Grania Level 1, 40 secs of Gameplay

Video is sort-of self explanatory. Somehow I can’t stop myself drawing random tiles at the end of the videos, it’s just so much fun. Still can’t make a high-quality video 🙁

Changelog v0.06:

  • Implemented UI system (adaptation from an older game of mine)
  • Added first button which is the “Collectors Wand”. At the moment it just ereases but more to come
  • Gnomes now properly collide with fluids. Not jumping on them like solids but slowly sinking

Gnomes can take damage and go to gnomish heaven :)


Today I worked a bit more to implement some more game mechanics. Most significant addition is that Gnomes can now take damage from enviroment. In this level, if they step on the lava, it burns and then kills the poor gnome, sending his soul to the gnomish heaven. I’m too tired to post a video, but hopefully soon.

Changelog for v0.05:

  • Tile-aware collision to the gnomes so that they can interact with enviroment. i.e. Lava burns.
  • Tweaked the first level to make it less boring
  • Added some effects for burning of lava and angelic gnome (a.k.a dead gnome)
  • Added a reticle to show the tiles being manipulated
  • Sound effects for dying and damaged gnomes, plus exit door. Still as placeholders though.



First level, save the Gnomes from lava pits

It burnns!

Made a first level as a proof of concept. Here there is a small lava pond in the gnomes way and you need to open a hole in the walls to make it flow to the bottom.

Changelog for this update, v0.04:

  • Levels can have actual background art, not has to be plain back anymore.
  • Camera doesn’t go beyond the level boundaries.
  • Liquids and vapor (water, lava, steam, etc..) are now transparent.

Gnomes of Graina

So the game is shaping up. Inspired by this post on reddit, I added some Lemmings-like objective to the scene. Now in overall, you try to lead the poor gnomes to the safety by shaping the world with your “godly” powers. I’m not sure who are we playing actually, an old gnome-god or an all powerful gnome-wizard?

If there is anything you want to see in the game, feel free to comment 🙂

Today I added basic movement for our gnomes. They interact with the world, jumping over the grains and moving around. I also added a spawning door and an exit door to the scene. It actually is fun to play with. The addition of chracters to the game really increases the fun compared to a plain sandbox.

Here is a short gameplay video with a nice celtic music. In the next post, I’m planning to add an actual browser-playable version.


Graina meet Lemmings

It’s really helpful to make prototyping before actually starting to polish and optimize. A hard to learn lesson but of utmost importance for gamedev (yes, I’m feeling poetic).

Anyways, playing around with Graina, I noticed that it’s, erm, boring. Yes you have the sands and water and lava and other stuff but it becomes boring after a few minutes of play. Maybe this is the reason that the original game (Falling Sands) never made it big, like for example minecraft, I don’t know.

Now after a few hours of coding, I added a controlable character to the scene. I’ll either make smt. like a sandbox-platformer or sandbox Lemmings. And here are some screen shots (Couldn’t made a decent video on my MacBook Air, any tips?)

First we have the proverbial sandbox, then add some sand, some water and some guys. I managed to use the particles as a collision map thanks to the great impact engine I’m using easily. What I have is now running and jumping fellas in a completely dynamic particle-based are.


canvas1 canvas2 canvas3 canvas4

Graina – take 1

As with my new motto “no to graphics” I already begun fiddling with falling sands type game. The basic mechanics are not so hard, like making the sand fall and water to flow etc. To make the motion more realistic, I had to make a lot of tricks and hacks. By the way, it’s purely in Javascript and what you see in the video is a direct shot from the browser window. The speed is quite impressive, taking into account that the code is running in the browser.


Say no to graphics!

The single biggest challenge I have when creating a game is creating decent graphics. Many of my games has halted or took way long time then necessary because of this single point. There are ofcourse some invaluable sources like this where you can find some decent visuals for free but to make a complete game with a consistent style is quite difficult. Yes, you can find a monster animation there and a tileset here but most of the time either they don’t fit to each other or the sizes don’t match, etc… In any case it requires lots of editing with Photoshop and the end result is nowhere near a pro-looking art.

On the other side, there is the possibility to hire a freelance artist and have your art done. But this is also a little bit tricky. Lacking a proper budget and a project planning (hallmarks of ameteur game dev), which are two key items to work with freelancers, the end results are far from satisfactory. At least this was my experience during the few cases I tried.

The Zombar and the Gorillas project were all stopped due to the same reasons. I make the prototype with some placeholder graphics, and when it comes to add the flavor, characters, effects, etc.. the graphics come to haunt me. Just thinking about how to handle the visuals is enough to drain my energy which leads to lethargy and things come to a grinding halt.

Now I decided PowderToyto change my strategy completely. I’ll only focus on game ideas that could be implemented with minimum or no hand-drawn graphics at all. There are indeed plenty of titles that used this approach like geometry wars or the all-mighty Minecraft.

So the next game I’ll be working on is a falling sands type game. The need for art is absolutely minimal (other then some GUI perhaps) and the gameplay makes the real differance. There is already a modern take on falling sand named The Sandbox, which has still alot of hand-drwan graphics and nice visuals. But any case, it’s relatively nothing compared to many other titles with similar success.

So as a one-man programmer game dev, I’m starting a low-visuals diet. I’ll be posting the updates about my first game with this approach.

Gorillas Reloaded

Today I started working on a Gorillas.bas remake. A few days ago I wanted to play a game like Gorillas out of the blue. I could only find one game on Kongregate and another one in the iOS App Store. Anyway it’s really interesting that a game genre has so less remakes (think of overwhelming amount of TDs or match-3s), so I decided to go for it.

The work so far was really enjoyable. Let’s see where this wil end up. Here is the three days worth of work. A procedural building generator, angle and power meter. I also got destructable terrain and collisions up and running and hopefully get a working prototype in a week or so.

Remake of Gorillas.bas. Work in progress
Behold! The City of Gorillas!