Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
October Challenge 2012
Ludum Dare 23
See the entry here.
Good – why you should try the game, look at the source, and what I recommend for your next game
1) Learned about SFML.
2) Game was, I think, fairly pretty, which I wanted to do regardless of theme.
3) I wanted to make one of those surreal Ludum Dare game experiences. Given that more commenters thought the game was artistic than frustrating, I’ll call it a success.
4) Xsplit (free streaming software) works on computers with worse specs than the minimum requirements. I tried Flash Media Encoder, but it requires ManyCam or similar to present your desktop into a webcam as well. I also tried Open Broadcaster Software, I can’t remember why it didn’t work out, but I’d want to use it in future because it’s open source. I met a Ludum Dare buddy while streaming, so it’s good for networking. Also put a description above your stream link — I’m pretty sure I got the 1 viewer (aforementioned buddy) because I put “C++” and “SFML 2.0″ in my comment on the streams post. I also implied that I’d be up for explaining what I was doing, which I really was.
Bad – What to improve on next time
1) Remember that at the start of the competition, the theme is posted on Twitter, not the site itself.
2) Use SFML only for what you can’t do yourself — treat it as a very thin wrapper to OpenGL, an event poller (and remember to turn of key repeat), something that gives you an audio callback, and a window maker.
I’m in for LD 25. I’ll be using C++ and SFML.
I made three promises after LD23 (my first LD) — things I would do before my next LD.
1) Dan’s Tile Maker has been updated. Use it to procedurally generate these kinds of tiles. Like an sfxr for tiles. See the LD23 game I made using it here.
Windows precompiled here.
Blog post about it here.
2) This might be a cop out, but check out the midi editor MuseScore.
A few things I learned from my first LD that you might like to know, in order to reach a wider audience:
-The thumbnail picture of your game is worth thinking about. The LD coolness system works well, but I still discriminated which games I played based on what the thumbnail image of the game looked like.
-Games should be easy to get into:
a) Simple controls. They should be so simple you don’t even have to explain them. And make sure you explain them somewhere visible.
b) No walls of text. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think LDers want to see a (possibly well written) book. We’re looking for a unique gaming experience that makes its point and ends.
-No installers. I’m not going to bother. I know you don’t want to screw up my computer, but _installers screw up computers_.
-No XNA runtime. I’m hoping (for you XNAers) there’s a way in XNA to avoid requiring this. Because I’m not going to install the XNA runtime. I think Unity requires something as well, a Unity Web Player or something. Not going to happen.
I said I would post when my October challenge iOS game got accepted by Apple, so here’s the post! Play ma3e for free! Download some DLC and get me my buck!
ma3e is an iPhone/iPad app involving a ball and a 3D maze you can rotate. I scrambled to get it done ~5 business days before today (the end of the October challenge) but my first attempt at adding DLC resulted in a rejection because the testers couldn’t find the DLC. Anyway, I resolved that and currently the ball is in Apple’s park, so I think I currently fulfill the “taken all steps required to make a buck” requirement. I’m just a little sad you can’t get the game right now. By the way, the game is free. The DLC is how I plan to make my buck. Anyway, I’ll make a new post when you can get the game. I’m telling you now so it’s not spam!
What went right:
-I ended up doing everything I explicitly planned to do.
-The exploratory nature of the game is close to how I want it. I wish I could reward the player more for exploring, but I didn’t have time to code minor prizes or stick them in the world. But I like that there’s multiple paths to success and that you aren’t always exactly sure what you’re supposed to do next. With no user feedback (during the contest), it’s possible it’s too hard to figure out what to do next. Hm. Maybe Ludum Dare games should aim to be easier since user feedback is hard to get, if not impossible.
-I like that the dustinator has more than one use and that the items complement each other. I wish there were more multiple use and complementary items.
What went wrong:
-I think the game has little replay value. Unless you want to continue exploring the star system (I feel like that’s unlikely) or do a speed run or something (definitely exceptional). I’ve thought of two solutions so far. One: procedurally generate the world so it’s unique every time. I think I avoided that because I figured it would be impossible to make the exploration how I wanted it. Maybe it would’ve been in the 48 hours, but it seems easier now, perhaps because the Terraformer Breath level design I did has solidifed in my brain after sleeping, and now I can more easily think how to express it in code. I’ve also been toying with the idea of abstracting procedural world generation so it can be created once and used on many games. Supply the player’s abilities and goals, some world generation functions (like makePlanet), and a simulation function, and let it make a world for you. Anyway, two: have more random elements. Which is really a superset of the procedural thing, but I mean even in a static world, other random elements can give replay value. Like smarter enemies that do something different every time or randomized planet motion or something.
-Though so far people seem to enjoy the disembodied voice, I definitely thought I could come up with a lot more funny things for it to say. I guess it’s one of those laws. Divide how many jokes you think you will think of by 3, and that’s how many you’ll come up with. Not to mention it was hard to think of things that were funny and not too insulting to the player (I don’t think that’s a trait of my personality, but it’s possible).
What’s going to happen (before the next contest in which I partake):
-Expand Dan’s Tile Maker. The atmosphere tiles should’ve been easily creatable from some transition function. I decided not to add in the functionality during the contest and just Gimp/MSPainted them. I could’ve created the atmosphere tiles way faster, and made them all pretty and texturey.
-Finish a midi editor I’ve been working on and get it distributing. The vim (but hopefully more intuitive — not that vim isn’t intuitive, vim lovers!) of midi editors.
-Make and distribute a library that uses SDL and plays midi files through a bunch of signal processor units you can configure to make instruments out of.
(If any of those things exist already, tell me!)
I’ve been looking at a bunch of you guys’s posts declaring what things you’re going to use to make your games. I was hoping to come across something like sfxr for tiles but didn’t. Long story short, I made one. Maybe you’ll like it. More information and download links including source here.
In case it’s mandatory, I’ll say that I’m in for LD23, and in case it’s useful, I’ll probably be using:
-Notepad++ for coding
-Firefox and Firebug for debugging and procrastinating
-Audacity and sfxr for sound effects
-Dan’s Tile Maker, MS Paint, and GIMP for graphics
-Dropbox for hosting
-AutoHotKey and Foobar2000 for not going crazy