We of Surprised Man were all up for being in the LD 22 Jam, as previously stated. Then silly old life got in the way and it turns out we’re going to be busy this weekend. We were sad, despondent even, but then we said this will not do.
So we have a plan. One weekend, probably in late January when we have a free weekend, we’re going to do the Ludum Dare Jam. “Cheating!” you may cry, but no! We are determined to do everything we can to not find out what the theme is between now and then. We’ll vote on them, look at the final list as usual, but on Saturday we go dark. If we accidentally find out the theme we have a backup plan, but hopefully we won’t have to use it.
Still, there’s something about that hard submission deadline that gives Ludum Dare proper a bit of an extra kick. It’s a proper measure of our failure if we don’t manage to make the game. So we needed something else, a stake that would motivate us at least as much as that deadline.
Both of us intend to set aside ten pounds of our own money. Should we fail to make the game, that money will be donated towards a cause. But not just any. A cause that we really don’t want to give money to, be it political, charitable or otherwise. A cause that the very thought of donating money to sends shivers of repulsion up our collective spine.
The prospect of this weighs heavy on our hearts, fellow jammers, but this is what it has come to. This is how we will make ourselves do the Jam despite not being able to do the Jam.
Our two person team, Surprised Man loves Ludum Dare because it’s the thing that actually got us making games instead of just talking about it. Since doing The Wager at the end of last year for LD19, we’ve been tinkering with it and working on our next projects. But we’re hoping to take a break from our current project this December to have another go for LD22, as long as any unforseen busy-ness doesn’t prevent us as can happen this time of year. So make that a tentative we’re in!
As for The Wager, we’ve had thousands of people play it which beats our initial estimate of ‘maybe twelve,’ and we got such cool feedback that we’ve been dipping in and out of it for the last few months and have finally released 1.2 (an improved version of 1.1, which itself was an improved version of the Ludam Dare Jam submission). It’s a Windows game, in case you’re wondering. Thanks for the LD people for making it happen.
What a great couple of weeks it has been! After our complete and utter failure to implement our LD20 Jam game how we wanted to, everything else has just massively made up for it.
First, our LD19 Jam game, The Wager which we released an updated version of just before LD20 got noticed and ‘Freeware Game Pick’ed by IndieGames.com, then we caught praise from Rock Paper Shotgun and Destructoid. Just this week a lovely, long bit on the start of the Gamers With Jobs podcast is the latest thing.
At time of writing, an estimated 2000 people have played our game. That’s hardly setting the world on fire but considering that we were delighted when the count stood at 200, seeing that ten times over is… well, we’ve been grinning a lot. And this, our second game ever.
Over all comments have been very positive from nearly everyone, with some good criticism mixed in which is really helping with the update we’re looking to release as soon as we can. Then it’s onto the next project, in which we hope to resurrect our LD20 attempt in a very-much-changed form.
Most importantly, we may never have gotten around to actually making games instead of talking about it if it hadn’t been for the LD Jam, so I wanted to thank everyone that helped get that portion of the event going. I also want to put in a good word for the Jam, because I still think it tends to get lost behind the bluster of the main competition and I’d love to have the organisers think of some ways to give it a bit more love.
We were delighted to find out today that our updated LD19 Jam game, The Wager was named Freeware Game Pick on indiegamer.com yesterday:
What a great boost to our morale as we continue working on LD20.
Anyway, work is progressing nicely on Avarice, but we still have a ton of stuff to do before it’s a proper game. At the moment we’re figuring out an inventory system and starting to set up the economy that’ll drive the gameplay. It’s taken so long to get this far because in our game there are a lot of automated processes happening in the background (in this case, guys wandering around a dungeon, finding treasure and picking fights) that we needed to be functional first, but aren’t directly controlled by the player.
Now we’re onto the stuff that the player does interact with, which involves deciding what items to sell the adventurers and what to buy from various suppliers, in order to get the best reputation and attract richer, higher level customers.
Our jam game is called Avarice and it’s taken a while to get the fundamentals down, but it’s starting to take shape. Some of this screenshot is mocked up but most of it isn’t. Most of what you see on screen isn’t where player interaction happens, but we’re working on this part first because it’s the biggest technical challenge. We’re looking forward to getting it done!
Hello! Ludum Dare has been good to us. Our little two-man team has done two jams now, and we’re very pleased with our initial game-making efforts. Our last one in particular, The Wager, initially made for LD19 has just been released for Windows in an updated form with plenty of new features and content on our new website: http://www.surprisedman.co.uk
Anyway, aside from that ulterior motive, the purpose of this was to state our intent to take part in the Jam once more. Our tools of choice are most likely:
- Programming: Delphi, using a DDraw library
- Graphics: ProMotion 6
- Sound: Bfxr, Audacity
- Music: Famitracker
The themes are sounding interesting and we have very little idea of what direction we’ll be taking things this time, except that we are both keen on making something less top-down and more side-scrolly this time. Of course nothing is certain at this stage. Have fun, everyone!
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? My friend Kieran and I, under the name Surprised Man, entered the Game Jam and produced The Wager, a game all about exploring a randomly generated map of islands and returning to dock with information about what you find on them to sell onto prospective colonists. We’re really pleased with what we put together for the 72 hours and plan on getting a lot more content into the game that we just didn’t have time to include in this release. I mean, who wouldn’t be pleased with a game with an island name generator that gives such names as:
I hope you like our game, we worked very hard on it, enjoyed the whole process and look forward to adding more loot, unique encounters and other such things in the near future!
During LD18′s game jam, I formed Surprised Man, with Kieran Walsh, our vehicle for making games. We’re working on another one right now, but we enjoyed our last efforts so much that we decided to take a break from that to give it another go.
I must admit to being a little disappointed that more doesn’t seem to have been done to give recognition to the Jam games; a lot of people felt that it could benefit from some sort of rating system even if there is no formal winner or awards like in the competition part. It seemed to me that this could only help things by giving people another reason to play peoples’ hard work.
That aside, very much looking forward to it. Last time we blogged the whole thing on Nukezilla.com and that’s the plan this time, too, so keep an eye out for that and I’ll provide a link when it goes up. And finally, our probable set-up is as follows:
Programming ‘n’ stuff: Delphi
Graphics: ProMotion 6, Paint Shop Pro 4
Sounds: SFXR, Audacity
Music: Cockos Reaper (and various plugins), FamiTracker