Three Games I Played Yesterday…


One of the great advantages of using Game Maker is having access to a whole community of amateur game developers, through discussion forums and Yoyo Games’ Sandbox site, where developers can publish their games for free. Yesterday, I had a browse through the adventure and platform games available on the site, and picked out a few to diagnose.

Nea’s Adventure

This game was created as a Christmas present! It’s a really short 2D Platformer with no serious side whatsoever. There are a lot of graphical references, such as the background tiles which are very similar to the Kirby’s Adventure tiles… and some original aspects, such as the health bar made of tessellated triangles which disappear when the character is hit by an enemy. The game simply plays from left to right in most cases, although there are a few hidden areas and a final “boss fight” to break up the monotony.

Good Points
Fast-paced and simple gameplay
Infinite Lives (character returns to start of the level on “death”)
Character becomes a fish underwater!

Bad Points
Moving underwater seems unnatural
Combo jump-attack is sometimes unwanted
Too short!

You can download Neas Adventure here.

The Adventure of Young Glubber

I decided to play this game base on its aesthetics (it had me at Gameboy Green), but I was happy to discover that its objectives are fairly similar to the game I’m in the process of creating. The “thing” in TAoYG must collect torches in order to unlock doors, some torches harder to attain than others. The character has a certain amount of hit points, which are deducted when the character is hit by an environment hazard.

Good Points
Torches animate when the character is near
No enemy NPCs
Skill and brains required

Bad Points
Physics feel a little unnatural at times, especially when jumping
Spike objects can damage the character from the smooth side

You can download the Adventure of Young Glubber here.

98-X

I picked this game to play as the preview images looked to be high quality. It would be incredibly harsh to call this a bas game, as it excells far beyond a lot that you find on the Yoyo site! But I was disappointed, mainly by graphical elements such as the GUI, dialogue boxes and 4:3 aspect ratio. Normal for these retro sort of game 4:3 wouldn’t be an issue, but I feel the quality of the larger sprites in this game should have been reflected in the rest of the game’s specs. As I say, I don’t want to sound harsh- at least this game uses original assets and sprites.

Good Points
Easy to control weapon system
Original Characters

Bad Points
Text boxes cover a large portion of the screen
Movement, especially triple wall-jumping seems VERY unnatural and difficult to handle
Graphically very boring at times

You can download 98-X here.

My objectives for this week are to “design and prototype.” I want to start getting level design down, sort out game physics and build levels, even if for now these levels consist of the Grandma Engine’s default blocks! These games have given me little bits to think about, like the sort of physics that feel natural to handle and nice graphical touches like collectable objects that react when you get near them. This week I am going to spend a LOT of time looking through images of Japanese country landscapes and specifically building design in order to create a good set of tiles.

I discovered this video from the 2010 8GB tour, featuring the Tokyo Blip Festival, which is an annual chiptune music festival. The video shows a journey through various parts of Japan, although what I love about it is the contrast between the bright lights of the busy cities at night and the calm atmosphere of a visit to the Shinto Shrine. This is the side of Japan which will be most frequently reflected in Hanami.

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