Monthly Archives: April 2015

My entry for Ludum Dare 32: Death Cycle – Links & Post Mortem

TL;DR: Check out my game prototype ‘Death Cycle’ here!

It has been a long weekend, but I created a playable prototype under this Ludum Dare’s theme: An Unconventional Weapon!

You know what happens, when you throw items into a running washer? Always wanted to know? Transform this useful household utility into a weapon of destruction!

Get cash for causing chaos and upgrade your washer or buy even more deadly things to throw into the drum!

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Let’s do a quick Post Mortem, shall we?

This time I might have took on a bit more than I could chew, but in the end I was able to create a playable prototype; I wasn’t able to bring the prototype to the polished state that I would have seen it, but I am quite proud of what I have achieved in the little time I had available.

I have not worked with Unity 5 (or Unity’s new UI system that was introduced in 4.6) prior to this jam and encountered some deprecated functions and some UI behaviors. I still don’t fully understand every aspect of the UI (especially proper scaling of UI elements over different resolutions), but I learned a lot and I think I should be able to figure out the rest soon.

This time I also opted for plenty of sleep and a bit of social interaction during the weekend, instead of burning myself out. You have to allocate a whole weekend for it and if you burn yourself out, you will be pretty much useless on Monday or even more days, depending on how little sleep you got. I had to catch up with some work today, so I am glad I did not overdo it.

Taking a more relaxed approach somewhat forced me to go into overdrive on Sunday, leading to very sloppy code that would make myself shudder, if I was to take a look at it right now. I still streamed for the most part and enjoyed that. Thanks again to everyone who came by and tested builds for me!

Overall have worked roughly 18-20 hours on this prototype and if I would have committed more time to it, I definitely would have been able to polish the game a bit more.

What did I learn this time?

  • Focus on the key parts first. No really, don’t do too much cutsie stuff , before the prototype isn’t running. I know it is tempting to create a cute tophat for your washing machine, but maybe make sure that the game is having all the features it needs first.
  • Creating the 3D low poly assets and the artwork for the game was much faster (and more fun) than I anticipated. If you are willing to let mistakes go and just go with a not-perfect asset, you can create a lot of content in a short amount of time. A quick & dirty look can be fine, as long as it is consistent.
  • I really, really enjoy game development and I am gaining a footing with C# and Unity 5.
  • Make a detailed to-do list. List all the assets you will need and then work through them. You might think, this will just waste time, but if you have a to-do list to work through, you will less likely be distracted by another task or forget something.
  • Coming up with fun ideas before the compo started (see below), helped me to get into the mood, but also alleviated the stress of a “What if they pick a theme, I have no ideas for?”-scenario and gave me some time to get started with the game right away. After last time, where I had a total mental block, this really took the edge off.

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I will definitely try to participate in the next Ludum Dare in August and I look forward to the other participant’s games! (Check out ZanzLanz’s entry! It’s awesome!)

You can download the game or play the web version off it on the

Ludum Dare entry page

I also condensed 20 hours of me streaming and working on my Ludum Dare entry into a 10 minute video! Check out ZanzLanz, if you enjoy the music!

Ludum Dare 32 coming up: Theme Voting Finale!

This weekend I will be (hopefully) participating on the Ludum Dare 32 – the 48 hour game jam / competition with thousands of participants! I always get a little giddy when it comes to this time, and I enjoy participating in it and just finishing up a small prototype in this limited timeframe.

Currently the Finale Round Theme Voting is running and this is my first chance I got to look at some of the contesting themes and I will try to brainstorm a few ideas… Last time I waited until the topic was announced to come up with an idea, but had a total mental block and gave up midway. I will sit down tomorrow and try to come up with a few specific ideas, preparing myself for the weekend!

If you guys are interested, here are my previous Ludum Dare entries:

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  • Planetary Marriage Counseling in August 2014 with the theme “Connected Worlds” ranked #40 out of 2538 entries.

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  • Me & My Metal Detector in April 2014 with the theme “Beneath The Surface” ranked #157 out of 2496 entries.

Just like the last two times, I will be on my Twitch Stream the whole time and answer questions and let my viewers playtest early versions (if possible!), so make sure to say hi!

Update: If you are curious how it went on Ludum Dare 32, go ahead and check out my post about my entry ‘Death Cycle‘, which includes a Timelapse and a Post Mortem!

Twitch Plays Chess – Python Script for Twitch Bot

After having some fun letting my Fish Play Piano and then letting Twitch play some Battle Chess with OpenTwitchPlays, I figured, that I would get back into Python and write my own little bot. The NES chess engine of Battle Chess was not very impressive. After a long night and a lot of coffee, I had my bot running thanks to some tutorials and plenty of documentation on Python on the internet.

Twitch Plays Chess Screenshot

I took the scripts from Make your own Twitch-Plays stream by Wituz as a starting point and improved on some functions (like being able to join a different channel than your username) and console output. I then added my features for clicking and dragging to interact with the UI of Lucas Chess (Windows) as well as the required !move command for players to specify coordinates. The script does only emulate player input and can therefore not output and results or give feedback on false input other than the proper use of syntax.

To avoid trolling (by just restarting a running game), I have added a simple voting system, which can be easily modified. You can use this script as a framework for your other games by removing everything related to the chess software and modifying it for your needs. If you need to emulate a longer button press for your game / emulator / tool to react properly, you can add the keyholder.py as outlined by Wituz to your script.

I have run into some problems with Lucas Chess and its very inconsistent UI, so if you intend to run another chess software, maybe check out something that supports hotkeys, so you can ideally avoid the mouse inputs since they are prone to problems. 🙂 I would love to see someone else having fun with these scripts!

Python Scripts:

  • main.py – This is where you control your bot behavior and add / remove commands
  • twitch.py – You won’t have to modify this script, main.py requires it, though.
  • Software Used:

  • Lucas Chess (or the game that you want to play)
  • Python with PyWin32 (I’ve been running / recommend 2.7 for this)
  • The FANTASTIC Python IDE PyCharm