Four Game December

Snowling

Snowling was the first idea I had, I had to pick some kind of classical existing game to reproduce for time is of the essence. I quite liked the idea of air hockey because the physics are quite simple and it would generally just be quite easy to make but it had already been done. No one had done a bowling game though, and although it is a little more complicated than air hockey, it had room for some creative direction. I decided that we could bowl with snowballs, and strike pins made of three snowballs stacked up like a snowman and that I would do away with the side gutters in regular bowling and make the bowling lane an elongated half-cylinder like a Ski slope or something. Then, I would introduce new obstructions to the ball getting to the pins, and some UN-obstructions, I would have lava spots that melt your snowball, blue ice that hardens the snowball for a harder hit, and purple patches that 2x the speed of your snowball for again, a harder hit. Putting all this together and you have this:

Snowboarder

After finishing Snowling I felt it was going to be pretty hard to outdo myself on originality, the name in itself was a fairly good pun and the execution was fairly unique, ideas like that don’t just come by easily. So I figured the next game was going to have to be simple, not only to give myself a bit of a break but so that I didn’t have to fuss around picking an idea. So I went with that classic game idea people have been peddling online since the earliest Java and Flash games, simple racing-esque games where you have to dodge obstacles and collect power-ups. I already had the idea of a cute snowman on a snowboard so I went to make a toboggan track for him to snowboard down and realised I was not really into the time investment of making a big track and that even if I did make it people would just expect more, and I was not in for that kind of time investment on this kind of game. But what I did get excited by, was the idea that I could use a simple trick to give the impression of a never-ending track, albeit basic, a bit tacky, but it worked out and it should have run well on low-end hardware such as the raspberry pi, which it did, just not as well as I had hoped. It was incredibly low poly, the scene would have contained no more than around 500 triangles at any one time. It was low. I think it came out well, it didn’t take long obviously and I actually enjoyed making this one the most.

Cube Shooter

Alright, Cube Shooter. Well, I had this memory from around 2006 where I discovered this game which was simple and reminiscent of the games I tend to make now, long but forgotten some spark of activity in my brain brought it back into the mind’s eye... I knew it was from the demo scene, had something to do with cubes, and was either from Farbrausch or Razor1911. Well, within the hour, I had found it, and done a little digging on the original author. A Simon Ley from Cologne, Germany who operated under the Alias of “red”. Here is a video of the original game by red:

My version, “Cube Shooter” I apologise for the terrible HiTech music.

Space Miner

Alright, this one is my favourite, hands down. Look, if you thought it could not get easier than snow-themed games, well you were wrong, there is one even bigger cop-out than to make snow themed games and that is to make space-themed games because damn, is it easy, space is just blackness, the physics for lighting and movement are all incredibly simple. It’s basically a creative license to do whatever you want, I was tempted to theme it around a holy boiler (yes a water boiler, don’t ask) which floated around majestically in space like the bag out of Donnie Darko but alas, it’s just you and a few thousand asteroids floating around in some infinite vacuum (if you really want to test out the range limits of a float32 lmao). Here was a bit of a nerdgasm because I was excited by the idea of efficiently rendering a huge asteroid field… and it worked out. There are 9 base types of asteroid and when you get them all together in space at different speeds, scales, rotations, you can’t tell any of them apart… and to top that off, each asteroid has its own distinct surface colouring to illustrate what “minerals” (/resources) they contain, five in total. I won’t bore you with the details but if you really care read up on the Snapcraft page here. I like this game because it’s more a game of patience than anything. After all, you have limited resources, and you kind of just have to strategically float from one asteroid to another which is kinda slow because the faster you go the more fuel you have to burn just to slow back down again, which I think is also a really good educational lesson for the new generation of kids who if Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are anything to go by will very possibly be working in space-bound careers. To the infinity and beyond! as Buzz Lightyear once said in my childhood.

Space Miner, a space game.

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