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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.


But I’m getting better now!  ;)


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Published on April 17, 2013, by in Games.

Sequels. I get requests for a sequel to something, like, every day. You ask for a sequel to:

  • 400 Years,
  • A small talk at the back of beyond,
  • Deep Sleep.

Let’s get through this together:

400 Years is a closed, complete story. I understand people like the idea and the game mechanics. I also understand people are disappointed by the length of the adventure.  Last time I said I’m not planning to make another instance of 400 Years – not because I don’t like the game or something, but mainly because I want to develop other ideas that I have. But, well… Seeing how many people want to play more of time-delaying game I might reconsider this decision. Although, still – a sequel is not very likely at this particular point. Maybe I’ll return to this later, with more experience gathered?

 A small talk at the back of beyond. Well, what can I say. No, there will be no direct prequel/sequel to this story. No additional endings because what is already there builds the entire story. Adding more would just render everything flat and pointless. BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not planing to explore the field of adventure games of this kind. I mean not standard point-and-click kind. I have some ideas that are – in my opinion – both original and interesting and I think you’re gonna like them. Will it be a typing-game? I’m not sure yet. But it’s going to be “different”.  Sadly, you’re not going to see it before summer – I have a queue of games that I need to finish before I start another project (but frankly speaking, I’m tempted to throw everything away and focus on this one).

Deep Sleep. This is the one you don’t need to ask for. Yes, there will be a sequel to Deep Sleep. It is currently in production. Well, it has been since December, haha. But other projects – like 400 Years and A small talk – postponed it a bit.

I’m probably not going to make my version of Mateusz Skutnik’s workshop progressbar thingy (unless you really want me to :D) but if I had to do a quick summary:

  • [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓] 100% Story
  • [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓] 100% Puzzles
  • [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░] 99% Locations art – (still needs few adjustments here and there)
  • [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░] 80%  Animations
  • [▓░░░░░░░░░] 10% Items art
  • [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░] 40% Sounds
  • [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░] 40% Ambients
  • [░░░░░░░░░░] 0% Engine updates
  • [░░░░░░░░░░] 0% Coding

It might look as I’m hardly halfway there but it’s not that bad – locations art is what takes most of the time, at least that was a fact with Deep Sleep 1. Additionally, this time I already have working point-and-click game engine, I just need to update it a bit.

When are we going to see next part of Deep Sleep?

Difficult to say. I was hoping to finish it in April but now that’s impossible. So the next possible deadline is: end of May/first days of June.

As for now, I have 2 teaser screenshots for you. Enjoy! :)




One Way Dungeon

Published on April 12, 2013, by in Games.

One Way Dungeon

My recent game, One Way Dungeon, can be played on Armor Games and will be available on other portals next week.

The game itself – despite its simplicity – was another little experiment. This time I was checking two things:

  • How fast can I make a  decent, playable game
  • How good will it be

I’m not into Ludum Dare or game jams simply because I don’t work very fast. But as the March’s #1GAM deadline was getting closer and my current game was nowhere near finished, I decided to start a new project and finish it ASAP.

I never wanted this game to be innovative in any way, on the contrary – the idea was to create something straightforward (what can be more straightforward than a game with “One Way”  in its name, haha). Entertaining and challenging, a no-brainer requiring just some skill to play.

Perhaps I needed a break from the deepness of other games I was making.

The idea had to be simple – and one of the simplest games out there are avoid games. Making the dungeon procedural-generated helped me a lot, because it saved me lots of time that I would otherwise spend on designing the level. This was, in fact, the most interesting part of the creation process – to design a semi-random pattern of obstacles that will always be possible to pass. Always. There are no no-win scenarios, it’s all calculated – if you fail it means you just weren’t fast enough.

Infamous combo – enemy standing next to a pit – can be beaten if you properly time hitting ‘chop’ and ‘jump’ buttons.  And if you run in the top lane and the path switches to the bottom lane – you can totally make the turn if you do it fast enough. Even on the highest difficulty – why and how? Because the faster you run forward, the faster you move sideways.


I started on Friday evening and the game was somewhat playable on Sunday evening – but it wasn’t anywhere near the finished state. I’ve spent over a week more on tweaking and polishing it.

I’ve been building my own framework for some time and now I know what needs to be improved: UI management, all the menus screens and buttons – surprisingly it takes huge amounts of time to implement. This is because – like most of devs out there, I think – I postpone the “add main menu” task until the very end. 

This was a valuable experience for me, as I’ve learnt how fast can I work and how much time polishing the game takes vs. making the actual game.

And please – don’ t take this little game too seriously :D Just have fun playing