My 4th LD and it was again an exciting and fun weekend. It is also a great pleasure to meet some new fellow game devs and playing their games. These are the best rewards of the Ludum Dare.
Time to think back to what was done, and I want to try using the LD rating categories:
- Overall : I’m really happy with the result.
I was planning for this LD to produce a finished game on all points, to have time to make something a little polished. Therefore I decided to keep things simple since they were not done. And it worked. It was the first time I got a playable prototype ready at the end of the first day. I felt quiet relieved and I worked even better on the second day.
- Innovation : Since I was aiming simple, I didn’t try to be super innovative.
The game remains simple and it’s efficient I guess. Maybe a bit of originality was to make the player interact with a character who solves the puzzle, instead of giving directly the puzzle to the player.
- Fun : Here is a very subjective point, not everyone likes puzzle games.
The most important part for puzzles is the level design, and I’ve quite improvised on that part. I tried to obtain a difficulty curve which was reasonable but not too hard (people always complain about my games being too hard). However, I wasn’t able to design challenging levels, some players complained about not always knowing what they were doing.
- Theme : Here comes the dark side of the game.
When I knew the theme, I looked at the definition of a second and I started to create a story about atoms which were in fact little creatures; it sounded great. Scientists were the bad guys and they were robbing electrons from the atoms. The player would have to help an atom recover its electrons, and here the link was done with the gameplay I had in mind. The problem is that I was planning more time to present the story and even some final level, where Neo, the character, would have used its ten electrons/seconds to solve the puzzle. But I ran out of time for the story and I never found an interesting concept for the 10 seconds level.
- Graphics : I’m everything but a graphical artist. That’s why all my graphics are coded.
I’m kind of used to it now, but it’s still a limitation in time and in realization. But I’m pretty happy with the result. It’s all vectorial but it’s not too awful. I also succeed to integrate a fancy movement for the electrons.
- Audio : The secret is having a good arpeggiator.
I’m happy and also sick about this part. Everything went right for voice recording and sfx creation. But the music was something really hard. I spent two hours trying to write a good piece which would not disturb the player. It was a complete failure. When I was about to give up, I decided to try an arpeggiator, and in one shot on the keyboard, I wrote the game theme. Done in 15 minutes. I like the result, but I struggled a lot.
- Humor and Mood : I guess I’m not a funny game developer.
I never really succeeded in putting some humor in my games. Also I try to create some mood, to tell stories. Helped by the intro I conceived the first morning, I think I’ve created a specific atmosphere right at the beginning of the game. Then it changes quite radically during the gameplay part, but I didn’t feel like it was incompatible, and so think the people who played it.
- tl;dr : Or like we used to say, Conclusion.
I went for a simple game in order to have time to polish every part. I’m happy with the global result. I only wish I had more time to better integrate the theme, and more experience in creating good levels.
If you want to give a try to Atomic Time Raiders, here is the link: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=3984
PS: I apologize to the English language for torturing it.