About Jesper Oskarsson (twitter: @jesosk)
Ludum Dare 26
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Had a lot of fun working on this game. Will try to make something out of it after the compo. Here’s a summary of my compo experience:
What I did right:
- I used a mechanic I’ve seen in other games and made it look and feel different by combining it with a cool effect, mood as well as adapting it to a 3D environment. Using an existing mechanic like this makes it easier to create puzzles as there are existing games to take inspiration from.
- I spent a lot of time on getting the audio right, which turned out to be time well spent. I’m quite happy with how the game sounds when you are walking around even though it could still be improved a lot.
- The visual style ended up looking quite good and saved me a lot of time on creating assets since it’s all animated boxes and point-lights. The game executable ended up very small as well which is just a plus.
- Working on the game around other fellow jammers (Bytegrove & Diamonde) was more fun than doing it alone. I also got the inspiration for my core mechanic from a prototype Diamonde showed me during the compo which I’m thankful for.
What I learned:
- Guiding the player through the level is key. My entry depended on the player finding their way through the level by stumbling upon the next room. It was made extremely difficult as there were puzzles in between that you had to solve before continuing further, leaving the player confused as to if they were on the right track.
- Not every player is an avid gamer. The first puzzle in the game relied heavily on the player having the motor skills associated with these kinds of first-person platforming games. This could be a problem if the player is not an avid gamer which I experienced when having a friend play-test my entry after the compo.
- Visual cues are very important to get right. At the first puzzle I made two objects have the same color but with different behavior which confused most players as to what to do with them.
- Improving sound effects by having several variations does a lot to having them sound less repetitive and more real. Having at least 3 variations of effects that will be heard regularly seems like a good minimum.
What I’ll improve:
- Make it impossible for the player to be confused as to where to go. I’d make the first level a lot smaller and point out a clear goal as to where to go with the only object in the room that sticks out.
- Make the platforming parts a lot easier in the beginning to give non-gamers a chance to learn the controls without being completely frustrated.
- Don’t have objects that look or behave slightly different. This will only confuse players as to what to do and what is important.
Try it out if you haven’t already!
Let me present to you, Tiny Huge Planet! The board game about extracting minerals from planets and building gigantic space armies in space!
I quite underestimated how much time it would take to create a polished board game. You have to refine all of the rules to make them as simple as possible, but not too simple to make it a trivial game. You also have to write down these rules clearly and concisely, explaining how they work.
This dare was quite a good experience. Even if I did spend a lot more time than I thought I would in front of the computer. (The whole point of making a board game was to get away from the computer.)
Next up is the time lapse and postmortem! And of course playing all of these awesome games!
There’s only a couple of more hours left until midnight. So here’s a summary of what I’ve been doing today:
Started the day by getting the theme wrong on twitter, doing dishes, preparing dinner for later (see below) and going to the gym. After all of this was done I was ready to tackle the theme!
Space-themed board game of deliciousness
I knew I wanted to make something with war, space and mining resources on planets. My first thought was something like Monopoly but later steered more towards Settlers and then Risk. I started prototyping it with my 8×8 Reversi board, dice to represent planets and Reversi pieces to represent the players’ units.
Basically, you control units that you can use to attack other players or defend your planets. Claiming two planets or more with your units meant that you could produce more units each round. When a player loose all of their units they’re out of the game.
This game was a bit too simplistic and didn’t really convey any theme so I decided to add cards to the mix. I used ordinary playing cards to prototype, writing down what each of them represented. (I plan on creating cards with graphics later.)
The production of new units by capturing planets turned into a Production card which added an additional unit to play. Then I added the rule that said that after each round you get to pick up one card for each planet you occupy. This meant that you would still produce new units after each round and gave incentive for players to occupy planets. This also meant that I could add a lot of new fun cards.
With the new cards I managed to sneak in another reference to the theme: the Tiny world card that actually destroys the outer most edges of the board which means that the grid that the game is played on gets smaller.
Now I just have to write down all the rules. Also the attacking isn’t really sorted out yet. But that’s next!
If you find the game interesting it’d be great if you could leave comments on the official rules document where anything is unclear or if something could be improved, or to just spam.
* Goes back to writing rules *
It’s my 3rd dare and this time I intend to mix it up a bit by deviating from my comfort zone (developing video games) and create a tabletop game which will be great fun!
Hopefully I’ll have lots of time to spend making games this weekend so I’m aiming at creating at least a dozen games and polishing up one of them. Maybe add a little bit of graphics, who knows?
My prototyping kit you can see below.
It includes a deck of cards, dice in a bag, a Reversi board with pieces, notebook, pen, a bunch of papers and a jar of raspberry jam. And no, the jam is not for eating.
Anyone else doing tabletop games this dare?
Hmm, interesting theme… can’t say I’m a fan of meme themes. But this one seems interesting. Don’t know if it’s because it actually has some connection to video games.
So, I have a first idea for a game, basically some kind of turn-based zombie-survival game where you control cats and have survive the waves of evil creatures coming your way. After each level you gain a new cat with a special ability, together with the cats you already have you can perform various moves to kill off the enemies.
Anyways.. now time for some quick prototyping before I’m off for a barbeque.
Pizza for breakfast – Check!
Zelda remixes for motivation – Check!
Chronolapse – Check!
It’s dangerous to go alone, take this – Check!
Let’s do this!
Hopefully I’ll get some time over this weekend to participate and make a small entry. I’ve stacked up on food and snacks.. just in case.
Libraries: Flashpunk + some basecode (just a bit of collission detection and WAV-decoding/playback)
Graphics: GraphicsGale + GIMP + MyPaint
Sfx: Bfxr + Audacity
Music: Might try to make something in Musagi if I feel adventurous. Or I might try WolframTones.. But probably my game will be without music.
Also the Keynote this time was awesome! To whoever did the panda; rofl.
I submitted my entry well before the deadline ended, something I never thought I would manage. I’m usually the one desperately trying to code the last gameplay elements 10 minutes before the submission deadline.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with how my first LD went. I set out to actually finish the game instead of getting bogged down with coding complex game mechanics or doing lots of art for the game as I always do. I think I actually succeeded with that goal even though the game has some rough parts, such as a complete lack of music, sound effects and graphics.
Even though the game is a bit short, all the gameplay elements are there, there’s a menu and I even had time to add some animations. Considering the game was made in ~20 hours, it isn’t that bad at all.
Here’s the timelapse I recorded if anyone’s interested. I’m sorry there’s no music, the laptop I’ve been using isn’t really capable of editing video.
For the next LD I’ll hopefully come more prepared.
Been meaning to take part in this thing for some time. Hopefully I’ll have the time this weekend to make something playable.
I’ll probably focus on getting something that looks and feels polished for once, instead of trying to go all crazy with the gameplay.
Flashpunk + GIMP + sfxr would be my weapon of choice.
Edit: I have set up a Gravatar but it won’t show up. Could it be that I’m not using the original email that I signed up with here?