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Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category
Synthesis is finished and it’s about time for a postmortem! Let’s do this!
There’s also a timelapse, if you’re interested.
What went right
I’m guilty of being a little pleased with what I’ve done during the weekend. Not in terms of a perfect game – rather in terms of my personal progress during the compo. I didn’t really like the theme, but I did manage to finish, learn a lot of new things and have a lot of fun.
- Picking Flashpunk as a library. Flashpunk is awesome. It’s very intuitive, quite well documented, and has many great features. I kinda prefer Flashpunk a little over Flixel (which I used in my last entry) because it feels more code-oriented, but I’m not that sure if this is a good thing – the best games I’ve seen so far were done in Game Maker, Multimedia Fusion, AGS, Stencyl, where the workflow seems more assets-oriented (though I admit I’ve never used any of these – probably should give them a try).
- Community help. Flashpunk tutorials (mostly those by Zachary Lewis, examples from Chevy Ray’s keynote) helped me remember stuff, and I even managed to find some preloader example on Flaspunk forums, as well as a nice Kongregate API wrapper class. Wow, Kongregate! I’ve never done that before! The community help was crucial here. Thanks to all who helped me!
- Physics. I aimed for asteroids-like movement with some friction. Attraction and repulsion mechanics seemed fairly complicated, but I spent a lot of time tweaking it, so it’s probably the best I could do with area-based meachanics. Interatomic attraction works quite fine and is even flexible enough to modify in possible future versions. I feel controls may still be too hard for many people, though – just like in my other games.
- Graphics. From the start I decided on something very simple and that was a very good idea. I did waste some time on placeholder graphics I didn’t want to use in the final game – see “things to consider” section. I think the text bubble thing – done in last few hours of development – bears a really nice effect, and I’m really glad I decided to add it. Also, particles! Wow, I did particles! I’ve never done them before!
- Sound and music. Wow, autotracker-bu is SO, SO, SO awesome and easy to use! I love that there IS freaking music in my game (without the generator tool, I couldn’t make it if my life depended on it)!
- Food. You can see it in my journal. During saturday I ate many good things – mostly because I didn’t have to prepare them myself. On sunday I just ordered pizza.
What went wrong
Besides being so horribly tired after the compo, I don’t feel that I did anything different from the last time, and this seems to be my main problem – dealing with the same issues over and over. Damn, I must try harder to do something about these next time.
- Performance. There’s a reason for having only about 20-30 atoms at most on the screen – with about 70, the game becomes unplayable due to computing too many atomic interactions. There some space for optimisation here, but I didn’t have time to think about it. Now I can just hope it works on every older machine.
- One level, hi-score based gameplay. Yeah, that’s cheap. Next time I will try to make something with a story an more than one level.
- No programming preparation. Picking AS3 without any preparation. Dammit, it’s the same mistake I did before! I don’t write in AS3 for other occasions than Ludum Dare (mostly C/C++), so it’s very painful to try and remember how that cursed variable scope works in this goddamn abomination of language!
- Working without any pre-compo framework. I didn’t have anything prepared so my code looks awful – again. On the other hand, preparing too much code before the compo could mean that I’m constrained to a specific type of game… However, I feel I should do this at least once – I wonder if preparing some initial framework would make my games any better.
- No plan, no schedule. This one went actually worse than the last time, but partial knowledge of Flashpunk did save me this time. If I were to learn everything from the beginning (like I sometimes do), I would fail miserably. I think I might try to prepare some easy to edit list of “todo” things, to maintain priorities when developing a game. This time I was lucky, I guess.
- Rusty chemistry knowledge. I had to look up many chemical compounds on the web – especially their English names. I missed a few simple ones, and many complicated ones. This is also connected to the point below.
- Theme. After some brainstorming, I got some general idea for the mechanics, but during the development, it turned out that I was wrong about how chemical bonds work and had to think about some other solution. I decided on a list of possible molecules – there are 45 of them in the compo version (I will probably make another post about this).
- No coffee on Saturday and I didn’t expect that. WTF? Oh well, I had to drink tea.
- Too much coffee on Sunday. Too little sleep. I had to rest for another day just to get into some kind of shape.
Things to consider
- Placeholder graphics. I find that using simple squares isn’t enough. At least static, red or green squares, without any animations. If you’re aiming for entities with animation, you should prepare some simple graphics beforehand.
- If you think that using some game making software is lame, go and look it up. Being a programmer myself, I find that creating a polished game in 48 hours from scratch (even using a wonderful library like Flashpunk) is really hard. Not to say that using such software makes this process easier – it usually depends how innovative gameplay you want to have, and how good you know your library code. But it IS more assets-oriented and I’m tempted to try this once (especially since nowadays such tools make different platforms versions – also mobile – waaay too accessible).
- See the last round themes? Think about them BEFORE the compo! You don’t have to prepare anything – just think what you could make IF any of these themes got picked.
Okay, now it’s time to rate some games!
So the compo is over and it’s definitely time for my timelapse!
While a postmortem is being prepared you can check out and rate my game (it’s a WEB entry! :P)
I finished. I’m pretty sure death will come to me a few years earlier, but goddammit, I’ve done it. “Synthesis” is ready.
I learnt A LOT, and I hope the game will work well on every machine because I didn’t have time to test it, but even if not, it’s beyond me to fix anything now. I am horribly tired, but also very satisfied.
Needless to say, the timelapse and a post-mortem will have to wait at least until tomorrow, but for now you can check out my game:
Putting the game on Kongregate was done in just last minutes. I know that for some of people here this is very simple, but I’m actually satisfied with my effort here (I registered on Kong just today).
Enough. Too. Tired.
Okay, so the list of chemical compounds that player can obtain is pretty long (even alkanes up to butane)! Currently I’m working on sounds, but there’s a lot more to do, so not much time for eating and stuff!
You can test current version here. Any feedback appreciated! It’s still more a demo than a game, but I can see the end. I think.
I’m very tired right now, but at least I finished the main mechanic for my game. Player will build chemical components using a set of elements. I spend ridiculous amount of time just working on physics of the system (still not satisfied), so it doesn’t look that good (yeah, I should have prepared a little better – mainly in terms of AS3 language), but it’s mostly working.
The game will be unintentionally educational, as you can see.
I’m going to bed now – after some sleep, I’m going to work on graphics and levels / score system.
Just like I promised, you can play the current version of the code (although there’s not much gameplay yet). A good start would be to try getting two hydrogen atoms into this grey circle around your ship (two hydrogens and nothing else) and pressing ‘C’.
My main issue now is control difficulty. In my previous entries, controls were usually way too hard, so this time I would like the game to be more forgiving. On the other hand, movement in angstrom scale won’t have gravity and I feel that in such environment players should control acceleration, not speed… With current controls the game is too difficult, so I’m trying to do something about it.
I will probably release some kind of beta version later today – now I need a break.
Okay, so I’ve decided on asteroids-like mechanics and this here is my first screen. The initial idea is that you’re a scientist who got shrunk in his ShrinkMachine to make some crazy experiments (I really don’t know yet) and is about 1 angstrom (10^(-10) m) big. This subject may change, however.
I think I will aim for ultra low-res graphics (it seems fitting anyway).
From what I’ve seen, there are many similar projects here (shrunk stuff, micro scale, and so on), but I hope to add a twist or two to the mechanics.
And if you don’t mind me bragging about my super girlfriend, here’s what she’s made while I was thinking about the theme:
Off to coding then!
Hi everyone! I’m going to do everything I can to take part in this Ludum Dare compo (or jam, depending on my available time, theme and so on)! This is going to be my third LD entry and definitely a lot of fun, as usual!
This time I’m going to break my crazy habit of learning languages on-the-fly – I’ll probably stick to Flashpunk/Flixel (although I haven’t used any of these for some time), because I’m quite sure I won’t have enough time during the weekend to pick up Haxe (but yeah, I’m going to… soon). However, I do have some learning goals to achieve during the compo (mostly regarding game architecture, but also – prepare schedule, stick to it, try to write some simple game design document, work more efficiently, etc.), but some of these will also depend on what kind of game I will try to make.
So, to sum up:
- language: AS3 + Flashpunk/ Flixel
- timelapse: chronolapse
- graphics: GraphicsGale, Paint .NET, maybe even a digital camera!
- sounds: bfxr, Audacity, maybe even a microphone!
- music: probably (Wolfram Tones/ autotracker-bu)
- other: will try to get early builds available, as well as some blog posts & an early post-mortem!
I’m pretty sure I will bump into some problems along the way, so I hope to learn new things. :]
Good luck, everyone!