Twitter Bot

Hello

Just a quick update to say that I’ve been wanting to create my own Twitter Bot for a while now, but never had the knowledge on how to make one. Then I discovered Cheap Bots Done Quick which is great tool for making your own automated Twitter Bots. The tool uses basic programming language Tracery.

The Bot I made is Insult Bot. A Twitter account that randomly generates a silly insult aimed directly at you!* Here are some examples:

Having lots of fun with this. Maybe I’ll create more in the future. I like the idea of creating games out of Twitter accounts. A good example is autoflâneur which posts random directions every hour with the goal of getting lost. You start at the top of the feed and work your way down. A really cool idea.

Anyway, follow @InsultBot_ and prepare to chuckle at a humorous taunt

*maybe I should make a compliment bot to balance things out…

Massive Update on the past 12 months (ish)

Okay, phew! it’s been a while since I updated this…

Why that is? Because I’v been very busy. Within the past few months I’ve got a new job, we decided to move house, oh and we’re expecting our second child in July. Also I had to prepare students for a programming exam, I planned a residential for 20+ students to visit Berlin for the A MAZE festival and planned a visit to Paris (we drove there from North England. On top of that I had some Masters assignments due in Dec and then again in April, so there’s been that as well.

*Cor, you don’t do things by halves do you*

No, no I don’t.

Though now I’ve started my new job, the exam, trips and assignments are out of the way things are a little quieter. Things at home are a little hectic waiting for the moving in date for our new house and the arrival of a second bundle of joy, but things are quieter than they’ve been for a while.

So, let’s split this post into what I’ve been up to and what what I’m *hoping* to do next shall we? Here we go:

What have I been up to?

Towards the back end of last year I spent some time creating a Patreon account for game development and writing, but then decided that actually why should anyone give me money for this? If you want to support me, then buy Splodey Vaders or Pay-What-You-Want for Time Stone or Temple of Adventure…

So yeah, I wasted a lot of time there. Out of the back of that though I focused a lot on writing things about games/game related things and posting them on Medium. I wrote these (among re-posting older things I’d written):

Have a read if you like. I was particularly proud of the ‘Trying to buy a VR headset in Currys’ story.

Some things I haven’t spoken about yet, I attempted Ludum Dare in July 2017 for the second time and actually managed to make something this time! The theme was ‘Running out of Power’ and so I made a game where you play as some Mafia mobsters about to go out of business called Fugetaboutit.

The idea wasn’t too bad: See how many days you could last in the dying times of the mafia, however the end result didn’t have enough scenarios in it and you would end up seeing the same situation repeated a lot. In the example above THREE of your family members die of dysentery. Now that’s unfortunate.

After this I started learning/teaching Unity. I first made this crappy Space Invader clone called Splatt Invaders. The idea here was that the more enemies you shot, the more the screen would fill with their remains and make it difficult for you to spot further enemies. It was fun to work on as a small project.

Another prototype I made in Unity was:

S   C   A   L   E

A first person puzzle game prototype which allows you to alter the scale of objects to help you progress.

This was a cool little project and helped me learn a lot about working in Unity. The prototype can be completed but is broken in some areas, but check it out if it sounds like your thing.

Other than that I made a couple of other little things (including 2 games made with Bitsy, but I’ve talked about Swiss Cottage before), but one last game I will mention is Pizza a game I made in an hour.

It’s made using Flickgame. A cool online tool for making interactive stuff that uses images and colour to progress through it. I like the limitations of this a have a few ideas of some other Flickgame things I could make in the future.

Phew! There we go all caught up on games I made. if I missed anything, it will probably be on itch.io

What am I gonna do next?

Well one reason why there are so many games I made last year is that I set myself a secret challenge to make 12 games in 12 months. I only just achieved this:

  1. Super Diarrhoea Baby (Nov 2016)
  2. The Game Design Idea Generator (Jan 2017)
  3. Mexican Wave Simulator (Jan 2017)
  4. TEMPLE OF ADVENTURE (May 2017)
  5. Secret of The Tree Garden (July 2017)
  6. Fugetaboutit (July 2017)
  7. Splodey Vaders (Sep 2017)
  8. Unfinished Novels (Oct 2017)
  9. Splatt Invaders (Dec 2017)
  10. Swiss Cottage (Jan 2018)
  11. Pizza (Jan 2018)
  12. Incoming Transmission (Jan 2018)

Well, sort of achieved. I wanted to write an article about this and so hopefully that will show up soon.

I’m also making more games, yes… a couple of things on the go at the minute ideas wise, but starting to focus more on a Twine game which is based on my personal experiences of dealing with grief, regret and a family member suffering with addiction. It’s a laugh a minute! And if you bothered to read this far, I’ll tell you an exclusive secret. The name of the game. I haven’t told anyone this yet, but the game will be called:

Death of a Zombie

Like anyone cares…

 

Swiss Cottage

recording (1)

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.

PLAY IT HERE

>> https://scared-square-games.itch.io/swiss-cottage<<

HOW TO PLAY

PC – Arrow Keys to Play

Mobile – Swipe to move and interact

CREDITS

Game Design by @Stuart_Lilford

Music by Deephod

 

The Secret of The Tree Garden

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!

jam

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!

The Temple of Adventure

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.

screenshot (11)-jigajrfa

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.

AdvJam_Top20_2017_ALPHA

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.

  • Find the Tigress Emerald
  • Uncover the ancient secrets of the Temple
  • Solve the Temples countless mysteries

A game made for ‘#AdvJam2017‘ in Unreal Engine 4.

Splodey Vaders, Game Jam, Game Design Idea Generator & Podcast!

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.

Tutorial

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

TL;DR

Super Diarrhoea Baby


startscreen


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.

game

CONTROLS

Space/LMB = Poop
F = Toggle Fullscreen
R = Restart Game
Esc = Exit Game

CREDITS

A Game by Stuart Lilford (@Stuart_Lilford)
Music – Newgrounds
SFX – Freesound.org, bfxr.net

Splodey Vaders Update #03: Boring Menu Stuff

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.

Settings_GIF

WHAT’S NEXT?

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.

Splodey Vaders Update #02: GaMaYo

GMY10

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.

IMG_4210

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.

IMG_4206

What’s Next?

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

Introducing: Splodey Vaders

I’m back! After an almost 6 month hiatus from game development after the birth of my daughter, I’m now slaving away over a laptop to try and scramble a game together.

 

Splodey Vaders Logo

 

gameplay_v007

But wait, what happened to Subtraddition and Gravity Box?

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.

Key Information

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 can actually see the games current To-Do list on Trello, if you were wondering about that sort of thing. https://trello.com/b/jTalmHfR/splodey-vaders 

What’s Next?

I’m hoping to show the game off at a local game dev event in April, so between now and then I want to polish the game to a stage where it looks professional to the public eye. So, which me luck!