Category Archives: Video Games

MOUNTAIN

Hi! Here is a thing I spent the last couple months working on with super cool dude David OReilly:

MOUNTAIN is an ambient procedural mountain simulator. It generates a virtual mountain based on drawn responses to three questions. From that point on the only interaction you have with the mountain is to move the the camera around and play little tunes on a keyboard.

MOUNTAIN has received excellent coverage in The Atlantic, Wired, Gamasutra, and LA Weekly, among others.

MOUNTAIN costs only $1 and is available for iOS as well as for Mac, Windows, and Linux via the MOUNTAIN website.

Digitally Signing A Unity Mac Build

These days, if you want people to be able to run your game on a Mac you’ve got to digitally sign the thing or else most users will see the dreaded Gatekeeper dialog that claims the game is damaged and should be moved to the trash. All it means to digitally sign your game is that you’re using Apple tools to embed your Developer ID in it so that Gatekeeper will trust the thing. My buddy Rusty has a really straight-forward post about how to do this and how to test it to make sure it works. Read his post first.

Ok, you’re back from reading it? Maybe you noticed he’s not talking about signing a Unity game, so I’m gonna fill in those details.

In place of Rusty’s Step 3, you’ll be building for Mac from Unity, but first you’ll want to run the Unity Entitlements Tool on your project. For distribution outside of the Mac App Store you only need to fill out the Code Sign section, you don’t need Entitlements or Sandboxing. One annoying requirement for the tool is that you need to provide an icns file. On Cosmic DJ I fished UnityPlayer.icns out of the version of the app that I’d built before setting up the tool, though there are ways to create your own icns file. Here’s what the Unity Entitlements Tool looks like for Cosmic DJ:

For distribution outside of the Mac App Store you need to make sure you use Developer ID Application as the signing entity. When you hit the Update Build Pipeline button it will generate an entitlements file in your project and either create a PostprocessBuildPlayer script or append some code to the existing one. What this script does is explicitly sign all of the Unity framework DLLs and all of your Plugins.

When the build completes you still need to sign the .app itself, as in Rusty’s post. It will ask if you want to overwrite the existing signature and you should say yes. You can verify that it worked properly like this:

And it should say:

And then follow the “quarantine” steps: upload to a server or Google Drive or something, download to your computer, attempt to run.

Cosmic DJ Released In Special Humble Bundle!

Wow! So Excite! The music game I’ve been working on for the past two years with my buds Eric and Matt over at GL33k is now available for Windows and Mac through the Devolver Digital Double Debut Humble Bundle! This is pay-what-you-want bundle of games and movies. You can also choose to put some of your payment towards Brandon Boyer’s Cancer Treatment Relief Fund. He’s a super awesome dude that has been instrumental in bringing indie games the attention and respect they deserve and has been straight up stiffed by his insurance company because they are invoking a super dicey pre-existing condition decision.

What’s Cosmic DJ, you may be wondering? It’s a crazy cool music game where you can sequence up to five instruments over backing tracks and then the game will remix all of your sequences into a song you can share with your friends. In other words, it’s a super fun way for non-musicians and musicians alike to make music! Here, maybe watching our trailer will explain it better:

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You can also make cover art for your songs right in the game while you wait for the song to be recorded. Here’s a track I made recently:

And there’s more to come: we will be releasing Cosmic DJ for iOS in the near future and hopefully bringing the game to Steam as well. I’ve also got a couple technical blog posts lined up about some of the stickier issues we encountered while preparing the desktop release.

You can keep tabs on Cosmic DJ through Facebook and Twitter. Tell your friends!

STARPHONIX:
A #GAMEMAKINGFRENZY Game

I just spent basically my entire weekend working on a game for #GAMEMAKINGFRENZY, the Fantastic Arcade 48-hour game jam. The theme was Intergalactic Fantastic with the additional restriction of No Humans Allowed. I collaborated with George Royer from White Whale Games to create a game about the STARPHONIX series probes, which were sent out to negotiate peace treaties with alien probes to prevent the destruction of planets of interest.

You can play it in your browser, download it for Windows, or download it for Mac.

Portraying The Terran Condition: An Approach To Simulate A Civilization

I am currently the artist-in-residence for monochrom at the Museumsquartier in Vienna, Austria. Gotta say, hanging out in an old European city thinking about art is pretty sweet. As part of the residency, I decided to participate in Fuck This Jam, which is a week-long game jam with the theme of “making a game in a genre you hate.” So, in collaboration with Johannes Grenzfurthner from monochrom, I created a First Person Research Shooter called Portraying The Terran Condition: An Approach To Simulate A Civilization.

Portraying The Terran Condition is a 7D (backwards compatible to 2D) world simulation which depicts six different key events in the history of Terra (“Earth”), a low-tech civilization that self-destructed several aeons ago. Based on the relatively few biological and cultural artifacts, a team of multi-AI minds was able to recreate a stunningly accurate depiction of this ancient civilization.

The game is available for Windows and Mac.

Additional thanks are due to Eric Wenske, my teammate from Cosmic DJ, who made a couple models, and to Heather Kelley, fellow Kokoromi member, whose wise words led me to do procedural level generation for the game. So, I guess it’s also a rogue-like!

BOOMBOX Video

DarknessKight, one of the members of the TIGSource forum, made this video walkthrough of BOOMBOX. It sounds like it’s not playing too nice in the browser, but it should give you the general feel of the game if you haven’t been able to play it:

BOOMBOX

The boombox dude hanging out on a platform.

I’ve been working on a music game on and off for the past month for the TIGSource A Game By Its Cover compo. It’s inspired by this fake game cartridge:

You control a character in a 2D side-scrolling world and collect Jams, which you can then play to build up a sweet tune. There are other boombox dudes in the world who will jam with you when you are playing what they want to hear. The goal is to simply collect all the jams in the level and then just jam out with them.

CHECK IT

Credits:

Amanda Williams – Environment Art
Damien Di Fede – Music, Design, Programming
Kevin Bennett – Music, SFX
Oscar Garza – Animation
Sean McIntosh – Environment Art, Character Design

Musicker v1.

I’ve been wanting to make a sound-generating game for a while, I’m always inspired when I play games like Rez, Every Extend Extra, and ElectroPlankton. However, what I don’t want to do is make a Rez clone where there are already constructed songs that you just trigger new layers in and I don’t want to do a beat matching game because Harmonix already has that market cornered. So I’ve started working on a little sound-generating game/toy. It plays like a really simple shmup, but the mechanics are really just an interface to building up sound over time. You can fly a little ship around with some amoebas and they will just harmlessly bounce off of your ship. If you shoot an amoeba it will add a note to a music loop that plays throughout. This loop starts out with nothing in it, so the beginning of the game is silent. The color of each amoeba directly maps to the pitch and velocity of the note that they will create, but it is a narrow range so it is not immediately obvious what note you will get.

Play it.

There are still a few things that I want to add, both visual and aural, but the basic idea is there. I will probably also be writing my own Sequencer implementation because the one that comes with Java hiccups sometimes and doesn’t do track muting properly. Or, rather, it probably does track muting exactly how the author of the implementation intended, but that intent is not one that I agree with. If Processing didn’t make it so easy to create visuals I think I would have totally given up on audio/midi in Java by now.

Yes, but can you play it drunk?

Finished up the second gameplay prototype for Primaries. Play it here:

http://code.compartmental.net/primaries/proto2/

I like it. It hurts my head a little to play it, but I enjoy that in a puzzle game. However, I don’t think it’d be very fun to play while drunk. I also don’t think it’d be very fun to watch someone play it, either while they were drunk and you were sober, or they were sober and you were drunk, or you were both drunk. It’s also not very conducive to a five minute gameplay session, even if you already know how to play. Admittedly, the keyboard controls complicate things a bit and it would be a little easier with a 360 controller, but even still.

The verdict?

KISS!

I think I’m going to reduce it to a single grid and do Puzzle Quest style swapping. Color mixing will still be involved, since you could swap two tiles and match two colors with that swap, and I think that will be a nice twist. But it probably also means I will have to come up with a clever way to initialize the board so that you don’t get a bajillion matches right off the bat.

But now, Bioshock calls!