Game: Green Triangle Ship vs. Alien Chaos Spheres

This is a bit late because I’ve been exhausted, but here is the finished game George and I wrote for the Ludum Dare 18 Jam.

It’s a bit like Asteroids, but with less asteroids and more Alien Chaos Spheres. You can’t destroy the Chaos Spheres directly, but you can use your laser cannon to push them around. Knock two or more Chaos Spheres together and they explode in a shower of sparks while you score some points.

It’s Flash based, so you can play it online. Click on the game to give it focus, then use the arrow keys and enter to navigate the menu. Use the left and right arrow keys to rotate your ship. Tap the up arrow for forward thrust, and tap the down arrow for reverse thrust. Press x to fire your laser cannon.

Score disproportionately more points for destroying Chaos Spheres soon after they spawn, for destroying Chaos Spheres that are moving fast, and for destroying many Chaos Spheres in quick succession.

We built this in 48 hours over the weekend, or 72 hours if you count some abandoned changes made on the last day. Bearing in mind the short amount of time in which it was built, I’m rather pleased with the way it turned out, although it is a bit rough round the edges. We plan to clean it up and introduce an improved version in a few weeks (or months).

If you score more than about 2 billion, the score counter overflows and you get a negative score. If you achieve that then... er... you win! (It is actually quite possible to do this, if you’re good).

We built the game in the very pleasant surroundings of the CB2 bistro in Cambridge, accompanied by indie game developers from Cambridge and across the UK. Thanks to those guys for helping make it such a fun weekend, and thanks also to the CB2 staff for tolerating us for 14 hours two days in a row! I am particularly indebted to Alan for patiently reminding me how vector math works, and without whom the game would be a shadow of its eventual self.

Foolishly, I didn’t take any photos of the event, but I’m sure Alistair won’t mind if I borrow his montage:


I’ve only just noticed that Dock was wearing a Rez t-shirt. Awesome!

Playable Preview of our Game for Ludum Dare 18 Jam

Here’s a playable preview of our Ludum Dare Jam game.

It’s working and it’s almost fun. Just need to make some iterative improvements to the mechanics and aesthetics.

Use your laser cannons to push the balls around. Knock two balls into each other to destroy them and score points. You score more points for destroying faster moving balls.

Ludum Dare 18

I’ve just got home from CB2, where I have been participating in the Ludum Dare 18 Games Code Jam, in collaboration with George.

Between the two of us we’ve got 72 hours to build a working video game, which must relate to the theme ‘enemies as weapons’. We’re not entering the competition proper, otherwise we wouldn’t be allowed to collaborate and we’d only be allowed 48 hours.

Here’s a screenshot of our progress so far.


It’s a bit like Asteroids, except enclosed within a circular play area, and you can’t destroy the ‘asteroids’ directly. Instead, you can push them around by firing lasers at them. To destroy the ‘asteroids’ and score, you must collide them with each other – hence ‘enemies as weapons’.

Given that we’ve only been working on it since 10am, I’m pretty pleased with our progress. The game is basically playable, there are sound effects in most places where you’d expect sound effects, there’s a scoring system that even I’m happy with, and I even wrote a little bit of ‘music’, but I’m not sure if I’ll put it in since it’s painfully repetitive (like all my music). The only major remaining gameplay issue is that sometimes an ‘asteroid’ will spawn on top of your ship and destroy it without warning, but that’s actually easy to fix. Once we’ve fixed that, we intend to introduce some new mechanics to make the game more interesting – and more challenging as it progresses.

Frustratingly I spent about three hours today trying to make the ship and ‘asteroids’ bounce off the arena wall in a convincingly elastic fashion. The eventual code to implement that was about four lines long. One and a bit lines of code per hour is not particularly good going when you’re working to a deadline. I owe a debt of gratitude to Alan who gave me a hand with my dodgy vector math code, which got the bouncing working as expected. Other than that, everything has gone surprisingly swimmingly.

If you’re code inclined, you can follow our progress on GitHub. If you want to build the code, you need Flex and a little bit of nous. There’re no build instructions because, until the contest finishes, we have better things to do!

I have to say that a lot of the other entries are looking absolutely amazing, given that they’ve only seen a day’s work. I’m eagerly anticipating the finished products!

(Semi-crossposted to the Ludum Dare blog).