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Don’t Escape – a story of a werewolf

Published on June 30, 2013, by in Games.

Don't Escape

Being a werewolf doesn’t have to mean being a blood-hungry beast that carves for human flesh. Wait, actually it does but that’s not the point. Being a werewolf doesn’t mean you are always proud of that fact. Sometimes, rather than praising the “gift” you just treat it as a curse.

Meet the hero of Don’t Escape, who is a werewolf with a consciousness. He doesn’t want to kill or hurt people… But, at the same time, he is not interested in putting himself out of the misery, ending all this. He still wants to live himself. Continuously on the run, hiding from hunters of all sorts, he never spends more than a month in one place… for obvious reasons. So there you have it. A background of Don’t Escape in a nutshell.

The truth is – I wasn’t planning on doing this game. I was going straight for Deep Sleep sequel last month (sorry to keep you waiting). The problem was: I broke my arm and while I could develop games, I wasn’t fast enough at it, with my hand wrapped in heavy, thick plaster. And since I didn’t want to lose my #1GAM entry for May, I decided to go with another game.  A short game, that I could start and finish in 2 weeks or so. The idea of using existing ‘point and click’ engine from Deep Sleep was quite appealing, but creating a whole bunch of new locations from scratch with broken arm – not so much. So I decided to make a “classic” escape game with 4 corners of a single room to work with. Then I hit my head against a desk several times. ME?? A CLASSIC??! NEVER! :D

Don't Escape

So I designed a “reverse” escape game. Using a werewolf as a main character, because werewolf curse provides a nice condition here – I know I will become evil when the night falls so I have to prepare now, while I’m still good.

Designing a reverse escape game was fun and interesting. I had great fun with it… I hope you will have/had even more fun playing it!

Just don’t hate me for hiding some items – you have lots of time to find them!

Well… until the dawn, at least…

PS. YES, there is a recipe for the potion in-game, I wouldn’t ask you to go with trial and error with that, come on! :D

Click here to play the game!

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A game controlled with mind!

Published on June 3, 2013, by in Other Stuff.

First, I have to say that this is not my new project or anything you can play online on Newgrounds. It’s just an old student-project I had at university, few years ago. Recently I was going through my old files (as I often do when my HDD space runs low) and I’ve found this in some forgotten deeply-nested folder. And because it is a game of some sort, I decided to share it with you :)

The goal of the project was to create a simple game controlled with mind – a game that could be played with the use of Electroencephalography – the measurement of brainwaves. Human brainwaves are a composition of several ‘layers’, each having a different frequency bandwidth. We distinguish many types of brainwaves: alpha waves, beta, delta, gamma, theta waves – each corresponds to a different kind of brain activity. Delta waves, for example, are particularly strong during a deep sleep :)

This project was only focusing on one kind of waves – alpha waves. Alpha waves, ranging from 8 to 13 Hz, have visibly increased amplitude when our, ermm, test subject,  blocks their visual perception (aka closes eyes) and/or relaxes.

Using simple words, if user (player?) of our game enters a relaxation state, we should be registering “stronger” alpha waves.

a game controlled with mind

The whole project required an EEG cap – which basically is a net of electrodes that measure voltage fluctuations along the scalp. The cap, along with its interface, was a property of the Institute of Electronics at Lodz’s Technical University. The fact that it’s not something people have in their homes is the main reason I won’t be releasing Flash version of this project any time soon :P

The way this game worked was really simple: it registered electric activity from the EEG cap and filtered it so only alpha waves lengths were left from the entire spectrum. Captured values were also normalized to compensate any electric activity coming from muscle movements in player’s body. And this was basically it. A ball slowly falling from top was presented on the screen – player had to position a “basket” (which was, by default, closed) under the ball using mouse or keyboard and close their eyes/relax to let the “basket” open and catch the ball. To make things more stable and less random, there was a “progress bar” that filled during about 3 seconds while alpha waves were over the threshold and slowly emptied otherwise – so to open the basket player had to maintain their alpha waves high enough for about 3 seconds… and then keep it open (by not letting the progress bar empty) until the ball reached the basket. 

Game had to provide player with audio feedback – because of alpha waves nature, the easiest way to play was to close eyes. So, player got a calming, “glimmering” sound when game was detecting high enough alpha waves and a fanfare/fail sound whether the ball had entered the basket or not.

Boom, nailed it!

The project was coded in C++ and EEG interface was connected via good old COM port. Everything here was simple, a bit crude and basic… But it worked and I can say that in my life I’ve done a game controlled with mind :D

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Primal Sands – My first shooter game

Published on May 29, 2013, by in Games.

Primal Sands Just a quick note to let everyone that might have missed it know – Primal Sands, my #1GAM April’s entry is available to play on Newgrounds, Kongregate and ArmorGames.

So, what is it about? As the story goes, your ship has crash-landed on an unknown desert planet. Use your MPTU (Multi-Purpose Tank Unit) to repair your vessel and defend it from attacking alien life forms. So, you have your crashed ship, your tank vehicle, a top-down view and a desert map which is going to be swarming with hostile, acid-spitting aliens in a matter of minutes.

Primal Sands - Screenshot 1

Of course, killing monsters requires proper equipment – and while you start your fun with a simple gun and a welding torch, you’ll soon be upgrading your gear: you can have a shotgun, a machine gun, missile launcher and a “sentry dispenser” which basically lets you shift this game towards Tower Defense kind of fun. Besides of that there are some other upgrades available, like health regeneration and tank’s speed. Everything is acquired with use of a special currency – mysterious energy crystals that for some reason grow inside the aliens that attack you. Who knows… maybe it’s those crystals what makes them so angry and hostile?

It’s my first shooter game – believe it or not – I haven’t done anything with guns and bullets before. There’s a first time for everything, right? Something I felt I had to do in order to learn about games from that angle.

Primal Sands - Screenshot 2

Results are quite interesting: I’ve learned that the hardest part of creating a game of this kind was not the engine or enemies AI, but actually balancing everything in order to make the game with a proper difficulty level – not to easy and not to hard. Because of the nature of the game, it was impossible to predict what upgrades is player going to buy and in what order… and it didn’t make things easier. Even a slight modification in enemies speed or health resulted with a chain reaction that caused the gameplay to change drastically. I knew balancing things is not easy – but to be honest I though this problem only concerns games where PvP is involved. Well, surprise, surprise.

The game was inspired by ArmorGames’ Baloon in a Wasteland – I liked the idea of repairing the “base” while being attacked by incoming waves… It adds a bit of time-management  – which is a useful skill for everyone to learn :D It sounds much more challenging than just dealing with waves, because in Primal Sands enemies don’t wait till you kill their predecessors. If you are slow with your trigger finger it is possible for waves to overlap – and while there is a limit for maximum number of enemies in-game at once (200 if I remember correctly), you are going to get a constant stream of monsters to kill if you’re doing it too slow (which, again, influences the difficulty level a LOT).

Primal Sands - Screenshot 3

To tell the truth, I’m not sure if shooter games is something that I’ll enjoy doing. Sure it was interesting… as the learning process was involved. But in the long run? I’m not sure if that’s my favorite type of games to make. Well, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to see anything like this from me in the future – I’m just  saying I enjoyed making adventure/puzzle games more than this… At the same time, I wouldn’t finish making Primal Sands if I wasn’t enjoying it at all!

Closing disclaimer: I know this note is a bit late (game has been developed in April and now it’s almost June) – that’s because I had a small accident involving a bicycle, hospitals and broken arm.

Ouch!

But I’m getting better now!  ;)

 

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