Littleport Parkrun

This week I went to Littleport parkrun. Located at the Littleport leisure centre & recreation ground in Cambridgeshire, just north of Ely. There is plenty of parking which is free to park in which is nice. Its an easy course to find, just following the main road Littleport off the A10. Turning left at Camel Road and follow the road a little and the car park is just on the left again little bit down the road.

My Strava activity map for Littleport Parkrun

The course was 3 laps, 2 long laps that goes around fields and paths with a 3rd shorter lap the make up the 5K. As I ran here in late summer, the ground conditions were good, though a bit uneven in places. I can imagine the course been a little harder in the wetter months. The start is a nice long straight on a tarmac path followed by a stint on a field before going though a little wooded area and along an uneven mud path which is a little bit narrow and needs focus when traversing to not twist your foot. I almost did at one point.

After that you go around the perimeter of the next field before reaching the tarmac path for the rest of the lap which is pretty straight with a few 90 degree corners. You repeat that lap again for lap 2. Lap 3 you turn from the starting path a little early and emerge into the narrow path about half way through and keep right. Once at the crossing at the end of the path you take a 180 corner and run the last tarmac stretch again and keep left to the finish. My watch registered the course as 3.07 miles which is a little short of a 5K. Though if you take the corners wide you could make up the difference.

My result listing for Littleport Parkrun

The marshals at this event were great and all were very vocal which was nice. Their support was certainly a help for my time. I managed a PB when visiting by a nice amount finishing in 21:33 officially. Though my time was more around 21:50(ish) as I ran a little afterwards to make the distance a 5K on the watch. This is also the first time I have ever gotten first place for my age category which was nice.

I wore my lonely goat club shirt this week and it turned out that 2 of the marshals at the event were also goats. This meant I got some extra motivation when they saw me which was a lovely boost. I haven’t been cheered on directly since my pre-covid parkrun in Southampton, so it made for a ncie change. All the volunteers were super friendly and the my overall experience at this event was very positive.

Overall this is a great event to attend that I can happily recommend to anyone in the area.

Merge Conquest

📱 Merge Conquest

A risk style merge game that I designed and made a prototype for as a work project.



Summary

Role: Programmer
Team Size: 2
Engie: Unity
Platforms: Android
Studio: 🔗 Fumb Games

Downloads (Android): https://drive.google.com/file/d/14-6SCqV7QCiK48Aun6nz64dvkX8zAsmi/view?usp=sharing


Merge conquest is similar to risk but you merge troops to get more powerful ones to place on the field. The idea was to make the traditional game more dynamic, with extra strategy of holding some units back to have stronger ones down the line.


So this was my second fully solo project, I came up with the idea for this one as well, as well as a few other ideas that were set aside for another time. The elevator pitch is pretty much risk but with merging and that is pretty much what I made. I had the creative freedom to go with it how I wanted with a little basic design given to me to base the game off.

I based some of the design off the Lord of the Rings Battle For Middle Earth 2: War of the Ring game and Risk: Factions. The phases were setup to allow the player to go about their turn. I set the game into 3 phases per player per turn, which seemed common for games on the genre.

Planning Phase
This is where the players woudl gain their units for their current holdings (territory count and region bonuses). Merge their units to gain stronger units and add units to terriories they currently own ready for battle.

Battle Phase
This is where player can attack territories and manage units into conquered territories. Each battle lets the user either auto-roll the encounter until 1 player wins or by rolling each roll as you would do in the board game manually. Once the user has finished their attacks, they can move to the last phase.

Regroup Phase
This phase is optional and allows the user to move 1 group of units from 1 territoriy to a neighbouring territory.

The menu I had a little help with as I’m not that good at 3D modelling, so the globe is a custom model for the game. The rest of the art was done my me with all the maps being drawn up my me too, with a map generator making the basic shape for me to then edit and add the territory boundries for by hand.

I added an accessability feature in this game too. This being a colour blind mode. This was needed as there was no other way to distinguish between each player if the user couldn’t tell the difference between the colours. I made the mode change the shape the strength of each territory was shown as, as well as some prompts to remind them who they were playing as.


Art

As I worked solo on the project, I also did almost all of the art for the game. Below is some the best bits I worked on, given I’m not an artist I felt it all came together pretty well.

Maps

Each map was setup as a .psd so it could be setup in layers which Unity would recornise. Each layer would hold a territory with a layer for the water, regions & map lines. Each territory would be coloured and controls in engine. The map Shattered Lands was used a lot in development as a testing map along with This Land. Some of the maps had some references to TV/Film/Games series in their territory names for a bit of fun as well.

Ranks

There are 4 teirs of ranks in game which are denoted by the colour, while the pips/chevrons/stars would denote each rank. Below is the art used to make all the rank shileds, they were assembled in engine just like the maps.

Memory Match

📱 Memory Match

A card matching merge game.



Summary

Role: Programmer
Team Size: 2
Engie: Unity
Platforms: Android
Studio: 🔗 Fumb Games

Download (Android): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AbAKF1pKG4fW1Q0wzLBPt5r_USU2Coua/view?usp=sharing


A merge game where you play a typical memory match game but you merge cards when successfully merging.


This was my first fully solo project working at Fumb, I was given a short but simple breif to make a matching game where the user had to merge cards in order to complete the levels. The idea was somewhat based on an old card match game from the Mario series, but for the most part I had full control on how this project would end up. I made most of the game to follow Actions which made it really easy to follow the flow of the game and reduced the update calles needed. On top of that I also made some custom editors to make working with some of the scripts and scriptable objects a little easier which was well worth to time spent on it.

I chose to keep the art style nice a simple in order to make that side of the project easier, I did most of the art minus the card art itself. I had to do a little work with shader graph to make the a shader where I could have two sprites on a UI image to make them two sided for the front and back as well as having a cover image with an icon placed on top for the front face. A few online tutorials plus my own knowledge of shader graph made this not to challenging for once.

Gunsmith

📱 Gunsmith

A merge/idle game with a theme of guns.



Summary

Role: Programmer
Team Size: 2
Engie: Unity
Platforms: Android
Studio: 🔗 Fumb Games


Gunsmith is a merge idle game where you merge wacky guns together to make the best idle gun factory. So this is my first project as a Junior Programmer with Fumb Games. I was tasked with the programming and implementation for all the games mechanics.


This was my first project as a proffesional game developer. The project was nothing too far out of my conform zone but I certained picked up a lot in this one project alone. Like with all projects at Fumb there was no “hard” deadline for the work but as I was on probabation one of the goals was to finish the Gunsmith code. Given that I finished it in 8 weeks meant that I was in the middle of my second or third project by the time I was off probabation, which I passed more or less flawlessly.

The artwork was made or adjusted by a co-worker for the UI and guns. Programming wise, this has been a nice challenge to make, getting the merge board to work was one of the most challenging sections as a lot of the game relies on it. Other challenges included optimisation of the game and idle calculations which sometimes made me want to bang my head on the table but after whiteboarding the problems out I was able to solve them successfully.

The game went through several UI overhauls which were a little annoying from the dev side, as updating the art in a game over and over is pretty time consuming. Though overall I’m pretty happy with how this turned out and it is still a solid product for my first peice of work in industry.

Break An Egg

🎮 Break An Egg

A typing game with lots of egg puns.



Summary

Role: Sole Developer
Team Size: 1
Engie: Unity
Platforms: WebGl
Jam Theme: Survival
Jam Length: 2 Days

Download (Itch): https://carter-games.itch.io/break-an-egg


This game was made as part of a friendly jam between myself and some of my old university coursemates. I wanted a day to chill as I still had work the following week so I took a day off and finished the jam a day early. My entry this time was to be short but sweet with plenty of egg puns cause why not.


Approach & Post Motrem

I worked quite casually on this jam as it was a friendly one with some of my old uni coursemates. So I didn’t really push myself that much. Now having a full time job in games programming, I was wanting to take some time off over the bank holiday away from Unity. Because of this I went for a simple idea and finished it in just under 2 days so I could still have a weekend off to chill.

Probably the biggest struggle with this jam for me was coming up with a good idea, as I prefer to do something different each game I make. My first idea was too complex for 2 days of work, my second was to re-work an old unfinished project but that proved to be too hard to get into as the code-base was a total mess. I ended up resorting to doing the minimium scope for the first game idea and just going with it.

I’m quite happy with this game, it certainly was a nice little game to make. The hardest part being the code for the key registering as Unity just doesn’t have an easy solution for detecting when key was pressed, or at-least not an solutions that I could find during the jam. So I left it with a rather janky but working solution.

Inhuman Resources

🎮 Inhuman Resources

A story/puzzle game where you possess people to progress.


Summary

Role: Programmer & Team Leader
Team Size: 5
Engie: Unity
Platforms: WebGl
Jam Theme: Strenght Lies In Differences
Jam Length: 7 Days

Downloads
Github: https://github.com/JonathanMCarter/GJLSpring2021
Itch: https://carter-games.itch.io/inhumanresources


This was a 1 week game jam entry into the Games Jobs Live game jam. A jam that is focused on getting great games industry candidates infront of industry. These jams are great for experience as well which I why I took part. This time I kept most of my team from the previoius jam along with a few extra who I let join the team this time around.


Approach & Post Motrem

So this jam didn’t go as well as the last one from a technical side, the game was rather buggy for my liking and by the end of it, the game felt kind of like a walking sim, but it was still good practice none the less. The possession mechanic worked as intended though the platforming let it down really. Like the last jam I ended up doing a fair bit of the work and put the whole thing together, not helped by the fact that I was getting interviewed for a job in the same week, which I later got. I’m not sure if I’ll be taking part in the next jam in this series due to said job xD Though I’ll happily support the team I’ve made by doing the admin if they want to take part without me or with me as support.

Tower Defence Micro Project

🎲 Tower Defence Micro Project

A small test project where I created a few turrets from Emperor: Battle for Dune in a tower defnese styled game.



Summary

Role: Sole Developer
Team Size: 1
Engie: Unity
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux


This was a small project where I’d replicate the mechanics of some turrets from some of my childhood RTS games to test my skills a bit. This is the result, I only worked on the project for 2 days as there wasn’t much time to work on it before I started other things so here is just what I managed to make in that time.


Day 2 – Additional Turrets & Code Refactoring

Main Progress:
– Turret rotation Improvements
– Rocket Turret Projectile Improvement.
– Gun Turret Added.
– Popup Turret Added.
– Refactored targeting & shooting to use Interfaces.
– Expanded the map to show off each turret.

Known Issues:
– Turret animations fire off 1 more time than they are meant to.
– Rockets disappear if the target is dead.
– Enemies don’t make it to the target location.
– Turret rotation is erratic sometimes.

This day was focused on improving the rocket turret and adding 2 additional turrets, the Harkonnen Gun Turret & Ordos Popup Turret from Emperor: Battle for Dune. The gun turret is a very simple model as the turret was the only main change from the rocket turret. I got my copy of Emperor: Battle for Dune working this time so I could get a good reference image for both new turrets. The gun turret is by far the best for the dummy enemies so far. The popup turret was a little harder as the turret pops up from the ground when a target is near and then shoots in 3 shots in quick succession. The challenge was mostly with the animation states as it had a lot more than other two turrets. Overall a decent day of work.

Day 1 – Initial Project Setup, Basic Turret & Enemies

Main progress:
– Turret rotation to target.
– Turret shooting.
– Turret idle motion.
– Enemy NavMesh.
– Enemies move to target.

The turret here is based off the Emperor: Battle for Dune Atreides Rocket Turret, I used screenshots that I was able to find online to make a basic model of the turret and then based the movement and shooting from memory. I learnt how to use Blender to model the turret, I had good experience using 3DS Max but my student licence ran out for that a while back. Fortunately there are some great guides out there that helped me get to grips with the interface and I’m quite happy with the model as a is and plan to try and make the other turrets from same game in the future.

No Presents For You

🎮 No Presents For You

An action puzzle game where you steal presen.



Summary

Role: Sole Developer
Team Size: 1
Engie: Unity
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Jam Theme: You Are The Villan
Jam Length: 4 Days

Downloads
Github: https://gitfront.io/r/JonathanMCarter/2f3a6f456b1792abb08012c63bbf55f3bcaeee35/Indie-Game-Jam/
Itch: https://carter-games.itch.io/np4y


Feeling evil this Christmas? Time to steal some presents with a twist. Your life depends on it. The more presents you steal, the more lives you have. The aim is simple, steal and many presents while getting away safetly.


Approach & Post Motrem

This was a friendly jam between myself and my old University coursemates through discord and itch. The idea was to make some games and have a little fun while also getting something out of it. My entry this time around was simpler so that I could finish it and try out some new scene transitions I had wanted to try out.

Inspiration

While at university my two best friends were total disney mad, a little of that rubbed off. The entire idea for the game came from the scene depicted in the video. Mostly the way the knights move in the early stages and the clear beat on their movement. The rest was to make it christmassy ‘n’ all. Its also just a good scene regardless of context.

I worked quite casually and didn’t really push myself that much, I did find that I still had a few issues with some of my assets (which I thought I had fixed) as well as some minor bugs with the movement. I did however get to use the old path finding script design I made back in the Maze Solver C++ project linked 🔗here. This turned out to be perfect for this game which save me some time, though getting it to work in this context too a little while to sort.

Overall I’m rather pleased which what I was able to make, by far it is nothing special and the levels are not hard at all, but its something I have built and can be proud of. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of my other projects off the ground next year.

Detective Notes

📱 Detective Notes

A clue/cluedo note-taking app.



Summary

Role: Sole Developer
Team Size: 1
Engie: Unity
Platforms: Android
Studio: 🔗 Carter Games

Download (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cartergames.detectivenotes


This app is a replacement for the Clue/Cluedo paper detective notes into a digital form, as simple as that. I made the project public in-case others found it useful which many did.


This is a personal project, as when playing a game of camp cluedo with family I found it hard to read my notes, So I looked for an app. Which there were some for android, but none for IOS which most of my family uses. The app was based on an android app which I used for a bit, it was simple and I realised I could make similar app in a short period of time. I knew it wouldn’t be hard and could be done in a few days. It went rather well, I didn’t run into any major problems which was a nice change.

While this project was meant to be just for me, I have since decided to remake the project and plan to release it to the Google Play Store in the near future. The reason I’m remaking the project is because it is incredibily similar to its competitors on the market and I want my version to stand out. Most other apps on the market for this game were a bit crowded, had ads and didn’t look all that great. I aimed to make a modern looking app that was easy to us. I feel I succeeded as the app is one of my most popular projects as of writing.

C.W.I.S

🎮 C.W.I.S

A survival game where you shoot down missiles.



Summary

Role: Sole Developer
Team Size: 1
Engie: Unity
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Jam Theme: Climbing
Jam Length: 3 Days

Download (Itch): https://carter-games.itch.io/cwisss9


C.W.I.S is a tatical survival game where you fend off endless waves of missiles heading right for you. How do you stop these missiles? with a C.W.I.S ofcourse! Your ship has two of these, one at the bow and another at the stern. While these can shoot missiles out of the sky with ease, they have limited ammo and can easily overheat. As you play you can shoot supply crates to get ammo and rank up your weapons over time when they make successful kills.


This jam was a nice one, though the theme made it a bit harder to work with. Climbing meant a lot of games would involving going up and down, so I went for an alternative idea using ranking up as the main idea for the game. The development process went reasonably after I got the main mechanics working. A full break down of my throughs will be in a video at the top of this page.

I picked up a few new skills such as:

  • Online leaderboards (via php/MySQL)
  • Game Minimap Implementation

This was a rated game jam and I finished around the middle of the pack. Doing well in some categories and worse in others. The worst being theme adherance, which I can see why lots didn’t see it, but I wanted to make something that was more abstract with climbing through the ranks being my interpretation. I was still happy with how the game turned out and it got played a fair bit which was nice.


After the jam I took a break from the project but came back to it several times as I likes the core concept of the game. I started the first remake around when I was looking for work and in my first job which was in game QA testing. After gaining my first programming role I ditched the project to focus on picking up new skills from work and trying them out instead.

However I decided to come back to the project again in 2022 to release the game as a proper small game. I’ve even gone out of my comfort zone to make a development log of the progress made at the same time. The series can be seen to the here and the new game pages can be viewed below.