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Burnerknight Studios

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A member registered Nov 18, 2016 · View creator page →

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I'm actually on a laptop and it worked just fine using the arrow keys.

Thanks for playing!

Getting that border boundary right was harder than it should be, so as a follow-up I'll be tweaking it some more. Wish Unity made it easier. In GMS2 it was a cinch. Regarding the sprite size, definitely something I need to keep playing with. I personally dislike tiny sprites since I want the artwork to be appreciated, unless the small art style is still crunchy. Just need to keep experimenting. Was it any better with a fullscreen? I find getting the HTML and fullscreen settings right kinda mess with the scale too.

Ah interesting. I came to a moment in Level 8 where no matter which direction I went, I would hit an Exit doorway but then there was nothing but a drop into nothingness, so I wasn't sure if it was something missing or if I messed up. Since I had to go, I couldn't explore more to see if there was something that just needed triggered to change both exits. I figured I'd go back again.

Pretty impressive concept for the 3 hours, and it made me look up the games it was inspried by. I'm pretty intrigued! Great job on this. There were a few bugs (disappearing wall, movement issues), and some things that looked like anomalies but weren't like the lighting flickering. But other than that, I got to level 8. You say there's a level 9? I'll have to try again!

Also, kudos on making a short game that can keep people hooked for more than just a few minutes! I think I spent like 15 minutes playing and trying again and again! Definitely a gem here worth polishing!

Well done concept for the amount of time you had, and I like how you pushed your mechanic this much within that time. Great job!

And if you have a gamepad, just tilting the right analog stick does the same thing! Twin-Stick controls!

As it stands, I've blown through my 3 hour budget because I got caught up in some stupid stuff related to the input. Hate it when that happens. I still plan on submitting, but man it's going to be something I'll need to watch out for in the future!

I've got the basic minimum of a game in there but need a few more things to tie it all together. Hoping to get that completed by tomorrow before the deadline.

Alright, it's been a super long while since I've been able to participate in this, so looking forward to it again.

What comes to mind with this theme is some sort of action game with potentially roguelite or roguelike elements. Like a super lite version of Vampire Survivors, 20 Minutes Till Dawn, something along those lines. Or maybe just a simple twin-stick arena action game. I'll blow my time if I try to focus on doing a lot of those backend systems, so I may opt for something a lot simpler. Maybe skip out the rglt/rglk elements and focus on the action, or try to get at least one element in. We'll see.

I'll try to reuse some really basic code (if allowed), like movement and input, scene management, etc from another project of mine and then try to split my 3 hours this way:

1 hour: Coding Gameplay

1 hour: Art and Effects

1 hour: Polish

Going to aim to have a complete loop, with an intro title, game scene, and results scene, and then return to either the main title or go and play another round. Don't know if I'll be able to implement anything procedural, not that experienced in those kinds of systems.

Thanks Caleb!

I didn't see this mentioned, and I'm not a part of the Discord (is there even one?), but can premade code assets one has previously made (not necessarily third party) be used? Things such as character controllers, audio systems, state machines, controller input, scene management, etc. Or does that all count as part of the "code" which needs to be built from scratch? 

Just curious since a good practice when it comes to building games is learning to build reusable code bases to speed up development.

Thanks so much!

lol

Yup! That's always been one of my downfalls when doing game jams, in addition to overscoping. As an artist, it's really hard not to want to do all the graphics super properly. I forced myself to use graphics from OpenGameArt.org just to focus on the mechanics, but even then I wanted to polish stuff up and do some things code-wise that would have eaten into my time. I was happy with just doing one piece of art though lol, a fuel depot for my game.

Tried this one and must say this is superb and definitely feels like a complete game! Looking forward to seeing what other things you can pull off during the Trijam, especially if you end up trying to keep under the three hours.

Yup, certainly! Thanks for playing.

Yeah, I'm impressed with what some folks were able to pull off by themselves! But I'll get there. I believe I should be able to crack that full loop next time around. If not, I'll keep at it!

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Yeah for sure! I'm impressed with what I was able to pull off in just three hours. I think games in a similar style will be done a lot quicker next time around, giving me more room for extra features or slightly better gameplay. I lost about 30-45min running into some issues getting some things to work as I wanted them, that was a time sink in an already tight deadline. 

And I couldn't put in audio! Next time that will be one of the first things to go in! I'll be participating again in the next Trijam later this week.

Ah I see.

No biggie! The fact that you attempted to make a game in 3 hours, and still made something is commendable. I used to think games took days to make, and here I am popping out a really simple thing in just a few hours.

The benefit of this experience moving forward is that one can assess how one did, identify any pitfalls, and then try again for the next jam; taking the wins from the previous experience and avoiding the falls.

Okay, this game is SUPER charming. The audio, sound clip of "Thank You!" in a cute voice, and just the general feel of it all. The whole repair mechanic just feels very satisfying. Really awesome work on this!

This looks like a game with a lot of promise, and what's already there is very interesting! Unfortunately, the game kept freezing while playing, so I couldn't stick around long, I refreshed multiple times too.

Twitch movement and crossword puzzles are two things that don't necessarily get put together often, good job on that!

This is a fun little game with a unique spin. Also, love the little insects with forks and knives.

Really great, snappy game with an awesome loop for such a short time. Great job accomplishing that! Two people definitely make the job easier.

Really dig the background track and the little abstract representations of soldiers. Good job!

Glad to hear you enjoyed it and got something out of it!

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POST-MORTEM

80% of the success of your project is determined by the system you have in place to work with. The other 20% is perseverance, grit, and determination.

It's been a while since I've been able to do a Speedgame Challenge, having missed out on them since 2021, when I did Hardmode only. I've enjoyed the challenges since 2014 when I did my first one developing Warrior, and Classic really provides a good amount of time to flesh things out. One of the problems I've always run into however is overscoping my projects.

There's been a handful of submissions throughout the years that I've been able to complete on time. And I've been getting better at it, making better choices and design decisions. My skill in scoping has been growing just as my development skills have been growing. However, I'm still fine-tuning some things, figuring things out, establishing a system that I can depend on and repeat time and again. Persevering in that system has been difficult though. I tend to be too all over the place when making a game.

With this game jam, I knew I wanted to do a RPG. But instead of trying to write a bunch of systems from scratch - which I've attempted at least twice in the past, once in 2015 with SEED, and another in 2019 with Project Starsoul, with varying results - I figured I'd roll with RPG Maker this time around to speed up a lot of the back-end of things and focus on the front-end - story, world, and characters. That was a good decision, except I blew my time doing a bunch of concept art and little actual game making. Not only that, but I didn't account for how much time I would realistically have.

I had planned for maybe having about 3-4 hours a day. But that wasn't realistic, it ended up being more like 1-2 hours most days, and then the odd day I'd get 4 hours or so. What I should have done at the beginning of the jam is sitting down and establishing a battle plan for the development cycle, which I'm notoriously bad at. Then timeblock different aspects of the cycle to establish how much time I realistically have, and work with that.

When I start a game jam, what usually happens is: 1) Brainstorm ideas based on the theme, 2) Open my engine of choice and start working.

Number one usually includes reference finding, research, and maybe looking up some kind of tutorial or walkthrough for something more difficult to accomplish. I also usually establish some kind of beginning of world building here, name ideas maybe, and potential characters. Then when I start working in my chosen engine, I either look up how to do something, or just get things done as I can - sometimes smooth sailing, sometimes trudging through. During the development process, I have my art tool of choice, either Aseprite or Photoshop, or Gimp back in the day, and I create my art assets. Sound effects are either made in BFXR or found online, likewise with music.

Sometimes I'd open Open Office, start a new document, and pool my ideas into some kind of crystalline document that has the game idea, goal, and scope. And even less times than that, I'd establish an asset list, and a timeline. I'm not the most organized. I lack the discipline. I blame not having worked for a game studio for a long period of time, or having a mentor to help iron out the bad habits. Only in recent years have I gotten better at organizing my ideas and workflow into something usable and robust. But still I fail at times.

One workflow I've adopted recently involves one developed by Christer Kaitila (@McFunkypants on Twitter). The process is:

- Brainstorm!

- Needs and Wants List, Review items using the guiding questions on a scale of 1-5

  1. How excited am I about this?
  2. How viable is this?
  3. How fun does it sound to play?
  4. How fun does it sound to code?

- Elevator Pitch/Back of Box blurb

- Sketch the game in action – Storyboard/Playboard (should be at least one page long)

- Prototype MVP (1st save point)

- Polish MVP (2nd save point) – Beyond this point you could reasonably ship

- Implement features one at a time (MVP each feature basically) (Each feature is a save point)

Christer uses this process not just for game jams, but also for games that he wants to ship in some form. I used this process somewhat this jam, but not entirely. But it has been my go-to for the recent games I've been doing. I won't go into detail on each part, but I'll link you to where you can go for the deets. Either way, I think it's rather self-explanatory for the most part. With that said, do yourself a favor and read his article, the man has lots of great ideas that are well explained in there! #1GAM: How to Succeed at Making One Game a Month | Envato Tuts+ (tutsplus.com)

What I like about this process is how it involves sketching the game in action. Games are visual (for the most part), so it makes sense that the design process should include visuals in some way. And I would add, also include audio. Play some music that makes you think of the game in action. Anything and everything you can use to better formulate the game idea, the better. In the past some of my game ideas would come rather quickly through an image or a sound or a music track. Other times I had to really think through what I wanted. Sometimes I could plan the design of the game rather quickly and efficiently, other times it took me a while to really hit my stride. I think honing in on what excites me about an idea, or doesn't excite me, should be an indicator of the path to pursue.

I also have a "toolkit" so to speak that I depend on. These are things that I usually go for in my games and care about, my design philosophy basically. And also includes the tools I work with. My development tools include Photoshop, Inkscape, Aseprite, Blender, Audacity, BFXR, Git, C#, C++,  GML, Unity, RPG Maker, and Game Maker Studio 2. For reference making, moodboards, vision boards, etc, I use PureRef. For time tracking I use Toggl. My design philosophy involves story, characters, and world at a macro level, and at a micro level involves aesthetics, mechanics, and systems. Having atmosphere and mood is important to me as well.

  • Story - What is taking place here in this world, why do we care, and what are we going to do about it?
  • Characters - Who am I and what can I do? Who am I up against? Who am I with?
  • World - Where do I live? What can I see? Where can I go?
  • Aesthetics - Look and feel
  • Mechanics - Gameplay and ability, or what can the player do
  • Systems - the foundation or rules
  • Atmosphere - Sunny, rainy, cloudy, overcast, misty, foggy, etc. How are the lights, shadows, and colors interacting with the world, characters and story?
  • Mood - the feeling, texture, ambience, tension, etc that the game gives off at a given moment.

Despite having a robust toolkit, I rarely access it during a jam. And I don't always establish it outright or in a focused way for my non-jam games. I usually piecemeal together different aspects important to me, but often have a disparate collection of things rather than a unified whole. By this I mean that my game doesn't have a proper shell usually.

If you were to think of a game in terms of an animal, like say, a crab, a lion, or a dinosaur, in your head you can envision that animal rather easily. But were you to draw that animal, or maybe even model it, how would you go about it? Do you make a rough silhouette first? And then fill in the shape with the proper forms, and then the proper details? Or do you define a part of the animal first, and then build out from there? Making a game is similar. 

Sometimes you can make quite a neat body, or a head, or a arm/paw/pincer with cool little details, but where's the rest of the animal? The whole of the game suffers because it's missing important components that it should have based on its genre. If the animal is the game, the genre is its features

If you were to have a rough silhouette first, you've got the basics of basics covered. Then you start working and detailing. But your foundation is there. So even if you've defined one part of the body to its maximum, the whole won't lack as much because you've got the rough shape in place. Compare that to missing the rough shape, and only having a super defined upper body with no legs or pelvis (or tail, or pincers, etc) to carry the rest. Or conversely, you've got the legs, but no torso and head to guide the body. Gruesome, I know. But making a game is just like that. You've got to define the essentials of the kind of game you want to make, and then define the bare minimum of those essentials. That's how you make a great game during a game jam. Or at least finish a game that's actually fun to play.

So, what could I have done better to get the game done on time and with enough content to carry the theme and fun through? Define a darn shell that's what! But wait, there's more! Let's put it down on a list so next time I don't get tripped up. I'm gonna make sure I don't make the same mistake again and actually do what I'm preaching here.

  1. Define a shell.
  2. Follow my workflow. It's established, use it. Fine-tune it, sure! But it's meant to make my life easier, so I shouldn't skip it.
  3. Follow my pipeline. This one is trickier because it involves which tools to use and how and when to use them. I tend to be flexible on how I work, but I need to define a proper development pipeline. So this needs planning. A pain point needing a solution.
  4. Be mindful of my pain points and establish a plan to solve them. These are the things that always trip you up. Write them down, and then figure out how to get past them. How to work with the theme? What genre should I go for? Etc.
  5. Organize a timeline with the needs and wants list. Be flexible but also be ruthless on cutting out the fat. Trim the excess, keep the most important stuff. Simplify.

I think with these points, my scope would have been appropriate, and my focus laser sharp. Next time, I'll stick with this, and see if I can't come up with an awesome game for the jam!

Well, I think I've reached the end of my post-mortem, Much thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to the journey we're on and what the future holds. Adios!

Hey Konikochan, you won first place in CGDC Speedgame Classic! How can I get in touch with you about your prizes? Are you on the Christian Game Developers FB group or on Discord?

Thank you! Yeah, these can be pretty tiring, but also so rewarding! Looking forward to trying your game too!

Hey Elijah, looks like you've got a neat entry. I've always dug the styles of game you've made in the past. Looking forward to trying this one out.

So cool to see all the art and ideas you've gotten out here, especially joining the jam about two weeks in! Thanks so much for joining and doing a tabletop entry!

LAST DAY

The final stretch folks! As happens sometimes, you do all you can do for your entry and wish you had more time to get all the little things in, or maybe even the big things you had to cut! My entry is going to lack that sense of progression with the story that I wanted to include, so I'm aiming to have a build where you can explore, look around, interact with the world and just have some fun if even a little.

I'm looking forward to doing a post-mortem at the end of the jam to review the things I did wrong and the things I did right and how I can have better success the next time around. Overall though, I had fun working on this and interacting with others and that's my major takeaway. Can't wait to submit my build and hopefully it gives you a small sense of what I was aiming for.

Happy Devving everyone!

There'll be an extra hour to upload things, so don't fret! I couldn't get all my stuff in for my game either, but I'm aiming to having something playable and enjoyable.

Thought so too! It actually reminded me of those classic game map posters Genesis and SNES era games used to come with.

It's really great to see how your game came together!

Here's a screenshot of how it looks in-game. First pass. If I have time I'll do another pass. There are a total of six areas so far: the town, the stronghold, the fairgrounds, and the three farmsteads. If I have time, which is dwindling, I'll add a few extra/secret areas.