Hug Marine: A Game Jam Diary - Week Four.

Hug Marine's third level.

If there's one thing that's made this week quite difficult, it's realising that out of every single person involved in the Game Journo Game Jam, I am literally the only person still taking part. I won't lie, not having a community of fellow jam participants around me has been an isolating experience. But I've come out of the other side with some rocking new levels and a whole lot of pride.

The first stages of this week saw me build the space station level, which you'll notice has a significantly better tileset (I plan to improve the cave level's one on the weekend). After putting more effort into the art, I started thinking more about obstacles, as a run-with-some-jumping from point A to point B seemed boring, and boring my playerbase is a scenario that's hung low over my head lately. So what did I put in? Moving platforms. Can't be that hard to make those work, can it?

Yes. Yes it can.

The funny thing about some sites is that their forums lack a search feature. Unlike the robust, excellent one we have at our beck and call here in the hallowed halls of the Goodjer alpha base, Stencyl has no such feature (after writing this, I found that it did, but it's contextually useful, and therefore not that accessible). In fact, it was a nightmare, trying to find a solution as to why my platform did the following:

- Fell down.
- Wouldn't move until pushed.
- Slid out from underneath Hug Marine.

Then someone mentioned a behaviour being available to users for platform implementation, and I remembered the one resource I hadn't checked yet: StencylForge. For those of you who aren't aware of it, it's a database of assets, behaviours and other tools that you can use to make your games, provided by the talented and generous folks who have willingly made them available for use.

I'd gotten so used to figuring things out myself that I'd forgotten it existed, and after a quick search was the proud owner of platforming behaviours. But no matter what I did, I encountered the same issue: The Hug Marine kept acting like he was falling, because the platform wasn't colliding with him in the way I wanted it to — a frustrating development after choosing vertically-moving platforms instead.

Oddly enough, your QA department — or in my case, my friends — will suggest things that will solve a problem without actually having any knowledge of how or why the problem has been solved. Ashton Raze, fellow writer (buy his book), suggested I speed up the platforms, as they felt too slow. I did, and voila — Hug Marine is no longer a jittery mess.

After other bugfixes, I present to you levels one through three, minus music for levels two and three, and a few cave-level features as I work on making that level more interesting. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to sharing the finished game with you next Tuesday.

Yes, next Tuesday. I mentioned that I must be insane in the first post, didn't i?

Comments

Stay strong, young jammer!

I'm going to hug some aliens now.

I'm not personally a fan of the leap-of-faith dynamic (I'm not much of a platformer person, admittedly). Maybe it's because I sort of want to explore and see for sure that each of those probably-deadly falls don't have some neat secret at the bottom. Maybe if I didn't have to start from the top of the level I'd feel more free to explore?

Anyway, I still enjoy playing, and the concept. I get "warm fuzzies" playing this game.

Do you think there'll be music for the other levels? I find myself really liking the tune on level 1.

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm not personally a fan of the leap-of-faith dynamic (I'm not much of a platformer person, admittedly). Maybe it's because I sort of want to explore and see for sure that each of those probably-deadly falls don't have some neat secret at the bottom. Maybe if I didn't have to start from the top of the level I'd feel more free to explore?

Yeah, I agree. I realised that when I was designing it, I knew where to drop because it was my level, but I've seen people hesitate and look to me for direction when they hit a drop.

I'm retooling the cave level a bit at the moment - it's had a total tileset redesign to bring it in line with the quality of the other levels. For levels four and five I'll give you some exploration :).

Do you think there'll be music for the other levels? I find myself really liking the tune on level 1.

Oh, don't worry - the whole thing's getting music.

"""
If there's one thing that's made this week quite difficult, it's realising that out of every single person involved in the Game Journo Game Jam, I am literally the only person still taking part.
"""

I don't know if there is a "official" contingent of the Jam that you are referring to, but I will say that your efforts and articles have inspired me to participate in an unofficial way. Too many times I have started and stopped gaming projects. This Game Jam had the right timing and scope to motivate me. I am terribly far away from anything resembling a game, but I've definitely been making progress and still plugging away.

PS I am a member of the Google Group too, but it seems pretty dead.

yammosk wrote:

I don't know if there is a "official" contingent of the Jam that you are referring to, but I will say that your efforts and articles have inspired me to participate in an unofficial way. Too many times I have started and stopped gaming projects. This Game Jam had the right timing and scope to motivate me. I am terribly far away from anything resembling a game, but I've definitely been making progress and still plugging away.

PS I am a member of the Google Group too, but it seems pretty dead.

Yeah, the organiser set up the Google Group, and I made a massive post to help people find tools, but I discovered around halfway in that even the organiser wasn't taking part. I'm really glad to hear you are, though, and that I've inspired you in some way - I can't make mind-blowing games, but it really is amazing to see people playing something I made and having a lot of fun. I'm at @ReidFeed on Twitter, so let me know how you're getting on during the final few days.

The link does not seem to work as of Monday, May 29. Perhaps in preparation of the new build?

Aristophan wrote:

The link does not seem to work as of Monday, May 29. Perhaps in preparation of the new build?

Possibly, or it just broke - my memory isn't fantastic, sir, I apologise.