About Lacutis (twitter: @ryroper)
Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category
My original Postmortem is here.
Since LD submission and I released my game I’ve found that I learned a lot of additional things from the reviews I’ve gotten.
Even if you put an Instructions link on the first screen of the game, people won’t click it and then will ask how to win your game.
I’m not sure how to solve this one except to somehow reveal the win condition during play, or if this is something to be worried about.
Even if you think your instructions are informative enough about your game, they probably arent.
I included a mini tutorial system in my game to guide the player through playing and instructions but I still didn’t include enough info. I should have had more friends play test the game when it was near submission time so I could polish these things more.
If you have random enemy generation, make sure it’s right.
I had a really stupid bug in my submission build for my enemy wave generator, I didn’t realize it until people started commenting how easy the waves where. I went back and found the bug right away.
If you build a web based game, don’t just link to the game itself, but embed it in a page with more info.
This one I just kind of realized. I ran out of time at the end and just posted a link right to the swf file instead of making a simple page to embed it in so I could put FAQ or other information in front of the player in case they are linked to it from places other than LD.
Anyway, I just thought others might want to learn from my mistakes. You can find my game here. I’ve also added a link for a Work In Progress version with bug fixes and updates suggested by players.
Thanks for reading!
I had an amazingly fun time participating in Ludum Dare. This was my first and I’m incredibly happy with what I have accomplished. I havent written a complete game in some time and doing this was just the jump start I needed I think. So here are some of the things that worked, some that didn’t and where I go from here.
THINGS I WISH I HAD OR KNEW BEFORE HAND
I wish I had better researched my intended platform beforehand. I decided to do LD about 4 days before hand and settled on FlashPunk 2 days before the start. Never having done any work with flash before I wish I had researched the graphic and sound formats that were importable and what the limitations were.
In addition to that, I wish I had better resources for converting files, especially sound. I wasted at least an hour, probably 2 or 3 just finding programs and websites to convert sounds back and forth to different formats.
I wish I had planned the weekend out better. I had a concert in Vegas (3 hour round trip) to attend saturday night, and 2 BBQs on sunday, all of which cut significantly into my time. I don’t regret any of my activities, just my planning.
I wish I had come up with the storyline for my game sooner so I could have built in more than one level. I ended up not being able to include more than a single level because I came up with a more involved story saturday night, and by then it would have taken code refactoring to allow me to reuse assets in the way that I wanted to carry the story.
THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT
FlashPunk, it’s awesome. I had no experience with flash and made a game in 48 hours. Also Punk.UI. Caveat: I’ve been programming in multiple languages for over 20 years.
SFXR, it also rocks, it allowed me to add sound where I never would have made any kind of effects before.
Pixel Art Editor for Android. I used this on my Asus Transformer to make most of the pixel art. My “art” has always been the definition of programmer art, but I am proud of what I accomplished.
Making something different. When the theme was announced I wrote down a bunch of ideas that I thought were obvious and then told myself I couldn’t do any of them. Everyone was going to do a certain list of games and I wanted to do something different. I think I accomplished that.
Using a tool that allowed me to iterate rapidly. I think this is huge. Being able to make a change and see the change almost instantly was key. Especially when I was making a bunch of AI controlled entities.
Keeping my scope small and manageable. This was also a big thing, I threw away a bunch of ideas I thought were cool, but knew there was no way I could complete in 48 hours with no outside assets.
Lastly, but not least. Having an awesome girlfriend who is supportive of what I want to do and also likes to playtest (Sometimes too much!).
So I took a small (6) hour break or so and came back with a lot of ideas. I have an idea where I want to take it after LD, which is nice. I also figured out what I needed to finish the project for LD., which was Title screen, win and lose screens, some sound effects, and to clean up the way a few of the entities behave.
So I spent some time creating some simple menu screens, heres the title screen:
If I have time once I wake up, I will get the sounds recorded and inserted. If I have time I will get the second level working. If not, that will have to be a post LD project.
Just a quick edit before I go to bed.
I’ve got my ai working for my player npcs, as well as my enemy npcs, also in game hints that help you play:
Did I mention my game has zombies?
Sometimes I think the best part about programming, games especially, is the bugs.
While trying to get my tiny people to hunt for their food, a bug cropped up where they killed the beast but didnt realise it was dead. So they continued to beat the corpse repeatedly till they starved to death.
It’s the things like that you can’t ever really plan, but just make your day.
You can see in the trace log what is happening, but its the dead beast in the middle right with the person behind it.
So, I decided to get some sleep and pick up in the morning but I have made a lot of progress on my game.
From a screenshot I took earlier in the night:
To where I am now:
Ill do a better write up tomorrow with the premise of my game and everything, but so far I have about half the classes working, a good idea of where I want to go with it and I’m happy with where it is at.
I’ve got a good idea what I’m making now. It took some debate and throwing out a lot of ideas before I came up with one I felt was feasible and worth doing.
So I’m in the middle of building out my classes and some of my art. I think it’s interesting but still perfectly doable within the timeframe I have.
Also, obligatory workstation shot.
So, I’ve watched LD happen for a while and I’ve finally decided to participate. I’m not sure how much time Im going to have but we will see what happens.
Depending on the theme and how fast I come up with an idea that I like I”ll either use:
Unity3d w/NGUI and EX2d
For tools I will most likely be using the same stuff everyone will be using, paint.net, sfxr, etc. I’ll be using 2d GuiHud to generate quick assets. I’m sure there are other tools which I will list as I use them.