Friday, December 28, 2012

Music Award For Zipzip:Secret Dimension

My soundtrack on my brother Tarık Kaya's game has recently won a Turkish award called "Kristal Piksel Ödülü" claiming that it is the best Turkish game soundtrack of the last 5 years. It's one of the two games that got this award, the other being "İstanbul: Kıyamet Vakti". I was surprised because the nominees were generally very strong and professional productions, while my soundtrack is, well, just my classical guitar, both rhythm and solo.

If you haven't heard the soundtrack yet, or would like to download it, here it is:

Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Select Good Game Mechanics

I was just watching this video, and I decided to use this as my guide through designing my next game. I have a few mechanics flowing in my mind, so I might not be able to sleep tonight. Let's find out!..

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our GDTJam2 Entry

Nazire and I made a game for the second game jam by Game Developers @Turkey Facebook group. 13 games were made in the jam and we really had fun making ours. It was overall a great time, chatting with people and playing their games. It's also Nazire's first released game. It's not fully finished, and it's very short but some people enjoyed it, so it made me happy. It's all programmed by my dear Nazire. We designed the game together, and I made the graphics. Doğaç Yavuz made a song for our game and we love it. Thanks again! Our game is here with the explanation. And all the jam games are here. There are some really awesome games, so I hope you don't miss.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"An Ode To Pixel Days" Devlog Entry #3

I’m afraid this entry is just another collection of random thoughts, sorry about this. Read only if you enjoy it.
I decided to do a trailer to see if people get excited about my game as I do. I wanted to hear people’s thoughts because at this stage in development, I’m not sure if my game’s good or bad. It might be a wonderful game, but maybe not, maybe it’s a horrible game! I got a lot of positive feedback from people around me. For example, my brother said that it’s “surprisingly” good. Thanks, if you don’t mean that you expected it to be absolute sh*t. People around me give me confidence to continue. That’s like when you have a drunk dad and you say “Go daddy, you’re number-one, I know you can quit drinking, you can do it! I love you!” This example doesn’t make any sense at all.

I am, also at a stage of development that is near finished. I’m done designing levels. Maybe I’ll design a few more levels if I think I can get a better flow somewhere in the game. But it’s definitely “almost done”! I’m working on the soundtrack now. I’m going to polish my game and narration for a while (that may took more than a month) before I give a shot to find a sponsor.

 It’s been a long while since I wrote a devlog entry. As you can see from the trailer, there are some crucial updates on graphics. 4 days ago, I just sat in the morning and started drawing and animating some sky scenes that are seen through missing bricks of wall. Because I thought, “well all my walls are just collections of bricks, maybe I should try to build a castle, slowly missing more bricks until the end“. It’s a metaphor for Hans’ utopia “collapsing”. I tried to make the game more than a teenager’s unhealthy love life. When I say it that way, the game sounds like a waste of time anyway. At the very beginning, what I was going for was my psychology as I was just getting into puberty stuff like feeling out of context all the time and feeling ugly. And I think at least some people will get that “feeling” out of it. To be honest, at this point, I am happy with the game I was able or lucky to make. I may even be “proud” of it if a lot of people enjoy it.
I don’t know if this happens because I’m not experienced enough in game development, but the good parts of my games feel like “pure coincidence” when I finish making them. It’s as if the game finds a way to be good by using me with its own decisions, as if the game is not my tool but I am its tool. Too much of a nonsense, I know.

I’m composing the soundtrack these days, not yet recorded anything though. I just recorded a track for the trailer. The soundtrack will be full of classical guitar passages. Maybe at the end of the game I’ll use some singing. When I try to sing nicely, I feel like I’m the ugly one out of five members of a boy band. And I’m afraid if I don’t try to sing nicely, it’s not listenable by people. It’s not listenable by me even if it nice anyway. The bottom line is, in my dreams, I always get fired from boy bands L

If I get some money out of this game, I’ll use it to build a home-studio for recording my own albums. So if this game gets me some serious money, not only I’ll introduce myself as an indie game developer but also probably six months later, as an independent musician, too! Like I don’t have enough titles that don’t make any money! I’m joking though, I won’t introduce myself as an indie game developer. I’ll just say that I made this little game called “An Ode To Pixel Days”, a game that no one on earth is able to memorize its name. Cheers!

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Ludum Dare 24 Entry

This is about the game I recently made in 48 hours for the competition, LD24.

I spent my whole first day (15 hours maybe totally) making the game except the sounds and music. I came to Istanbul and spent my time with friends, I only spent 3 hours on quick music making (my first time using the music making-recording-producing program Nuendo) and weird sounds all with my mouth. I hoped it to be a funny game and it made some people laugh, so I'm happy with the result.

The resolution of the game is 80x60. It was a lot of fun to make a game of that resolution. The text barely fit the screen, and it was a lot of fun to draw very pixel-based sprites.

It also got some attention with the mechanic of the game, which allows you to make your enemies your allies. You remember that guy from Age of Empires 2 who yells WOLOLOO and makes the enemy soldiers ours? Well, why don't you just play the game here:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"An Ode To Pixel Days" Devlog Entry #2

I came back with some screenshots and other un-useful information! A lot has happened since the last entry and I didn't write anything since then because I was too busy or too lazy or both.

Last entry ended with saying that the next entry will be about the code I’ve written. But that just seemed too boring. Yes, even for a video game development blog. I’m actually having fun with object-oriented programming, creating objects and instances and their relationships in the game. When I started on Flash, I wrote some code on the timeline of Flash Professional. That was ugly. When I was just about to write actual classes and real code on Flash Professional, I started using FlashDevelop. I think programs like FlashBuilder and FlashDevelop actually work a lot better if you are a programmer. My genious coder brother was saying that it’s awesome when you connect Flash Professional with Flash Builder. Apparently you can do that.

As you may know, there were 6 different worlds with different resolutions in my game. I made the decision of reducing it to 5. The idea of every person being a single pixel was that everyone would look just the same, and the ugly/attractive scale of the world would be over. And guess what? It was over when everyone was two pixels too! I didn't need to scale down one more time. And more importantly, I think the game will have a better flow this way. In a project like this, one of the most important things is the game’s flow. And I’m working hard on making the game flow, and at the same time, making it challenging at some moments. Because what is a game without challenge? An interactive movie! I played some 2D exploration platform games like “Coma”. I dig them pretty much, but I have some issues with playing a game without a real challenge. “Theory of Fun” by Raph Koster talks all about why a game’s most important element is challenge. Because games should be learning experiences, whether it teaches an important or unimportant skill is not very relevant to game’s attractiveness.

So my game at its core is an exploration game. But player has to deal with monsters and puzzles and timing and other stuff as well. I have some trouble actually connecting some puzzles with the narration, but so far I haven’t got many negative comments about that just yet.

Look at those platforms! I've tried my best to steal that look from the game QUBE.

I have 22 levels coded. 5 different worlds with a lot of narrating. I’m having a hard time making people actually read the narrator lines. People think it’s just boring. Actaully I think it’s boring, too. If I’m going to actually read stuff in a game, it must be an artistic statement. And I’m trying to make that happen. I hope some people will actually connect with what is being told in the game.

These days, I’m working on the levels where Hans is walking and running with the cheerleader. When cheerleader is happy, she’s jumping around, spreading the positive energy. It looks funny and I got some positive feedback on it. I'm pretty happy with it. The player has to solve some puzzles concerning the cheerleader not being a good jumper like Hans. She is bitching when Hans leaves her behind too.

Yesterday I worked on a level that is more of a cinematic than actual gameplay. The time slows when the cheerleader is feeling bad and thinks about the relationship. And it gets faster when she thinks more about a break-up. And a break-up is a simple “run the hell away from your partner” in my game. I’ll work on some color transformations and cool music changes and I think it’ll be a tasty level for the art-seekers.

I think I’ll add an alternative ending through the middle of the game. That’ll be fun. I won’t tell you where it is. It mustn’t be too hard to find though.

My friend Cem Evin made a tool to create levels. It’s simple yet effective. You just place tiles and delete them with another click. I didn’t want to go in DAME and the other level editors. I think Cem’s tool is just enough. As far as I know, he’s making a greater level editor for Flixel. I don’t know if that’ll be for general use or specified only for his game though. But I know that he’s pretty talented when it comes to software.

I want to make a save system to add an extra thing to my game. When the player is done with the game, I’ll let the player to play any level once again, but with the tool that I use to create levels. Placing and deleting tiles is fun, you can actually trap the cheerleader and stuff. Player will be able to go anywhere in the whole game. Just create a giant hole on the ground and go to the door! I'll watch people destroy my own game. It will be fun! It's just an idea though. We'll see how it goes.

Another thing I did to create a better flow was the HP of player issue. I think the game was too hard with only one health, and I didn’t want to put a health bar or something since I want it to be an art game. What I did was similar to the health system in Call of Duty and most of the modern games. I don’t know what it’s called. When the player gets hit, the screen goes red, meaning that the player should be careful and not get hit again. If he doesn’t get another hit in the meantime, the screen goes normal and the player now has 2 HP points again. I don’t know if some of the players will get confused, hopefully it’s a clear issue for the majority of players.

When you don’t have people around you, it’s much easier to lose concentration and motivation. I become depressed pretty easily. Luckily, I have wonderful people around, like my lover, Nazire. She’s always there for me and I thank her for her priceless support.

It’s important to build a small commune for creativity and motivation. I hope I’ll be relaxed and motivated enough to finish the game in its best conditions. Nazire has a nice little game of hers, too. Wish us luck! We don’t work with deadlines though. So I don’t know when any of the games will be finished. I finished a game in almost 3 years and I’m still happy how it turned out. Some stuff just needs time. If you’re not so lazy, or won’t starve in a couple of months, it’s better to work in a relaxed environment.

I think the game will look much better when I draw some background tiles and some more graphics. But for now, this is how the game looks like. Let me know if you want to test the game for yourself, I’d be happy to send you a stable build. Just connect with me on here, Facebook or even Twitter. Or send an e-mail to . What ever you like. I’m a friendly person when it comes to game development. I’d love to share information and comment on games.

And by the way, if you like psychedelic music, and you haven’t heard the LP of Arzachel from 1969, check that out. It’s f’ing amazing. See you on the next entry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"An Ode To Pixel Days" Devlog Entry #1

Three weeks ago I've started coding and drawing for my new project called "An Ode To Pixel Days". This is my first "serious" game, in terms of polish, completeness and actually communicating with player on an artistic level. I planned my game for one week and made an actual game design document on it. I aim for a fully finished and polished game in a couple of months. Before going deeper into the game, I should say why I opened this blog.

Some people wanted to know about what I was doing! And more importantly, game development on your own is a process that's lacking most of the social skills, and I don't want to sit in my dark room and code code code. Instead, I'd like to sit in my dark room and code code code and write on my blog about it. That seems more appropriate.

Actually, because I’m a one hell of a lucky man, I’ve got much more than a dark room. I’m an intern at Nowhere Studios. They are lovely people. They offered me to help make my own game instead of me helping them with little things to learn more about game development. Orçun Nişli is always near to make observations and help me about anything. He helps me code, he gives advices about everything. I go to the office almost every week day. It’s a great motivation boost, just to be there with the lovely people of the Nowhere Studios team.

More about the game: “An Ode To Pixel Days” is a 2D puzzle/action platformer. I’m creating it using FlashDevelop and Flixel library. I’ve chosen Flixel because it’s so easy to use and suits my game design perfectly. Some people don’t agree on the use of Flixel, because it’s too easy, therefore it has its limitations. But I knew what I needed before even starting to code, so I know that for this project, I made the right choice.

The hook of the game is that our teenager protagonist wants to live in a more pixelized world, and builds a machine to make that happen. Let me explain it by showing you. Have you seen the screenshot at the top? That’s the first world. When he uses the machine, he goes to the second world which looks like this:

And as the story progresses, the protagonist actually continues using the machine. Every time, the worlds get even more pixelized. Until… the protagonist is a single pixel!

That’s enough about the story. What I want to talk about in this entry is my characters and my pixel-art. There are two characters in the game: Hans, our teenager protagonist; and the Cheerleader, the girl that Hans is in love with. The whole game is about Hans chasing the Cheerleader hopelessly. What I want to give to player are the feelings I had when I was a little boy: the hopelessness, the loneliness, feeling ugly and always falling for the prettiest girls. The Cheerleader is a character who is just there because she’s pretty. She’s not interesting, she’s selfish for her beauty, and she’s one of the popular girls in her school. She wants everyone to like her. And Hans wants… a pretty girl to like him. That’s all Hans thinks about. Is she pretty? Then she’s the greatest girl in the world. Hans is a twisted little boy, he always makes bad choices in life. On this game, he makes the choice of trying to make the cheerleader his girlfriend.

Drawing the Cheerleader was the hardest part of the graphics. I’ve made some changes in time to make her the prettiest. You can see the early and the latest versions of the Cheerleader:

Ain’t she a hottie? I’m proud of it, because that’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever drawn.

Because I have multiple worlds with different resolutions, I drew Hans and the Cheerleader multiple times. There are 6 worlds, there are 6 sprite sheets for Hans and another 6 for the cheerleader.

Overall, I really like what I’m doing. I love the process of creating a game. And a full game with all the codes, graphics and music of my own? That’s hard but a rewarding process. My next entry will be about the code I’ve written. I have the whole engine and the first two worlds already. See you guys later in a week. Or maybe a few days. I don’t really know. Thank you a lot for reading.