Dying To Live – Developer Diary #1

Back in June I made a small game at the Full Indie game jam in Vancouver. The concept is that you have to kill the player character in order to beat the level. It was well-received by people at the jam and by people I showed it to afterwards. Everyone I said that they haven’t seen a concept like this before, which is encouraging.

Here’s a video of the original game jam version.

At the time I knew the game had lots of unexplored potential, so I planned to work on it some more and release it as an online Flash game. I did a bit of work after the jam including improving the font, adding lava, and creating a few more levels.

You can play the “extended” version here.

Recent Features

Since then I’ve added:

– Particle effects/sounds for different deaths
– Fireball shooters
– Water (including splash effects)
– Water death and floating corpse (still working on this as it’s a bit buggy)

I haven’t made any new levels with the above features yet; I’ve just been testing the features out in the built-in level editor.

Also I’ve been working on the underlying framework to make sure it’s good for future Flash/download games.

The Plan

During the last few months I’ve been pretty busy due to packing up to leave Canada, going on a 3 week road trip in British Columbia, and then settling into our house back in the UK. Therefore the game hasn’t progressed much. However, now that I’ve got my home office sorted and nothing much on my to do list, I’m ready to get rolling with finish this game off. Yay! I also need some money pretty darn soon (like yesterday), and thus my aim is to finish this game in November and get some sponsorship for it in December via FGL so that my family can actually eat something other than snow at Christmas.

If the game is popular as a Flash game then I’ll turn it into a larger PC/Mac download. This isn’t very difficult because I’m using the excellent Monkey cross-platform language. I’m not planning a mobile version though because the game has too many controls for phones in my opinion.

A cool side-effect of making this game is that I’ll have a) a decent re-useable cross-platform framework in Monkey, and b) a fully featured platform game engine that I can use for other ideas.

I’ll be posting regular, perhaps daily, developer diaries to chart progress and to keep me accountable 🙂 So please check back often!

Future Features

Here are some features and wishlist items I have planned:

– 20-25 levels (10-15 mins play time)
– More background/foreground graphics
– Bombs
– Spring/catapult
– Buttons/Doors
– Moving platforms
– Enemies
– Traps
– Ladders
– Conveyors (maybe)
– Slippery ice
– Map Screen
– More stuff!!

This list is of course subject to change depending on what works and how much time I have left in November.

Please try out the game and let me know your thoughts in the comments section.


6 Responses to “Dying To Live – Developer Diary #1”

  1. baz Says:

    Great game – I reckon it would do well on the usual flash portals/fgl.

    It reminds of another flash game I’ve played, but I cant remember the name of it (it used duplicates of yourself to complete the level, rather than where they died). But, doesnt matter, your game is nicely playable.

    Good to see you are using Monkey, I am switching to it myself.

  2. Lai-Lai Says:

    I wanted to promote this on The Escapist forums today, but I’m having technical issues there today. I’ll try again tomorrow.

    Okay, I see before me an oldschool platform style game. Your ideal target audience should be retro gamers in their 30s & 40s. It will spread out from there, but this demographic will be the most eager to play & provide the most free advertisement & make the most relevant reviews for this type of game.

    Retro gamers tend to love extremely dated pop culture references, & hidden “easter eggs,” middle aged female players like brain teasers/stimulating problem solving, while the men tend to like testing themselves with varying levels of difficulty (without the game being too sadistically hard).

    Naturally, making it more difficult to find out where to die each level, making the stages longer, & possibly tossing in some enemies shooting projectiles, a score, a bonus for using the least amount of bunnies, a penalty for using too many bunnies, a time limit per level, & background music are what retro gamers are going to be expecting.

  3. Jake Birkett Says:

    @baz: thanks for playing! Yep Monkey is a great language.

    @Lai-Lai: Thanks for your kind offer to promote on The Escapist and that’s for your thoughts about how the game could expand to be popular with retro gamers (of which I’m one myself).

  4. Lai-Lai Says:

    I finally got to post it :3 Don;t be afraid to use Indiegogo or Kickstarter if you have to. Keep indie games indie.

  5. Jake Birkett Says:

    Hey that’s great thanks! Do you have a link? Yes I have been thinking about Kickstarter now it has come to the UK.

  6. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » I’m porting Titan Attacks to iOS! Says:

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