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    Post Mortem: The Hooks, the Lava and Me

    Posted by (twitter: @Suyo_)
    August 23rd, 2011 8:32 am

    First time writing a post mortem. Woohoo.
    Before we start, have some pigs.
    Times are noted from the start of LD. That means 0:00 would be 4am in my timezone, and 24:00 is 4am the next day.

    ~ PHASE 1 – THE IDEA ~
    I woke up at 5:00 – 2 hours later than planned. What I thought to do is to look up the theme, then take a walk, play some games, relax a bit while thinking of ideas.
    Sadly I had to go at 5:15 so everything was in a massive hurry. I managed to get my idea at 5:30 during a car drive – I arrived at 5:35, and finished the sketch at 5:45. So while I was not relaxed at all, I was able to come up with a nice idea.
    What went right: Got my idea quickly…
    What went wrong: …while being stressed as hell

    ~ PHASE 2 – THE CODE ~
    5:50. I jumped on the closest PC, got Dropbox and grabbed all my stuff. I jumped instantly into it. It all went very well, though I encountered some really wierd glitches. (I should have saved them to showcase them here. Just imagine the ball goes apeshit and that’s about it)
    The biggest timewaster happened to me at about 15:00. This is when I started to work on the lava.
    Originally, I wanted to make the Lava Minecraft style, expanding block by block, getting quicker with every km (sidenote: km should actually be screens. Every screen is 1 km) you pass.

    Dramatization. A death by lava is not that painful. After all, it's pretty quick and your brain is fried pretty early.

    Sadly, for some reason, the collision code decided to be evil. The first time the lava source was created, every single tile would think it collides with something, even when it doesn’t – resulting in no spread at all.
    The second time the source is created every tile would think it does not collide, resulting in lava flodding into the walls, and massive lag since it wouldn’t check if there is lava already.
    At 19:00 I decided to screw it. I made an enourmous picture of lava, almost increasing the filesize 3-fold. It’s an ugly workaround, but it works.
    Finally, I have finished the basic gameplay one minute before german midnight – 19:59.
    What went right: Most stuff was pretty easy to code…
    What went wrong: …and then there was lava

    ~ PHASE 3a: IMPROVING ~
    The next morning, 27:00… switching on my computer. Checking the code.
    What happened was the same thing that happened the last two times I participated at the LD:
    “*stare* what the fuck did I write? I should use comments next time.”
    First thing I did was implement scoring. For that I just counted how many screens you went right, how many you went down, and -pow- done. Then there were two nightmares at once.

    ~ PHASE 4: MUSIC ~
    After the crimes against humanity which I call music in my previous two entires (#19, #20) it was easy to understand I tried my best. Sadly, I had to leave Ubuntu for it and boot into NightmareOS. You might know it under the name of “Windows Vista”. First thing I noticed is that the internet connection didn’t work again. My WLAN stick only works in one of ten cases when starting Vista, needing about 1 hour of fixing every time I want to play something on Steam. I didn’t have the time, so I just started pxtone and planned to save it on my disk instead of Dropboxm then copy it over.
    Now, I was in pxtone and started throwing some note bars here and there. The result should never be mentioned again.
    I spent half an hour just doing random stuff until I hit the effect window and heard a sound. THE sound. It was exactly the sound I wanted to do in sfxr later. Then then idea hit me like a train. After (ab)using pxtone to make my sounds, I left Windows behind, went into Ubuntu Studio where I used Hydrogen to make two drum loops, one fading in when you get closer to the lava. Huge success!
    What went right: Everything!
    What went wrong: Nothing! (except having to boot into Windows)

    ~ PHASE 3b: IMPROVING ~
    Back into Ubuntu, I smacked the sound files into my project. It sounded wonderful.Next thing to do was more obstacles, as it was pretty repetitive. After looking at my code for obstacle generation, I knew this would be hell. Thus, I made a level editor. It is included in my source archive, already compiled, in the subfolder “editor”. It’s a bit hard to use though, as the black walls are hardcoded and there are no buttons. D/Right resets everything, S/Down removes blue walls under your cursor and A/Left will put the code into your clipboard to paste it into the game code.

    Dramatization. The game is not as friendly as this screenshot suggests. It will eat you alive.

    The last things I did was adding online highscore, adding a texture to the lava and a bit of a backdrop. Then I submitted that thing. Done!
    What went right: Level Editor! Online Highscores! Had tons of time left after all that was done…
    What went wrong: …but wasted it playing Hatsune Miku Project DIVA on my PSP. derp.

    ~ PHASE 5: POST-COMPO ~
    I was flattered by the feedback. “Oooh this is a nice game! Sounds, music and everything!” – “Amazing, just amazing.” – “The most fun LD game I’ve tried so far.” First thing I did that morning was celebrate that occasion. By playing some more PSP. Then I went back to coding.
    After the compo, it didn’t change much things. I added a glow to the lava, a preloader, and fixed a GFX glitch with the motion blur. Then I submitted the game to Newgrounds, where it had a “GREAT” entry rank and has a current score of 3.33. Weee!

    And that concludes my tale of my third Ludum Dare, and I hope I will get even better by next time!
    Although honestly, you know what makes everything better? Bacon. (I bet you thought I was going to say “taco”.)

    This post has just been made better with bacon.

    Thank you for reading!

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    One Response to “Post Mortem: The Hooks, the Lava and Me”

    1. siebharinn says:

      Mmmm….bacon

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