Ben Makes Games

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Mysterious Space

Originally made for 7DRL 2014, Mysterious Space is a side-scrolling space shooter.

Not a very Rogue-like base, but many Rogue-like trappings are present, including "potions", permadeath, and a quest to delve into a procedurally-generated world to find an artifact, and return with it alive!

I've continued to work on the game long after the 7DRL challenge ended, adding more and crazier equipment, more enemies, more interesting levels, a different way of exploring space, unlockable ships... and more!

The Ruins of

In The Ruins of, you play as an adventuring archaeologist in a slightly-anachronistic 1908, exploring ruins, temples, caves, and other sites around the world, excavating artifacts, and defeating mythological creatures.

The Excavations

Travel the world exploring the ruins left behind by ancient cultures, from Greek temples to Khmer palaces to Mayan burial sites (and many others besides).

Each hosts its own look and feel, but more importantly, its own history and mythology.

The Treasures

Because The Ruins of uses a dictionary of adjectives, nouns, and "titles" to generate items on the fly, there are over a million unique items in the game. Some words are available only in certain regions: "Thor's" in Scandinavia, "The Phoenix's" in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, "of the Elephant" in India...

For things like Vases, Cups, and Bowls, these names are mostly decorational, but for equipment, every word implies specific properties, meaning there are hundreds of thousands of possible ways to arm yourself.

Other kinds of treasurse you might find:

  • Dinosaur (and other extinct animal) bones.
  • Alien artifacts.
  • Eggs. Hatch them to receive a pet!

The Monsters

Of course, it won't be as easy as just strolling in and taking all the treasure. Traps and mythological monsters stand in your way.

Just like treasures, monsters are built from a dictionary of words, each bundled with specific meaning for combat. There are tens of thousands of monsters possible, and as you explore deeper, the most dangerous will present themselves. You may even come face to face with legendary figures from mythology.

Reincarnation

As you adventure, you'll acquire Knowledges (of which there are over 100). Many you will gain by leveling up, but a couple you'll start with, a few will be offered by the Museum as gratitude for your services, and yet others will be learned in stranger ways.

You won't be able to learn them all in an entire life time, but that's OK: you'll be playing out many lifetimes.

Eventuallly you'll have the option of reincarnating. Every time you do, you get to choose a single Knowledge to keep as a "Transcendental Knowledge" that will stay with you for eternity.

The exact details of how you reincarnate I will leave to you to discover.

PsyPets

PsyPets is browser-based pet simulation game, set in a bizarre version of the modern day with fantasy and sci-fi twists.

I started creating PsyPets in March of 2004, and ran it until 2012ish. In 2015 I handed the game over to another developer - Annette - who has kept the game alive. Thanks, Annette!

The Pets

Raise a variety of strange pets the likes of which you've never seen.

Like broccoli.

You can raise broccoli.

These pets need your love and attention to remain happy, healty, and active. If you fail to feed them, they could even die!

Your pets can defeat monsters, hunt prey, gather food, paint, sculpt, sew, forge swords, invent calculators, construct extensions for your house, fall in love, have children, and much, much more!

The Items

Discover and collect over 1500 items, many of which can only be found, or created, by your pets.

Prepare hundreds of dishes from raw ingredients, from Grilled Cheese and Orange Juice to German Chocolate Cake and Cardamom Tea. Oh, and Deadly Poison.

Buy, sell, and trade items with other players to complete your collection.

The Community

Chat with other players in a unique forum system that is closely tied with the rest of the game.

Create your own forum section by creating a group. Invite your friends, and talk about whatever you want to talk about.

Use Fireworks your pets invent to decorate other people's posts.

Put Gold Star Stickers on your favorite posts.

Learn about, and share, the secrets behind the game on PsyHelp, a community-driven wiki.

And Much More

Host park events for other people's pets, including Archery Competitions, Capture the Flag games, and more.

Breed, buy, and sell pets.

Post in-game ads to draw attention to your park event, store, or auction, or just to make an announcement.

The list goes on...

Honeycat

Honeycat is a browser-based mini-RPG.

You play as a human trapped in a mysterious world: a world populated with creatured named for what they eat, and ruled by the dreaded Humancat!

Fortunately, the friendly Honeycat has vowed to help you escape before Humancat finds and devours you...

The Other

Made in two days, The Other provides a quick look at the conflict between existentialism and modern psychology; inspired by books such as You Are Not So Smart, Outliers, and The Drunkard's Walk.

Existentialism says that we are born as clean slates in a world that has no meaning, and that while society, culture, and religion may often provide meanings, pressuring us to accept them, we can - and should - rise above these, make our own meanings, and pursue them passionately.

But do we give ourselves too much credit? Are humans capable - or even worthy - of determining their own fate?

Crystalis

Recovered from the depths of the internet, Crystalis is a game I made for RetroRemakes.org back in 2003. It's a remake of the classic Mac game Crystal Quest.

The controls are true to the original game; you will hate them, at first. My advice: move the mouse with extreme caution!

On the Edge of Candy Space: A Memory

Made in a couple weeks for itch.io's CANDY JAM using RPG Maker.

On the Edge of Candy Space: A Memory is a sci-fi RPG adventure.

Fire Department

Made for the #1GAM challenge of August 2014. The theme: FIRE.

Fire Department is a sort of "fire department sim" game, inspired by Theme Hospital. Made with RPG Maker, and was never completed.

Dreams About Squash

TAGJam7 challenged participants to make a game inspired by a personal moment in the game-designer's life, using one of three themes: "nitrogenize", "derogative", or "squash"... in two days!

Dreams About Squash takes players through three dreams I've had, and had forgotten I had had until I looked through my journal!

Made using RPG Maker VX, all-original graphics drawn by me, and sounds by acclivity, corsica, remoz and sihil, who kindly posted dinosaur noises, elevator dings, and other effects on freesound.org.

Super Paper Space Invaders

Made for experimentalgameplay.com's 2012 March/April challenge: "Cheap Clone".

Takes maybe two minutes to play.

Small World

Made for experimentalgameplay.com's 2012 October challenge: "Boys & Girls".

An exploration/puzzle game in which you play as a cat named Zack.

Archipelago Maze

Made for experimentalgameplay.com's 2012 June/July challenge: "Casual Addiction".

Explore mazes of increasing size and difficulty. Each maze consists of a series of islands littered with treasures, keys, and locked doors.

REPEAT

Made for experimentalgameplay.com's 2012 April challenge: "REPEAT".

A platformer/puzzle game.

Your goal is to escape the level, but whenever anything changes in the level - your position included - it resets to its original state after a short time. You must REPEAT the level over and over again, gaining new powers from a mysterious entity as you do so, until you finally have the tools necessary to escape.

Critter World

An artificial life program. The focus is on the neural networks of the critters, whose neural networks evolve through random mutations and natural selection. (Their bodies evolve as well, but there are very few parameters to their body: color, and size.) Eventually, critters evolve that are capable of seeking out food, eating it, and reproducing (instead of wandering around and dying without children).

The critters reproduce asexually (at a high cost of energy), and like moving and eating, choose to reproduce depending on their neural network.

The neural networks are comprised of input neurons (which sense various properties of the world around them), output neurons (which control how the critter moves), and inbetween/internal neurons. Which are present, in what quantities, and how they're connected, is entirely up to mutation and natural selection.

How a neuron fires depends on its type. For example, an input neuron for the energy level of the current critters' cell fires with strength proportional to the amount of energy on the tile.

The "internal" neurons fire depending on their input from other neurons, passing their signal to another internal neuron, or perhaps an output neuron.

The firing of output neurons is used as a sort of "vote" for what the critter should do on a given step. For example, if both a "move north" and "move south" neuron fire at the same time, they probably do so at different strengths. The highest strength wins. It is possible for a critter to have any number of any of these output neurons - the outputs of neurons giving the same commands are totalled.

I coded several other features that the critters don't seem to make use of, presumably because they are not advantageous in the universe I created for them:

  • The ability to attack other critters, causing them to bleed edible energy
  • The ability to change the ground's color (when a critter views a tile, it sees only its color, which is the average of the tile's color, and the color of the critter on that tile, if any)
  • The ability to change the ground's height (it is a 2.5D world)

The program is very visual, showing the critters, energy on each tile, color and height of the tiles, etc; it includes a help screen (press 'h'), population graphs, and the ability to view critters' neural networks (although this display is admittedly not very useful).

P.S. The simulation starts paused. To start it running, press the pause button on your keyboard.

P.P.S. Don't be alarmed when the initial population of thousands is reduced to mere hundreds. This is expected, since their initial neural networks are not suited to survival :P

Crazytable

Made for a project at work.

We needed a table that you can "scroll" both vertically and horizontally, with a fixed column on the left and right, and a fixed row on the top! (Agk!)