Highschool Student & Programmer. Likes food, water, oxygen, etc..
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
Ludum Dare 20
Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category
After rating 21 games (most likely none of them yours), here’s a 3 games that I especially enjoyed playing:
Full Circuit – JMRante
This game has an interesting concept – your goal is to push wires around the innards of a planet to complete a circuit. This sounds easy, but the levels are cleverly designed so that a lot of forethought has to be put into each movement to succeed (in fact, the game punishes you quite severely for bad moves) and so that many moves have to take place in tight spaces. The graphics are distinctive and fairly stylized, but look very nice in the game and clearly illustrate each block’s function.
Subatomica – SFBTom
The visual appeal of this game is immediately obvious. Beyond the sleek graphics is a fun little game. The game takes place in the subatomic world, with various charged particles. You only have one control, which is to change your own charge, causing you to be attracted or repelled from the other particles in the level. The game is fairly short, but displays a good range of levels in that time and challenges the player to complete them quickly.
No Space – Jeremisa
You play as an astronaut stuck on a ship whose computer is refusing to return you to Earth. Most of the gameplay happens on various planets where you can gather resources using a clever system involving conveyors. There is some time pressure, since you can run out of oxygen, but the large constraint is how much energy you have – if you deplete it, you won’t be able to leave the planet and you’ll die. It takes a few failures to get used to the game, but it’s pretty fun afterwards. Additionally, the game effectively conveys the mood of being trapped and is, overall, polished.
(Also, for those of you not opposed to the good ol’ shameless self promotion at the end of a post, I made a game involving rogue planets, an astronaut, and survival)
Well, this may be a bit early to do reflecting on the actual game, given that I haven’t gotten much player feedback. Although there were no major snags in my process this time, there is still quite a lot to take away from the experience.
Stuff to Remember for Next Time
- Processing is a good tool. While I can think of plenty things I’d like improved in it, and while I couldn’t successfully export an applet from it, it saved me from having to set up a project file as I would in C++. I didn’t have any trouble with adding graphics or audio.
- Fake the physics. Last April, my greatest challenge was the physics engine. This time, I wrote another physics engine. It only worked with circles and the hardest math it used was computing a component of a vector. Also, most the math was created through the process of, “this seems to work,” rather than through any deductive reasoning. Overall, it’s not very realistic, but it passes for a game.
- Get a prototype out early. In this Dare, I had a prototype ready 18 hours in. I found that it was really boring. At that point, planets crashed into each other and stopped when they did, creating a big clump. This was not at all challenging to avoid. I ended up writing a basic physics engine and changing the goal of the game entirely to make it better. These tasks were fairly significant in scope and took a good amount of time. I also made a lot of tweaks to the movement mechanic based on some comments of, “Your game nauseates me.”
- Add variety to the game. Late in the development of the game, I decided to add difficulty levels (which are based on the score). This led to the advent of huge planets and fast planets, which make the game more interesting. I also found this in the game I made last April, when I added falling platforms, moving the game away from a pure puzzle (since it wasn’t a very good puzzle).
- Google can help you make assets (indirectly). While it’s obviously cheating to use premade assets, it is useful to look for resources on how to make assets. For instance, for my astronaut, I wanted a really easy walk cycle, so I looked up, “pixel art walk cycle” and found some useful tips.
- Details matter. The game feels quite a bit more professional now that it has fades between all the screens. The Earth graphic looks just plain weird without clouds. The tiny jump sound makes the game feel different than if there were nothing.
Yep, I actually finished early. That’s nice, since I have other stuff that needs doing today. I’ll write a postmortem later, although I can say right now that this Ludum Dare was, in many ways, the best I’ve yet had.
Processing is refusing to export applets properly (although it does seem to export applications well), even when I sign them. I can’t figure out what I did the last time I used processing to make it so that I got only 1 jar as output (using the same libraries), but oh well. I’ve wasted enough time trying to get an applet to export – maybe someone else will feel kind when I publish it and give me a bit of help.
Also, my screen capture program broke.
Yay! This whole sentence is a link to another page, listing Windows, Linux, and OS X versions of the software. There’s also an applet uploaded (and signed), but it doesn’t seem to work and it won’t give me error messages so… don’t use the applet, I guess. If anyone knows why this might be happening, I’d be glad to hear it. The game is pretty intuitive (I think), but if you want instructions:
Use the right and left arrows keys (or A and D) to move your character around. You can jump by pressing the up arrow, W, or space bar. If during your jump, you hit another planet, you will stay there. Planets are constantly being spawned and will collide with each other. Red warnings will appear on the edge of your screen when planets approach. The planets will become damaged and ultimately explode (except without the explosion because I’ve not added it). There is a white peg in the middle of a circle. The closer you are to it, the more points you earn. If you travel 3000 units away from it (as indicated by the yellow bar in the top right), you lose.
This is probably the last *really* productive thing I’ll get done tonight, at least on the game. What I have left for tomorrow is (this is the optimistic list. It is pretty much in order of priority, so we’ll see how far I get):
- Code to detect when your character is pinched between two planets and to terminate you accordingly.
- Add stars to the background. This is actually a gameplay element, since otherwise you have no idea how quickly your moving.
- A title screen.
- More images for planets.
- An astronaut graphic and animations.
- Sound effects! The gentle thud of planets as they hit each other, the sound of a spaceman jumping, etc.. Yes, I am aware that sounds don’t travel in a vacuum. No, I don’t care.
- Explosions for when things explode. Maybe some other particles
- Maybe multiple difficulties.
- More types of obstacles in the arena.
- Witty instructions.
- A good explanation of how this exactly relates to the theme.
- Create an a priori physics engine instead of the a posteriori one I have now.
- Do schoolwork.
For the last 90 minutes or so, I’ve been getting nothing done because I can’t think of what to do, and everything seems either out of the scope of 48 hours, or not effective at correcting my problem. However, I thought of a nice, small change that will make my game better. Rather than trying to not get crushed, which is fairly easy, the player must stay within a circle in space. This is made challenging by the fact that nothing will stay stationary, and planets will keep getting destroyed by other planets hitting them. Sure, I may have made a slight departure from the theme, but oh well.
I still don’t have any good screenshots to show, though…
Well, I got a working prototype and, as is usually the case, I’ve found that it’s not really what I want. The game depends on being exciting – there must be constant action. It needs to constantly put you in peril, and you need to constantly be able to escape. Unfortunately, I haven’t captured that. It just feels very easy at this point, even when I set every parameter to as high as they’ll reasonably go. Doing the math, it seems that around 60%, if not more, of the incoming asteroids are not a threat at all (and, in fact, serve to block more asteroids), which is a problem. I’m thinking that the randomness of it might not be working, or maybe it’s the uniformity of everything being an asteroid.
- Incentivize staying on the home planet somehow (and make it possible to do so). Or, have some other thing that, rather than saying, “DON’T be under the asteroid when it hits”, have something that forces or encourages the player to be somewhere specific. You could gain a bonus from mining an asteroid.
- Do exactly the opposite – destroy asteroids after the player steps on them
- Make the player control two characters simultaneously.
- Strategically send asteroids to be extra-problematic for the player.
- Add more obstacles. I mean, it is space, so adding lasers shouldn’t be a problem. Then you’d have to use asteroids for cover (and then the game could send all the asteroids from the useless direction) or something.
In any case, I suppose I’ll do a bit of graphics at this point as a bit of a break. Maybe the secret ingredient might be an absurd amount of particle effects and shaking the screen.
Well, I’ve made a bit of progress on my engine. Supposedly, it should be able to handle as many planets in a cluster as I need (or a lot more than I need – I only intend to have around 10 before they all explode), and you can move around, and the camera follows you smoothly. I’ve disobeyed all of Newton’s laws already, but that’s okay because it’s easier, and the 3rd law would really screw up gameplay.
I’m actually really close to a working prototype, since the game logic is really simple if I’m willing to assume that everything’s basically a circle (See? I learned from last year! No more complex physics crap bogging me down!). Admittedly, in terms of screenshots, there’s not a lot to show. It just looks like 3 white circles…
This Ludum Dare is going so weirdly for me – I actually feel like I’m doing things right this time around. The game will be publishable to the web, I don’t need to create any levels or write any code to generate them, and the game will be nice and fast paced. The one thing that’s a little bothersome is that people have done basically my concept before (except not in space… I guess the change in gravity is original) and it’s questionably related to the theme.
I’ve decided on my idea. You play the role of Karl, the Cosmonaut. Your tiny home world (yeah, great connection to the theme, I know) has drifted into the wrong part of the neighborhood – the part of the neighborhood where asteroids and rogue planets. Your planet comes under assault from asteroids and other celestial objects coming in from all angles! Your goal? Don’t be crushed. You can walk around and jump. If your planet becomes too big from other stuff crashing into it, it blows up. There will probably be powerups and stuff if there’s time.
Here’s some pictures that I drew!
- A game based on the idea of 7 degrees of separation. Preferably something to do with killing everybody or cutting the social ties.
- Something with a very large number of very small planets.
- A game of engineering really small biospheres (or death stars… they’re sort of like planets) or life on some tiny piece of dust. Or perhaps something else regarding life (humans perhaps) in isolation.
- The internet. I don’t know how that’s a game, but it sure makes the world small. Are we allowed to write an essay in place of a game? No? Darn.
- Make the Earth less big. Blow it up.
- Survive the birth of a planet. Perhaps something of a platformer, although with no definite “up” direction and with asteroids and bigger planets constantly crashing into your planet (and perhaps your character…), making it larger. And, of couse, I’m not opposed to letting the planets blow up occasionally.
Also, I think I’ll be going with Processing. It’s nice and portable and doesn’t punish me for not knowing how to package my stuff or link with libraries.
Well, this dare is getting pretty close, and I still have a heap of things that need to be done before the dare. Most of it isn’t dare related (for instance, writing a paper on standardized testing, then reading a textbook to prepare for the AP exams), but that’s not because I’m at all prepared for the dare. I lost the code for my command line timelapse, want to ditch SFML (and don’t have it installed), and am midway into another project that I’m passionate about (but it’d be a shame to not participate! I haven’t made a game since the last LD).
Also, on a practical note, does anyone have any recommendations for a good platform for me to use? I’m looking for something that is free, OOP, and can display images and music. Bonus points if it’s web-based.
In any case, all my unpreparedness can only make this Ludum Dare more interesting…
I’m pretty excited for this next LD, but I’ve decided to dump SFML. So, either I’m going to use SDL, make a text-only game, use an HTML5 canvas, use Unity or maybe use Java or Processing. I think I’m going to spend a lot of time looking at documentation this time around. I’m pretty sure that GIMP and Garage Band will be in my toolset though (if there’s audio & graphics). In any case, this will be my 4th Ludum Dare, and hopefully it will be as awesome as the last 3.