So this was my first Ludum Dare, but not my first jam. However, this was my first jam as a code monkey, previously I’ve been doing only sound design. But since I’ve actually got a degree in computer sciences and programming, I thought to give it a try and see if I can push myself to make a game during one weekend. And yes, I more or less managed to do that, of course I had a friend doing almost all the graphics, but if you watch the timelapse you’ll see I did some gfx related tasks too.
What went right:
Brainstorming ideas before the topic was announced – we had a suitable idea for almost every theme in the final votes. Escape suited us quite well but actually we were hoping for wormholes. I also had my own basecode written and ready with collision detection and controls in place. Graphics worked ok and my decision to take Gleed2D as a level editor was a good one, since it gave us a way to prototype the hud and levels prior to having actual game code ready. However I ended up tweaking the XML files generated by Gleed2D by hand after all. Porting to Mac OSX went smooth as ever and even the release bundle worked without any issues, unlike the Windows version. One thing that is good to mention here, is that we understood to cut features from the game when we saw that we don’t have time to implement them.
What went wrong:
Stuck on stupid bugs, mostly due to lack of sleep. I didn’t sleep nearly enough. Also our initial idea was way too big to implement in such a small timeframe so we had to drop lots of features. In the end, we had only the bare minimum of the story we had planned and basic set of the game mechanics. We didn’t use enough time for testing, and that showed up in the final phase, where I was playtesting and tweaking the difficulty constantly on OSX while trying to fix audio issues on Windows. And that brings me to the fact, that choosing Phonon as audio engine, even though it’s built into Qt, was a wrong decision due to severe problems on Windows. It might have worked if I’d have time to test it thoroughly beforehand. Two things I should make mental note about: have at least 1/3rd of the time dedicated to playtesting & debugging and stay away from doing sound design for other projects if your own code isn’t working!
Anyway, thanks for a great Ludum Dare, it was fun! Don’t forget to rate our game ;) http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=rate&uid=5118