Ludum Dare 26 – a post-mortem

cubecatcher_ld48_1GAMLudum Dare, the world’s most prominent game jam, took place from Saturday 27th to Monday 29th of May. While the 48 hour compo runs the first 48 hours and only allows one person (who has to do everything himself) to work on a game, the jam, running the full 72 hours, allows teams to work together on an entry and it’s rules are far more relaxed, allowing foreign content (like music).

My last LD experience in December didn’t quite go as planned, but was still lots of fun. This time I had even less time than the meagre 48 hours given to compo participants. I had played Volleyball all Saturday and was too tired to even switch on my computer in the evening. Sunday morning I slept in, woke at 11 a.m., had breakfast and only then took a peek at the Ludum Dare theme: minimalism.

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2013 – the new year begins

Last year was a year of change and new beginnings for me, a(nother) year of learning and creating. I fully committed to becoming a game designer, created 5 new games and learned how much it really takes to be a creative game designer.

This year is the year I’m going to refine my knowledge and skills in the ‘real world’. I’m participating in onegameamonth, a
game develeoper challenge to make and publish one game each month. This is a big thing, because, no matter how small a game is, there’s always that last step of finishing and publishing that is higher than all the others. I’m also going to spend 3 to 6 months at a game development company doing a work experience (internship) and collect more practical experience. Finally, I will start my last semester of studies in October, doing one single finals project, which will be finished in February 2014. All of this will be extremely stressful and hard work but also a fascinating experience that, I hope, will make me a better game designer.

Ludum Dare 48 hour game making competition

Ludum Dare LogoIn order to escape the daily stress I choose to participate in Ludum Dare #25, the worlds largest Online Game Jam. This weekend #LD48 gives developers 48 hours to make a game.

The theme this time: “You are the villain”.

So far I’ve got

  1. a title: The villain’s dream
  2. an intro dialogue sequence
  3. a concept that probably won’t work the way I want at all
  4. a 90 day trial version of Unity3D 4 Pro which is looking amazing
  5. 36 hours time left

Sounds good? Check out the other contestants, some of theri work looks amazing!

You can follow my progress on the Ludum Dare website:


P.S: Updated to WordPress 3.5, qTranslate is broken now, hence the single language post.

Illuminum Alpha 4 release

Illuminum lives! The alpha 4 release seemingly took forever but it’s here now! You can play Illuminumon your PC with your Xbox controller now. Mouse and keyboard still give better performancy, though.

What’s new:

  • The menu has been completely overhauled and can be navigated with the keyboard (use arrow keys and return) or the controller (press A to select).
  • The white cubes now vanish when you walk over them.
  • The brightness (gamma) can be set now. However, the calibration isn’t finished yet.
  • Some new particle effects have been added
  • You can select your difficulty from easy to hard in three steps. Difficulty level influences
  • lots of bugs fixed
  • some new bugs ;)

Known bugs:

  • You cannot select the name input field with your mouse. Use the keyboard to shift the focus onto the text field, change your name, then shift the focus back again.
  • The ingame help menu doesn’t work properly

Next up: Fixing the known bugs, then working on sound

Have fun! As always, I’m looking forward to your feedback.

Play Illuminum Alpha 4.

Cargo shuttle animation

This cargo shuttle is only a a small part of a larger scene I’m currently working on but I think props are quite important so I took some time to make this.

I started with a rough sketch, which I then coloured and set in front of a starry background. I Iiked the result and started working on the 3D model. The animation was interesting since it was the first time I worked with XPresso in Cinema 4D (the rotating light was made to move with an expression).


Some thoughts & a scribble: the stalker

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. The 7DFPS challenge cost me a lot of time and nerves, the game we made will probably be continued some time but I’m not sure when. The GameLab Freiburg finally got a dedicated room, while at the same time the new website is in the making. The first Game Design Bootcamp took place last weekend and taught 34 enthusiastic participants the basics of game design. The end of the semester is closing in and with it the deadline for our projects.

With all of that going on, somethings are bound to get pushed back, in my case it was scribbling, once again. Today, I show you a new scribble: the stalker. With his stalk-like outgrowths it looks like something from the depths of the sea. It mostly lurks in the shadows, waiting for its prey to pass by. At night though, it follows its potential victims through the darkness. Basically a coward, but dangerous when cornered.

Seven Days to make a game

The 7DFPS challenge is nearing its end on Saturday evening. Over 150 Teams are working on a first person shooter right now, with only 7 days to finish it. Maren, Malte and I are participating as the official team of the GameLab Freiburg. We’re not expecting to win but the challenge of creating a more or less finished game within 7 days is intriguing. Since we only started on Monday  and since we also have normal university classes, the time pressure is even greater on us. What are we making? We’re working on a black and white western shooter. You’ll see how that turned out on Saturday. It will be published on, the GameLab Freiburg website and of course here

Scribble: rocks!

Today’s scribbles aren’t really scribbles at all but the drawing process still fits the general topic. That’s why I’m showing the process of drawing four different kinds of rocks today.

The first step is always defining the basic shape, that shape is then filled with one base colour. Then comes the shading, followed by adding some details. The outer shadow and surrounding are added next and finally the finishing details are added to increase the sharpness of the rocks.

To catch a bug with Mantis

In order to document and track the status of my game Illuminum online and to create a basis for finding and removing problems I wanted to use a bug tracking system.

The best web based bug tracking software that I know is Trac. It features subversion access and an integrated wiki and lots of other neat smaller features. Sadly Trac is programmed with Python and since most simple webspace packages, like the one this blog is hosted on, do not offer Python support I needed to switch to an alternative solution.

Mantis Bug Tracker is that alternative software. It is PHP based and thus runs on nearly any basic webspace. It’s really easy to install and there’s a mobile version, Mantis Touch, available.

Mantis offers the usual features for reporting an issue. It can be assigned to a user and is coloured depending on its status. As soon as a bug is fixed or a feature completed, it is entered into the changelog automatically. You can also create a roadmap by making future versions of your project and assigning features to them. Uploading documents is also a nice feature that allows documentation and major updates to be integrated into the system.

Managing several projects is possible but can be a bit confusing since all projects are shown on the mantis start page and can only be filtered via a small drop down menu at the side.

The system has performed well so far. I’m excited to see how well I’ll be working with Mantis and if there are are any major drawbacks. I’m looking forward to all bugs in my game  found and entered by others.

You can find the bug tracker for Illuminum here. To report issues you can log in with the user name guestreport and the password illuminum.