I'm a french gamegesigner from Lacanau - FRANCE
About Benjamin (twitter: @@benjamin_soule_)
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
Ludum Dare 19
Numb Thumb - Replay Value Award
Awarded by Suese on December 20, 2012
The Quest of Ham Award
Awarded by nSun on December 18, 2012
Pika's Award : Micro farmers
Awarded by Lehun on April 24, 2012
Secret Dev Award
Awarded by Selliato on April 21, 2012
Shooting Game Award
Awarded by RedError Suru on December 21, 2011
The "Oh no ! Don't stop after so much work" award
Awarded by Ma_c_hi on May 1, 2011
MML let you define music with a short but unintuitive script. you just have to type “c d e f g a b c” for the differents notes and learn more commands to adjust volume, note duration, tempo etc
Learning MML is not very difficult, but unlike classic trackers, trying to picture what a song looks like by just look at the code almost impossible.
So I create this tool to make MML more visual : VMML
If you are interested in creating retro game music, you should have a look
You can also create sfx although it requires a solid knowledge of MML.
I have added some samples to learn the basics commands. The full documentation is here
With AS3 orhaxe, you can play MML in your game with SION lib. For other platforms, VMML Also have a render WAV option.
Here is a sample music loop :
%1@2 l16 v4 $[aga>c>gac>c][<<gdga>ga<c>c];
%1@1 l1 v4na0np1 $agagcgc>g<;
%1@9 l16 v2q4 $(2a)2 rreraaa;
Here’s the game I worked on :
<< What when right >>
Colors : Usually I’m not very good at restricting my color palette, but this time it was ok.
Apart of the title screen all the tiles are 4 colors only ( counting the alpha )
Different plays modes, titlescreen + ending : I could polish the game a bit more than expected and I’m happy with the result.
Supply : Well, I guess I’m not the only one here, but I had a very good help from my wife for food and drink supply.
We’re currently traveling, and she agreed that we stop one week-end for the LD and spent a lot of time bringing me the best indian food when I was coding days and nights in the hotel.
<< What went wrong >>
Complexity : This minimalism theme was a chance for me to be more concise and focus on one basic and simple idea.
I was thinking I will achieve that by making a simple roguelike with 4 direction only control.
But once again when I came to leveldesign , I freaked out and create tons of redundant options/monsters.
Four heroes : This was the first mistake, the core idea was good enough to work without specific heroes mechanics.
I think I added them because I’m always troubled with the game replayability.
So I decided to add those 4 heroes, and eveldegign became a real nightmare
Leveldesign : Obviously, creating 4 puzzle with only one solution per hero is almost impossible in 48h
I should have foreseen that, but once again I was too ambitious. I had a very clear idea of the objective, and I didnt took time to check if it fits in a 48h compo.
So my solution was : Ok, let’s play with the 4 heroes in a row in the 4 levels and maybe nobody will notive my problem. That’s cheap.
Now I’m a bit disapointed because I can see the game potential, and I think I ruined it with some very poor leveldesign.
No music : I postponed it until the last 3 hours and then realized that I had no time to do it, just 1 hour rush for sfx. Very sad. I know those kind of puzzle doesn’t need a music so bad, but I wanted a complete game
Yeah I know it’s terrible… But I’m waiting for the night : I will sneak to the reception and take this flatwesome shiva calendar to level up my sink-desk.
At least I’m in time to enter the Ludum Dare and that makes me feel good.
I just have to deal with this 5am – 6am daily blackout in Chennaï. Well the first one should happen in the middle of the theme announcement :-/
I will take a boat in a few hours from Andaman to Chennai. It shoudl take 3 days, so I may be in depending on the weather and the chaotic indian boats shedule.
In Extinct : Humankind fade in the mist, you play some kind of gigantic gorilla god who wants to get rid of humankind.
You have to put some traps on the way of a human tribe so they wont be able to reach the meat point.
The interesting part is that most of the traps leave the humans (AI) with an A/B choice. So you have to figure out a way where none of those choices lead them to victory.
I decided to make a post-compo version with the new skills I had no time to add in the 48h compo version.
In this new version, beetles will be able to fire missiles at their opponent or teleporting in their back to avoid bullets. There’s also a mutilate skill for blewing some legs off and burst of missiles as well as seeker projectiles. Ice shards slow down their target and cannibal can gain life by eating the bloody spots on ground.
You can play this new version on kongregate and save your armies there, so you will not have to copy-paste DNA code anymore.
Thank you very much to everyone who rated my game generously enough to make me reach this #5 position.
Congratulation to every winners of Ludumdare24 and congratulation to everyone who learn something by sacrificing those 3 days on the the glorious altar of video game making !
For the theme evolution I made a game with beetle teams fighting each other.
Please play it here !
The player control none of the team but he can bid for one of them. If he win the other team evolve and he have to switch his favorite team or persist on the first one for the next fight. Until he fails.
You can play it here
The title screen is ready :
wizard says , ” I’m in ! ”
boulder says , ” It’s dangerous to go alone, take this prize ! ”
wizard says , ” I can’t dude, money would ruin my magic powers”
boulder says, “… ”
My tools :
- Coding : haXe
- Music : Sunvox ( my first try for music, I hope it will work )
- my lib
Good luck to everyone !!
I just finished my first mini-LD Game ! I could only spend 12h on it (4h+4h+4h) so I tried to keep it simple.
At first I wanted to build some kind of infinite boulderdash runner game ( from bottom to top ) with randomly generated content and water flooding form the bottom of the screen.
The result was not very fun to play, water was easy to block with boulder and always going up was boring ( and not very strategic )
So I finally removed the level generator and changed it to a more classical version with just infinite cycling level as new mechanic.
Few innovations here but I hope somebody will like it
Only 9 levels to beat.
I’m a bit late but here’s the Post Mortem for Super Strict Farmer
It tooks me some time to figure out what to do with the Tiny world theme. I was just thinking to a little piece of ground floating in the air. So I decided to adapt a famous boardgame ( my favorite ) named Agricola to a short and more accessible version .
I think I succeded in making it shorter ( boargame version play are 2h-3h long ) but the result is still very difficult to handle and not very intuitive.
You can play Super Strict Farmer here !
The Timelapse is here
What went right :
- Preparation / Efficiency
On the week before LD23, I focus my attention to go to bed early and slept at least 9h-10h per night ( that’s a lot for me ). It made my 48h very pleasant, I slept only 6h in one shot and had almost no focus problems. It didn’t help to take good decisions, but I had my head clear when I had to implement them
- Animation and arts :
I’m used to graphics gale and can work fast with it. I spend a few percent of my time on graphics and could focus on the core of the game. I just wish I had more time for particles and special effects
- Artificial Intelligence :
Well. I was thinking I wont have time for this in 48h. So I first decided to make the computer player play random move and balance difficulty with initial advantages ( more food, peoples or ressources ). I finally decided to give 2 hours for AI and I dont regret it. I mean, the result is not perfect but working on it was the most fun part of the project. Trying to give score for each possible action, made me think like a player ( not a game designer ) and it works like actually testing your game and detecting his weaknesses. At the end, I made the AI compute opponet best actions so it can try to steal them from you. It made the game more interesting and in my case very introversive, because I really had the feeling to play versus myself.
I had fun imagine it and draw it in 90′s super street fighter style. I was thinking that maybe, it could be the best title and then… I saw Copulous
What went wrong :
- Simplification of the orginial Gameplay :
One of the bad points of Agricola is that you have to wait the end of the game to have a clear view of your score. It make it very obscure to new player, and I was thinking I could avoid it by creating ingame-actions that let the player trade ressources for victory points. I could not balance them in time, and was forced to add a final grain/sheep/cattle count. It ruined my original idea.
- Balancing :
Even if the result is playable, the game balance is unstable and took me most of my time. It’s difficult to estimate it, but it should be around 9-10h . I could have better intro screen and better ingame help if I didnt spent all this time on balancing.
- Boardgame :
Trying to adapt a boardgame to a short casaul game for LD is not the best choice I could make. This kind of boardgames are not very popular and I know that only few people enjoy their mathematics. I think I ended with a game too simple for boardgame veteran and too complicated for unitiated.
- Loneliness in a crowd :
One more time I had a chance to share this Ludum Dare with a lot of friends who was participating in the same place ( deepnight, 01101101, thotor , valandre ). And once again I stayed focus on my work not trying to go around and see what they were doing. But this time I have the solution : LD24 will be a jam entry for me
I worked by accident on a soccer powered beat’em all.
You can play it here !
Please play it before reading this because it spoil a part of the game
First I want to say that the “Alone” theme was very difficult to handle. It’s hard to imagine new features for a game without adding new peoples, or monsters. Each time I could imagine fun stuff to add it was always a step back on the “Alone” theme.
Initially I decided to work on a peg solitaire version. I was thinking that adding ninjas, a lot of bonus and special fx could make it interesting, but… the core game was still very boring on the first prototype.
So I tried to find the game stereotypes were Loneliness would be a real paradox. When Soccer came to my mind, I said it out loud and we had a good laugh ( I was working with deepnight, valandre, cardus and 01101101 ) It seemed like a good start.
I designed the soccer stadium and the bases of the soccer ball and players. I had to work on a false soccer player AI, good enough to make the trick for 10 seconds… They are not very good at it ! Always pushing the balls behind the goal or leaving the field..
The goal was to make everybody vanish after 10 of play to leave the player… alone. So I could fulfil the Theme.
But I was still failing to make it a game without adding monsters or peoples. I was thinking about opened drain covers or nails, that player should dodge… But it was not very exciting gameplay. I didn’t want to loose too much time, so I started to draw background of the city outside while thinking to the problem.
I finally bring myself to break player’s loneliness with sweet bouncy blobs, so he had something to burst with his soccer ball. Well I dont regret it, shooting ball at blob’s face was fun enough to make the core gameplay.
Here’s the timelapse
B/ What went Right
- No Generation ! I did it ! All the backgrounds are 100% handcrafted ! No random flowers on the side of the road, no random clouds flying in the sky ! Well I’m not sure that was the best choice, but it was very refreshing to work this way !
- The public of the stadium : With just 3 animation and 2x color sets I could render a crowded stadium. Fast and efficient !! ^_^
- Focus : I could work concentrated for almost 37h. I think that taking care of my sleep on the past week helped a lot.
- Intro / GameOver / Ending screen : I started to experiment them with my first LD and I’m now able to achieve this task in a very short time. That’s all thanks to the Lumdum Dare experience !!
- MathMusic ! That’s the terrible music you can hear on the title screen, here’s the part :
C/ What went Wrong
- I spend to much time to find the main idea. I used to spend only few time on the past LD events ( 30 min – 1h ) so it was very disturbing to watch time pass and not being able to write any line of code. It may be good to take time to find a good idea but too much make me feel nervous, and I finally lost my self confidence.
- SFX : I was thinking that 1h would be enough ( thx to Bfxr ) but I finally spend 4-5h to import a lot of sounds with differents pitches ( 3x different foot step, 3x different bounce sound, 3x different public voices etc ). I was an uncreative and boring task. I don’t even know if the game was really needing it.
- English language. I spend huge time to google each of my sentences to check if their grammar was ok. And I only have 10-12 lines of tutorial & ending… My slowlness and lack of imagination dissuaded me to use my text system in the game ( “Hello blob ! How are you ?” )
- I was far too unsociable. On sunday I didn’t take time to speak ( not a single word ) with my friends who were working on their LD22 entries, I didn’ even took time to test their game even if we were working in the same room !
- Control : one of the control feature is very hard to explain : You can press spacebar one short time to attract ball to your position. I could not achieve to explain it to the player so they could use it
I entered this LD21 with my own additional theme : “No level Generator”.
I’m designing game for a long time now and I have always eluded the leveldesign problem by programming levelgenerator for any game. Breakout generators, sokoban generator, shmup generator, etc.
I was pretty proud of it. Knowing that my game have sort of infinite ammount of levels feels powerful and trying to make them fun althought they were not craft-handed was challenging.
Back when I was 14, My iconic game was Frontier Elite 2. I had no clue what a random seed was, but having a universe on my 3.5 floppy disk sounds magic !
When I started to read the LumdumDare blog, I was surprised by the time spent on leveldesign. Filling a .txt file with “O” and “X” was the kind of thing I totally wiped of my mind. It feels like and old age thing.
That’s a very twisted point of view, but I cant help thinking like this
Enough with the psychoanalysis, what about the game ?
In Rainbow Jail I tried to design the level instead of procedurally poping block and baddies by reversing puzzle solution.
and… Hell, it’s hard work !
For manually designing these kind of puzzle, you have to think hard ! First you have to make some easy level. Not only player must achieve them by doing almost anything, but they must feel like they made some wise move to do it. After that, more challenging levels. For achieving this, you have to test.
And I’m awful a this too.
Spending all my time playing my own 48h game seems like a nonsense.
The hope : A Solver !!
So of course, I want to create a a LevelSolver that will check for me the ammount of solution for the current level so I can, just by blindly add or remove block, navigate between 0 & infinite number of solutions until I reach the “only 1 path” holy grail.
Well that would still be leveldesign, but it seriously take the generator twist. And moreover dealing with the fact that player can push some blocks ( sokoban factor ) is not making it easy.
Back to reality
I had to face the harsh reality. For every single level, I will have to check
- is my level possible to finish ?
- is my level fun ?
- is my level erhh.. beautifull ?
- is my 12 move ultra-smart solution is not overlaped by a 2 move solution I didn’t notice ?
I did my best and I think the result sucks
- My urge for quantity over quality made me add those grey dots (random color block ) so I can easily create enough room for my game. Most of these levels are untested and boring.
- Not enough testing : maybe 10% of the room are truly tested. It turned out that making a good level take me 30-45minutes. I should have spend 6-8h on 12 good level instead of this zelda-ish interconnected room map.
The good sides :
- Creating an ambiance for your game is easier with a manually drawn map, I could for example create some kind of jail look level.
- Thinking and testing each of your level really shorten the distance between you and the player.
- Testing specific features of the game is easier : Just draw the situation and test it !
Well you can’t become a good leveldesigner in 48h, but a sure thing is the LD competition help me to progress in this way !