Phone Box Thursday: Pixel Planning

Yes, I’m still searching for the next Doctor Who red phone box. I’ve got plenty of other phone box-related stuff to talk about in the meantime though!

There’s a new Adventuron jam on and my planned game FINALLY features a phone box. Pretty much all of my games have been planned to feature a phone box but I’ve had to cut it for space and time reasons. This time it’s actually happening.

I’m not doing pixel art for this particular game – I’m going to be using a different style. Still, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ‘plan out’ my featured phone box through the medium of pixels.

Red phone box
Pixel phone box! With no phone inside as that would have spoilt the simplicity of the image. The box is a standard K6 – I might have a go at a K2 sometime soon.

Within the month, I should be able to share the final phone box image with you! Need to block out some time to get those graphics done…

Unseasonal colours

A very gentle mile today…

…as I’m being careful due to a slight niggle. I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days.

I’ve spent the rest of the day making graphics for my current game project. The game is set in November, and so the colours are fairly muted! I’m using a pre-made palette from LoSpec, like I did for my last game (it was recommended in the jam guidelines and I felt that the graphics looked a lot more pulled together as a result), and it’s really helping to provide the gloomy and slightly oppressive look I need for this game.

I finished Paper Mario: The Origami King last night (sad ending! 🙁 ) and am taking a couple of days away from gaming so that I can get all my projects finished for the week. Once Saturday arrives, however, I will be back exploring digital worlds with a vengeance.

Pixel street
It’s raining in my current game, because it always rains in November.

Today’s earworm playlist:

So Solid Crew – ’21 Seconds’
Duran Duran – ‘New Religion’
Judy Garland and Lucille Bremer – ‘Meet Me In St Louis’
DJ Fresh and Rita Ora – ‘Hot Right Now’
Eagle-Eye Cherry – ‘Save Tonight’

Proper endings

Another mile today…

…as I’m fairly busy this week so can only squeeze in super-short runs. I had a small bit of day job work to do today, and I also did the final bugfix for my most recent jam game. This was a bit more complicated than expected as I had to do a lot of fiddling with the Spectrum versions to get them to compile. The workaround wasn’t 100% perfect, but they’ll do for now, and with all the reported bugs fixed the game is a much better product than it was on first release.

As such, I finally feel I’m done with One Last Thing… now and can focus all my energies on the next few projects!

I’m going to squeeze in a couple more hours of coding and then get some Paper Mario played this evening. I’m on a tricky section, but I think I’m close to the end of the game now – somewhere between one and three play sessions should finish the plot, I expect.

Tomorrow I’m going to have a play with some simple graphics for the game project I’m working on this week.

Washing line
2020: the year of brightly coloured trousers (you can’t see all the examples on the line from this angle but I assure you there are quite a lot of them). They really cheer me up at the moment!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’


I ended up just doing a mile today…

…as I didn’t feel that well when I woke up. I had planned to do my delayed weekend long run today, but I think I’ll be trying to make up the mileage later in the week instead.

As such, I got my day job work out of the way first today, and then went for my short run in the afternoon. Since then, I’ve been catching up with admin, and am looking forward to playing some jam entry games tonight.

I’m still feeling a bit physically poorly and mentally fried, but I think that’s just because I’ve been so busy over the last few days and weeks. This week is just going to involve some quiet catching up with admin and housework, and a lot of playing of videogames rather than making them.

I’m still really pleased to have released my most recent game last night. You can play it here!

As a result, I’ve not got much planned for tomorrow!

The Cave of Hoarding
An updated graphic for my first jam game, The Cave of Hoarding. To celebrate the sequel coming out, I made some quick replacements for the shonky old original graphics. This pile of treasure sums up my feelings when I submit a game at the end of a jam!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Mott The Hoople – ‘All The Young Dudes’
Idina Menzel – ‘Into The Unknown’

One Last Thing…

I released my newest text adventure game last night (and submitted it to the Adventuron game jam, making it four Adventuron jams in a row for which I have managed to cobble together a game!). I’ve put a lot of work into this one over the last month, so I’m really pleased that it’s all finished and out there in the world at last.

One Last Thing...
Adventuron version.

The main reason that this game required quite a bit of extra work was that I accepted the optional jam challenge of porting the Adventuron game to Spectrum +3 and Spectrum Next using DAAD Ready (I talked about this process at length in the video I linked to in my Barry Basic post the other day). The DAAD conversion process works really well, but there are a few things that come up slightly differently in the Spectrum port and so they needed to be tweaked and refined to make sure that they worked in the same way across the versions. There’s still a bit of improvement that could be made to the ported versions, but I’m happy enough with them for now.

One Last Thing...
Spectrum Next version.

I also made two sets of graphics – one for the Adventuron and Spectrum Next versions, and one Spectrum-compatible set for the Spectrum +3 version. The Spectrum-compatible graphics were a lot of fun to make, but I’m going to need a lot more practice in that style before I do another +3 port! The Adventuron/Next graphics, meanwhile, are probably my favourites that I’ve made yet – I used the hept32 palette suggested in the jam rules, rather than just picking random colours like I usually do, and I think it’s made everything look a lot nicer and more pulled-together.

One Last Thing...
Spectrum +3 version.

For the actual game and story, I tried to keep everything fairly short and simple, as I knew there wouldn’t be much memory space when porting to Spectrum +3 (as it happened, I did have to sacrifice one graphical change in a location on the +3 version because the original amount of graphics was too much for the conversion!). I decided on my setting (a single five-room building) for this reason, but I ended up making a short prequel* to the game I originally planned out, as the first game plan was getting a bit too big.**

* It’s also a sequel to my first game from last year, The Cave of Hoarding. It’s complicated.
** This always happens. The only time I actually made the game that I originally planned (Hallowe’en: Night of the Misty Manor), it ended up being 10,000 lines of code and required a lot of all-nighters in the week leading up to the jam deadline. At least it means I’ve got a lot of semi-finished games that I can work on in my own time!

After making a fairly contained game (albeit with a lot of interesting complications), I am quite keen to do a project with a big, sprawling map again. However, I am going to take a few days (at least) off from game creation – apart from anything else, I want to play all the other jam entries now!

Weekend tidying up

One more mile this morning…

…before the longer weekend plods. The weather is meant to be miserable this weekend so the Sunday long run may get shunted to Monday if I really can’t face it. We’ll see.

I’ll be polishing off my Adventuron jam game for a little longer than expected this weekend, as the jam deadline has been extended. Nice to have the breathing room! I spent most of today implementing the changes I identified as necessary during Geth’s playtest last night, as well as a few tweaks that I’d been listing over the last week or so. Tomorrow will mainly be focused on creating my Itch page/promotion stuff and making everything look nice, then on Sunday I’ll be able to run through the different versions of the game a few more times just to be sure!

I really enjoy this process, but I am looking forward to kicking back and playing the other games from Monday onwards. I’ll be posting the usual running vlog updates over the weekend, but there may also be some game-related posts if I have time.

Rainbow decoration
My surrounding game decoration has a bit of a rainbow theme this time round.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Carbon Leaf – ‘What About Everything?’
All Saints – ‘Pure Shores’
The Cure – ‘Boys Don’t Cry’
Mesh – ‘Automation Baby’

Pulling everything together

I went out for my four-mile midweek run this morning…

…and it was a bit of a struggle to force myself out of the door! I need to do nine miles on Sunday, and I’m already slightly dreading it… it’s just one of those weeks where I’m lacking a bit of running motivation. One day at a time, like everything else.

My game is really getting into the final stages now. I got the second set of graphics implemented today (they were a lot more straightforward than the first set!) and have started to sort out the final non-8-bit touches for the Adventuron version of the game, as well as the eventual presentation aspects such as the Itch page design. Hoping to run it past my first playtester (i.e. Geth) tomorrow evening!

The laptop stack did not pull its weight as planned today – laptop number one turned out to be about six Linux versions out of date and needs a complete reinstall, while laptop number two needs a day or so to recharge its battery. Laptop number three is tiny and struggles to do anything complicated, so I don’t think it could manage more than a small test game in an Adventuron editor (if that), and laptop number four is still on Windows 7, so I wouldn’t want to connect it to the web (it’s another one that needs overhauling with Linux). Hopefully number two will be ready to go tomorrow! I need to remember to plug them all in for a recharge every so often…

Just a short run again tomorrow, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a productive game creation day 🙂

Pixel calendar
Something different today – this graphic is from a mini side project that I’ll hopefully be able to update you about tomorrow.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Chaos Shrine’
Spandau Ballet – ‘Gold’
Regard – ‘Ride It’

Testing, testing

Another short run today…

…and then I got back into my game. I finished the graphics this morning, and after a bit of tweaking I’ve managed to get the first set all implemented and working on the Spectrum +3 emulator. Tomorrow I’ll do the same for the Spectrum Next and Adventuron versions and start putting the finishing touches on everything, and hopefully there’ll still be a bit of time to run it past a couple of playtesters before the jam deadline!

I’ve had a couple of hours free every evening for the last few days to play videogames as well, which has been nice. I’m currently working my way through realMyst: Masterpiece Edition on the Switch (so cool to be able to explore the world properly as opposed to the static images from the 1993 version that I grew up with!) and Final Fantasy 1 on the PSP (I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m planning to play through the mainline Final Fantasy games in order… I’m only allowing myself an online map to help with the first game as apparently the original version came with a paper map!).

More making and playing games tomorrow, I hope!

Laptop stack
It’s time for the LAPTOP STACK. You can only run one Adventuron tab per browser, and I’ve got to a point where I need to work on multiple versions of a game at once. As such, the backup laptops will be pulling their weight tomorrow!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Harry Nilsson – ‘One’
Catatonia – ‘Road Rage’
Michael Jackson – ‘They Don’t Care About Us’
Manami Kiyota – ‘Frontier Village’

A week of finishing off

The usual-for-marathon-training Monday mile today…

…and then I spent the rest of the day working on my game. Five days to go till the jam deadline! This week’s game creation tasks are mostly related to polishing and playtesting – I’m very nearly finished with my graphics now and looking forward to putting everything together in the next few days.

Planning a similar day tomorrow – I’m hoping to be able to post about one of the side projects I’ve been working on during this jam period too!

Pixel garage take two
My pixel cars from last week are looking a bit better for some colour. I’ve created two sets of graphics for this game jam – a Spectrum-compatible set for the Spectrum +3 version (which are a bit, um, ‘zany’ as I’ve never tried making Spectrum-compatible graphics before!) and another set for the Adventuron/Spectrum Next releases, made with the hept32 palette. Never thought I’d enjoy making graphics this much when I started out last year!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Robyn Miller – ‘Myst Theme’
The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Harry Nilsson – ‘One’
The Sisters Of Mercy – ‘Temple Of Love’
Manami Kiyota – ‘Forest Of The Nopon’