Rad as fuck since 1983
About SonnyBone (twitter: @Phantom_Green)
Ludum Dare 28
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 20
Ludum Dare 18
Ludum Dare 17
Ludum Dare 16
The good with children award
Awarded by Ditto
on December 18, 2013
Awarded by Alex Rose
on December 17, 2013
The Spirit of Ludum Dare Award
Awarded by Hazard
on May 2, 2012
You cut all the trees!
Awarded by caranha
on December 22, 2011
A whole lot of pizza award
Awarded by Tyler
on April 26, 2010
Ah, the ol’ post-mortem… where you retrace your steps and try to figure out what went wrong and what went right. But what if nothing went ‘wrong’? What if I’m totally satisfied with what I ended up with? Well, that’s the case… and not because my game is amazing or ground-breaking or technically flawless… but because I finally ‘beat’ Ludum Dare. Let me explain.
This was my 10th LD, and since I first started, I’ve learned so much about myself, my limitations, my weaknesses, my strengths, how to work under pressure, etc, etc etc. What I also learned during all of those compos is that Ludum Dare is not about what you didn’t accomplish in the time limit. So often we are bombarded with comments about where our games could be improved and we write post-mortems about what didn’t go as planned, but I just simply want to see more celebration about what is actually being accomplished. To me, Ludum Dare is about what you WANTED to do versus what you were ABLE to do. And in the case of LD28, I did 100 percent of what I wanted to do. Sure, I can point out flaws in my game and there are infinite ways in which I can expand on my idea, refine it, and make it better. It was the first time that I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish and was able to check every one of them off before hitting the ‘submit’ button. Yes, Ludum Dare is about learning… it’s about pushing yourself… it’s about improving… but when I say that I finally ‘beat’ Ludum Dare… I mean that I finally reached a point where I can grab the theme, stay on target, and limit myself to the core essentials. This was always my biggest weakness, and with LD28, I was triumphant. Just like my first Ludum Dare when I didn’t save time for audio. I was unsure of my ability to make quality audio in the time limit, so I pushed it further and further back until it was too late. I was very disappointed in myself, so I made a strong effort to practice audio and I made it a larger focus. I then went on to capture two gold medals in the audio category, something I never would’ve imagined after my first LD. So now with LD28, I feel like I turned another corner in actually being able to stop myself from attempting such a hugely impossible list of features in such a short amount of time. Instead of being stressed about finishing, I was able to relax and do experiments. I was able to try new methods, use new tools, and learn new things without having to deal too much with the clock ticking away. And that brings it all back to the original purpose of Ludum Dare: to learn and grow by challenging yourself.
So what was the end result of my LD28?
A pattern and timing-based score attack game where you have one bullet to shoot zombie kids in the face.
Save One For The Kids by SonnyBone
The concept is nothing special. There is no story or no explanation for what’s happening. There doesn’t need to be. I wanted to make a game that could be ‘perfected’ with enough practice and memorization. There is literally a max score that can be earned if you play every stage perfectly. But good luck doing that… it’s not easy, and you can’t immediately replay stages to find the perfect solution. It’s kind of like Kirby’s Dream Course in that regard… one of my favorite games. You can get a hole in one on the first 3 holes, but then if hole 4 throws you for a loop, you have to replay the first 3 holes to try number 4 again. What you end up with is a situation where things that were once difficult become very simple, but if you get too frustrated, things that were once simple start becoming difficult. It’s one of the most common phenomenas in gaming. My friends and I once created the term “gamer’s hand” while playing Tony Hawk 2. It’s when your mind shuts off and your eyes go still but your hands move on their own as you attempt the perfect run and keep hitting ‘restart’ in the pause menu. That pattern of memorization, reflexes, and reactions mixed with your brain’s stupid desire to see bigger numbers at the end of the run. That’s what I wanted to create… a very simple puzzle game that a very specific type of gamer would want to play over and over in order to get the best score.
I wanted to try something new with art. I wanted to go for a hand-drawn look while testing out some new animation methods.
The main player has no animation. I messed around with the idea of clothes blowing in the wind, recoil from the gun, or starting the stage with the player actually going from standing to crouched and then aiming the gun. I immediately realized that it would simply take too long, and that the focus should be on the moving enemies, not the player. I also decided early on that player aiming or player movement would make the number of shot possibilities go up exponentially, making the game infinitely more difficult and unpredictable. That would’ve gone against my idea of a ‘perfect’ solution that’s not too impossible to figure out (both for myself, and for the player… because I had to design the stages to be beatable and be able to calculate the lowest and highest possible scores).
The main enemy is where all the animation went.
I was watching Home Improvement while waiting for the theme announcement, so I think my enemy ended up being Mark Taylor by accident.
I’m not sure why I decided to make a game about killing zombie kids, but I think I remember having an idea about them being crazy Minecraft fans that desperately wanted more Minecraft clones and were going around killing anyone not currently developing one.
The enemy consists of several different parts that were tweened and occasionally swapped out with other sprites:
If I had another 2 hours to work on the game, I probably would’ve spent the time redrawing the feet and making some palette swaps for variety.
That’s pretty much it right there. You hit spacebar at the right time, everything freezes, and your bullet rips through a line of enemies. Your goal is to kill everything on the screen with one shot, but it’s best to get the same kind of shot in a row to get extra points. Killing everything on the screen gives you a MURDERTALITY BONUS that dramatically increases your score based on how many enemies you killed. You get 250 pts for leg shots, 500 for torso shots, and 1000 for headshots. If you land three headshots in a row, for example, the first is worth 1000, the second is 2000, and the third is 3000. If you killed everything on the screen, then that total gets multiplied by an amount that I can’t remember… lol.
At the end of the stage, you are presented with a medal for your performance. Yes, it is possible to clear every enemy in the game and get a gold medal on every stage. I have only done it once, but I kind of cheated to do it. The closest I’ve been able to get without cheating is 8 perfect stages and 2 silver stages.
I went with a very subdued soundtrack. The Wintry setting, the jumping kiddies, the holiday cheer… I kind of wanted something that would be relaxing to help you focus. I spent more time on the ‘slo mo’ bullet sound effect, the head splatters, and the dumb-ass voice samples for earning medals. I created some really goofy little voice that is almost out of place but somehow… works. I love it… especially when I get a “silllvah” medal. And then the voice at the end telling you how much you suck. There are 3 possible ‘endings’ with your overall rank/score.
I had a crapload of fun. I made what I wanted to make. I learned a lot. I’m happy. SUCCESS!
And this will be my last LD for a while as I keep working on my first commercial game. I haven’t officially announced it yet, but I will someday. I think 10 LDs is enough for now. I’ll come back after my first ‘real’ game is a huge flop. If you wanna stay in the loop, my site is HERE and my Twitter.
I’m back with another RAD GAME ROUNDUP, where I put the spotlight on my favorite Ludum Dare games. Now, we all know I haven’t played them ALLLL and that’s the point of these compilations. I’m letting you know what you should check out, and you should do the same. MAKE YOUR OWN COMPILATION AND SHARE YOUR FAVORITES!
This time, there are TWENTY games in the roundup. Did your game make the cut?
Lots of work to do. LOTS!
Here’s the first screenshot from my game. I may not be able to get the different colors fully realized in the final version, unfortunately.
Everything is still a work in progress. Gotta add score stuff and ‘levels’ and win state and bla and bla.
Then music and sfx. UGH.
Then… other visual goodies.
Click for larger version!
But I am working. Hard.
I have nothing to say about what I’m making except that I’m making it.
I hope to get my first official screenshot posted before I go to bed much later tonight. If I don’t get that far, then I’m doomed.
I simply have to get this game looking presentable by the end of the day. The core mechanic is there, I just gotta get rid of this ugly placeholder art.
I usually start off with at least some half decent sprites so I stay motivated while testing. Trying something new, so we’ll see how it goes!
SEE YOU ON THE BATTLEFIELD, SUCKAZ!!!
This will be number 10 for me.
… and this will be my final Ludum Dare until I launch my first commercial game… a little project that started off as a Ludum Dare game that brought home a gold medal.
I won’t be shooting for the stars with this LD. I think whatever I end up making will be a very very small game. Maybe even just a tech demo.
Or maybe I’ll feature creep the fuck out of it until I hate myself again.
While Ditto and I have been keeping the DreamTeam alive by working on an actual game for the October Challenge (our Indie Speed Run entry: The Old Man And The NSA), I’ve also decided to release a new compilation album that features all of the music I’ve made for Ludum Dare games, LD warmups, and other game jams in general.
GameJams Volume One
21 tracks and a super secret bonus track that will unlock when you download the album… all clocking in at around 50 minutes. Some of these games placed very high in the audio category, with two of them actually bringing home a Gold Medal… something that I never expected. You see, my first Ludum Dare entry had NO AUDIO AT ALL. I was very disappointed with myself and decided to try much harder in the audio category. I worked at it and worked at it until I actually ended up receiving a Gold Medal for audio during Ludum Dare’s 10th anniversary for my entry, ZUNZANDA. So I’m living proof that Ludum Dare is a wonderful way to push yourself into new territory, learn new things, and accomplish goals you never even dreamed of. I owe all of my current and future success to Ludum Dare, and GameJams Volume One is kind of like my ‘origin story‘ of game development, as this content dates all the way back to the very first game I ever released.
So what are you waiting for?! You can hear the entire album and PAY WHAT YOU WANT for the download right HERE.
You can also snag the official soundtrack to DreamTeam’s Ludum Dare 27 entry, EcoStar vs Aeronox right HERE.
Thanks for your support and LONG LIVE LUDUM DARE!
Are you an experienced and talented game jammer? Are you a radass artist that doesn’t want to work alone?
THEN JOIN THE LDDreamTeam!
Ditto and I have teamed up to jump from the 48 hour compo to the 72 hour jam… the logical step after being ‘successful’ as a Ludum Dare solo developer!
Ludum Dare is all about learning… it’s about gaining new experiences… and it’s about challenging yourself. The LDDreamTeam is an effort to branch out and try new things in game development, and while we’re both comfortable with making our own art, we’d love to be joined by a dedicated artist/animator for Ludum Dare 27.
If you’re interested, please contact me at SonnyBone at PhantomGreen dot com or @Phantom_Green on Twitter. Be sure to link me to your previous LD games or your previous game-related work.
Yo, Ludum Dare folk!
SonnyBone here with an idea that will surely eliminate world hunger, create world peace, and unite all races and religions… all in the name of gaming.
Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. Maybe not. Can’t hurt to try!
I’ve been doing the Ludum Dare thing for quite some time, but I always end up doing it by myself. I wanna try working with a team, but not just any team. You see, I’m super busy working on a game of my own… a game that will be released commercially sometime next year. I don’t really have the time or energy to do a full-on LD compo, so teaming up with some other developers is a great way to still participate without having to go all out.
But I wanna do somethin’ special. I want to team up with former LD ‘winners’ to create a “Dream Team”.
I have won a bronze medal and two gold medals, and I want to team up with some other medal winners. In fact, you don’t even have to be a medal winner… maybe just top 10 or top 25. I’m looking for LD vets that may want to branch out from the solo game and try a team entry for a change. I’m looking for ‘newbies’ that kicked ass last time… or maybe you have a great portfolio and you want to finally join LD. Basically… I’m looking for something different than what I normally do, and I wanna work with some great coders/designers/artists/etc.
I am down for providing audio (that’s where I won my two gold medals), but I could also help to provide some artwork and OF COURSE some game design ideas / testing.
I am based in the U.S. but I am willing to work with anyone as long as we can communicate effectively.
If nothing comes of this, that’s fine. I’ll still be keeping my eye on what you guys and gals come up with. Ludum Dare is a great learning experience, and it’s always a blast!
If you’re interested, contact me on Twitter @Phantom_Green or email at SonnyBone at phantomgreen dot com
Or leave a comment, maybe. Whatever.
EITHER WAY, TEXT WILL BE READ BY ME
AND THE NSA
MAYBE OBAMA WANTS TO MAKE A TOWER DEFENSE GAME
COME ON BARRY
LET’S DO THIS
I KNOW YOU’RE WATCHING
While playing through the games for Ludum Dare 26, I found an awesome little puzzler called Fractured by dalbinblue. The game features a really rad song that I decided to remix (with dalbinblue’s permission, of course). Check it out on Soundcloud!
Fractured REMIX by SonnyBone
Also, check out this collection of 15 of my favorite Ludum Dare 26 games… the RAD GAME ROUNDUP for LD26!
Check out 15 of my favorite Ludum Dare 26 games… RIGHT HERE
And keep making those compilation lists, folks! With over 2,000 games… we’re going to help finding the best of the best!
… I NEED TO WORK, DAMMIT!!!