Archive for Games For Sick Kids

#SKSP gaming marathon shortlist

Recently you may have read about my game dev marathon, making games non-stop for charity. This was only part one and part two will involve taking part in the Sick Kids Save Point 24 hour gaming marathon. My theme is games made in Scotland, ranging from games made by Rockstar North to small indie teams and of course… Oxygen Addict. Here’s my rather long shortlist!

  • APB: Reloaded
  • Captain Getsu
  • Captain Getsu: Survivor
  • Car Jack Streets
  • Crackdown
  • Elephants Vs Monsters
  • Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Grand Theft Auto 2
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
  • The Gum Ninja
  • HexStackIt
  • Invertical
  • Laser Cat
  • Manhunt
  • Minecraft 360
  • Quarrel
  • SKSP Hospital Quest
  • Storm in a Tea Cup
  • The Really Annoying Game
  • The Ship
  • Watch Out – Beagle’s About
  • Wild Metal (Country)
  • X-Orbtek

SKSP Marathon Complete – Games available to download!

Download the games individually or as a bundle

Over the past weekend I have been working nearly non stop to make games, all trying to raise money for charity. The results of the weekend are now available for people to download and try out. Its been hard and at times frustrating. I’ve yelled at my laptop to work, only to realise I was viewing a screenshot , battled through the pain of my dodgy back and even relived my days of high school maths through SOHCAHTOA (see kids – it is useful!).

But you probably don’t want to hear me moaning on. This marathon is about two things… charity & games. I’m pleased to say that during the marathon I managed to raise an extra few donations plus even made a few game sales meaning that once my bank account gets verified in paypal, I’ll be able to transfer that across and then donate the money. Of course there’s still time as the main event, the 24 hours non-stop gaming, is just under two weeks away and there’s still three months left in the year to earn game sales to add to the page. Hopefully some of the positive articles [1][2] I’ve had on X-Orbtek will lead to sales!

In terms of the games I’ve produce, I’ve mixed feelings. Some of the games work well, others well not so much. I think my biggest frustration is that I’ve had to balance quality & quantity. There were 6 game ideas (7 including my own) and none of them were as simple as the games where I’ve previously had a short turnaround. That said, it is still quite an achievement and with one exception I think everyonewill be happy enough with what I’ve done. Sadly the one exception was probably the most important one. See if you can figure out which from my summaries below.

Elephants Vs Monsters

Elephants… with lasers

I was worried when I saw this. My reaction was “Oh crap – I don’t know anything about Tower Defense games”. I’m quite pleased with the result to be honest. I’m not saying its genre defining but you place your elephants, can upgrade them and they shoot enemies with lasers. Job done. There are a few issues with the game though. There’s some performance problems and if I’m being honest, I don’t really know why. I thought it was to do with spawning but I’m not so sure now. With more time I’m sure that I could narrow it down. The other thing is balance. I’ve found that if you survive the first few waves then the game gets easier and easier, which obviously isn’t right. I’m sure with more time I could have refined it. Balancing is a fine art and if I were developing this as a game released for money then I’d probably devote at least a full week to playing it over and over. Due to the performance issues I skipped adding sound as well. Other than these issues, yeah job certainly done here.

Extreme Koala Super Rescue In Space

Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space

The name amused me when I came up with it but having wrote it out many times now, I’m less fond of it. Anyway… The game is effectively a single player Chu Chu Rocket. It doesn’t have the same insanity of hundreds of mice everywhere but it is still good fun to play. Aside from some niggles with path finding this is an enjoyable enough 15 minute game! I’d love to expand on it with new enemy types and things like banana pickups to stop monkeys throwing, well you don’t want to know what, at your koalas. Half way through when I added the “Press Space To Start” functionality I did think that if I were to work on the game again I could have a future mode where you set everything up at the start then watch it unfold, maybe with point where you can pause and change your arrows. In all I’m quite happy with this game.

SKSP Hospital Quest

SKSP Hospital Quest

My idea was simple – wander around the hospital collecting presents etc to give to kids in bed. This would make them happier, which boosts their health. When everyone is healed, game complete. You’d also have nasty bugs wandering around. That all works. To make the gameplay a little deeper I added progression with more wards being unlocked and of . With the balancing I’ve not been able to complete the game myself. I haven’t been able to “win” at the game but you know what… real life isn’t like that. My other issues are that the art is pretty terrible, path finding can be flawed and it can be a pain trying to find things given you’re in a rush. Perhaps I could have slowed the whole thing down a bit.

I may look at refining this game at some point.

The Gum Ninja

The Gum Ninja in all its glory

For the most part I really like this game. Okay the main objective and “story” are terrible but the whole jumping about and firing your gum is quite good fun. The jumping code was pulled straight from Invertical, although unfortunately that game’s jumping wasn’t the best, especially as it was about going “up” rather than left & right plus it was floatyish so that you could perform actions mid air. That said, it doesn’t work too badly. The main issue is with sticking. I never managed to really solve this.The collision code actually stops you colliding with walls rather than if you collide then stop. This meant that sometimes you were stopped too far away from the wall to collide with the sticky gum. I’m sure that I can crack it, just was short of time during the marathon. As I quite like the game I hope to fix it up some day!

Watch Out – Beagle About

What’s the beagle up to now?

Yeah, this game changed a lot from my initial design and probably not for the better. I had planned on having it a bit like a pacman style level where you go find marshmallows whilst avoiding sprouts (the enemy) but then thought “dogs should pee on things”. I then got overly keen and came up with a bunch of object then realised there’d be room for dodging enemies. So instead you have one room with “riddles” to solve and it takes about a minute or two to complete the game… which given how slow I am at even the crappy artwork in the game still took ages to make. Ho hum. On the upside – game complete and I’m sure the person who made the suggestion will like it for the photos of possibly the most awesome dog I’ve met… Toby!

What would be cool would be to have a whole house with lots of different objects making you search and figure out what you’re meant to do. Then of course you’d want animations or at least something more involving then pressing SPACE.

 

Well thats my thoughts on what I’ve produced over the weekend. Why don’t you download them and let me know what you think! If you’re taking part in the Sick Kids Save Point then why not play them then?

Elephants Vs Monsters
Extreme Koala Super Rescue In Space
Elephants Vs Monsters
SKSP Hospital Quest
The Gum Ninja
Watch Out – Beagle\’s About!
SKSP Bundle

 

#SKSP Game Dev Marathon – Day 3

I am spending my weekend working flat out making computer games, all in aid of charity. Several people who donated provided game ideas and the games developed over the next 50-60 hours will be based on these.

Each day I will have a new blog post and I will update it as the day goes on. There is also a live stream running. Refresh this page to get the latest blog update!

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00:08

With only a few minutes on the clock I managed to finish Elephants Vs Monsters. Unfortunately I never finished the remaining suggestion on the list but I think 5 games is pretty good! Some of the games I’m happy with. Some, well not so much. I will do a proper write up tomorrow. For now I’m happy to relax knowing that I’ve put in a fair bit of effort and have some decent results.

I’d still like to polish them up a little, we’ll see. I don’t see any reason why the projects should just be abandoned because the marathon is over! Could maybe get some collaboration on the go, who know!

Check back tomorrow to see my writeup and download the games!

19:10

It is now 48 hours since I opened GameMaker Studio,ready to start the marathon. Since then I have created four games with the fifth coming along nicely!

This time with art

As you can see the game looks a lot more like an actual game now! Quite a lot  of the artwork is just free stuff provided either by GameMaker or one of the books. That is actually the case for a lot of the assets I’ve used. There’s still a lot of gameplay to do such as new enemies, new elephant types and scoreboards. Hopefully I can get it finished by 9-10pm tonight. This will give me time for a quick go at the digging game.

I’m still in good spirits although I am really looking forward to tomorrow when I can watch a DVD and play some FIFA!

I’ll still be ensuring that the games are uploaded though. A task for the afternoon then the evening off sounds like a plan!

15:30

Some high quality art assets there

I’m working away on Elephants Vs Monsters, although at the moment it is more “Squares Vs Squares” as I decided not to spend ages faffing about with sprites but instead use squares, get the gameplay working then I can prettify everything, create different units and so forth. Its going okay. I’ve not used GameMaker’s path finding before but it was dead easy and for the most part works quite well. My concern of course is that this could be quite a complex game to make in terms of UI. I’m likely to limit myself to just one level and have it as a highscore table affair – ie keep playing until you die.

It is also quite an interesting game to work on as I’ don’t really play many tower defense games. I loved Plants Vs Zombies but a key part of that was just the comical notes, amusing characters and general Popcap awesomeness. I’ve also got the South Park Tower Defence game which is probably more “old school” from my understanding. I’ll probably be more like the SP version.

I do still hope to have a go at the final game, Muncher. As with Elephants Vs Monsters, its a genre that I’m not so familiar with. I do love Minecraft but that is more about the building and I’ve only played the 2D digging games very briefly… as in 5-10 minutes.

13:20

The final leg of the marathon is here! Having spent 25 hours straight working on games, plus 8 hours prior, I am through four of the six games on the list. People can be saving kids in the digital world along with the real world for fellow SKSPers and folk who have donated. There’s koalas who crash landed in space and need rescuing and a ninja who harnesses the power of gum. Finally we’ve stepped inside the mind of a beagle.

Next up I need to decide, do I dedicate the next 12 or so hours (depending when my body says “no more”) to Muncher –  a digging game through food, or shall we have elephants with laser cannons in the game Elephants Vs Monster? Tough choice! Check back shortly to see what I decide.

#SKSP Game Dev Marathon – Day 2

I am spending my weekend working flat out making computer games, all in aid of charity. Several people who donated provided game ideas and the games developed over the next 50-60 hours will be based on these.

Each day I will have a new blog post and I will update it as the day goes on. There is also a live stream running. Refresh this page to get the latest blog update!

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11:15

What’s the beagle up to now?

Well I’ve passed the 24 hours solid mark! This is of course on top of what I’ve done before. I’ve managed to create 3 games in this time with the final one just complete… well as complete as I plan for now. Next up is a power nap if possible (I’m buzzing!) then this afternoonI’ll back on task.

The most recent game, Watch Out – Beagle’s About, didn’t quite end up as was originally planned and you can probably complete it in a minute (yup, for every a minute’s gameplay I’ll have spent 5 hours on it. However I’m hopeful that the person who requested it will still like it! The game delves into the mind of a beagle when home alone. You’ll get 6 clues and you have to figure out what a beagle would do here. By “do” I mean go up and press space. It’s APB all over again! Graphics are exceptionally crummy, which is worrying as most my dev time was creating them. I really do suck at art!

Well I’m off to bed… although I guess I’ll be up for lunch soon. See you later in err, today’s blog.

08:57

Plodding along with Watch Out – Beagle’s About. In truth this game is shaping up to be pretty rubbish. Unlike what I had planned I’ve set it in a living room and so that the whole thing didn’t look completely out of proportion the room is now too cramped for gameplay. What gameplay there is will involve being given a “quest” that is effectively walk for a second and press a button. Hopefully they’ll be amusing though and you’ll have to keep an eye out for rampaging sprouts. Maybe the end game could be ruin each household item & eat 5 marshmallows. :s I want to finish it in just over an hour which given I’ve only done the sprites might be a challenge!

I’m a pretty sleepy but not too bad. Fair enough considering I’ve now spent about 30 of the past 36 hours making games and of course this was on the back of my usual working hours. I know technically Sunday is the third day of the marathon so most these entries should have been in the day three blog but I’m breaking them up by sleeps!

06:22

The Gum Ninja in all its glory

Well around the time of my last update I decided no more than an hour on The Gum Ninja. It is now four hours later and I’ve just stopped. The game is actually quite tidy for something that I only started working on around 9 hours ago! The jumping is quite buggy and as with Extreme Koala Super Rescue In Space there’s a lot I really wanted to improve and add to but even if I spent the entire weekend on one game I wouldn’t be happy.

Beagle!

That said, despite it being short and buggy I’m hoping folk will find it enjoyable enough! I’d actually be quite keen to turn it into a “proper” game at some point.

Next up will be “Watch out – Beagle’s About!”, based on the game idea by my wonderful girlfriend. My artwork skills will be an issue here no doubt but the main meny and any dialogs will be made awesome with photos of my folks’ dog, a beagle. Got a text today to hear that they are going down to get their new pup tomorrow, well today. An extra incentive for me to visit! Hopefully I’ll be able to make it up soon 🙂

02:10

The Gum Ninja in a sticky situation

The Gum Ninja is quite fun to play. Not sure on quite how far I’ll take the game. Obviously it is playable and has a few minutes gameplay but its hardly an epic campaign! I want the games to be enjoyable but do I axe a game or two to create loads of levels and enemies? Probably not.

This brings me onto something thats been nagging at me… distributing these games. Obviously host on my site as per usual with prototypes / demos but I mean packaging them up. By default they are built into an installer that needs artwork and well… is a probable hassle. Might build them all as zip files then also provide an installer for the lot of them… or just a zip file. Be interested to hear if anyone has preferences for these things?

Gonna make myself a microwave curry soon before I start gnawing on myself (again). The 24 hours wasn’t mandary in my plan but hopefully this’ll help me with the next err,  8 hours. Naturally after a “power nap” I’ll be cracking straight back on.

23:47

Not even 14 hours into today’s game dev spree and I have to admit, I’m knackered. Working on Fergie: The Gum Ninja, which is of course a terrible setting for the game. I’ll maybe just axe the Fergie reference and have it as jus The Gum Ninja.

The Gum Ninja

The development isn’t going too badly. I pulled the jumping mechanism out of Invertical, which I know wasn’t the greatest but it would take me a reasonably bit of time to get another done – and that might not be as good. My little dude is running about (albeit with only one subimage), he can fire gumballs and jump against them. Its not perfect but it least I can get a feel for the game. The aiming is working nicely enough, even if I did need to find myself pencil & paper, do a quick sketch and jot down SOHCAHTOA!

Going to create a handful of little puzzle levels with just static nasties (traps, spikes etc) and see how we’re doing for time.

21:30

Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space

Work hasn’t been quite as quick as I hope and maybe needs to be in order to get through all of the games on the list. However I have finished Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space which is great news! I know that I’ve been a touch slow with a few bugs and niggles. It ispretty decent and whilst obviously not quality for a commercial product, I hope some folk will enjoy it! However I need to up my game and get working. Some good music should help!

Just starting on Fergie: The Gum Ninja. It will be a puzzle platformer where you have to use gum to block up some holes in the defence perimeter for the main character “Fergie”. I actually decided to use Fergie before today. As a United fan I was pretty gutted when I read the result. Bit off topic but the last time I missed a United home game they lost to Blackburn. The time before that they lost to City. Here’s hoping they aren’t playing at home when I’m doing my 24 hour gaming marathon!

16:40

I’m approaching the sort of time where I ought to be looking at moving on to another game. So far Extreme Koala Super Rescue has a few levels but it doesn’t have the space monkeys. The actual movement of the koalas is pretty poor as well if i’m being honest, in particular how they react to the arrows. However I’ve just realised there’s a simple solution. I’m a numpty.

14:00

Really enjoying working on Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space. Got the Koalas working fine, end points and a trap. About to test the the aliens that I’ve added!

This should be quite a fun game, especially for fans of chu chu rocket (albeit a single player version).

11:30

Forgot how unstable this software is and wasn’t saving. Looks like I’m starting over.

10:15

FIFA13 and a RASPBERRY PI will have to wait

Oh Royal Mail, you tease. This morning I got two deliveries, both of which I *really* want to play with. Yes, thats a Raspberry Pi. Must resist. I’ll actually be turning my Raspberry Pi into a games console. If I get it working that maybe sounds like a cool SKSP prize for the future.

I’ll have to admit this is just over an hour later than I planned to get started but then again I didn’t get to sleep until about 4am! My first game today will be Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space, based on my favourite puzzle game – Chu Chu Rocket. Bit groggy right now but I’m sure once I get going I’ll be rocking!

#SKSP Game Dev Marathon – Day 1

I am spending my weekend working flat out making computer games, all in aid of charity. Several people who donated provided game ideas and the games developed over the next 50-60 hours will be based on these.

Each day I will have a new blog post and I will update it as the day goes on. There is also a live stream running. Refresh this page to get the latest blog update!

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02:50

Was just shutting down when I noticed X-Orbtek has been released on Indievania! Woohoo! Hopefully that will lead to a few extra sales and money towards SKSP. Also spotted Invertical is still a featured game on there which is pretty good to see. My banner art probably hasn’t done the game justice when it comes to enticing sales. I’ve also got some other great X-Orbtek related news but that can wait until after the marathon. 🙂

SKSP Hospital Quest

02:41

Earlier on I was thinking that I could be finished by 12 and start work on the next game. Haha wishful thinking! It has been quite frustrating in truth. The hardest thing has been balancing the gameplay whilst in a rush. Also had a lot of issues with sound but it turns out that it was a GameMaker setting that will remain unticked for the rest of the weekend.

However I’m quite pleased to be off the mark. Its not great but it is a playable game where you collect presents for the kids, avoid bugs (spiders I’m afraid – I’ll maybe change that later) and doctors are ambling around, usually stuck, with potions.

As distributing it requires faffing about with artwork for the installer it probably won’t be available until Monday with the rest of the games.

Right now I’m off to bed. Its been a long, hard day and I want to be fresh for tomorrow. Targetting three games with Extreme Koala Super Rescue in Space as the pick of the group.

01:25

On the final stretch, I hope, for the SKSP hospital game. It won’t be the prettiest or slickest of games but I’ll have something done by the end of the night! Not bad for 6 hours work though 🙂

00:25

WHERE ARE YOU GOING YOU STUPID FRIGGING SPIDERS?

Progress has slowed somewhat.

21:45

Been working on the SKSP Quest and it has been going quite well, aside from one really dense moment! I have my little dude running around the “hospital”, picking up presents and delivering them. I’ve even added some progression so that new wards are unlocked as you progress.

Next step will be making it so that kids have happiness and health so it isn’t a case of delivering presents to any random kid. This will effect your score so if you have loads of really happy kids your score will shoot up and they’ll get healthier in time.

19:15

Oxygen Addict working area

Its finally here! I’ve been looking forward to getting started on making these games. It has been a pretty hectic day and I’m pretty tired from work but can’t wait to get going. I’m now all set with food & drink stocked up, wearing my SKFF t-shirt, got everything launched and the stream from my laptop (precariously sat on the edge of my desk) where I actually do my game dev is up and running.

Its time to get cracking!

Game dev marathon for charity #SKSP

In a short while, in fact just over a week, I will be taking on a weekend of non-stop games development (aside from core needs to you know, survive).

The whole thing is in aid of charity. Specifically it is for Sick Kids Friends Foundation who support a kids hospital where I live. Last year I took part in an event called Sick Kids Save Point where we raised I believe it was £20,000 from a gaming marathon. I’m taking part again this year but also wanted to try something different on top of it – a game dev marathon two weeks beforehand.

Whilst it is going to be a draining task, both mentally and physically, I am really looking forward to it. What I find particularly exciting is the idea of working on rather bizarre little games. Okay, they won’t be polished & releasable games but they shouldn’t be too far off the level of what I’ve created when deciding on my previous title (read more about the prototypes). Heck, half the prototypes took no more than 6-8 hours. What will be pretty cool is being able to try different ideas and some rather fun and novel ideas. These aren’t my own as people have been providing game ideas when donating. Here’s the current selection:

  • Text adventure
  • A SKSP game, using our wee boy character. 2d platformer set in a hospital -avoid the bugs, collect the toys.
  • Tower Defense game with elephants with laser cannons on their heads.
  • Platformer where you have to use chewing gum to progress, trap enemies, stick it to walls to create platforms, blow bubbles to float.
  • A digging/mining game through different food types-I’ve got a millionaire shortbread, the 3 layers look good! No idea what the aim would be though.
  • A puzzle game involving monkeys, koala bears and space ships.

Naturally making all of those, plus any new ones that come through is a bit of an ask so I might look to merge them. For example one of my ideas is having a game where you collect toys for kids in a hospital but you use gum to stop the bugs – which is a bit of resource management. Could I have a game where you need koala’s to mine through cake before the space monkeys get them? Who knows?! It’ll be fun finding out.

As I’ll be wanting to create most my games as quickly as possible I don’t want to leave the designs too open so I plan on making notes for each game idea, maybe including one or two of my own, which would allow me to get stuck in. I may also create a bunch of random resources rather than spending several hours coming up with various coin sound effects or trawling through the interweb looking for royalty free music.

Throughout the marathon I intend to have a second PC on the go with WordPress up. I plan creating three blog entries, one per day, and just update them throughout the day. I can also provide screenshots of the games and my workspace plus maybe a photo or two! The games will later be published onto this site for free in whatever form they are by the end of the weekend. If you enjoy them then you could maybe donate or one or two get some positive feedback I’ll finish them off and in about two months you can buy the game with proceeds going to charity!

You can also donate now and get your game idea in!  http://www.justgiving.com/oxygenaddict