Archive for the ‘LD #20 – It’s Dangerous to go Alone! Take This!’ Category
Wow, my entry Change of Heart was #1 in audio and #7 in innovation. I would have never expected it.
Thanks guys. I’ve never had a game win an award before.
I should probably stop now and retire but I think I’m going to try to utilize some of these audio skills in a more action oriented interactive type of game. So let the fun continue with the mini this weekend!
Hey, and just to get the party going here, here is a little song I performed the other night (House style dance genre):
So the scores are in and LD20 has come to a close! Though I didn’t get any awards, I’m happy that I scored some points for innovation. Now that voting is over, I’ve decided to share the post-compo version of the game. I’ve fixed most of the gameplay issues that plagued my entry and likely led to its reduced score. Here is an overview of what I’ve added:
- The word now procedurally generates itself as the player moves through it, making it effectively infinite.
- Sounds for player movement, the environment, and brick movement.
- A skybox, windmill building, new models, and other artistic elements.
- A messaging/menu system that provides a minimal tutorial.
- Character scripts that have reduced sensitivity, better handling mechanics, etc.
- Options screen so that players can tweak controls and a/v settings.
- Inventory system.
- Elevators, roads, shops, farms, and new brick types.
- Story/NPCs etc.
It’s been fun working on this project, and I’ve learned a great deal in terms of game design and programming. Check out the game’s website for future updates and downloadable versions of the game. I’d like to hear your feedback!
Another LD over, not sure how I feel about my scores this time – on the one hand, the scores are a mess, on the other, my game was a mess so I wasn’t going to take them too seriously anyway.
There has, however, been another epidemic of unjustified all 1/all 5 votes, and as the number of entrants grows this is sure to keep happening more and more. On the bright side, while I was a bit busy/lazy this time round, there’s 5 people who managed to rate all/nearly all the games (someone even managed 101%! ), and 21 who rated at least 25% of them. It’s possible that those figures include the people responsible for giving nonsense ratings, but even discounting them there’s a good enough base there that I think it might be a good idea to set up some kind of volunteer judging panel who could be trusted to rate and comment on a certain percentage of games (with each game distributed evenly amongst the panel) and give the ratings a bit more meaning. I feel a panel like that should be somewhat selective, but also in some ways more open – for example, someone could be allowed on through past LD experience (entering and rating), but even non-entrants with reviewing experience could join too – basically the LD organiser’s choice, or perhaps open to a community vote. Seeing as a number of indie game sites/blogs cover LD entries already I’d like to think a few would be happy to help out with that, and external help with rating would also reduce the pressure on those entrants who feel obliged to rate but would rather focus on developing their LD entry further while it’s still fresh.
That said, even if a few spoil it for the rest, I like that the current system gives everyone involved a voice and it might just not be LD without that.
I like to learn how to make an open world game, I have some great ideas I would like to know how sould the programming look like or are any recommendation on books out there, pleasea tell me whats needed.
I am completely disillusioned with Ludum Dare. I first heard of this competition from a friend telling me to try it out saying how amazing it was. He convinced me to go ahead and enter. Then I burn an entire weekend only to find that in 21 days my entry recieves 22 ratings from 288 submitters (7.639%). Of those ratings, many are blatantly done without reviewing the actual submission. Some were obvious downvoters, others gave undeserved 5’s all around the board, while others just gave random scores, or NO score for categories I KNOW I had, showing me they didn’t even bother playing the game or looking at my community page.
Then I see other submissions with over 100 ratings making me assume there is some kind of advertising/word of mouth meta-game in play which is always a disheartening thing to see in any competition. While I do agree the games that won top 20 deserve those 20 slots, the games that fell elsewhere were completely lost into the void, with no quality control on their placement. I don’t know how you can improve a rating system that depends on a biased party to make the votes, but as a first time participator, frankly it’s just a joke.
Essentially I am a pretty upset that for a competition that has been running as long as it has; so many submissions have fallen through the cracks, and that I unwittingly set myself up for disappointment by entering.
TL;DR – The rating system brings no incentive to participate again
So I look at my game when the results come back, and see results I was expecting. This game was a test, so I am not suprised that it got mostly 2 and 3 overalls. But what’s this? columns of 1’s? My game surely wasn’t that horrible! Even if they didn’t like the humor or the graphics etc, I know I did some community work. What were they expecting, an essay?
Well after mild frustration but a little bit of self pity, I went on and looked at other games I found to be quite polished. What? More columns of ones? Are these people crazy?
I guess these people don’t have enough time to play or something, even then they shouldn’t be voting but instead leaving it all alone.
It’s been a long 3 weeks for some, but Ludum Dare 20 has finally ended.
Here are your results:
Top 20 Competition Games
You can check out the top 20 competition games here (including ties):
Winners are decided by the Overall category. To see the complete list, hit the “Show All Entries” link at the bottom.
Categorical Top 5’s
Here at Ludum Dare, being the best game isn’t the only way to win. Games are rated in 7 additional categories, with a special “Coolness” category highlighting people that went above and beyond to be sure you got a vote.
*NOTE*: You can click on the titles of the categories for Top 20 style lists per category.
More Great Games from the Jam!
The Jam is huge – simple as that. With 64 games this time, the Jam is now larger than some of the earlier Ludum Dare events. I regret that we still don’t do more for the jammers, but don’t fret, we are thinking of you. We’d like to encourage everyone to check out the Jam games, and leave a comment. Here are four to get you started:
Again, this is just a taste of some of the great games to be found in the Jam.
See them all here:
Seriously, go check them out!
More Ludum Dare 20 links
IndieGames.com’s 250 Indie Games You Must Play
Editor of IndieGames.com Michael Rose has recently released his new book “250 Indie Games You Must Play”. I know we’re a pretty significant source of great freebies and not-so-freebies (see the featured games in the sidebar), so I fired off a question last night: Did any Ludum Dare games make the book?
Mike had this to say:
Yep, quite a number [of times] actually
We here at Ludum Dare love talking about ourselves, and though we may not have coffee tables to prominently show a book on, coffee is a significant source of caffeine, so I’m sold.
Visit your favorite Amazon and pick it up.
Ludum Dare breaks 2000 on Twitter!
As the organizers, Phil and I tend to amuse ourselves each event with little statistics to gauge the growth of the community. One I’ve been keeping a close eye on for LD20 is our twitter follower count. Early this morning, the @ludumdare twitter account finally broke 2000 followers! Wow!
We use the twitter account as a way to share little updates. Reminders, press coverage, and the occasional amusing quip we catch in the Twitterverse or on IRC. If you’re in to that sort of thing, and do the twitter thang, follow us!
Also if you haven’t already, sign up for the mailing list. Even if you do hound twitter reading each and every post, we make an effort to get the most important news to you via e-mail too.
Ludum Dare 21 – Coming August 2011!!
May Mini LD #26, hosted by drZool
I agree, August is quite a ways away. How about this weekend then? Yes, tune in Friday for a brand new MiniLD event hosted by drZool. He’s been teasing with D’s all month… I wonder what he’s up to?
If you have any suggestions for us (website, observations, etc), we continue to collect them in the comments here:
Thanks everyone for coming out and making Ludum Dare 20 such a big success! We’ll see you again in August!
– Mike Kasprzak (PoV)
Just a few hours left. Time to post-mortem my game…
Take This Triangle is a 2d defense game inspired by vector graphics from the old-school. Spring physics from the new-school, and doobers from the school of Zynga.
TTT was written in C/C++ using SDL and completed in the 48 hour period and is playable on OSX and Windows here. If you want to play it on another platform it should compile just fine.
Figure 1: Estimated Time Usage
1. Vector Graphics
A massive amount of time was freed up by choosing to focus on what I don’t suck at (writing code, play testing games) and dodging what I do suck at (trying to be an artist).
2. Fun Core Mechanic
Dragging a springy things is fun. Clicking on doobers is fun. These two mechanics together worked well.
3. Small Scope
I managed to avoid feature-creeping the game or trying to undertake something too complex for the given time frame. Executing a small idea well is much preferable to a executing a larger, broader, but more rushed idea.
What Went Wrong
1. Starting at Zero
When the competition began I had an IDE and an zero base code. It took a few hours before I could begin writing game code. Preparation is key.
Staying focused is always hard. I spent a lot of time doing other things (including sleeping) instead of remaining on task. See figure 1.
3. Polishing Too Late
I wish I had started improving the art and adding particle effects in earlier. A screen shake, glowey lines, more particles, more feedback on the dragging / aiming, more tweaks to the difficulty curve, badass grid effects. Sooo many small things I would have liked to polish.
Over all the process was enjoyable. I am proud of my game, it is one of the few experiments I have made that I find myself returning to in order to kill a few minutes.
As always, LD was a learning experience for me.
Amazing to see so many great ideas executed by so many awesome people. Enthusiasm and skills abound in this little indie community!
Great work everyone.
I’ve been meaning to write this postmortem for a while, but keep putting it off because my thoughts on it keep changing. After watching a few people play my game first hand, I think I’ve finally figured out what worked and what didn’t.
If you haven’t played it yet, then please go and play it, going by the number of comments I think that having a game beginning with ‘W’ means most people haven’t tried it. Thanks.
So, what went right and what went wrong?
Right: Animal companions
I knew when I saw the theme that I wanted to do a zelda-like game. I’ve not done one before so it would make for an interesting change, but I thought there’d be a whole bunch of zelda-like games, so I needed a ‘hook’ to make it different. That’s where the companions come from.
Each companion grants you an offensive ability and a puzzle solving ability. For example cats give you area-of-effect fireball bursts which can kill enemies and melt ice barriers. Ice weasels give you line-of-sight ice bolts which can kill enemies and build ice bridges over holes. Snakes cause room-wide earthquakes that can flip switches behind obstacles, and birds let you jump over enemies or objects.
And they all look different too! I spent a lot of time drawing different walking animations and idle animations, so it does genuinely feel like you’ve got a different companions helping you though the world.
Right: World navigation
Originally the game was going to only have single-screen, non-scrolling rooms. However on the first day I decided that would be too limiting, so rooms can actually be any size – if they’re smaller than the screen they’re centered, and if they’re larger then the camera scrolls around with the player.
Transitions are based on early zelda games, and although tricky to get right I really like how they came out. With single-screen rooms and no transitions you don’t really get a sense of walking through the world, but with the transitions you seamlessly go from one room to another so you actually feel like you’re exploring a single giant space.
There’s definitely prettier games in this LD, but I’m very pleased with how the graphics came out. Yeah, the low-fi pixely look is pretty over done these days, but it means I could get a lot of pretty decent graphics done very fast and keep everything looking consistent throughout.
This is by far the most art-heavy LD game I’ve done – an animated player character (in four directions!), four unique NPCs, four unique companions (with walking and idle animations), three enemies, plus the environment, gui and effects. In total there’s 120 unique sprites!
There’s two ‘dungeons’ in the final game, the tutorial and the proper dungeon. The tutorial seems to work really well – everyone I watched got though it with only minimal head scratching and it explains everything it needs to.
For the actual dungeon my main goal was to make something non-linear so players would feel like they’re exploring something, rather than just following a long corridor. I think it pulls this off well – in fact I suspect it’s too non-linear, which overwhelmed some players. A smaller, easier dungeon to start would have been good but I didn’t have the time.
Since the original inspiration was The Thing, the ice base theme fitted well when I was trying to think of non-zelda-like settings. However the combination of lack of time and lack of drawing skill meant I ended up with a fairly vague environment that didn’t really look how I wanted it too.
Originally I’d planned on having separate indoor and outdoor sections, but lack of time sunk that idea – I just didn’t have time to draw another set of environment graphics and the required code to hook them in.
Readability was a big factor too, and one area where the low-res look causes issues. Everything is drawn to be obvious as to what it is, and to be visually distinct from each other. Adding in extra environment detail would have made the puzzle elements of the gameplay harder to grasp.
Quite simply, I ran out of time. I actually had two full dungeons designed on paper, but it took me over two hours to physically type in the first one (rooms were just text files with Xs and Os to designate walls and buttons, etc.) and make sure it was solveable, so I didn’t have time to add the second one. (Oddly, the one in the actual game is the second one I designed).
Because of this, the one dungeon that is in wasn’t properly playtested. Which brings me to…
Again, I ran out of time. Two things are pretty obvious now:
1. The player’s walking speed is far too slow. It probably needs to be about twice as fast.
2. The game is far too hard.
The first is a problem because it frustrates players, and means they give up as soon as they die. The second is more tricky to pin down.
Partly it’s because it’s an exploration/puzzle game, and so I obviously know the correct route through the dungeon. I find it really, really easy. But if you don’t know the route, it’s really, really hard. I should probably have made the dungeon more linear (or had a ‘starter’ dungeon). Also, I think being able to die was a bad idea. If you die you have to start the game from the beginning, but to compensate I gave the player lots of health and lots of places to heal themselves. I think instead I should have given them less health (maybe three hearts?), but made ‘dying’ just place them at the start of a room again, with full health.
So there we go. Overall I’m very happy with it, it’s by far the most polished LD game I’ve managed, with by far the most content. I’ll probably go back and tweek things, and add in the missing dungeon (assuming the judging result doesn’t say that everyone actually hated it).
If you’ve played the game, I’d love to know if you agree/disagree with anything above.
Hey I wanted to share the fact that I just finished my website! Please let me know what do you think of it! Also, I got this coooool domain name! I feel like a better man now
Special thanks to everyone who helped me with that on IRC!
I’ve got my game idea for the Mini-LD.
I’m interpreting the theme as follows:
- Getting it done is the most important thing
- The actual “theme” is less important
- It’s a Mini-LD, so the rules can be bent
- Therefore: It’s more important to get the thing done, so the actual “theme” can be neglected and it’s not too much of a big deal
That being said, my idea has very little if anything to do with the potential themes. I really love the idea, though, and want to make it happen.
The premise has a wide scope, though, and I’ll only be able to get a subset of it working during the Mini-LD. That’ll be a good push for me, though.
The game is about a fox that has to get eight elemental crystals (Fire, earth, water, air, and four others I’ll figure out) into their respective altar-type places to get the Forces of Nature back into balance before the World is Destroyed. The Mini-LD version will have the first crystal and a “To be continued…” at the end.
The game will be a Metroidvania where the player collects various skills. The Mini-LD version will have at least two of them.
Looking forward to this,
— Mr. Dude
S-Raid has been an interesting experience for me within Ludum Dare. It’s my second entry into these contests, and hopefully a fair bit better than my previous one. With the ongoing Finals and all kinds of extreme busy business I’ve been busying myself with, It’s been hard to keep track of things at times. I’m glad I’ve managed to make it though.
Got music, base code, and basic designs of levels all done within the first day. I felt relieved at this, since my first day consisted of a trip down to the Zoo, basically cutting the time in half.
The Formations seemed to have gone well for the most part, I managed to sneak a level in which was very reliant on good formation control to get through.
Oh god time. I had half of my first day spent in London, and the last day was also side-tracked by watching the Thor film. If I had this time, I would have managed to fix all the bugs I had for the game such as Sound Effect volumes, Bullets flying through Rangers without being destroyed and having Blasters and Shields for the main ship. Another thing I was hoping for was a definitively final final boss, with some metaphors, mumbo-jumbo, etc thrown into the mix, which got scrapped. Hopefully I can do this for a sequel of sorts if done.
-WHAT I’VE LEARNED-
Time management is a huge deal for these projects. Not only this, but also the fact that, a project needs to be reasonable to complete in a solo effort. Grandiose ideas might be fun for this stuff but some of the ideas I had didn’t make it through the drawing board simply because It would take too long to make it through.
Sleep is for wimps as well. Who needs it when you have Crunch-Time Deadlines?
Final thing I learnt from this experience is that finals and such are very important. Games are too. It’s a tough choice. ¬(‘_’)-
Till later, have fun folks~
Here’s the last push for a bit of attention to my LD submission, if you have a second and haven’t already done so, please check it out and toss me whatever rating you feel it’s worth.
This whole experience has been absolutely fantastic. Thanks and much love to the organizers and participants for making this such a great ride to be on!
Here I present the “edited and abridged for LD’ers” version of the post-mortem:
What Went Right
1. Leveraging the Power of Unity Prefabs
All of my past projects up to this one had been done almost exclusively in C#, with almost no special use of the Unity environment. They were done that way to help me come to grips with coding in C#.
For this LD, I threw that mentality out the window and crafted nearly everything in scene, using prefabs. What an amazing difference it makes! Defining game objects, exposing the variables on them, and using drag-and-drop to configure game play is really what Unity is all about, and I’m glad I had this LD to finally realize that.
2. Scripting Tight
Sort of a knock-on effect of switching over to prefabs, code bloat was immediately reduced to a negligible amount. With all the variables explicitly used and exposed on the game objects in scene, it was far easier to manage what was going on and limit the overall messiness of the scripting process. That’s not to say there’s no kludgy-hacky nonsense going on, but there’s far less than there was when I was in pure code mode.
3. Winning the Theme Roulette
This time I followed the theme selection very closely. I hadn’t before because I didn’t want to set my sights on any one theme before the final was announced, and avoid any kind of disappointment. This time I didn’t really fixate on a theme, but I had a very strong feeling that ‘It’s Dangerous…’ was going to be chosen. The night before the compo I dreamed a fully-formed concept for a game that used this theme, so you can imagine my relief when it turned out to be the one that made the cut. Lucky advantage.
What Went Wrong
1. Uneven Production Process
When tackling any long-term project, I tend to break things down into manageable chunks and then assign levels of ‘completeness required for play’ to them. This means there’s a round of building, and producing passable assets so that I can start to see if a game is going to be fun or not.
For Ludum Dare, though, it seems that one thing that makes games stand out and get recognized is the end quality levels of art. I’ve always envied these 2D wizards that can crank out beautiful pixels for their projects that really make them shine. So, I told myself I was going to push it to the limit with the 3D assets this time out. The problem was I focused so much on making the 3D nice that I had little time for audio and controls polish.
It’s always a trade off, a fine balance of managing just how much to produce in the time given.
2. Not Enough Kitties
Apparently this is also an important thing to producing a popular entry, and I’ll endeavor to add more cute meme-cats to my future entries.
3. Not Enough Zelda
Looking back at it now, I probably could have taken the time to insert at least a few nods to the venerable Nintendo classic, but I’m still happy with my interpretation of the theme and glad that it left enough leeway for all the other creative entries that weren’t strictly focused on emulating the Tri-force hunter in one way or another.
It’s really important to note that this LD sparked enough of a creative fire under my butt to finally abandon another project that I wasn’t really having much fun with and shift all of my production over to creating an improved version!
Thanks again and congrats to all that participated in this LD, I’m looking forward to seeing you all and more come the next one.
<click here for Dark Acre Jack’s entry>