Dawn, my first ever Ludum Dare entry. An experimental game, something of a mix between point-and-clicks and platformers. I was very pleased with almost all aspects of the development, but I figured it would be interesting to list what went right and what didn’t anyway in a post mortem post.
What went right?
> Unity – The unity engine is a breeze to work with. It loads almost every single asset file type you can imagine, there’s web deployment, and the game object system facilitates the game logic development a whole bunch. What more could you ask for?
> Cardboard cutout art style – This approach to visual design allows very simple 16×16 and 32×32 textures to simly work together. The style creates a nice and clean world that’s easy to add detail to, and animating props (for example the palm trees ingame) is easy and helps bring the world to life with very little effort.
> Sound design and audio software – I’ve never looked much at either sound effect design nor composing music digitally before, but after having a look at the LD tools page I simply downloaded SFXR and PXTone and had a crack at it. Turned out it was pretty easy, and I was very happy with the result.
What went wrong?
> The ‘find out the controls yourself’ design choice – Ludum Dare users tend to stop playing a game if it isn’t immediately obvious what it’s all about – something I’ve learnt from reflecting on how I rate games myself – which isn’t exactly unexpected considering the principle of the jam: A huge number of short games. The find-out-the-controls-yourself design that I was going for simply didn’t work as intended, players were put off by it rather than being intrigued. I thought I had fixed it when I added a simple “Controls: Z+X+C” just under the game frame, but it turns out people didn’t have any interest in simply pushing those buttons to find out what they do, or simply missed the instruction completely.
> Unforgiving 48h compo rules – Ambient sounds was something I really wanted for the game, and I had trouble generating it with any SFX software I had access to. According to the compo rules “sampled instruments are allowed IF you have the legal right to use them” but ambient sounds would simply be too time consuming to create by hand. I bypassed this rule in Dawn by using generated brown noise for the outdoors ambience, and running the noise through a low-pass filter for the cave ambience. I also played around with a couple of effects to create the monolith ambience. While this works, some kind of ambience sound generator would make a great asset to the LD tools page.
I consider Dawn to be a huge success being a 48h game for my first LD entry. I would like to thank Sosowski for some asset ideas, Glundyn for creating the official LP/Walkthrough, along with the rest of the Ludum Dare community. Especially the IRC folks, you guys are great!
One last note! There’s a hidden playable character somewhere in the game. Can you find it?