Category Archives: News
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
There comes a point in the development of (some) games, where it stops being fun. You get bored of working on the same game over and over again and your brain is subconsciously looking for something to tear you away from working on this project anymore.
You want to just work on the game and get it finished, but your brain is sat in the office in your head eagerly sketching ideas down for a new game. Your brain spends a lot of energy on this and puts together a very convincing PowerPoint presentation of a series of game pitches along with bullet points on “Why you should ditch your current project and work on this game idea instead”. Your brain is very good at this pitching process.
Splodey Vaders recently reached this point in its development. I went to the Trello page for the game and created a new column which I labelled “Not Gonna Happen :(” and in it I began to transfer all of the things that weren’t absolutely vital to the game being finished. This included addition enemy types, power ups, unlockables. The only thing left in the MUST column is making sure that ads are showing up for all users, making sure the player can pay to unlock ads and to improve the Android store page (the game now has an android store age by the way). The aim was to get the game finished as soon as possible.
Then one night my baby daughter did a poop in the bath. The next couple of days afterwards I finally gave in to my brain and worked on something new. This became Super Diarrhoea Baby, which you can play in browser. SDB is a little one click collect against the time limit game. It was fun to make and has shut my annoying brain up for the time being. Now I can focus properly on Splodey Vaders and get the game DONE!
What’s happened since the last update?
Reading through the last blog update under the ‘What’s next?’ heading is a very sobering experience for me.
- Produce new art assets – this didn’t happen and probably isn’t going to happen.
- Adding longevity by including unlocks – this hasn’t happened either, but still might happen.
- The current focus is on the PC version – Nope! Mobile version is now the priority
But it’s not all bad! I made a store page on Google for the Android version of Splodey Vaders and released a build of it there (currently in Alpha), so you can play the game right now if you want to. The build is pretty stable and I’ve had some great responses from people playing the game. Most things work like they should including IAPs which I’ve even sold a couple of! The game has some new music by an ex-student of mine Joshua Mbewe (@laxcitymusic) which sounds awesome, I fixed a bug where the player would disappear from the screen occasionally. Advertisements are functional and I finally decided on what to do when the player lets a Vader go past them on the screen (this alone probably deserves its own blog post which I may do sometime in the future). All in all the game is coming along okay and there are a couple of exciting things on the horizon for 2017. Here’s a video of the game’s main music track by Josh.
What is next for Splodey Vaders?
There’s a few minor bugs to fix that were found during testing and I need to fine-tune a couple of graphical elements, then the game will be pretty much done! I have a few stretch goals which include the following:
- Animated Enemy Sprites
- Google Play – Achievements/Leaderboards functionality
- Unlocks for added longevity (this one is pushing it)
As always you can check the Splodey Vaders trello page to see what’s currently going on and how the project has evolved from the start. I also need to update the Play Store page with better game images and video.
Hoping the get the game to a release version early 2017. It will be coming to Android and possibly the Apple App Store. After that I’ll be looking to port Super Diarrhoea Baby to Android and iOS too! I made the super smart decision to post this update on New Years Eve, so if you’re reading this – thank you! And don’t be a stranger, say Hi, download the Alpha build and let me know what you think! I’m @Stuart_Lilford on Twitter.
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
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.
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.
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:
— Stuart Lilford (@Stuart_Lilford) January 25, 2016
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
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!
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 :)
Over the weekend I took part in a Game Jam called Twiny Jam, where you had to submit a Twine game using less than 300 words. This was my first time using Twine and the first time I successfully finished a game for a Game Jam. Although the end result is pretty basic, I’m happy with it considering the limitations and time constraints.
RPG-ish is a Micro Text RPG which takes inspiration from the Final Fantasy series. Try to be at least Level 5 before fighting The Dark Lord and stock up on plenty of potions.
Or play it over on Game Jolt!
I’ll probably right something about the development of the game soon, but for now give it a try!
In 2014 Scared Square Games re-released Entrapment which went pretty good. Entrapment Managed to get 5720 plays on Game Jolt, 1441 on scaredsquare.com, but only 87 on itch.io. Giving it a total of 7000+ downloads. Compared to Time Stone’s 2500 total downloads, Entrapment was downloaded by more than double the amount. This will always be strange to me, as I feel that Time Stone is the better game. Better story, better puzzles, better characters, better graphics, better everything and yet Entrapment has more downloads? I did find a Let’s Play of Entrapment by Cinnamon ToastKen which received over 150,00 views which may have helped, but I just wish I knew the true reason for this.
After Entrapment was released, the only other thing I did last year was start work on Gravity Box. I’m happy with the direction that Gravity Box is going in and I hope that it really turns out to be a good game for people to play.
Other than that I’ve been going through a lot of stuff personally. We moved into a new house at the start of 2014, which we’ve been redecorating and that’s been taking up big chunks of time. I’ve also started a new job where I was promoted to a position with additional responsibilities, which requires a lot of hours spent on stuff from home and takes up a lot of brain space. In addition to this there have been some other things which I’d rather not talk about on here, but suffice it to say, 2014 has been a busy year. This explains why I’ve been so quite lately towards the back end of the year, but don’t worry, I haven’t gone anywhere and am still slowly working on things, they just may take a little longer.
I thought that the start of this new year would be a good time to look at the goals I laid out for Scared Square Games in the first ever post and see if I’ve managed to achieve them:
RELEASE TIME STONE [CHECK] Time Stone was released in late 2013.
RELEASE OTHER ADVENTURE GAME THAT WE’RE WORKING ON [NOPE] I felt this game, although it had some good puzzles, ultimately had a boring story and so I’ve decided to drop this for now.
RE-RELEASE SOME OLDER STUFF [CHECK] Maze Defender and Entrapment were both re-released
MAKE A COMMERCIAL GAME [NOPE] Well, at least, not yet. I am looking to turn Gravity Box into a commercial game, even if it’s only for a few quid, so I’m still working on this one.
TOUCHSCREENS! [NOPE] Not even close to this one. That being said, Gravity Box was designed to work with touch devices, so maybe eventually?
Not as bad as I thought…
But I’ve still got a lot of work to do, so here’s my New Years Resolutions for Scared Square Games in 2015:
RELEASE GRAVITY BOX
Not sure when this will happen, but I’d like to release Gravity Box this year, so this means I need to pull my finger out and get cracking on with it!
RELEASE AT LEAST ONE SMALL GAME FOR FREE
I’d like to continue to release smaller freeware games as I enjoy making them and I have a few in mind that I’d like to develop over the next year.
TAKE PART IN A GAME JAM
As you may recall, I failed miserably at Ludum Dare in 2014, so this year I’d like to take part in and submit a game for a game jam.
That’s it, and that last one is really more of a bonus resolution. I don’t want to give myself too much to try and do if the hectic busyness of the last few months is anything to go by. Maybe I’ll find myself in a quiet period and I’ll be able to post more regularly, but until then, have a great 2015!