I'm DDRKirby(ISQ). I do lots of cool stuff! Check out my main website here:
About DDRKirby(ISQ) (twitter: @ddrkirbyisq)
I'm DDRKirby(ISQ). I do lots of cool stuff! Check out my main website here:
Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 26 Warmup
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 25 Warmup
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 23 Warmup
Ludum Dare 22
10 SECONDS LEFT to vote xD
If you haven’t already, please play and rate our game, Hyper Furball!
This is my 5th Ludum Dare entry, and my second time working together with my artist xellaya. Things came together really nicely, and I’m really proud at what we managed to do in the 72 hours. Here’s what the game looks like:
Let’s go over what went well and not as well this time around…
What went well:
Settling on a good concept
We threw quite a few ideas around before settling on our sidescrolling RPG with the “hyper mode” mechanic. Initially we were thinking about doing a Warioware style 10-second minigame collection (nothing new, but probably still fun), and were also seriously considering doing something along the lines of Off the Leash. The idea thee was that you keep running to the right and have various obstacles and powerups that slow you down and speed you up, and you have 10 seconds to reach each checkpoint. I was all set to start working on that when xellaya pointed out that there really wasn’t anything new about what we were making. I thought about it some more and I agreed that it probably…wasn’t that exciting. Friday night came and went and we still weren’t sure what we wanted to make, but eventually my train of thought went to “we should make the 10 seconds as intense and crazy as possible”, and from there I got the idea of a side-scroller where hyper mode basically involves you steamrolling a whole bunch of enemies and leveling up a bunch. It ended up working really well, and I think it uses the theme in a way that’s clear, functional, yet non-cliche. Awesome.
Liberal copy-pasting of code
There’s kind of a delicate balance when it comes to high-speed coding. You don’t want to be clean and neat with everything, because it just takes too much time, and you’re only working with your code for one weekend anyways (not to mention, I’m the only coder here)…but you don’t want to be -so- messy that you end up introducing bugs and making things hard for yourself. I ended up copying a lot of code from my LD26 entry Minimalist Mayhem, which I also did in Flashpunk, and that sped things up a lot, as I already had code for flashing the screen (with fadeout), and I didn’t have to think about the proper way to create/recycle objects in Flashpunk or anything like that. There was also just a lot of one-off code that ended up getting duplicated, like the code for the parallax backgrounds–after doing that once, I just copy-pasted it each time xellaya finished a new set of backgrounds and I didn’t even have to think about it. Yes, messy, but as long as you’re careful, it all works, and it’s fast.
So many, so many Ludum Dare games are lacking in polish, but it makes such a big difference. It’s what makes your game seem AWESOME. That’s why it’s so important to pick something that you can execute easily, because once you finish the main execution, you can spend all the rest of your time making you game look pretty and fancy and smooth. Screen transitions, sound effects, cleaning up your UI…all these nice little things really add up. I’m really proud of the intro and title screen, for example–first impressions really count! I was really excited when I put in xellaya’s graphics for the title and synced it all with the music…so proud! Did I have to implement a jukebox screen with scrolling backgrounds (that cycle through the 4 different levels!) and colored stars flying around? No…but it’s really neat and awesome, right?
We really worked together well this time…I’m an LD vet by now, so I know how things go and I basically didn’t run into any big hiccups at all, aside from a FlashDevelop “out of heap space” compilation error which disappeared every time I restarted Flashdevelop (phew!). I even hacked the Flashpunk Text class to get the outline effect on all my text! I’m comfortable with Flashpunk and I’ve gotten really really good at making game soundtracks in constrained time periods now–in total, I wrote all the music in around 7 hours’ worth of time! (all that training from One Hour Compo paying off!) xellaya was also much more set up for things this time and we didn’t run into any of the miscellaneous troubles that we had last time for Marriage Quest (pngs being exported without transparency, etc.). We used Dropbox to get artwork from her machine onto mine; don’t know why we didn’t do that last time. It’s important to play to your (or your team’s) strengths when you’re thinking up a game…xellaya likes drawing cute things, and I really excel with 9-bit chiptune music, so it was great that we ended up with something that allowed us to use our talents to their maximum potential.
We both had the whole weekend to work on our game, which was awesome. No other stuff to worry about, no imminent tests or projects, no getting sick, etc. Awesome.
What went not quite as well:
I did better than last time (Minimalist Mayhem just had a single huge screen with all the instructions on it)–I was especially proud of the “mash space” animation that shows up on screen the first time you enter hyper mode. But the level up screen isn’t really that intuitive…in fact, the checkboxes ended up making everyone assume that you can use your mouse to click on them. Which…still confuses me, to be honest, but maybe that’s just because I’m an oldschool console gamer and I think everyone else is weirdos in the way that they think. I don’t really know how this could have been better, but I didn’t spend that much effort really thinking about it. I guess I’m just not that great at UI design. xellaya didn’t really have the time to think about this either, though, so in the end we just did what we could, and I think it’s at least functional. It’s not great, but probably not -bad- either.
The gameplay for our game is…”decent”. I wasn’t entirely happy with the simple attack/block mechanic that I had going on for normal combat, but I knew that it would end up being okay in the end because that’s not really the focus of the game anyways–the focus of the game is having fun with ridiculous crazy hyper mode! Still, I wish I could have made normal combat at least a bit more interesting somehow, though I’m still not sure exactly how I would do that. I think in the end I didn’t have time to push for enemy attack variations or anything like that, and xellaya didn’t want to do a lot of animation…if we had spent more time on this, the polish level would have suffered. So this is not really a mistake, per se, but still wish it could have been better. This is probably the main point that might hurt our ratings.
Not Enough Playtesting
Yeah, yeah, super common problem. This always happens, really. It’s important to get feedback and have people play your game, but…when your heads-down trying to cram in the last few features (Breaktime mode!), it just ends up by the wayside sometimes. I think I really lucked out that the game isn’t horribly unbalanced (at least, in a way that makes it not fun), because I really didn’t have that much time to spend on that and tweaking the enemy strengths and the upgrade requirements. I did spend a -decent- amount of time on it, which is why leveling up takes about the right amount of time and everything, so I didn’t do too bad here. But I feel like this was a danger area that I managed to sneak by on.
All in all, we did a great job, and I’m really proud of how things turned out. Our game is quite fun, and I’ve been trying to see how fast I can complete it using no continues
Please leave your feedback and comments! Oh, and go check out the soundtrack download too!
8PM over here. Haven’t eaten anything since waking up, sheesh.
It’s great to be done. Yeah, would have been nice if I had the time to get one or two more features in…can think of a lot of things I would want to add, but it’s totally fine. Totally fine.
Anyways, here’s Minimalist MAYHEM:
Try it. It’s pretty awesome. And come on, how can you not try a game called Minimalist MAYHEM? Especially with a title screen like that???
Anyways, get some rest, everyone. We’ll wait until we recuperate (and until the LD servers recuperate) for now.
And of course, good luck to everyone who’s still toiling away in the jam. You can do it!
Who says you can’t cook yourself a hearty meal in the middle of a grueling game jam?
So, I’ve come a looooong way, and actually had pretty much little to no stumbling blocks (okay, a few minor ones here and there, but nothing serious), which is =awesome=.
Here’s what I’ve got so far.
Pretty sure I have the cutest menu screen EVER.
Anyways, gameplay balance is still totally borked. You can’t die, you don’t have invincibility after getting hit, and the level is still a dummy test level. But it showcases the Jukebox destruction feature, which is SUPER COOL.
This is really shaping up well. I still need to do much more…maybe make another enemy or two, make another weapon or two, build out the levels, write out the instructions, and maybe write another song. It’s T minus…13.5 hours right now, which is scary because I know that like 6 or 7 of those hours are going to be spent sleeping. I’ll try to get a reasonable amount of sleep but I really can’t afford to sleep all day, I need to push through this…this can be so, so awesome.
Still a lot of stuff to do, but man, we’re really looking good here:
My game balance sucks right now, but I’ve got screen flashes, enemy generators, multiple powerups, room clearing, all sorts of stuff!
Yeah. That’s right.
Not the finalized version, but you get the idea.
Starting to look awesome. And yay, I drew demented christmas tree monsters. woohooo~
Well, none of the actual graphics are in yet. But I’ve got shooting, strafing, and now enemies! With cooldowns! And you can shoot the enemies and they die!
Even cooler, the white and black tiles you see? That’s using a tilemap in flashpunk–white is tile index 1, black is tile index 0. Now, the cool part is that the player’s bullets turn everything into odd-numbered tiles, and the enemy bullets turn everything back into even numbers! So now I have paintable terrain and walls, just like that. AWESOME.
After a bunch of trepidation, since I haven’t had good experience with map editors and tilemaps in the past, I seem to actually have something working. Woo! I have collision detection too! The sprite here for the player is just placeholder graphics ripped from my warmup game.
The real question here is if I can get the tilemaps to dynamically change. hmmmmmm.
17.5 hours in and I have done….okay, I haven’t even really started. But that’s mainly because I went to a weekly dance thing for a few hours, and then I got a good healthy night’s sleep after that
Before I went to bed though, I was brainstorming and stumbled upon the idea for my game. See, the thing is, everyone’s gonna be making minimalistic games this time. But you know what–screw that. Before the theme was announced, I said I wanted to make a hyper-awesome twitchy colorful fun arcade-style game, and dammit, I’m sticking to that. So, okay, the theme and “plot” of my game is going to involve minimalism, but the actual game is going to be anything but minimalist.
Working title: Minimalist Mayhem.
I’m thinking something along the lines of Hyper Princess Pitch. Shooting, weapons, powerups, all of that good stuff. Probably the same perspective, and also a shooter like that. The game’s protagonist will be…Mr. Minimal, or Mrs. Minimal, or something like that. His goal? To eliminate the evil aliens that are (for some reason) hell-bent on bringing color, liveliness, extravagance, and vivid music to the world. Oh, and he wants to paint all the rooms white too.
Let’s get started.
Yes! DDRKirby(ISQ) here. Bit late, but I just finished my warmup game, Cosmic Melody:
It’s a short musical exploration, very cute, reminiscent of World of Snow from last time. Only takes a few minutes! Soundtrack download is up on bandcamp too:
- FlashPunk + FlashDevelop (the site is still down! I’ll be using the downloaded documentation plus archive.org…)
- FL Studio, and mayyyyybe FamiTracker for music.
- GIMP for pixel art.
- Labchirp for sfx, probably?
My goal this time is to make a fun, arcade-style, gameplay-oriented, replayable game. Especially since all of my LD entries up until now have been “start to finish” type games…I want to make something with less story, less progression, and more just plain gaming fun And of course, awesome music. That’s always the #1 goal.
All right! After totally dropping out of LD24 because of other stuff going on in my life, I’m back for LD25! And I’ve got a friend with me this time
Me (@ddrkirbyisq) and @angelinthe are planning on doing the jam this time around.
-Either Flixel (which I used last time around), or FlashPunk (which I still haven’t tried).
-I wasn’t really too happy with DAME last time around, so hopefully I find a tile editor that I like more before LD starts, in case we decide to do something tile-based…
-FL Studio for music, or possibly FamiTracker, or both!
-Labchirp for sfx.
-GIMP for pixel art.
Since we’re doing the jam, it’s probably going to be a little harder to differentiate ourselves…but I’m still determined on making a game that:
-Has awesome music
-Is pretty polished up
-Has awesome music
-Is small but fun
-Did I mention awesome music?
Of course, I’m going to create the entire soundtrack myself during the 72 hours, just like I did for Gulliver. Woo!
My plan was to be totally hyped for this one, and maybe try out Flashpunk, since last time I used Flixel.
However, RL stuff has hit and now I’m finding myself extremely busy until the end of the month. I’m busy in a really good way, so that’s not a bad thing, but it does mean I don’t really want to be devoting too much time for LD.
I think I’ll see what the theme is and see if I can come up with some really cute and simple idea that won’t take too much effort/time to complete. Otherwise, maybe I’ll sit this one out. Ideally though, I’m in, and doing some sort of small pixely cute game in flash, with really cool 8bit (or 9bit?) music. Maybe I’ll even use Famitracker! That would be pretty awesome.
There’s still time! Rate Gulliver today! It’s a metroidvania shmup hybrid with awesome 9bit chiptune music!
Posting these mostly for archival…
My first brainstorming document. You can see some of the other ideas I had, as well as my primary design goals (music!). I had also gotten the impression that tiled level design wouldn’t be quite too hard, so I didn’t have qualms about that. I ended up being sort of right, but sort of wrong…tiled level design isn’t all that bad, but I was totally unfamiliar with the toolset and workflow. I also tried using DAME which ended up just feeling kind of sluggish–Tiled might be a better choice (maybe? can’t say for sure as I haven’t tried).
More ideas. I likened the shrink idea to Blaster Master here, and decided I’d use a shrinking spaceship as that would be easier to do art for.
The initial design sketch. I had originally planned for level transitions to involve a cool zoom in/zoom out transition, to emphasize the recursive shrinking, but unfortunately that wasn’t really possible with Flixel, at least not without bending over backwards to get it working.
Sketching out ideas for the game.
This was my design for the first Space/Station Zero level–it’s pretty much unchanged in the actual game. After that I started just designing the levels on the fly as it was just faster that way.
If you haven’t already done so, you can view, play, and rate Gulliver here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=7285
One of my primary goals for this round of LD was to make a game that would showcase my musical abilities. I did do some nice music for my LD22 game, One of a Kind, but it didn’t really allow me to use my “9bit” style of music that much, so I wanted to remedy that this time around. That meant making a game that featured multiple different environments/settings/levels, so that I could make different music for each–something I definitely took into account when I was drafting up the game design for Gulliver (it’s a metroidvania type shmup hybrid thingamajig).
The other thing I knew I wanted to do was to rely heavily on one or two thematic motifs to tie the soundtrack together and to make the melodies more memorable. This is a pretty common technique, used to great effect in a lot of games–for some reason bit.trip runner springs to mind, but there’s plenty of other examples out there as well. To practice this technique, I tried scoring an imaginary game in my latest entry for One Hour Compo, which is a weekly compo where participants get exactly one hour to create a song based on a theme. Here’s how that went: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Insanity_Quest(OHC184).mp3
So, I didn’t start composing music until I was pretty far into things…a little past the 50% mark, if I remember correctly. The first song I composed was actually Upgrade Acquired. I knew I wanted a little ditty to play when you got a new upgrade (a la Metroid), and I had this small ditty running around in my head. I actually had to go to a social event right as I conceived the musical idea, but to keep it in my mind I reminded myself that it was similar to a bit from Edgar’s theme from FFVI. Luckily it worked and when I got back from my 4-hour event I managed to recall what the idea was, and put it down in the form of the short ditty. Nothing too special about it; just the main theme, the bass, an echoing arp, and some quick drums.
After that, I wrote Gulliver, the main theme of the game which plays at the title screen. This was basically me expanding on the theme idea and fleshing it out into a complete song. There’s a lot of suspended chords here, and it actually has sort of a forlorn “quest” feeling, if that makes sense. After the initial statement of the theme, I go into UNTS UNTS mode (a fairly standard thing for me) and throw in an arp and some more percussion. This is all pretty easy stuff for me.
Next was Prologue, the short ambient track that plays during the intro narration. I used a noise-based synth called Chimera in the background (hard to hear if you’re on crappy laptop speakers), and added echoed triangle-wave blips with heavy use of reverb for ambience. Used the same Ab->Bb->C bassline progression that you’ll see pop up again and again in the rest of the OST.
Next was Station Zero, the first level theme. I wanted things to start off with a pretty “groovin” feel so I started off with a drumloop, which is samplereduced at the beginning and fades in. The main lead at 0:15 is, of course, a riff on the main Gulliver theme, but this time with a much different feel. The breakdown at 0:44 is -also- a play on the Gulliver theme, yet in a sort of minor mode. Again, Ab->Bb->C in the bass here.
When I wrote Thicket I may not have been entirely sure what the jungle/biome/grass level was going to look like yet, but I was sort of thinking along the lines of lush and jungle-like, so I picked a “soundscape” preset from a VST called Alchemy that included some animal-like squeals in the back, and added a chippy-sounding arp on top of that. The drumloop I used here is also pretty jungle-like, so that adds to the feel. Of course, the triangle whistle that comes in plays off of the Gulliver theme (should I even have to mention it anymore?), though the bassline progression here is different.
Cavernous seems to be pretty well-liked. I used a mallet-type sample along with crunched drums to set the initial atmosphere, and here we go back to the Ab->Bb->C progression. When the main chorus comes in, there’s a gated choir pad in the background with a lowpass filter sweep on it which provides most of the texture. I took a little more liberty with the Gulliver theme here, so there’s a little more solo-type expression in the melody. By now you can start to see how all of these tracks are organized–intro section, then main chorus section, then delayering of sounds so that we can get back to the intro.
Next was Destiny, probably my favorite track on the entire OST. I wrote it before “Flesh”, because well…the first boss was at the cavern/cave level, and I was sort of writing these tracks as I went along (sort of as a break from the actual code). I start off with a mortal kombat-style bassline groove, dissonant chords for tension, and a 16th-note pulse wave bass to provide motion. Then we go into the chorus, where I add a house-style drum loop, sidechained strings, and the main melody, which I’m pretty sure is just a simple square wave. The great thing about chiptune-style leads is that they tend to really cut through the mix easily, as opposed to trance-style phat megasupersaw leads which can be trickier to mix into things. Anyways, the melody and progression here is pretty much identical to that of the main Gulliver theme, except twice as long in terms of musical phrases, because of the higher tempo. The expression in the melody is augmented mainly through automatic vibrato, pitch bends, and some grace notes. I have to admit, I actually got emotional as I was writing this piece, like halfway through the chorus I started choking up because the theme had already wormed itself into my head and this was an amazing variation on it.
I wrote Flesh when I was already super-tight on time, so I spent all of 9 minutes on it. (yes, 9 minutes) I slapped down an instance of the Ugo “Motion” synth that I use a lot for evolving rhythmic textures, put in a simple whistle-type melody, and added a drum loop. That’s it. A super-lazy track that really should have been better, but it does an okay job of setting the mood, and there’s only one organic/microbe area anyways so this isn’t that big of a deal.
Gulliver (Reprise) is the ending track that plays when you finish the game. A lot of people actually don’t get to hear the second section of this song because they press space and loop back to the main menu, but it’s got a nice lush piano+string rendition of the theme that comes in after the nostalgic/minimalistic 8bit version. You could say it’s inspired by the “Atop the World” track from the Tower of Heaven OST, which does the same thing. Btw, that OST is a superb demonstration of the “thematic reuse” idea, and is highly recommended. I was pretty lazy with Gulliver (Reprise)…I actually literally took the original Gulliver theme project file, copied it over, and replaced the instrumentation and cut out the UNTS parts while changing the tempo. Like I said, I was super-crunched on time here, so that was the best I could do, but hey–it ended up working out pretty well!
I made all of my songs using FL Studio, which conveniently keeps track of how long you’ve been editing each project file. So for those of you who are curious, here’s how long I was working on each track in the OST:
Upgrade Acquired – 17 minutes
Gulliver – 39 minutes
Prologue – 4 minutes
Station Zero – 32 minutes
Thicket – 18 minutes
Cavernous – 38 minutes
Destiny – 39 minutes
Flesh – 9 minutes
Gulliver (Reprise) – 17 minutes
Total time: ~3 hours, 33 minutes
Note that some of these numbers are probably higher than my actual working time, since I was probably multitasking on the actual code at some point, but you get the idea.
That about covers it for the music creation process! Next up I’ll be writing a little bit more about the design and code issues I ran into over the course of Gulliver’s development. In the meantime, if you have any questions about production techniques that I used or anything, feel free to ask.
Oh, and if you liked the 9-bit style of the Gulliver OST, there’s plenty, plenty more where that came from: http://ddrkirbyisq.bandcamp.com/
I’d personally recommend the “All in a Day’s Work” album. ^_^
Side note: I’ve just noticed that apparently we’ve gotten rid of the “Community” category? I guess it was kind of a hard thing to rate anyways, so I don’t really mind.
Link to rate/play:
Alright, it’s been a couple of…days? (my mind is still having trouble readjusting to the day-to-day cycle) So, let’s start off with a quick recap of what went right, what went wrong, what could have been better, what I’d do differently, …
What went well
Doing a warm-up entry
Wow, I am so glad I had time to do TwinkleShooter as my warmup game the week before LD. I learned a lot, and definitely saved myself a lot of time and stress by familiarizing myself with Flixel and AS3 and all of the weird little quirks and details that you need to know about. I also got in the groove of riffing on a prominent theme/motif with my entry in One Hour Compo this past week, so that prepared me for the music too. Speaking of which…
No real surprise here, to be honest, since I’m really used to producing things quickly from all of my OHC practice. While I would have liked to be able to spend some more time on the music, being able to bang out the entire soundtrack in roughly 3.5 hours and have it be so cohesive and catchy was definitely one of the high points of LD. One of my main goals this time around was to make a game where I could show off my musical abilities, since One of a Kind wasn’t really particularly amenable to that. I’ll be writing more about thoughts I had while composing in a separate post. Btw, soundtrack download is here.
Making a Flash Game
I knew from last time that browser games are just so much easier to distribute and have others rate and play, so clearly that was the way to go here, and I didn’t regret it one bit. C# was clearly not easily portable, judging from what happened with One of a Kind (it “works” on linux and osx, but the linux one requires weird dependencies and doesn’t work on 64-bit, and the osx download is HUUUUGE), and although I could have always done C++/SDL, that would require way too much boilerplate, and still not as easy as an in-browser game. There’s also unity and html5, but Flash seems to make the most sense for what I want to do.
It wasn’t an AMAZING idea, but I liked it, and it came along pretty quickly after the theme was announced. I settled on the idea of a free-roaming space shooter game with that miniaturization mechanic, and that was good for multiple reasons, including:
-Multiple areas meant I could make 3 or 4 different level themes (remember my goal of showing off music)
-Since it’s a space shooter, I can get away with little animation
-Similarly, level design can be tile based
-The easy respawn idea didn’t come up until later, but that was a boon too because it meant that even if I made my game a little too hard, it wouldn’t be that much more frustrating.
One of the other advantages of making this kind of game was…
Not making a puzzle game
Now, I certainly don’t have anything against puzzle games or anything, but good gosh, last time around when I did One of a Kind I remember being extremely frustrated because I had no idea how to make good puzzles (or whether they were even possible) with my mechanic. This time around things were much more straightforward, and as a result I never got “stuck”, except for coding issues. Which brings us to…
What went…not so well
This definitely gave me some anxiety at points. Flixel is great and I don’t regret using it, but…both Flixel itself and Flixel Power Tools definitely have some kinks. Some of it is probably just my inexperience, but other things aren’t. For example, the weird framerate jerkiness bug that’s solved by changing one of the condition tests in the Flixel source (thankfully I found that one while making TwinkleShooter). I also wanted to do this cool zoomin transition effect, but I ended up figuring out that zooming out is basically impossible in Flixel without bending over backwards and/or killing performance, so I had to kill that. In addition collision detection gave me all sorts of woes…I definitely spent way too long trying to figure out why you could glitch the ship through walls. The unshrinking logic for checking whether you’re allowed to unshrink or not was also a pain and a mess. And I would have liked to use FlxWeapon, but I don’t like its interface. Of course, either FlxVelocity has a bug or I’m not using it properly (maybe i’m missing a radian/degree conversion somewhere), so when I tried to do shooting logic myself it still didn’t work until I rolled my own cos/sin calculations. Which, you know, wasn’t hard, but it felt frustrating when the framework didn’t pull through, you know?
This was something that was giving me all sorts of worries early on. I had never used DAME before and had decided to go with that as my map editor (I’d heard it referenced before and knew you could use it for entities as well as map tiles), but understanding how to get it all working and exporting automagically to Flixel source was kind of daunting. In addition, the editor is noticeably slow when working with large maps, -slightly- buggy, and generally just seems to be inconvenient for doing the large-scale maps that I was doing. I feel like it’d be fine for small 32×32 levels, but my maps were like 200×200, maybe even bigger than that. I half contemplated looking for another editor mid-LD, but eventually decided to stick with it. In the end I actually got pretty used to it and it wasn’t that bad (huge wave of hope washed over me at that point), but that was definitely one of the more nerve-wrecking parts of this LD.
Biting off a little too much
I wasn’t really thinking super-pragmatically when I was considering my idea, to be honest. I ended up pulling it off, and I’m definitely happy with the result, but it really, really came down to the line–I was still fixing bugs as the submission deadline loomed over me, and I had only finished programming the final boss about half an hour or an hour before that. So I was really quite crunched for time–and that’s with only sleeping like 10 or so hours through the whole thing, I think! (granted I did take a break to go social dancing and rest my brain) But yes, doing something with multiple levels, enemy types, non-procedurally-generated levels, upgrades, etc. may have been a bit too ambitious for an LD entry. If I had chosen something smaller or simpler I might have been able to make it a little more cohesive and polished. Still, it mostly worked out. It’s just…I was in the danger zone, so to speak. I also didn’t have quite enough time for playtesting. Luckily my easy respawn alleviated that issue, but I’ve already received the common complaint that the ship could be a little smaller (in terms of both graphic and hitbox), which is something I could have easily adjusted had I known that change needed to be made.
Now here’s an interesting one that I didn’t realize until pretty late in the game–maybe even after I submitted. Quite early on I was faced with the decision of game resolution and zoom factor, and I ended up choosing 800×600 with NO zooming–but upscaled sprites to make pixeling easier (most of the sprites are upscaled 4x). My logic was that upscaling the sprites but leaving the resolution unchanged would allow for smoother sprite movement, and probably a more visually pleasing effect. What I didn’t realize is that it actually looks kind of sloppy, because you lose the whole pixely feel if your movement isn’t the same as your pixel sizes. Plus, when you use rotations and smooth movement of pixely upscaled sprites, it just looks like some bad flash movie/game. so yeah, maybe it would have worked out a lot better if I had chosen my resolution and zoom differently. Maybe a 640×480 game with 2x zoom, for instance.
On the plus side, I was mostly happy with the art I managed to make, despite the fact that the resolution made everything look a little sloppy. The bird and bee animations, for example, surprised me at how well they worked, since I’ve hardly ever drawn animations before.
What I’d like to do differently
This probably isn’t my last LD, so in the next one, I’ll probably aim to:
-Take on something of smaller scope
-Not rely on the use of any tools I’m not familiar with beforehand (DAME)
-Use a more pixely art style
I might also try FlashPunk instead of Flixel or something, but who knows…I think Flixel is pretty good, but maybe FlashPunk would suit my fancy more and the only way to know is to actually try it out and see the differences.
Alright, so that’s my portmortem report. I’ll be following up with more detailed recountings and explanations of the development process soon…
The smoke is starting to clear…and yes, I managed to finish my LD game “Gulliver” in time, and yes, I am very happy with it!
Go ahead, play and vote! (it’s a free-roaming space shooter game, with a neat miniaturization mechanic) It’s a flash entry this time so it’s super-easy!
Anyhow, lots of detailed post-mortem stuff will be incoming soon. I’ve already scanned in my brainstorming documents so I’ll be posting those up, and describing a detailed overview of my thoughts on what went well and what didn’t, as well as the design process (also going in-depth into the music creation ideas). Unfortunately, I didn’t really have time to post anything during the compo itself, because…well, it was just really down to the wire and I had absolutely no time to spare. I just kept working working working and there wasn’t really much time to take a break, so that’s why the lack of dev screenshots and progress posts. But I will definitely make up for it with my post-mortem stuff!
Now, onto the more important point of this post: the Gulliver OST!
That’s right, click the link above and download the whole album, for whatever price you’d like (yes, free if you so desire!). Featuring chiptune and electronic tracks centering around the main “Gulliver” theme, which I think is quite catchy if I do say so myself.
Last but not least, good luck to everyone who’s still in the middle of the jam! You can do it!~
I think I’ve just about reached my limit, but there is hope yet! I’ve gotten a LOT of progress done in the past few hours, everything is going very smoothly and basically all I’m doing right now is content, though I still need to put in triggers to spawn bosses. Other than that, I just need to finish doing all the levels (which actually isn’t being that much of a pain!) and also think of an ending of some sort. Then it’s just polish and whatnot. I have to make 4 more songs as well…
Might come down to the line, but I can definitely do it, I think!
Going to try and sleep just a little bit so I can push through all the way until 6PM…T_T