Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
Damn Fine Game
Awarded by SenorDiablo on April 29, 2013
The Ken Levine Award for Games About Conflicting Player and Character Motivations
Awarded by nintendoeats on April 29, 2013
A late post-mortem because I’m actually still quite unsure of what I learned.
Day one was full of positive “this is going to be my best entry yet” kind of feelings, and the second day was full of negativity.
I think it’s fair to say that 48 hours wasn’t enough time to finish my entry properly. And here is the weird thing: It didn’t have anything to do with the usual factors: assets and programming. Those were a lot of work, of course, but all the assets were done in time, and programming wasn’t too complicated either.
No. It turns out I had too little time to properly finish the concept itself.
Because some concepts don’t consist of just one new mechanic. Some concepts consist of many different elements that should all work together perfectly, or the concept just doesn’t work the way it should. This is one of those concepts. (Dum Dum!)
My game was all about using game mechanics to tell a story. A subject I am very interested in.
I wanted to make a game where the mechanics reflected the state of mind of the main character. A character that couldn’t get over the death of his wife.
This character (a scientist) found himself breaking the teleportation ring that he built to always be able to get to his wife whenever he needed her. The broken ring tries to teleport him to his wife, and he ends up at her grave. But since the scientist isn’t actually with his wife the ring keeps trying again, and every 10 seconds the scientist reappears at his wifes grave, litterally unable to get away from her memory.
This part of the concept worked pretty well, but for this to work, there would also need to be character growth, and a representation of that growth in the mechanics (which I had to a certain extent, though I didn’t have time to execute the “costume” part of it.) And, very important as well: An ending.
And that’s the big “what went wrong.” I couldn’t come up with an ending at all. I had little time to think about it, and nothing I came up with seemed to fit right. I had only two more hours to go when I decided on just putting a bad ending in rather than no ending at all.
It felt like, because some things wern’t as they were supposed to be, the entire game had failed. Because everything was supposed to fit together so well.
But then I received the first comments. A lot of people who seemed to really like what I had tried to do, with only minor criticism on the things that I had perceived as big problems the day before.
So what did I learn?
Hmmmm… I have to get back to you on that. I think it has something to do with not being too harsh on yourself. Especially not during Ludum Dare.
For those who missed it, here is a timelapse:
A timelapse of the making of my entry “the only one”
This one was a real challenge. For this Ludum Dare, I tried to make a game with some amount of depth or meaning.
I think in theory my concept could have worked brilliantly, but because there wasn’t a lot of time to think things through fully, the game is full of unintentional silly elements and dialogue that’s not exactly spot on.
But I’m not going to shoot it down completely yet. I’ll let you decide.
Here’s my entry:
Now I have to build me a village!
I have only slept for four hours since this LD started. I think I’m going for a full eight hours now and then all the way through to the end. But for now I really need a normal night of sleep…
It took me a while, but here is my main character in his home!
A lot of tiles and sprites left to go, but I’ll pixel those as I need them.
I finished the music. Not too happy with it, but good enough!
First I got an idea and worked on the concept, then I slept on it to see if I’d still like the idea when I wake up.
Turns out I do! But this is going to be a though one!
Let’s start that timelapse!
I went to bed early last night to prepare for Ludum Dare, but instead of sleeping, all kinds of game ideas fitting all kinds of themes went through my head all night long, no matter how hard I tried to sleep.
Now I’m still not rested.
I wonder why this theme is so persistent. Do we all want to make that game where you use your own dead body that landed on spikes previously as a platform?
I for one think I’m going to turn it around and make a game that shows how incredibly useless and final death is.
Of course that will get horrible scores in the theme category, because you are not allowed to turn the theme around, but making a clone of a clone will be perfectly okay and encouraged.
I mean, I like the theme, but I’m not looking forward to playing the same game over and over again. (And then have those games rank higher in the theme category than mine :p)
I’m excited! The new Ludum Dare never comes too early. My big project Nadia was here keeps going on and on, and I really feel the need to finish something again!
I think I’m going to make a short analysis for myself of my previous 6 LD’s to refresh what I’ve learned and to help make number 7 as lucky as it should be!
No worries, you can read it too! After the jump!
A little bit of background information first, I’ve been working on an RPG on my own for over a year now. It’s going well but it’s taking a really long time to finish (obviously.) I guess my dream this Ludum Dare was to make a simple, solid, polished game that I could port to touchscreen devices without too much effort, just to get a taste of the whole commercial thing.
Well, that didn’t happen, but I think the game I ended up making is still a great portfolio piece. Especially in combination with the timelapse.
What went wrong
It’s the same story, again. Every Ludum Dare I tell myself I should make something simple and solid, so I have time to test and polish. And I NEVER do. I always end up making something big and ambitious. I got so close this time too! The night before I had this dream the theme was going to be “afterlife” and I made this beautiful game where you played charon who had to take the dead to the afterlife in a beautiful greek vase art style.
But the theme wasn’t afterlife, it was minimalism. I did try to somehow connect charon and greek vases to the theme, as you can see in the timelapse. But I couldn’t.
I also had some problems with the theme. I do think it’s a good theme, but in my mind there was a difference between what I thought were good ways to make use of the theme and what the majority would think. I thought that if I didn’t make something super low-res or something with primary colors and basic shapes, it would get downvoted in the theme category. I thought the best minimalist games wouldn’t even get recognised as such, because they arn’t the games with the low res graphics and barely-enough gameplay elements, it’s the games with exactly the right amount of gameplay elements that make a real minimalist game. It’s about getting to the essence, not to anything less than that.
So in a way it was the perfect theme to make that simple, solid, polished game I wanted to make. But I let possible public opinion hold me back. It would have had comment after comment with “I don’t see how you used the theme.”
I discarded a first Idea because it was too complex mathematically (I wanted to make a game that created minimalist music through playing, with everything that happened in the game having a corresponding instrument/ tone.)
Then the theme made me think of a game I once made that started as a text adventure that was seemingly solved by just typing “go door” but turned into a visual adventure when you typed “look room” and kept introducing new elements from there (Its called secrets) But that game focussed on the fact that there was more than there seemed to be, which felt like the opposite of the theme.
So in the game I ended op making, it is obvious from the start that there is more. Collectables in unreachable places tell the player “There is stuff to collect! There are new powers to gain!” But you are stuck with a character that wants to do no more than is absolutely necessary (minimalism). Too bad for the character, because the player is in control of the game.
I thought – and still do – that that was a pretty interesting premise, so that’s when all my previous plans to make somethin simple, solid and polished went out of the window.
…Somewhere I also decided that I should hand draw everything… Do you get me? I don’t.
What went right
In the end I’m happy I made those choices, I don’t have a perfectly polished game now, but I don’t think that’s what Ludum Dare is about.
The fun of Ludum Dare lies in trying to do the impossible. And hand painting an entire game in under 48 hours? I am not supposed to be able to do that. Yet that’s exactly what I did.
I could talk some more about the fact that composing went great, sound design went right, programming went okay and it’s unfortunate you can get stuck in walls, but that’s not what I take away this time. What I take away is that I love to challenge myself, I need that every four months while I’m working on that RPG that seems to take forever to finish, and it’s unlikely that I’ll ever make a simple, solid, polished game for any ludum dare yet to come, even though I may try to do so again.
Timelapse and html5 version of my game “The epicly short adventure” are finished!
Note that in the html5 version you cannot save, and the graphics may be blurry (depending on the browser, chrome and firefox should be ok)
The timelapse also show the two hours I wasted on a different concept, so you get a glimpse what could have been. Not that it will make any sense.
It took 2 hours longer than I thought it would, but my game will have a final (and only) boss!!!
I’m going to sleep now so here’s my third progress report, It’s been 9 hours since the last one.
Well, I’ve made a couple of cutscenes since then:
Also made a song for the title screen, I’m not really happy with it but it will have to do for now:
Other than that I made a couple more rooms and saving and loading works now. So that’s at least one improvement over the last Ludum Dare
Where did I get the bright idea to draw every room by hand instead of using tiles?
I’ve got three rooms “finished” now of a possible 100. We’ll see how far I get.
I also finished some music.
First 2 hours wasted on a concept that was likely too complicated to pull off (it had to do with minimalism in music).
I refuse to make a game with brightly colored squares so the only other option is to use narrative.
I do have a pretty good concept, I think, but it’s not easy to pull off. Well, if it doesn’t work out, at least I tried something different.
Here’s the first screenshot. I hope to improve the visuals later on, but for now I have to keep moving.