game design, games, Popojojo, writing

One Player Game Jam Roundup

so my one-player game jam finished yesterday, and overall i think it was a success. here’s my roundup of what i learned.

before i started i had a few specific goals in mind. i wanted to refine some of the movement mechanics, and specifically include double-jumping, floating, and sliding.

double-jumping was really easy, as i just looked up a tutorial and copied the blueprint directly.

doublejump

floating has proved a little more difficult, partially because i wasn’t sure what to search for. (so far in my experience game design mostly seems to involve googling ‘unreal engine double jump blueprint’ etc.) the specific ability i want to include is what i’d call floating, but other people seem to refer to it as a ‘hover jump’ or some other such thing. the best example i can think of is the ‘flutter jump‘ in various Mario games.

this is what i’ve figured out so far but it’s not perfect for a number of reasons.

floatingmechanic

firstly, as of now the ability requires pressing its own key, rather than holding down the jump button. figuring out that functionality is gonna take more work because it will also require tweaking the double-jump due to how the second ‘jump’ works. so for the time being, i just settled on using a separate button because i’m more interested in fleshing things out quickly.

the real problem is that i need to work out how to limit the use of the ability so that the player can only float once per jump, because as-is you can float indefinitely as long as you press and release Q quickly enough. The GIFs below should illustrate what I mean.

floating the way i want it to work:

float1

floating cheat:

float2

there’s also a problem with how the movement change translates the character’s velocity/direction, because if the float button is pressed on the way up Popojojo will float upwards rather than begin floating once the maximum height of the jump has been reached. so, still a lot of work to do on the floating mechanic, but i’m at least glad that i’m beginning to understand how blueprints translate into practice.

i never even got around to try working on a sliding mechanic, but i did change the landscape from 2D sprites to a proper 3D landscape, which made everything more slippery anyways. it seems like the next step for this is going to be working with the friction setting and figuring out how to use crouching/pressing down as a slide button. right now when you press S Popojojo goes into a crouch but it’s just an animation and doesn’t actually change anything about the movement speed or friction.

i had some stretch goals for myself, including adding music and sound, a menu system, and a new landscape. i didn’t do anything related to making menus (i suspect that’s going to be a whole thing) but i did add some ambient music and sounds, though it’s not perfect. the music seems to stop when Popojojo goes underwater, which i’ll have to figure out.

here’s a little video that includes the ambient music, some bird sounds, and a jump sound.

maybe the thing i’m most excited about is that i learned how to make a river! i’ve consciously tried to pace how many different parts of the engine i learn so i don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out, which means that until now i’ve avoided physics and post processing volumes because when i knew nothing about them they seemed really complicated. turns out they’re not!

i added water to the world using this tutorial, which uses the water material from this example project. there are a ton of details about how the material works that i just decided to skip by importing the complete material directly, so as of now the water itself looks a little wonky because the waves are moving way too fast.

titlegif

i’m sure the underwater effect (that’s the post processing part) can use some work because i sort of just guessed at what visual changes might seem underwater-y, but that’s not a big deal. at the moment the thing i’m more interested in working out is exiting the water, because right now the player basically only has one jump available. like, when you float to the top, you can only jump out of the water as long as you haven’t already pressed the jump key, because the whole time you’re swimming the game treats it as if you’re still jumping/haven’t landed. so, that’s a thing i’ll have to figure out.

i probably won’t work much on Popojojo in the next couple of weeks because i need to get the first three books of Ages of Decay online, but this has been super fun and i’m excited for the next time i work on it because i’ll have much more specific goals in mind.

(also, i learned how to make gifs, which is its own neat fun thing)

drinking, wine, writing

Tesco Finest 2017 Las Hijuelas Carmenere

i’ve never had this grape before but overall it’s nice and i’m glad i found something like-but-not cabernet sauvignon.

plum nose, dry wood, ‘herbs’ like it says on the bottle. the tannins are a little strong, ie it’s dry, which i like, but it’s also a little too heavy for my tastes. (probably) very nice with steak and mushrooms but a little much to have on its own. that said for six quid it is complex and good, strong (13%) dinner wine so i’d definitely get it again. 4ish out of five?

games, Popojojo, writing

One Player Game Jam!

i haven’t seriously worked on my games in a little while because my day job has taken priority over the last few weeks so i decided to make up a challenge for myself. starting at 8:00 AM GMT tomorrow and ending Sunday morning, i’m gonna do a one-person, 72-hour game jam. i’ll be posting updates on twitter using the hashtag #oneplayergamejam, as well as some gameplay and design videos on youtube.

the primary goal of this exercise is gonna be to build out Popojojo so i can demo some of the core movement mechanics, including double-jumping, floating, and sliding (a la the Rayman music levels, not as an attack move). the stretch goals beyond that include some sort of menu, a completely redone landscape (using an actual Unreal landscape rather than simple sprites) and some music and sound effects. they’re just some small steps and the game won’t be anywhere near completion at the end of it, but i think it should be fun, and should hopefully get the project up to where i want it to be.

 

reviews, weed, writing

Loveburgh CBD Citrus Vape

is great! i got it a little while ago and have been meaning to write about it but it sort of just slipped my mind.

as i’ve written previously, i love weed, and my favorite strain is Critical Kush precisely because of its high CBD content. i haven’t been able to smoke in a while but i wanted something that could at the very least approximate some of the pain-and-anxiety relief i get from weed, and vaping CBD has turned out to be just the thing.

the main thing almost everyone writing about CBD will tell you is that ‘it doesn’t get you high’, which, ok, yeah sure it doesn’t induce the same kind of ‘head high’ or lateral thinking that i get from THC, but getting almost instant pain relief and a marked reduction in my anxiety sure as fuck feels like a kind of high to me. as i’ve noted before, CBD on its own doesn’t replace weed, particularly as it relates to doing creative work (i like smoking while i write) but it does make me feel comfortable enough to work in the first place, and has done wonders for my extensive collection of repetitive strain injuries.

i got this bottle online from ScotHemp, but since then i’ve seen people selling Loveburgh stuff around town. this is only the second CBD vape juice that i’ve tried, but it’s extremely good and leagues better than the first one. the first one i ever tried was mango flavored and kind of cheap, with distinctly plastic-y undercurrents. almost immediately i could tell that the Loveburgh fluid was of a dramatically higher quality. it’s ‘citrus’ flavor, which in practice means a kind of woody lemon. it’s not overly sweet but the citrus scent is nice and crisp, and the vapor is wonderfully smooth. from start to finish it just tastes ‘natural’, in that you can only ever taste food flavors, with none of ‘chemical’ notes that i’ve gotten from a lot of different flavored vapes.

i’m still on my first bottle but i think next i’m going to try their Cedar Blend because i’m really curious what a more savory flavor might be like. i really can’t overstate how high quality this is. like, i prefer to use soap from Lush and i sort of feel like in terms of vape fluid Loveburgh is a comparable operation in terms of quality ingredients and execution.

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[bottle pictured above with my Scottish nationalism Pusheen]

beer, drinking, reviews, writing

beer review! Loch Lomond Brewery Silkie Stout

the bottle includes the following tasting notes:

A rich chocolate stout with subtle hints of coffee and orange.

as well as a brief summary of what silkies/selkies are:

Silkies (or selkies) are mythological creatures found in Scottish folklore. Silkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land to find a loved one. The word derives from earlier Scots selich meaning seal.

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personally i think it’d be better if the bottle had an actual seal-person on it instead of your uncle’s new ‘friend’ he met at Sturgis.20180228_22363221445529591.jpg

anyways:

chocolate-y with a really nice fresh nose, exhaling after a sip is actually very fresh and fruity. the bottle says orange but I dunno if I’d call it that, or at the very least it’s not ‘chocolate orange’. Like twizzlers almost? But also not cherry exactly. Just a very neat sweetness under your tongue. Lingering flavors of coffee and chocolate but with an emphasis on their berry qualities.

The texture is nice/fine for the flavors, not too heavy or thick and with a nice but not creamy head. Seriously this sweet flavor is so nice it’s killing me i don’t have a better vocabulary to describe it. all in all i really like this for a generally-drinking stout because it’s light enough to drink whenever (instead of like, after dinner or with dessert or something). 4/5

beer, candy, drinking, reviews, shitposts, writing

beer and candy review! Thornbridge Tart Bakewell Sour and Tesco Strawberry Flavour Lances

the beer:

golden honey color just hinting at red; you can definitely imagine pastry, especially with the nose and beginning, the sour really comes through after and is nice and fizzy.

the candy:
20180220_174308575823263.jpgwtf is this name? they don’t have gummy worms here, first of all, just gummy snakes, and then Tesco sort of uses a snake in all its tubular gummy things, like laces and ‘straws’ which are gross because they have the fake milk flavor.

the strawberry flavor comes through but it’s diminshed by the slightly plastic taste, which is what makes the strawberry laces good/gives them the right snap but here it’s a little disappointing; definitely not sour compared to the sour beer but the sugar/acid layer is satisfying — taking a moment to mourn real sour skittles that had all the sour dust and not these smooth-shelled impostors —

the biggest disapointment, obviously, is that the ‘lances’ aren’t hollow like the gross strawberry-n-milk straws so i couldn’t actually drink the beer through the candy. nevertheless, the combo works because the candy brings out the more vegetal/wheat/yeast notes of the beer while the sour fizz of the beer cleans the chewey plasticine from your mouth. good combo would recommend but maybe different brand o’ sour candy

candy, shitposts, writing

candy review! Marks and Spencer Fizzy Pop Sweets

these are wonderful! i already love soda candy, obvi, but these are extra nice because the sour powder is designed so there’s an actually fizzy sensation in addition to the usual ‘sour’ coating on candy of this sort.

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the ingredients include citric acid and sodium bicarbonate so it seems like maybe they only react once you eat them and make the fizz. it’s a small thing but i think a lot of soda gummies don’t bother with this so it’s nice that these do. truly the m&s difference.

bottlecaps appreciation interlude: my favorite part of trick or treating was getting bottlecaps and/or trading my chocolates and whatnot for other peoples’ bottlecaps, because those are one of my fav candies, alongside big sweet tarts, gummy soda bottles, OG sour skittles, nerds, and pop rocks. interlude over

also the flavor combinations are magical, because the assortment means you can make all sorts of extra bonus flavors, like cherry ginger lemonade or cherry cola and whatnot. truly a marvel of contemporary civilization.