Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 25 Warmup
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
New Best Friend Award!
Awarded by zakchaos on October 3, 2013
Yes, I could submit a mediocre game, one that offers nothing out of my comfort zone and ultimately teaches me nothing about game design.
However, it feels like the perfect mechanics are in my reach, mocking me when I fail to grasp them. My thoughts are stuck in a loop and all I get from it is that frustrating feeling of wasting potential. It’s like I’m trying to say something profound but can’t find the words.
It’s coming together. The monster gives you control beyond the y-axis – without adding more keys – and its building skills foreshadow some interesting puzzles. Right now, with the game mechanics (and the source code) being a mish-mash of completely different types of games, there’s some tedium when it comes to resource collecting.
The iterative nature of the game is one successful thing about it: your building decisions decide what troubles you’ll face. Puzzles are emergent and you’re your own worst enemy until you figure out some gimmicks. The intrusive time limit is gone, so the pacing is up to you, increasing the feeling of being in control. But there’s tasteful real-time elements when you do decide to pop out some items.
I also have a neat idea to give variety and an incentive beyond survival, known in the gamedev circles as “spam items randomly wololoo”. Holes with loot open in the background, and you have to build a way to get there. Otherwise the screen will gradually fill with loot for the pesky adventurers to collect, leaving you with that infinite queue thing again.
So with the time have left, more game, more polish. I could really use visual representations for things like the item queue. And a theme song is on the way.
Okay, so there’s still something that’s working. This LD I’ve tried to not add tons of new stuff but to make an addictive arcade game where there’s nothing that should be taken away. My warmup game reminded me how laughably simple games can be while still being fun. It’s about giving the players a set of constraints and letting them figure out which patterns work. However, it turns out minimalism’s kind of difficult, so most of my time has gone into design and twiddling.
It will keep getting reinvented, so I can’t be arsed to write too much about this iteration. I think there’s still some fundamental disconnection between what the player wants to do and how they can interact.
Anyway, it’s your chamber of pillaged treasures, which greedy Indiana Jones-wannabes are currently invading through the trap doors of your lair. Luckily you’ve got some traps wired up to the same exit pipe. Two spikes on top of each other make a solid block, and you gain resources back if you manage to trap loot under one. If an adventurer gets a hold of loot, however, he invites another one into the queue, cockblocking your traps.
If you run out of resources, the game won’t forget to mock you with a negative score and a prompt to restart, as if stuck up in its own incomprehensibility.
“The ‘R’ stands for ‘RTFM’, you noob.”
It is possible to survive for quite a while (until the board fills with loot and you’re stuck with an infinite queue of adventurers), getting there is just kind of repetitive because there’s not enough micromanagement. But it has the seeds of a good game.
We can go… wider?
So far so good, FlashPunk is a pleasantly fast way to get stuff on the screen. But the dams will open once I find a way to incorporate the grindy, cute appeal my warmup game had.
I don’t want to do the same Dungeon Keeper fangame everyone’s doing, I have something more gimmicky in mind. A bit like reverse Lemmings, maybe. Resource management, fast-paced micromanagement, some building and emergent puzzles. All these arising from minimal elements that interact effectively. As little physics and AI as possible, those aren’t usually worth the time when you can represent them with something more abstract and maybe even more interesting.
It might look something like this:
I told you I’d make a warmup. And now I feel… warm. It’s like piss running down my hairy legs.
I didn’t know anything about ActionScript or FlashPunk when I started this, but it only took a couple hours of actual work to make. Experience helped, but I had to unlearn things too. I mostly struggled with the tree generation (because I did it dumb the first time) and all that nasty reference stuff, combined with FlashPunk abstracting away information that I’m used to being ubiquitous. Still, I get the impression it’s a powerful framework once you learn its way of thinking, and it feels great to have maed gaem with it.
But much like warm piss, transient feelings of success go cold fast. An ambitious developer always aims higher, all the way to integer overflow.
The real test is exactly two days away. Not sure if picking up Ogmo would be worth it at this point. I think I’ll just go take a look at others’ FlashPunk games and see how I’ve been doing everything all wrong.
5th time and you’re all cringing at the sight of me, but I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I’ll be bringing over some people who were interested in Ludum Dare. (Though we’ll do individual entries, in no small part due to our jam experiment having been a car crash.)
There’s 8 days left so I’d even have time to learn a new tool. Despite being decent at C and C++, I still don’t want to use them on the basis that they’re no good for getting shit done fast. Flashpunk and Unity sound more fitting for LD, and I’ve seen a lot of great games done with them, so I’ll take a look.
But if everything else fails, I’ll always have my Pygame. My steam-powered, no-guarantee, only-khlav-kalash Pygame.
I hate twiddling with physics, and already have a platformer on the way, so I’ll do something abstract and arcadey again – just like my previous two entries, except something completely different. Of course, I can only hope you’ll show similar competence in choosing a theme as in LD#24. The only thing I can guarantee is your “dis game 2 hard” comments.
People often wonder, “what the hell is going on in Jiggawatt’s head?”. Well, now’s your chance to find out with this timelapse of my LD24 compo entry, Manual Population Control.
One point of interest is that the visual style only gets designed at about 3/4th of the way, when I quickly slap proper images on top of the squares. I can’t even imagine having “excess sprites” like some of you have mentioned. You people are weird and I’m the only sane person here.
(Perhaps I should’ve checked if there’s anything overly private shown in that video before uploading. Oh well.)
I also made that gameplay video I wanted. People are pretty clueless about what’s going on in my game (and for a reason), so I hope this is at least proof that there is a point to this game.
See, I tend to make my games for myself, without the need to rely on buzzwords like “ease of use” or “tutorial mode”.
But I like to think my game is fair once you get the hang of it: you can always easily blame yourself for doing something wrong or having left something undone. It has that same addictive charm as roguelikes, in a sense, so I feel like it’s successful at what I set out to do. The mechanics are quite simple in the end (as a result of cutting down features), but there are some interesting strategies emerging from them.
‘Evolution’ as a theme was what I was hoping for but not expecting. I think my problem at the start was an excess of ideas rather than a lack of them. My first impression was that I’d make something like a strategy game where you indirectly guide the evolution of entities, and I had a couple of potential executions branching out from this vague “feeling” I wanted to capture.
I quickly decided I wanted to make something abstract, because fixing physics/collisions/pathfinding bugs has previously taken too much time from the actual design and content creation. It was a good decision because I had some spare time to fine-tune mechanics and just try things out, as well as add polish. Oh, and to keep proper breaks and have a good night’s sleep. Incidentally, MPC has probably the best graphics & audio I’ve made for an LD game.
It’s still not perfect, I guess, at least I want to believe that I haven’t hit my skill ceiling just yet. There are no proper animations, subtle things that would indicate gameplay events like who is attacking whom. That’s probably my biggest gripe because I realize how a developer can guide players with visual cues, and now I just resorted to writing a lengthy manual (plus the gameplay video) while leaving the rest for the imagination. I guess I should consider the user experience at some point, but it’s easy to get lost in the mechanics when there’s nobody else playtesting.
But overall, I’m once again satisfied at what I’ve done. It was my 4th LD and I’ve never failed to make a game, so I feel like I’m a lucky person when watching everyone around me give up. That feeling of clicking ‘Submit’ after two stressing days is just euphoric. You can’t plan everything in advance, so the end result is always a surprise from you to yourself. But that’s the point, to get over that perfectionism and just improvise and make a damn game.
In two days, I went from this:
It’s actually simpler than it looks, but trust me, just as difficult. I feel sorry for you for having to play this without a proper manual, and for myself for having to write one (or better, to make an educational gameplay video).
I’ll submit it in just a second, it’ll show up here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=rate&uid=5551
Almost there. It’s becoming a fairly simple but addictive arcade-style game where you try to keep the enemy population from becoming too specialized at killing you. No levels or anything, you just try to survive as long as you can while it gradually gets harder. I already feel sorry for you guys for having to play this without a proper tutorial/manual.
Now to get rid of the rest of that placeholder art.
Well I’m starting to get the “wiring” mechanic in place in addition to basic enemy evolution, and it’s becoming close to a playable game. Maybe next up is the “currency” using killed enemies’ genes – towers can hold a limited amount of genes, and not every tower can use every gene, so you have to do some swapping micromanagement while defending. I’d like to think I’m on schedule at this point, but the incomprehensible last day bugs have proven me wrong in earlier LDs. If I do have spare time, I’ll definitely spend it on tweaking the mechanics and adding polish in the presentation.
But even though it’s a bit derpy, I just swear I won’t write another pathfinding algorithm for this game. No. I refuse. I even crossed my arms.
A tower defense where your enemies constantly observe your strength and make it your weakness. Enemies grow resistant to turret types that kill them, so your task is to keep the board evolving all the time.
If that’s too many words for you, just watch this pretty picture (animated .gif of it in action): http://i.imgur.com/FkZNS.gif
(Of course, I sped up mutation quite a lot just for the sake of this 10-second .gif; things would get pretty hectic if your turrets were eaten at that pace right away.)
You see how there’s no green enemies at the start, but they gradually become more common once the other enemies get killed by green turrets. Green enemies cannot be harmed by green turrets, so the tables get turned, and a smart player will quickly start building red/blue turrets, to which the enemies start growing resistant again…
Well, that’s the basic idea, but it gets more complicated with upgrades, color-specific bonuses, and an electronic wiring system you use to “juggle” active turrets (supposed to be your primary way of interaction and it’s not even shown here).
This one’s not too difficult coding-wise, so hopefully I can focus on the actual game design instead of endless physics/AI bugs.
Kaiji has finally pinpointed his game idea and relayed some placeholder art on the screen! The towers, enemies, and basic user input are functional!
The two core mechanics, related to evolution and electricity, are yet nowhere to be seen! He must have at least their prototypes finished today to stay on schedule!
Will he succeed?!?!?!??! Or will Ludum Dare swallow him whole?!?! Will there be setbacks or jetpacks on his path?!!!?! THIS IS FAINARU BOSSU!!!!!!!!
I resisted the urge to make a typical Jiggawatt game (you know, a puzzle-platformer with one central gimmick), and came up with something more original instead. It’s going to be some sort of abstract arcade coffee break strategy game about survival of the fittest.
<marquee>oridjinal content plz do not steal!!!!</marquee>
Is the theme really ‘evolution’? You guys did the right thing for once, I may only need to give you a light paddlin’.
So yeah, I’m sick of making platformers and this is a great opportunity for a strategy/god game. Macromanagement’s all the rage nowadays. Preferably a game where you don’t touch the playing field at all (as in, not click on individual units), only give some overarching commands.
However, all my ideas so far lend to micromanagement, so this’ll be interesting.
I’m looking forward to surprising myself again.
It wouldn’t be much of a Ludum Dare without Jiggawatt. Featuring for the 4th time:
- The power of Python, Pygame, and Py2exe
- Autistic blog updates and IRC conversations
- A mental breakdown followed by a restart about halfway through
- Eventually, some kind of a depressing puzzle/platformer experiment that nobody can finish
>gamebreaking bug still unfixed
But I still don’t think it’s possible to record a video flawlessly.
About time I got py2exe to work. Help yourselves.
Edit: about time I got links to work too