Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
I did Ludum Dare once, where you make a game in a weekend, and it taught me loads about how to be ruthlessly efficient and cut things before you waste time on them. I’ve skipped every game jam since then, and every event except the IGF, to focus on Gunpoint.
This weekend, though, I’m letting myself do one. Because a) I made loads of progress on Gunpoint last weekend, and am very close to being able to show you a new feature I haven’t announced yet, and b) this will probably be the only chance I ever get to legally make an Adventure Time game.
It’s the Fantastic Arcade Game Making Frenzy, and this year’s theme is Pendleton Ward’s amazing cartoon Adventure Time. Pendleton himself gives the bizarre opening talk, and the organisers say you’re allowed to use any Adventure Time assets in your games.
I want to make a game where you play as Jake, the magical stretchy dog, and have to co-operate with an AI-controlled Finn. It’s 11am on day one, and here’s what I have so far.
I’ll update this post as I go.
1pm. Goddamn it.
4.30pm. Got the main ability in there. I love Finn and Jake’s relationship on the show, so I want to make a game where you’re constantly helping each other out. This is how you help Finn:
How Finn helps you is what I’m working on next. Trying to figure out a way to represent it that doesn’t need too many frames of animation, because these sprites take a while to make.
9.15pm. Paint Shop Pro 9 – at this point in my life, it’s easier to learn a foreign language than a new image editor.
Most of the rest of the stuff I’ve done since 4 is making what I showed you at 4 actually work when you play around with it. In that build nothing was even solid to Jake. Now it’s got gravity, collision, and feels quite nice to mess around with.
Hoping to get some rudimentary combat in today – if I do, that leaves me with loads of time tomorrow for making levels, enemies and systems, which is where it might get really cool.
As you can see, it’s not particularly robust yet. But the main thing I needed to know was whether I can get away with just two frames of animation for Finn’s combat, and I reckon I can. For a while, it was looking like animating Finn was going to be game-scuttlingly difficult, so that’s a relief.
Lost a lot of time to three brutally difficult bugs today, but it all finally clicked together a few hours ago. Here’s a vid of one short level:
The enemies are robots that have stolen some of Jake’s… junk, so Jake gets more junk when they’re killed, and can stretch further.
Just after making this I got a random level generator working, and I’ve just made it so that the random levels get harder (and taller) as you play. Next I want to get some text-dialogue in there, then sound effects.
1.55am. Done! It’s called Jake and the Infinite Jerkbots, and you can download it from that link and play it now.
The fewer updates on Day 2 was directly proportional to the rising desperation to get certain things working – in other words, no time to blog. I’ll make one last video at some point, but right now I’d really like to eat and then sleep, so I’ll just give you a screenshot:
Lack 26: You could make it a feature, detachable arms.
chequers: FINN HELP ME
chequers: HELP FINN
Aks: JOO CAN DOO EET
Jory: This is looking fantastic, Tom! Surely you are a candidate for the fruit club subscription.
JohnArr: Oh cool you do awesome sprites now as well?
Kelsoh: This is actually amazing work, keep it up!!
All I have at the moment is a simple platformer, with tonnes of bugs :/
Looking forward to playing your game thought! :)
Nico: I wonder if having Jake's legs stretch back down would look better than falling.
Tom: Fantastic. This is seriously one of my favourite TV shows at the moment. I am gutted that the upcoming official game is to be released only on DS. At least I might be able to play this one!
Sam Richards: Looks great, how did you do the limb stretching?
Bret: So, that was fun.
And the little dialog there was felt spot on.
Adventure Time Game Post Mortem, by Tom Francis: [...] On the weekend of the 15th, Fantastic Arcade held an Adventure Time-themed Game Making Frenzy. It meant anyone could make a game with Adventure Time characters for the purposes of that compo, which is rare, so I did. [...]