In July 2013 I created GameDevAdelaide, it’s a website that lists game developers from South Australia and pulls in news posts from their RSS feeds. At the time if you searched for game developers in Adelaide you’d see articles based on Krome and Ratbag closing down. Yet lots of smaller developers were popping up and working on interesting things and going unnoticed. So I figured this website could counter the narrative that nothing was happening here in South Australia and highlight what was happening.
The website is powered using a WordPress Blog and a uses a plugin to pull down news items. I routinely update the website based on WordPress security updates. Unfortunately the latest WordPress update required changes that would break the plugin. The plugin itself was developed many years ago and is no longer maintained. There are alternative plugins but they are quite costly.
As of yesterday the website stopped pulling in new articles. I’ve decided that I’ll keep the website up but won’t renew the domain name when it expires in July 2020.
Towards the second half of 2018 I was contacted by an artist called Danny Jarratt. They were creating a piece that would subvert heteronormative tropes seen in arcade era and wanted some help with ROM hacking. Danny was looking to build an arcade machine to house the ROM hacked games.
I helped put together a simple pipeline for Danny to swap out graphics in the original Pacman game. I also researched ROM Hacking several other popular arcade games but Pacman proved to be one of the easiest so we stuck with it.
The end result was Mr Pacman, a game in which our protagonist who wore pink leather boots, a cap and a thick moustache was trying to find their love Pacman.
Danny did an amazing job with the art and arcade machine. You may have seen it at the Museum of Discovery (MOD) or the SASA Gallery.
It’s been roughly two months since AVCon and so I figure it’s time for an update regarding progress with Cave of Atman DX.
Firstly I’ve just finished with a new build that I’ll be distributing to testers later this week. I’m looking to send this build to testers one by one, responding to their feedback before contacting the next one. Puzzle games require thorough play testing and so I’m trying to leverage the feedback from testers as much as I can.
The following are the major changes for this build.
Steam Integration for replays
Improved replay playback with duration, pause/resume controls and level names
Setup scripts to perform screen capture from replay data
Improved tooling for world map. Game now generates level thumbnails and simplifies stitching rooms together
Resolved AVCon Bugs
New introductory levels and branching levels
Unfortunately I didn’t get to prototype a shield holding enemy or build up art references. Instead I opted to focus more on adding to and adjusting the existing level set as it feels more critical at this stage of development. There are now more introductory levels which unlike the original game aren’t just instructional but also contain smaller hooks. The introduction area now branches earlier and each branch is more interconnected.
There are now 69 levels in the game. The AVCon build had a bug where you could attack over small gates making many levels easier. This means I don’t have a good reference on expected play time. My current estimate is around 4 hours, it took me 1 hour to play through the build.
With this next round of testing I’m looking to:
Gage impressions of overall quality and strength of puzzles
Use feedback to narrow down the overall scope of game regarding production quality
My focus for the next few months will vary based on the feedback received. I’ll definitely be responding to feedback and exploring several items on this list.
Building art references
Creating end game puzzles
I’ve been in preliminary talks with several people regarding art. At this stage I need a better sense of what I’m after and so building a collection of references is critical. I haven’t done a great deal of work with artists so am feeling both excited and nervous in this area.
That’s all for now. I’ll try and post another one of these in the next few months.
Last weekend The Cave of Atman DX made its first public appearance within the Indie Games Room at Adelaide’s AVCon. I’ve been working on updating the original game from the start of the year. It was great to finally be back showing a game at AVCon, the last game I exhibited there was Expand back in 2014.
As mentioned The Cave of Atman DX is an updated version of the 2014 flash game. The game has been ported across from FlashPunk to HaxeFlixel. It now includes four new mechanics, an over world map, 32 new levels and the much requested ability to undo your moves. I’ve also added the ability to record user replays and crashes and send them to our web server.
I pulled out the following stats from our replay data.
Number of Sessions: 76
Average Session Length: 19.5 minutes
Median Session Length: 15.5 minutes
2 hours 20 minutes
1 hour 43 minutes
1 hour 17 minutes
Overall we were really happy with exhibiting and the response to the game. Thanks to everyone who checked it out.
The next few months will be quite busy for me so progress might be slow. However this is what I’m looking to work on next.
Steam Integration – Namely linking replay data to users
Improved Replay Tooling – Setup playback markers for level start and improved playback controls
Fix Bugs – Several minor bugs related to mechanics appeared at AVCon
Level Fixes – Improve tutorial levels and smooth out difficulty
Shield Mechanic – Create Prototype
Art References – Build up setup of references for artist
Just a short post today to let you know about somethings I’ve been involved with recently.
Firstly I’d to let you know about the Adelaide itch.io Bundle. The bundle is $20 USD and will be available throughout the itch.io Summer Sale. It contains 10 titles from artists based in Adelaide, South Australia. All proceeds from this bundle will be donated to Hutt St Centre to help those experiencing homelessness.
Our focus with the bundle was to highlight the existing and emerging talent within our community and to provide those who purchase the bundle a broad range of experiences. This bundle includes several digital and analog games along with a zine.
Secondly last night I presented a talk about exhibiting games. The talk was streamed online and is available to watch here.
Update 1: The bundle is no longer available. We raised $470 USD which is $637.75 AUD for Hutt St Centre. Thanks to everyone for supporting us.
itch.io also featured the bundle on their front page which was really lovely.
Update 2: The organiser of the game dev talks has uploaded a cleaner version of the talk which can be watched below.
Back in late 2015 I prototyped a programming game called Loop Game. The prototype was shown at the local Adelaide games gathering called ARGGGH and raptured a small crowd of programmers who spent roughly an hour working through the problems.
The goal of the game is to write a computer program that will shift all the numbers in the grid to zero. However you’re limited in the number of if statements, loops and ReduceCell function calls you’re allowed to make.
Over the last week I’ve been working on a PuzzleScript demake of a now defunct iOS game called Gem Thief. The original game was released back in 2011 by Evil Genius. There are some really neat levels in this game which is why I felt compelled to demake it. I also hadn’t actually finished all 50 levels until I starting work on the project so this was a good excuse to do that.
Beyond this I’ve been working on an updated version of Cave of Atman. Since January I’ve prototyped out several new mechanics and blocked out 32 new levels. I’m now starting to rewrite the game in HaxeFlixel (was originally in FlashPunk). So expect to hear more about that in the future.
Since I had no visible progress on my current game to show at the last play testing event I decided to doodle up a new PuzzleScript game. The game is called Exploding Barrels. The goal is to destroy all the red barrels. You can only shoot one if it’s next to another.