Introducing Runes of Runeterra - A Love Letter to Riot Games

This was originally a reddit post:

http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/2m7ovq/introducing_runes_of_runeterra_prealpha_a_digital/

But I've copied it here for safe keeping and future reference.

I've also included [this list] of games that I've played in the past 6 Months, since a link to this page was submitted as part of an application.


TL;DR: I made a game and i'd love for your guys to play test it and give me feedback. If you want to avoid reading the wall of text and get straight to checking it out, there is a section right at the bottom of this post called Without Further Ado that you can skip to. However, if you’re interested in the design/development process then I encourage you to read on! (Plus, you're probably going to want to read the rules section too)

Hi Reddit!
The deadline for Game Design internship applications to Riot is fast approaching, but i'm based in London and likely ineligible to work for Riot since they don't usually support Visa applications. However, since I love Riot and League, I built a big mushy love letter to Riot in the form of a card game to deal with my sorrows.
Over the past 6ish weeks, i’ve been working on a project called Runes of Runeterra or RoR for short. Its a card game based on our favourite pastime: League of Legends. I am definitely not the first person to design a card game based on LoL, but gosh darn it I love Riot so much I went ahead and made one anyway. Take a look!




A Brief Summary of the Game

Runes of Runeterra is based on the premise that something extraordinary has happened during the summoning process and you, the summoner, have temporarily been granted an unstable amalgamation of all champion abilities.
RoR is a 1 vs 1 duel. You build a deck out of individual champion abilities, perhaps from your favourite champions or based on some theme or strategy. Then, you take turns to rain glorious magical death upon each other until someone dies.
The game is designed such that games can be over very quickly if you can execute your strategies without hindrance, and so ideally it’s played as a best of three.


Rules

Since I don’t want to force you guys to read, I made this video roughly explaining how the game works:


Note: Upon watching it myself, I realize making the video at 6am probably wasn't a great idea. I apologize for my exceedingly monotonous voice, I really shouldn't have pulled an all nighter to try out the new Summoners Rift (for the record, it was beautiful and therefore \all #worth).
I've also included a written summary here:
RoR is played on a small board with a 7 Slot “Lane”. We place 1 token for each player in the middle of the lane, with 1 space between them. Each player brings to the game a ~40 card Deck, and a ~10 card Passive Deck.
A game of RoR then plays out as follows:
  1. Flip a coin to see who goes first.
  2. Both players draw 4 cards from their deck.
  3. Players chose 1 “Passive” card from their passive deck. This is an effect which persists throughout the round, augmenting playstyle from round to round.
  4. Take turns until either player is dead.
  5. During each turn:
    1. Draw a card from your deck
    2. Spend up to 3 action points by:
      1. Moving Left or Right along the lane (Costs 1 Action Point - 2 if Slowed)
      2. Playing cards (Must be in range, each with different Cost between 1 and 3)
      3. Performing a basic attack (Must be in melee range: On the same space - Costs 1 Action point)

Card Types

Cards have different types which alter their behaviour. Spell cards are the most basic, dealing damage if you are within range. Skillshot cards are typically more powerful, but can be dodged by discarding any dashing ability.Melee cards are similar to spell cards, but add to your basic attack damage, and require you to be in melee range to use. Buff cards augment your play for a specified duration.


Effects

There are some standard card effects in the game such as Slows, Snares, and other CC (if you are familiar with hearthstone, these are abilities like Charge or Divine Shield, which repeat often and are universally understood) as well as more sophisticated or complex effects. These are described on the card, along with relevant card stats such as damage, range or buff duration.


Design & Development

My initial designs were quite different to the current one. Initially the game solely consisted of play-and-counter rapid-fire ability spamming. With no concept of range or cost. Here are some old mock-screenshots for it:


I felt that this was too simple and didn't have enough space for varying strategies, so I recreated the game introducing this lane concept, I still wanted things to be simple but I wanted a system which could afford more strategic. I went through several design iterations, play-testing things with anyone who’d give me the time using paper cards and pennies as tokens.


This was where the concept of Passives was introduced, to vary the gameplay between rounds. Once the game rules were a bit more solid and the glaring issues with the design were ironed out, I got to work on development.

Development & Card Ability Ruling Definition Script

I decided to take this as an opportunity to learn Unity3Ds new UI system (4.6 Beta). I built a version of the game using the engine & C#. The card sprites were created using screenshots of the game client and a combination ofPhotoshopFireworks and Illustrator.
Developing a game which could handle hundreds of different unique card effects proved to be a challenge, since there are more than 600 Champion abilities It seemed infeasible to implement them all individually, so I created a small “Card programming language” called CARDScript (Card Ability Ruling Definition Script). Here’s a sample:
IF USER HEALTH <= 5 {
  USER ADDS 1 “Mystic Shot” TO HAND
  USER HEALS 2  
}
This is a card effect which when activated will add a mystic shot to your hand and heals you for 2 health (provided that your health is 5 or less). When fed into the game, this description will compile into a internal representation which does the correct stuff, and produces an in-game card description which makes sense to humans:

For those of you who are more technically inclined and interested in this project, I would be happy to write a CARDScript tutorial so that you can add cards to the game yourself. It’s not super hard to do, so just let me know if thats something you’d want to see.
Anyway, i’ve gone on a bit and its 4 AM over here in London, so:

Without Further Ado!

I've made an early Pre-Alpha version of RoR available below, it currently only has a small subset of cards (Two basic decks), single round play and no Passives. It features a very basic AI and no tutorial, you can play it in your browser here:
For an instructional video demo, click here:
I would advice you watch the demo/tutorial video before playing. But if you aren't bothered, feedback will still be useful for me to know what things are most confusing initially, so that I can build the tutorial with those things in focus.


Feedback

I would love to hear feedback! If you have some, feel free to comment! I would like to say that, even though this is a Pre-Alpha build, I would still be very grateful if you could point out things which bother you.
There are some smart folks who might see a piece of temporary artwork or a small glitch and dismiss it as “It's not even alpha, its to be expected”, but It would really help me out if you went ahead and pointed them out to me anyway. It helps to give me an idea of what the most important/obvious things are and what things need my attention the most.


Thanks

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope you like it! In case you are wondering how I learnt this stuff: i'm a 3rd year BEng Computing student studying at Imperial College London, (Hopefully moving on to a MA in Game Design next year!) and I like building games in my spare time. Most of this stuff is not super difficult once you've got a bit of programming knowledge (except maybe the CARDScript compiler, but there are tools that you can use to overcome the big hurdles there). If you guys have any questions about the dev process feel free to ask!

Project Clark - Formerly known as "The Adventures of Clark Doud"

Exactly one year ago (give or take a few hours), I posted this:

http://www.ticktakashi.com/2013/05/pre-alpha-peek-adventures-of-clark-doud.html

A little demo post regarding "The Adventures of Clark Doud". A Fan game inspired by Dark Cloud, one of my favorite games of all time. It was the first ever post on this blog.

Then a few weeks later, with no interest from anyone but myself, I decided to bury the project. That was, until last month, when I got an overwhelmingly positive response from posting this video:



I asked you guys if you wanted me to dig this project up, and I was hit with a deafening yes. My inbox exploded with people interested in reviving the project. Writers, Artists, Musicians and fans of the game bombarded me with support. So, I formed a team. We formed a team. We pooled our resources and got started on Project Clark. Not just a Dark Cloud "fan project", but a game that can really stand on its own and still scratch that itch that we have for a Dark Cloud 3.

For the past month, we've been working through concept after concept, trying to nail down an experience that we can be proud of, and recently we've landed on something we really like.

We've still got a million miles to go. Its going to take thousands of man hours to get there and we will lose some folks along the way, as we already have, but things are kicking off. As of this moment, all my other projects are on standby; this endeavor has my full focus. I hope we can bring you guys an experience that you'll enjoy.

I'm looking forward to another, more intense, year of TickTakashi.

~Tick

Wacom vs N-Trig - A Modern Comparison

WARNING: This post is long. I wrote this because I could not find an unbiased comparison of the modern N-Trig and Wacom technologies online. It was written in response to the artistic outcry regarding the Surface Pro 3. If you are an artist, I believe it is worth reading.

UPDATED as of 20th June 2014 to reflect N-Trig software advancements.
UPDATED as of 23rd June 2014 to reflect new direct Digitizer comparison information.



Those of you who may visit this site regularly will know that I am a game developer, but what you might not know is that I also do a lot of sketching. (Maybe one day I will post the stuff online)

Since I am a geek, I do almost all of my sketching digitally, which means I am always looking out for new developments in digitizer technology. This brings me to this post in particular:

Following the announcement of the Surface Pro 3, many artists were shocked and disappointed by the news that the SP3 would be using N-Trig technology rather than Wacom technology like the SP2. This is a perfectly understandable reaction, considering how the two have compared historically. A year ago, this news would have marked a fatal deal breaker in the eyes of all artists (including myself).

However, as someone who has used both the newest Wacom technology and the newest N-Trig technology on various tablets, I can tell you that the gap between these two brands is not as large as many still think.

This is a direct comparison post, between the most recent N-Trig digitizers and the most recent Wacom digitizers. I will compare the two technologies based on their practical performance. Both in terms of software and hardware. However, I will not compare the two on details like price. Wacom digitizers are significantly more expensive, but since that this does not ultimately effect the drawing experience, it is not relevant in the context of this comparison. I also neglect device specific factors like extra buttons and other details like N-Trig AAAA battery requirement for the same reason, this is a pure digitizer comparison.



Pressure Sensitivity


N-Trig devices have 256 Levels of pressure, while Wacom devices can range from 512 all the way up to 2048. As far as numbers go, its is clear to see that in this regard Wacom devices are superior. However, it is important for us to understand what it means to have more levels of pressure. Having more than 256 levels of pressure only makes a difference if you are working with brush that is above size 256.  In other words:

When drawing with a Hard Brush, at a Brush size that is lower than 256, there is no difference in sensitivity between Wacom and N-Trig

This is an important concept for people to grasp, because most artists do not work with brush sizes above 256. Furthermore, the difference does not become easily perceptible for a little while after that.

Some professions will require large brushes. For example: someone who is working on a poster that is going to be blown up to billboard sizes (and aren't using vectors) will definitely need a tool with higher than 256 Levels of pressure.

[Begin Edit] Since this topic in particular is of great interest, I will expand further to ensure there is no confusion.

Imagine using a 100px brush with a device capable of 100 pressure levels, and pressing down with 40/100 levels of pressure, 40% pressure. Based on common software implementation, this will draw a 40px circle. Now imagine using that same brush on a device that has 100,000,000 pressure levels, you press down with 40,000,001/100,000,000 pressure levels, 40.000001% pressure. The circle drawn is still only 40px wide. In this instance, you only need 100 pressure levels to hit every possibility, any pressure levels in between are simply not used.

The pressure curve (mentioned after this edit), can be used to squash the useful range of pen. Lets use a contrived example, mapping all pressure to half of the available pressure levels. We are still in a position where a digitizer with 256 levels of pressure is no different up to brushes of size 128px, which is still larger than what is necessary for most work. Even in the extreme case where someone wastes half of their pressure range, 256 levels is enough.

There are also other factors involved other than just brush size, you can use pressure to vary things like Opacity, Values, Jitter, and a heap of other factors. The point of this pure brush-size example was to encourage this type of thinking across to board: many programs have whole-number opacity percentages, or HSB/RGB parameters that only have a range of 100, 256 or 360. In many of these cases, it still makes little (in the 360 case) or no difference at all to have a more sensitive piece of hardware.

Now, there are a few cases where the average artist may use a much larger brush, for example, its common to use a very large air-brush for much smaller areas to ensure neat coverage. So if your immediate thought is that you never ever use brushes larger than 256, you may want to think again.

Furthermore, there is another point which I have neglected to mention which ties into the physical limitations of humans. It is very difficult for a human to apply force in small quantities and, when dealing with pressure levels in the hundreds or thousands, the difference in force between each level ends up being incredibly minute. This means that precisely using all the pressure sensitivity of your device is not easy, and some might argue that its outside of physical human capabilities entirely.

In summary, digitizer companies use pressure levels in the same way that many tech companies use specs: they count on a lack of public understanding in order to justify expensive upgrades that are largely unnecessary. 256 vs 512 vs 1024 vs 2048 is, for the most part, just marketing.

[End Edit]

While the levels of pressure do not make difference to most artists, there are some other factors that do. The most important two are: The Pressure Curve and IAF - Initial Activation Force.

In mathematical terms: the Pressure curve is a function which translates your physical pressure (pounds of force) into virtual pressure. A steep pressure curve will mean that small modifications in your physical force will have drastic effects on the line that appears on screen.

The default pressure curve on Wacom devices is often described as more natural than the N-Trig curve. Furthermore, Wacom devices allow modification of the pressure curve to suit individual needs while N-Trig has no easy method of modifying the default curve.

The other factor, IAF, is the amount of initial force required before marks begin to register. On Wacom devices this is very small, last I checked it was 1 gram of force. For N-Trig devices the IAF is noticeably larger, partially due to the default pressure curve. These two factors are what places Wacom above N-Trig in terms of pressure sensitivity.

Winner: Wacom



Stroke Accuracy


When it comes to drawing, nothing can be more invaluable than having your marks appear where you'd expect them to appear. This is Stroke Accuracy. When drawing with a Wacom device, you draw with respect to the hovering cursor, whether or not this aligns perfectly with your physical pen. This is something that you get used to over a short time.

On the other hand, modern N-Trig devices are very accurate (if not perfectly accurate) in this regard. The marks simply appear beneath the pen. For some, this is an invaluable experience. For others, working with the cursor in mind is satisfactory. In any case this is an area where Wacom needs to catch up.

Winner: N-Trig



Hover


Using either brand of digitizer, you can guide your cursor by hovering the pen close to the tablets surface. In the case of Wacom digitizers, this is important for you to line up your strokes. Hence, Wacom digitizers have a larger hover distance than N-Trig devices.

N-Trig devices also suffer from cursor lag when hovering. While your marks may always appear where the pen contacts the screen, the cursor may trail behind when it comes to hovering. Many artists who are not accustomed to this find it disorienting. For these reasons, the Wacom hover experience is superior.

Winner: Wacom



Stroke Delay


The stroke delay is the time is takes from the moment you finish physically applying the pen to the screen to the moment the mark finishes being drawn. In this instance, your mileage will vary significantly based on the device you are using. Since this largely depends on the underlying hardware, it is not easy to say which digitizer is superior.

Just for perspective: My development machine at the time of writing is a Sandybridge 4GHz Hex-Core with 16GB of RAM and a HD6990. I have used a Wacom Cintiq 13HD on this machine, and still saw stroke delay when working with various brush sizes. On the other hand, I have a Galaxy Note 12.2, which is built with Wacom technology and I have not seen very much Stroke Delay at all. On the N-Trig side of things, I only have experience with modern N-Trig Laptops such as the Vaio Duo 13, working in Clip Studio Paint I did not notice any Stoke Delay when working with brushes at reasonable sizes.

The following is no longer true, see below for more information:

Once the N-Trig-based Surface Pro 3 is out, I will directly compare it to the Wacom-based Surface Pro 2. This comparison will not be entirely fair since the SP3 is "10-20% faster", but it is as close as we can get right now. Because I do not have enough data for a meaningful answer at this moment, I will neglect to give one.

[UPDATE - 23rd June 2014]

With the release of the N-Trig Surface Pro 3, a direct comparison between it and the Wacom Surface Pro 2 can be performed. AnandTech, a tech review site has compared the pens in terms of latency, yielding a ~30ms improvement on the side of the Surface Pro 3.

Surface Pro 3 vs Surface Pro 2 pen latency - Table taken from AnandTech
An initial reaction may be to say that this comparison is unfair, the Surface Pro 3 is the next iteration and should be more powerful than the Surface Pro 2, but this is not the case. Both tested devices in this test have the same processor and identical RAM, in addition the Surface Pro 3 actually has to drive a higher resolution display, meaning that it actually exhibits worse performance than the Pro 2 in many areas. With this information, we can clearly place N-Trig as superior in terms of Stroke Delay. However, its important to note that this is not a definitive advantage, as we will see in the Software section, different programs can perform better or worse with different digitizers.

Winner: N-Trig



Parallax


Parallax is the perceived misalignment of the pen tip and the drawn mark as a result of the physical distance between the pen tip and the pixels of the screen.

If you have a tablet and you don't know what I mean: take it out, open up a fresh drawing and press the pen to the middle of the screen and move your head. If you are using most Wacom devices, the mark will no longer be aligned with pen in the way you thought it was. This means that, if you move your head while drawing, pen marks will start being placed in locations that you do not expect.

Some Wacom devices, such as the Note 12.2, do not have parallax issues as pronounced as, for example, the Cintiq line. But all Wacom devices suffer from parallax to some degree. On the other hand, N-Trig devices do not have this issue because their digitizer technology is very thin. For this reason, N-Trig is the clear winner here.

Winner: N-Trig



Drift & Calibration


It is well known that Wacom devices suffer from drift. Causing cursor alignment issues at the edges and corners of the screen. Since most software is designed so that toolbars and buttons are at the edges and corners, this can be a very irritating issue.

Wacom devices will require regular re-calibration to improve accuracy. However, this cannot fix the edge and corner drift issues, since they are a hardware limitation.

On the other hand, N-Trig devices do not require re-calibration and are equally accurate at all locations on screen. For this reason, N-Trig wins this catagory.

Winner: N-Trig



Software


Software is a big deal for everyone using these devices, after all, it doesn't matter if one seems better than the other if they don't work with your favorite programs. In this regard, N-Trig has made significant strides towards ensuring compatibility across key programs.

The following is no longer true, see below for more information:

However, N-Trig is still not perfect in this regard. There are still a few programs which do not function correctly with N-Trig devices due to the industries historical dependence on Wacom and the Win-Tab driver. N-Trig have released a 64-Bit compatibility driver for Win-Tab, but this means that 32-Bit Win-Tab software will not work correctly unless it was built with the Ink API.

To expand on this point, this means that programs like Photoshop and Clip studio paint will work fine, but ZBrush for example will not. Which means that, if you are a 3D Sculptor, you simply cannot use a N-Trig device for your work.

N-Trig will likely pick up support for more software as time goes by, either the software will be updated to a 64-Bit version or support will be added directly. In any case, at this very moment it is still a problem for 3D artists everywhere. For this reason, Wacom is superior in this category.

[UPDATE - 20th June 2014]

With the launch of new WinTab drivers coinciding with the release of the Surface Pro 3, all modern N-Trig digitizers can boast compatibility with Wintab software across the board. This includes, ZBrush, Corel Painter, Krita, Paint Tool Sai etc. In addition, more and more art software is being built using the generic tablet pc ink api, meaning that not only can you can use almost all legacy software, and will likely be able to use all future software with an N-Trig solution.

Furthermore, Wacom has a history of driver issues. These are, at best, minor annoyances and, at worst, can cause their products to become unusable for short periods of time due to loss of pressure or total unresponsiveness. In most cases, its not a deal-breaker for these issues to occur and the more severe problems occur very infrequently. However, driver bugs are just something people have grown to accept about the Wacom experience. Things like bugs and isolated issues should not have weight in this comparison, but these are not uncommon occurrences. Almost all Wacom tablet users will complain about driver issues at one point or another.

At this point, it seems inevitable to say that N-Trig wins this category, but there is one final factor that we have yet to discuss. Software built with wintab is optimized for wintab. This means that you are likely to experience (very slightly) reduced performance in software that added support for other devices later. While this is not as irritating as Wacom driver issues, it is still a consideration because it is a constant. I.e. While you may be able to find a fix for your driver issues, the same can't be said for the optimization of software. Digitizer users are at the mercy of software developers in this regard, and will be for a while.

Winner: Draw




Summary


Pressure - Wacom
Accuracy - N-Trig
Hover - Wacom
Delay - Draw N-Trig
Parallax - N-Trig
Drift & Calibration - N-Trig
Software - Wacom  Draw

As you can see, the distinction between the two is not so clear cut. Ultimately, your decision will depend largely on your preferences. If it is invaluable to you that your marks simply appear below your pen, then you may want to consider an N-Trig solution. If you are a dealing with mega resolutions you will want a Wacom device. If you are irritated by Calibration or tend to switch tools often, N-Trig.

It is clear to me that the N-Trig vs Wacom debate is often driven more by historical prejudice than unbiased comparison. In my opinion, it is important for people to select tools based on merit rather than bias. Personally I am going to wait an see how the Surface Pro 3s digitizer holds up before deciding that it's the end of the universe.

~Tick

P.S. For balances sake. here is a list of digitizer devices that I have owned over the years:
HTC Flyer - N-Trig
Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet - N-Trig
Cintiq Companion - Wacom
Sony Vaio Duo 13 - N-Trig
Galaxy Note 12.2 - Wacom

Threads. - A #TAGJam9 Entry

I entered #TAGJam9, even though I know I am ineligible to win (since i've already hosted twice in the past 12 months) and decided to base my entry on a piece of operating systems work i'd done recently. So, without further delay I will introduce you to:

Threads. Episode 1: "#F*ckPintOS"



Try it out here using the Unity Web Player

LINK

Let me know what you think!

If you want to try out the other games created for #TAGJam9 then you should check out the arbitrary gamejam subreddit!

/r/TheArbitraryGamejam

~Charles

The Adventures of Clark Doud - Demo Video - Should I dig this up?

Recently, someone approached me about my Dark Cloud fan project asking for information on its progress so I decided to make this video so that anyone who's interested can get up to speed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZNoYskEoJk

I haven't touched the project in a long time, but if there are a few people who want to see this happen (Dark Cloud was a really underrated game, so there aren't that many fans) i'll pick it up again. Just leave a comment below if you're interested.

~Tick

The Arbitrary Gamejam #9 - YOU Suggest the themes!

Hi guys,

In an interesting twist, the current TAG host has decided to let you guys help him build a pool of words to draw the themes from. Since this is the first TAG that's taking advantage of our subreddit, we're looking for your help building up comments and visitation. So go and post your theme suggestions for #TagJam9 here:


http://www.reddit.com/r/TheArbitraryGamejam/comments/2130pa/the_arbitrary_gamejam_9_suggest_themes/


See you all soon!

~Tick

The Arbitrary Gamejam Subreddit - /r/TheArbitraryGamejam

Hey guys

Just letting everyone know that TAG The Arbitrary Gamejam now has a dedicated subreddit,

/r/TheArbitraryGamejam


The next host, Daniel Bauman aka /u/dopplex, is considering using the subreddit in some way for submissions to #TAGJam9. But we're also hoping that everyone will use the subreddit to share game development goodness, tools and tricks you might find useful for TAG and other gamejams.  The subreddit is brand new and rough around the edges, so head on over and feel free to share the game development love.

If you are a previous host of The Arbitrary Gamejam and wish to become a moderator of this subreddit, let me know your reddit username either in the comments below or if perhaps you wish to be a little more discrete, by emailing me at TickTakashi@TheArbitraryGamejam.com


For more information on #TAGJam9, check out dopplex's site:



That's all for now, hope to see you all in April for #TAGJam9!

~Tick

#TAGJam8 Imminent!

Hi!

Just a reminder that #TAGJam8 Begins in just a few days! Durga Prasad Is hosting this time, and he'll be putting the themes up on his website in about a day and a half. Check out his website for the countdown, and leave a comment letting him know you're entering the jam!


Countdown to #TAGJam8 Themes Available at Durga's site



Announcing the Winner of The Arbitrary Gamejam #7

All I can say is wow, this TAG is super close. I'll preface this by saying that all the games submitted were enjoyable, even the incomplete ones were fun to play, but I've got to choose a winner, so here we go.



There were three games that really stood out, for a number of reasons. I'm going to give some of my thoughts and opinions on each game, then at the end i'll announce the winner.

- - -

Packer 
Durga Prasad & Nithin Reddy


The first game to be submitted to the jam makes it into the final three for several reasons. The first and foremost being that, without reading the description given by Mr. Prasad, I knew exactly what sort of personal moment the game was aiming to get across. If you haven't played it, go and play it now (without reading the description in Mr. Prasad) and see if you can identify it too.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwcgKCBJ8C8cb1lpaXQzaG52UE0/edit

...

Done? I was totally serious about you going to play that game. Its awesome. Continue reading when you're done (or if you really can't be bothered).

...

The game very clearly tells a story about learning from your peers, self improvement through sharing of tips and tricks. I think this game had the strongest connection to the Special rule and subsequently I had several "Aha!" moments while playing it. Graphically, it's not bad for a game jam. It also clearly incorporates the themes Squash and Nitrogenize.

It does have a few flaws though, the gameplay in itself is simplistic by nature and more curious players will likely discover some of the tips and tricks without having to observe the other workers. I think in order to convey the personal moment so strongly it was necessary to have something simplistic, and the trade-off is apparent.


Dreams about Squash
 Ben Hendel-Doying


This. 


Game.


Is.


BIG!

I was really shocked at how big this game was. It's definitely a funky entry. I think the "dreams" come across as "dreams" really well. It may sound strange, but this is actually noteworthy since a lot of the stuff that typically happens in games is wild and outlandish but are distinct from dreams. Many of the sequences in Dreams of Squash actually have that "I've totally had that dream before" feeling. The game is funny as well, some of the conversations in game made me chuckle, especially towards the end.

The obvious problem with this game is that there isn't really much "gameplay", strictly speaking. It feels a lot more like an interactive series of cutscenes than a game. Personally, I found it enjoyable, but I feel that this opinion is definitely not going to be universal. These types of games are definitely an acquired taste. In any case, play through it, maybe its right up your alley.

http://benmakesgames.com/download/DreamsAboutSquash.zip

I've actually got one other, major, gripe with this game. It becomes immediately obvious the moment you start up the game. This fatal flaw is truly gargantuan, monstrous, gut-wrenching-ly horrible. In fact, when I started the game I was physically sick multiple times. I instantly went blind in one eye, my laptop exploded and my house caught fire.




#TAGJam7 is spent incorrectly!


Squash/Swarm
Michiel Bakker



This game makes it into the top three for a very simple reason. Its super duper fun.
Swarm/Squash is a puzzler, you guide a group of bugs from a starting point to a goal by leaving a trail of bait. My initial impressions pegged the game as simple, but I was most definitely wrong. The game has puzzles based on timing, accurately splitting your group and precisely "threading the needle" between an array of obstacles. The game was constantly challenging me in the best of ways (those oscillating blades are devilish!) and It feels really good to complete a level. Give it a go:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0m7-xvv4RRFN2l1U3ZCUG4wbnc/edit?usp=sharing

Taking simple mechanics and using them to prompt compelling gameplay is, in my opinion, one of the most core aspects of a good game and this game pulls it off really well. At no point did I feel confused or lost while playing, and the difficulty curve feels good (for the most part, more on this later).

Of course, this game also has flaws. First and foremost, it doesn't really incorporate the special rule at all, it incorporates the Squash theme with fly swatters but they don't feature heavily. Also, the timing based puzzles can easily cross the line of being "Challenging" to being "Frustrating" since the time spent eating a piece of bait and the time flies take to reach their destinations are not explicitly given to you in any way.


- - -


As I said earlier, all the jam entries were fun, if yours didn't make it into the top three, don't worry. Some honorable mentions include Squash Man Run and Squash-Fire Slug Defense, which were both very fun to play as well.

Now for the hard part, announcing the winner. Let me reiterate that, this was a really tough decision. I have played and replayed the games to find reasons to give me a clear victory, but in the end it was still very close. Without further delay, allow me to announce the winner of The Arbitrary Gamejam #7, and host of The Arbitrary Gamejam #8!

Durga Prasad & Nithin Reddy
for
Packer 

I must reiterate how close it was, Swarm was so fun that I almost gave it the win, but it just didn't incorporate the special rule or themes well enough. Dreams About Squash was huge, and it made me laugh out loud, but I felt that it wasn't the type of game that most people could appreciate fully.
In the end the winner must be Packer. This game manages to incorporate the special rule so well that I must recognize it with victory. 


Congratulations Durga Prasad & Nithin Reddy
Winners of #TAGJam7


Contact me via
TickTakashi@TheArbitraryGamejam.com
to make arrangements to host The Arbitrary Gamejam #8! 
If you can't host, please leave a comment below so that I can pick a new winner.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and I hope to see you all on the 7th of March for #TAGJam8!

#TAGJam7 IS OVER!


[EDIT: SUBMISSIONS ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED]


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DEVELOPMENT TIME HAS OFFICIALLY ENDED

You have until 1200 GMT 10th Feb to submit your game.





The Winner of The Arbitrary Gamejam #7, and host of The Arbitrary Gamejam #8, will be announced:
0000 GMT 11th Feb

#TAGJam7 - Let The Development Begin! - Submit your games here


[EDIT: If your game doesn't immediately show up, don't worry. The Spam filter probably got to it. Your submission will still be counted and it will show up in time.]


The Arbitrary Gamejam 7 Has Begun!




Development time for #TAGJam7 has officially begun, if you need a reminder of the themes, they are:


Nitrogenize | Derogative | Squash

and The Special Rule...

Your Game Must Relate To or Be Inspired By A Personal Moment In Your Life 



Submit by commenting on this post with a link to your game.


Good Luck!



#TAGJam7 - Announcing The Themes

As you may already know, most TAGs have a dedicated day of planning and design time...

The Planning and Design Time for #TAGJam7 has Officially Begun.

Development Time Will Last 48hr
From 0000GMT 8th Feb
Until 0000GMT 10th Feb

If you're participating, make a comment below or tweet with the #TAGJam7 hashtag to let us know! Of course, this is non compulsory but we'd love to get to know you all. Now, without further delay, here are the three themes for The 7th Arbitrary Gamejam...

---

Theme 1 - (Randomly Generated)


Nitrogenize

Definition: To combine or impregnate with Nitrogen or its compounds.


---


Theme 2 - (Randomly Generated)

Derogative

Definition: Showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.


---


Theme 3 - (Hosts Choice)

Squash

Definition 1: To Crush or Squeeze (something) with force, so that it becomes flat or out of shape.

Definition 2: A Concentrated liquid made from fruit juice and sugar.

Definition 3: An Edible Gourd, the flesh of which may be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

---

... and don't forget the special rule...

Special Rule
Your Game Must Relate To or Be Inspired By A Personal Moment In Your Life

---

Remember, your game should relate to one or more of the themes, and you must at least try to include the special rule. but lets not get too bogged down with rules, have as much fun as possible!

Keep an eye on the countdown timer at the beginning of this post if you're unsure what time that is for you. Remember to comment below or tweet #TAGJam7 to let us know if you're joining! 

#TAGJam7 - A Special Rule

Themes for #TAGJam7 will be announced in less than 24 hours, 
@ 7th Feb 0000GMT. 

EDIT: To Clarify, The Arbitrary Gamejam #7 is 2 Days (48 hours) of development time!

Originally, we had considered making #TAGJam7 the first week-long TAG, in fact we'd even thought of asking entrants to dedicate their entries to a special someone for valentines day. But unfortunately, the timing is bad for most people, so we're going to stick with the regular weekend affair. That doesn't mean there isn't a twist though!


Special Rule
You Game Must Relate To or Be Inspired By A Personal Moment In Your Life

In other words, we want your game to really mean something to you, even if its not obvious to the rest of us exactly how, we want your games to come from a special/powerful/meaningful place.

Last TAG wasn't the biggest, everyone is back on their regular work schedules (including myself!) and universities are in session, but fingers crossed that a few folks can make it. 

Hope to see you in a few hours!

~Tick

The Arbitrary Gamejam Comes Home

Somehow, we won #TAGJam6! Woot. We will most likely be hosting #TAGJam7 on the new TAG website when it's up and running. Looking forward to it guys.


Join us for #TAGJam7 on the 7th of February

 ~Tick

p.s. I've got something special planned. Lets just say you should clear more than a weekend!