Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fix It (XNA) : Livestream and Devblog

That DevBlog

Used it during the first reincarnation of "Fix It" and now I'm using it for the XNA port.  I'll try to livestream as much as I can so you can see the development, and be inspired decide to permanently never ever ever ever ever become a game designer.

Watch live streaming video from thatsnail at

Monday, February 20, 2012

Udacity + MIT Online Classes

Retired Prof. Sebastian Thrun of Stanford University is hosting free, online classes.  Applying takes two seconds.

I've taken an AI class he hosted before and have to say it was absolutely excellent.

Currently, he's hosting a course on programming a self-driving car and building a search engine.  Pretty neat.

More info here.

There's also an MIT course on circuitry and electronics here.

These are all great and I'm really happy that people are doing this.  Free knowledge.  Mr. Thrun resigned from his position at Stanford in the name of free knowledge, I look up to that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Werewolf : Round 4

Ever heard of Mafia?  It's a popular parlor game where there's two sides, Mafia and Civilian, and they try to find out who the "mafia" is and lynch them without lynching too many of their own kind.  It's based on tricky psychological work and Machiavellian scheming.

Werewolf is Mafia, but on steroids.  A full game is 32 players, with 8 "wolves" (mafia) and 24 "villagers" (civilians).  Plus, it's on a forum, and lasts several weeks.  So there's the added element of communications, networking, and very complicated social logic.

We're trying to start a round on Friday, March 9th with as many people as we can get.  Everyone and anyone is welcome.

If you're confused about the rules, here's an excellent read about it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Make a Game in 72 Hours

What if I told you it was possible to make games in 0 hours?
Crazy, right?  It's actually completely possible, with some stretch of the imagination.  The 0h Game Jam does it by starting development right before daylight savings time changes, and using the extra "turned back" hour to make their game in what would, in fact, be zero hours.

If you can successfully pull that off, stop reading now; you're certainly much more experienced than me and won't benefit much from this.  For the rest of you, here's some tips on how to design a game, from start to finish, in 72 hours.  You'll find that it's actually a generous amount of time.

Quick note: I've included a small list of tools useful for speed-dev at the bottom of the post.  Go check them out, maybe.

1. Know the tools you're using, at least a little.
This is fairly obvious but worth stating.  If you haven't used a language before, you're going to run into quirks.  No exceptions.

As a start, build a platform engine or a shoot-em-up.  Get an idea of how the structure would work.

Some things to know first:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fix It : Post-Mortem

I didn't mention it earlier but I made "Fix It" for the GMC Jam #5 (Theme: Facade).

The competition ran for 72 hours but due to a big fancy school test and wasting time on an isometric pixel art house that I spent a full day on and then scrapped, the final product is just a little over 30 hours of work.

Despite some major glitches that include an impossible level, clunky physics, and the fact that it doesn't even run on some computers, the game received some pretty good reviews.  People loved the concept but hated the execution.  I'm fine with that and I agree with them for the most part.

Thanks to everyone at school and on the IRC who lent moral support and also thanks to Nocturne and the rest of the GMC community for another excellent jam.  I always hate making games but you people pull me through it.

And now, some press.

Overanalyzing Hanging With Friends

Another strategy guide for Zynga's "etcetera With Friends" series.  The first one was for Words With Friends here.

For those of you mountain-dwellers, Hanging With Friends is the next corporate installment by Zynga in an attempt to squeeze as much money as they can out of their word-based net framework.  It's hangman.  Over the Interwebs.

The idea is you're given a tray of 12 letters to make a word between 4-8 letters long for your opponent to guess.  If he gets it wrong, he loses a balloon (i.e. one strike) and whoever gets five strikes first loses.  Then your opponent makes a word and vice versa.  Very simple.

This is just going to be a small guide of some tips I've picked up.  I'm no master but there's a lot of things that no one seems to notice.

Also, if you're a total asshat, scroll down.  I have a tip especially for you.