For the first time in our 4 entries to Ludum Dare, we managed to jam at the same location – at least for one day. Funnily enough, that took some time off our development time as we first had to fight an only partially working monitor – the first monster to overcome. Now to …
… the good
- Idea and gameplay. I think managing hydra heads with different types lead to an interesting gameplay and we are quite happy about that.
- Using libgdx and ashley. It helps to use things you are already familiar with and use library code you already created for other games. As ashley is concerned, we are still experimenting with it and component based programming is quite new to us (although already experimenting with it in LD32). The general design and organisation of code can be especially challenging.
- Graphics. The overall graphics and aesthetics are a plus for us. We both are no designers so everything that does not let you want to rip your eyes out is a win. (and takes a long time to create)
… the ok
- Game progression. As the jam went on and time flew by, there was no way we could implement enemies to spawn heads by damage as originally intended. So we settled for the easy way (the programming hooks were already there) and spawn heads on mistakes which added a nice snowballing effect. But we should have also made something score bound as the comments suggested because a good player will actually have to make mistakes on purpose to get a more challenging experience.
… and the bad
- Clearly sound & (the non-existent) music. It just was not enough time to search for good sounds or hope for the best in bfxr. To be honest, for us sound is the hardest thing to do.
- Fixing weird hotkey behavior in browsers. Especially the search-as-you-type feature in Firefox was a pita to deal with. As a quick and dirty post jam fix, we catch all key presses on the page which to be honest is quite irritating (no tab, F5 … we could filter them but i think it will do for now)
What is this thing?
Evolution of Hydra
As always, it was a great fun to take part in a #LDJAM. There is always a lot to learn. Don’t forget to try and rate our game.
See you next time!
It has come to our attention that we released our very first game called Cow Cannon more than three years ago. Many things have happened in the mean time – there is no way we can cover everything in a single blog entry. Let us start from the beginning by taking a brief look at the early days of concalf games.
Impressed by the latest Android handsets of 2011, we decided to take a closer look at creating games for this increasingly popular platform. Our first task was to evaluate existing libraries and frameworks. The main requirements were:
- portability: hide OS-dependent functionality and do not limit games to a single platform
- performance: goes without saying
- flexibility: support and not restrict development. Make it easy to implement custom solutions and do not dictate the ‘right‘ way
- avoid the Android emulator as much as possible
- open source: always a good thing if you want to know how something works on the inside
- good documentation, active & friendly community
libGDX seemed like a perfect match right from the start. With just a few lines of code you get a ready-to-use OpenGL context, followed by ‘you may use and extend the functionality we provide, or you can implement it yourself‘. This unique versatility combined with the possibility of switching the backend and running one and the same application on a desktop computer and on an Android device were the deciding factors. Choosing libGDX over its competitors is something we have never come to regret. In fact, libGDX just keeps getting better with every release. Thank you very much for this incredible library!
We finally had all the tools necessary for developing our game. The most difficult part of the process however was not coding-related. We are both software developers – creating game assets like for instance graphics or sound effects was and still is very challenging for us. The first release of our game contained very simple assets. Over the years we kept working on the graphics: add a gradient here or there, adjust the colors and add transparency. There are many tutorials available online that show you how much impact even the smallest detail can have.
Compare the initial version of Cow Cannon with the latest version we released a few days ago. Even though the game mechanics are largely the same – the game itself now feels way more polished. In case you are wondering: the old screenshots are on the left 🙂
We will continue to improve Cow Cannon and hope you are having as much fun playing the game as we have making it. Get the latest version for free on Google Play and SlideME.
concalf proudly presents: Cow Bale!
The cows have been collecting grass for months and were able to pile up a large stack of hay. After all this hard work, the cows came up with a way of defending their delicious property: While most of the cows are patrolling the field, the lead cow is standing on top the stack. It is armed with bales, ready to launch at any intruder that is getting too close. Unfortunately, the hay stack is standing in the middle of a large and empty field. Intruders can sneak up from any direction. Help the lead cow and tell it in which direction the bales need to be launched.
We are currently in the process of finalizing the gameplay and fixing the remaining bugs. Games can last up to several minutes, depending on how good your aim is. There are many different intruders with unique abilities, which make every stage of the game challenging and entertaining.
The game will be released in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
In case you missed our Ludum Dare 30 Entry, feel free to click the image below!
It was not the game we intended to make in the first brainstorm, but it is part of the #LD48 experience that nothing is going as planned, isn’t it?
Welcome to the new concalf dev blog. Here we will periodically post about our developments and what’s going on in the game of cows.
One step at a time, like this cow medic trying to find its path.