Australian web developer/designer, programmer, and game developer.
About BlackBulletIV (twitter: @BlackBulletIV)
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
The theme was “You are the Villain”; I had hoped it would be “End of the World”, given the date and that I had a good idea for it, but that was not to be. Now this was a somewhat difficult theme for me, because I hate playing characters of the evil archetype; I wasn’t going to create some mindless mass-murder simulator. I decided to make the morality of your actions somewhat ambiguous. You’re on an infiltration job for some mysterious organisation, you’re probably a mercenary, making you morally grey. Furthermore, it isn’t clear whether this organisation is good or bad, though it’s hinted that they’re bad.
This brings me to a more philosophical question, who is the villain? To the guards, you’re clearly the villain. To the organisation, you’re a good guy. The villain is a matter of perspective, and who you asked.
What Went Right
The AI I created for the guards is probably the highlight of the whole thing for me. I’ve never really delved into AI before, so it was a new experience for me. Considering that, I’m quite happy with what I came up with. The guards have a field of view, and they can’t see past solid objects, nor can they see you when you’re hiding in the shadows. The have a level of awareness, they fire at you, and search around your last known position when they’ve lost sight of you. Ludum Dare certainly fosters rapid innovation.
In terms of visuals, I was quite pleased with the animation work I was able to do, especially the guard’s death animation. The lighting worked quite well, although the light shapes were a bit rough.
Other than that, I was able to work around 27 hours in total, a new record for me.
What Went Wrong
I was planning on using LÖVE this time, but I hadn’t thought about level loading and editing, and tiled collision (things that FlashPunk makes easy). Ogmo Editor has worked quite well for me in the past, but it exports to XML. I tried various Lua XML solutions, but none seemed to work properly. Besides that, I’d tried tiled collision in LÖVE, but I just couldn’t get it working properly in time for the competition. It’s a real shame, because LÖVE has so much more capability than Flash/FlashPunk, especially in graphics and physics.
One major post-release problem seems to be input lag. I don’t know why, but as soon as you run the game in the browser, there’s some minor input lag that makes it difficult to backstab guards, and makes it slightly harder to move. Another reason why I wish I could’ve used LÖVE.
The game was shorter that I’d have liked, but I just didn’t have the patience, nor time, to create many more levels.
Besides all that, there were points where I was very worn out, and starting to get emotionally down. The work catches up to you, and anxiety creeps in; it goes away after time, but it’s not pleasant to go through.
While I had fun here and there, and ended up with some great innovation in AI, I don’t think I’ll participate in the main competition for some time. There are good periods, but even more “I want to end it” periods. Perhaps I’ll participate in the jam next time if there’s others to work with; that might be a more laid back experience.
Anyway, thanks for reading.
Here’s my timelapse for Amongst Shadows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNZa1fHItpA.
Around 40 minutes ago I uploaded my completed stealth game, entitled Amongst Shadows. It’s Ludum Dare page is here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-25/?action=preview&uid=3915.
I’ll get onto writing a post-mortem and making a timelapse sometime today or tomorrow. Also, here’s a screenshot:
There’s a screenshot of level three. You can’t really see the player, since he’s hiding in the shadows.
As far as progress goes, I’m nearly done. I need to create a few more levels at least, and then apply a bit more polish to the game.
I’ve made some good progress. I’ve added some background ambience, and bunch of sound effects, which made a big difference. I’ve made three levels so far, which is a start. I plan to make as many levels as possible; hopefully time will permit me to make the game of a semi-decent length. For the plot, I think I’ll go with some simple espionage.
I’ve made some good progress so far today. Nothing’s changed that I can really show in a screenshot, so I’ll just describe a few things. I’ve improved the guard’s AI somewhat, and they can now shoot at you. I’ve added the ability to backstab guards when you’re behind them. I’ve added animations to both the guards and the player. That’s about all I can remember.
There’s still quite a bit to do; I’ve barely started in the art, plot, or sound departments. One of the next tasks will be to add some searching AI to guards.
After some thought, I decided to create a stealth game. The theme of it is unclear at present, but I’m thinking somewhere along the lines of espionage, a heist, or maybe military base infiltration for the purpose of launching warheads… something like that.
Anyway, I’ve spent of most today creating a number of various system, such as the tilemap loading, multiplicative lighting, and especially the guard AI. One thing I’m quite happy with is that light is taken into consideration when determining whether a guard can see you. So, for example, they can’t see you in *very* dark, or pitch black areas.
Here’s a screenshot of what I’ve got so far:
I’m hoping I have enough time left for all the art, levels, sound, story, and all that stuff. It’ll be a tight squeeze.
Well, I’m in, as long as I don’t drop out again. The last two Ludum Dares didn’t go very well (lowish ratings in LD 23, and dropping out in LD 24), but with a bit of luck and effort, I should be able turn to that around.
Good luck to all contestants!
Hate to say it, but I’m having to pull out this time. I wasn’t able to come up with any feasible ideas for selected theme. Perhaps I’ll do a bit better next time.
Anyway, good luck to those who remain!
This is my fifth time, and as usual, I’ll be using FlashPunk. With a good portion of both hard work and luck, I should be able to do better than last time; we’ll see.
Good luck everyone!
I’ve made a blog post on my website giving a few short tips on maximising your rating opportunity. For your convenience, I’ve reposted it hear, but you can find the original here: http://nova-fusion.com/2012/05/02/getting-more-ratings-in-ludum-dare/
I thought I’d share a few quick tips on getting more ratings, which I’ve picked up in my experience with Ludum Dare. Please note, I’m not putting this down as fact or anything, but merely expressing my own opinion.
Yeah, this one’s kind of obvious by now I’d say. Your “coolness level” increases by one per game you rate, and the cooler you are, the higher chance you have of getting rated. Games are picked for people to rate both by how high the author’s coolness is, and how low the number of ratings are.
Making your game web-based should get you more ratings; users of all operating systems will be able to play it, and web games are far more convenient for the rater. The rater doesn’t have to wait for a download, or far worse, install various things in order to run the game.
If making a web game isn’t a good option, then make the game cross-platform. There’s a considerable percentage of people out there using Mac and Linux based machines who would greatly appreciate it.
Finally, never just hand the rater the source code and tell them to run/compile it. That’s just bad. Also, try to avoid requiring libraries/frameworks to be installed prior to running the game, especially ones that aren’t all that common.
While rating games, try to leave constructive comments behind for the author. Not only is this helpful, but it can potentially lead others to your game. This is because people can click on your name in the comment you posted and be taken straight to your game page. It’s a nice side effect to being cool.
And that’s it. Hopefully it was somewhat useful. In summary:
- Rate other’s games
- Make your game for the web
- Leave comments while rating games
- Be cool
Alright, I’ve finally written a postmortem for Rock ‘n’ Slash, in which I talk about what went right and wrong. You can the blog post here: http://nova-fusion.com/2012/04/29/rock-n-slash-ludum-dare-23-postmortem/.
I uploaded the time-lapse for Rock ‘n’ Slash earlier today. You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHrijodtOmY.
I’ve just submitted my game, Rock ‘n’ Slash. Here’s its page: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=3915.
It’s been quite a ride, though definitely more laid back and relaxed than last time. I’m looking forward to rating some games!
This morning I’ve mainly been tweaking some visual things. I’ve added backgrounds to the title and score screens, and also added “shadows” to the text on those screens. I also added a very slight vignette to the game. Here’s a couple screenshots:
As always, the test build is here: http://nova-fusion.com/games/rock-n-slash/game.swf
Well, it’s the end of day two for me. Since my last post, I’ve made the game easier, mainly by adding a second chance system. I’ve also added a version of the enemy with green eyes, instead of red ones.
Once again, you test the game here: http://nova-fusion.com/games/rock-n-slash/game.swf
And I’ll just post the last screenshot here. XD
Since the game is essentially done, I’m releasing it for testing. You can find the test build here: http://nova-fusion.com/games/rock-n-slash/game.swf. Please test it out, and provide any feedback or suggestions you have.
In the meantime, I’m going to be experimenting with adding new stuff to the game.
I’ve been working mostly on sound effects and music since my last post. Both took some time; audio is a weak spot for me. The music especially took longer than I would have liked, but that’s just the way it goes.
The other thing I worked on was a background. It came out pretty good I think, though I am wondering whether its blurry, sketchy kind of art style conflicts with the foreground’s pixel art. Please let me know what you think.
I’m making good progress now. The enemy spawning system is working pretty well I think, and the difficulty seems pretty good.
As I haven’t mentioned it before, this game is an arcade game set on a tiny island in the sky. It’s not the best match for the theme, I know, but that’s one of the only feasible things I could think of. Anyway, you kill enemies with using your gun and melee attack which raises your score. The simplicity of developing such a game is a very welcome thing right now.
As usual, here’s a screenshot of how the game’s looking so far: