Sunday, June 30, 2013

[MMc] World Map

The title screen, world map, and character selection screen all work now.  The world map is just a giant image that the characters can freely roam over--the underlying graph is not yet connected.

I then added mounts to the main game mode.  When all players are mounted, they return to the world map.  Well, they will.  I haven't implemented the final test for all players being mounted yet.

Next steps: 
  1. Actually implement returning to the world map
  2. Draw a mount for the faerie (I'm now thinking dog instead of bird--birds look dumb without animation)
  3. Implement the world map graph properly
  4. Allow controllers to be used on the selection and title screens

While working, I've been listening to this IDM/EDM Pandora station that Acy made for me: 

Machinis Ludo 3 Begins!

The Professional Track began today at 9am.  Good luck to everyone!

I'm kicking off with Castles & Catacombs with my three-person team of two child designers (neither is me) and one adult programmer/artist/musician (that's me).  I'll work from home today and the lab tomorrow. First on today's feature list is the World Map mode, which includes:

  1. Navigable world map
  2. World map -> Character Selection Screen
  3. Exit point from game scene to the World Map
  4. Pause Menu

I'm planning to use the characters' mounts to mark the world map exit point.  I drew some mounts last night, from left to right: Crefftwyr's pony, d'Arc's horse, Stahl's warhorse:

I still need to figure out what the druid and faerie's mounts are (maybe a stag and a bird?) and to draw the characters mounted, but that isn't going to be the hard part of implementing the world map.

[Nigel] Better late than never. Also, stairs.

I'm Nigel, hello. I am a rising CS junior at Williams.

Moving on:

I watched this.

Thus, I'm going to make a game about climbing stairs.

  • It'll be web-based, created with large helpings of JS, HTML, and CSS. 
  • If I have time (I don't.), I'll even muck around with NodeJS and make it a multiplayer game. 
  • I'll discuss more when the jam begins/ends.

Friday, June 28, 2013

[Sam] Dice Defense

Hello, I am Sam Donow, a rising sophomore at Williams College working with Morgan over the Summer in the Graphics Lab.

I just made up the name of the game now for the purposes of writing this blog post, but it seems good enough that I might keep it - this is a good start, I never did think of a name for my last game jam game.

This will be my third game jam - the first I did not win after not making anything successfully, although I did succeed in making a game last time, even though I really didn't have much of an idea for what I wanted to do for the game until I was about 24 hours into making it. This time I have an idea - it might not be the most novel idea in the world, but it involves combining two little games that I enjoy into something that will hopefully be fun.

The idea for this game comes from mixing two flash games that I used to enjoy playing (well, one a game, one a genre) - one is Dice Wars, a game based on risk, but where the entire game state are dice, and you fight by rolling all of your dice against an adjacent square's dice and if you win you conquer them and move over there.

The plan is to combine this probabilistic / entirely dice-based state concept with a genre of game that I personally tend to enjoy playing, tower defenses - a genre of which there exist an abundance of games, but oh well - ever since I started playing them I thought it would be a fun project to try to make one some day, so I guess I will take this as my chance.

The last game jam I used just plain old javascript, but this game jam I think I will try using codeheart.js, as it seems like it might make things a little bit easier, especially if I choose to add some highly complex graphics to this game like dice (to contrast with my last game jam game, where a square tried to avoid smaller squares in caves that were drawn using lines of lengths based on random functions convolved with themselves).

So far, I have more of a fleshed-out idea than I have had going into any other game jam, and also it seems like I might be finally choosing a more appropriate platform, and I look forward to possible success, and seeing the successes of everyone else's interesting-looking games.

[Michael Mara] ZXWQZX (aka Super Monaco Boy 2)

I'm Michael Mara, graphics researcher at NVIDIA, a maintainer of G3D, and instructor for the upcoming Williams College Game Jam winter study course (all views in this blog are my own and reflect none of the institutions I am affiliated with...). For the jam, I plan on bringing a concept of mine to a playable state, as a base for an eventually quite expansive project, in a language I am unfamiliar with (Javascript), using codeheart.js.

Title: ZXWQZX (possibly short for "I'll rename this later")
Platform: Web/possibly standalone on all platforms given ease of embedding a javascript-capable browser...
Players: 2, coop
Controls: Controller strongly
Concept: Super Meat Boy meets the coop nature of Monaco and Portal 2.
Technology: codeheart.js + gamepad extensions, svn, Photoshop, emacs, whatever tools I find that have value

Full Concept:
Basically, first take all of the awesome components of Super Meat Boy: very short (usually <20s if played perfectly) but brutally difficult levels, very tight controls, easy to die and easy to try again, visual cues to help you see where you've failed before. Then, throw in slick co-op ala Monaco (for a recent indie 2d-game example) or Portal 2 (for the 2-player nature).

Major Challenges:
Learning javascript.
Integrating controller support.
Implementing the base one-person mechanics.

Implementing co-op mechanics that are essential but do not break the game.
Making a good enough level editor to bang out a few levels without going insane.
Making a slick camera system that allows players to be far away from each other without either person being off-screen and without zooming out too far.

I'll be doing the hardcore track, since I have family and friend stuff this weekend and the 4th of July. And I'm young and naive enough to think its a good idea to work 48 hours straight.

Hi my name is Daniel Evangelakos and i am a student at Williams College.
This will be my first game jam. My goal is to make a puzzle game that will be loosely based upon a short film that was shown in graphics class. Here is the film for all that are interested:
My plan is not to deal with any of the human aspects but instead focus on the idea of having to control a system by dropping drops of the proper magnitude at the proper time.

The game would therefore consist of trying to get a block or a set of blocks through some sort of obstacle course. To do this you would set up dispensers that would release set amounts of a set liquid at a pre-arranged time. I have the idea of making this be a fun way of practicing physics, which means that  i would have to make a fairly realistic physics engine, and that i would also have to give alot of information to the player such as the mass of block and the friction coefficients.  My hope is that people will solve the puzzles by doing series of calculations to determine where and when to put the dispensers.

I will be doing the entire thing in G3D and hope to end up with a playable game

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Constellations Round 2

Hello all! I'm so excited that game jam season has rolled around again! I'm also especially excited that Donny will be participating this time. Oh the memories of Creating Games 2012.

For this game jam, I will be continuing work on my game from last time called Constellations, a game that features puzzles that will teach you some of the ideas of graph theory and mathematical thinking as you play. For full details on the game, click here. For a link to the game's current state, click here.

For this jam, I will have much less time to work because I am doing research at the SMALL program at Williams College. Also because of this, I am forced to spend my 48 hours starting Friday @ 8:00PM and continuing until Sunday @8:00PM. My weekdays are completely booked with other sorts of mathematical fun!

Without further ado, I present the additions to Constellations that I plan to work on this weekend!
  • I want to fix a number of UI issues that I had in the previous version, as well as make the game feel more relaxed and streamlined. To do this, I will remove the need to switch between line and star tools, and I will include a controls option in each puzzle screen. I will also make some of the buttons bigger and make it easier to figure out how to traverse menu screens. I would also like to switch from using JavaScript generated text to using photo-shopped images instead. This way I can guarantee that the text appears in the font and size that I want it in (as in the current version, it looks different on different devices.
  • I want to add a whole new type of puzzle to the game, which I will call traversal puzzles. In these puzzles, the constellation will be given to the player, and they will have to interact with it in a meaningful and creative way. The controls will be basically the same as in the drawing puzzles, and I'll maintain the dark, soothing color pallete as before (Although I'll chance the background image slightly! Also since these puzzles are intended to come after the drawing puzzles, I may begin to brighten the sky, as dawn approaches)
  • (Stretch Goal) I want to cut down on the graph theory language in the actual puzzles, but make it available to the curious player. I want to add a third mode to the game called the journal, which will update as the player progresses through the game. The journal will fill up with pictures and text that detail the concepts the player has encountered, but will be written in first-person prose, as if these were the thoughts of the player as he/she played with the stars.
My final goal with this game is to have it published and available on the iTunes store, and after this game jam I will be one step closer to this goal! That's it for me, leave me a comment or two with your thoughts/suggestions!

Philippe Demontigny

Friday, June 21, 2013

[MMc] Castles & Catacombs

I'm Morgan McGuire, professor at Williams and game developer. For the jam, I plan bring to a fully playable state a game that I've been prototyping for a while with my children. I'll be on the pro track, primarily front-loading on the weekend and Monday.

Title: Castles & Catacombs
Platform: Web
Players: 1-3, coop
Concept: The mechanics of Monaco & Minecraft in a classic fantasy setting (ala D&D, Gauntlet, etc.)
Technology: codeheart.js + gamepad extensions, svn, Photoshop, Pixen, CFXR, emacs, Audacity, hq4x depixelizer

  1. 2D platformer
  2. Cellular automata simulation
  3. World map
  4. RPG stats (with no leveling)
  5. Pure co-op
  6. Unlocking more characters
  7. Metroid-vania revisiting of previous levels with new abilities

I already posted some early shots of work on the graphics for this game (and a blog post on how I created some):

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Series of Paddles...

Hello. My name is Casey O'Donnell. I'm an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media ("TISM") department. I'm part of MSU's Game Design and Development Specialization. This will be my first Machinis Ludo Game Jam and want to thank Morgan for including me. I was at one time quite active with G3D when Mac people were less common (or when knowledge of PPC assembly was helpful), but I mostly lurk there now. I'm diving in to this MLGJ because I'm interested in codeheart.js. I'm teaching an HTML5/CSS/Javascript class this fall and want to see how it might fit into that.

I'm a big fan of providing my students with the basic skeletons of "clones" that they will recognize as a way to encourage them to delve into the code of others. When they know (or at least recognize) how a game ought to function, they have a leg up in understanding the implementation. It's also a chance to expose undergrads to games they've perhaps heard of but not played.

I'm going to be super boring. My goal is to clone as many Atari-like games as possible, likely starting with a multi-touch based Pong-clone or Breakout-clone. The advantage is that I already have great samples to work from, so that simplifies things. My plan will be to move through as many Atari-like games as I can (Berzerk is high on the list), but once you've got paddles, you can clone a lot quickly. I'm going to combine my efforts and work with Ejecta to see how codeheart.js works in that context.

I'll be on the "professional" track, but seriously doubt that Sunday can be pried from the clutches of my wife and kids. So you'll see me largely Monday through Wednesday. If it's not breaking too many rules, I'll distribute those four hours from Sunday across Monday through Wednesday.

Now I just have to fight the urge to play with codeheart.js right now...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

[Donny] Introduction

Hi, my name is Donny Huang, a recent graduate of Williams College, and soon to be computer science grad student. I love games! Some of the games I like include Chrono Trigger, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Beyond Good & Evil, Super Mario Galaxy, Mass Effect 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Magic: the Gathering. I'm also happy to learn and play anything. I'll be trying to go hardcore! Someone join in?

Working Title: Programming Game Engine
Gameplay: AI Challenge (i.e., Darwin for people who've taken CS136) meets Final Fantasy XII
Mechanics: Program your army, then lead them into battle!
Watching people play Legos, Minecraft, Magic: the Gathering, or Dominion, it becomes clearly evident that everyone has what it takes to build something amazing. Even complete newcomers to those games can quickly find their inner creativity, and create cool and exciting new designs/worlds/strategies. As a result, I would like to try to create the programming equivalent of Legos, Minecraft, Magic: the Gathering, or Dominion!
The game I'll be trying to implement for this game jam is based off ideas that I came up with Alex Wheelock '13. Basically, players will construct armies made up of units that they program. Then, in battle, players will need to react to how the battle is playing out, and switch up tactics (i.e., alter which programs their units are running) on the fly. The inspirations for this game include Google's AI challenge (, and the combat system in Final Fantaxy XII.

Screenshot from Google's AI Challenge:

Screenshot of the "Gambit System" (i.e., the programming system) in Final Fantaxy XII:

The key to making this game fun and approachable is a good single-player campaign, and well-balanced units, strategies, and gameplay -- which I unfortunately won't be working on for this game jam. Instead, I will be working on some of the technical stuff: I'll be making the User Programming Interface and the combat system.

Technology: Unity (Not going to worry about art for this game jam)

Goals: Hopefully, by the end of the game jam, a player can program several units, run them in a combat simulation, and switch their tactics on the fly during the simulation.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Machinis Ludo 3

Machinis Ludo 3 is an invitation-only multi-site game jam running at the beginning of July 2013 hosted by the G3D Innovation Engine and codeheart.js developer communities. (If you've received an invitation to be an author on this blog, then you're invited!)

There are two tracks, to accomodate the differing lifestyles of the participants.

Professional Track:

  • Start: 9am Sunday 2013-June-30
  • End: 3pm Wednesday 2013-July-03
  • 4 hours per day limit

Hardcore Track:
  • Start:  3pm Monday 2013-July-01
  • End: 3pm Wednesday 2013-July-03
  • No daily time limit

(all times are local to you)

  1. Any theme, any platform, any engine (although G3D and codeheart.js are encouraged to provide feedback, testing, and grow the APIs).  Closed or open source, and whether to release the game at all are up to you.
  2. Introduce yourself and post a game proposal by Friday 2013-June-28 (examples: Bit PiratesCrossword-Z Explosion Golf)
  3. Post frequent image, video, and text discussion updates throughout the jam.  The point is to create a sense of community among the participants and offer each other support.
  4. Post a summary paragraph to the group post within 24 hours of the end of the jam.
Everyone who follows the rules and creates a playable game by the deadline wins.  Usually about 50% of the participants succeed and we always hope for 100%.

See and the archives of this blog for inspiration.

Everyone is welcome to work from home, work, etc. For local participants in Williamstown, we'll have the graphics lab open with music, the blog on the big screen, and some group takeout orders. The energy when everyone's hacking in the same place is great.