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 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.
I’ve been looking forward to this so. very. much.
I signed up for the global gamejam this year without a group and ended up making a game with a group of people I didn’t know yet. We had a lot of fun, but the end result was… not very good.
Because of this experience I’m more motivated than ever to make something awesome this Ludum Dare.
Nothing is going to hold me back this time:
I’ve got three bottles of pepsi in the fridge, pizza’s in the freezer, the day off monday so I don’t have to worry about being tired at work… It is going to be perfect.
This is my fifth consecutive Ludum Dare. So I think it’s about time I’m going to make a timelapse as well. Got the software downloaded so now all I have to do is figure out how it all works.
To make this game I’m going to use
Gamemaker to make a game in
GraphicsGale and/or Gimp to make graphics in
Anvil studio to compose in Free, Recommended!
Ableton Live to mix music in
SFXR and Audacity to make sound effects in
Chronolapse to timelapse in
I think that’s all!
I already made a post the day after LD ended about how ambitious my LD concepts should be. When coming up with a concept for LD I like it when that concept borders on the impossible of what I can make in only 48 hours. Of course it’s easy to venture into “way impossible” territory, and that’s what usually happens. It happened this time.
I never did a propper post-mortem however, so here it is.
What went right:
Graphics: I had very little problem finding the right style and keeping it consistent. It didn’t take long for me to create a nice palette and start pixeling. This was important, because I had a lot of programming ahead of me.
Music: Music came naturally as well. I had only 2 pieces planned (battle and overworld) but I missed a town piece, which was finished in no more than an hour. I didn’t end up spending a lot of time on either audio or graphics and I went on to programming sooner then I would normally have. The best thing is I don’t think it actually shows.
Programming: Making an RPG, I knew programming was going to be long and difficult, but I never really got stuck anywhere.
Unintentional humor: I never set out to make a funny game, and I think most people who do set out to do that usually fail. What ended up happening is that a lot of test messages, initial dialogue and one second decisions ended up staying in the final version, somehow giving the game a cohesive humorous character, that people have seemed to like.
What went wrong:
Programming: While I didn’t run into any mayor problems, there was simply too much to do. The battle system took up so much time, and after that I still had to program breeding, which I had already carefully planned out before making the battle system so it would take less time. I’m actually happy I managed to finish those two things at all.
Feedback: A lot of players commented that it wasn’t clear to them why they died. The game doesn’t really give good feedback on how much damage something does and why. If elements align up in the opponents favor that quickly ends up in an instant kill. In the end one of the more important skills for a player to learn was knowing when to run away.
Enemy design: By the time everything was in place and I could start designing the world and enemies, there was almost no time left. What should have happpened was that I had a number of enemies that increased in difficulty, forcing the player to breed bit by bit to create better and better critters. In the end I only had three enemies. The difficulty gap between those enemies was so large that I don’t think many players felt motivated to breed better critters.
Yes, I did end up choosing a concept that was way too ambitious. But in the end I did have fun trying to do the undoable. I’m proud of what I did manage to do, and I will probably try to do something insane like this again next time.
Some things you just never learn.
I finished a html5 port of my ludum dare entry. I wanted both the Html5 version and the windows version to be finished at the deadline but I ran into some problems with sound and drawing with the html5 version. But now it’s finished and those who don’t have windows should also be able to play the entry.
I’ve tested the game in internet explorer, firefox and chrome. It works in at least those three browsers, but looks best in firefox or chrome.
Each Ludum Dare usually has different things that go badly and things that go well, but there is one dilemma that’s always the same for me.
Do I make something simple that I can polish and test properly? Or do I challenge myself to do the impossible?
Each option has its own pro’s and cons:
Something simple that I can polish and test properly
- I can make a finished product that works, looks good and sounds good, almost guaranteed.
- It’s more fun to read comments after LD has ended.
- Will likely end up higher in the rankings.
Challenge myself to do the impossible.
- More fun during ludum dare, more exciting.
- Less limiting
- It would be awesome if I actually managed to finish the game.
- Likely results in something incomplete/ buggy.
The first 2 times I entered I tried to make something ambitious, the last two times I tried to make something simpler. This time, I tried doing the impossible again.
I guess what it comes down to is who you think you are competing against. Am I competing against everyone who is also entering LD, then I should probably go for option one. Am I competing against myself, then I should go for option two.
Anyway, what I ended up with is more than I actually expected. My game is playable and I find it fun to experiment with it. But while there is a lot to try out, the game does not feel complete.
My game: Critter Criminal
In critter criminal you fight, catch, breed and butcher friendly critters for your own personal gain. In the ludum dare version fighting, catching, breeding and butchering all works, but once you’ve caught or bred the ultimate critter, there is not a whole lot to do with it.
If you’re into breeding type games, I think you can have fun with this entry but you’ll mostly have to set your own challenges.
You can play my entry here
I believe that I finally managed to get the battle system in full working order!
You can now run away, try to catch the critters, and do one of your own critter’s two attacks.
Next challenge: Breeding. Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long as the battle system did.
I did it! I managed to get all essential information on my little battle screen!
Still working on the battle system, It’s taking so much time, but it’s not like I didn’t expect it to, so that’s okay.
Finished movement, going from screen to screen, text boxes and question boxes.
Next up: The entire battle system. Once that’s done, the rest should be relatively easy.
all essential songs are done now. Final song is the village theme:
5 pairs of eyes, 5 heads, 5 torsos 5 pairs of arms, 5 pairs of legs, 3125 different combinations. Not completely satisfied, but I don’t have the time to do it over again. Could have been worse.
I don’t usually update so quickly after a previous update, but I think this battle theme is the best thing I made in a while and I can’t keep it in, so here it is:
I used anvil studio (a free tool) to compose it and ableton live to edit it.
The instruments I used are from tweakbench: http://tweakbench.com/
Three guesses what game I’m
ripping off inspired by?
Game goal: Use the friendly critters you can find around the world for your own personal gain.
I finished the essential tiles and the main character (+ animations)
Also finished the main music theme:
Like last time, instead of making something ambitious that would be interesting but likely very rushed and flawed, I promised myself to make something simple, fun and polished.
Last time I managed to do that, but this time I came up with a concept within the first half hour of seeing the theme that just seems so awesome at the moment that I can’t help but ignore all of that and go full speed ahaid in the hope of making something that is probably not even going to get done for 10%
And honestly, that is kind of what Ludum Dare is supposed to be like.