ItsTheAshtray's News

Ludum Dare Game Update Page

2014-08-22 22:20:17 by ItsTheAshtray
Updated

Finished my Ludum Dare game way late, but here it is: Leap Weave


I'm doing the Ludum Dare game jam for the first time with Unity which I've only recently become a little familiar with. We've got 48 hours to make a game based on the theme of "Connected Worlds." Should I stay up all all night with the help of the miraculous concoctions of whiskey and coffee, or get some sleep? Sleep would help me be more productive with the time I have, but no sleep...well, would create more precious time.


Also, my death jam animation is on the front page! SPANKS!

1267826_140876036162_theEnd.jpg


Whoops, bad decisions!

2014-08-10 13:54:06 by ItsTheAshtray

Uh, oh. I screwed up. A couple days ago I posted this game: Climb Jon Hamm's Dick! I made a couple big mistakes with this one and it turned into a big pile of poo-poo.


Misguided Effort

Oh boy. This game started as an experiment with Stencyl for the Newgrounds Stencyl Jam. I joined the jam late and had one night to try to finish it. I came pretty close, but ended up giving up. It was supposed to be like this:

  • Introduce the character to Jon Hamm
  • Jon's Penis emerges
  • Climb the Penis
  • Jon says Hi
  • Reach the peak (tip)
  • Jon kisses you
  • Credits

That's it. It should have taked about 2 minutes for the player to beat the game. It was supposed to be a dumb little joke game that I didn't care about. I left the game alone for a while and when I came back I started redrawing animations, designing more levels, putting in more gameplay things (moving dick, birds, dick sores that shoot blood clots) and making A BUNCH of music for it (seriously, I think I made 9 songs and 7 are in this tiny game). I forgot something very important and I'm not sure where I read this: "Focus on the minimun you need to get the project done". That doesn't mean cut corners and be shitty. It means finish the fucking thing, then you'll have some perspective and you can refine it. If I had thrown the levels together and started testing the goddamn gameplay before I invested so much time into all the little frills, I would have know that this was a crappy vertical platformer and I don't really like the controls.

I put more work into the ending scene than the gameplay. Really dumb, but it sure has taught me about priorites and how to better approach future projects.


Artsy Fartsy

It started as a dumb game about climbing a dick. That's it. Then I got this bright idea that it's not really about climbing a dick, it's a social commentary about how celebrity media has permeated most people's (U.S.) lives. Whether you're flipping through channels or standing in line at the grocery store, you get punched in the face with news about Miley Cyrus and Bieber or whoever. The game is about a regular dope named Gary who doesn't really care about celebrity news but still has gotten it shoved down his gullet. In the game he's forced to climb Jon Hamm's dick. In reality he's just watching TV and some middle-aged dude with frosted tips on TMZ is yelling about celebrities. The being forced to climb the dick is a metaphor for having this celebrity knowledge forced into your life. That's cool, right? It would have been if I figured out a better way to represent this to the player. Also, with shitty gameplay nobodys going to care about the story or stop and try to decypher some dumb metaphor.


Spanks for reading. I've got a couple ideas for the next game and screwing this one up has gotten me thinking smarter about the next one. Also, I've been practicing drawing and character design stuff. Art is hard. Much repect to all the great artists here on NG. You make it look so damn fun and easy. Here's a comic:

                                           1267826_140769318081_conspiracyflagssmall.jpg

                             



Hey. Thanks to everyone who played and reviewed What Happened to Dad? Also, huge thanks to Tom and NG for having it featured up on the front page. 

Wall of text incoming, sorry.


Why

First off, some people guessed that the story was based on my Dad and my life. That's true. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking when I started working on it. It seemed like a good idea at first, and the more I worked on it and figured out which parts of the story to use, things got weird.

My dad shot himself 12 years ago. It usually doesn't feel like a big deal anymore, but working on this made me think of a bunch of depressing shit and by the time I finished the game I was totally emotionally worn out. I thought that maybe the process would be cathartic, but instead it was like I was poking old wounds.

Not just that, the idea of sharing this with other people started to seem ridiculous. When it was finished, I was embarrassed of it and didn't want to post it. I called up my buddy and explained how it felt that I was about to share this stuff with a bunch of strangers that are probably going to write stuff like "FAGGGGG" or "EMO!!!" or "THIS GAME IS GAYYYY AND SO IS YOUR DAD", and for the most part that didn't happen, which was cool. He said fuck it. Why would you care about what a bunch of strangers think?

There was something about how personal this game was that I didn't know how I would react to any review, good or bad. I started checking for that stupid star next to my username every hour. It became an anxiety inducing obession. That star meant that someone was potentially telling me that I'm a stupid asshole for complaining to the world that my stupid dad did a stupid thing. I started getting pissed that the game was still on the front page. It's one of the coolest experiences to have a game featured on the front page, but it also means that more people are going to play it. That was scary. After all, before I posted it Sunday night/Monday morning, all I wanted to do is let it rot on my hard drive and forget about it.


The Game

But, I said fuck it. I was tired and posted it. I played it the next day and read some reviews. I still didn't know how to feel. A lot of people pointed out that it wasn't a game. It is a game, but I know what they meant. It requires almost zero skill to play and there's no real win/lose condition. I wanted to have puzzles and stuff and more areas to explore, but I ran out of time. In the end, I like it just how it is.

I stayed in a depressed headspace and told the story. I make mostly joke games, and was worried that it would come across as trying to be artsy or just plain pretentious. I wanted it to be honest and I was incredibly relieved when I read the overwhelming amout of good reviews. It was crazy. I had never really made any 'art' before and wasn't really trying to do that. The fact that some people could feel what I put into this...it's unreal. So, spanks you skanks. Some people said they cried, some people said they were sad, and even most of the negative reviewers were trying to be respectful to whoever's dad that was. It was really sweet.

Also, sorry. I didn't want to make anyone sad. I also didn't want to mislead people into playing something that isn't a fun, action-packed game. I understand why you'd be pissed. If I went somewhere to play cool games and got some dreary pixelated thing where all you can do is walk, I probably wouldn't like it at all. 


Plot Holes

The game is about the 12 years or so after the suicide until now. I spent about the first 7 years isolating myself. Just kept my head down at school and played video games afterwards. It was gross and unhealthy. The rest of my family wasn't coping well either. For some reason, nobody every thought of therapy, and we're still dealing with a bunch of issues that developed from not dealing with the dead dad - the popped pops.

So, over those years I spent a bunch of time thinking about my dad - who he was and why he did what he did. The game is a metaphor for that. The character is me walking around trying to fill these holes in the story of my dad's suicide. That's what the holes are in the game - the main events that led to the big bang. The cutscenes were written in present tense through the perspective of myself as a child viewing the events. Presenting in that way was like reliving the events for me.

I think that's everything I wanted to say about it. It was a weird but awesome experience. Most of the time when making games I think: 'How will I finish this and is it worth it?' or 'Is this a stupid or unoriginal idea?'. So, the jam was perfect to shut my brain the fuck up and just make something.


Help, Please! - URL Rewriting with ?PHP?

I'm making some updates on my site - mostly SEO stuff. I was wondering if anyone had any good resources for URL rewriting. My site uses PHP to grab post data from a database and the url ends up filled with PHP stuff like:

itstheashtray.com/view/?view_id=13

And I'd like to create an automated way to change the URL to have the name of the post (from the database) in the URL so it would look something like:

itstheashtray.com/view/what-happened-to-dad

I've played around with some stuff but can't quite figure it out - .htaccess? What the hell? Does anyone know about this kind of stuff?


Next

I'm making a game about how celebrity news has invaded every level of our culture to the point that it's even distracting people that want nothing to do with it. But really, the game's just about climbing Jon Hamm's huge dick.

Also, follow my twitter. I have an embarrasingly low amout of followers and it'd be nice to tweet stuff that people see.

Here's a happy song after this sad week:

 


Particle X

2013-12-14 01:07:50 by ItsTheAshtray

Hey, just posted Particle X. I started this game about two years ago, finished it three months later, and have been sitting on it since then. Why wait so long to release this thing? Let's try out NG's new bullet point thing to find out!

  • Tried to get it sponsored - failed
  • Unhappy about how it turned out and wanted it to die
  • Forgot about it

That's pretty cool NG. Thanks for the blog text editor update!

It's a little weird but I'd like to do a little self review of the game. If you havn't played it yet, check it out before you read this 'cause you might get prejudice.

First, some stuff I kind of don't like:

  1. Most of the visuals are pretty shitty. I tried doing a simple style that I could handle, but it comes off as cheap. I think I pulled off some things, like the character's faces. I thought about re-doing everything a few times but it never seemed worth it. Mainly because I didn't think the gameplay and story was actually worth doing all that work for. I'm starting to think that maybe I still should, and re-release this with all pixel art. There are also inconsistencies with the art style, like the vector art particle x and enemies, the photoshop made background, and pixel art characters.
  2. Inconsistent main character. Joseph Savante is the main character who created Particle X ("The most dense energy source the world's ever seen!") and he is supposed to be this Einstein-like genious, but mostly acts like a naive 5-year old. I was trying to play the whole 'savant' angle, so that maybe Joe's really good at science but an idiot otherwise, but I don't think he comes off that way. He also had to be childlike to play into the next point...
  3. The story. There's two levels to the story in Particle X. Are either of them good? I think one of them kinda is. So, the surface plot is: Dr. Joseph Savante creates a microscopic unlimited energy source particle (X) with the help of an A.I. named M.A.R.Y. She and Joe both work for a corporation, but Joe is just there to do experimental research. When Particle X is created, M.A.R.Y. attempts to get Joe to safely deliver Particle X so that the corporation can turn it into a weapon. Joe don wanna do dat, so he goes rogue, and eventually the player has to decide to either destroy the Particle (which would kill Joe, too) or hand it over to M.A.R.Y. The underlying story is: A child (Joe) first must rely on his mother (M.A.R.Y.) to survive because he's otherwise completely vulnerable (if Particle X touches anything, game over). He goes through adolescence and realizes he doesn't agree with his mother and he rebels (end of ACT 1). Then he's on his own and learned to defend himself (shield in ACT 2). He eventually learns how to make decisions and survive without his mother's guidance. The end. The problem with all of that is: At the end of the day, this is only a mouse-avoider flash game with some puzzle and shooter elements. Who cares about a crappy story and subtext? I wouldn't. LESSON LEARNED?
  4. The pseudo-sciencey words are silly as fffuuuuuu. And by silly, I mean dumb. 

Other stuff:

  • The dark levels in ACT 2. I don't think I've seen anything similar to that before, so that's COOL. The dark levels are completely black except for Particle X,  the enemies, and other particles. You have to navigate through the levels by bouncing particles off of your shield to find out where the walls are. Also, because it's nearly all black, I don't have to worry about the graphics sucking. Hah.
  • I had done very litte pixel art before this and enjoyed the learning experience while making the character faces.
  • The snake mini-game (Xworm) is pretty addicting, so that's cool.

Overall, working on this game drained some soul out of me. I obsessed over it, although I probably shouldn't have...because at the end of the day, it's just about avoiding stupid circles with your mouse.

 


Totalitarian Tom

2013-11-19 14:59:46 by ItsTheAshtray
Updated

*Feeling a little worse for Pig after seeing what some people are saying on twitter.

I was going to make a big post explaining my thoughts on the whole censorship thing but I'm kind of sick of it already. I'm not sure why things got so emotional for anyone except Tom and Pigpen. Who is being censored? Tom's post brought more attention to the game than it would have gotten from users otherwise. Then again, if the point of the game was truly to bring attention to the gun control issue, maybe it should have been allowed to stay. Maybe there was a more tasteful way to bring up a conversation about gun control? Maybe shock is the most effective way to do it. I don't know. I just know Pigpen made a choice and I'm sure he was aware of the potential consequences. Tom also had to make a choice. In the end, I respect both of their decisions and everyone needs to get their panties out of a bunch.

Totalitarian Tom



Hey Newgrounds!

Sorry for the confusion, BUT I GOT MY NAME CHANGED. You may remember me as 'ir0nh0rse'. Super special thanks to Tom for the help. It hurts every time I think of how cool Newgrounds is.

Been loving a lot of the stuff on the front page lately. X.C.V.B. was insanely frustrating and addicting. It reminded me of the first time I ever played a FPS on the PC and how fucking terrible I was. Very fun trying to re-learn how to control a game.
Motorjoust was super fun too.
I didn't get through all of the Game Jam 9 stuff, but from what I've seen, it seems like everyone did pretty awesome and had fun with it.

What have I been up to? Oh shit, thanks for asking. Well I failed the Game Jam 9 challenge by not finishing...yet. I got super excited by the screen shot I was supposed to base my game off of and took the whole concept waaay too far. What I mean is that it really got me thinking about what kind of game I've been wanting to make. I guess it turns out that I really want to make and absurd retro RPG. Kind of like a cross between Conker's Bad Fur Day and a SNES Final Fantasy. Doesn't that sound fun?

Anyway, before I finish the Demo for the RPG, I had to finish the website. Here it is: ItsTheAshtray.com! Hope you check it out! I spent 3 months learning PHP to build that son of a bitch. I'll have some Podcasts up there soonly.

Finally, here's a video demo of some movement code for the RPG called '19 Eighty-Cluck'!
(Promise, I'll explain the name sometime)


Pico Day Epilogue

2013-04-29 19:40:52 by ItsTheAshtray

Hey there!

I made it back from Philly safe and sound after the Pico Day Party. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life! After the drive I took a 14 hour nap, and here I am to post about the things I learned from and about everyone I met.

Booty Juice Refrigerator - Your knob has been rubbed by so many people of each sex that you probably don't know if you like girl fridges or boy fridges anymore.

The-Swain - Tall, charismatic, and handsome.

Opera Girl - Drunk. You made me hold your cheeseburger. I licked it while you weren't looking.

Bald Truck driver with an epic pubic beard and Berserker "brand of sacrifice" tattoo - great talk. Thanks for teaching me proper pipe cleaning technique and ALL THE SECRETS of the truck driving world.

Krinkels - So cool meeting you. Very happy that I almost got to see you counter a kick to the face.
500 Homicides a year in Chicago == Krinkels wants a new gun (jkjkjk)

Mike - I don't even know where to begin. First, best of luck building the best collection of game engines ever jkjkjk. Seriously, I must have interrupted your answers to my questions about 173720 times with more questions about everything programming and you patiently and awesomely answered everything. I also called you Rob six times and you didn't get mad.

Evil-Dog - It was awesome to meet you. Thanks for the long talk and the great tips for a new programmer. It was cool to meet you, but that could be said about any Canadian ('cause it's cold...GET IT?)

Ryan/Travis/Zachary? - I'm a dumb boy and I can't remember which of you are from Illinois and which is from Ohio, but thanks for the great greeting and fun talks. Good luck with your Dick history. Good luck with your Luis toon. (OH TRAVIS IS FROM OHIO!)

Tyler - You've knocked out 5 or 6 people with a kick to the face. Jkjk. Awesome meeting you man. I'm totally on-board with your Freddy Krueger-esque god.

Zeebarf - Totally nice and fun guy and I'm donating to your kickstarter.

EntropicOrder - Great talk and it was really cool to meet the creator of ROOFTOP SKATER. Thanks for enduring all of my newbie programming questions and teaching me about the different disciplines of parkour.

Luis - Thanks for the great greeting! I wish I would have talked to you more but I was scared that you were mad at me for wandering away while you were trying to lead me to thy nipple of beer and then you had to come back to get me and SHIT YOU'RE TALLER THAN ME. Fuck

Mindchamber - Really glad I got to meet you and I forgot to mention how much I love Robocop.

Guy who was drawing very seriously while sitting on the couch for 7 hours - you're an awesome artist and also probably the most intimidating person I've ever seen. Not only did I not approach you, I didn't even ask anyone else who you were.

Paul Ritchey (I think?) - One of the guy's from the 'Continue?' YouTube series. Super passionate dude who truly loves his fans. Another inspiring conversation.

Last but not least,
Tom - Thanks for inviting me! I wish I had the nerve to talk to you before the very end of the night while everyone was leaving. You were super nice and thanks again for everything.

I didn't get to meet a lot of people, and that's probably a good thing. My head might have exploded.

Note to everyone: I can't believe how much I swear compared to everybody else. Sorry if that made anybody uncomfortable. Also, I couldn't stop smoking, so sorry for blowing smoke in your faces.

Finally, getting to see the staff and NG members in person was such an inspiration. Newgrounds has always had (and still does have) and air of honesty about it. Just getting a sneak peek behind the curtain has made me realize how much this site has meant to me over the years. I love it. This place can be anything you want: a stomping ground for trolls, a hub for gaming, a depository for all your artistic shit, the mirror in a gym to flex your ego, a platform to launch your career, a place to meet friends, or just that silly site where you could throw spears at a pop singer's tits. THANKS NG! <3


PICO DAY PARTAY

2013-04-27 01:01:19 by ItsTheAshtray

Hey!

I made this stupid thing for pico day!

I'm heading out from Chicago right now TO DRIVE TO PHILLY! WHOOOOOO PODCASTS!

SUPER EXCITED to meet everyone! By the way, does anybody know if there's a start time/end time? Here's a picture of my stupid face so maybe we can skip a step in introductions.

PICO DAY PARTAY



Herro.

Before I take the plunge into a google search, I wanted to get some Newgrounds developer's takes on a couple topics.

Downloadable Flash Games
I'm pretty sure this is possible, right? I think around a year ago I experimented with exporting an SWF as a different file or in some different way, which turned it into a runable "program" (or something, I really don't know what I'm talking about). Suppose I wanted to make a download only flash game and just have a link to the download on a website, is that possible? If so, do you know of any nice resources you'd be willing to share? Also, is flash the best program to distribute games this way? Is unity "better"? Any other options?

Online Multiplayer Flash Games
Now I know this is possible and I'd like to get my feet wet in some simple online multiplayer flash stuff. Again, any recommended resources would leave me momentarily grateful. Also, again, is flash even a reliable thing to meddle with when it comes to online games? What do you think is better?

My short term goals are to get a handle on the whole online multiplayer concept. Long term, I'd like to make an online fighting game (street fighter boyyeeee). Should I stick with flash or where shall I roam?


Game Sponsorships

2012-07-25 20:53:53 by ItsTheAshtray

Hey there,

This is inspired by Lilg's post about game sponsorship and people's responses to it.

-The Well Has Dried-
It's mostly being argued that sponsorships for flash games are now more difficult to get and not as valuable. I'm not even sure if this is an argument as much as it's a fact. It's true. That's that. How did this happen? It seems like at some point there was a flood of flash games which (supply/demand) drove the price of sponsorships down. Either that or advertising in flash games is no longer as effective as it was before (or a combination of both?). Maybe the sponsorships don't bring as much traffic and exposure to the sponsor's site as they used to. Maybe us flash gamers have learned how to tune out the sponsor's logo and just get on to the game. Has this always been the case, or did we used to have some reverence for certain games and sites when we saw a "Crazy Monkey Games" or "Armor Games" logo in front? Is it like the 99% vs. the 1% except gamers vs. sponsors now?

What's Next?
So if developing flash games is no longer an option for some Indie developers (at least with the sponsorship route), what do we do? Flash used to be a great place where a budding game designer like myself could spend a lot of time learning and developing and making a little cash at the same time. Now what do we do? The iPhone game market apparently is also flooded. Soooo.....? Where do we go? Just pray that your flash game is a huge hit and then start a kickstarter for a sequel or fleshed out downloadable version? Maybes.

Other Stuff - Videos
Here's a couple games I'm working on. One is totally done: Particle X. Maybe I'll just release it without a sponsor? IDK

This one's called Vertigo and this is just a little demo.