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Year 2 : Part 1 : 2009
  5th September, 2010
54 games. Last year I only managed about 30-odd, so I think that's pretty good going.
Sure, it might not have truely actually been A Game "Per" Week, but I did at least keep the ratio up.
If I hadn't taken the time out to build the framework, I probably would've actually achieved the target a little better
The stats show I was pretty much on top of things up until that point, but then things got slower and slower until my buffer zone was all dried up.

Anyhoo, this is a nice big lengthy retrospective, and we'll be looking back at each game, giving 'em all a fresh score, and seeing how it all tots up.

You can download each game by clicking their titles.

1 to 18 : 19 to 30 : 30 to 54
-=-=-

Year 2 : Part 1 : 2009




01 - Rock My Chords

18 August 2009


AGameAWeek Year 1 had just ended, and I had some relaxation time. I figured it was probably about time that I grabbed a "Plastic Instrument" game, and the cheapest at the time was Rock Band.
Having played the game to death for a few days, I wondered what might occur if I plugged the guitar into the PC.
It recognised it as if it were a USB Joystick, and so off I went hunting for a nice program.
On the DS, there's a 'game' called Jam Sessions. You hold a chord button, strum the guitar, and play along with whatever you want.
It's not really a 'game', more one of those app-toy things that you tend to get on iPods.
Anyhoo, a good hunt turned up nothing. A shame, because I thought that'd be useful.

What to do?

.. I began AGameAWeek Year 2!

I started WAY too early, and had hardly rested a week, but I was spurred on by my need for a strumming app!

The resulting "Game" does exactly what it oughta. You hold a chord button, strum the strummer, and it plays a chord.
You can set up the buttons to strum any chords you want, placing notes onto a keyboarded grid, and can even slow the strum down so that it sounds more like a pluck, instead.
It's fun to play with, but probably not anything that folk'll be playing with.

It's one for myself! But it works, and it works really quite nicely, considering I threw it together in next to no time at all.

The downside? All those guitar sounds (nice and crisp and clear) resulted in the game being a whopping 50Mb!
Aiik!!

Polish : 2

Nice and crisp sounds for the guitar, but the UI leaves a lot to be desired.

Playability : 5

If you can be bothered to set it up to fit your favourite songs, it's great to sit and strum along!

Completeness : 3

Enough for myself, not enough interest to warrant anything more.

Interest : 0

This game sat on my hard drive, but I don't think it ever reached anyone elses!



02 - Tetripong

25 August 2009


I'd had a comment for Centipong that suggested the game was quite dull, and that "I'd rather play Pong against Tetris"
Hey, who am I to argue!
So I set about bodging both games together, to see what I could make.

Tetripong turned out as a great game, but it has one very slightly annoying issue.
Actually, it's a pretty big issue, and it's one that I chose to ignore for a long long time.

BlitzBass, the music player I chose to use, annoyingly hangs the game if the player uses the window's close button.
To help avoid this, I slapped a giant "Not this way!!" warning over the screen if the player tried to close that way.
It kinda does the job, but it's messy.
And annoyingly, it's in a whole great big bunch of my Year2 games, because I never got around to fixing it.

Argh!!

No matter, Tetripong is awesome, and should be played by everyone!

Polish : 5

A great menu, a variety of graphics, and it even has shadows!!!

Playability : 5

Hey, who doesn't love Tetris! And since you can switch off all the "new" stuff, it's even a great plain tetris game, too.

Completeness : 5

More toggly switches than you could ever need!

Interest : 5

Everybody loved Tetripong, it got into magazines, and it's everywhere online! Although most folk complained that it wasn't very "Pong" like!




03 - Painter

1 September 2009


I used to love Painter on the BBC Micro, and wondered how much I could recreate that, but bigger.
In fairness, once I made things sprite based, rather than line based, I suddenly realised exactly how much this game was actually just a reskinned version of Oh Mummy.
No matter, the game played nicely, and I tried out a nice new "Zoom" on it.
The zoom turned out to be a little messy, and quickly vanished for a while, having left weird Floating-point-based lines all over, but it did vaguely work!

A batch of 16 maps in there, and it's playable for a fairly decent amount of time, but it's probably nothing you'd play over and over.

Polish : 4

A simple frontend with quick instructions, and enough to get you started.

Playability : 3

One or two plays is probably enough.

Completeness : 3

It's more than a little repetitive after a while. Lacking excitement.

Interest : 2

A few people seemed to like this, but again, it lacked a certain something.




04 - YBox

8 September 2009


For week four, I decided to try a nice slower puzzle game.
I love Yahtzee, so I figured I could do something new with that.
Placing a bunch of dice onto a grid, and giving the player some little post-it style cards, the game asked folk to organise the dice so that they scored as high a tally as possible.

The basics of the game worked, and everything seems to be as it should, but it doesn't seem to be as great as expected.
Not sure why..


Polish : 2

I missed a few obvious things, here and there, like the fact that even though it's a mouse based game, you still need to hit Z to start!

Playability : 3

It's one of those "Should play well, but doesn't" sort of games. Maybe it would play better on a touchscreen?

Completeness : 5

I don't think there's anything more I could've done.

Interest : 1

A couple of people enjoyed the strategic qualities of the game, but overall people agreed that it wasn't suited to a mouse.




05 - JNK Sokoban

22 September 2009


I released a quick Java port of Sokoban, which wasn't anything special.
It'd already done the sprites for the PC and DS versions, so it was a simple case of flinging all the bits together, and desperately trying not to kill Java in the process.
Worked out nicely.
Did it's job.

Nothing special!

Polish : 1

Just the game and a menu! I didn't really bother making this anything special.

Playability : 2

This is as playable as Sokoban usually is. I don't like Sokoban!

Completeness : 3

90 packs, each with 5 levels. Crumpets!

Interest : 2

Most people enjoy the fact that this is playable, and not horrible, slow and unplayable like some other Sokoban clones.





06 - Webding Fighter

22 September 2009


Here's an example of what can go horribly wrong, during AGameAWeek.
One of the main issues is lack of testing, especially getting other people to test things.
This is mostly a timeframe issue, whereby I'd start a game a little late in the week, and leave myself no time for getting things properly tested before having to post the game.

Webding Fighters took this to the extreme. As I was building the game, I took the logical step of making everything shootable, but anything "with a person in it" could be collected, to save the people inside.
Makes sense, right?
Fire Engine, save it. No smoking sign, shoot it. Boat, save it. Eyeball, shoot it. School Bus, save it. Chilli, shoot it.
The list goes on, and it made sense while I was making it, and it made sense as I was testing it.
But.. BOY, is that ever complicated!

Trying to play it now, it's like a bizarre mismash of horrible white splodges that fly across the screen looking all baffling and obscure.

Tried/Failed..

Polish : 3

Looks ok, for what it is, but it's nothing, so it doesn't!

Playability : 0

If you can sit down and try to figure it all out, it's ok. But I wouldn't bother!

Completeness : 3

Perhaps if the game slowly built up, per level, rather than instantly throwing everything at you, all at once?

Interest : 0

The complete unplayability of the seemingly random goody/baddy thing, made this game die a very quick and uninteresting death.




07 - Blockman Gets

29 September 2009


The previous game was a nasty case of overcomplicating things, so I wanted to do the opposite, this week.
Taking the basic Pacman formula, I wondered what might happen if you actually subtracted something from the game.
The thing I removed was the ghosts, and in it's place, I setup a "Don't stop eating" rule to the maze.

This is one of those occasions where planning wouldn't have helped.
Blockman Gets pretty much fell into place, with it's rules emerging as I played around with the game's engine.
The Target/Bonus system gave the game a progression feel, and a simple method of recolouring the level quickly, gave the game a much bigger feel.

Blockman Gets became an instant hit, and it's still totally replayable, even if you've seen the mazes 100 times!

Polish : 5

The lovely nice "fluttery" level forming effect made things look really nice.

Playability : 5

Just keep eating!

Completeness : 5

Everything's here, except the ghosts.

Interest : 5

This game went everywhere!!




08 - Blockman Gets DS

6 October 2009


Having proved quite successful, and simple enough to create, I decided to tackle a DS edition of Blockman Gets.
I had to tweak most of the game to fit, though, with the single screen mazes having to be entirely redrawn so as to span both screens, and take up as much room as possible.
I also needed to get rid of the lovely colourchanging lines from the PC edition, since I couldn't quite have that many colours onscreen at once, on the DS.
Instead, I crammed as many colours as possible, into a set of chequered tiles, and lined them up to give the effect of even more colours than I'd normally manage.

The newer bigger mazes mean the player needs to plan ahead a little more, with little nooks and crannies hiding dead ends that are unnoticable until it's too late, especially now that the game wraps around onto both screens.

Polish : 2

Much like JNKSokoban, this was a case of "Titlescreen/Game/Done". There's not a lot here other than that.

Playability : 5

You can't fault Blockman Gets!

Completeness : 4

This version is missing the boulders. It's not really noticable, but... ?

Interest : 5

Blockman Gets DS continues to get mentions months later. Perhaps I should do a bigger-better edition?




09 - Munky's Block

13 October 2009


This game started with me drawing a block that looked a little like Companion Cube. So, what the hey, I made that!
Here, you have to guide Munky to his exit, using his little Companion Cube (or Munky's Block!) to push buttons, and hold doors, along the way.
With winches, and keys, and doors and things, I really tried to make this game nice and adventurous.

Unfortunately, it only ended up ever having ten levels.

Maybe some day I'll make it beyond that!

Also, I think I got away without anyone noticing the fact that the background tune is a remix of a Pulp song!

Polish : 5

Fantastically polished, right down to the rhyming level descriptions.

Playability : 5

As long as you avoid the few Death traps on the later levels, you should be able to get through this game nice and easily.

Completeness : 3

Could really do with 100 levels. Without those, it'll never be complete.

Interest : 2

Unfortunately, this game never seemed to generate any sparks. Perhaps due to the lack of levels.




10 - Yip

20 October 2009


And here's a rushed game.
It feels rushed, it looks rushed, and by golly, it WAS rushed!

Yip must collect the frisbies, while avoiding the bird poo.
..
It's not very good!

Polish : 0

A rubbishly rubbish game!

Playability : 1

It's playable, but...

Completeness : 0

Blah..

Interest : 0

Nada. Congrats!




11 - Guesstimates

27 October 2009


I've always wanted to make a quiz-game, but trying to find oodles of question/answer packs is a whole lot trickier than it should be.
Luckily, Socoder has a daily Poll, and I was able to extract all the poll questions, all the answers, and how many votes each recieved, from the database.
I used these to make a simple little board game.

The player's roam the board from A to B, and as they hit each square, they're asked to pick the winner from the displayed poll.

If they're right, they get points added.
If they're wrong, they lose points.

It's kinda fun for 10 minutes, although whether it's "family" fun depends on how techy most of your family is, since most of the polls are about programming languages, and other techy stuff!

Polish : 4

Although the frontend is a little lacking, once you get into the game, things swoosh around quite nicely.

Playability : 5

Once you start, you'll probably get through a whole game.

Completeness : 3

Can't argue. Everything works as it should. A better menu, perhaps!

Interest : 0

Another dud, it seems. Hey, I liked it!




12 - Blockman Gets More

3 November 2009


As I was releasing Blockman Gets, I knew in my heart that it could've been bigger.
I knew that, given another week, or a whole month, Blockman Gets could've had oodles of extra gameplay modes, and rules, and settings and all sorts of neat features.

That's why I made Blockman Gets More.

From simple graphical updates, to added floor tiles, and much much more, Blockman Gets More became a huge game.
There's even a few tweaks to the regular gameplay, with bonus rounds, and lava that eats away your path.
And I even put Ghosts in, too!

More is more, and this is definitely that!

Polish : 5

There's a wanderable menu, full of unlockable extras, and it all looks wonderful when zoomed in!

Playability : 5

You could replay mode 1 to death, and then there's about 20-odd more modes!!

Completeness : 5

I can't imagine what else I could add to this.

Interest : 1

?!




13 - Ninja, Duck!

10 November 2009


Blockman Gets More had fallen flat. I'd spent the full week tweaking it to the hilt, and even gone as far as making a bitmap font for it, something I hadn't done since the 90s!
I really had no idea why that didn't take off.
For all intents and purposes, it should've.
But it didn't.

Ho hum.

For week 13, I just made another bog standard game, with a ninja, a duck, and a frog.

A really simple background, and a simple floor to match.

In many ways, this is very much like Yip, except with a sword!

Polish : 3

Everything got scaled up, so the "noise" effect on the sprites ended up looking quite nice.

Playability : 5

A nice and simple game that repeat-play's quite well. There's no real progression, so it's a case of High-Score, or die!

Completeness : 2

There really isn't much to this, at all!

Interest : 5

THIS one got the interest!?! Really!?! The internet is a fickle place!




14 - Firework Chaos

17 November 2009


For Bonfire Night, I made a nice firework based puzzle shooter.
Grab a rocket from the bottom of the screen, and fling it up to the oncoming asteroids.
Blow them up by letting go of the mouse button, and try to destroy them in a nice colour co-ordinated fashion.

The game plays simply enough, but it's all a little too cludgy.
I'd initially made the fireworks also disappear in a "Connect 3 alike" style of puzzle thing, but all that happened was you started losing missiles, just as you needed them!

I scrapped that quite early on!

Polish : 2

A nice enough swooshy effect, but otherwise nothing magical to see here.

Playability : 3

It's quite intense when it gets going!

Completeness : 2

It doesn't build up, there's no bonuses, it's just what it is.

Interest : 1

Flashy explosions makes people try things!




15 - Munky Blocks DS

24 November 2009


Having created Munky Blocks and Munky's Block for the PC, I decided to try and mash the two games together, to create a new Munky Blocks on the DS.
The game is pretty much the same as Munky Blocks PC, except it now has the doors and pullies integrated from Munky's Block.

Annoyingly, there's a bug in it that breaks the game, and I've yet to bother fixing it.
Some day.

Polish : 2

Everything's fine, up until that darn bug..

Playability : 5

The game is nice and runs smoothly.

Completeness : 5

I think I added everything I intended to. Maybe!

Interest : 5

It garnered quite a bit of interest from the various DS sites, and probably would've continued to do so if I'd have fixed that blinkin' bug!




16 - NeonPlat

1 December 2009


A simple idea from Authentic Kaizen (pixelprospector.com), who suggested I make a neon-styled Bubble Bobble clone, with moving platforms.
I struggled for about 3 days to make it happen, and then decided to try popping Platdude into it.
A strange warped Neon-Platdude was born, and suddenly the game fell into place.

Hopping about, throwing balls and smashing spheres.

You couldn't fault it!

Polish : 5

Neon sprites makes everything that little bit more polished

Playability : 5

Playing like a brand new 80s arcade game, you could repeat-play this until your joystick fell to bits.

Completeness : 3

It's all pretty much done within the first few seconds. Nothing builds, except the peril.

Interest : 5

NeonPlat was a hit!




17 - Traffic Cones

8 December 2009


Having overdone things with NeonPlat, I took some time doing a simpler game. A car, a track, and a whole bunch of traffic cones!
Simply put, you had to race around the track within the time limit, completing as many laps as you could, in order to gain some bonus points.

I stuggled, for a while, trying to decide how to do a proper track, before chickening out, and using the "green dots" method of keeping track.
Basically, you drive near a green dot, and it disappears.
Drive near 'em all, and the game counts a lap.
Sometimes, though, this became much trickier to cope with.

If you missed one little green dot along the way, it was a killer trying to find it again!


Polish : 3

Nothing much here, but the traffic cone effect was quite nice!

Playability : 2

If you missed a dot, you were as good as dead.

Completeness : 3

Nothing much to add, but I did as least make a whole bunch of tracks.

Interest : 0

People were still playing NeonPlat!




18 - Greenie's LCD Adventure

15 December 2009


I remember once playing a Legend Of Zelda game on a watch. This game is pretty much that, except less interesting!

I took the time to build up a simple LCD sprite, which actually contained all the objects and sprites for the game, all within a really tiny single tile.
This tile is then repeated over the surface of the fake LCD screen, and certain bits of that are displayed as needed.
This gave the game a really odd looking LCD-esque effect.

Fun to achieve!

I later added an improbability button so you could actually see the game properly!

Polish : 4

The little buttons pop in and out as you press 'em!

Playability : 3

It all turned out a bit "squint"ish!

Completeness : 2

Nothing more added, but had I not been squeezing it all into a single little tile, I probably would've added a whole bunch more stuff.

Interest : 0

Blame NeonPlat, still!


Tomorrow, it's Xmas!

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Blog - Year 2 : Part 1 : 2009 - AGameAWeek