This was the first time I joined a Ludum Dare competition. I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish in time, but somehow I made it. “Fate of Mankind” was the result of 32 hours of work. And now I’ll tell you about the ups and downs of the development.
If you haven’t played “Fate of Mankind” yet, you can play and rate it here: FATE OF MANKIND
Things done right
Early change of idea: If you watched my timelapse, you might have noticed that I started working in two other ideas before finally starting what would later become “Fate of Mankind”. I’m glad I did that. It saved the whole project.
Game Maker: At first I was tempted to use C++ with Allegro. But I realized that I wouldn’t have enough time for something like that. I picked Game Maker for my engine and development tool, which was a great choice. Game Maker is easy to use, flexible and powerful. Personally, I prefer to spend my time working on the game itself, rather than coding boring technical stuff to make things work properly. I like to make games, not exception handlers.
Stop, rest, punch, think: There were moments that I had no idea of what to do. I took several quick breaks to cool down and think about the game. I also have a punching bag at the backyard, and although it hasn’t solved any bug it certainly made me feel relaxed!
KISS: No, I don’t mean kissing. It’s KISS – Keep It Simple and Stupid. As I mentioned above, I started two other ideas at the beginning of the development. They were too complex, required too many art assets and all these stuff still wouldn’t result in a fun game. Then I started working on the most simple idea I had. I created the main mechanics (the discoveries) and gave it total priority. Soon I found that it was looking like an art game, so I made the collectible secrets. Collectibles are simple to implement and they fit that puzzle-oriented gameplay I was aiming for. Also, everyone loves collectibles, right?
sfxr: It gave me the audio spice I needed. Wonderful software, saved me from hours of messing with synths on FL Studio to make sound effects.
Things done wrong
Lack of preparations: I had no snacks, no drinks, no desk, nothing. I wasn’t prepared to participate this Ludum Dare. Also, I had to go to the office on Saturday morning and Sunday night (this is why I had to finish the game in 32 hours).
Chiptune: I had no experience with chiptunes. Zero. Nada. But for some reason I wanted to use chiptunes – maybe because of the graphics I were using. Bad choice. Also, I made three or four songs but used only two of them, because I couldn’t figure out where I should change between them. Double bad choice.
No warm up: It has been ages since the last time I used Game Maker. I haven’t practiced my pixel art since October 2008. This led to problems during the development.
Not enough testing: Stupid, stupid, stupid. I submitted the game without testing some areas of the game and found out later that there were unreachable secrets. Most complains from players are that they can’t get the secret at the iron platform with five vertical electric boxes. I can’t either. It’s probably impossible*. I’m stupid. I were in a hurry to submit the game and I forgot to test that part.
* An user from IndieGames.com commented that he could get this secret, so I tried once again the dubious task. In fact, it is possible! Click here to see how to get it. Thank you Zosh for letting me know, and thanks Luis for helping me solve this dilemma.