PhD candidate focusing on emergent narratives.
Also game designer and programmer on my free time.
About Simon (twitter: @simonchauvin)
PhD candidate focusing on emergent narratives.
Ludum Dare 30
Ludum Dare 29
Ludum Dare 28
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 23
Of the 100+ games I have played here is my list of favorites. You might find some in there that you didn’t already play and rate. It’s the last weekend to reach 100% coolness!
In each one of these games I’ve found something that really stands out.
Tangled Mini Worlds. By Lars-Kristian.
Wifimon. By Morusque.
Sideline. By Vandash.
Transforce. By ZoneOne2.
John and the Arbitrary Gem Hunt. By SteveSalmond.
Accelerated-Life. By Makio.
Planetary Marriage Counseling. By WeaselZone.
Whiteout. By primaerfunktion.
My game for this 30th Ludum Dare is IN BETWEEN. It’s a kind of 3D abstract puzzle game where you play a World Synchronizer whose role is to bring back a scattered world together.
Before you read the following lines you should maybe try the game, if you did not already, to avoid spoilers :).
When you start the game you can see a world below you more or less red, a world above you, more or less green and the world on which you stand that kind of seems blue. Basically, your goal is to find a way to make these three worlds come back into one. To do that you have three basic actions: prepping monoliths, vertical sync and rotational sync.
Prepping monoliths is the act of bringing a monolith in another world. When you penetrate a monolith you prep it for the top world (greenish) but when you penetrate it a second time you prepare it for the bottom world (reddish). Now you need to bring each monolith to one of the worlds to sync, that’s where vertical synchronization comes into play. By using the left mouse click and the right mouse click you bring, respectively, the top and the bottom world towards the intermediate world on which you stand. You can do both at the same time. When a monolith touches one of the worlds to sync and it has the right color (green for top world and red for bottom world) then it’s transferred into that world and stays in it. Some of you may have encountered instability, this happens when a world is bearing way more monoliths than the other. To avoid that you just have to balance the number of monoliths between the two worlds to sync.
Now, to finalize the process of syncing worlds you need to use rotational sync. This allows you to rotate the top world (by pressing Q) and the bottom world (by pressing E). The idea is to match monoliths of the top and bottom worlds together so they can be reunited in the world you’re in. By using rotational sync you can align those monoliths which allows you then to use vertical sync to have them reunited. Once every monolith has been reunited you should get this screen:
I like to use the Ludum Dare event to create things that I wouldn’t otherwise. That’s why, I often go for weird experiences (or failed ones :)).
As such, I didn’t plan everything in advance, the game kind of built itself. It’s really not the best way to achieve a lot of work but I find it to be perfect when you’re trying to get something a bit more experimental. I like to start on a rough idea and let it be my guide. At first, I just wanted a first person game in which the player can bring a top and bottom world together. That’s what drove me all along: being in between two worlds, almost like in a limbo or in a temporarily stable dimension from where it’s possible to access other scattered worlds. Then, came the idea of the monoliths lost, like the player, in this intermediate world. And after that, I was to let the player sync these worlds back of course. But as many of you noticed, it’s pretty shallow as a gameplay mechanic and I agree. I know I could have done better, I believe I lacked courage to just rethink my ideas and try to come up with something better.
I spent almost all my time coding, testing features and new controls schemes. It didn’t let me enough time to work on building 3D models. Though, the game looks pretty much like what I had in mind. The only thing I regret is that I wanted the monoliths to be a bit more expressive through more complex geometric shapes.
It was my 5th Ludum Dare and the 4th accompanied by friends doing the LD too. It’s a really great way to get motivated. We bought fine foods and drinks, we settled around the living room table, plugged in a sound system and shared music and panic attacks. It was perfect. We are based in France so that the theme was announced at 3 am. We waited until the theme was announced and spent an hour or so thinking about the game we were gonna make. As far as I’m concern I waited to get a rough idea of the game I wanted and went to bed. The rest of the weekend went pretty smoothly as usual, we got around 6 hours of sleep on Saturday night and ate mainly healthy food. But, yeah, we also drank lots of beers. It helps for concentration ;).
See you in four months
We’re having such a good time. A fine whisky to celebrate and we’re ready to keep working on those games of ours!
It’s 2:40am in France. We’re getting ready to find a game idea before going to bed. We preped our food and drinks. This is SO exciting, really thank you guys for this amazing event. There’s nothing that compares to the pleasure of getting together and working on making games.
It’s finally here: the best time of the year, the Ludum Dare. It’s time to get experimental!
I’m going to use Unity this time, coupled with The Gimp, Paint.net, Inkscape, Bfxr, LMMS and Blender if I’m crazy enough to decide to make a 3D game.
I wish you all a great time!
This is it, on day passed, it’s almost 5am in France. Time to sleep a bit.
I managed to do most of the coding. Here is a little place holders filled screenshot. This a kind of top down shooter with a (I hope) a little twist beyond the obvious goal of the game
Metallica & Iron Maiden
It’s 10pm in France, we bought fuel and are now fully ready!
Hi fellow Ludum Darers,
It’s already my fourth time participating and I’m still excited as this was the first time.
As always I will be sharing space, food and drinks with some friends doing the LD too. But we are all participating in the compo.
I wish you all a great LD, can’t wait to play your games!
So excited about this weekend ! I’ll be doing the Ludum Dare for the third time. First time on December though.
I’ll share a room with two friends but we plan on working separately on our own game. It worked pretty well last time.
For graphics I’ll mostly use Inkscape, GraphicsGale and Paint.net. Sounds will be a mix of LMMS and Bfxr.
Best of luck to you all!
last chance to vote so I’m laying down here some of my favorite entries. I like games with an interesting take on the theme, especially through gameplay. I also tend to appreciate games with a great mood and interesting mechanics.
Of course the order of appearance does not matter!
Boximalism by poohshoes
Circles by Are
People by BenW
ZIN by henrykun
shon by ilovepixel
I wish to thank you guys for making these games, I really loved them and think that these are truly innovative and interesting.
Last time I participated I was alone, this time I decided to enter the Ludum Dare with other friends such that we could spend the week end together, help each other out, playtest the game of one another, etc. It was extremely motivating, we were in an infinite motivational loop. If anyone of us was tired just the fact of seeing the others making progress was enough to keep working.
We live in France and the theme was then announced at 4 am, In my opinion it’s the worst time to get started, do we stay up until the theme is announced ? Do we wake up at 4 am ? Or even 6 am ? There’s no perfect solution so we went with the last one, we woke up at 6 am after a good night sleep, ready to get started… but 6 am is still not the best time of the day, especially if you count on working ’till 2 am.
The theme did not really appeal to me since I consider minimalist game design as good game design. I just felt like the theme was not a theme but rather a constraint that I already try to apply to my games. So it took me roughly 4 hours of eating, sleeping, thinking to get started but I finally got excited with my newborn concept. I wanted to let the player experience minimalism by letting her carefully creates paths with few waypoints but maximum efficiency. During judging I saw a few games with a similar approach so I guess it’s not completely irrelevant. It could have been brought further though, especially in terms of level design and scoring by allowing the player to find better paths for a same level.
Anyway, even though it was very fuzzy at the beginning I sensed that there was something that could be done. During development the game kind of evolved on its own and became its own thing. It was a bit as if I had no plans but I knew what kind of feeling and level design I wanted. The gameplay had to fit that.
In the end several iterations altered the way the player handled the entities, that’s how were created the blue and red entities, depending on the directions they took when hit by a waypoint. I could not decide whether they should follow the path forward or backward so I created two types of entities.
Overall it went pretty smoothly and after my last Ludum Dare one year ago I could not have dreamed of a better second time. Now that I’m done with my whining and ranting let’s talk about the development itself. What did I do wrong ? What went right ?
What went right
Early prototype: I was able to get a minimal working prototype very early, this helped me a lot and made me confident that I would be able to deliver. In 48 hours of hard work confidence is key, you sleep better, you work better and it helps you stay motivated.
Concept: the early playable prototype proved me that my concept was leading somewhere interesting, somewhere with potential. I still had some doubts of course but manageable ones
Design: one of my main tools was Tiled Map Editor. Even when you’re not building a tiled game it is still relevant to place your objects, giving properties to them and to the levels themselves. Building levels could not have been easier.
What went wrong
Programming: the system I built at first worked perfectly, each entity was assigned a path as soon as they touched a waypoint. But when I added a new entity (the blue one) I discovered that my system did not handle AT ALL the reversed behaviour. It can seem pretty basic, and it is, but the system I built did not consider all waypoints in the path, only the following ones. At the end it was a mess and I discovered a bug that prevented me from adding more levels. This is the main regret I have for this Ludum Dare, I should have thought of that or designed the last level first such that I would have discovered the bug earlier and have time to fix it.
Design: although I had built a prototype early I didn’t use it to quickly create my levels. I kind of waited for the game to build itself and let it inspire me. While it might be cool to work like this it can also lead to undesired situations, like the one described above.
Sounds: I think that my lack of knowledge in sound design has prevented me to make a perfectly consistent game. Specifically, the sound effects appear less clean and clear than the music since I used bfxr to generate sounds and Circuli to make music. The former is made for 8 bits style game and it does not mix perfectly with the crystalline music produced by Circuli.
Time to wrap it up. As I said above I could hardly hope for a best second Ludum Dare. Of course I could have made a better game, the theme could have been better suited for my taste, I could have been more cautious to avoid major bugs, etc. But it was the best 48 hours I had spent in a long time, my tools are working great, the game seems to be well appreciated and I think we (my friends and I) are considering participating in every Ludum Dare ’till we’re bored… or dead.
Thanks for reading! And don’t forget to play my game and rate it!
Hi fellow LD-ers,
I’m very pleased to be able to present you my game that you can play here (on Google Chrome though due to a minor temporary bug with FF).
I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to complete the game and add the necessary tweaks and polish. I had a blast all day, as I said in an earlier post I’m doing the Ludum Dare with two friends glbs and Anna. Compared to last year where I was alone it is so much easier to get motivated and to work long hours. I think that my game alone is a proof of that, last year at the same time I had almost nothing. I’ll never do the Ludum Dare alone again, it’s so much cooler like this.
The game has changed a bit during development, it got simpler and interactions have already been modified a few times to be more intuitive. I still feel that something is not right but I’m too tired to even think about it. I’ll let you see for yourself. Do not hesitate to give me your feedback