Cards

Here is the current version (I think it's the 4th) of my Extra Large Octangular Business-cards.

  

They are approximately 1.5 times the length of an ordinary card, and easily twice the surface-size. The idea is for them to stick out and not just disappear within a card-holder.

For comparison, here is the first version from ~1.5 years ago


This is the first time I've seen them side-by-side, actually. I like how they've gotten more stream-lined, but still follow the original idea :)


Fireball Muffin Pony Adventure

I made a game about Ponies.


Took me about 9 hours. 

Go Play


-Matthias

Brass Monkey

Unstoppaball has just been released on Brass Monkey, a relatively new gaming-portal with a neat twist.

On Brass Monkey you connect your Android- or iPhone via wi-fi, and can then use the phone as controller. In the case of Unstoppaball, you control the Ball by tilting the phone.



Check it out!

(It's based on the free web-version, not the iOS-version, which you can still get here)

-Matthias

The Color of Games

A thought occurred to me: Can games have a certain "Color"? Not that they contain colors (everything does, after all), but that some games have a certain color that describes it, and between which you make a connection, as in "This game is red!"

I will try to attempt an experiment to convey my point. All the images and screenshots in this article have been blurred, in order to reduce them to a simple "blob" of colors.

I've noticed there are 3 broad categories of colorfulness.

1. Games with a certain color (or color-scheme) woven through them


A good example is Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is gold. There are no other games who do this, and Human Revolution practically owns it.

The combination of Gold and Black is woven into the fabric of the game, from menus to architecture. Not every level is gold, of course, but it persists and appears in a lot of different ways.

Here is a packshot from Human Revolution, which has been blurred.



And here is an in-game-scene.



Note how the color persists.

Are there more? Well of course!

In Saints Row: The Third, Like in the aforementioned Human Revolution, one color is woven throughout the entire game, seen in menus, architecture, clothing, and other misceallanoues stuff. Unlike Deus Ex, it's not gold, but violet/purple.


Here's Mirror's Edge. It has a unique combination of white and light-blue


This is always recognizable as belonging to Mirror's Edge.

Color is such a basic element, you can structure an entire game around it. Let's take a look at the recent Hotline Miami.


Look at the neon-pink and neon-cyan. What do these colors tell us? The contrast tells us this game is set at night (probably, mostly). It being set a night we can infer it is probably not a happy-go-lucky mario-esque-platformer. These neon colors are rarely used in children's entertainment, underlying the adult themes, perhaps also reminding us of nightclubs. I thought back to 1988-1993, when pink and cyan were en vogue. This could mean the game is either set in that period, or alludes to it, and will probably not feature post-2000-technology.

All this information. Gained from a single composition of colors. These colors are unique. They belong to the game, and its aesthetic.

Well, not completely unique. There is this crappy movie from 1987, whose poster I think was a deliberate basis for Hotline Miami.


2. Packshots/Titles-Images of games with a unique color


Here's the packshot of Left 4 Dead.



No other packshot uses this color. And while the dark green is not prominent throughout the actual game, it does appear, and through the packshot/title a connection is instinctively establiched by the viewer.

Other memorable "Title-Colors" include the stark white-black of Arkham City


And, for a lack of better examples, Left 4 Dead 2


3. Games which fail to establish a color


Another experiment. What do you see?


Packshots of titles which are highly similar and lack any meaningful or unique identifiers. These games fail to establish a unique color. They do actually have some color, but it's mostly Gun-Metal-Grey and Dog-Shit-Brown.

(Clockwise: Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warface, Medal of Honor 2010, Killzone, Gears of War 3)

If you look at these screenshots from afar, you couldn't tell which game they belong to.

Conclusion


Looking at the good examples, it is quite possible to see how a color can be the basis for a game. I keep thinking about centering a game around "yellow". I have no idea what could come out of it, but it probably would be interesting and unique.

Not every game has a color. Not every one has a unique one, which is truly its own. But the successes are recognizable from everywhere. This is an important advantage, and should not be unterestimated.

I'm going to start giving my games colors from now on. I mean more so than usual :P


Thoughts on The World is MINE!

Ugh. The World is MINE feels like it could've been so much better. More focussed.
Yet still people like it. Currently it's the 5th most-played game this LD, which is awesome :D

What went wrong:

Graphics

The style is boring. I feel putting a water-shader might've been a mistake, and the entire thing could be more comic-y. The buildings are ugly, the result of me being swamped with other stuff. The textures are boring too.


 

Difficulty

The World Is MINE! suffers from the same problems it's spiritual predecessor My Little Planetoid (from the last LD) had. Namely, it is too easy. You can just wait until the resources pile up, and then do your thing.

On the other hand, city-building-games like Anno 2070 (or Anno 1404, etc) have the same "structure". In those you can wait too until you have anough material. I'll have to figure this one out.

The first draft also had Enemy Agents, who would undo your progress. The got cut in the stress.

 

Inefficient use of assets

The World is MINE! Has a lot of single-use-assets. The models are used for one purpose, and then never again. All the lines describing the buttons (the narrative, if you will) were time-intensive to write and make witty, and are only used once too. In the end this led to bad 3d-models.

 

Unclear Advanced rules

The simple rules – hire goons, take over cities – work just fine. The more advanced happenings, like control of missiles and assets are a bit more complicated, and only explained in a text-box.

 

The stupid text-bug

I wanted to have two things (among others) in this game: A text displaying the city-name, and a planet that isn't a sphere.

After some deliberation after the event I realized that these exclude each other. To make the text not clip through the mountains I'd have to place it very high, but that would make it look worse. In the end there is no elegant solution to this. Or I just haven't found it yet.

 

Timelapse

Somehow I recorded less images than in the last videos. To counteract this I slowed the framerate, resulting in this "slow" video. Yet somehow it works. Kind-of.

Meh, you decide :P


What went right!

 Music

Almost forgot this (as devs are wont to do). I composed the track in less than one hour 2 hours before the deadline. And it works. It's pompous, and grand, and the march fits the "Evil Mastermind" perfectly.


I should do more music.

 

Goons

I am SO GLAD I re-named them "Goons". "Henchmen" is so boring (and exluded women). The Goons are named procedurally, with every Goon receiving a unique name. The name shows up when you hire them, and again when you send them on a mission.

 

"Writing"

This game may have the biggest amount of "dialogue" I've put in a game (I usually try to avoid long texts). The text-button-descriptions are the dialogue of an unseen advisor, and I'm satisfied with the results (people agree). I also love the names of the Evil Vehicles you buy (Buttercup, Purplepants and DeathRigible).

 

Pacing

The game starts slowly, and then picks up in complexity. A lot of buttons appear later, and buying the DeathRigible-Blimp allows you to see more cities, ramping up the challenge.
I am very proud that few people seem to quit the game prematurely (so far I can gather), which means they are eased in well (Nice work me! *show off*)

 

The DeathLaser

Till the very last second possible I thought whether to make it an Orbital Laser or a Lunar Laser. In the end I felt satellites would be too much like My Little Planetoid, so I opted for the moon-base (which, funnily, also appeared in My Little Planetoid). Reaction to the DeathLaser has been 100% positive, so it was a good decision :)

 

The world changing

At the beginning, the world is blue, and only your evil hideout (on super-secret Doom Island) belongs to you. But the more you advance, the more the world changes in color. Your submarines patrol the sea, and cities switch over to you, while auxilliary bases appear around the globe.

 

The Ending

After the world has slowly changed to become yours, the games calls back to the beginning. I still laugh when I see the final screen.

Go check it out, you might like it :D

-Matthias

Ludum-Dare Picks

Hey guys!

So I've rated 333+ games this Ludum Dare. Woo!
Here are some memorable ones.

Abrupt Salvation


You are an evil block-dude/dudette. Destroy the kingdom! Weirdly beautiful, and atmospheric. Very good use of Unity-resources.

I Never COULD Get The Hang Of Thursdays...


Array-of-minigames-story-thingie. Also, you speed-pet a turtle. YOU SPEED-PET A TURTLE

The Fall of Mr. Wily


This is one of the few games with a character-arc I've encountered. Excellent use of music.

Internet Avenger


You are the Internet Explorer, sent back in time, to destroy other browsers. Simple, but lovely as hell.

Seeds of Wrath


You're a bird. Piss off the scarecrow.

Mad Princess


You are the Princess, who actually hasn't been captured. She hasn't bee captured at all! Also, she's evil. Mwahaha. Lovely.

MARTYR


Hurt the cute guy to advance, but not too much. Too cute. Too much evil.

Vixen


Jerk Simulator. You are hurting your friends. This is too villainous. Seriously, I can't take it. You try.

Hell Guy Hells It Up


A game about sacrificing villagers and goats. Simple and efficient (also fun).

The World is Mine!


World-Domination-Simulator. You hire Goons and take over cities.
Hang on, this is my game. I am shamelessly plugging this! OH GOD SOMEBODY STOP ME

-Matthias

The World is MINE!

Ludum Dare 25 was recently, and I created The World is MINE! for it. It's a world-domination-simulator. There aren't many of those :)

Features!
  • The G.O.A.T.
  • Evil Bases!
  • Goon-Management!
  • A Blimp! (it's evil)
  • Laser Death Rays!
  • Kongregate-Highscore-integration 
  • A kick-ass evil march I composed in less than an hour


Currently it's the 5th most-played game of the 1400 submitted, which is awesome :D

Go Play | LD-Entry

-Matthias