Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
The "You know your game systems!" award
Awarded by Jacic on September 7, 2012
It’s time for a postmortem of The Hunt. It wasn’t the usual, great LD experience for me, as I had to enter the Jam just to finish my entry, but I’m happy I did manage to finish something… Well, let’s start…
- I did finish a game. I think last time I was so happy that I managed to do this was during my first LD.
- I like the graphical effect I managed to achieve with backgrounds. This is definitely something to explore further in different projects.
- I left polishing the code for later/never: no component object models, no fancy object-oriented techniques, just plain simple entities. And I DIDN’T CARE.
- I used the additional time to test my levels, and now I think that the difficulty curve is quite fine. The game can be beaten, but does get a little harder with each level. Even my mom can play it!
- I hated the theme. I couldn’t think of anything that I would really like, which resulted in me starting to work around 13 hours after the compo started.
- The original idea to use Twine over AS3 was better, especially considering my time constraints (RL stuff).
- I was late for the compo and had to enter jam instead, and didn’t really gain that much out of it (I managed to add only 4 more levels)…
- I didn’t have time for anything. I didn’t implement anything interesting, and my weekend consisted of switching between LD and other things. I didn’t even add Kongregate API.
- Waited with creating assets too long: in the end I had to look for some pictures on the web and use combination of rotoscopy, palette reduction, recoloring and similar techniques just to have something. It turned out fine, but I wish I had a better plan.
- I think it’s probably the most non-innovative game I’ve ever created, but I also think that it was a worthwhile experience. Maybe it’s even not that horribly bad in terms of gameplay (it’s simple & casual), but kinda mindless, not very innovative and lacking theme-wise.
- I feel it’s kinda time to change the technology I work with (AS3), just to see something new. Haxe, HTML5, maybe even try something 3D… I must think about it some more, but it’s the right thing to try for me.
Either way, I’m looking forward to the next LD.
While I write a postmortem for my abominable entry, you can watch my timelapse. Usually I keep chronolapse running for the whole Compo – this time I had to keep switching it on and off because of other things I had to do on my computer. It’s around 20 hours of coding. I also added some comments.
And if you want to see and rate my Jam entry, here’s the link.
Had a lot of real-life related things to do. The horrible theme also didn’t help (it seems I’m more creative when theme is more specific), and me sticking to AS3 instead of writing some nice story with Twine was a bad idea. The whole process took more than expected.
The game is actually completely working, but there’s only one level, and the general idea was to create at least 10 levels (gameplay is a little stupid so some variety in levels is crucial). I’m not sure I’m going to add much else.
It’s also the most stupid, most annoying, most bloody game I’ve ever made. It’s a simple saloon-shooting game, where the point is to kill nice people instead of bad guys. Yeah, I know – not very promising.
Will work on this some more tomorrow!
Sadly, I got things to do this weekend, so it will be less than 48 hours for me, and most of the time I have to cut out is right in the middle of Saturday. So this time I will be really glad if I finish anything at all, really.
I wanted to try Monkey or Haxe this time, but now I consider using Twine (twee, to be exact) to focus on the content. I’ve had very little experience with it, so it will still be something new for me, and this may be difficult anyway, because I’m a programmer mainly and delving into nice English metaphors isn’t what I do best (besides, it’s not my first language).
Wish me luck!
Okay, before I start with my post-mortem, some advertisements.
If you’re interested in playing the original Meow for MUTATION! and rating the game, visit the entry page. There’s also the updated, post-compo version there, but I recommend trying it after rating the original. If you’re interested in timelapse, check it out here. Thanks!
This game contains kittens. In fact, mutated ones!
- Game design document. It’s very good to write what you want to do – even if just for future reference.
- Using a genetic algorithm. Generally it’s good to use stuff that you know best – and I did use such algorithms a lot some time ago. It’s a very simple implementation, but it took me very little time to code. It works neat, too.
- Graphics. Wow, 5 mins of searching in google “how to draw a cat” and I had a general idea of how I want my mutating cats to look like. Modular graphics were a great idea (although a little complicated in implementation), and honestly, I’m still impressed by my mad skillz. First drawings were made with real pencil on a real paper and that was also quite a good idea (later I used a tablet).
- Forums, community, overall help one can find on the web. FlashPunk forums especially.
- Employing event tracking in google analytics. This was quite easy, actually. Now I’m able to track how many people play my game, what’s their average score, and many other things. I will try to post some statistics later.
- Reading “Game Coding Complete” and thinking (too much) about structuring my code just right (just stick to your framework!). I blame the authors.
- Not testing. This seems more important with every LD I take part in. My game is completely untested – and again, unbalanced and too hard (too few means of controlling the population; the easiest way to fix it is allowing the player to select specimens for reproduction, not deletion – this is done in the post-compo version). I keep forgetting that games need to be fun and playable, not concept-accurate.
- Trying to make something in FL studio for the first time without creating anything before (I managed to record myself saying “meow”, modify this sound into beats and stuff, create some simple, annoying loop, but it was just too much work) – I generated something with GreaseMonkey’s autotracker. It’s an awesome piece of code.
- Thinking too big for the compo. Wow, I was bold enough to think that I could also do a tower-defense part to the game. Like, on top of the general GA idea. I decided to cut the tower-defense idea after the first day.
- My mood, when I figured my idea might bee too much for me. Just in the middle of the compo, I was pretty sure I won’t make it. I even wanted to resign already, but kept coding anyway, just for the sake of it. After some substantial cuts to the idea, I was able to complete something playable.
The Ugly (truth)
- It’s a 48 hour competition: don’t waste time on semantics. Know what to do with your code structure and how you’re supposed to do it.
- In fact, try to not waste time at all: the simpler the idea or the more you’ve had experience with something similar before, the better the result. It’s great to learn new things during the compo, but this can reflect badly on overall quality of your game.
- Get some utils ready before the compo. Some basic stuff, some helper structures, etc. For example, I wasted too much time on coding Entities able to contain child Entities in FP, just to create some screens with messages. I wasted a great amount of time on reading the code of punk.ui and had to hack&slash it to make it work in my environment.
- If you don’t code games everyday, or you plan to use a language you don’t use very often, warm up before the compo!
Overall, this was a great weekend and I look forward to the next Ludum Dare!
Here’s the timelapse of my entry, Meow for MUTATION! Also, having no time to test it during the compo, I managed to finish a post-compo version today, with a quite different mechanic – I think it makes the game a little more playable. If you want to rate it, be sure to take into consideration only the original, though!
Wow, I still cannot believe I actually finished something! I was sure I won’t make it on time! Anyway, here it is:
An intelligent race of feline-like creatures has just learned about the upcoming attack of ALIENS. Having no choice, they must defend by all means possible. The problem is, until now, they had no use for weapons and war machines, being the peace-loving folk they are. So they figured they will use Crossover Accelerating Technology (C.A.T.!) to speed up their evolution – that’s the only chance for them to survive!
Yeah, it’s not really finished. I can actually prove there was more to it when I started, because I made a Game Design Document (a very simple one). Feel free to grab it. Well, at least GA I packed inside works (this was actually the easy part).
Timelapse and postmortem posts are on the way!
I freaking LOVE flashpunk, in the sense that I can easily dive into its bowels and do things just as I please. I might have said before that its code structure is kinda messy, but I must also add that it’s very, very versatile. This piece of art, combined with TweenMax, is a freaking awesome doomsday machine, especially when it comes to creating smaller games.
I worked all day – that’s why I didn’t even have time to make a foodphoto post, but I feel it pays off: the game DOES look better and I MIGHT even finish something playable before the deadline!
So yeah, I will strive to submit it as a compo entry, but no sounds yet. Any. Also, the general concept I had before had to be cut in a lot of ways, so the game will be really, really simple (and probably a little boring).
There are still some bugs I must get rid of, so audio is not a priority right now.
More than 7 hours left, people! Good luck!
I have a great idea, really – but there’s so much to do, I probably won’t be able to finish on time. My only hope might be the jam (though I will work alone anyway). For now, I can say that there will be felines and that I will be using this (that’s why all of this WILL take some time).
I wasted a horrible amount of time on designing (that’s good!) and even more on thinking about how to structure my code (that’s bad!). It’s the first time I’ve actually made some design document, but I should probably just start working on it already. The only thing I really managed to finish right now is my breakfast:
I can already see what is my main issue here: I completely forgot how to code in AS3/FP. I get stuck on many stupid things, and after reading “Game Coding Complete” (damn you, McShaffry!) the code structure kinda bothers me (because now I would do a lot of things in a different way, but there’s no time to write this, and sticking to FP architecture is better right now).
Wish me luck.
Okay, so I’m not really sure I will pull this one off, but I will try!
Things I will use:
- Language & libs: AS3/Flashpunk, TweenMax
- IDE: FlashDevelop
- Graphics: GraphicsGale, maybe Pyxel, Paint.NET
- Sounds: bfxr, Audacity
- Level design: (if any) Tiled
- Music: don’t know yet, but I WILL try to get some
- Timelapse: chronolapse
No base code, just project generated by FlashDevelop & base directory structure.
- put “1000 Kittens” inside somehow (I know it won’t win:P)
- learn and use Google Analytics event statistics on the fly! (something simple though)
- use component-based game model and anything to make code more readable
Okay, enough. I am done. You can see Micro Beat’em Up here. It’s far from finished, but I won’t have more time now to spend on this. I will definitely try to explore the general idea of beat’em up mechanic in the near future, but for MiniLD#34, this is it.
I consider this a nice progress, because along with some new things I tried (specific coordinates system, camera movement, parallax background), I AM REALLY SATISFIED WITH THE ART. Ironically, implementing general game mechanic was rather easy – I spent most time on things like pause screen (push ‘P’ to SEE it) and problems connected with low resolution graphics.
Unfortunately, it’s not that fun, as there’s not that much gameplay. Also, the AI is kinda simple, but it should be easy to create something more out of the code I currently use later.
Go on, check it out:
Oh, yeah – this was my first MiniLD! Woohoo! I had a lot of fun! \o/
I’m still not really sure if I’m going to participate in MiniLD#34. The
18×64 64×18 resolution feels very tempting (and proves to be quite a challenge) – so far I couldn’t resist and had to try something, and this is what I came up with:
The mechanics is something I was thinking of for some time now because I’ve never done anything like that before. So, if I’m going to enter, this is going to be an experiment on my part and I’m quite sure this won’t be finished by tomorrow, as I’m pretty tired right now. If you didn’t guess yet, working title is “Micro Beat’em Up”.
I’m probably going to work on this a little bit more after the weekend, but don’t know if this will take me anywhere. I wonder if the submissions will still be open after Sunday.
Synthesis is finished and it’s about time for a postmortem! Let’s do this!
There’s also a timelapse, if you’re interested.
What went right
I’m guilty of being a little pleased with what I’ve done during the weekend. Not in terms of a perfect game – rather in terms of my personal progress during the compo. I didn’t really like the theme, but I did manage to finish, learn a lot of new things and have a lot of fun.
- Picking Flashpunk as a library. Flashpunk is awesome. It’s very intuitive, quite well documented, and has many great features. I kinda prefer Flashpunk a little over Flixel (which I used in my last entry) because it feels more code-oriented, but I’m not that sure if this is a good thing – the best games I’ve seen so far were done in Game Maker, Multimedia Fusion, AGS, Stencyl, where the workflow seems more assets-oriented (though I admit I’ve never used any of these – probably should give them a try).
- Community help. Flashpunk tutorials (mostly those by Zachary Lewis, examples from Chevy Ray’s keynote) helped me remember stuff, and I even managed to find some preloader example on Flaspunk forums, as well as a nice Kongregate API wrapper class. Wow, Kongregate! I’ve never done that before! The community help was crucial here. Thanks to all who helped me!
- Physics. I aimed for asteroids-like movement with some friction. Attraction and repulsion mechanics seemed fairly complicated, but I spent a lot of time tweaking it, so it’s probably the best I could do with area-based meachanics. Interatomic attraction works quite fine and is even flexible enough to modify in possible future versions. I feel controls may still be too hard for many people, though – just like in my other games.
- Graphics. From the start I decided on something very simple and that was a very good idea. I did waste some time on placeholder graphics I didn’t want to use in the final game – see “things to consider” section. I think the text bubble thing – done in last few hours of development – bears a really nice effect, and I’m really glad I decided to add it. Also, particles! Wow, I did particles! I’ve never done them before!
- Sound and music. Wow, autotracker-bu is SO, SO, SO awesome and easy to use! I love that there IS freaking music in my game (without the generator tool, I couldn’t make it if my life depended on it)!
- Food. You can see it in my journal. During saturday I ate many good things – mostly because I didn’t have to prepare them myself. On sunday I just ordered pizza.
What went wrong
Besides being so horribly tired after the compo, I don’t feel that I did anything different from the last time, and this seems to be my main problem – dealing with the same issues over and over. Damn, I must try harder to do something about these next time.
- Performance. There’s a reason for having only about 20-30 atoms at most on the screen – with about 70, the game becomes unplayable due to computing too many atomic interactions. There some space for optimisation here, but I didn’t have time to think about it. Now I can just hope it works on every older machine.
- One level, hi-score based gameplay. Yeah, that’s cheap. Next time I will try to make something with a story an more than one level.
- No programming preparation. Picking AS3 without any preparation. Dammit, it’s the same mistake I did before! I don’t write in AS3 for other occasions than Ludum Dare (mostly C/C++), so it’s very painful to try and remember how that cursed variable scope works in this goddamn abomination of language!
- Working without any pre-compo framework. I didn’t have anything prepared so my code looks awful – again. On the other hand, preparing too much code before the compo could mean that I’m constrained to a specific type of game… However, I feel I should do this at least once – I wonder if preparing some initial framework would make my games any better.
- No plan, no schedule. This one went actually worse than the last time, but partial knowledge of Flashpunk did save me this time. If I were to learn everything from the beginning (like I sometimes do), I would fail miserably. I think I might try to prepare some easy to edit list of “todo” things, to maintain priorities when developing a game. This time I was lucky, I guess.
- Rusty chemistry knowledge. I had to look up many chemical compounds on the web – especially their English names. I missed a few simple ones, and many complicated ones. This is also connected to the point below.
- Theme. After some brainstorming, I got some general idea for the mechanics, but during the development, it turned out that I was wrong about how chemical bonds work and had to think about some other solution. I decided on a list of possible molecules – there are 45 of them in the compo version (I will probably make another post about this).
- No coffee on Saturday and I didn’t expect that. WTF? Oh well, I had to drink tea.
- Too much coffee on Sunday. Too little sleep. I had to rest for another day just to get into some kind of shape.
Things to consider
- Placeholder graphics. I find that using simple squares isn’t enough. At least static, red or green squares, without any animations. If you’re aiming for entities with animation, you should prepare some simple graphics beforehand.
- If you think that using some game making software is lame, go and look it up. Being a programmer myself, I find that creating a polished game in 48 hours from scratch (even using a wonderful library like Flashpunk) is really hard. Not to say that using such software makes this process easier – it usually depends how innovative gameplay you want to have, and how good you know your library code. But it IS more assets-oriented and I’m tempted to try this once (especially since nowadays such tools make different platforms versions – also mobile – waaay too accessible).
- See the last round themes? Think about them BEFORE the compo! You don’t have to prepare anything – just think what you could make IF any of these themes got picked.
Okay, now it’s time to rate some games!
So the compo is over and it’s definitely time for my timelapse!
While a postmortem is being prepared you can check out and rate my game (it’s a WEB entry! :P)
I finished. I’m pretty sure death will come to me a few years earlier, but goddammit, I’ve done it. “Synthesis” is ready.
I learnt A LOT, and I hope the game will work well on every machine because I didn’t have time to test it, but even if not, it’s beyond me to fix anything now. I am horribly tired, but also very satisfied.
Needless to say, the timelapse and a post-mortem will have to wait at least until tomorrow, but for now you can check out my game:
Putting the game on Kongregate was done in just last minutes. I know that for some of people here this is very simple, but I’m actually satisfied with my effort here (I registered on Kong just today).
Enough. Too. Tired.
Okay, so the list of chemical compounds that player can obtain is pretty long (even alkanes up to butane)! Currently I’m working on sounds, but there’s a lot more to do, so not much time for eating and stuff!
You can test current version here. Any feedback appreciated! It’s still more a demo than a game, but I can see the end. I think.
I’m very tired right now, but at least I finished the main mechanic for my game. Player will build chemical components using a set of elements. I spend ridiculous amount of time just working on physics of the system (still not satisfied), so it doesn’t look that good (yeah, I should have prepared a little better – mainly in terms of AS3 language), but it’s mostly working.
The game will be unintentionally educational, as you can see.
I’m going to bed now – after some sleep, I’m going to work on graphics and levels / score system.
Just like I promised, you can play the current version of the code (although there’s not much gameplay yet). A good start would be to try getting two hydrogen atoms into this grey circle around your ship (two hydrogens and nothing else) and pressing ‘C’.