Ludum Dare 27
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Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 23 Warmup
Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category
So my Big Atoms was released on time and I like it. Here’s its post mortem.
I am happy about the theme-idea (“hey atoms are tiny”). I wanted to try to do a physics game, and the result, even if classic, has some less used features, like flying and complex shapes, thanks to the molecule theme. The plan was to add special atoms having electromagnetic forces etc, but the bonus atoms already took too much time.
My main problem was the need of an editor. Creating physics level always seems hard and I avoided any polygons fiddling, but I needed to handle much more objects. So, I kept adding editor features to allow me to create levels faster, and trying to find the good balance optimizing the time left. It was almost an epic fail since I made only few levels at the very end.
That one was a big problem and I experimented with various methods most of the first day (mouse, rotation). All were hard to learn and tweak, so I got back to some dead simple stuff and started the game itself, also because it was still impossible to test correctly without real levels. The final result probably relies too much on inertia. I was planning to have bigger molecule at each level and thus wanted to start weak. A bit more power seems more fun now, but it also makes things much easier, so the sweet spot needed more testing to be found. [edit:] I just documented a method how to tweak your molecule’s power using the editor. Funny, we can’t patch things, but providing an editor allow the players to fix and tweak the game if they want
It was really fun. I loved searching and deciding an idea in few hours, experimenting quickly, using tricks to create stuff faster and the rush at the end when so much is done. Also really happy to have managed to finish it. Definitively be back next time.
Yesterday, I submitted my warmup game, SameOrb, and was happy to be able to finish during the weekend. I picked an hard time limit to myself to check how I could manage the polishing phase. The engine/toy was quickly done the first day and the gameplay/balance/arts the next day, with a big gap between them where I was erroneously thinking that having few bouncing balls was an “almost-done” game. So it was something like a 2 half-days project.
It was a very fun exercise and I learned a lot of good lessons about time management for the true Ludum Dare challenge, except the theme part, we’ll see how that goes. Here are the steps which required more time than I expected, and I hope to fix that in my LD. Classic tips, but I can now confirm that I should follow them
- Challenge/gameplay. Even when the engine and controls are done, I still need levels, checkpoint etc
- Be nice with new player. Ok, no time to write tutorial or instructions, and *I* know them, but need to focus more on intuitive feedback to explain things.
- Don’t add sounds at the end, it’s not just arts, it can be an important interface feedback.
- Tweaking and testing physics is hard, and messy hardcoded values don’t help.
- Still need to watch performance. No time to optimize, but brute force everywhere sometimes leads to problems.
- Deciding when to stop adding features and when to start polishing gameplay and arts, is very important.
- Keep some time for the release step, stop coding *before* the last minute.
- Still take breaks, it’s important for performance and allow to think about the big picture.
Ok, I hope it helps someone (other than me), and don’t forget to have fun
This is my first participation and I am curious to see what can be done in 48h. I would love to work with C++/OpenGL but it seems that Flash is better for this. So, I will go with Haxe and maybe try Box2D if it’s good for the theme. I am currently experimenting with the haxe version of this library and will try to use it for a warmup game.
Now, let’s create some fun!