About Vilborg (twitter: @Vector_Zero)
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
After 72 hours of development (including skipping school Monday), I have finally finished by Jam entry. You can play and rate it here. Overall, I am very pleased with how this LD went down. I wasn’t expecting Tiny World as the theme, so when I was looking down the theme list I neglected to pre-think of a game idea – but it didn’t really matter. My brother, who also did the game’s soundtrack (download link on game page) helped me do a lot of brainstorming to get a good idea, think up pun-ny names for the abilities, narrow down the feature list and expand it again, and in general was a fantastic second opinion on making game design choices. I am proud of how the game turned out.
I’ve learned a couple things:
-Happiness is intrinsic to success. Last LD I gave up on the last day of the Jam because I was depressed and couldn’t handle the constant solitude and sitting involved with a 72-hour game jam. I was going to do the 48-hour Compo this time for that very reason, but I went back to doing the Jam because I wanted to include my brother’s music. Everything ended up better than last time: since he was hanging out in the office I had occupied, I wasn’t so lonely (ironic considering LD22 was Alone). I also was oddly optimistic Saturday and Sunday. It’s important to be happy and make a game that makes you happy – I’ve seen a lot of people now give up because they didn’t like their entry.
-The small changes make the big differences. The difference between the finished-looking product I have now and the clearly-in-development game I had two days ago isn’t much about the features I added – it’s more about the small graphical niceties. For instance, the background: it was just blue, but then I made an image filled with blue-ish noise. I let you know when the camera was scrolling and, as a bonus, looked kind of like a microscope. That similarity led Lectvs to comment that it looked thus, which gave me the idea to add the scope graphic – something that made it look even more like a microscope. The great Notch once said the difference between a prototype and a finished game is about ten thousand particles, and that was true of this game too – particles added to the aesthetic quality. Similarly for the change from armor being a tint to a shield-like graphic. Small things like that, or sweeping menu transitions, make a game look professional.
-Microsoft XNA deployment is unnecessarily complicated. I mean, seriously, Microsoft? There’s so much stuff to customize and fit into big-budget company things where they know what they’re doing, but there’s no simple “Make a .exe out of this, kthx” button. I hope my installer/standalone thing covers all the bases.
-It’s really easy to make something that isn’t a platformer. I went with a top-down game not only because it was what the game idea entailed, but also because there’s no collision engine. It’s really easy to do stuff without having to worry about what happens when it hits something. The closest I have to collision is things running a query for the closest bacterium to a position – nothing really complicated.
Short description from game page - You are a bacterium struggling to survive, thrive, and evolve. Attack other bacteria with a variety of weapons, get a variety of upgrades and buffs, and for goodness’ sake watch out for bacteriophages.
There are 2 references to kittens. Can you find them?
Yesterday I managed to complete all of the goals I had set for the day, plus some more cool stuff. My remaining tasks are: particles, sound, music, bosses and waves, enemy AI improvements, and a neat event that can happen.
Since I’m doing the Jam, I can go past 6PM today, although I have school tomorrow, so to what extent that will help is yet to be seen.
As you can see, I’ve got both the background noise and a scope effect, so it looks like a microscope. The upgrade menu is fully working, and most of the upgrades give some nice-looking visual cues. Perhaps I can miss school to finish this…
I’m just about done with the game engine and content. You can bite, eat, poison, intoxicate, spike, and shoot other bacteria; you can get armor and a flagellum to go faster; you can eat people for “genes” (not implemented quite yet), health, and size. In the below image, you can see some bacteria chilling around, having some upgrades, and ruthlessly killing each other. Survival of the fittest, baby!
Next up on my list is to make the title screen, the title screen go to the game, and the upgrade/pause menu for in-game. I really don’t like making menus, but I’m feeling optimistic. Also on the list: add music, add sounds, add wandering bacteriophages, add particles, make the sounds before I can add them, bugfix, playtest, and release.
The game idea I went with for “Tiny World” was a game where you play as a bacterium, surviving against other bacteria. The first day I got the main engine down and added the player and other bacteria. So far you can attack by swimming up to someone, holding the mouse over them, and pressing space. Size affects damage. Right before I went to bed, I added toxins, which are clouds of stuff you can leave to confuse or damage other bacteria.
Two bacteria: http://imgur.com/f2s5H
For Day 2, I’m hoping to add the following:
-Eating other bacteria heals health
-Armor and spines
-A point and upgrade system for making the above upgrades cohesive.
Day 1 build (Visual Studio project): http://dl.dropbox.com/u/36926855/PrimordialSmackdown_Day1.zip
Last LD, I tried to do a timelapse, but maybe I set the interval too short or used the wrong program, because I ended up with a folder full of screenshots that took up all my hard drive space! I have Chronolapse; if anyone has something for Windows that’s not hecka complicated and makes the video on the fly or solves the lots-of-pictures problem, a link would be appreciated.
So, without a timelapse, I’m going to have to do maybe a couple updates per day on this site. I’ll use Twitter too, since it makes for easy microupdating. If any of you are interested in following that, I’m @Vector_Zero.
Also, anybody up for another Kitten challenge…?
Hopefully this LD I won’t have mental jitters by the end!
I’m using C# with XNA 4, I’m probably going to use a microphone and Audacity to make sounds, and Paint.NET for the graphics. My brother will probably be doing the music if I do the Jam.
Those of you who were here last time around remember the struggle over “Kittens” – and the subsequent election of “Alone”. From what I heard, nobody really liked “Alone” much. So remember: democracy is a dangerous privilege, use it wisely! Don’t pick a theme you don’t want and consider all your choices carefully!
Well, my game did pretty well, so I guess I’m happy. There were a lot of cool games this time around.
My big lesson from LD22 is that I can make a game in 48 hours, seeing as even in the Jam I had pretty much wrapped up by the 48 hour deadline. My second biggest lesson is that I can’t psychologically handle 72 straight hours of LD Jammin’. I’m going to try the compo next time around.
It’s finally finished!
I think the 72 hours of the Jam really proved too long, since I had to take many breaks of doing other things (besides eating, sleeping, etc) in order to remain sane. Next time I will definitely consider entering the Compo. I will also remember to play all the games I really want to play BEFORE I enter a 72-hour single-track development contest.
Well, on Day 2 of the Jam I managed to make a few new weapons, work on enemies, listen to the music my brother composed for the game, and more stuff. I don’t remember yesterday all that well, actually.
Today, I’m hoping to add a lot more weapons, more levels, hopefully a title screen and level select, scoring, game balance, and the put the music into the game. Things are looking up. I hope.
My progress so far:
There’s a level with solid tiles and tiles you walk through. Enemies use basic pathing to find you. The player has a weapon, which fires bullets. The sprites onscreen are sorted by depth, so they don’t have that nasty sorting hting where you;re in front of someone and on their face. But I disgress.
Tomorrow: bullets kill things. Enemies are spawned. More weapons. An artist friend is stopping by to help finish the music my brother made and to do art.
Sunday: I expect the basic game works by then. More weapons, finishing art, testing. Probably score stuff, menu and title, maybe more enemy types.
Monday: Testing, testing, testing! Then testing of the distribution to the only other Windows machine in the house, which went badly last LD. Sorry I use XNA, all.
I must say, this was not my favorite theme. Nonetheless, I was able to adapt my idea for Kittens to Alone, so everything worked out fine.
So far I have a level with floors and large solid tiles, a player that moves around, and enemies with horrible pathfinding. It’ll play a bit like Boxhead: Zombie Wars, but with kittens, rainbows, and awesome soundtrack (which my brother is composing as I type).
I’m too lazy to post screens right now, and they aren’t that impressive. I’ll just say everything except pathfinding is going along nicely.
I’m doing the Jam, so I don’t know if this is required or not, but I thought I’d share the two classes I’ll most likely be using this coming LD. One’s a text drawing class that uses a pixel-y font image, which was coded by my friend Lectus (who is doing the 48-hour compo). The other is a basic class for handling menus, which you use by making a new Menu object for each menu, adding menu items, and running introduce() when you switch the menu you update/draw. The buttons take delegates as arguments, so the class that creates them needs to define the functions itself.
I’m going to have an… interesting LD this time around. First of all, this will be my second LD compo and my first LD48, as I did the Jam last time. Additionally, I have finals the two days leading up to the compo weekend, so I will have literally seven hours between taking my semester finals and starting a 48-hour game. But hey, it’ll probably be all right.
Language: C# using XNA
Platform: Windows (I use XP still, btw)
I plan to make the sound effects myself with a mic and sound editor, so my game will either have bad sound effects or literal onomatopoeia ones like “bang”.
Well, now that the server’s up, I can post a progress report on our game: http://i.imgur.com/kPVcU.png It looks bland right now because it doesn’t have blocks, powerups, particles, enemies, or soundtrack. But since it’s a Jam entry, we’ve got it all planned out for the next two-ish days and we’re right on schedule.
Good luck to all fellow Jammers and you hardcore Compo programmers!
This is the first game programming competition I’ve entered, ever. I’m doing the Jam with a friend, we’re going to get together and program the whole weekend! I’ve been programming all summer anyway, so it’s nice to have an official excuse.
We’re using XNA 4.0 in Visual Studio 2010, with a healthy dose of Paint.NET. See you at the end!