This is my first Ludum Dare. As a full-time developer I have always liked games, but never programmed them. Ludum Dare is the perfect opportunity. As developer, programming is my daily job, but Ludum Dare requires not only programming, but also graphics, music and game design.
In order to accomplish a game in just 48 hours I selected the following tools:
- Game maker: Fast to prototype and really easy to learn.
- Paint.net: A free and easy tool to create pixel art.
- SFXR: the best for music effects
How I work
1. Get ideas on post-it
2. Make concept art
3. Polish concept
4. Make it move! Having your art in motion gives you early motivation
What went wrong
1. Not deciding fast enough how the game will go.
At first I had decided to make it a never ending game, survival style, but later changed to several levels. That change required more graphics, more programming and more time.
2. Almost none musical ability
My ability is almost null, so… no music for the game.
3. Not working on game navigation soon enough.
I never thought in the game flow, and how much time it really required to create menus, navigation and high scores. Create a font required more time than I had thought and it is a tedious chore. I had to go with a simple style but fast enough.
What went right
1. Making the concept art early enough.
The concept matured really fast and having the concept really early on gave me time to toy with the ideas I had.
2. Correct tools
Having experience in Game Maker really reduced the development time. Many devs don’t like GM for considering it not a powerful enough tool, but for me is a prototyping tool. It can create very fast prototypes that can later be migrated to a more powerful language, but allowing very fast development.
3. Previous experience creating shooters
Shooter is a genre I like very much. I am a full-time dev and as such my free time is reduced. A shooter allows me to have fun even if I have very little time. They are easy to play and very fun. I had made some other shooters and that definitely helped.
Creating Games is great! Ludum Dare is a great opportunity to get that game you wanted to make but never dedicated enough time. Selecting the correct tools is fundamental since it will allow you to work more in the fun, avoid learning on the go is fundamental for a fast pace development such as Ludum Dare.
You can play my game in here
Edit 1: As an advice I would recommend making browser games to make it more available for people to play. I will work on that for the next LD.