Carbon @ The 2017 BGS Showcase

So yesterday I went ahead and did a thing by demoing Carbon for the first time at the 2017 BGS Showcase. Full of bugs, lacking major features like sound, and lacking any real objectives for the player, it seemed to go okay for the most part.

As it stands right now, Carbon randomly generates a large cityscape environment the player can pilot their GeoDyne Carbon mech around in. It also throws in eight randomly placed bases (icospheres defended by turrets) and some not-so-bright tanks that have a surprisingly decent shot at killing players.

Biggest takeaway from demoing it last night: my level generation code needs work. There’s a particularly nasty pseudo-while loop that was causing the build to crash pretty frequently when the player wanted to “play again” after dying. Fixing the loop is pretty easy, but I’m still not thrilled with how it’s building the levels in the first place so I’d rather come up with a better level generation system anyway.

Another thing is the bases don’t do anything other than give you a bunch of points when you destroy them. I made the weapons system in the game robust enough that I could create just about anything, so I’d like them to drop new weapon configurations the player could pick up (kinda like Star Fox). Health pickups and powerups could be cool too, but for now, pew pew pew.

I really hate the mech design. It had been bugging me for a while now, but after last night I’ve decided it’s gotta go. It’s too focused on being low-poly, and that detracts from the general vibe I want the game to give. Still gonna keep that low poly aesthetic to a degree, but just not quite so harsh. I really want the thing to look like a Pontiac Stinger with legs, and right now it’s very much not. This vibe applies to just about all the other art assets as well, so there’s probably going to be a revamp of them in the future.

On top of sound missing, the game really needs some explosions. In a game where your main method of interacting with the world is shooting things like tanks and turrets, it just feels better if they blow up, throwing weird polygonal bits everywhere. Not a terribly difficult thing to do, just something I passed on in terms of priority when getting it ready for the showcase.

All in all though, I think it went pretty well. It got way more play than I expected it too, especially when it was in the company of some way better looking and more polished titles. And the people that did check it out seemed to enjoy it for what it was, so that was nice. I’m not sure what I’ll fix/add next, but if you wanna check it out for yourself and play the latest version(s), you can grab it at

Buffalo Game Space on Kickstarter

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Why I didn’t make a post about this earlier, I don’t know. Alas, better late then never, right?

A couple years ago I started digging around online, searching for other people in the Buffalo area that were interested in making video games. I myself had just gotten back into it and finished up work on Botrunner (which you can play on Game Jolt if you haven’t already), and kept thinking to myself how great it’d be to hang out with some like-minded folks. Eventually I found my way onto TIGSource’s forums, and wouldn’t you know it? Someone beat me to the punch and had already posted, asking the same question I had.

Cut to two years later. Futch and I, along with the help of some other incredible people, have created¬†Buffalo Game Space. BGS has been a solid group for these past two years, consistently growing in terms of both members and output. We’ve proven the demand for this sort of group exists here. And that, to me, is absurdly exciting.

The thing is, Buffalo should have a game development industry here already. We’ve got all the makings of it – programmers, artists, musicians, designers. All right here. But these talented people keep leaving the area because they can’t find work. So what better way to provide these people with jobs than by bringing the benefits of a multi-billion dollar industry to Western New York?

That’s what we’re trying to do with this Kickstarter. Create jobs for talented people. With successful funding, we can get a better functional space¬†that can be used by developing studios trying to get off the ground. Providing these teams with a space, equipment, and legal/accounting/publishing assistance means solid games. Which means revenue for the studio. Which means jobs. And like I said, multi-billion dollar industry – there’s money to be made there.

Let’s make these jobs a reality. Donate to the BGS Kickstarter and help us bring this incredible industry to Buffalo.


DUNGEONEERING (WIP Title) And Other Ramblings on GGJ14

TL;DR – Damon and I made a board game. It’s a little clunky, but definitely fun and playable. Click here to download the current version.

This was my second year participating in Global Game Jam, and I was all sorts of stoked for it. We were hosting the local jam at Buffalo Game Space (UB held it last year), and we had a pretty solid turnout! Coming off the heels of our own jam as well, everyone was pretty amped to be making more games.

The theme, revealed Friday night, was “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” This lead to a biiiiiiig discussion full of ideas for different games.

The BGS whiteboard, covered with all the ideas from Friday night of GGJ ’14.

We ended up all settling on two separate projects, one video game and one board game. From the get-go I was planning on making some sort of board game, partly because I didn’t want to lug my rig back and forth again, and partly because I just really wanted to make another fun print-and-play game. And I think we (myself and and Damon McKernan, co-developer) succeeded in doing just that.


Our game is (tentatively) titled “Dungeoneering“. It’s a sort of dungeon crawler, where two to four players have to complete randomly assigned objectives; the first to finish their objectives wins the game. The initial gameplay involves players constructing the board from a set of map cards (each a 4×4 tile grid), and populates it with item tokens that function similarly to the item boxes in Mario Kart. Each player starts at the “Spawn” tile, with one objective card and one item card. Items can be shown to other players, but objectives should be kept secret (tying in with the theme of “seeing things as you see yourself” while not seeing everything as it is).

The main gameplay consists of trying to complete your objective. Players take turns rolling a die to determine how many AP (Action Points) they have for that turn. AP can be used for moving (1 AP per tile) or using items. Items, represented by cards in your hand, can be weapons, spells, traps, or “use” items. Most, but not all, items have an AP cost associated with them. Some items also require a second roll to see if they succeed in whatever action they conduct, and some are also restricted to a certain range in tiles. Here’s an example turn:

  • I roll for AP, and get a 4
  • My objective is to kill the player to my left, and they’re three spaces away from me, so I move two spaces to get closer to them. This leaves me with 2 AP this turn.
  • In my items I’m carrying a Spear, which has a range of two. This means the player I’m targeting is just within range. I make clear I’m attacking the player by telling them and showing my spear card to prove I actually have it
  • The Spear has a check roll to see if I can actually hit my target, which I use a second die to roll for. If I roll a 5 or a 6 I hit; otherwise the attack failed. I rolled a 5, so I succeeded in killing the player!
  • When a player is killed, you can take an item from their inventory. The player shows me the backs of all their cards, and I pick one at random. They then return to their starting point at the Spawn tile.
The Dungeoneering map, populated with item tokens and player pieces.

If that was all my objective was, then I get a point, play my objective card face up on the table, return to my spawn point, discard my inventory, and take another objective card and an item card.

And I’m sure by this point you’re probably incredibly confused as to how to play at all. It’s way easier than it sounds though, and the next iteration of it will be even easier to play. There’s a way to pick up more items while playing, but the current mechanic is super sloppy and tedious. We’ve come up with a way to make it infinitely easier, so that’s why I’m not getting into that right now. Traps are another element that really spice the game up, but it’d be easier to show once we’ve got some better graphics for it.

All in all, I’d call GGJ14 a huge success for Damon and myself. While I probably didn’t do a good job of describing the game, we’ve got a very solid core game built that was a lot of fun for everyone to play. Naturally it’s a jam game, so it needs a bit of polishing and tweaking. Fortunately we want to do just that, and eventually make it into a full-fleged, well tested, exceptionally fun game. Expect more updates on it soon!