Two Small Games

Today I’m releasing the two small projects I started last weekend. Jam games have (for me at least) a way of getting out of control and turning into larger projects, voraciously consuming all in their path. There is still more I’d like to do with both of these, but it’s time for me to set them aside and return to my main projects.


Seven Hours Pass

The first of these is a small text based game called “Seven Hours Pass”. I don’t usually spend much time writing, but I really enjoyed making this, and it reinforced my desire to do more writing in general. Unfortunately I can’t describe the game in detail without saying things which should remain unsaid. You can play it for yourself here:
Play Online – Seven Hours Pass v. 1.0


Untitled City Game

The second of these is a building game. You can’t directly create people, but you can place houses, farms, and supply lines. Make whatever you like: sparse rural areas, small towns, a huge city with roads and skyscrapers. The people reproduce freely, and will populate your creation at whatever density it can sustain.

I spent the better part of this week guiltily tinkering with this game. There are a lot of directions I’d like to explore from here. What happens, for instance, if you create a system which relies on a limited resource such as lumber or fossil fuels? I also have a lot of ideas for generated buildings, roads, etc. which I wanted to include in this project, but I had to hold back or I’d have ended up neglecting my larger projects for weeks. Needless to say, I’d very much like to revisit this territory in the future.
Play Online- Untitled City Game v. 1.0


Against My Better Judgement

Against my better judgement I’ve decided to pack two game jams into my already crowded weekend: I am making games for both Ludum Dare and Klik of the Month. It should be fun if a bit hectic.

For Klik of the Month, I’m planning to make something text based. At the Oakland Molyjam, I had the privilege of programming alongside a group of people who were doing an interactive fiction project. I was amazed to see how much were able to accomplish.

My Ludum Dare game follows a population of tiny people which farms, eats, builds, and makes more people. It doesn’t look like much yet, but I’ll post more soon.


DRINK

During the Game Development Conference in San Francisco this week, Anna Anthropy and I made a game together. It’s called DRINK. It pits a real person against a pretend person in a real drinking contest. The game had its maiden voyage two nights ago at the Noisebridge hacker space. It was quite an ordeal. The computer happened to roll the highest possible value for its tolerance. Our first volunteer, Daphny (bless her soul), defeated it to resounding cheers from everyone present.

Personally, my interest lies less in the fact that this is a drinking game than in the way this game bridges real and game worlds. I’m interested in making other games that explore this territory.

Please don’t play this. But if you do, please post videos. http://vacuumflowers.com/drink/


The Perils of Refrigerator Delivery

For the last several weeks I’ve been making a new game. It doesn’t have a title yet; it is currently going by the catchy moniker “Untitled Dungeon Crawler.”

The game chronicles the adventures of a mild mannered refrigerator delivery truck driver who travels through a branching maze of parallel universes in order to get a signature on an order slip.



The game is a streamlined, fast paced romp through a mix of dungeons, cave systems, and outdoor areas. One notable feature of the game is that it can be freely toggled between real time and turn based play. The entire game can be played in either mode. The focus is on exploring, treasure hunting, levelling up, and eventually dying a grim and lonely death at the bottom of an uncharted black abyss and being remembered only by the high score table.

Development is going smoothly. It’s starting to feel like a game, albeit only a partially developed fetus of a game, at this point. The basic systems are mostly done. Right now I’m populating the game with new types of creatures and tinkering with map generation. I’ll post more about the creatures and environments in the near future.


Klik of the Month 50 entry

A few of us here in Oakland regularly meet up for Klik of the Month. To anyone not familiar with it, it could be called a monthly two hour game jam. It would be more accurate, however, to describe it as an event where one frantically throws clip art and found images into a big pile, sprinkles on some glitter and a midi track or two, and then tries to convince one’s friends to play the result.

I used my two hours to cobble together a test of an idea involving a ray of light that freezes enemies. It’s more an exploration of an idea than a complete game. If I’d had more time, I’d have liked to try out the following:

  1. walls which cast fancy real time shadows, protecting enemies
  2. smarter enemies that use these shadows for shelter
  3. a limit on our turn rate
  4. slowing our character while the light is on

Play the game or download the source here:
Tidied up version
Original two hour version


Now Everyone Will Think I Have Heads in my Freezer

Do you have friends? Have you ever wanted to festoon the walls with their entrails and festively splatter their liquefied remains over every visible surface?

A few of you may have played this before (thanks for helping to test!), but to those of you who haven’t I’m pleased to announce that I’ll soon be releasing a two dimensional shooter. At this point it’s almost done- all it wants is a bit of polish and some sound effects. The game is a collaboration between myself and my friend Jack Perkins, with a number of other people contributing levels. At my friend’s insistence, it is eloquently titled “Murder Simulator.” Thanks, Jack. Now everyone will think I have heads in my freezer.
Murder Simulator is a single screen multiplayer contest very much in the spirit of games such as Scorched Earth, Liero, and Nidhogg. It’s pure player versus player; there is no single player mode at all. Jack and I had both recently played Beau Blythe’s 0Space, and while we both like it a lot we wanted to make something which had a similar depth, but which was easier for people to pick up and play. We made this with an eye for intuitive controls and streamlined mechanics. The controls consist of only four directional keys and a single trigger. There is no jumping, alternate fire, or fiddling with items. The pacing is measured rather than fast and twitchy. This gives people room to finesse each shot. It also makes for suspenseful moments as a grenade arcs through the air, or someone drops in for a kill with the spread gun.

One of the most fun things about development was making the weapons. Combat is fairly positional- each of the weapons works best in a different environmental situation. My favorite weapon is the one second from the right. It’s called the pink gun. It makes people pink. This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending upon one’s point of view.


Hello

Hello.
I hope everyone is well.
My name is Loren Schmidt.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a 29 year old artist with a menagerie of interests including game design, storytelling, visual art, and UI. I’ve released a few independent games including Star Guard as well as a number of smaller games and experiments. I currently live in Berkeley, California.

For a while now, I’ve been using this site as a place to put projects. This weblog is a new addition. (I’m sorry, I know that ‘weblog’ sounds a touch stiff and formal, but “blog” sounds a bit like nails on a chalkboard to me.) I intend to use this as a place to share updates about my current projects, as well as articles about things like digital art and game design. I have a couple of small games in the works which are almost ready for release. I am also currently involved in a much larger project which I am very excited about. I’ll be sharing more details soon.