My feedback for all games at PAX: I want to cancel all moves into other moves and do crazy execution tricks let me do this in every game thx (Today)
2015 - 8 - 31 / 1:16 am / events
I feel like I just got to Seattle a second ago, but it looks like PAX is already coming to close. Hard to believe that 3 days of insane exhaustion have already gone by. I thought I would just quick list off some games that I checked out that we're super neato:
Viking Squad: Co-op lane based brawler thing that has the procedural levels that all the kids love these days. Had a lot of fun playing with some folks.
Chasm: Procedural metroidvania (my favorite) that is feeling really good these days. I think I played a build one or two years ago that was kinda cool but didn't have a super solid feel yet, but now I think it does. I do wish for a few things with the movement, but I understand that not everyone wants to make a game with movement exploits.
Timespinner: Another metroidvania but this time not procedural. Freeze time as of right now feels like a Super Metroid ice beam that just captures the whole world instead of just enemies. Cool system with weapons that are orbs that float around the player.
Futuregrind: Kind of like a Trials game but with a crazy future bike that grinds of rails built with my favorite colors. Interesting and expressive controls and movement. Trying to get a high score on the tracks leads to some pretty interesting scenarios once you master the techniques. Really good feel, these guys know what they're doing.
Shovel Knight Plague Knight DLC: I liked Shovel Knight a lot and the new Plague Knight DLC really changes how the game is played entirely. Plague Knight's movement options are really interesting. Combining double jumps, bomb jumps, and hovering from tossing bombs leads to really expressive possibilities.
Shantae: The new one is looking really really nice and has a good mix of 3d world and 2d sprites and animation. This kind of look is really hard to pull off but I think they're doing a good job. They're using Spine to do sort of frame by frame but also transforming animations which look really smooth.
Freedom Planet: This game is totally insane to me because it was made in Multimedia Fusion (Clickteam Fusion) and I have no idea how it can possibly work. I'm saying it's a Sonic the Hedgehog like and it has the full platforming engine of a really good 2d Sonic game. There's three characters to play from, and it has awesome stages and art. It's just a good solid game. I actually bought it awhile ago, but haven't played it that much yet, but seeing at PAX leads me to believe I should get to it pretty soon.
The King's Bird: Never heard of this game until playing it at PAX but boy was it great. Momentum based platformer. I'm sold already. Very fluid controls and just all around excellent game feel. Has a cool flying mechanic and so far just the two demo levels are pretty fun, so I'm interested in seeing more.
I've played many many more games but at the time of writing this post I can't think of them all! Everything in the Indie Mega Booth and the Indie Mini Booth are worth checking out so go through those lists! Now to just survive the final day of PAX.
2015 - 8 - 20 / 9:41 am / general
It seems like 2015 is really flying by and once again I'm trying to figure out what happened to it! Obviously I have kind of shifted my priorities again to maintain some sort of sanity and happiness. What started out as a year of working on the island game tentatively titled Stratoforce has turned into working on a bunch of smaller stuff. The stress of working on one big thing for a long time got to me so I took a break, and now that break is pretty extended.
I'm still working on finishing Super Sky Sisters which is probably 98% done at this point. There's just a few more things to do, like figure out how I'm releasing it. I've gotten a lot of feedback from people that suggests I should put it on Steam or something, but that honestly sounds like more trouble than it's worth. My current plan is to release on itch.io for a small amount of dollars.
Other than that I'm working on a prototype involving dice. I've posted some gifs and such of it from time to time. I haven't spent a super long time on it yet so there's no real game yet, but I've been trying to figure out how to make rolling digital dice feel cool and not like a chore.
I currently have a contract gig that is taking up some of my time. I'm doing some character art and level tile art for an upcoming indie game that for now I don't think I can say what it is, but it is pretty cool to work on!
On top of that I'm still trying to flesh out all the examples I can for Otter. I think pretty soon I'll be able to call it version 1.0 and figure out what I want to do with it after that. I have tinkered around with some other frameworks and engines, but I still always go back to Otter... I just wish it were easier to export to Mac and Linux.
I think that covers everything! I'm staying busy, still just living that indie life I suppose. Eventually I will have to buckle down and release a new proper game, but for now I still think I'm having fun and keeping my emotional health up which can be very important. Working on small projects that have no expectations is way more comfortable for me, but I know that eventually that won't be paying my bills.
2015 - 8 - 16 / 10:02 am / general
As you may or may not know I live in the desert out in Arizona, and in the summer it can get to be quite hot. Just a few days ago we hit an almost record high of 117F! That's 47.2C for those of you outside of the US. So for the past two weeks I fled the desert and returned to my native land of the east coast.
I spent a lot of time visiting family and friends that I don't get to see often because of living on the opposite side of the country. I did bring my laptop and had the best intentions to try to sit down and do some work while I was on the road stopping from place to place, but it just didn't happen. I decided pretty early on to turn the trip into a proper vacation and not do any work, or think about any work for the entire duration of my trip. That's a pretty big deal for me because I can't really think of the last time I actively tried to not do anything for that long! Overall I think it had a pretty good effect on me.
Now I'm back in the desert where unfortunately it's still 110+ degrees outside for the time being, but that's all the better reason to stay inside and work on games and other stuff. I'm going to try to catch up on posting on my blog, work on some of my projects, and catch up with Otter examples. At the end of the month I have another trip coming up for PAX, so I gotta squeeze in as much time as I can before that.
Now resuming normal operations.
2015 - 3 - 9 / 10:36 am / events
Just got back from Game Developers Conference last night! I'll be writing up some sort of thoughts and feels post about it soon, but for now enjoy some matches from the TowerFall Invitational put on by Humble Bundle this year!
Greg Lobanov vs Matt Thorson
Me vs Connor Ullmann
Me vs Frederic Tarabout
The tournament was absolutely incredible this year. We had over 70 entrants in the whole thing all playing 1v1 best out of 3 (and the grand finals were best out of 5.) It was hosted at Folsom Street Foundry which was just an amazing venue to say the least. I really hope this continues and becomes a solidified GDC tradition!
2015 - 1 - 3 / 3:00 pm / general
2014 is now totally done. As I mentioned in my posts before this it felt like a pretty weird year overall. Usually at the end of the year I feel like I have some sort of body of work to show for it, but this year felt like I didn't really accomplish much. I mean when I look back at it all I really released as a finished thing was Dan Adelman's site, and Starforger, which was a little game jam game from back in August.
Warning: This post is pretty dang long and has some rambly sections. Proceed at your own risk! (There aren't any pictures.) read more
2014 - 12 - 30 / 8:25 am / general
The year is coming to a close... it feels like it just started!
October started out as a huge month for Otter with the addition of the polygon collider!
Polygon collisions were yet another thing that I never thought I'd be able to figure out, but finally after all these years the separated axis theorem finally made sense to me... or at least it made enough sense for me to code. I don't think I still fully understand the mathematics behind it other than it's kind of like casting a shadow of the polygons and seeing if the shadows overlap.
Another big thing that was alluding me was a basic skeleton system for entities in Otter.
Something I want to do in Stratoforce is make enemies out of individual pieces that all can be interacted with. Sure there are tools like Spine and Spriter but I couldn't really figure out how to wrangle those tools into giving me a bunch of individual objects instead of just one sprite with some collider data.
I continued on with making enemies that can form a snake, and then a snake made out of entity skeletons.
I'm pretty excited about how I can use this to make huge stuff in my games, but I still have to clean up the API a little bit to have it make more sense. I tried to use it at a game jam, but it turned out a little more complicated than I thought so I need some more practice and refinement with it.
Meanwhile in shader town I was able to get a color grading shader implemented with Otter and that's yet another thing that has been alluding me for a long time.
This is something I've wanted to get working ever since I started trying to use shaders with Otter, and finally I understood what the secret ingredient was: a 3d texture! I never understood how it worked until one day I sat down and everything clicked.
October was pretty awesome in terms of unlocking a lot of things in my brain that I never thought I'd understand or be able to do.
November is the beginning of the holiday season which also tends to be bad for productivity for me, but maybe it didn't turn out as bad as I thought it was going to.
First I released a more cleaned up version of my palette index shader for all of the GLSL people of the world to use.
Then came along another Phoenix 48 hour game jam that was cosponsored by Xamarin. This was an awesome game jam and I made a cool (yet to be released) two player co-op game.
I also recorded my screen for the whole thing and released a time lapse of the entire production of the game during the 48 hours:
I also spent some time this month on some productivity booster tools. I noticed some points of friction during the game jam, so I wanted to address those. One of my biggest slow downs is getting assets imported into the game, so I wrote a tool that will parse a directory of files and generate a .cs file with references to all of the files.
I wrote one of these before for Actionscript, so this one is a C# version of that. I also got it hooked into Visual Studio as a keyboard shortcut so whenever I change any files in my assets folder I just hit the keyboard shortcut and my class is immediately updated and now my auto complete knows all the paths to all of my assets.
Along with that I pushed some big updates to Otter and started on some cool stuff like bitmap font support and started to change some of the core logic with how entities are added to scenes and how components are added to entities.
Later that month I started on a clean version of my game jam game from earlier. I wanted to rewrite the game from scratch because the game jam code became really terrible and I also wanted to use this as an opportunity to try a very intense component based game architecture on a small project.
I also started working on a board game with some folks in Phoenix and that's been pretty fun so far.
I started December with a big breakthrough with Photoshop animations!
It turns out using the video timeline with a video group of layers is the best thing ever because it actually makes sense and it lets you use onion skinning.
I spent a lot of time working on more board game stuff with my friends in Phoenix.
We're trying to make a truly engaging co-op only game inspired by some co-op games that we've tried over the past year. So many games are all about co-op play until you get to a certain point where it's then one player vs. the rest of the players, or co-op play but there are individual scores leading to players making decisions that will screw other players over.
I'm sure I'll have more to say when the game has progressed further as right now it's still in the early prototype and play test stages.
The rest of December was pretty weird because I got kinda trapped in a pit of crazy anxiety. Currently I'm sitting in my mom's house in upstate New York which means I had to travel and fly to get here. For whatever reason this particular trip gave me terrible anxiety. For about two weeks leading up to the flight I was feeling pretty awful and riddled with depression and panic attacks. Yahoo.
I think I might be reaching the point where I'll actually have to do something about my mental issues, but first I'll see how the rest of my time in New York goes, and how my flight back to Phoenix ends up being. I really tend to bounce back and forth with being totally okay with flying to feeling overwhelmed with panic about it.
So now I'm wrapping up 2014 by writing these blog posts about 2014.
It seems like these three months were pretty productive! October and November especially which I'm surprised about November. October seemed to be an incredibly huge month for me as I tackled so many things that I thought I would never be able to figure out. Maybe I have been making progress after all! The final next part will be more of my thoughts on the year now that the recap is totally finished. Stay tuned!
Hi there, my name is Kyle, and I'm a kid disguised as a grown up. I'm making video games and living the indie game developer life in Tempe, Arizona. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.
- alec holowka
- bill pullman
- dev log
- game jam
- good times
- kings men
- ninja slash
- offspring fling
- screen sat
- sky sisters
- space sushi
- august 2015 (12)
- july 2015 (13)
- june 2015 (13)
- may 2015 (12)
- april 2015 (14)
- march 2015 (14)
- february 2015 (13)
- january 2015 (14)
- december 2014 (14)
- november 2014 (13)
- october 2014 (14)
- september 2014 (14)
- august 2014 (11)
- july 2014 (10)
- june 2014 (13)
- may 2014 (13)
- april 2014 (13)
- march 2014 (14)
- february 2014 (15)
- january 2014 (15)
- december 2013 (14)
- november 2013 (15)
- october 2013 (13)
- september 2013 (14)
- august 2013 (15)
- july 2013 (10)
- june 2013 (14)
- may 2013 (14)
- april 2013 (15)
- march 2013 (13)
- february 2013 (15)
- january 2013 (3)
- december 2012 (1)
- november 2012 (2)
- october 2012 (1)
- september 2012 (4)
- august 2012 (1)
- july 2012 (1)
- may 2012 (1)
- april 2012 (1)
- march 2012 (1)
- february 2012 (1)
- january 2012 (1)
- november 2011 (2)
- september 2011 (1)
- july 2011 (1)
- june 2011 (1)
- may 2011 (1)
- april 2011 (2)
- march 2011 (4)
- february 2011 (4)
Do you want to make a Let's Play of one of my games, or a just a video featuring footage of my games? You have my full permission to do so! Even if you are monetizing your videos, you still have my full permission to use any footage from any of my games. Go for it!