Andy vs. 756C

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | June 26, 2015 | No Comments

NealCruco helps us mark the triumphant return of Feel Bad Friday this week (after a wee paternity-leave hiatus) with a swell level: 756C.




It’s a level filled with spike jumping, missiles raining down on you, and some pretty precise magnetic moments.  Did I succeed?  Or does having a brand new baby make me weak? You’ll have to watch to find out!

If you’d like to play the level yourself, you can see NealCruco’s original post here.

A big thanks to NealCruco for sharing the level.  I’d say you successfully broke through your designers-block.  A solid level that was (a) all possible, (b) hard when put together, and (c)… oh boy, that moment when you flip that switch.  Feels so great to unleash all those missiles!



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My Newest Little Playtester

Posted in: General News | June 26, 2015 | No Comments

So the reason for this not-so-brief pause in the blog/Feel-Bad-Fridaying/game development… is that I’ve gone and made a new playtester from *scratch*!  (My wife helped, too.)

My son Max arrived on May 20, and is cute as can be, as evidenced by these pictures:





Believe me… I had to hold back to just show those two.  I’ve got probably about a thousand pictures, and the kid is just a month old.  And it’s been a great month — filled with sleeping babies, eating babies, pooping babies, and wide-eyed-with-wonder babies.  I’m so glad to have been able to take some time off to spend with the little guy.

I’m going to be ramping back up with TTG now, assuming Max continues to let me sleep at night.  Thank you all for your patience and support.


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Binary vs. Winter Wind

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | May 15, 2015 | No Comments

Wait, what?  I changed up the format slightly (very slightly) for this week’s Feel Bad Friday — recording two different levels.  Because, well, you’ll see why.

The first is Binary, by A Random Player:



This is a level where Random MADE A CLOCK.  That’s right.  In-game, using just missiles, switches, and platforms, Random managed to create a clock that ticks, counting all the way up to 128.

The clock itself is in binary (with each switch representing one bit… on-or-off), and they get flipped in just the right order to count up in binary.  There is even a display down at the bottom that shows off the state of each switch in *literal* zeroes and ones.  This is not only a clock, but a clock-display!  Wow.  You need to check this out, it is incredible.

The level it’s in, though, is humorously (kinda) impossible.  Your progress is tied to the clock, and according to Random’s calculations, if you didn’t mess up, it would take at least three hours to complete the level.  So.  Yeah.  I’m going to file that under ‘impossible.’

Which is why I also tried out another (quite possibly possible) level this week: Winter Wind, also by A Random Player.  This takes the ideas of missiles + switches = cool clocks, and makes it a core part of the level.



Instead of ticking up a binary clock, those missiles and switches in the upper left control an ever-changing electric field.  That – and the rest of the design of the level – makes it all quite difficult.  I have to say, though, it was an incredibly fun level to beat.  Sometimes in levels, I spend 90% of my time trying to beat one super-challenging part… which can get a bit frustrating.  But in this one, each part was quite hard, but roughly equally so.  And I could choose to complete them in any order I wanted.  So if I got tired of trying to approach the level one way, I could change strategies and try something else.  Also, there wasn’t a clear path in the level from start to finish, so it was quite a puzzle just trying to figure out which way to go around different obstacles.

You can check out the code for both of these levels here, if you, too, love rad clocks.

Random: well done.  Thank you for sharing these two levels!


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Andy vs. No Time To Waste

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | May 11, 2015 | No Comments

Another level this (last) week for Feel Bad Friday: No Time to Waste by A Random Player.  Recorded on Friday, but posted a bit late here in the blog — so, hey, what better way to spend your Monday afternoon than watching me struggle through a level?  Being productive?  Ha!



…let me just say, there was some irony involved in the title of this level.  If you want to play it yourself, go grab the code here.

Thanks for sharing this level with us, Random!



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Andy vs. Super-Duper Trick-Filled Level

Posted in: Velocity Raptor | May 1, 2015 | No Comments

This week’s Feel Bad Friday takes us back to simpler (space)times.

That’s right, I’m playing a level from Velocity Raptor.  And not just *any* level, mind you.  I’m playing: Super-Duper Trick-Filled Level by exfret.  He made this level about a year-and-a-half ago – and I’d barely made any progress in it.  Until today.

You can watch the video of me playing the level, or go grab the level code to go play it yourself… if you dare.



It took me… a while… to beat the level.  I edited the ~40 minute video down into a sprightly 15 minutes for your viewing pleasure.  I died dozens of times.  But I finally learned what exfret liked so much about the bottom of the level.  Wow.  That blew my mind.  Well done exfret – and thanks for sharing the level with us!



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Andy vs. Danmaku Barrage

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | April 24, 2015 | No Comments

Well, after last week’s long-and-challenging Feel Bad Friday — this week I thought we’d take a slightly different tack.  A walk down memory lane, if you will, where I play through the *first level* ever created by a player in the Electric Shocktopus: Danmaku Barrage by Chemi.  Created in June 2013.  Whaaaat?  Yes.  Long, long ago.

So thank you to Chemi for sharing that level way back when, and thanks to NealCruco for helping convert the level to bring it into the modern era.



This old, old level shows off a couple mechanics that *used* to be in the game, but aren’t anymore.   Things like charging yourself negatively (now you can only charge your Shocktopus positively).  Or floating conductors – that take on a voltage depending on their surroundings.  Neat to see little reminders like that about how much games change as you develop them.



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Andy vs. Juggling

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus, General News | April 17, 2015 | No Comments

Things are going well at TestTubeGames headquarters.  I’m pretty much over that cold from last week (wow, that was a doozy).  I’m working on some new levels for Bond Breaker — including Oxygen:


A very, very rough draft of an Oxygen atom (the innermost two electrons are invisible)


(Wow, I’ve been refreshing my memory about p-orbitals and hybridization. How long ago did I learn about this stuff?)

*And* I’ll be at the Cambridge Science Festival again on Saturday.  It’s a fun event if you’re in the Boston area.  Tons of science activities and booths staffed with really cool research going on in the area.  Also there’s a Robot Zoo – which I’ve heard people are interested in?  There are activities all week, but I’ll be at the Science Carnival at the Cambridge Public Library.  Come on out and play some science games!


Games games games!

Last year’s science festival was off the hook!


Feel Bad Friday!

Then, of course, since this is Friday, there’s a little ol’ thing called “Feel Bad Friday” that we need to take care of.  Before we get started on this week, there was a bug in last week’s level, Meadowy, so if you’re so inclined, you can go grab the real level code here.

Okay, on to this week’s level!  This is another level by the prolific A Random Player — who could single-handedly keep me in the FBF business for quite a while, it looks like.  This one is called Juggling, and, as with every week so far, it is a very difficult level.  I even had to edit the video to keep it manageable.  Twas not easy.



If you want to play that level yourself, you can go grab the code here.  And a big thank to A Random Player for thinking of such an intricate level… playing through it before it was even known to be beatable… and then sharing it with us.  You can find all the levels that players (random and otherwise) have made, or share your own, in the TTG forums.



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Andy vs. Meadowy

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | April 10, 2015 | No Comments

Slow week over here at TestTubeGames headquarters — I’ve been stuck in bed getting over a nasty cold.  But if there’s one thing that’ll snap me out of this… it’s a Feel Bad Friday.

This week I’m reaching deep into the history banks of the forums… all the way back to December 2013.  Back then, Shocktopus was heavily in development, Estonia’s Minister of Culture resigned, and Bond Breaker was still in the distant future.  Ah, good times.  Well, thanks to a little level converter we now have, we’re able to go back and play some of those old levels in the *new* version of Shocktopus.

Which means a whole bunch more levels to play!

This episode I take on exfret’s dastardly level Meadowy.  In introducing the level, he calls it “nice, simple level.”  Just, keep that in mind as you watch me play.  A nice.  Simple.  Level.  The level code is posted for the world to see, so feel free to give the level a try yourself.



Thanks to exfret for sharing this level way back when.  Now when it comes to making levels, exfret is kinda a big deal.  You can find plenty more Shocktopus levels by him in the forum, or if you’ll recall… he made a whole story arc for Velocity Raptor.  The See-All Seal.  Impressive stuff, I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t already.


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Andy vs. 4348

Posted in: Bond Breaker, Electric Shocktopus | April 3, 2015 | No Comments

Me versus a number!  Woo!  I just finished up playing another player-made level of The Electric Shocktopus — for my weekly Feel Bad Friday video.  (Where I keep losing… and losing… and losing at my own game.  But, hey, I eventually win, so… yay?)

This week I played another level by NealCruco (who brought us 4A4c)… this time called 4348.  You’ll have to look deep into a title like to truly understand it.  Or just skip right to the level!



Thanks to NealCruco for providing the challenge this week!

Other News

A brief summary of the haps at TestTubeGames…

The Electric Shocktopus Version 0.5

The game is still solidly in Beta, but thanks to the help of the intrepid playtesters in the forums, we’re getting close to a more finalized version of the game!  Yay!  Now you can grab version 0.5, with tons of improvements and fixes.  Great for trying your hand at NealCruco’s level above…

Day of the Devs

Last weekend I spent some time at a games festival at Boston University — “Day of the Devs.”  I had a booth where I was showing off some games (Shocktopus, and Bond Breaker), and I had the help of a little someone to hand out business cards…

Handing out cards is all in the wrists. Oops, sorry Shocktopus.

I got some time to chat with a lot of nice game developers there, some of whom were indies, and some of whom were still students (wait, not mutually exclusive… but I digress).  I had a great time as always showing off Shocktopus, and watching people play.  It’s like Feel Bad Friday, but not me playing!

Bond Breaker, part II

There are some big changes on the horizon for Bond Breaker.  This is a project that I’ve been working on with the Center for Chemistry at the Space Time Limit (err, CaSTL) at U.C. Irvine.  The game has been out for a while now, but we’re working on add a lot new levels and mechanics right now.  There was always a plan that we’d get into advanced topics like (more accurate) Scanning Tunneling Microscopes, and Oxygen, and current research.  And right now we’re working on levels that do just that.  Fun!  So stay tuned on that…



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Andy vs. Traffic Light

Posted in: Electric Shocktopus | March 27, 2015 | No Comments

Each week, I try to record myself playing a user-made level, for the world (all 16 of you?) to see.  And, after three weeks, I might say (quite hesitantly) that Feel Bad Friday is becoming a tradition around here.

Oddly enough, even though I’m failing repeatedly at my own game (…yay?)… it gives me quite the encouragement to keep chugging along on it, fixing bugs and the like.

This week’s level comes from A Random Player (aka ‘Random’ for short).  Random posted the level Traffic Light in the TTG forums this past week, and I couldn’t resist giving it a go.  (Traffic light pun too subtle? Fair enough. Guess I can’t expect you to red between the lines…)

So watch me fail.  Fail again.  And fail dozens more times as I attempt to reach the goal with all three stars.  Enjoy.

Special thanks to Random for creating and sharing the level.  You can see this and more levels in the TTG forums.  As you can see, there’s some creative stuff coming out of there.


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