So, this was my first Ludum Dare, so when all is said and done, I’m happy that I submitted something that was essentially complete. Not to mention, I had an absolute blast participating!
Language and Tools
Before starting I was debating between multiple options for which language I wanted to use. I considered both C++, the language I’m most familiar with, and Java/WebGL, since it’s fresh in my mind from projects I’ve done at work. I ended up using AS3 with the FlashPunk library, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Throughout the weekend, I did not at any point feel that the technology I was working with was a barrier. I was able to quickly get what I wanted into the game. The most time I spent debugging actually ended up being FlashDevelop itself – I was using version 4.0 Beta, which had a bug with auto-completion. Thankfully, I quickly found the patch to fix it.
I also used OGMO for building levels. I do wish that I had taken some time to learn it a bit before starting, as my Friday night was mostly spent learning it.
I went into “hour zero” with no idea what I wanted to make. I actually purposely did not come up with anything, because I didn’t want to go with one theme, then have my old idea stuck in my head. So, once the theme was announced, some intense brainstorming took place. I felt pressed for time, so came up with a partial idea – escaping from a “pleasurable” place. I don’t think I got the idea across in the end too well, but I tried taking the theme on two levels, the player must “escape reality” in order to “escape the resort”. Thus, the main mechanic was to avoid dying of boredom. You “survive” by watching TV and eating exciting foods. Feeling pressed for time, I took this snippet of an idea and ran with it.
Now I personally think that I had a strong game mechanic, but I think I fell a bit flat in terms of how I put the pieces together. The game is a platformer, and when it came to building the different rooms, my creative juices really were not flowing. The result: a short game that feels pretty linear. Part of this was due to the fact that I wanted it to feel a bit more “realistic,” and not a random labyrinth of tiles. I would guess that most people building platformers levels struggle with this.
You may tell me differently, but I think my art came out well. I don’t consider myself an artist, but I’m definitely more confident in my “programmer art” skills after this weekend. I sort of arbitrarily decided to make my tile size 16×16 – this ended up making it easier to create new art, but was a bit too small. The final game is actually scaled to 200%. I do think the final look is cool. Again, the “realism” thing hurt me with art. I wanted rooms to look unique – in the end, I probably could have created a longer game, if I had settled for having redundant rooms.
I used sfxr and musagi for sound and music. I hadn’t touched either before this weekend. I ended up with both simple sounds a short music loop. I’ve gotten good feedback about the music, and the song has been stuck in my head for three days now, so I guess that means success!
Things I Wanted To Add
- Intro Tutorial
- More Rooms and Keys
- Puzzle Elements
- Different Particle Effects to Signify Boring-ness
- A More Creepy Ambiance
- Paintings as Checkpoints
- A More Rewarding Ending
Overall, the competition went smoothly and I’m glad that all the pieces fit together in the end. My goal for the next LD (which I’m definitely doing) is to come up with an idea that is not so dependent on art and level design. I worked as long as I could, as hard as I could (about 6 hours of sleep each night), and just barely finished, with no time to polish. Again, I had so much fun, and am simply in love with this community! See you all next time!