May's theme: Android!
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Although these monthly themes are mostly a motivator for me to make a game per month (I came up with the idea before One Game a Month was a thing), I'm sorry I'm a week late in getting this month's out there! My excuses include school (I should be writing a paper), work (that reminds me I need to fill out one more thing before bed) and preparing for my girlfriend to move in with me (I should also be cleaning right now). But as the One Game a Month slogan says: make games, not excuses!
So for those of you who follow these themes with me, this month the theme is: Android!
As always, any games tagged with this month's theme will be guaranteed a spot on the front page all month!
The theme was decided (by above-mentioned girlfriend) by a comment on the site's facebook page, so if you have better ideas for a theme, give us a like on facebook and send them my way! (Shameless self-promotion is one of my least favorite parts of this, ugh)
I came up with this theme because one of my goals for 2013 was to get more serious about Android development. I added support for Android games to the site, but I always seem to put off porting my games to Android for later. Well, that later is now!
We're halfway to this year's Ludum Dare October Challenge, where the goal is to make at least 1 dollar off a game you make. I've been planning to hone my Android skills all year in preparation, and after making a few games in libGDX, I might be ready. I got this book by Mario Zechner and Robert Green to help me. Plus with Ouya coming out in just a couple weeks, now is a very exciting time to start learning Android game development!
So, join me in diving deeper into Android game development! You can port existing games to Android (Processing and libGDX both make that pretty easy), or come up with a brand new Android game. Keep it simple and just get a circle moving using Android sensors, or create a bare-bones Hello World without using any libraries. I'd love to see the source code for any of those!
I'll take a moment to mention Sophie Houlden's fishing game jam at the end of this month: build a game, about fishing, in a week. That could be a pretty fun mix with tilt controls and a touch screen!
I'm working on a project involving data mining Ludum Dare contests. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have an application that uses data mining concepts to predict the performance of a new Ludum Dare entry. Should be pretty interesting! In the mean time, I've compiled a list of the top 10 overall rated Ludum Dare games of all time.
You can use this list as a "what to do" guide, or as a nice time waster before Ludum Dare starts on Friday!
Panspermia is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids.
In this game you launch asteroids at high velocities into unsuspecting sheep in an attempt to spread life to a targeted planet. Explosions ensue and many sheep are killed in the process.
An astronaut is stranded alone on a distant planet in an isolated star system and doesn't know why.
"Beacon" is a sprawling adventure-platformer involving SAD THINGS and MYSTERY.
The Voynich Experiment is a game that takes place in the scientific manuscripts of a mysterious 1600s scientist. Resolve the puzzles made of cells & science as the truth of evolution is revealed to you...
You have 12 rounds to accumulate more victory points than your opponent. At the end of the game you receive victory points for extra cattles, sheeps, grain and food.
You have to drag and drop traps on the road of the human tribe so they can never reach the meat.
Humans always find the best solution to reach meat, so you have to find a way to build an unbeatable puzzle.
Evoland is an action-adventure game where you start back on a very old monochromatic low-resolution computer, and then both the display technology and the gameplay rules evolve, (maybe) as they did in gaming history.
Day 4380 of your prison term. 12 years. And many more to come.
But something strange is happening today... A mysterious puzzle seems to unfold in your cell.
You are a pygmy from the paleolithic period and you accidentaly open a breach through time to modern days. This is a good opportunity to discover things and bring back modern concepts to your time !
(Drum roll please...)
A hero wants to steal your money, destroy your doors, and probably, VANDALIZE EVERYTHING in your brand new dungeon.
Yes, he does that, so you hate him, he hates you, YOU WANT HIM DEAD.
Invoke minions before he rampages everything in your dungeon!
Protect your precious ORBS OF TRUE EVILNESS!
Wow, deepnight not only has the highest overall rated game of Ludum Dare history, but he also appears on this list two OTHER times. Give him a round of applause, or shake your fist at him with jealousy, or a combination of both! In addition, Benjamin is also on here with two different games. Curiously, none of the Ludum Dare organizers are on here, despite consistently making great games. I wonder if they remove themselves from the rankings, or maybe people are overly critical of their games?
What's cool to me is that there are a bunch of different types of games here, and a couple of them have "programmer art", which we're all familiar with. It's also interesting that they all come from a few Ludum Dare events. I wonder if people were more happy with some themes than they were with others?
Anyway, I need to get back to work on my data mining project, but enjoy these games and get pumped up for Ludum Dare in 4 days!
I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I'm pretty excited to dive back into programming after taking a month off drowning in schoolwork for a month.
After seeing all of the great games people created for the Global Game Jam and One Game a Month, and realizing that most of those games use Unity, or Game Maker, or Flash of some kind, I started to get a little down on Java and Processing. Those other game engines seemed so much easier to use and faster for game making.. have I been approaching things the wrong way? Should I abandon Java for my personal projects and start learning Unity?
Oh no, existential crisis!
After some soul searching, I've come to a conclusion: those game engines and frameworks might be great for making games, but they aren't good at much else. This isn't a criticism of those engines or people who use them; they're great at what they do! But they also make it pretty hard to expand your horizons beyond making games.
That might not seem like a big deal, especially because games are so fun to program- but what happens when you have an idea for an awesome new application, or want to pursue a career doing "real" programming? Experience with game engines is definitely a great first step, but Java is much better at creating interactive user interfaces and running heavy-duty algorithms. But Java is also accessible enough that you can actually get work done without worrying about segfaults and memory leaks! So Java makes a perfect middle ground that blends the accessibility of gaming frameworks with the utility of being a "real" programming language.
I'm living proof of this- my day job consists almost entirely of programming in Java Swing, and I promise that we wouldn't be able to do the things we do if we were using html5, Unity, or even C++. I'm also pursuing a Master's degree in Computer Science, and my Java knowledge has definitely been an advantage, even when surrounded by people who are much smarter than me at everything else. Not to mention this entire site is running Java on the server's side- I doubt I could have created an interactive website using Unity! Plus, with things like libGDX, Java is a powerful game engine in its own right.
So, my Java experience is a huge benefit, from work to school to my spare time. For example, I have an idea for a little Android App, and my experience with standard Java means that it should be pretty easy to dive into programming the user interface and supporting algorithms for it, since Android *is* Java. Compare that to somebody coming from a Unity background, and I think Java has served me well. Now I just need to find a free weekend!
After all that, I'm sticking with my original plan of catering this site to people who have learned a little Java either from school or futzing around on their own, using game programming as a fun transition into more advanced programming concepts. Processing is a great way to explore the fundamental concepts, but I still believe that the heavy lifting requires an eventual shift to Java. I believe that approach gives you the most freedom to pursue games, applications, or even server-side or back-end algorithm development. Why limit yourself to just one style of programming?
Hooray, existential crisis averted!
With all of that in mind, April's theme is: APPLICATIONS!
I love programming and playing games, but I get a real thrill from creating an application that's actually useful. I get way more emails from people using a few applications I've released into the wild than I do for any of the games I've done or even this site. I'm also a little sick of the rampant copying with games lately- I can go on the Android marketplace and find a million infinite runners thrown together in a game framework, but I'm much more excited to try creative new applications like GoToX. More to the point, not all of the ideas that pop into my head are related to games. So, expand your horizons! Create an application- it could be an Android app, a desktop application, an interactive webapp, or something else entirely!
Create a music player, an image editing program, a visualization of some interesting data, a quiz, an alarm clock, or something that you could use in your everyday life. Create an application that makes game programming easier (like the libGDX setup ui), or something you can use at work. Use the Java APIs that Twitter, Netflix, Google, Amazon, or Facebook offer to make something based on a service you already use. Make a web crawler that downloads the thumbnails from your favorite game jam and stitches them into a desktop background. Create a weather program (like this one made by a guy I knew in college), some mapping software, or use GPS tracking. You could even create an application that can help with this website- I'd love a nice Java uploader (like facebook uses for its images!), haha.
I'll be creating a webapp that uses data mining to help create better Ludum Dare entries (just in time for the next competition). The possibilities for creating applications go far beyond the typical calculator applications you might see in school (although a calculator that helps me pay back my student loans more effectively would be a life-saver, heh).
You can use Java Swing (it's what I'm best at), or Android Java (it's what I want to get better at), or Processing (which is great for visualizing data) to create applications. Having some game-like stuff in your application is great, but try to think outside the game box!
As always, tagging your program as "app" or "application" will get you a link on the front page throughout all of April. Get creative! Get useful! Get programming!
This month is the site's first birthday. Happy birthday, Static Void Games!
In the last year, it's been pretty amazing to watch this little site go from a daydream to something that other people might actually find useful. The next year should be even more amazing!
In celebration of our first birthday, March's theme is: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
During March, any games tagged with "Happy Birthday" (without the quotes) will be automatically placed on the front page!
Create a game about planning and pulling off of a surprise party, or about a character whose birthday goes wrong - or right. Make a game about baking a cake, or blow out some virtual candles. Gamify the happy birthday song, or add some party hats to the characters in one of your existing games. Recreate your favorite birthday present or memory, or make a game about being born, reincarnating, or getting old. Use your imagination; it's a celebration!
Thanks for an awesome year, and thanks for celebrating Static Void Games's first birthday!
I finally made sort of a game that mostly works! Yay!
Programming is something I've been thinking about learning for a long time. I remember two summers ago watching Kevin make a game for Ludum Dare using Processing and it was the first time I paid any attention to code at all. I literally had no idea what anything meant. I wanted to change that, but I didn't exactly know how to go about it, and that goal got shifted to the bottom of my list of things to do. I'd been thinking about it more recently, but was still lacking motivation... until the colour theme was announced. I came up with this great idea of making a game that starts out black and white and as the character goes through each level, you gain a new color. Pretty cool! And it can't be that hard, right? Ha.
So, I started going through some Processing tutorials and got super excited when I could make some different colored circles on the screen. But I eventually came back to reality and realized that you can't go from below-zero knowledge to advanced color Mario games in a month. There is so much work that goes into every tiny step of making a game. And even when you have all the tiny steps, it usually doesn't work the way you want it to. So I decided to follow Kevin's advice and shoot for something a lot simpler. So I made this Pong game that changes colors every once in a while. I thought it would be super easy. It was not. Having something that should work, not work, is incredibly frustrating. It's also very strange to have a problem that you have to solve yourself. There is no right answer to look up, or a specific way of doing something. Your solution has to work for your code, which is very different than the kind of thinking I am used to.
Anyways, kudos to anyone who regularly programs and does not punch anyone in the face in frustration:) Hopefully I can do the same and maybe work myself up to my original colour idea eventually!
Static Void Games - Play, Learn, Create!