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Gametober (31 very tiny games in October)

Started by droqen, October 01, 2021, 08:30:42 AM

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I recall starting from a place of 'swords', but it was videogame swords. Then I started to think very intentionally about 'real' swords. What do real people do with real swords? I thought about the value of the sword as artifact; how owning a sword might have been rare. Valuable. That thought never really went through, but I still like the thought. What is your relationship to this object? Anyway, today's notes follow:

relatable sword fantasy, not a videogame-wrapped version of another videogame fantasy. MAKING a sword? RELATING to a sword? sword broke

duelist partner



"I want to make a game super fast today! I should spend some time thinking about how to do it faster!"

No, lol. Rumination did not help. I guess it did help me re-arrive at some type of conclusion about accomplishing things:

Do them.



Wanted to make an "overworld" kind of thing, but I ended up focusing on style today. Thinking about LOOTBNDT's style.


Starting work on this today soon!


25. OPPOSITE (cont'd rough notes)
Webster's 1913:
standing or situated over against or in front; facing; a house opposite to the Exchange

- I love the phrase "a house opposite to the Exchange", and also "standing or situated over against or in front" lol

Extremely different; inconsistent; contrary; repugnant, antagonistic.

One who opposes; an opponent; an antagonist.

You are the antagonist. You're trying to kill the player, who has the power to save/load, as well as pause the game. How can you kill the player? a SHMUP, where you are the endboss?

Hmm takes too much AI?

Mirror, mirror...


Took about 3 1/2 hours
Focused on visual style for the first hour or two
Didn't have a game
Strongly resisted the urge to discard the game and instead look at what I had and see if some mechanics could be mined from the remains
Removed an entire game mechanic right before GIF/release. Feel good about my choice!


Rough notes:

27. Shovel
started at ~7:20 AM, no food yet
Vampire (Shovelheads)
Shovel hat - pretty silly wide brim, low crown hat. looks like it could belong in a Dark Souls game.

game idea - digging holes with a shovel (Link's Awakening) to find something? problem - what encourages the player to dig in one place and not another? what's the method of feedback?

game idea - side view excavation game thing? hmmmm minesweeper?

28. Mask
Putting stickers on a cassette tape, please


Today I made a cassette-tape-case-decorating game for use in the 'metagame' layer of The Droqtober Collection...


Okay, so I actually had the whole idea since the beginning of how to connect things up. I think this was an absolute misuse of 29. SCREECH, but I did just typo it as 29. SCREEN while listening to some Vaporwave Chill.

SCREEN would have been a highly appropriate prompt.


One of the things I like a lot about droqtober is that at the end of the day, I get to put the project down. It's done. This is a powerful way to control scope creep -- not as a production concern, but as an artistic-motivation-inspiration-fuel concern. When I went to bed yesterday, I knew I still had more left to do. When I woke up today, I knew what I was going to be spending the day doing, even if I didn't know exactly what form it would take. And I don't mean I "knew" like I know when I wake up tomorrow I'll make a new game... It's a much more restrictive knowing.

What I mean is that the Day 12, 28, 29 project was scope creeped as far as Droqtober goes. The work spilled over, and worse than spilling over from one day into the next, it spilled into hour after hour. Most of these games are done in 3-4 hours. On days 28 and 29, I ended up working more like 8-9 hours...

For a schedule without weekends, that's a lot. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, but I do want to acknowledge the amount of energy it took... I'm tired and I wouldn't want to work on something like this that lasts much longer. I'm glad it's done.


Also, taking breaks remains vital. More breaks, please!

I guess what I mean is that yesterday and today were stressful because I was spending a lot of time holding several moving parts in my head. Things were disconnected, and if I lost the thread they would never be properly connected. That's how it felt, anyway.

I'd like to keep things simple, to know how things are connected and to make sure it's not complicated.



A postmortem.

I've been making daily games for #droqtober for the entire month and sometimes I still have problems making something I like. Today it was an hour and a half spent on this snake thing. I even watched a very nice video about how snakes move. I enjoyed it, but it didn't make me feel like implementing any of it. I had this platformer, and then you had this sort of 'spinning in the air' animation when you jumped, and I thought, hey, that looks like a buffering/loading ring! Maybe I'll do something with that - a visual trick that makes your snake-in-the-air unexpectedly transform into a buffering circle, loading something. I implemented something and it gave me a headache, switching the levels while you turned into a buffering circle. I had done enough quick visual movement for #27.

We went for a walk.

On that walk, nothing game-related happened, but when I returned, I threw the snake platformer away and scribbled some careless thing, in red pixels:

I looked at it and thought: I like this. But what is it?
I tried making it something's head. Something's body.
Then I realized if I flipped it, it was a high heel shoe.
I put a leg in it, but the leg was too big. I wouldn't be able to fit a body.
I put a head on the leg instead.

And so, "You got the high jump shoe" was born.

P.S. shoutout to Control the Body which I played last night and was probably an inspirational factor, and also is good


my notes from early october 30, really just leading up to starting the snake prototype.

started 9:37AM
read poetry
started 11:22 AM — late
Inktober's official 30. SLITHER
slither. i could make a game of snake
that doesn't look it.
you slither through grass.


Earlier this month I was at Randy Orenstein's house for a game of Vampire; he played the game & encouraged me to playtest the game a bit! Today I playtested the game with Camila Kukulski and David de la Peña Frigolet, and it was great!!!

Some to-dos before the big day:

[28] - Encourage (or force?) case editing/customization

[29] - Indicate that items can be put down on the desktop
[29] - Larger offscreen album
[29] - Labelled regions on the desktop maybe?

[30] - Make the 3-wide hole a floor (it's too mean right now lol). The stairs need to be doable.

[***] - Indicate The Game Autosaves. That's important: You don't have to complete it in a single session. (Also, you don't have to beat every game.)

[19] - Is the hay necessary?
Should you win if you leave?


[18] - Art: are the walls too similar to the background?
[18] - Modulo warping could be more useful. Right now it feels pretty bad.

[09] - Redo spell icons. Star = Double Checkmark instead, and then have a normal exit
[09] - "G" = 2 or 3 arrows, like a recycling icon?

[21] - Make the opposing fencer not 'activate' until you're halfway across the field

[14] - Last level too hard?

[17] - Bottom path

[07] - Don't reset previous rooms? Hmm... I'm not sure...


I made a trailer today and tweeted about the game. I'm very happy.


Tweeting postmortem. NUMBERS.

It's very very interesting that 31 unmarked games got so many more retweets than sales! The announcement tweet got 119 RTs, and the game got 51 purchases, at the time of writing this blog post.

My theory is that the story of its creation is more compelling than that of buying and playing it -- as interesting as it is to ME to design and play a game like this, something that asks me to make decisions about what to play and what to trash, it's not this hugely immediately compelling "I HAVE TO PLAY THIS" feeling like Cruel World was.

But, the tale of a droqen who worked hard for 31 days, doing the impossible, and coming out on the other side with a finished game, that's hugely immediately compelling! Maybe I should have stuck with that angle for the itch page? I dunno, fuck the numbers! I'm happy with it :)


Also possible: these are normal numbers and CW was extra weird because of the Timing Constraint. Buy and play it now, or miss out forever?


ALSO possible: It's because I put the link in a separate place from the trailer, like in a second tweet rather than the same one? I really don't know!