This Ludum Dare meant more to me than usual. I had been blocked for quite some time and hadn’t written a lone of code in ages. The reasons for that are varied I guess, but the Feb 22 earthquake probably played a big part. The center of the city is still off-limits all this time later.
The game I made was more than I was expecting to be able to accomplish by a long margin.
I have heard a number of people make comments on difficulties doing audio for games in HTML5, I decided to not attempt lest I get bogged down in some browser specific niggle.
I deliberately chose to use an absolute minimal interface to the canvas. I only use drawImage(image,x,y), no shadow effects, no rotation or scaling, no text rendering. I wanted to be able to trust that the browser would do things quickly without screwing up.
The graphics were quite a surprise. I don’t rate myself as an artist, but things ended up looking much better than expected. I used Drpetter’s Scupltris to quicky knock out some shapes that seemed about right and then painted them and saved. It worked a charm, Chalk up another one for Drpetter in the tools for the talentless artist category.
I used Haxe as a base language. Switching between languages as often as I do makes it difficult to remember some of the finer details of each language at times. I had a few hiccups, for instance when I needed to pass a class type as a Parameter. In Haxe, the prototype came out as.
public function addEntity(kind :Class
I discovered I really need a good mechanism for animating models. I remember having a rendered character with walk frames in an earlier LD48 but I can’t for the life of me remember what software I used. Scupltris works great at making the base, but I need to be able to bend things around, I don’t need full 3d animation capability because it’s just sprites. What I ended up doing for the player walk animation is render the model then move the bits around in PhotoShop to make the walk frames. I only made the 5 frames of walk because of that.
The same problem manifested for the baddies. The wasps were a simple choice because they can be done with a two frame anim. I had a couple of wheeled baddies rendered but didn’t get them in.
I managed to make this thing
, which possibly says something about my brain at the late stage of a Ludum Dare. It didn’t make it into the game though.
I didn’t make a level editor, instead creating the entire level out of createSomething calls. This meant a cycle of play/tweak/play/tweak to get the position just right. In hindsight I think that might be a good thing for platform game design. I manually positioned the player before each area of construction and played the sequence several times. I think remarkably little is lost by not being able to edit the entire level quickly, because it’s the play phase that is the most critical part. In future I wouldn’t dispense with a level editor entirely, but I’m inclined to bind it even more tightly to the game so you can test small sections as you make them.
Now that I have seen how people have played the game, The one tweak I would make (that could’ve easy been added during the compo) was an indicator showing how many gumcube things you have collected. There’s more to the game than people realise. Showing a 53/107 display would encourage people to aim to collect all of the bits. Then they’d find there is more present than meets the eye.
(there are, in fact, secrets).
I now have a dilemma of what to do with the game. Normally I have a policy of not continuing LD48 games after the end of the comp, but I think there is enough here to work with. Maybe just a little more.
Not being restricted to the comp rules means I could maybe bring in some sprites from elsewhere for the baddies.