the game that did not get used, but like the saying goes "it's better to make more than you need and not use it then need something and not have it." The goal I had with the music was to set mood. There was some discussion that maybe it's the Sun's birthday, so I tried to make it festive. The village was sort of medieval but they have rocketry, so I used medieval-esque instruments made then out-of-tune to be more realistic (...yes yes I know) and combined them with some synthesizers.  
When it came to the sounds, I used mostly stuff from a sound effect library I own as well as original work I have recorded. So of the sounds, like the scream for example, I had to record myself doing. Additional sounds came from the public domain and I don't think they ended up in the final version of the game. 
Working with everyone on the team was refreshing and fun. Everyone did their part and their best to get the game done on time without any BS that I've encountered with other teams. Maybe it was because the short deadline or because they all wanted to create something absurd and awesome. Regardless, it was probably the best experience I had working with a group of strangers. 
 
But enough about the game I worked on. What about the other games at the NYC jam? Well.....
 
Betraille:Part Deuxwas an interesting multiplayer game similar to Assassin's Creed's multiplayer. Basically there are a whole bunch of variously color cubes moving around the game map. You're controlling one of them. You have to figure out which one, then figure out which ones are being controlled by the other players and get near them to take them out. However if it's an non-player character then you are removed. Whichever player is left at the end of the game wins. It was pretty fun and there was certainly some interesting strategies to employ. 
 
These Automatic Arms was a quite fun and bizarre top down shooter where you couldn't control your shooting and would constantly being turning left. The object was to avoid shooting innocent people (which were of course represented by green squares). It was really cleverly designed and worth checking out.
 
Finally, the game that I was most impressed by was What Would Molydeux? which  was, as one of the designers put it,  so innovating to video games that they removed the video part. It's a card game. The object of the game is to create sentences that sound like something Molydeux would tweet. The first person to put down a period (full stop) wins the round so the object is to keep the sentence going as long as possible and make it difficult for other players to finish the sentence. Not only was this fun and ridiculous, but it showed a certain cleverness that one must appreciate. I hope the guys who made it work on a free digital version similar to siteslike duelingnetwork (yugioh) and Fantasy Strike (Yomi) have done for other card games. 
 
All and all my first game jam was an amazing experience that I am glad I had. I hope to someone work again with the people that were on my team someday in a professional capacity, and wish them and everyone who participated a luck with what ever they go on to after this! Can wait til the next one!
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Does It Hold Up? #1: The Legend of Zelda

Like many people I went to visit family for Thanksgivings. Well the computer at my Grandmother's house is pretty old, but I found that I had put on some old NES games on it and decided that looking at how some of them still hold up would be an enlightening endeavor. So I decided that a semi-regular weblog series where I attempt to discuss older games without the every so dangerous rose colored glasses of nostalgia. Without further ado let's take a look at the 1986/1987 release, Legend Of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The Legend of Zelda was one of my favorite games when I was a child. I fell off with the series once the N64 came out, but those first four games have a place in my heart. The first one was on the earliest games I can remember playing. There was one birthday party when my friends and I spend a good chunk of it playing through quest 2. That was probably the last time I ever played the game until yesterday. Even after so long, it surprised me both how much I remembered and how much I had forgotten about the game. It also surprised me how well designed and fun the game I found it to be. There were a few things here and there that of course felt archaic, but it's certainly still an enjoyable experience.

What I found especially enjoyable was how challenge was presented. In modern games the philosophy is to prevent the player for dying unless they are especially careless. That is not the case in the first Zelda game. Health is rarely dropped from enemies and conversing it the key to survival. There are two health potion items in the game that also add an interesting albeit overly simple mechanic into the mix. The blue potion will fill up your health once then disappear and costs 40 rupees, but the Red Potion works twice and cost 68. There is no reason not to grind for the more expensive potion, but I'm glad the choice exists. In a similar vein the shops that dot the world map will sell the same items at different prices. Sure you can get that nifty shield for 160 right near the starting point, but you can find that same shield for a mere 90 rupees once you find the step ladder. That really rewards those who explore.

The combat was were the game felt the oldest, but there was a subtly to it that I doubt I had picked up on when I was a child. The sword comes out rather slowly which allows you to quickly "spin" to a different direction. This can be handy in some very specific situations, but was most likely an unintended result. For those that do not know, when at full health Link can shoot a sword from his sword. This also takes a long time from the button press to when the projectile is actually fired and the end result requires the player to time their shots well as spamming doesn't tend to work as an effective tactic.

In some of the later parts of the game become almost like a bullet hell game. Where you must dodge tons of fast moving projectiles while taking out these knight enemies that can only be damaged from the sides or from behind. These rooms were what I found to be most challenging parts of the game. Especially since those enemies are immune to the boomerang which I found to easily the most useful item in the whole game.

The only thing that I was really disappointed in were the boss battles. While some of them were pretty clever, most of them just consisted of you running up an whaling on the boss until it died. Some bosses could even be killed in a single hit. This tended to make the levels end on a rather anticlimactic note. This isn't unique to the Legend of Zelda however, many of the Mega Man games tend to fall to the same weakness. It's always a shame regardless of the game and is someone that still often plagues modern video games.

In conclusion, when a game is a solid, enjoyable experience, it is ageless. The Legend of Zelda is ageless in that sense. As long as you don't have any sort of prejudices to 8-bit graphics and music, and have an appreciation for well crafted games, then the Legend of Zelda will not disappoint. While looking back on this game has been a very enlightening experience, one thing that does not surprise me is why this game is as well regarded as it is. This game is simply a good game.

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Skyrim: Impressions after 20 hours. (Potential Spoilers)

I am playing this game on the PC.

Unlike many people that bought Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim I did not have any preconceived notions about it. I didn't really follow any of the preview stuff and may have caught the odd trailer here and there but didn't set out discover anything particular about the game. It wasn't even on my "looking to play" list, and I really did not think much of it before it came out. Before Skyrim I have never played an Elder Scrolls game. I was never really into PC RPGs when I was younger, and though I had a decent computer by the time that Oblivion came out that game gave me the impression it would be over-hyped and barely functional (from what I understand, I was not far off in that prediction).

The only game I've played previous to Skyrim that was developed by Bethesda Softworks was Fallout 3. Which I really couldn't get into. You see, Fallout 3 would crash about 2 times out of 3 if I tried to enter a building that was near the lower left portion of the map. This made it impossible to do the main story. I did do, or attempt to do, tons of the side stuff in the northern areas of the map, I found that many of them were near impossible for me to do. OR perhaps I was just terrible at it. Regardless I came away from that game with an outstanding "meh" towards it. There were certainly things that I really enjoyed, but felt it was too much of a chore to get working and never came back to it.

So as you could probably guess, my expectations for Skyrim were essentially nonexistent. So why did I pay 60 dollars and wait 4 hours for it to download on a Sunday after it was released? Well, as the competitive fighting game community will tell you, hype is an interesting thing. I have a tendency to believe that the more hyped up something is, the worse the product will be, and after watching various coverage of this game and hearing people talk about how near-life changing it was (when it looked pretty bland from the coverage), I could not resist the temptation to find out what it was really like.

One of my favorite things in the world is to be proven wrong. After my time in Skyrim, I can pretty confidently say that as a game, it's alright. It's not the bug ridden hell that other Bethesda games are known to be, however it is far from a shining example of what a modern game should be and had tons of really major and frankly bizarre design flaws. I cannot say that I did not enjoy what I have played so far. Nor would I condemn anyone for liking or disliking Skyrim. However the amount of ravenous praise that the game is receiving is still completely and totally inconceivable to me. It's certain not "RPG Of the Decade" like a certain other game that came out earlier this year. (teehee) Allow me to break down the aspects I like and dislike about Skyrim.

LIKES!:

  • The music, atmosphere, and general sound design. As someone who is a composer of music and an audio hobbyist (oh someday it will be my profession!), having well produced audio is always a plus. Who doesn't love that Level Up sound? It's brilliant! It ironic, makes the player feel powerful, and fits with the theme and setting. Prefect. There are some sounds and here and that are a bit lackluster, (the stone doors in particular are obviously just cinder blocks being dragged on a concrete floor,) but overall the sound production is great through out the game.
  • The combat. I'm playing as a Breton with a loose focus on magic, archery, and stealth. One of the things I didn't really take to in Fallout 3 was the combat. I could never seem to figure out how not to die in that game. In Skyrim however, I'm having a blast sneaking around sniping people with my bow then burning them if the detect me. I found that it's always better to travel with a companion to help with large groups on enemies, but will get to companions a little later. I've really enjoy fighting the 4 or 5 dragons I've come across. I could see it getting a bit stale once I've taken down my 20th, but right now the battles and challenging and fun.
  • The perk/leveling system. I am a major fan of complex and obtuse leveling systems. It's one of things that attracted me to games like D'n'D and Dark Souls. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a simplification. Skyrim does something really interesting with it's leveling system. In some ways it builds upon what games like Final Fantasy 2 explored, but also asks the player a very simple question. "Do you want more magic, health, or stamina?" This, for the most part, allows the player to focus on how they want to play the game and allows them to experiment with relatively low risk. While I wouldn't say that it is a prefect system, but it generally seems to work pretty well.
  • Non-game breaking bugs. Experiencing "jank" in video games has become a growing endeavor of mine in the last couple of years. When a game breaks in a way that's funny or non-inconvenient it adds a lot of fun to that game. Sure it completely breaks immersion, but as we'll see later, immersion is not a problem with Skyrim. I've had tons of fun little bugs in Skyrim that always cause giggles of delight. For example, my horse decided it would be a wonderful thing to just fly off and land in a tree. Another time, an NPC just jumped into a line of dialogue concerning a quest I had without me even prompting her or being aware of her involvement. It was very surprising. I've only had one game breaking bug, but fortunately, I had saved shortly before it happened and could not get it to repeat.
  • Being able to quite to the desktop without having to go back to the main screen. More games need to do this.

DISLIKES!:

I wish every game had infinite time to be made and the craftsmen who poor so much labor into these silly yet beloved pass time of ours could truly realize their visions. Unfortunately it is very clear that some major things were cut from Skyrim and it seems few that have had such excitement for this product are willing to admit that. Deciding to either ignore or accept them. Well I'd rather point them out.

Now, I'm perfectly aware that these criticisms are my opinions and you may not share them. That's fine. I would like to ask, however, if you open the topics to debate instead of out right ignoring them as if you like or dislike something you should be able to explain yourself in an intelligent manner. Otherwise, why even have the opinions in the first place? (Don't answer that.)

  • The menu system is awkward. I like collection junk as much as most fans of the genre, but really it would be nice if they allowed you to sort your inventory by other things instead of just category and alphabetically. Sorting, value, usefulness, would all be really helpful and it boggles my mind why they wouldn't do that in the first place. The favorite system is really great and makes items, weapons, and spells that you know you'll use really easy to access... in theory, but in practice I found myself wading through tons of stuff looking for my sword or a certain spell. If I could arrange my favorite in what ever order I want. Weapons, Magic, Potions, Food. Or whatever order a player would want. You can bind favorited things to 1 through 8 on the keyboard on PC version, but that begs the question, why not 9 through = as well? (NOTE: I haven't actually checked if there is a way to include those last four buttons, but by default you can't bind things to them.)
  • There aren't any characters in Skyrim. Well perhaps that's a bit harsh and quite untrue, but as to where I am in the story (just finished with the Greybreads and have been doing some side stuff in that general area) every character I've come across is flat and sterile. I think the only character that I remembered the name of was my current companion Lydia. I've done a couple quests for the werewolf group (oh aren't they called the Companions?), but other than them being werewolves and having a very low bar to who they accept into their circle I couldn't tell you much about them (SHIELD-BROTHER). It took all of three quests to get into their highest circle and to learn their secrets. People are incredibly trustful in this game. "We won't let you into the city!" "I have information for the Jarl!" "Alright then." Really? That's was easy.
    The companions are the worst though. Early on you can ask a bard to come along with you on your journeys and I thought "Oh awesome! He'll write music about me and have all these clever bardic witty comments to flavor my journey! It will be great!" But alas, there were no witty comments, no songs. He just kind of tagged along. Only saying a few generic lines that any character of any race, gender, class, build, what-have-you could say. Shortly after I ran into a woman in an inn and beat her up because she asked me too. I was all "Oh cool, she'll be sharing wonderful stories of her travels..." and well you can probable see where this is going. They have no personality to them what-so-ever and are essentially just pact animals for your to give your extra crap when you reach your weight limit. Now it seems that there are a lot of people that you can have tag along with you, so having tons of unique dialogue for all of them would be impossibly ambitious, but maybe this is one of the many places they should have opted for quality instead of quantity.
    There is a lot going on in the world of Skyrim, but having such flat character has made it incredibly difficult to get into. I'm a big fan of the whole civil war plots in RPGs. It's one of the reasons why games like the Suikoden franchise and the Witcher 2 really resonated with me. Those games, however, have incredible characters with motivation. faults, and arcs. I don't care about a single character I've come across in Skyrim. It's actually really tempting to just try to kill off every single one I come across just to see what happens, but I doubt I'd be able to survive. This leads into another issue I have with the story telling in the game.
  • You cannot role play in this Role Playing Game. Why is my character in Skyrim? We're told that we were caught trying to get over the boarder at the start of the game. Why were we trying to get into the region? This could have very easily be explained during the intro by having one of the NPC's asking you, and then depending on your answer you could get a small stat bonus or some type of item. The intro is pretty haphazard in general. I see what they're trying to go for, but I don't think they pulled it off very well. For example, say you ended up choosing to be a cat man, but none of the NPCs happen to mention it during your cart ride despite there being very strong sense of racist towards the cat people in this world. Just about any race that isn't a Nord would have most likely gotten some sort of comment during that cart ride. Let's move on from that.
    The game offers very little dialogue options. You really can't express your intentions to all the various characters in game and thus can't really feel anything towards those characters, which in turn makes them stale and uninteresting. Regardless of who is playing as the Dragonborn, everyone will have the exact same conversations with anyone they run into in Skyrim. Why even bother having a silent protagonist then? If every single player will have the same experience through the story (the "speech" stat options aren't deep enough to count as a different) then why not just record some voices? This is by far the most disappointing part of the game and is the major source of any animosity I have towards this game. Video games, especially RPGs, have matured passed the silent protagonist, but if it must exist at least they could have given us some actual choice in this game. Not just big binary choices like "Imperials or Rebels" either.
    On the PC version talking to people can be awkward. The controls aren't really consistent. Sometimes when I click on the option, it chooses it like expected and everything is dandy, but other times it chooses a different one or the same one that I just heard. This is regardless to where that little ridicule is too and can be really annoying.
  • The World is Flat. There is no shortage of lore in the Elder Scrolls universe, but because of the previous two bullet points you probably wouldn't really know that since you don't get a sense of the world from the the people that inhabit it. There is no doubt that you will stubble upon hundreds of various books in your journey through Skyrim. You'll probably even open each one to see if it boosts your skills or teaches you a new spell, but you can also read the ones that do to find out more about the world of Skyrim in the most exposition-al way possible.
    I'm not against having books/PDAs/What-have-you's in games that help flush out the fiction a bit, but when the majority is only explained in such a way, I think there is a problem. Admitted, I haven't been clicking on every dialogue option or hearing everything everyone has to say for reasons mentioned above, so maybe they to exposit about everything you can read in this various books. It would be nice if after collecting these books that their contents were all dropped into some sort of codex/journal, but at last, I don't think anything like that exists within the game.
  • There's a lot to do, but not really. A lot of the quests so far have been go kill these bandits, or get back this item, or something else that leads to some else that's very similar and uninspiring. While I have done more then a hand full of quests, most of them were all kind of the same thing. I just wish there was a bit more variety early on. I mean how many ancient tombs filled with undead can there be in such a small area? Turns out, quite a bit!

So far what I have determined is that Skyrim is kind of a mediocre game that feels either rushed, poorly paced, or both. This is essentially how I ended up feeling about Final Fantasy 13. Based off what I've played, I don't think I would recommend this game to anyone. I will certainly play more of it, because I don't think I've discovered what people see in it yet and for a game that could easily be 200 hours worth of time, maybe there's something in there. I will at least finish up the main story thread and maybe do that "About last night" (or what ever it was called) quest.

EDIT: I posted this to the wrong forum, but whatever.

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Desert Bus For Hope 2011 starts today!

For those of you that don't know what Desert Bus for Hope is, it is a fundraiser that the sketch comedy group Loading Ready Run has done for Child's Play for the last 5 years. Basically they play Desert Bus from the unreleased Sega CD game Penn And Teller's Smoke and Mirrors until they run out of time. The more money people donate the longer they play. They stream all of it nonstop. But they don't only play an incredibly boring game, they also auction off some really awesome things, have call-ins from famous people from the our video game community, and do all sorts of other stuff. The whole event usually lasts for about 6 days.

I'm excited for this year since it's the first time I actually have some money to donate. I doubt I'll be able to get any of the auction since they tend to quite quickly go into the thousands, but still.

Will anyone else be watching and/or donating?

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Looking for some feedback on a sound effects project.

I'm compiling a portfolio (in my case that's music and audio post stuff - ie sound effects) of my work and would like some feedback on the most recent thing I have done.

Basically I took the Rat Transformation scene from Parasite Eve and replaced all the sound effects with ones that I recorded myself.

Here is the result!And here's the original for comparison.

Please, any and all feedback is appreciated.

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Making a Game - Project Big Rip - A Progress Weblog - Part 1

When I graduated from college last spring, I had only a vague idea and plans that never really materialized. I studied music and sound, so I've been poking around freelance work. While I have found no drought of potential jobs, the projects all seemed to fizzle out rather quickly soon after I sign on. This is not something that surprised me though as I've been doing amateur composition and sound production for video games since I was in high school (nearly 10 years now). However when looking for work to put on a resume, having a bunch of failed projects with little to show from is not exactly the best impression. This is when I came to the realization that maybe I should just make my own game, do all the sound/music/graphics myself, release it as freeware, and go from there. I've been tinkering with programs like Game Maker for years. I may not know much coding and am not exactly a math wizard, but what I don't know I can learn. It is very common for a gaming enthusiast to want to make her/his own game. Many do not have the knowledge, focus, time, or tenacity to follow through with their dreams. Though I may share the desire to work in the industry, I would like to prove that I don't share the latter qualities.

Now with that, I had to come up with what kind of game I would make. When I was first tooling around with Game Maker back in 2004 or so, I made an incredibly buggy bullet hell game. I never got passed creating the basic engine, a good chunk of the weapons/powers, and most of the minor enemies. The big reason I stopped then was the code got unwieldy, the collision code was awful, and probably some other reasons I don't want to remember. Regardless I thought that since that genre was one that I've worked in before that perhaps I should revisit it. It's relatively simple and I understand a lot more about coding and general game design now. So that's what I decided on.

NES NTSC Color Palette

This wouldn't just be a remake or even a reimagining of that previous project, but something entirely new. Graphics were never a major strong point of mine, but I know and enjoy making small resolution sprites and decided that I should take that idea and run with it. I wasn't only going to make simple looking graphics but emulate the graphical ability of the NES. This would actually prove to take more research and be much more difficult than expected. The NES had a very limited color palette. Not only that it could only show 25 colors on screen at a time. The resolution is also pretty strange and nonstandard. It's not exactly 4:3 like old televisions, but 256 by 224 pixels. Not only that, but it sprites could either be 8x8 or 8x16 for all sprites of the game. However that particular detail is only that I'm going to ignore. Same with the sprite flicker and such. I don't really want to emulate the mannerisms of the platform so much has the visual and aural aspects. Remember I'm not a programmer. Doing such things as emulating an entire platform is far beyond my abilities.

When it comes to sound and music, this will be one of the most enjoyable parts I expect, but no less difficult. I've made 8-bit music before and it's a lot of fun. There is the program I use called Famitracker. Which basically is used to create 8-bit music and can be used to make sounds as well. I've used it on a couple of my own projects and what I have done so far for this project has turned out really well. (There's this one sound that I made that would be a dead ringer for the firing sound of an enemy from Mega Man 2.)

Okay! So I have a genre and a graphical/audio style/limitation set. Now I need to come up with the narrative of the project. A central idea. A structure to build the logic and explanation for what is going on in the game. Well first I thought what could the genre need. How could I make a game that is unique to the genre? I was watching an episode of the History Channel's "The Universe" when I had an idea. The episode wasn't about what inspired the idea, but rather it reminded me of a different episode of the show which was about how our Universe may come to an end. One theory in particular caught my imagination. One called "The Big Rip." I had a setting. The end of the Universe. Now what sort of mechanics could I gleam from that setting. I figured it would be like the ultimate post-apocalyptic setting. Unlike most of the games that fall into that genre, there would be no world after the events of the Big Rip. So it would not have the cultural depression that many of those games possess. This would be about a civilization at the peek of it's technology trying to escape what's left of a dying reality. Of course there would need to be a villainous force, but let's not go into that now. The goal is for a survival-focused bullet hell game with maybe a bit of a puzzle twist, and this setting allows for that.

With all that out of the way, where I am at now is not all that far into development. Earlier this week I actually deleted large chunks of the game because I was not satisfied with how things were working. I ended up rewriting the entire code for the player object and decided to change how it looked as well. Basically I nearly restarted from the beginning. What I did today was get a solid collision engine working with the help of an example from the Game Maker forums for, of all things, a platformer. So right now all the game is, is an area where you can move your ship around some objects and a mostly bare HUD. While there are bullet and enemy objects in there, they aren't programed to go with the new collision system yet.

I will go more into the mechanics and other elements when I'm further down the development line. The plan with the weblog is to update it roughly every two weeks. Perhaps the next one will even have screenshots! This week I plan to codify most things in a flush out development document. I encourage other people who want to get into the video game industry to try something like this as well. Even though I've only been working on this for about 2 or so weeks, it has proved to be very educational and enlightening!

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