Lachlan's misadventures in games programming

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Mighty Ascension of Jack

11/29/2011 12:16:00 am Posted by Lachlan , No comments
The Final Level So Far
I'm still working on the final level. I've started working on the next stage. I had a pretty cool idea of what I wanted, but I don't think that I have quite got what I wanted, and that it may not be as much fun as I'd like it to be at the moment.

I think I might need to redo it. I'll see if I can improve it more a bit later.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Mighty Ascension of Jack

11/27/2011 02:09:00 am Posted by Lachlan , No comments
Part of (the only designed part of) "The Mighty Ascension of Jack"
I'm playing with the idea of making a big final level for my "Jack is a Fool" thing. Now - it's still my intention that what I release will be only about half an hour long, and only a fairly short game from which I can figure out whether its fun, and probably release it as freeware. It won't have graphics that it would if I turned it into a longer commercial indie game. But anyway. I digress.

Big final level. Portal has a phenomenal final level. In it, you use all the puzzle solving techniques you've used throughout the rest of the game to be able to finish a big epic amalgamation of the puzzles. Something nice and final. I think the idea of ascending to the surface in Portal 2 is brilliant too, and feels good. So - I've been thinking of combining the few styles of puzzles I'm using into one big final level that will have hopefully interlinked puzzles, a couple of checkpoints and something that will hopefully feel like a satisfactory finish even if the game is somewhat short.

So far, I've designed the grand total of what you can see above. In reality, it's about a third of the length as I'd like it to be, and currently has about 3 puzzles in it - linked by the big lift in the middle. I think, once I've finished designing it (at least to some level I'm remotely happy with), I'll call my "designs before programming" a day, and start working towards making them work.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Teleporting Levels

11/15/2011 06:54:00 pm Posted by Lachlan No comments
I've been experimenting with an idea for a new mechanic - even though I haven't really done that much with the 'Stop' one. But I got bored with it - so we'll add more as inspiration strikes. My new puzzle mechanic is teleporters. You can see how they will work below:
The idea is that when he's in a teleporter, you'll see a 'ghost' of where he would come out. You push the button, and he will teleport to the other side, in the same direction and speed he went in as if nothing happened - just at a different place. So far, I've designed one Introduction to Mechanic level ("For science. You monster."), one easier puzzle ("Teleprompter") and a very suddenly more difficult level (I think) ("Tower of eternal telefrags"). I may do some more of them.

For science. You monster.


Tower of eternal telefrags.

A notable limitation is that none of these levels incorporate any of the mechanics (other then being squashed) from earlier levels. I'm going to try to do a couple that particularly combine stop signs and teleporters. I also think that there needs to be a bit gentler of a transition to Tower of eternal telefrags - so adding another level there.

By my (admittedly baseless) estimate, the level designs will have about 21m of Gameplay time. When I actually program them, we'll see whether my estimates are close or way off. I'll probably stop the designing of levels (at least as my primary goal) when I reach about 30m - it should be long enough to discover whether it is fun or not. Either way, I should possibly avoid adding more mechanics, and see if I can make do with the 3 I already have. Though a fourth would be nice....

9 Actual Puzzles
3 Simple "Introduction to mechanic puzzles"
12 Total
None of them actually work in engine yet - all just designs.

Update 7:48PM
I've come up with a level that is a bit easier, and uses elements from all three groups of level - it's below. It uses bits of other levels just a bit. I think I need a couple more of these

Monday, 14 November 2011

2 New Levels

11/14/2011 07:43:00 pm Posted by Lachlan , No comments
First new level

Second new level
I've got two new level plans done. The first will work, the second may or may not be finishable; I'll verify in the next day or so. Which does mean one thing: I'm back on. Friday featured my last exam for the semester, so now I actually have some time to attempt to get the prototype of Jack out.

So - I'm back to trying to design enough puzzles to make me happy enough to make a prototype. Problem is - I have no idea how hard they will actually be to play. I know I'm struggling designing them as I have no experience in Puzzle design before.

We'll see.

7 Actual Puzzles
2 Simple "Introduction to mechanic puzzles"
9 Total
None of them actually work in engine yet - all just designs.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

[Non Games] Movember

11/05/2011 11:03:00 pm Posted by Lachlan No comments
Me, on the 30th of Movember. Hopefully.
I'm going to digress slightly off topic today and make a small request:
I'd really love for you to support me in Movember, and donate money for a pretty awesome cause, and for me to grow a pretty awesome moustache*.

If that was enough to convince you - please donate online at

If not - here is the official spiel: 


It’s Movember and time to focus on men’s health. To show my commitment, I’m donating my face to the cause by growing a moustache for the entire month of November, and need your support. My Mo will spark conversations, and no doubt generate some laughs; all in the name of raising vital awareness and funds for prostate cancer male depression.

Why am I so passionate about men’s health?
*1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
*This year 20,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed
*1 in 8 men will experience depression in their lifetime

I’m asking you to support my Movember campaign by making a donation by either:
*Donating online at:
*Writing a cheque payable to ‘Movember,’ referencing my Registration ID: 807802 and mailing it to: Movember, PO Box 60, East Melbourne, VIC, 8002

Funds raised will help make a tangible difference to the lives of others. Through the Movember Foundation and its men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue – the national depression initiative, they are funding world class research, educational and support programs which would otherwise not be possible.

If you’d like to find out more about the type of work you’d be helping to fund by supporting Movember, take a look at the Programs We Fund section on the Movember website:

Thank you in advance for supporting my efforts to change the face of men’s health. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.  
So yeah - please?

* History will show I've tried in the past. And I've grown a bit of hair above my top lip. But I'll try! I'll spend my afternoons trying to push more hair out - and try not to look like Max Payne in his first games in the process!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Temporary Hold of Proceedings

11/01/2011 12:54:00 pm Posted by Lachlan No comments
I'll be around, but not particularly productive with programming until at least next friday (The 11th) - Before then, I have a 2500 word case study on the Carbon Market due Friday (which will probably be made available on Scribd - potentially after further research), Competition law exam on the next Monday, Property law exam on Tuesday and a Civil Procedure exam on Friday. Its unlikely I'll be doing much other then work.

Meanwhile, however, I think after this date, I'll set a deadline to get the 'first taste' version of Jack is a Fool out - and see if it's fun enough to finish and sell.