Welcome to brianmacintosh.com. I'm Brian MacIntosh, and I am a game programmer in the Orange County area of Southern California. This site serves to host and distribute some of my games and my blog, below.
I have developed games and apps for the XBox 360, Windows PC, iPad, Amazon Alexa, and Windows 7 Phone. I'm particularly interesting in procedural generation, pixel art, and emergent gameplay, and I'm looking forward to developing more games with these technologies.
Ludum Dare #29 Results
May 19th, 2014 @ 23:37
Tags: ludum dare, legend of the thunder fish, game jam
The results are in from Ludum Dare #29. Fun being probably the most important category to me, I am quite happy with my rankings. I'm definitely improving over my scores from the last two jams, and I was happier with the game as well. The Dare had a record-breaking 2497 submissions this year.
During the judging period, I played 60-something games. You can find lots of "best-of" lists around - here are the best games I happened to play.
- Infection - A pretty tower defense game in Unity.
- Kinetectonic - A very fun-to-figure-out puzzle-type game.
- Ben Eath the Surf Ace - A surfing game that's totally rad, dude.
- Shark, Shark, Shark - Shark, shark, shark, I'm a shark. It has claymation!
- A Glorious Escape for a Lich King - A really solid all-around tower defense game.
- Jumpland Underground - This game is art.
- Damned Scouts - A fun puzzle game about camping safety.
Ludum Dare #29 Complete
May 11th, 2014 @ 2:43
A few weeks ago, I participated in the 29th Ludum Dare. It has been a while, but not many posts, since I last participated in the Dare. The theme for this one was "Beneath the Surface".
I worked with Justin Britch on this one. We met just after the theme was announced to brainstorm. I really liked this theme - it evokes mystery and exploration, provides an easy setting (underground or underwater) to start with, and could simultaneously be tied into gameplay elements. While we thought it would have been a lot of fun to make "Ben Eath, the Surf Ace", we ultimately decided that we really wanted to go after the mystery, the thrill of exploration, fear of the unknown, and such themes. We also knew that we wanted to attempt to introduce some sort of narrative into the world.
The beginnings of the conversation system.
The design was ambitiously scoped for a jam, and I'm happy I was able to turn out so many features.
The Good: Dedicating time during the development process for polish worked well for the game. When polish gets left as a task for the end of the jam, there's often no time to actually do it. I didn't leave a feature until it was in a state it could stay in.
I also didn't run into too many momentum-killer problems. I've worked on several smaller projects using HTML5 and ThreeJS over the past few months, so I knew some of its quirks and was able to work continuously without getting stuck on strange bugs, even though the codebase for Thunder Fish pushed way past the size of my previous HTML games. Familiarity is key for jams, and it definitely pays off in the ability to continue grinding out features.
Learned: Yet again, I completely failed to allocate time for audio. Fortunately, I was already in the Jam category for this one, so I pulled some free music from NGXmusical in the last hour. Sound effects could have improved the feel even further, though.
You can play The Legend of the Thunder Fish on the web!
Also some of the other Dare games, here: Ludum Dare 29.
Ludum Dare #27 Complete
September 02nd, 2013 @ 22:26
Tags: ludum dare, game jam, post mortem, the 91st parallel
Last weekend, I participated in the 27th Ludum Dare. For anyone who doesn't know, the Ludum Dare is a competition held a few times a year in which participants attempt to make a game in 48 hours. Games made for this Ludum Dare had to follow the theme "10 Seconds".
When I first heard the theme, I was a bit put off. I thought it was too shallow, too easy to just tack onto an arcade clone. Fortunately, many brilliant people proved me wrong. However, I opted to take the theme a little more laterally, interpretting "seconds" as a measure of distance based on global lat/lon coordinates. I thought, "what if there were only 10 square seconds of the earth left?" The earth would just be a really small section of the surface (about 300 ft on each edge) and a huge slice of the core dropping off into nothingness.
That sounded like a great setting for a survival-horror game, something I hadn't tried before. The design I ended up attempting to implement was very ambitious. Overall, I think this was a good plan, even though I certainly didn't get to everything I wanted to. I was considering and developing a lot of extra content for the game, rather than just taking the first few things I thought of and ending design because of scope. Of course, over-scoping is still a terrible thing, but by prioritizing things that needed to get done, I was able to still have a playable game after 48 hours even while not reaching all my goals.
I did neglect the gameplay aspect of the game a bit during this jam. Had I been able to implement some form of combat and developed the building mechanics more, the game would have become much more viable from a gameplay perspective. So perhaps the scope did kill me there. I ended up getting to explore ideas for creating ambiances and environments, though, and I think on that front it went fairly well.
You can play my entry here: The 91st Parallel.
New Game: Primeval
October 31st, 2012 @ 18:49
Tags: primeval, ludum dare, flash
I just posted a small game I've been working on lightly since the Ludum Dare 24. The game, Primeval (not to be confused with Primeval Labs), is the second of the two ideas I was considering for the Ludum Dare. It's a rather mind-bending tile-swapper combining mechanics of Conway's Game of Life and Rock-Paper-Scissors. My goal in creating this game was to learn Flash and ActionScript 3 while experimenting with this idea. I had opted to create the more traditional and straightforward Primeval Labs for the Dare because I wasn't sure how well these mechanics would balance or whether the game would even be viable. After a few iterations in Flash, fortunately, it is, and now you can play it right here!
Here's a picture:
48 Hours Later
August 27th, 2012 @ 19:12
Tags: game jam, ludum dare, primeval labs
The game, entitled "Primeval Laboratories", is done as of 6:00 PM yesterday! I think it turned out well. I had a lot of fun making it and testing it, and seeing a genetic algorithm finally working is very satisfying.
I've always been decent at art for a programmer, and I guess I assumed that I'd be able to do music and sound as well. Well, not in 48 hours, at least. So I learned that I stink at that!
Check it out here. I'll probably be making a page for it on my site here as well.