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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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:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/author/zerebruin/

 

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

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 7dfps.org, the GameLab Freiburg website and of course here

Illuminum

In the beginning there was nothing. Then came the light and with it came darkness. And the darkness saw the light and envied it. And thus from hate the eternal struggle between light and darkness was born.

Story

You are a Lighty. But who or what is a Lighty? Lighties are beings made out of light. Nobody knows where they came from but they’ve probably been here forever. Some say that the first Lighty gathered so much light that it had to leave the Earth and became the sun. Some say that all the stars are Lighties, watching over the planets and the beings on them. Humans almost never see Lighties and if they do they do not recognise them. Lighties live in a layer of the time-space continuum between realities. Time passes differently there. Light acts differently there. In between the stars, in the nothing that is space, in the dark nebulas where no light ever travels and most of all in darkspace abide the dark matter entities. They are the lighties’ sworn enemies, determined to destroy all light and anything that springs from it. Now, one of these entities has made it to Earth during a solar eclipse. It managed to prolong the eclipse and without intervention Earth will remain in darkness forever. It is your task to stop the impending destruction of all life on Earth.

Tutorial level:

At the beginning you don’t know what’s happened. Everything is dark. Find out what’s going on. Get accustomed to the changed surroundings (darkness, fog). Steer your Lighty with W,A,S,D, float over smaller obstacles by pressing space. You can increase or decrease your light radius by pressing E or Q in order to see better or to conserve energy. Blue light is your life-energy. You use it up all the time, faster when moving. You can recharge at artificial lights all around the map. Find these light cones before your light meter runs out or you will die. You can increase your light storage capacity by picking up blue cubes. You can only recharge your life-energy at blue or white light cones.

Play Illuminum Alpha 1

Why Unity rocks!

It’s high time I write some lines about the game engine Unity 3D. I’ve been working with Unity since October 2011 and have gotten to know its strengths, which by far outweigh the downsides. Here’s an introduction to what Unity is and why you should use it for game development.

HISTORY

Development on Unity began as early as 2001, in 2005 Unity 1 and in 2007 Unity 2 were released. 2008 brought export function to the Wii and iOS. The breakthrough came in 2009 with the first free version giving everybody access to the engine. Version 3 saw the rise of Unity to a trend in game development in 2010, right now there are over half a million developers working with Unity.

Advantages

What puts Unity apart from other game engines like the CryEngine or the UnrealEngine? For one thing it is incredibly beginner-friendly. The program interface is modern, clean and intuitive. Several introductory tutorials make it easy to get accustomed to the program and its abilities. Since Unity works with UnityScript, a close relative to JavaScript, programming access is also easy. At the same time professionals can use C# or Boo to develop their games.

A second great advantage is portability. Unity games can be published directly on almost all available gaming platforms. From Windows and MacOS to the gaming consoles PlayStation3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii down to mobile platforms iOS and Android and any web broweser via the Unity web Player and (since version 3.5) also Flash. Linux- and Google Native Client support are in the making. And that’s all direct export! No mucking about with long and costly porting. This extreme range opens the whole gaming market to developers.

Game development with Unity is fun, especially because the huge community is very helpful and thousands of code pieces are available when you’re stuck.

For independent game developers, costs ale low, with a pro license only costing $ 1500, including lifetime upgrades.

What can I do with Unity?

You can develop any kind of game with Unity, from 2D jump and run games to 3D ego-shooters. However, for the latter it is probably a better idea to us a specialized game engine like the CryEngine. There are a couple of ‘big’ games developed with Unity out there, but the mass of Unity games falls into the category of small and casual games. Probably because they’re mostly developed by single persons or small groups.

Unity doesn’t end with game development. Due to its enormous range of platforms, especially the Internet via Flash and the UnityPlayer, new possibilities arise that were hitherto only possible via 3D modules for Flash. Interactive 3D presentations and virtual shopping malls are just the start of what’s going to come.

Examples

An excellent game developed with Unity is Rochard, a space adventure by Recoil Games. To see what’s possible look at the results of the competition ‘Flash-in-a-Flash’.

A list of games developed with Unity can be found here: http://unity3d.com/gallery/made-with-unity/game-list

Free start to game development

Unity is available in a basic version for free. This version is perfect for learning game development. It can do almost everything that the Pro version can do, except for advanced effects like shadows.

What are you waiting for? Go download Unity and start developing!

 

Free Unity license for mobile devices

Until April 8th, the Unity3D-licenses for Android and iOS are free! The two free licenses, that normally cost 800$, are the basic versions that have the same features as the basic version for PC/Mac.

To get the free licenses you need to register yourself at the Unity store and buy both for 0$. Then you’ll get the License key which you can enter when starting Unity for the first time (e.g. after upgrading to 3.5) or in Unity itself under Help > Enter Serial Number. And then you’re all set to develop for mobile devices.

Before you all start developing games for your iPhone and iPod: remember, it’s Apple. Of course you can only develop for Apple devices on apple systems. So you’ll need MacOS to export from Unity to iOS because Apple’s development tool Xcode only runs on MacOS. People on the Unity Forum say that although it might be technically possible to have iOS publishing on Windows it would be pretty useless since it would lack important features for iOS system integration and you can only upload to the AppStore from Mac anyway.

You should get your free license key whether you plan on developing for iOS or not. You never know if you might need it in half a year. Did I mention it’s free?