August #1GAM: Failure

Month #2 in the “One Game A Month“-Challenge. For this month I started working on a turn based tower defense game, just seeing how combining this two ‘genres’ would work out. It got to the playable prototype stage, but it’s far from a Minimum Viable Product.

What went Well:

  • Tracking Tasks Online: We started to use Trello to track tasks, and I think it is a massive improvement over text files with tasks synced over Dropbox. For a small team it has enough features but is still simple enough to not be a hassle to use. We will see how this will work out in the months to come.

What went Wrong:

  • Scope Small: It’s like a running gag, but it seems like software developers just really like to either underestimate effort, or overestimate their capabilities… Either way, the scope was again too large for one month, I have to learn to really change my mindset, lower my expectations and think smaller. I could have probably cut a lot more features to make the scope more manageable.
  • Learning New Tools Can be Taunting: I intended to learn to use Overlap2D, a visual ui/level/content editor, for creating the UI and importing it to libGDX. I had to jump through some hoops to get it to start on Linux, then toyed around with it a bit, and also read some documentation, but didn’t really know where to start, so I postponed it for later, but never got to it again.
    I’m still interested in using Overlap2D to make creating UI easier, but I really gotta plan in some dedicated days just for learning how to use and integrate it into my toolchain/workflow.
  • Sleep Well: Previous week I never got more than 6 hours of sleep, causing me to be sleepy by the time I got back home from work in the evening. But I didn’t want to go to sleep because I didn’t to much Game Dev the last day, but I couldn’t work efficiently, because I was exhausted from sleeping so few hours, which caused me to waste hours I could have better spent sleeping, continuing the cycle the next day…
    Essentially a whole week was lost through this. Few hours of concentrated work are better than many hours of working while desperately trying not to fall asleep. So do yourself the favor and go to sleep!


In Other news, we finally set up our twitter account, now we just gotta use it. We will probably be tweeting about game-releases, blog posts and stuff under the handle @aawesomestudios. (Yes, that’s the maximum length for twitter names. Yes, any similar/shorter names have already been taken.)

We have been at the Game Dev Days Graz. It has been an awesome experience, talking to other game developers, playing their games and listening to all the talks. Maybe next year, we will be there showcasing our games. Who knows.

For the next month we are going to focus on polishing up some older games.


Get ready for LUDUM DARE Edition 30

*Hype Intensifies*

Get hyped

Soon Ludum Dare 30 is going to start, and we totally intend to participate. (Even when the theme is going to suck.)

Tools we’ll be using:

Any other projects will be put on hold during this weekend, because Ludum Dare takes top priority.

Taking showers? What is that?
Eating? I’ll live from what I find between my keyboard keys. (most certainly Ramen noodles)
Sleep? Ain’t nobody got time for that! I got to create a game!
-an average Ludum Dare participant

Our goal will be to have fun and to create something that is also fun. Maybe trying out some new things along the way. And maybe, with a little bit of luck, we will even be able to call it a game.


Recording your game: Advise to GIF away

Progress on the game was relatively slow in the last couple of weeks. I hardly managed to get myself to do something for it.

But still, I managed to add at least some content, like new special bombs and a screen transition effect.

Then I wanted to create some GIFs to show off some new content. Simple, right? WRONG!

GIF away your sanity

It turns out creating a GIF in reasonable quality/framerate/file size is near impossible. I tried out several programs, online services and tool-chains, but no solution really works without some drawbacks or workarounds. So, for a short duration I stepped into the hell that is known as video encoding formats, video editing softwares and screen recording softwares. And this is the conclusion I came to. (Besides that my computer is not fast enough to record and play a game at 60 fps)

There are many ways you can go about this issue, but every solution fulfills another requirement:

  • Use a time-lapse program to capture screenshots of your display at an intervall. Edit and modify every single picture and convert it into a GIF or video with some other tool.
    • Good for making timelapses of your work
    • Bad for recording game footage as screenshot intervals unlikely go beyond 1 fps
  • Use a screen recording program to record a video, edit it with a video editing software and later convert your video into a GIF.
    • Good for making actual (gameplay) videos (skipping the ‘convert to GIF’ part)
      • Software recommended for recording: Open Broadcaster Software
      • Software recommended for video editing: None (Please, if you know of any great video editing software that’s free, tell me right away)
    • Nearly ensures horrible quality while maintaining an immense file size. (Wonderful combination, right?)
  • Use a screen capturing program that records directly to a GIF.
    • Good for creating short GIFs of your games gameplay
      • Software recommended: GifCam
    • Still not the best quality (hey, what did you expect, it’s gif) and often only supports recording for short timespans.

(honorable mention for editing GIFs:

Although I found some new and interesting software, I’m sure this won’t be the last time I will have to struggle with this. Next time, I’ll probably just go with WebM and hope that it already replaced GIF…

The part everyone was waiting for

So here are some animated gifs (created with GifCam) showing some new features in action.

Too much power can easily backfire    Oh, what is that?

Tactical Warfare   Let's play 'Catch the dynamite'