Check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=16232
This was my first Ludum Dare and I had so much fun I guarantee it won’t be my last. After some uncertainty in my life the week prior, it was invigorating to get back to just making games. I absolutely loved getting to do a little of everything: design/code/art/music. It was like all corners of my brain got a workout!
What went excellent:
-Using Game Maker: I don’t know if Octogeddon would exist if it wasn’t for Game Maker. It just handled so many things that I’m not used to being handled in C++, and saved me a heckuva lot of time. Pixel-perfect collision was free, and I could do rotation and fire projectiles in 360 degrees without having to explode my brain with math.
-Chose a good theme: I didn’t have much time to dwell on the theme, but I think I chose a good one. The octopus lines up with the multi-angle gameplay, the main character is memorable, and the game is just overall ridiculous.
-Chose some relatively simple gameplay: Being my first time doing LD, and being a little rusty with Game Maker, I think this would’ve been a disaster if I chose something overly ambitious.
-Title screen! I spent a little over an hour on this, but I think it was well worth it. I frantically scribbled on a piece of paper, scanned it, and then used flat colors to fill in the image quickly. It’s nice to have an image to help draw attention to your game and make it pop.
-Music: I spent an hour or two on this. Wasn’t sure if it was going to be time well spent, but gosh darn it, I really wanted to make a music track! I even put in a cheat key to turn off the music (‘M’) as a safeguard in case my music track ended up being too grating. But, from the comments I’ve been getting on the music it looks like it paid off. Laura has said many times that she really likes it, and that means a lot coming from her. (I’d say Laura Shigihara knows a thing or two about music!)
-The little touches: Laura took a picture of Octogeddon to send to a friend. At that point, my background was flat blue, but when I looked at the picture, the angle she took it made the background look like it had these nice gradients at the top and bottom. Then I was like “that looks nice!” and promptly added the gradients into the actual background. BAM! 2 seconds of work and the game is like 5% better. Similarly, I already had a bubble particle trailing the subs, but spent a few seconds making an effect that scrolled bubbles really quickly across the background. That little addition gave the game a more frantic feel and upped the excitement level by a ton.
What went bogus:
-Time! Basically, the lack of it. I squandered some time on the first day that I really wish I had on the second as I made a mad dash for the finish. If I hadn’t done that, Octogeddon might’ve had save/pause features, more animations for limbs, and more upgrades like this snail-shell armor, which I’m sad didn’t make it in:
-Ditched mechanics: I spent about an hour trying to work on a mechanic where your elephant trunk would vacuum in DNA, and DNA decayed over time so you’d want to pick it up sooner rather than later. It ended up being too complex with the DNA decay, and too mind-melting when you were trying to juggle firing the cobras with deflecting bullets with sucking in DNA. Luckily I could salvage the mechanic by reversing the direction of the bubbles and making the elephant trunk push back subs.
-Download only: After playing and rating a buncha games, I realized the value of having a web version of your game, and that value is *huge*. That’s some good incentive to make the switch over to a web game engine at some point, but I dunno, Game Maker is just so nice to use. We’ll see…
-Ludum Dare is pretty much the awesomest thing ever
-I’m really happy with Octogeddon, I’m considering fleshing this out into a full game.
-Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike Drink (see my first post) tastes kind of funky, but was just what I needed in the middle of day 2.
Bonus: Here are some notes I scribbled down during the 48 hours