We lived at Swiss CottageOne day it snowed. Only 2 days into 2018 and I made my first game of the year! Swiss Cottage is a game made in Bitsy in under 24 hours for the BitsyJam theme “Snow”.Swiss Cottage is a game about Cottages, Snow and KFC. If you like those things then please play this game.
I attended the AMAZE Festival in Berlin in April and a particular game caught my eye there which was called The Berry Garden by Menno Stas. It was a large print on a wall that you could “play” by using a website using your smart phone. This game made me nostalgiac about the paper-based game that I used to play as a child in the back of the car during long journey’s. There would be things like mazes, join the dots and hidden object games, but one of my favourites was decoding secret messages. A part of me was a little disappointed by the fact that this playable print required the addition of technology to play it and I wished that there were more attention given to solely paper-based games. And so, the idea of PaperJam was born!
I hosted a game jam over on itch.io which was called PaperJam! A game jam which required participants to devise and produce a game using a single sheet of paper that could be printed off and played.
The description of the jam is as follows:
Create a printable game using one 1 sheet of paper. No coding experience required! Just grab a sheet of paper and get designing. Use Twitter Hashtag #PaperJam2017
The game jam had over 100 people register for it before games could be submitted, but only 23 people managed to actually submit anything. 75% of people that were interested in the Jam couldn’t find the time to submit (myself included). That seems like quite a high statistic. It would be interesting to see how that compares to other game jams.
Still, the turnout was quite good and I also conducted a PaperJam LIVE at Feral Vector, which is an independent games and playful media festival located in Hebden Bridge. I also did a talk there, but I’m hoping to discuss that in a separate post. There were some interesting games made during the jam and I prototyped what would become The Secret of the Tree Garden, a playable print/downloadable paper game about uncovering a secret message by travelling between different trees in a garden.
You can check it out here:
I hope to have a go at making more of this type of game in the future, but I really recommend checking out the entries of the PaperJam in the mean time!
AdventureJam is a game jam that I’ve always wanted to take part in, but haven’t been able to or perhaps simply couldn’t be bothered to… yes, that’s probably it. The jam has always appealed to me as adventure games were a big favourite of mine growing up and I have made a small number of adventure games in the past. What’s that? Oh yes Time Stone*did* win the 2013 AGS Award for Best Short Game. Come again? You’re right it *was* also nominated for two other awards including Best Puzzles. Thank you, I never tire of people pointing out how brilliant my games are. Anyway this year I found myself with a bit of free time to enter the jam, but I also had something else on my to-do list – Learn Unreal Engine 4. I used the game jam as an excuse to make a small project within 2 weeks in UE4. I would need help however, as I wasn’t about to learn 3D modelling as well. No no, that would be silly.
I recruited some of my colleagues Tom Clayton, a 3D Artist about to take a break from teaching to complete his degree, James Bennett-Hill who graciously found time to stop working on doing up his house (which he doesn’t like to mention) in order to help out and Ben Sutcliffe of No Sky Visible who provided some illustrations for the game along with design support. We riffed from an initial idea I had of a first person exploration game that had a similar style of gameplay to Firewatch, Gone Home and Everybody’s gone to the Rapture.
We worked really hard on it when we could around work and other comitments, but managed to pull it together and submit the game before the deadline. The game came 19th overall in the results of the Jam, but is the 7th highest rated #AdvJam2017 game on Game Jolt. The game has some brilliant voice acting and understandably received 3rd place for dialog and came 9th for music, due to a fantastic score.
The game has received a lot of praise and attention including 2 separate let’s plays on YouTube with over 10K views which we’re really chuffed about.
I can’t really say too much about the game without spoiling it, so I’ll leave you with the game description which should hopefully entice you to try it out!
“The stone slab door slowly closes behind you. The sound of stone grating on stone can be heard until the door finally slams shut with a loud THUD. Afterwards there is dead silence. You take this opportunity to look around the great temple hall reaching out in front of you. A cavernous room with huge pillars that reached into the darkness above, detailed carvings etched on all sides. You stand at the top of a set of stairs leading down the labyrinth that makes up the lower levels of the hall. A beam of light catches your eye far on the other side. You reach for your binoculars to take a closer look and as you focus on the light you catch your breath. There it is. What I’ve been searching for. The Tigress Emerald. It won’t be easy to get to. You have the maze to contend with plus if the legends are true there will be chambers filled with puzzles, each one trickier than the last. But it will all be worth it … for her. Mabel’s medical bills were piling up. When that mysterious Baron offered to pay the cost of her surgery it was impossible to say no. She wouldn’t have wanted me to come. She would have begged me to stay with her. But if I have a chance to save her…
A sound from he maze below brings you back to reality. You raise your binoculars once more to see if you can identify where the sound came from. You see shadows. Moving shadows. Someone or something else is in that maze.
It’s too late to turn back now. “
The Temple of ADVENTURE is a first person exploration game set in an ancient mysterious Temple. If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider or Uncharted and love first person exploration games filled with action, adventure and mystery then this is the game for you.
Hello! Boy that blog title makes it sound like I’ve been up to a lot. Since the last blog post it’s been a hectic Christmas-New Year period, but now we’re halfway into February and there’s been a few things I’d like to share with you.
Splodey Vaders Updates
First up is progress on Splodey Vaders. Updates on Splodey Vaders have been a bit slow since December. There’s been some bits and pieces that I’ve done such as adding in a nice transition when they player moves from menu to main game. I’ve also included a handy little animated tutorial image as a lot of people when first playing the game didn’t know how to control the ship.
Something that’s been bugging me a lot is how to deal with what happens when the player allows Vaders to go past the bottom of the screen. Is it game over? Do you lose points? Do the Vaders respawn at the top of the screen, but faster? Do the Vaders explode? But, I think I’ve finally got a solution that will work which I need to implement and this will be rolled out in the next update. I’m not going to talk about it too much here as I feel like I could write a whole article about that design choice.
Global Game Jam
Global Game Jam is a game jam that takes place every year in January and I organised for the college I teach at to take part in the Jam. This year the theme was Waves and we had some really cool ideas from the students, but I also took this as an opportunity to make something small. So I made Mexican Wave Simulator in around 4 hours.
Game Design Idea Generator
Prior to this I made less of a game and more of a web tool using Twine. This was inspired by the annual BAFTA Young Game Designers competition. They provide a card game which had different environments, rules, goals, genre and a wild card and the idea was to generate ideas using randomly selected cards. I took this format and made it digital. My tweet on this probably got the most likes I’ve ever got!
Experimental Podcast: I Suck At Games
I’ve been listening to a lot of Podcasts in the car on my commute to work lately. This got me thinking about how I’d love to make a Podcast in which I talk about games, game design and general game stuff. Then I figured ‘I’ve got an hour-long commute to work and a voice recorder on my phone, what’s stopping me?’, so I recorded a spew of thoughts about the most recent game I played, which was the HD remake of Shadow of the Colossus. I uploaded it to Soundcloud, so you can have a listen to it there.
I’d much rather have had someone else to talk to in the podcast as I feel like multi-person podcasts are more entertaining to listen to. Sadly I was all on my lonesome, so had to make do. I called it ‘I suck at games’ because I genuinely feel that I’m not particularly good at playing games.
Wow, when I write everything down like that it looks like I’ve been really busy, which good I suppose. I’d love to hear your feedback on the games I’ve made and I’m particularly interested in hearing what you think of the podcast and if I should make it a regular thing. Please get in touch via Twitter if you’d like to share anything with me. You can find me on @Stuart_Lilford
I updated a few Splodey Vaders things (Transitions and Tutorials)
One night my baby daughter pooped in the bath, so I decided to make a game about it (as you do).
HOW TO PLAY
Super Diarrhoea Baby is an Arcade Game where you play as a baby propelling itself around a bathtub by shooting poop out of its butt. Collect as many bath toys as you can before the timer runs out and Dad has to clean up the mess.
Space/LMB is pressure/time sensitive, so the longer you hold down, the bigger the poop you’ll do. Use small clicks to perform small jumps.
Space/LMB = Poop
F = Toggle Fullscreen
R = Restart Game
Esc = Exit Game
A Game by Stuart Lilford (@Stuart_Lilford)
Music – Newgrounds
SFX – Freesound.org, bfxr.net
Wow! Was it really APRIL when I last posted about this game? Well I will blame that on the fact that I am a full-time lecturer at a college and it was the back end of the academic year, which is the busiest time for us due to marking and visits from external moderators and such, but you don’t want to know about that, you want to know about the GAME! Work on the game is slow as I’ve also been on holiday and it’s difficult to juggle work, home-life (which includes a wife and 10 month old baby daughter) with games development, plus there’s games to play, TV shows to watch and books to read, there just isn’t enough time in the day. Here’s what’s been happening since the last post:
MORE NEWS FROM GAMAYO
Although GaMaYo was a while ago now, there have been a few things posted online since my last update. You may recall I mentioned I was interviewed and that interview is now available online for your viewing pleasure (if you’re into that sort of thing). You’ll be able to see how much of a dork I look and sound like. But seriously, there’s some gameplay footage as well as some info about the game revealed in the interview, so take a look.
There were also a bunch of photos released from the evening. You can see them all here (scroll down on the page), but I’ve selected a few choice ones below:
I hadn’t built high score saving into the game yet and wanted a way to retain the score if I had to close the game down for any reason. My genius solution was to just write the top scores down on a white board with Twitter handles next to it.
I was quite proud of the crowd that the game was attracting. All the people at the front of this photo (and a few behind) were all watching/queuing to play Splodey Vaders. I felt a little rushed off my feet at times, which is a good thing.
Here is an action shot of someone sat enjoying the game with me stood in the background like a goofball holding the Android version. I’m not sure why, but I appear to be watching the screen intently.
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE GAME SINCE THE LAST BLOG UPDATE?
Quite a lot actually. You can keep up-to-date with all the main changes on the games Trello page, but here’s the low down on the main additions.
Integration with Game Jolt High Scores – Game Jolt users will be able to sign into Game Jolt within Splodey Vaders and post their high scores to leaderboards. This was a little tricky to get working right and I’m still not 100% happy with it, but it works for now. This will hopefully pave he way for the inclusion of achievements/trophies in the future.
Lots of BORING front end stuff – Splodey Vaders now has a menu rather than jumping straight into the game. There’s all the amenities such as stats, settings, credits, etc. Really exciting stuff.
The game will save your high score – Not only that, but it will also save your stats too. There’s also a menu option to delete all saved data on the game, so you can start a fresh.
There a few more menu and score tweaks to be made, but after that I’ll be looking to produce some new sprites and artwork for the game. The current Metroid and Galaga rip offs were only ever meant to be placeholder, but I just haven’t got around to updating them yet.
I want to game to be a little more than an arcade shooter with no overarching goal other than ‘Achieve High Score’, so I’ll be looking into adding longevity by including unlocks such as new ship designs, special power ups and enemy types. This will work something like how in Super Crate Box, when you unlock character designs and new weapons.
I’ve also been thinking about the release of the game. The current focus is to complete the PC version first and release this on online stores like itch.io and GameJolt. Although I originally intended this game to be free, I feel as though with the additional features I’m looking to add, I’m going to charge a small fee. Current thoughts are that the game will cost around $2.00. It would be good to hear what people think about this. I’ve wanted to release a comercial game for a long time now and I feel that Splodey Vaders could be a game worth paying money for (even if it is super cheap).
Please tweet or email me if you have any questions about the game and also follow me on there as it’s where I post the most updates on the game.
I showed Splodey Vaders off at GaMaYo last week. GaMaYo stands for Game Makers Yorkshire and is a networking event held twice a year where game developers from across the region and beyond get together, have a few pints and play each other’s games. I’ve been to GaMaYo a few times and have even shown some games there, but never on one of the big screens like I did at this one. It was a great experience and I recommend anyone to give it a try if you’ve got a game people can play. At one point there was even a kind of queue for Splodey Vaders, which was awesome. A big thank you to everyone who came and played.
I got some great feedback for Splodey Vaders from a bunch of people. Most of the comments where positive with some people seemingly becoming addicted, which was great. These people from Clubit TV came round and did a quick interview with me about the game, though I haven’t seen any of it surface online yet. I was showing the PC version on the big screen, while walking around shoving my NVIDIA Sheild into peoples faces to play the Android version.
I want to get the game uploaded to Game Jolt, ideally in a state which integrates with Game Jolts high score system, so that users can compete to become top of the leader board. I also need to get the game to save your score after you shut it down rather than resetting every time. After that, I want to update the sprites for the player and the Vaders (the current sprites are placeholder) and make them animated. There’s all kinds of additional features planned, but as usually, you can check what’s planned on the game’s Trello: https://trello.com/b/jTalmHfR/splodey-vaders
Those games are on hold at the moment. I decided that as my time to develop games is limited, I’d rather produce short polished experiences than longer ones that I never complete. Who knows, maybe in a few months time, I’ll announce another new game, while Splodey Vaders remains unfinished, but for now I think the experience is small enough for me to manage it’s production. Which brings me on to what Splodey Vaders is about.
What is Splodey Vaders about?
Splodey Vaders is kind of a mix between Space Invaders and Asteroids. I teach game design to college learners and one day I was teaching the fundamentals of scripting in Game Maker. As the students were building on the basic Space Invader forumla they had learnt, I was doing the same thing. I started by making the Invaders explode when hit by a bullet and I thought “maybe you should have to avoid the debris from the explosion” and the basic premise for Splodey Vaders was born.
Splodey Vaders is an Arcade Shooter. Shoot the Vaders that appear from the top of the screen, but also avoid the chunks of blown-up Vader that appear after they explode upon death.
This game will be released on PC and Android at some point this year.
The game will be free for android, but will contain banner adverts.
After Subtraddition and Procedrill, I’ve grown fond of the gameboy style four colour-palette, so I’ve adopted the same idea for Splodey Vaders.
Where is it at
Here’s a look back on what I’ve done so far:
This is how the game looked in very early prototype stages
Here’s another Vine of my baby daughter playing the game. Spoiler: she did better than me!
Later revisions saw improvements to the artwork, basic particle systems, score multipliers, menu’s, etc:
You may recall a couple of months ago when I posted this which hinted at the fact that me and my wife were having a baby. Well, our daughter, Lottie, was born on Sunday 20th September.
What does this mean for Scared Square Games? Well, it probably means that you won’t be seeing a lot from me in the near future. I’ll be far too busy changing nappies and not sleeping to make games. So don’t expect to see anything here for a while, no need to watch this space. Thank you for playing my games and reading my articles, it’s nice to know I have a small following and I hope you’ll excuse me for choosing to spend time with my wife and daughter than developing any more games. For now, at least.
I’m pleased to announce that me and my wife are working on a new game due to release in September 2015. We’ve been working collaboratively on the new title and it will have been in development for approximately 9 months upon release. It’s a co-op survival horror game in which you have to endure sleepless nights and constant nappy changes. It’s a 3 player game and we’re eagerly awaiting player 3 to join us :)