What went badly:
- I didn’t have any basecode and started from scratch. Thus a considerable amount of time was “wasted” on animation, landscape tiling and collision detection coding.
- Any form of storytelling or player guidance fell victim to the time limit
- The LD started at 3am here in Germany. I only got 4 hours sleep prior to the start and got unconcentrated and tired rather quickly.
What went well:
- Coding went smooth like butter. I never really used XNA previously, but working with it is easy as long as you know the coding language well enough.
- I’m not much of an artist, but i’m happy with the art. Nothing fancy, but it works.
- Using bitmaps with 256 indexed colors for levels. You won’t need a level editor this way and adjustments can easily be made. XNA doesn’t support those, but the BMP format for color-indexed bitmaps is VERY easy to load directly from data.
- The game idea turned out to be interesting and fun. Combining a traditional gametype with some unconventional twist in gameplay seems like a good way to go.
Tips and learned lessons:
- Sleep and eat well before and during the competion. You won’t be very creative or focussed when tired.
- Use a coding language and tools you are very familiar with.
- Use base code for animations and stuff. If you don’t have any participate in the warmup to create some base code for such things.
- Priorize planned features and keep the unessential untouched until you are done with the essential ones.
- Look at the themes during theme voting and try to come up with ideas for as many as possible. It helps to bring your creativity up to pace, even if a theme gets voted for which you haven’t got an idea yet.
- A drawing tablet (even a cheap one) helps A LOT with making art, even if you aren’t much of an artist and not good at drawing on paper. Take time to configure it and its buttons well for a smooth workflow prior to the contest.