About geckojsc (twitter: @geckojsc)
About time I got around to writing a post mortem for my entry, here goes!
Curiosity is a little ambient exploration game written in the ooc programming language. You can play the game here if you’re interested.
In the UK, Ludum Dare starts and ends at 3AM. I decided to stay up into the early hours of Saturday, and fell asleep with minimalism floating around in my head. I think I had a dream about a game idea, but unfortunately I couldn’t remember it.
I thought about a game that starts of super minimalistic, and gets progressively more detailed and lush as the player progresses. Of course, this was silly and vague. In such a short space of time just having a finished project is a challenge, but I hope the game resembles my intentions a little.
I admit I didn’t really like the theme at first – any game made in 48 hours is going to be minimal, so minimalism seemed to be a wildcard. I changed my mind once I got started.
My graphics software hasn’t changed since the last time I entered. Even though I’m 5 major versions behind now, and running it 2 operating systems ahead of what it was developed for, Fireworks is still my general purpose graphics editor of choice. Having .png as the native project format is really handy, along with the variety of non-destructive image processing options.
I’d heard good things about Ogmo Editor, and watched a tutorial on using it in FlashPunk. Considering this was my first time using it in a project, it worked amazingly! When designing the world, I tried to make sure there was more than one way to solve each challenge (though not everyone who played the game noticed this). Some people said the game reminds them of the Knytt series, which is very cool to hear! Nifflas was certainly a source of inspiration for me.
A few people found the game too difficult, but I don’t think there were any major flaws in my level design this time. My old entry for LD21 had lots of blind jumps, no checkpoints, and you could fall off the world by going left. I’ve definitely improved in that respect! Personally I thought the difficulty level was fine, especially after playing some other awesome yet insanely hard entries.
My choice of language, ooc, served me incredibly well! It’s a modern object-oriented language that compiles into C99, and therefore works on any platform with pthreads and a C compiler. I picked it up in the last few months, created quite a lot of bindings to existing C libraries, and have been working on a FlashPunk inspired game engine called Vamos using SDL 2.0′s hardware accelerated rendering API, which I used to create this entry.
The majority of development issues were all tackled before the compo started, so I had a pretty smooth ride on my own framework. The day before, I bound a small XML library (MiniXML) to ooc, so I was able to parse Ogmo Editor’s level data. On the first day I remembered I still hadn’t implemented depth-sorted rendering, and that ate up a little bit of time, but was quite painless.
The main problem was that my game engine didn’t have sound effects. I’d been trying to write my own audio mixer before the compo (without relying on SDL_mixer), but it had huge latency and I couldn’t figure out how to avoid sounds being synchronized to the buffer size. The music playback (which uses stb-vorbis for decoding) was working fine, and I found a hacky solution last-minute to create smooth crossfades between tracks. That hopefully compensated for the lack of sfx.
This has always been a strong point for me. I wanted to include just as much musical content as last time, which meant I had to make 4 tracks! In my last entry, my soundtrack was ruined for some people by streaming/stuttering issues. That wasn’t a problem this time, because I was making a desktop game.
I’m primarily a Renoise user now (though SunVox is still awesome, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a free music program). I’ve got a nice collection of free VSTs and samples and had fun creating some ambient songs and soundscapes. It gave me a nice break from the intense coding!
I’m really happy with how this turned out! I’ve since made some Linux binaries, and it also runs nicely on OSX (though I don’t have a mac to test or package it). I’d love to develop Vamos further and make some more ooc games in the future.
I’d also like to thank everyone for their encouraging feedback so far. Thanks guys, and well done on all your finished projects!
The seed that he used to grow that big flower was actually a potato.
Making steady progress! Had to patch my game engine a little to support multiple rendering layers, and stuff.
Hey, this is going to be my 2nd Ludum Dare! My first one was for LD21 ‘Escape’, where I made a Flixel platformer, which went pretty successfully apart from some audio and level design issues.
This time I shall be using my own game engine called Vamos, which is a FlashPunk-style library written in the ooc programming language using SDL 2.0. I’ll likely be using Renoise for music, Fireworks and Graphics Gale for sprites, and Ogmo Editor for maps/levels (using the Tiny-XML library to read the level data). The mixer in my engine isn’t working yet, so I’ll be using another ooc library called bleep to play back sounds.
I’m really looking forward to this. I’ll admit I’m anxious about writing a desktop game in 48 hours – there’s a lot more things that can go wrong compared to Flash – but being able to write a game in my own engine will be a cool achievement.
Good luck guys!
Looks like people are still writing post-mortems a week later, so here’s mine!
I woke up last Saturday and checked the theme on twitter. I didn’t really expect the theme to be ‘escape’, but I had a think over breakfast and got a cool story idea, sort of inspired by an episode of an old TV show called Porridge. I started off with a dull blue wall tileset and made a prison cell in DAME.
Once the character graphics were done, I threw together a system which scans the DAME project file for game entities then places them on the map, since I didn’t have time to get to grips with the complex export system in DAME. Eventually I had little Rick running and jumping around in his cell, and I spent the rest of the day composing in SunVox and using Tweener to arrange the introduction text and events.
I didn’t actually start on the gameplay or levels until Sunday, when I decided to construct a small jungle full of spiders and spikes. It took most of the daytime to create the enemies, tiles, and music which left me with the evening to work out how to bring everything to a close. I stayed up right until the deadline designing the last area and finishing the game off, but I managed to squeeze in another tune, bringing me to a total of four songs!
What Went Right:
- Considering this was my first time using DAME, creating the levels and making them work in Flixel was surprisingly painless.
- I’ve practised a lot with SunVox, so I can churn out decent music fast!
- I had a nice storyline idea and managed to keep it short without ruining it.
- I’ve been practising with Flixel and FlashDevelop for quite a long time. Even though I hadn’t released any Flixel games before this one, I was very comfortable with my choice of language and library.
- I missed a few details, for example there is no wall on the left side of the jungle, so you can fall off the screen and be stuck forever.
- Quite a lot of people heard strange hiccups in the music playback. I have no idea what’s causing this and I can’t hear them myself, but I added a standalone download which should hopefully fix any audio problems.
- I made a couple of bad design decisions, there are quite a lot of blind drops into enemies. I thought the levels were short enough not to need checkpoints, but it looks like I was wrong.
I’m really pleased with the amount I managed to get done in two days! If you’re interested, check out the entry itself here.
Oh, and if, like me, you don’t want to hand pick entries to vote on, I made a small bookmarklet for you:
Add this link to your bookmarks bar, then go to the view all entries page and run it, you will be taken to a random entry page. :] Happy rating!
Making a jungle with spiders!
Started making a very basic prison cell in DAME.
Don’t worry though, the relation to the theme isn’t that straightforward.
I’ll hopefully be entering my first Ludum Dare this weekend. I imagine I’ll use FlashDevelop/Flixel for programming, Fireworks and Graphics Gale for graphics, and either SunVox or MilkyTracker for the music and sound. Dunno how I’ll fare, but I’m looking forward to it anyways!