“This Game Is Not A Dating Sim”: a post-mortem

Congratulations to all the winners!

Congratulations to all the winners!

I would’ve been happy to be another nominee again in this second jam, but to actually be one of the winners..! Wow!! Absolutely blows my mind! You guys are amazing! Thank you!

Fortunately this game was not ridden with as many bugs as “Compendium” did, aside from few I will mention anyway because there’s no such thing as a perfect game (everything can always be made better!). The feedback was still just as astounding though, and it is very obvious that people love adorable talking fruit with crazy personalities. 

It was fun to hear that a lot of fans liked the characters, such as good ol’ Apple here.

Pros:

  • Lots of thumbs-up about the story and all of the characters. Players hoped to see some of them come back in later into the route, and learn more about them. Most stuck through to the end.
  • Overwhelming positives on the audio! I admit even when I play visual novels, sometimes I will mute or skip audio and lines if they distract me or don’t do much to add to the game. Some players reported waiting until the dialogue on the screen finished appearing in the textbox in order to hear the silly voices, or pick certain routes to see other characters and hear their voices. Of course I owe this to amazing license-free artists out there, as well as talented friends (I did voices too but only today did my first high-quality microphone get in the mail.)
  • Artwork! Unlike “Compendium” where I largely wanted to focus on code, the type of art style seen in this game is more typical to what I actually do, both graphically and for gamedev. It was a lot of fun showing others what I do, and seeing the feedback from that. If you also dig it too, I am free for collaborating or supplying assets (either as a contractor or via asset trade for another gamejam), so check out the jam thread for details.

Cons:

  • Lack of gameplay was a defining fault to this submission, and understandably so. Unless it’s a point-and-click adventure puzzle (like of Nancy Drew or Monkey Island), visual novels are largely passive compared to other forms of interactive media. (I discussed this theme already with my Animal Crossing article.) Most add routes and branching paths to circumvent, and I myself had 4 endings planned. But that gets me to my second bullet -
  • Math in Python. It should be easy but for some reason I couldn’t even get basics to work! I’m still scratching my head at how it could have compiled errors when I was making the game. All I know is that it’s a syntax issue and I was unable to find the solution by the deadline, but I plan to resolve it when I continue this game, as well as for my other visual novel (which is still sadly nameless and on the back-burner). I have a feeling that if I did get the math and the endings to work, the rating could have easily been higher, and it’s pretty high as it is.
  • As much as everyone did like the audio, the levels were off on some. One song was louder than another, and since I only upgraded to a better microphone just yesterday, my audio I recorded was also noticeably lower than my friend’s. I will have to readjust so everything is even with their levels, and I also plan to go back and rerecord mine to a better quality. Insert HD bundle deal with pre-order swag marketing campaign here.
  • A minor but still important detail, but oddly the end credits didn’t play in the order I wanted to. It only shows one of the slides and that’s it. Good thing I did a Read Me file this time! That covers me with credits either way, but I would still like to also properly credit in the end of the game itself too. That at least is an easy fix, but the past week and a half have been nuts and I failed to get to it earlier while the jam was going on.

Another thing I would like to mention as a neutral point, was that some noticed the large file size. To be honest, I just went and compiled to all the major OS’ available to be safe (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and uploaded that to my Dropbox so it wouldn’t hog space. I know now that I don’t have to compile all of them like that, and that I can just do them individually based on whatever OS the player has. So in the future when I make something from Ren’py again, it won’t be a large size!

I would list it as a con, however others had no problem downloading regardless, and I think at that point it’s a matter of the player’s Internet settings and issues. I do apologize for those that had a hard time playing or opening the file however; it’s not a fun thing to go through!

Again, thank you everyone for playing, voting, telling your friends, and so on. If you want a full list of the songs used and where you’d like to see more of their work, please let me know and I can dig it up (until I get the credits properly working). They are also in the Read Me file though. Thanks and take care!

A word on Project: Mittens and others

Two announcements! First off, I can finally release artwork and a demo based on the 2D RPG game I was working on with a colleague, Project: Mittens. Link opens to the demo we have so far, and a more finalized version will be out at September 30th.

Starting classes you can choose from, at left to right and top to bottom: Ninja, Wizard, Monk, and Engineer.

 

Example of one of the enemies you’ll be fighting, a rat. Armor coming soon!

 

In the mean time, a working demo is almost finalized for The Chair: Prison Break, based off of the successfully funded graphic-novel-to-indie-movie Kickstarter. Surprisingly enough, I got collisions working, and some obstacles and projectiles are now moving across the screen! (Will have a better gif at the end of the week to demonstrate this.)

Of all things though, the next hurdle became showing the player how many lives they have left! Arrays didn’t work, and when I used spritesheets instead, Marmalade decided to run out of memory and crash the game for the night. I’ll have to come up with a backup solution for the time being, but it’s a method I’m not fond of using for the final release unless nothing else works.

The demo is due by the weekend, so my next update will have all of the goodness I can show for, as the game wraps up quickly. I’m excited to finish up this amazing project, it’s taught me well on the ins and outs of Lua, and while some parts can still be frustrating, it’s becoming to make more sense to me. I’ve even looked at my code now and realized how much more efficient I can make it for the final release.

So with that, Project Mittens, and This Game Is Not A Dating Sim being wrapped up for demos soon, it’s fun seeing everything come together in one big package. For so long everything I’ve done or helped with has been under development that it felt like there was no end in sight. Good to see some great feedback out of it!

 

Speaking of, two Let’s Players reviewed my game for Insanity Jam #2! One was brought on by Lone Roach Studios and was quite extensive and amusing to watch! I didn’t even notice I had a few grammatical errors in the dialogue, so I appreciate him going out of his way to really provide good feedback with his LP!

The 2nd is Jupiter Hadley, who did a brief LP for all of the submitted games. I recommend watching through all of them (many on there I liked myself), but if you wanna jump to just mine, it’s towards the end. A great shoutout no less!

Currently, the game is still tied for first place for the jam with a whopping 8 out of 10! I kindly ask you again to spread the word, and play and vote if you hadn’t yet. You have until August 11th! (I was misinformed last time, you have an extra day!) Thank you, and good luck everyone!

Voting Starts Now for “This Game Is Not A Dating Sim”!

Clicking on image will open voting link in new window!

My submission for Insanity Jam #2 is all wrapped up! Voting starts now until August 10th! You’ll need an account for the forums in order to vote along the new criteria set up, so spread the word and give your feedback!

Please keep in mind that there’s only one route and ending available so far in the playable. My math skills in Python aren’t so hot and I ended up breaking things everywhere just for attempting subtraction. There’s a reason I was an art major!

After voting wraps up and feedback is gathered, I’ll be doing a post-mortem, which I’m actually excited to do since this actually is my first visual novel I made. First time making and putting in my own audio as well, with some help from friends and license-free material, of course.

Anyway, hope you enjoy and vote vote vote!

This Game is Not a Dating Sim!

(Okay, maybe I am trying to be witty, but it’s also the name of my submission for Insanity Jam #2!) In this game, a melon in a city of food dates a famous grapefruit actress, and has to survive a day without being bothered by paparazzi and annoying fans while they go on their first date. A point-and-click adventure with “survival” elements, it’s the anti-dating sim!

So far here are some screenshots of the working playable:

Tonight I also recently added more expressions for our plucky characters, and I’ll be drawing up a CG art as well (every visual novel needs some :). The game is being built with Ren’py, like of the other visual novel I’ve had to unfortunately put on the backburner.

I may only have one route playable by the time the jam ends however; this week has been busy for me. There will still be fun to be had, hopefully! I’ll also include some audio and even some voices as well this time around, though the voices will just be cutesy gibberish (like of Animal Crossing), so no actual spoken dialogue of a known language. It’s not that kind of game. (My other VN is though!)

My next update will have my forum link for download and voting for the jam!

Insanity Jam #2 under way!

I apologize for being quiet here lately; I was at ConnectiCon over last weekend, though that was for leisure and not scraping up money for my starving artist lifestyle :). With it over and done for the year, I can focus more on gamedev!

Besides my usual projects, Insanity Jam has kicked up again and will be a quarterly event. My idea has been announced already, and aside from here and Tumblr you can see all of the updates on it when the jam begins tomorrow!

The game I will be entering will be “This Game is Not a Dating Sim“. It’ll follow a one-day adventure of a melon who dates a famous grapefruit actress, and will have to survive their date without being bothered by paparazzi and annoying fans. I plan to build it in Ren’py for HTML5, or some sort of JS for HTML5. The art style will be very hyper-Japanese, tons of saturated colors and all things kawaii. Since Asia tends to like their dating sims and visual novels, I wanted to play on the style but present what basically is an anti-dating sim (it behaves more like a survival point-and-click adventure if anything).

I’m very excited to work on it! Ideally I would like to use Ren’py since I’m using it for my visual novel anyway so I have a good sense of the language, and also I can showcase more of my art! 

Jumping Around

Hello everyone, had a busy week and a half but now I can get around to continuing my game dev! For those that saw me at Eternal Con, thanks for stopping by my table and I hope you had fun at the convention! Sadly I won’t be returning to that one next year, but I’ll see what else is around the area for me to check out next.

A few days ago, I got my new Marmalade build to work again, support moved my license over with no troubles. I went ahead and placed Sullivan’s hitbox, as seen here in the gif, and I also got him jumping!

 

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I plan to make the transition smoother for his jump.

 

I hadn’t been able to test collisions yet, but that’s my next step. That aside, I completed some more stuff for a colleague’s game though I can’t show at this time still. I saw the sprites in action today though, and I’m very pleased with how the animation turned out.

Sorry that this post is rather short, I only had been able to continue my own game dev recently this month. As of my visual novel, I continued on with the script and that’s turning out nicely. Still nowhere near done rewriting the prologue chapter, but I’ll get there, don’t worry. I do admit I miss drawing my characters though, so maybe I might crank out another avatar next.

Moving backgrounds and the Software Saga continues

I’m finally proud to say… that Sullivan, our unfortunate prison in-mate main character of the Lua game Alterna Comics’ “The Chair: Prison Break”… is no longer walking in place.

 

He ironically matches very well with my neo disco Spotify station as I'm typing this...

He ironically matches very well with my neo disco Spotify station as I’m typing this…

 

(ugh looks like WordPress’ larger editor doesn’t like custom image resizing; I recommend clicking on the gif above to launch it in a larger size in a new tab.) Sullivan is finally moving places, albeit at a snail’s pace in comparison to how fast the game will be going later on. I’m also working on making the background transition more seamless, but any progress is better than none!

I would have also liked to show my hitbox collisions I started on, but Marmalade released 7.3 yesterday so I wanted to keep up-to-date as well. Unfortunately support has to manually release my license in order for me to transfer it to the 7.3 build though, so I await their response. Hopefully that gets finished up soon so I can continue programming!

 

In the mean time, I’m working on spritesheets for another game for a different colleague of mine, though they won’t contain as fluid of an animation as my game here. It’s more of a retro game so the framerates would be smaller to compensate for lesser frames. Not sure on how much I can show of it because I would really like to showcase some of it for my next blog update, so I will ask my colleague beforehand. If anything I can always do something more of promotional purposes (non-gaming assets). All I can say so far is that it’s really cute and a lot of fun to work on!

 

 

ikemarthpreviewmsfortunepreviewportalkirbypreview

 

 

Otherwise, I will be at Eternalcon‘s artist alley next weekend selling my artworks (and any commissioned pieces upon request at my table). So if you’re in the Long Island, NY area, please feel free to stop by! Aside from my prints I also will be having freebies to give out, mainly bookmarks. Reading is good for you!

If you’re not local to the area but still wanna purchase or keep an eye on my work anyway, I am now open on Storenvy and running a coupon promotion for the month of June. Use coupon code “GRANDOPENING” for 40%off!

Smells like progress

Hello all! I mean to update the other day but then it escaped my mind, so for this update I decided to just post early rather than wait midweek again.

I have a progress gif of the finished sprite for Sullivan; he since is bigger now but here’s his animation regardless.

 

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Now walk it off! 1, 2, 3, 4…

 

Next update I’ll have other elements added, most likely not sprite related but some more things regarding game mechanics.

I also finished cleaning up my new portfolio site, though I still need to add other examples of my more recent work. I wanted to add collapsible divs but the code I was using wasn’t cooperating with it, so I went for anchor jumps instead and so far it’s worked well. It’s also much more mobile friendly than my previous layout.

 

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How come my color schemes always remind me of ice cream flavors…

Please support my brother’s Kickstarter!

Hello everyone! I know my update hasn’t been as recent here, been doing small things here and there, and my job has been taking me away from doing game dev stuff the past few weeks. I did get more spritesheeting done however, but I need to add more frames to the running animation so that it isn’t so choppy. So no fun gif this time, sorry!

 

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Running animation so far!

 

That said, I do have something of importance to announce! (In fact the character up there is related to it.) I had mentioned a few posts ago about my brother’s graphic novel turning into a movie, and with pre-production under way, their Kickstarter to raise the funds has just been released live last night!

 

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“Equal parts horror, thriller, drama – this comic to film adaptation features a cast & crew of fan favorites, now all we need is YOU!” (click to go to the fundraiser page)

 

As you can see, their budget is $300k and they have already hit over $2k! There are a ton of rewards available and other neat perks (some of which are very limited so grab them while you can! Some fan-favorite actors have been casted, including Brian Thompson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)Bill Oberst Jr. (Children of Sorrow)Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story: Asylum), Zach Galligan (Gremlins), Noah Hathaway (Neverending Story), and Ezra Buzzington (The Hills Have Eyes), to name a few.  If you’re not familiar with the graphic novel, that’s cool, but if you’re interested in a good psychological horror, check it out!

Next update I’ll have some more finished sprites.

Adventures in Lua and Pixel Art

So after my dilemma regarding CoronaSDK  and iOS development using Windows, I had since moved on to Marmalade and I love it! I still like Corona but I will use it for Android builds only, though since I took advantage of a free yearly license kudos to the GDC, why the heck would I switch? Both cost the same and Marmalade does way way more. Very powerful stuff. Remind me to kill my Corona subscription later next year.

(Though a colleague of mine reminded me Unity has a 2D engine now, and I could have used it in the first place. We won’t talk about that however, since it just reminds me that I’m a dingus of a developer sometimes. Or I just wanted to do some Lua bonding that bad. Oh my.)

 

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Some basic elements for the game so far. Background was made by me; the sprites are from tutorials as placeholders.

 

Nothing super fancy so far going on for my brother’s game (see above), but I did get a timer and score going, as well as other basics like laying out animated sprites and touch events. Though I made the background to be more finalized art, there’s a chance it won’t be the final version used for the game. Still playing around with how pixelated I want the style to be. For my next update I plan to have a jumping animation and even a hit box test, so that you can collect the coins and improve your score that way. The hit boxes will also be useful for obstacles and collecting other things like power-ups.

Somewhat game dev related, I also am remaking my current portfolio site. For some reason the JQuery on my 2nd page died, and won’t load the new beautiful version I set up on my FTP, despite the preview working well beforehand. At least it shows part of my script for Compendium, but still. Since my portfolio needed some organization anyway, I figure it was a good opportunity to jazz it up.

 

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Mmm, smells like HTML5 and CSS3!

 

I’m using a responsive grid gallery kudos to codrops, since I generally like their tutorials and their HTML5 galleries, in particular. I’m a sucker for good web design though, and the marvels we can do with it. I still get really excited when I discover new things about it, such as that CSS3 allows embedded fonts! No more same old Arial or Helvetica here! What you see in the screencap is a working page, not a Photoshop mockup! Beautiful stuff.

I also made the resume icon you see at the top right corner there, and am considering making a high-res vector of it that others can use as well. (I may reverse the colors so that it matches better with the other ones though.) I miss making icons and vectors. Even though I just made a handful last week for another game project.