Bomb Blast ~ WGD ‘Spooky 2017’ Jam

For the first two game jams of the year, Warwick Game Design Society usually opts for simple themes to help ease newcomers into the society and get existing members warmed up. The past few years, those themes have been ‘Retro’ and ‘Spooky’, for Halloween, and this year was no different. However, this year not a single game shown off for ‘Spooky’ had a skeleton in sight! Maybe that’s the spookiest thing about it.

Again: ignore the fact I made this game in Term 1. Just ignore it. I post on this blog promptly and suggesting anything contradictory to that is slander.

I didn’t have a lot of time free to make something, but I gave it my best shot and built a competitive 4-player game in about 6 hours on barely any sleep. Ignoring the infinite-jump bug (the game does not check if you are grounded before letting you jump), it worked surprisingly well! To make it a bit more interesting, I hooked up the Joy-cons and Pro Controller from my Nintendo Switch to act as players 1-3, while player 4 is a keyboard/mouse user.

What I found most interesting is that each individual Joy-con is classed as an entirely separate controller, even when both ‘halves’ are connected at the same time. The axis and button numbers somewhat follow those of a conventional Xbox controller, but with the obvious additions of the SL and SR buttons. Unfortunately, Unity has no built-in way to retrieve gyroscope or NFC data and can’t activate HD rumble, and I had no time to perform any hackery to get all that working, else I would’ve at least added some cool rumble effects.


You’re a kid now, you’re a squid n– oh, wait, wrong game…

The game itself is somewhat based on the Crash Bash minigame Space Bash, with four players on a destructible grid trying to blow each other up. However, I only had time to implement players dropping bombs onto their own position and pushing them at others. Bombs will destroy any floor around them and decimate any players in their blast radius. I also twisted things a little so the aim of the game is to paint as much of the floor in your own colour by walking over it, earning a couple of comparisons with Splatoon 2.

The game could do with a bit of a graphical overhaul, as I only had time for Placeholder characters and the most basic 16×16 sprites imaginable. As it stands, the bright green character especially is hard on the eyes. The stage might also be more interesting if it were larger, with a dynamic camera that zooms in and out, with perhaps more verticality, but it also needs to be easier to judge depth when jumping to the higher level.

In all, I think the experiments with using the Joy-cons as controllers were successful, although the game clearly needs more work in the fun department. Some powerups, some sound and a better control scheme would all be welcomed. But most importantly, I did manage to sneak in my guilty pleasure: screenshake.

Verdict: Bombed.

You can find the source code for this game on my Github.

My Actual Plan. More Spontaneous Changes!

As you may have read almost a month ago now (sorry, I have been extremely busy catching up with AS Further Maths and a bit of Chemistry and Physics A2), I’ve been changing my plans a bit. Now to clarify exactly what I’ve decided!

I am about to enter Year 13 (the equivalent of the second year of college), and I am going to study Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry; one more A-level than most people. This is because I found out, towards the end of Year 12, that Geography is useless if you want to study Computer Science at university. Yeah, I guess that’s obvious, but 16-year-old me didn’t know what he was going to do later on. So I switched that with FM, but I decided to do the entire A-level so now I have to catch up on the AS. I hope to get into Cambridge, but the entry requirements are high (A*AA I believe) and I must take FM as one of those. I hope by doing one more A-level than the average person it will help me stand out as a strong candidate, as Computer Science is a subject I really want to study in depth and it will help greatly in what I want to do when I’m older. Anyway, enough about me, what about my games?

I decided to put my 3D Platform game on hold for a while, as it was far too ambitious for my skill level. Now, I am following Brackeys’ tutorial on Unity survival game development, which is extremely helpful with scripting and generally explaining everything you need to know. But in addition to this tutorial series, I have started the development of a small tower defense game, which so far has been very easy to plan and develop.

tower-defense-2This is a screenshot of early development, where I played around with stuff to see what worked and what didn’t. Each small metal tile allows the player to place a turret on it, which will the automatically fire at any nearby enemies. Currently, I’m trying to shake out the bugs with this mechanic, but it’s working well so far. The cube in the top-right corner will be the target the enemies try to reach (except it will have a proper model later, along with many other things in the game), and if it gets destroyed, the player loses.

tower-defense-1In this game, I’m trying to improve my level design skills to make the game as enjoyable as it can be. The first level will have a sci-fi theme, with futuristic textures and enemies. I’m slowly making progress with the level in general.

tower-defense-3This has a similar layout to the pictures shown above, but with small tweaks to the scenery. I hope to make the scene as detailed as I can. I have worked on the enemy AI (he is the red cuboid in the top picture), which is currently very simple, but he follows the path I’ve laid out correctly and attacks the box at the end, although nothing happens to it yet. The turret placement is working, and later on I will have a series of buttons along the bottom allowing the player to select different turrets, but I have to model some first. Different turrets will shoot different bullets (or lasers, or bombs), and some will be stronger than others. I could write more, but when I have a more complete version finished, I’ll make a complete list. This is the summary for now:


  • Turret placement points, allowing the player to place turrets in the level. Cost 100 points each currently.
  • Points system, where the player is rewarded with points for killing enemies. Points are used as currency to buy turrets.
  • Enemy spawner, which will send waves of enemies through the level.
  • Target for the enemies at the end of their path – if this gets destroyed, the player loses the level.
  • One level to begin with, with a sci-fi theme.


  • More enemies and turret varieties – different enemies will have varying health and movement speed, and different turrets will have different bullets and attack strength.
  • Better points system, with different enemies and turrets giving/requiring different amounts of points.
  • More scenery for the sci-fi level, and eventually more levels.
  • Better wave system, in which higher numbered waves will feature stronger/more enemies.


  • Turrets aim straight at the enemy, so when they fire bullets, they often don’t hit the enemy, but the floor just behind the enemy. (potential fixes: turn down the gravity for the bullets or increase their speed? Try to aim in front of the enemy?)