Archive for the ‘LD #21’ Category
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll state up front that the main reason for this post is because someone told me I couldn’t get trophies if I hadn’t written a blog post. I have no idea if we’re too late for any awarding, but what the hell.
I haven’t really felt the need to talk about my game, EscapeOut, because it wasn’t a particularly interesting process. Relying on a 20-min show-off video by Photon Storm about how to make a brick breaker in 20mins, I stumbled my way through Flixel and came up with something that put a little spin on the core concept. The theme of LD21 was Escape, so how else does one apply that to a brick breaker? Easy: something on the screen has got to try to get the hell out of dodge. From there it was a simple leap in logic to the eventual core mechanic. I won’t say what that is because I don’t like to spoil the game. In fact, I really liked setting friends down in front of EscapeOut with no instructions to see if they can figure it out. The game has no instructions for a very intentional reason.
Judging by the comments on EscapeOut, forcing players to discover the game’s mechanic paid off. I’ve been a very bad LD participant: haven’t blogged, haven’t played many of the entries, haven’t used the IRC channel except for a couple technical questions. Mostly this has been due to time; I only managed to spend half of the 48 hour timeframe coding, due to oversleeping and family obligations. So, I was quite surprised to log on today and see the comments and ratings left for EscapeOut. A few people really seemed to like it, more than I ever could have imagined. Even more shocking, the game was rated #54 in humour. Seriously, a game with no instructions, no words other than “YOU HAVE DIED” and “YOU ESCAPED”, no characters, no narrative, and even no sound effects or music, ranked within the top 10% of humourous games in the entire Ludum Dare 21!
I guess this really goes to show that an intriguing mechanic can turn a relatively bland experience into an interesting one, even if only for a few minutes.
Howdy! I’ve made a small update spurred on by the success of Stratus in the graphics category, and 9th place overall (very happy right now, thanks to all who voted on my entry!) I can’t wait for the next Dare :]
first of all, i thought I would still be able to edit my entry to add an ‘after compo update’ separate download, but the edit button appears to have vanished now the results are out :S. So I’ve edited the original zip- since the voting is over and the changes don’t affect the actual game, I hope it won’t be controversial.
here’s what’s changed:
- added some contact details to the beginning of the game
- added arrow key support and changed input to use keyboard codes, so the equivalent of wasd should work on non-qwerty keyboards (sorry it took so long to add this non-qwerty guys)
Finally the results of Ludum Dare 21, and not bad for my first real ludum dare compo 17th on community and score for the rest of my game that isnt bad. Winners are great games, and overal second did use haXe
I’m kinda slow at developing games because I get tangled up in the collisions and stuff. By next compo I’m gonna make a game engine.
I am laughing so hard. This is so great. #1 at not actually making a game! I knew you all would like my crepes. Next time I will make something even more awesome.
But more seriously, I think I could have rocked it (in overall too, of which I got approx #200) had I had the time to balance the game, so next time I’ll bring it.
Also, I’ve got 5 levels to the post-compo game now and a nice difficulty curve. I will post here when ready.
It’s that time! Three weeks and a whopping 599 games later, here are the results:
Top 50 Games
Due to our HUGE recent increase in submissions, we’ve bumped the top 20 to a top 50. Check out the best competition games here:
Compo Top 50: ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=top
Winners are decided by the Overall category. In addition to the top 50 compo games (solo, stricter rules), here are the top 50 jam games (solo and teams, relaxed rules):
Congratulations to all the winners.
NEW: The lists have gotten so big lately. So to keep the site fast and snappy during the heavy loads (events and results), we had to truncate them at 50. Don’t worry though, you can see your individual categorical ratings on your games page.
Categorical Top 25s
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.
Categorical Top 25s: ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?more=1
(And for the press, a shorter Top 5′s is available here)
*NOTE*: You can click on the titles of the categories for Top 50 style lists per category.
More Ludum Dare 21 links
October Challenge 2011!
Yes, we’re doing it again this year. Details about the upcoming event will be posted soon.
In summary, yes, basically the same thing as last year. Go make money.
Ludum Dare 22 – Coming December 2011!!
September Mini LD, hosted by increpare
Still got that Ludum Dare fever?
Tune in Friday for a brand new Mini LD event hosted by increpare. Unfamiliar with Mini LDs? It’s like a regular LD without the weeks of voting (and waiting).
A Busy Busy September
Mini LD isn’t the only thing going on this weekend. Breakdance McFunkypants has posted a comprehensive list of 7 game jams going on this weekend (and/or ending/crossing this weekend). Check it out.
Don’t let the URL fool you. There was more going on than initially thought.
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 21 such a HUGE success! We hope to see you again soon!
- Mike Kasprzak (PoV)
sooo i started a new game:)
zombidith sortof a series continueum from pyramidiath, and my friend is making bookidith; he sorta ripped the dith of me but instead we made it into a series of gamed
This was my first real LD, after having done miniLD 28.
Like a few others I’ve read about, I knew I was going to be a little short on time — getting about 12 hours of coding in since we were driving for much of the weekend. Future LDs might also be cut short, but I’m encouraged by the people who finished something in 3 hours, or did full games in 10 hours.
I had a few ideas before the compo. Once I saw the escape theme, I thought about possibilities while watching a kids movie with my daughter. Before going to sleep I mostly settled on a smash tv like idea. I always liked that game in the arcade, and the basics seemed simple enough that I should be able get something working.
- I finished something that was playable.
- Even if it was only for a few minutes, I actually got to the point where I was creating stages of attacking enemies. I quickly typed in a couple of arrays and didn’t get to tweak them, but it was somehow thrilling to at least get to that point. My miniLD 28 entry had no ending nor obvious objectives, so this was an improvement.
- From reading about everyone else’s LDs, I’m learning that if I can be ready for tweaking and level editing after the first day, I should be in pretty good shape to finish well next time.
Things that could have been better:
- I spent the first couple hours with framework/learning box2d problems — lining up and scaling graphics to match the physics. Before the compo I didn’t realize my simple framework needed more work, but at least it should be better for the next miniLD.
- Control bugs
It turns out that having working controls is really important!
I didn’t test the game in native Windows with the mouse, just with the keyboard. This made it unplayable for many people until I fixed the bug. Personally, I like using the keyboard for both aiming and moving, but that’s a problem for some keyboards where simultaneous key presses interfere with each other.
- Controls were not clear
On-screen directions would have helped. I’ll try to add this next time if I have non-standard controls. Actually, maybe I’ll just use more obvious controls for one game
After a few minutes, the game eventually becomes unbeatable. There are just too many enemies appearing for the firing rate. There other things that could have been added, but fixing this would have been an quick big improvement.
- Graphics and sound
I need to make the characters more complex next time, but for this LD, I was just happy gameplay worked at all. I’m going to try some sprites for the next miniLD. I’d also like to get sounds and music in, but let’s not get too crazy.
Since I was conserving laptop battery for a part of the compo, I started a timelapse for a couple hours, but I didn’t get to continue it. Even for that short time, watching your own timelapse is pretty fun! — and it was mostly just lines of code appearing on the screen .
After submitting, I wished I had gotten more done and felt a little burnt out. My expectations were a little too high at the beginning.
The feedback is very helpful. Also, it’s helpful for me to play the other games and read about their development. I didn’t get to rate as many games as I did in the miniLD, but I’ve learned quite a bit from playing the other games. While trying to finish up my miniLD 28 entry this weekend (hopefully I’ll post about it later), I’m realizing that it’s a lot easier for me to see which things need to be improved.
I haven’t decided if I’ll finish my LD21 entry yet. It’s third on my list of mini games to finish, so if I think of a good story + graphics (that can be made by this programmer) I will spend some more time to finish it up. Here is the compo entry: Escape Run, but no pressure to review, I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback already.
Hmm, this post mortem feels a little long-winded. Like my ld21 entry, my next one will also get better.
Well, my first LD has come, and is shortly going to be gone once the results come out, and it’s been a good time. I’m already jonesing for the next one, but I feel like I need to document what I’ve learned so that the next time, I can look back at what I did right and what I did wrong. Without further ado, let’s take a look back at JLP.
Setting goals. I didn’t expect much from myself for my first game dare, but I always had a goal in mind. The obvious major goal was to finish, I simply wouldn’t let myself hit the time limit with code and assets strewn about. Beyond that though, I was always setting up goals on my whiteboard, hitting them one at a time. This gave me a visual reminder of my progress, even if the thing I was working on couldn’t be seen in my game.
Having a clear beginning and end. I often find in my side projects that I start adding features and shiny things without a clear purpose for how it’s taking the player to the inevitable end. With JLP, I knew you were going to get from the ground to the moon, and dodge junk in between. There were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it, and that kept me focused. I was able to add some frills such as the hats that get put on the player at the different height levels, or item drops, but that was only after I had the basic implementation down.
Variety. While I love so many of the LD games out there, the biggest problem I see is a lack of variety. Of course we have constraints, but when you lay down the basic framework for the game, it’s not hard to add some variety. I knew from the start that that would be the death of my game, so I very quickly laid down the groundwork for having stuff fly at you from the sides, then adding the jets and space ships to keep it fresh. Admittedly, this left little time to actually balance the additions which caused some players to find exploits, but for the everyman, it kept the game interesting enough to reach the end.
Duct-taped features. The speed ups in my game were implemented in such a hacky way that collidable things would stop showing up at a certain speed. I had a good feeling why it happened, but didn’t allot myself enough time to fix it. Which leads me to my other issue,
Time management. I mean, I didn’t totally drop the ball on this one, but there were some areas where it shone like the previously mentioned. Some features I had swimming in my mind had to be cut because I overslept, and some times couldn’t resist the allure of Reddit or the very friendly LD IRC channel. I definitely need to be more diligent next time.
XNA. I love this framework to death, but being Windows only with no way to play on the web, and the download requiring dependencies really didn’t work in my favor. Many friends and family couldn’t play because of this, as well as, I’m sure, many people who would have rated and commented. Next LD, I’m probably going to go with Java or Flash, if I ever get around to learning the latter.
Music, or lack there of. I knew this would be a big hurdle from the start, but it hit me harder than I expected. Right after I finished, I started to look in to Linux MultiMedia Studio, and I’ll be working on that for a while. Music is a huge component to games, especially one like mine where in the time between things being flung at you, you don’t have much to do. I’ve never been a particularly artistically inclined person, as I’m sure you can guess by my game’s artwork, so this one will be hard to get around.
Things for Next Time
Recruit a friend! The best parts of LD were when people showed interest in my game. I’m shy enough to admit I like when people take an interest in or admire my work, and I’m sure most people out there feel the same way. Working side by side with someone will allow us to keep each other going by keeping each other in good spirits.
Use a web-deployable language/framework. I already went over this earlier, but it’s really important, so I’ll mention again. The correlation between number of rating and ease of access was easily seen.
Write a warm-up game. It had been a few months since I worked on an XNA game, and I was rusty for the first 4 hours. I had to look at my old work just to remember really simple thing. I need to give myself something like 4 hours before the LD to write a silly Pong clone or something, just to get ready.
Anyhow, thanks for reading. Hopefully you could relate to some of my issues, or some of my ideas helped you consider a strategy for the next game jam. Until then, I wish you all the best. Good luck with the ratings!
[My name is Carlos Leituga and I’m an intern Junior Game Designer / Implementer in a Portuguese company, where I’ve been working on a Hidden Object Adventure for a year now. I was invited by friends to help develop a game for the 21st Ludum Dare event. We are the Make A Game team.]
It was around 11pm when I left my house with a 1 hour trip ahead until I met the yet to be named Make A Game team. Having memorized half of the list of possible themes, I spent the little I could of brain waves keeping my car on the road, and tried to think of quick game mechanics suited for a 72 hour game development.
I was the last of the team to arrive; I met some new faces and joined in on the ready up ritual. There were still 3 hours until the official LD #21 theme to be revealed, so we started throwing ideas around, writing them down on our white boards and linking them to similar themes.
Look busy guys…
The awaited hour finally came, and the Escape theme was victorious. We quickly (and sleepily) gathered around one whiteboard and started discussing our previous ideas, along with new ones. Among them, the Survival Tetris game was highly praised. For some dumb reason, I went to my computer and searched if someone already had done such a thing. It existed, and in two quite different forms. In one you only controlled a stick figure, and in the other you controlled both pieces and a round character. We were bummed out.
So for everyone who wants to rate some interesting games with not that much votes on the final day of voting, I would like to give you some recommendations:
Surprisingly precise controls, fast gameplay and an interesting twist (no shooting). I had a lot of fun playing this. You should try it, too. (18 votes)
Great physics game were you control both ends of one or more a sausages (this!). I really had to laugh out loud playing this. (26 votes)
Classic jump and run with smooth controls and a very authentic hand-drawn look. Feels like playing a lunch-break scribble. (14 votes)
This one has a great twist. If you are somewhat preserved against this click-around-to-escape-the-room games, like me, try this out. It breaks these kind of game down to basic flowcharts which is quite a funny approach spiced with humour. (22 votes)
Go try them out and give them a vote if you also feel that these games are about average quality and deserve many more votes.
Well, voting is almost over and I am going to one of those post mortem things that all the cool kids seem to be doing!
Before the final theme was announced I wrote a quick one line idea for each of the final themes of what I was going to do for that theme and then I could flesh it out after to something longer and more … game like. For escape I had initially decided that I would do a game similar to cannabalt and then maybe add something to it. Given that this was my first Ludum Dare I didn’t really want to do something that would be over complicated and just end up not finished and deter me from entering again. However as the time came I was discussing with my two chums DuSTman and Shot and I was convinced to try something a little different rather then just clone another game. I was looking through my list of ideas when I saw that my idea for wormholes was: “A game where in you launch a ship through a series of planets with gravity and try to get into the wormhole”. 10% space golf, 90% That seen from whitehole the Red Dwarf Episode where Lister plays planet pool. This could easily be changed slightly to fit the theme of Escape! The idea was set!
Now that I had an idea, it was time to start making the game. Given that the start for me was 0300 (Uk represent!) I decided that I would get an idea and maybe a bit of code done then get some sleep. By 0500 the basic ship and (then) planet code was in place. An hour later and I had added a line to the trail of the ship (Hence the name “Escape Lines”) and tweaked the random placement of the planets, and giving them different sizes and gravity. I then slept and had Red Dwarf on in the background for more inspiration.
Waking at 0900 after an awesome 3 hours sleep, more code was afoot, and by 10am I had multiple ships able to launch to create some pretty patterns. More tweaks and a lot of slacking later by 1400 I was adding “graphics” to the game. Next was the level system, which could have been improved but I did get to at least mention Burnley (The worst place in the UK ) By 1600 I had started working on the music which was terrible but I hadn’t made a game with sounds, let alone music before. This lead to the ability to mute the music as it was pretty annoying after a few seconds. The rest of Saturday was spent dicking around with the music and tweaking or adding to the graphics. (And playing the game, I probably enjoyed making patterns too much.)
I slept from 0200 to 1100, repaying some of that sleep debt from the previous night! Most of Sunday was just tweaking and polishing little bits. At the last moment I added bombs which could destroy an enemy ship and then submitted 6 hours early!
What went well…
Considering this was my first games programming competition I was quite happy with it. I went for the mantra of keeping it simple and it payed off I finished a game rather then being too ambitious and burning myself out before the end and rage quitting.
What didn’t go so well…
I kept it too simple and finished it with time to spare that could have been used to add more features/improvements but Decided to enter it as is. Oops. I also spent too much time messing with the music which in the end was pretty shoddy.
Happy As soon as voting is over I will work some more on a version with tweaks from the feed back received <3
Ps, my entry is here
LD seems to be a very nice opportunity for a game dev to experiment. Since I managed to make a working and frustrating game in 48 hours it seemed like a good idea to enhance and polish it. Now the game is more tactical thanks to future-seeing glasses, your conscience has longer arms and you can grow a binary tree of life.
The clock is ticking down! This is your final chance to play and rate games!
In these final hours, PLEASE give games with a low number of ratings a try. You can use this following link to view a sorted list of all games with the least number of votes:
Tune in late Monday night (about an hour after the clock strikes zero) for the results.
I1′ve been reading a lot of Batman comics lately and today I had a little time , so I decided to change some sprites and sounds in my LD21 entry: Carol and The Haunted Castle to make it look like a Batman game… this is what I did, hope you like it… you have to save Robin who has been kidnapped by The Joker and… you know the rest.
The game isn’t finished yet and the Batman sprites were made by Pegalulu
I guess it’s time for me to do a postmortem of sorts (Tho I’m still working on the game at this point, but I should be able to wrap it up this weekend, you can check the compo and WIP post compo version at my entry page)
First of all, I would like to say that this has been a great experience, and I want to thank everyone for making it possible. So thanks everyone that participated, to the organizers that somehow managed to keep this afloat during the server situation, Adam Atomic for his awesome awesome Flixel Framework, and special thanks to Dogbomb for his terrific “65 Indie Games in 10(ish) Minutes” review, and to Oujevipo for his series of Ludum Dare game reviews.
So without further delays, a screenshot and then The Bad, The Good and a Desition:
Actually nothing went bad at all, I wish I had more time during the compo, but I had to attend a meeting on saturday that ate half of the day (I coded through half of it anyway, while nodding hehe), and the compo theme is announced right around the time I’m falling asleep (I’ve learnt that it’s better if I read it, then scribble down some notes and go to bed, instead of working through the night like I attempted last time).
There’s just too many good stuff so i’ll break it up.
I loved the theme the moment I read it. I had been thinking about non-combat, non-pewpewpew games for a couple of weeks before the compo, and what better theme than Escape to approach indirect conflict? I felt it was perfect.
Flash Develop and Flixel are rock solid, I can’t explain how comfortable I feel with this combination.
GXSCC, usually frowned upon by the chiptune community, allowed me to achieve the sound I wanted without needing to learn the many layers of complexity found in a Mod tracker, so I only needed to borrow a friend’s Oxygen midi keyboard and I was set for music.
SFXR and Audacity for sound effects did the trick (plus some coding that make my game sound like it had lots of different samples, yet it only has 5 samples per kind of sound, that are layered and played at different intervals when triggered).
ASESPRITE, for graphics. While not great, it certainly delivered (except the newspaper cover that got made in GIMP because I had no time to dither the gradient by hand).
Pixel Bender Toolkit, my only gamble as I had never used it before, was really simple to develop and implement, really happy with it, gonna look into number crunching with it for my next game.
1- Brainstorm, watch references.
2- Write down the concept.
4- Write a Schedule.
5- Map input.
6- Create a Screenflow Chart.
This took about 4 hours. Screw Excel, Project, Qubity, Wikis, etc… Notebooks, Post Its, napkins and my cellphone alarm clock work just as good, or way better. For this part I took the keynote as some sort of divine commandment and followed the pro style advice to the letter.
After that, I jumped into developing the screen flow, slide presentation style, then jumped into the game logic, and the rest is history.
I really love making games, I really do. Ludum Dare helped me confirm my gut feeling. I love every aspect of it: The designing, the planning, the coding, the art and sound creation, the polishing, EVERYTHING.
I’m already on the path to make this my livelihood, I’m on the process of getting a game design diploma since earlier this year, and because of that I was thinking about throwing my CV around different companies once I got my portfolio finished (I’m a pretty competent 3d modeler). But the thing is that I don’t want to be another over specialized cog in the machine, pushing vertices or voxels around from 9 to 7, realizing other people’s vision.
I’ve attempted to collaborate with other people on game projects, and I’ve failed every single time, vision and consensus do not mix. I got tired of people telling me “no we can’t do that because it’s too hard”, I got tired of people telling me “that’s not the current market trend”, I got tired of ideas dilluting into homeopathic levels to please everyone, and maybe the problem IS ME, but who cares, if I can’t work in groups, what’s wrong with that?
I just got to try and do it on my own. So starting tomorrow I’m gonna go fulltime Indie, and I’m flying Solo!
I’ve found my raw sounds still on the phone, and I’ve uploaded them to soundcloud with the intent of posting them, but something came up and.. well.. I’m doing it now
There were two soundtrack ideas, I went with the second as the first sounded too annoying, I’d like to hear opinions on that if there are any. Good choice, bad choice, that sort of thing.
These then became audacity-ed. The impact sound for example is most of the impact noises above overlayed. And yes, all of these originate in one way or another from an old dusty mandolin.
Well, I’ve spend many hours after the compo attempting to understand why my entry was so unrelaible on the new links in the comments section. I have thus polled 12 people whome I know have various operating systems – we tried:
XP x86 Sp2, XP x86 SP3, Vista x64 Sp1, 7 Home Premium x64, 2 x Ultimate x64, 7 Ultimate x86, Ubuntu 10.10 x64, Ubuntu 11.04 x64 and x86, Windows Home Server 2011 (slowly)
All these are the English variants with the latest links in the comments – I don’t know if anyone got it kicking – but I fail to see the problem. However, since then, the entire library has been scrapped and has been re-written with no dependencies at all – it runs on X11 and WinAPI from the ground up. Period. So next time, its faster performance and you aren’t expected to have a GMA >950 (945SE sort of runs…) with a D3D/Gl capable OS – you just need WinAPI/X11.
PS: For those whose games I reviewed – I was generous
I’ve been struggling to do a Post Mortem for the game I created, Dare To Escape, since right after submitting I kinda experienced a mini-burnout that wore me down alot.
I’ve never done a Post Mortem before, so I don’t really know what goes into it but lets see how this turns out.
After reading the Theme I sat down to think of a game idea. It didn’t take long to think about a platformer where your only purpose is to escape and get the hell out of there.
Since I like combining different genres I thought some aspects of so called “Bullet-Hell” games would be a perfect addition to the gameplay.
So I had the idea of you being a little guy stuck in a factory trying to make your escape. Throughout the game you would know more and more about where you actually are and why you where there in the first place. In the end you would escape to freedom, yay!
What went right
Not alot, tbh. The game has many flaws but one thing I think I got right is the art style and color scheme of the game. You see; I suck at creating graphical (and musical) assets. I had to keep everything as simple as possible. It still took me 3 hours just to get the main character and his “animations” (lol!) done. Designing the turrets was not so problematic. I wanted to have different size turrets as standard turrets and unique forms for boss turrets. Bosses were supposed to be the main challenge of the game.
I tried to stick to one colour having one meaning so as to not get the player confused too much. I chose red as the player color since I like the contrast to the black background. Green for everything that was related to static level design, blue for turrets and orange for deadly stuff (bullets/lava). Yellow was stuff that would bring you forward and be interactive in some sense, so that was the colour for keys, locks and the colour for one of the beams of the warpgate, which also had purple; a color found nowhere else in the game, signaling that this gate was special and important.
Other than that I like my Menu system and am kinda proud of it. Also the way I handled checkpoints made me happy.
What went wrong
Oh boy where do I start?
I was so proud of myself when I switched from using my own TileEngine to xTile because xTile offered so much more features and had an excellent editor for maps that supports stuff like animated tiles and multiple spritesheets and layers. The problem here is that all that stuff wasn’t neccessary and I soon learned that the editor was slow as shit when trying to create larger maps with small tile size. The runtime performance wasn’t a problem at all, though. But point stands that I don’t need such a complex engine for such a simple concept of a game. I never used multiple layers, I only have one spritesheet, I don’t make use of all the properties every map, tile, layer, spritesheet or even spritesheettile can have.
And to make matters worse I had to do two steps to create a map. After creating the map in xTile I had to use my own CodeEditor to open the map and add collision information and codes to every tile. Creating maps was awfully slow and the reason the game is so short and gets so hard so fast. There was no time for balance. The Tutorial map alone took me several hours, and that thing is short! My old TileEngine was more than enough for this game…
So here’s the second point that ties in with the first: Balance and Length.
The game has one tutorial level and two others, and one of the others is merely a dev-level where I tested everything. Creating the second level, even though I didn’t have to code anything to make it work, took about 3 hours. This is partly due to the xTile editor being so damn slow and because after creating the graphical part of the map I had to o over it again with my CodeEditor and put in collisions and code. I was able to test it and quickly realized it was way too hard.
For example the level has a long hallway that allows you to only go left and jump. In the final version there’s only one medium turret there and you can avoid it by simple running to the left without jumping or stopping. This part was way…WAY harder when I initially created it. There were 3 small turrets at the other end and you were supposed to time your jumps and movements just right in order to allow you to progress through the hallway. But after 45 minutes of testing I just couldn’t make it completely past them and even after testing using only 2 it was too hard. And 1 was too easy. So I kinda said fuck it I have to end and submit this and put one medium turret there that punishes you for slacking around or doing funky stuff….not really good design.
So I got past the hallway and lo-and-behold I wasn’t able to get to the last sphere to deactivate the bosses… This was 10 minutes before the 48-hour mark was reached. So I just slapped a gratz-and-apology-message on the gate and submitted the game.
The game was not only hard at that last boss fight but it was just plain unfair. Because the bullets those bosses shoot are being sent to random directions…
Rule of game design #1: Do not use RNG for gameplay-critical stuff.
I intended to have real bullet patterns for the bosses of every stage and was just happy with the tutorial and stage one boss to have this random pattern since the tutorial boss was about getting the crystal in between two waves and the first boss was all about getting the crystal before the first wave of bullets even reach you. These two bosses were supposed to teach you that being fast and precise was easier than taking it slow. But I only wanted this mantra to be true for the non-boss parts, so it was a poor decision to put that into the boss parts.
Ofcause I wanted a unique boss for stage 2, thats why the boss turret of stage 1 had “B1″ written on it. I wanted you to assign the shape of a turret with a specific bullet pattern, so when the player sees a turret they instantly know (except when first confronted with them) what will happen.
But when creating “B2″-Boss I realized something: I have no fucking clue how to do bullet patterns as seen in bullet hell games.
Infact I had no idea how bullet hell games are being balanced.
Theres a reason for that: I never played a shoot-em-up or bullet-hell game.
Let me rephrase that and focus more on the bad side of it:
I tried to develop a game in a genre I never played.
Ain’t I a fricking genius? So because of time constraints I have to go the cheap way again and just slap something harder than one turret that shoots in random directions.
And what’s harder than one turret that shoots in random directions? Thats right: Two turrets that shoot in random directions and where bullets come from different directions in general.
The result is just pure unfair. How are you supposed to finish the stage? Answer: Pure luck.
To get around this part you have to be precise with your movement and not panic and jump around. You have to abuse the bullets player-seeking behaviour and speed to gather them. It takes skill and not luck to get through this part. And the reward is a checkpoint. Everything is balanced and fair. Though ofcause it still is too hard for this point in the game since it’s required the player to master the movement of his character. New players tend to kinda panic around here because they realize only way out is to go up because going down isn’t an option.
Next mistake was adding music to the game. Not only did the AudioEngine sometimes crashed the game instantly, but also with music the game wasn’t more enjoyable.
This is because I used WolframAlpha’s music generator for the music. I only listened to the music for about 30 seconds and then just downloaded the longest version of the song to use. But that lead to some tracks having alot of repeated patterns that disturb the flow of the game and feel more buggy instead of adding to the experience. In hindsight I shouldn’t have submitted the game with audio. I had to submit a audioless version shortly after to replace the version and now my page looks way too filled with links to the different downloads.
Why do I have so many different downloads? Because I never researched how to distribute XNA games. I knew about the two profile-modes you can have with XNA but the thing I didn’t know is that the user needs not only .NET 4 but also XNA libraries installed to start the game. This severely limits the amount of people that can even start the game and thats bad…
And what’s the reason I had so many time problems? Lazyness.
I kept procrasinating writing code and instead spent most of the 48 hours whatching anime and movies that I intended to only play along on my second monitor to have something I could whatch while coding. Instead I got up and watched from afar, thinking I have soooo much time…I completely underestimated the time it takes to create the maps.
What will I do better next Time?
- Not procrastinate
- Use simpler versions of stuff for simple games
- Only code things I know about
- think longer about what I can and cannot afford to implement in the given timeframe
What happens now?
I want to expand on this project and fix the wrong things I did and make it a proper game. I’m currently playing the shit out of every shmup and bullet hell I can find to get a general sense of them and I’m researching how to code bullet patterns and what goes into them. I’ll have to downgrade to my old engine and actually implement the story I planned to tell with the game.
I’ll be working on this game and posting updates over on my Blog. If you go there now you won’t find much about it but as I get time and finish my research I will get back to this game and start posting again so it may be worthwhile to subscribe via RSS to the blog instead of checking it every now and then. On there you’ll also find my progress on how I build the general engine I use for the game.
I’m not sure if I will participate in the next LD. I’d love to but It was such a negative experience afterwards (during the competition I felt great!) that I’m a little hesitant and think I’m not ready for this kind of stuff.