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IslandCamper - Design Your Island (Working Title)

edited June 2021 in General Posts: 166

Hello everyone,
since around January of this year I’ve been working on a „life simulation“ game. While there are still a lot of things I’d like to add, I’m confident enough with the game’s current state to share a first trailer. I hope it's fine to use the forum for this. The game was entirely programmed using Codea with all assets (sprites, music) being created on an iPad. :)

New Video:

You start on an uninhabited island and cut some trees to gain the resources you need to build a shovel and a watering can. By planting and harvesting your first crops, you earn some money, which you can then use to purchase a fishing rod or a net. This gives you several possibilities to earn money, which you desperately need for decorations such as benches, fences, mailboxes, chairs and streetlights or plants like flowers, bushes and trees that embellish your island.

The main features are:
1. -Start on an abandoned island and design it however you like using flowers, bushes, trees, palms and a variety of such as chairs, tables, benches and fences
2. -Grow and harvest crops or plant fruits trees to earn money
3. -Catch and collect different species of insects and fish to complete your encyclopedia
4. -The game is tied to the system clock, which means that crops and trees grow in real time. You can plant and water them, then leave the game and check back later. Moreover, the game features a day-and-night cycle. I’m still trying to find a good balance
5. -A dynamic weather system changes between sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy and stormy. When it is rainy, torches and bonfires don’t provide light at night. However, you don’t need to water your crops. Depending on the weather, the wind, which impacts all plants, might be lighter or stronger
6. -You can interact with some your island’s decorations

Planned features:
1. -Smaller tasks as well as long term goals for the player to complete
2. -NPCs for tutorials and challenges
3. -Ability to enter and design your tent
4. -More decorations

Here is the trailer I made, I would appreciate any feedback :)


  • dave1707dave1707 Mod
    Posts: 9,808

    @Leon Looks interesting. You put a lot of work into it.

  • Posts: 166

    @dave1707 Thanks :) Yes, I've been working on it for a couple of months.

  • Posts: 1,303

    looks good, tons of work!

  • Posts: 658

    @leon, i like the wave effect on the beach and the sound effects. A lot of work, bravo!

  • Posts: 166

    @RonJeffries, @piinthesky
    Thanks, I really appreciate it :)

  • JohnJohn Admin Mod
    Posts: 706

    @Leon Wow, amazing work so far. Love it!

  • Posts: 166

    @John Thanks :) I'll post another update in 1-2 weeks. I'm trying to add NPCs that visit your island from time to time and give you small challenges/tasks.

  • edited January 2021 Posts: 166

    In the past couple of months, I've been working on the game quite a bit. Check out the new video:

    I've implemented a tutorial, NPCs that can give you challenges, daily tasks, new decorations and fixed a lot of bugs. I would appreciate any feedback :)

  • edited June 2021 Posts: 166

    Hey everyone! I've been updating the visuals quite a bit in the last few weeks. Would really appreciate it, if you could give me some feedback:



  • Posts: 25
    @Elias I think it looks great!
  • Posts: 327

    @Elias It looks amazing!

    I'm not sure if it's just me but I do think everything looks a little too flat colour-wise. I feel like it could potentially do with a dash more contrast across the board to make the 'shading' you have in the textures give it a better sense of depth.

    That's my only real piece of feedback but other than that bravo!

  • Posts: 1,629

    I think it’s great work, and for me the palette works, especially with the day/night cycle. I would agree that it’s too flat on the inventory UI though, I’d personally put some shadows behind the items so they don’t get lost in the white.

  • Posts: 166

    @joaquin Thank you!
    @Steppers and @UberGoober Thanks for the advice! I'll have to redo many of the sprites anyway, I can try to give them more contrast as well. Putting shadows behind the items also seems like a nice idea.

  • Posts: 1,629
    @Elias did you ever consider putting your 2D stuff into MagicaVoxel? Without very much effort you could have a pseudo-3D effect. You could make full models if you wanted but you could also just leave everything one layer deep and have a 2.5D look.
  • Posts: 166

    @UberGoober That sounds really interesting! Do you have more information on this? I only know that MagicaVoxel can be used for SpriteStacking, which creates a 3D-effect. But your approach sounds different.

  • Posts: 1,629

    Oh I’m not talking about anything fancy, just simply dragging-and-dropping all your png art into magicaVoxel, so you get something like the attached—a flat image rendered in 3D voxels—and then converting it back into a flat png that has a slight little 3D edge on it.

    Probably not worth the trouble, but it might be a cool effect, and it would to some degree work against any flattening effect caused by your color palette.

  • Posts: 166

    @UberGoober That sounds like a good idea! I'll definitely give this a try.

  • edited August 2021 Posts: 2,051

    This may very well be the most ambitious Codea game ever.

    Amazing work so far, and good luck to you as you continue polishing it up. I imagine the codebase is getting quite large :D

    Reminds me of Animal Crossing and Minecraft - not a bad thing :)

  • Posts: 1,629

    @Elias how long did this take you?

  • Posts: 166

    @JakAttak Thanks a lot, that's really nice of you! :) Yeah, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing and so on are some of my favourite games and I'm trying to put my own spin on them. Hopefully, I can someday actually publish it to the AppStore.

    @UberGoober I've started the project around a year and a half ago, actually a bit earlier than that I think. But I'm not working on it every day. It really depends on how much time I have.

  • Posts: 1,629

    @Elias wow, it’s super impressive.

  • Posts: 238

    awesome game, there’s a lot that i wonder how you coded it and how it works
    i also wonder what kind of limitations you’ve run into, and any compromises you’ve had to make on visual or game designs

  • Posts: 166

    @UberGoober Thanks!!
    @skar Thank you! Actually, I haven't really run into any major limitations. The biggest issue was scaling the game properly to fit the different iPhone/iPad models as their display ratios vary. This took me quite a while to get right and I still need to make some improvements from time to time.

  • edited August 2021 Posts: 1,629
    @Elias I’m selfishly wondering how modularly you’ve coded it—in other words if you’ve developed any awesome tools you’d want to share ;)
  • Posts: 166

    @UberGoober Honestly, I haven't developed any tools for it, I'm sorry :#
    The world is randomly generated, so I didn't need some kind of level editor.

  • Posts: 1,629

    @Elias maybe saying “tools” was too grandiose. I just meant any functionality that could be abstracted—just from looking at it I’d say you’ve got a tile system, an inventory system, a dialogue system, probably some kind of NPC script system, I’d guess also a weather system—and much more—obviously much of it you want to keep to yourself but is there anything you think could be of general use?

  • Posts: 166

    @UberGoober Terribly sorry for the late reply!! I haven't been active for a few months. I'll look into that, maybe there are some systems that can be shared, but they'd have to be heavily altered. The weather system for instance relies on particle effects, animations (e.g. wind and clouds) and more. So while the logic behind some of the systems isn't too difficult, it wouldn't just easily run without some assets and dependencies.

    I'm planning to update the dialogue system to allow for some effects. I could share that part once it's done.

  • Posts: 1,629
    Sounds good.
  • This game looks gorgeous yo! Good work!
  • Posts: 166

    @Timmy_theBarbarian Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it :)

  • edited December 2021 Posts: 238

    since Uber just updated that thread about add ons it made me wonder do you use any add ons?

    i think i might want to use at least Google Analytics eventually, if you have any experience in the process of setting it up that would be really helpful

  • Posts: 166

    @skar Do you mean add ons in Xcode? I'm not using any right now and I'm not sure if I will in the future. My biggest concern right now is, that Codea can only export to iOS and I'm trying to find a way to port the game to other platforms. Thus, using add ons might not be a good idea.

  • edited December 2021 Posts: 238

    yeah i guess that’s the way, my understanding is that though it’s possible to use them directly in codea based on the thread - or maybe i’m misunderstanding

    i really haven’t tried anything related to it yet, if you haven’t either then we’ll just have to cross that bridge when it’s appropriate for our own projects, but if you get a head start please share any insight :)

  • Posts: 1,629
    @Elias if you don’t mind me asking, if you’re looking to make a cross-platform app why did you choose a programming environment that’s quite upfront about being iOS-only?

    @skar I’ve just scratched the surface with addons, but it seems like, with a little work, you can fully access all iOS features. I just got my game authenticating with GameCenter and it’s a little exciting.

    The two limitations I see at this point are that you can only send numbers and strings back and forth between Codea and iOS, and that access goes from Codea-to-iOS but not the other way around, in other words Codea can call an iOS function but iOS can’t call a Codea function.

  • Posts: 166

    @UberGoober Well, mostly for two reasons:
    1) Using loveCodea, it is possible to distribute the game to different platforms. I've used loveCodea in the past and was able to run my projects on PC. I didn't use shaders and meshes back then, though, and my projects were much less complex. I do have a running version of IslandCamper on my PC, though. (But it's a relatively old version of the game)
    2) I just really, really like Codea. Most of all, this is a project for myself and something I want to have fun creating. I've tried many engines over the years, but I've never found one that I really liked and had fun working with - apart from Codea. I started using Codea 7 or 8 years ago and feel really comfortable using it.
    3) I originally didn't think about distributing to other platforms, I just wanted to make a game for myself.

    @skar I'd absolutely let you know! Right now, I don't have anything planned in that direction, though :#

  • Posts: 2,574

    @Elias - here is one of the later versions of LoveCodea that I made, think it ran on Love2D version 9.2.
    Still searching for a later version will post if I can find one. 28.6K
  • Posts: 1,629

    Is this supposed to open in Codea? For me it does not. Forgive me if this is an ignorant question, but what is the benefit of loveCodea?

  • edited December 2021 Posts: 2,574
    @UberGoober - no, what LoveCodea is there for is to act as a wrapper. so you include it in a folder together with your Codea files and assets. The LoveCodea is required in the main.lua file and effectively translates Codea calls to Love2D calls.

    Thus enabling you to run your Codea files on a Mac, PC , Linux and possibly even Android now.

    One of the benefits of this is you can use traditional text/code editors.

    Ran fine with Love2D 9 but now up to version 11 with many changes.

    Other benefits include tools to make ripping off code difficult and compilation by including Love2D engine.

    Big difference used to be Craft in Codea but there are at least 2 3D libraries now for Love2D. Not of the same quality as Craft though.

    Since it's Lua based there's a lot of overlap and a decent forum.
  • JohnJohn Admin Mod
    Posts: 706

    Yeah LoveCodea is the best way right now to get stuff running. This will change with the upcoming Codea 4 runtime as I'm in a position to release the runtime for other platforms.

    It's not working just yet but Windows, Linux and Android could be done. Most likely it would just be precompiled libraries / binaries. So you could run your Codea project using Codea4.exe or something like that. Web is also a possibility but I have no real experience with that as of yet

  • Posts: 2,574
    @John Wow that sounds really promising. It will broaden your market and hopefully provide existing users with a massive userbase - more ideas and approaches to projects. Can't wait for the release.
  • Posts: 238

    really great news for Codea 4, does PC support potentiality mean console support as well?

  • JohnJohn Admin Mod
    Posts: 706

    @Bri_G thanks!

    @skar We only have an xbox one dev kit, and no switch device so it's hard to verify stuff working on console at this stage

  • Posts: 2,574
    @skar if you are talking about a window outside the project window, on a PC or Mac, it must be feasible as there are functions like that added to Love2D by users. - to monitor variables etc live in the project. Or do you mean something like a command line to change values of variables live?
  • Posts: 166

    @Bri_G Thanks!! I'll try to add support for shaders to your version of LoveCodea.

    @John I'm really looking forward to this!

  • Posts: 238

    @Bri_G no i’m talking xbox/playstation/nintendo :D

  • Posts: 238

    @Elias i was playing around with zooming the camera and noticed that images will be sharp compressed when small, and i saw that you use some zooming solution in your game, when you zoom out really far do you get sharp edges?

  • Posts: 166

    @skar Hm, I'm currently adding zooming in/out to my game's camera. I'll take a look at it then. Right now, I can't reproduce that. Sorry!

  • edited December 2021 Posts: 238

    @Elias ok if you get smoothing let me know how you are handling your zoom?

    i’m just using

    aspect = WIDTH/HEIGHT 
    ortho(0-zoom *aspect, WIDTH+zoom *aspect, 0-zoom, HEIGHT+zoom)
  • Posts: 166

    @skar I'm using scale(x, y). I honestly didn't know about ortho. I'll look into that, though. I'll definitely let you know

  • Posts: 238

    ok thanks for letting me know, i played around with scale () and it’s the same results so i’ll stick to ortho() since it’s also accounting for the translation needed after scaling

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