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A member registered Aug 23, 2021 · View creator page →

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Thank you!

Thank you for the kind words.

Thank you! Yes it’s easy to be deceived by the Playdate’s size, color, and crank. It looks like a toy but it’s a very capable little console. Lua is the bottleneck though, even if I can understand Panic’s choice of an easy language to make development accessible to beginners. Better programmers than me, using C or even Assembly.  Squeezed a lot more out of the Playdate. But so far I was able to get the game to run and look close to what I was hoping for, so it’s an encouraging start.

Now I’m about to get into the first building blocks of gameplay, which is very exciting but also scary because game design is a lot more difficult than art.

Thank you! It’s called Taschenbuch der Kriegsflotte 1941/42. It was a book used on all warships and U-boats that summed up all the known ships from the main naval forces of both Allies and Axis. It contained detailed data about measurements , displacement, speed, armament, depth of keel, and silhouettes under various angles on bow. Captains used them to identify their targets and estimate speed, bearing, and other information required to come up with a torpedo solution. 

Thank you. The positive feedback is a relief because I was dreading it.

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100% with you on this. I hope to be able to put sound in as soon as I have the bare bones of gameplay. I think, given the limitations of the Playdate, and the genre of the game, that Atlantic ‘41 will rely more on atmospheric sound FX than music. But I have this crazy idea of creating a few short (hopefully) iconic musical in game themes and put out an extended soundtrack as part of a limited edition or something. 

Thank you very much. As a wargames and simulations aficionado myself, I know how important it is for fans to get as much of the history and technical details right, so I enjoy putting the time in the research. 

Thank you!

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I’m so jealous of your ability to lay down the whole loop quick and dirty(ish). I find it so comfortable to fine tuning a visual feature and procrastinating on what matters 🤦🏻‍♂️

But anyway, looking really unique and inspiring as usual with you. I love the visual humor, the wiggly iconography, and the slight adult subtext. It all feels fun and smart, just not too goofy, very Pixar like if I may :)

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Thank you! This means a lot coming from you. Gravity Express looks great! I think it’s one of the Playdate games that feels the most fully realized. 
The devlog takes some effort, one may argue too much, since I have so much to do still for the game. But it’s a passion project and I enjoy sharing everything about it. Documenting the process helps me to structure my own thoughts and be more focused and organized. 
And it makes me face my own shortcomings. When I’m tempted to compromise, I vowed to admit it openly and it pushes me to work harder at finding solutions than I may have otherwise  given up on :)

But the greatest reward is knowing that some people realize and appreciate my dedication to the game. Nothing beats that. 

Thank you! I hope the game will live up to your expectations :)

Thank you for your kind support as always!
The crank yes for sure. I’d like to let the player choose their preferred control, contextually. So for instance on the hydrophone, the left and right pad rotate the needle, but pull out the crank and it’s activated. Fold it back and the game reverts to the pad.

But the game will be entirely playable without the crank too, so that players who don’t like it aren’t forced to use it. And you won’t be stuck if for some reason the crank broke.

I’ve given some thought to a Windows version. In fact, I already started experimenting with Game Maker, which works well.
For now I must focus on finishing the game for the Playdate, and then depending on the interest, I could submit it for wishlist on Steam. I’d like the port to feel like an upgrade from the Playdate, with its own character, while remaining faithful to the gameplay and the artistic DNA of the original. It would still feel like a retro game, something you can play on any computer, even a low spec laptop, but hopefully it would sound and look much better than the Playdate version.

Thank you :) very glad that you like what you see!

I couldn’t agree more. I’m going to aim for one update every 6 weeks, and we’ll go from there. 

Thank you so much! I’m also eager to start prototyping gameplay.

I wouldn’t trust my own predictions as to the release window. However, given where I’m at and how much there’s left, a 2023 release seems unrealistic. I realize how unusual it is to work for so long on a Playdate project, but I guess everything is a bit different with Atlantic ‘41.

Thank you! It always makes me happy when someone enjoyed  a log, and even spent the time to write a comment. But you’re right about the frequency. A new post every 4 to 6 weeks would be a decent pace. I think my mistake is to wait to complete a feature before reporting on it, instead of breaking it up into smaller chunks. 

I love that you get this impression of  1-bit with a modern sensibility, because this is what appeals to me in video games, this mix of modern and retro. Games have come a long way, and even if I’m looking to capture some of the charm of the past I don’t want to get stuck into it and let nostalgia drive the project. So I’m glad if that balance comes across when looking at Atlantic ‘41.

You’re very welcome. Your introduction to Lua is a great bird’s eye view of the language. Thank you for the compliments :)

Thank you again! Yes I think I know what you mean: it’s a process. Sometimes I get this impression that I feel my way in the dark, but at every step, even when I hit a wall, I learn something. And the more I stumble, the more the game comes into focus. It’s as much, if not more, about clearing out the mess, than it is to come up with ideas.

I certainly respect your aversion for violent games, as I share it in part, maybe with less purity. I’m not sure if you’ll find something of value in Atlantic ‘41, but I can say this; I take the subject matter very seriously, and I don’t want to make light of war, quite the contrary.

Other than the focus on the management and strategic aspects of the gameplay, I’m very interested in tackling the moral component. I hate preachy games (anything preachy really), but there’s something unique about war that it puts ordinary people in situations where they have to balance their values and humanity against their survival, or the lives of the people they love. I think there’s a great opportunity there to let the player confront their own moral compass, and really appreciate the consequences of their actions, without the game ever hammering its own message, or cheating them  into “the right way”. It’s something that Lucas Pope achieved with brilliance in “Papers, please” and that I modestly aspire to emulate.

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Thank you for your support! I’m glad that you enjoy the logs. Night will certainly be an interesting challenge. 

As for games, I haven’t played anything seriously since “Silent Service 2”, until I checked “Uboat” recently. I’m not aware of many good games on the subject, except Silent Hunter and Uboat. But these are complex, realistic simulations, which is great if you have a decent PC and quite some time to sink into learning them.

In fact it’s partly why I decided to make Atlantic ’41. I was looking for a well crafted, accessible WW2 submarine game that would revolve less around the technical aspects, and more on the overall tactical and human experience of being a submarine commander. Also something that I could play anywhere, on a small laptop or console. And I couldn’t find any.

I guess you could try Silent Service 2, which is the grandfather of the genre, but even though I have immense respect for its creator Sid Meier, the game feels its old age. It’s a bit simplistic and clunky, and I’m not sure that I would recommend it today. I’ll post links in future logs if I stumble on something good.

Thank you very much for the kind words!

Thank you! I will work on  time of day next, which is a really important tactical component,  and start implementing surface vessels and a basic gameplay loop where you can play cat and mouse against one ship in a closed sector.

Reading this, I know that this is the kind of thing I should do for Atlantic ‘41, so of course I’ll never get to it and keep wasting enormous iteration time, fumbling with evil layers and dialog boxes :) You’re always inspiring regardless.

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Glad to see that you’re back on the game. These wigglin’ vectors are a great mix of playful and slick. Feels like the perfect tone for the Playdate to me.

I’m looking forward to this! I’ve noticed some puzzling performance issues using sprites as opposed to drawing using lower level librairies of the SDK, so I’m eager to benefit from your experience.

I wish this kind of book existed when I started programming for the Atari ST back in the late 80’s. It does a great job at condensing most of what beginners need to know when they start in one easily accessible place.  I would really recommend you read this if you just got the Playdate SDK and the idea  of making a game in Lua seems daunting. Even as an intermediate developer the book was a great refresher and gave me a few valuable tips. Thanks for demystifying Lua in this little book and for your great online tutorials. They’ve proven invaluable to me.

Yes I love that you’re looking at the Playdate as a legit modern gaming platform. I’m afraid to see it stuck in the 8-bit arcade clones and gimmick games . The flip side of the black and white screen and the form factor is that I’m not sure that it’s taken as seriously as it should. It deserves its own generation of future classics, like Civilization, Prince of Persia, or Lemmings  were when they came out. And I’m not talking just graphics and sound but meaty content, long lasting value and polished game mechanics. Anyway, Sparrow Solitaire ticks all the right boxes to me :) I hope it will encourage others to push the envelope.

Great read! Fascinating how deceptively simple the development of this kind of game can seem at first glance, and yet so much is going on under the hood; like a case study on Steve Jobs principles on good UI, which is invisible to the user.

Many valuable lessons, notably how sounds play into the theme, and your focus on effective use of screen estate.

And thanks for sharing your prefered font editing tool and the Argent pixel font. I developed a passion for pixel fonts since I discovered the work of Susan Kare on the Macintosh system. This will come in handy I’m sure.

Yes you’re right. I phrased that poorly. Ultimately I only ever draw any cloud once per loop, if it should be visible at the camera position . By cloning I guess I tried to make people imagine an infinite cloud table where any cloud  “virtually” repeats every 4 screens, if that makes sense. You summed up the idea  much more accurately. 

Thank you for the positive feedback! It’s comforting that you share the sentiment that I got from friends. I was always commited to doing in depth devlogs, but it’s demanding. I hope to create an intimate bond with the players; a long journey we embark on together. It also helps me to making sense of my ideas.

On the subject, I recommend Jordan Mechner’s making of journals: Fascinating accounts of the joys and struggles of creation, but also a touching window into another era that I remember fondly.  

In fact, I’ve been thinking about making a small number of boxed copies of the game with printed manual and feelies, in the tradition of the eighties. And then maybe compiling all the logs into a book as part of that crowdfunding campaign, as a higher tier reward, or a stretch goal.

I didn’t know the ST was your fist computer! It wasn’t mine, but it was the first on which I started to develop seriously. So many great memories.

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Really cool idea! One more I have to put on the list for when I finally get the device :)

very good! I’m glad that the game is so close to completion. I wish I could say the same ;)

I can’t wait to get my Playdate to try it! By the way if you’re looking for a musician for your game, I had the privilege of working with Chris Huelsbeck (known on the Amiga for Turrican) when he made the music for my iOS game Subsolar. He was so easy to work with, his music is fantastic, and his fee was very reasonable for someone of that caliber.

Yep. You’re totally right. This is a typical case of going too fancy and over doing. I wanted to give more perspective and really push the style, but now I realize that the new waves are just too distracting. 
It’s a bit painful to realize you went down the wrong path but it’s one of these things that are just hard to predict before actually doing them.

But I’m glad that you’re giving this feedback because it comforts the doubts I had. I would always encourage you to do so. It can only benefit to the game. It’s part of the process and I’ve learned things going through this. The good thing is that I keep a complete version of the source every day so it’s easy to revert.

There’s still things I can take from the new version that will benefit the old one, so it’s not all lost. I can even tell you that I can also improve on the clouds, so I plan to go back to this too.

It seems like not much progress for so much effort but these views are what the player will see a good 50% of the time, so it’s worth doing right.

Next devlog will be about having the courage to back pedal and hopefully the benefits of what I learned with a final (for real this time) persicope view! :)

Thank you very much for sharing your honest opinion. 

ah ah! You’ll see…

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It’s not a dumb question. Wildlife in the game is something I thought about. You’re not going to see fishes underwater because I want to keep the game fairly realistic, and U-boats, once submerged, are blind. There’s no windows to see outside the submarine. 

However it doesn’t mean that animals won’t be present at all. For instance I want to have sea birds near coasts. You will also get to encounter other marine life in very rare occasions and under special circumstances, but that’s as much as I’m going to say because I don’t want to spoil the surprise for future players. 

Cool idea! I’ll get it as soon as I receive my Playdate :)

Thank you! Still some adjustments to make but hopefully some version of this will work. Now I must put in place a similar system for the ocean.   eventually I’d like to have a simple setup that generates cohesive  ocean/sky systems based on a few variables, like weather, time of day etc.

Very nice of you to say :) Thank you.

Thanks ;)