Genus Loci #13

Exciting news: we may be getting a Conservatory student to work on our music and sound (ie. someone who knows what they’re doing, as opposed to me ^]^) !  The lovely Yena (of Button Bash fame) will be presenting for us.

Check out the powerpoint here .


Progress is going well – “planting” is working, as is seed respawning and when the level “ends”.  However, I have encounted a couple of unthought-of problems involving the camera. While I solved the issue of the camera losing & refinding its target, I am now stuck on what happens if a seed is lost to fire, but there is no plant to respawn from on-camera? As the camera only follows the seed, it means the player could be permanently stuck…. I will be grappling with this particular problem over the next week.


And I have been very remiss in not posting our game development quotes of the week:


“Why? I don’t know why. Just do it.”


“Because diagonal makes it look cooler.”

Genus Loci #12

Prototype done!

Warning: features extreme programming art. You have been warned…



Genus Loci Prototype from Jasmine Choinski on Vimeo.





Our sprint schedule for the next 3 weeks: (Click through for large version)


As you can see, our theme is Beginnings: Chunk 1: The Chunkening: On the Way to the Hangman’s Noose – we take our production VERY seriously.

I will be working on adding in the things missing from the prototype: being able to plant the seed, respawning, level completion/progression and parallaxing. Natalie is working on pretties and Simone is taming our input controls.


Genus Loci #9

Just for fun, here are some of the alternative Latin names I considered for the game:

Post Bellum (After the War)

A Priori (From what comes before)

Ab initio (fom the beginning)

Ad Vitam (for life)

Arcana Imperii (secrets of the empire)

Esto Perpetue (May you last forever)

Genus Loci (Guardian spirit of the place)

Memento vivere (Reminder of life)

Natura in minima maxima (Nature is Greatest in the Smallest Things)

And some of the keywords I came up with:


The games that were my inspiration:

Bubble Ghost : I remember this as being an insanely hard  game.  You must blow a bubble safely through a treacherous maze of  objects, without it being burst. It required god-like reflexes on the part of the player. It is my hope that Genus Loci, while providing some challenge, will be a lot more accessible.






Soul Bubbles : A criminally underrated DS game. In Soul Bubbles, you play a soul herder who captures souls in a bubble and must safely guide them through gorgeous and unique worlds. Very cleverly makes use of the DS’s touch controls. A bit closer to the kind of experience I wish to generate for the player of Genus Loci.






Flower : Surprisingly, I hadn’t played Flower when I originally came up with idea, but recently had the pleasure of finally finishing it and there are a lot of parallels.  You are a flower petal floating around touching other flowers, opening them up and gathering a petal from each of them until you are mass of multi-coloured petals, whirling through different landscapes.  It’impossible to do this game textual justice…  It touches upon some similar themes that I wanted to explore (how nature interacts with human constructs, etc) and does achieve a similar player experience that I want for Genus Loci, however I do want the player to experience more conflict/obstacles then is available in Flower.



Spider : Secret of Bryce Mansion : This game achieves every writer’s dream: a story completely told through ‘showing’ instead of  ‘telling’. Also has a damn fun mechanic – you are a spider crawling around an abandoned mansion, creating webs to capture & eat delicious bugs. I can only hope that Genus Loci will be able to achieve similar awesomeness through its mis en scene. This article explains just why this game is so awesome.





Braid : Gets a mention because of its beautiful art style and music, that encourage the player to engage in the game, in a contemplative, reflectful manner. We can but aim for the same for Genus Loci.





Aquaria : Another beautiful game, Aquaria has become my go-to-game for inspiration; it was created by two people over two years and is an awesome example of what we can all achieve if we put our minds to it.




I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the two animated  movies: Lightyears & Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, both which were a frequent double-billing in my childhood and which also feature themes of nature vs man in post-apopalyptic settings.



Also found this excellent site with interesting articles.


Lastly, I’ll leave you with game development quote of the week:

“You’ll be fine as long as you make it exactly as I see it in my head.”


Genus Loci #8

Genus Loci has been green-lighted! HERE WE GO!

Introducing the two other lovely ladies on the project: Natalie & Simone !

We’re concentrating on building a rough prototype right now and are going to try using Torque – it has the advantages of being specifically for 2D, but being a more complete engine (having physics, particles, collisions, etc), but the disadvantage that none of us are very familiar with it it. If we we crash & burn using Torque, we will be moving to Unity, as at least we’re comfortable with it.

Right now, I’m looking at figuring out how collisions work with Torque, Simone’s looking at getting seed movement going and Natalie starting on the assets.

Wish us luck!

Genus Loci #6

Concepts for the plant. Not happy with them, but finally feel I’m making some progress.

Here’s my first attempt for a level design:

Things I have learnt: I suck at level design. Suck bad. This is not a good thing, as this game will definitely depend on engaging design. I’m trying to crash course myself in level design, but it may be best if someone else handles the design – but on the plus side if I end up doing it, I will gain some badly needed practice.