Home | Rules and Guide | Sign In/Create Account | Write a Post | Reddit | #LD48 | #ludumdare on irc.afternet.org (Info)

Ludum Dare 30 — August 22nd-25th 2014 — Theme: Connected Worlds
  • Judging Ends: in 14 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes, 45 seconds
  • [ Real World Gatherings | Ludum Deals | Warmup Weekend (Games) | MiniLD #53 | Wallpaper (1) (2) (3) | Mailing List ]

    [ Play+Rate | Edit | View All Games | My Game ]


    Post-Compo Design Iteration

    Posted by (twitter: @llnesisll)
    August 31st, 2014 1:11 pm

    This post is about developing my game Matters of Perspective for after Ludum Dare. In it, I’ll talk about a quick level editor I made to save tons of time, and how I’m reworking 2D physics for better player experience.

    If you haven’t seen my game Matters of Perspective, a game about changing perspective from sidescroll to perspective to explore eerie rooms, please do check it out and let me know what you think!

    Even if you don’t rate it, any feedback in the comments is very valuable to me!

    Here’s a quick gif showing a change in perspective:

    Level Editing

    I’ve spent some time figuring out the fastest way to iterate level designs. A fast iteration time means a better level design is approached much sooner. During Ludum Dare, I manually placed a ton of cubes (around 1500-2000!) in all the levels. Iterating those designs was painstakingly slow, and took roughly the last 16-20 hours of my time. After trying a few methods, I’ve settled on writing my own simple editor for level geometry.

    With this new level editor, I threw together a large level in about 30 mins, iterating the design extremely easily. Iterating a level’s design includes improving navigability, layout, wall heights, directing the player’s view, hiding an easter egg, etc. Here’s an example of what I threw together:

    physicsTesting1_1 physicsTesting1_2

     

    It looks like creating good levels is going to be a heck of a lot easier than I thought :D

    Reworking 2D Physics

    As you could expect, the physics in the compo version of the game were hackishly put together to have something playable, rather than something that was necessarily the best experience for the player. 2D sidescrolling was achieved with a SphereCollider, doing various 2D-style checks to make it work like a 2D character controller. The biggest problem with this approach is ensuring the sphere can pass through gaps as desired. At least once during play, players usually find the sphere catching on geometry that should be the foreground or background.

    This issue can be fixed by instead using the 2D physics system in Unity3D. However, this brings up another issue. The sidescrolling I want to do is all done on a horizontal plane, with gravity going down along the Z-axis. The sidescrolling built in to Unity3D’s 2D physics is all done on a vertical plane, with gravity going down along the Y-axis. To make matters more tricky, 3D colliders (like ones I could use to collide with a Sphere) don’t collide with 2D colliders at all, ever. In Unity, 2D and 3D are two totally separate physics systems.

    To address this issue, I’ve used procedural generation. In the editor, 3D geometry and colliders are created (a rectangular prism with changeable size), then 2D colliders are generated during play. Depending on the player’s height, different 2D colliders are enabled and disabled, which ensures players won’t catch on “invisible” geometry as they run around in sidescroller mode.

    unnona – Post Mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @snooze82)
    August 31st, 2014 12:48 pm

    Screenshot from 2014-08-31 21:34:21

    A little late, but you can read my just-published (second) LD Post Mortem here:
    http://henklein.com/post/96286164366

    I didn’t post it here, because it’s german (my english is far from good enough to express my thoughts) :)

    Beside the post mortem, you can play and rate my entry here:
    http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=12061

    I would also love to play your games, if they are playable on a linux machine :)
    Leave a comment!

    Star Trucker – post mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @joaoguerra)
    August 31st, 2014 12:47 pm

    This was the first Ludum Dare I participated and I wasn’t even supposed to do so. I wanted to. I thought about it. But didn’t try to organize anything with anyone that would complement my skills before the weekend.

    I basically got inspired by a friend of mine who is learning how to code and that was going to participate by herself, and I started thinking on what I could do with little time (I had a busy weekend) and very little art (my artistic skills are severly challenged).

    So I came up with Star Trucker:

    planets! galaxies! relevant title screen image.

     

    It’s kind of a slow paced minimalistic resource balancing simulator that you’ll fail at (get those genre defining buzzwords in).

    Although it starts very slowly and admitedly potentially boring, it ramps up difficulty quite nicely to a point where everything gets a bit hectic. Succeeding at keeping that hecticness steady until the player eventually drops the ball due to having to juggle a bunch of planets and transports at the same time. There’s no winning condition.

     

    here, have a screenshot.

     

    I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’s definitely a higher quality product that I usually manage at game jams and I think that that had all to do with the limitations I knew I had going in (lack of time and lack of art). This forced me to come up with a very basic concept whose mechanics were as simple as they could be. Thanks to that, I managed to get the core game loop working in a handful of hours which allowed me to take some time to draw the planets, pay attention to player feedback and deliver those tiny bits of polish that make a huge difference. There’s some balancing and tweaking to be done, for sure, but the more I worked on it, the more I felt that this was a concept with room to grow.

    Inevitably, I started thinking on how this could be developed further and I started outlining a couple of new features that could add depth to the game. I was keen on doing more with this concept and the next couple of days gave me the motivation I needed. I don’t know if people are just being really nice, but everyone’s feedback has been incredibly positive and the ideas that have been thrown at me have been helping me a lot in shaping the direction of where I’m going to try to take the game.

    Thanks to everyone that has tried the game and that has been giving me invaluable feedback and ideas. Please keep them coming. :)

     

    The vision for Star Trucker is lining up to be something that is right up my alley and I’m quite keen to see how far the mechanics can be pushed and how much depth can be added to it. I’m confident that I can make something good out of this.

    I’ll be updating my blog (half-done games) with progress on the game. If you’re interested, follow it or my twitter feed. :)

    Thank you for reading.

    Without Comparison: “Any Moment” by Jakub Koziol

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 12:30 pm

    [Warning: the following is mildly spoilerific, but personally I think it's about as spoiler-filled as your average game review. So if you want to enter this game completely unaffected, go play it first.]

    Any Moment is an entry that is completely different. As far as I can tell, it bears no resemblance to any other games this LD. I think the best way to describe it would be the ‘weirdest’ or the most ‘experimental’ game, rather than the most ‘innovative’ . A game that I struggle to find a comparison for.

    How many of us just have to keep connected to social media? The restless checking for new emails and messages, and the serious impediment this can be on your creativity. Any Moment centres on this, and then branches out into the author’s submergence into depression. This is interesting and evocative by itself; however, what makes it so special as to be considered ‘without comparison’ is the way it approaches this subject. There is only ever one screen. There is only ever one method of interaction. There is only ever one path. Profound minimalism. How else do I describe it?

    Well, okay, I can maybe do a bit better… It is an autobiographical conversation game where you listen to the author detail the aforementioned problems, spoken with the genuineness and austerity of unscripted, stream-of-consciousness speech (even though I suspect it was partially written). The only occasions at which the player interacts is when a question is posed, at which point the player can press the spacebar when they are ready to continue listening. For instance, at one point you are asked, “have you ever lost interest in something you really loved?” The audio pauses; a prompt arises waitingSpace for your to press enter. The player pauses, contemplating and reflecting until they are ready to move on. For me, this was a profound method of interaction, unlike any other this LD. It doesn’t require choices and consequences, but it still engages the player to an extent much greater than many other entries combined. As patronising as this may sound, it forces you to ‘think’, to involve yourself.

    There is also an interesting overriding theme in the game: the desire to be listened to. In games we expect the player to be the ones listened to. The player is the one who inputs, and the game acts accordingly. In this case the opposite is true. So then, I hear some of you cry, why on earth is it a game? Well, the player sets the pacing. They choose when to progress, and they are being directly interacted with by the author — there isn’t even a fourth wall to break. And the player listens. For once we holster our expectations of power and listen. I feel that this is an important message, ever more potent as more and more gamers are demanding games tailored to the  player, rather than games directed and authored by, well, the author(s).

    So, an autobiographical minimalist game with no agency that demands passiveness on the part of the player. Yet it works. Go figure.

    On a sidenote: this is the kind of game that some people may consider to be “ruining the game industry” and causing its impending “demise”. So in the spirit of hyperbolic dystopianism, I recommend everyone enter the Ruin Jam 2014, a jam to celebrate games that “contribute to the downfall of video games”. Hopefully I’ll get the time to do my little bit in aid of the forthcoming apocalypse. (And thank you to Sunflower for bringing my attention to it.)

    Also, this is the third ‘best of’ list I’ve written (well, in this case it’s more of a mini-feature). Please do check out my past two lists on the best romantic/erotic entries and the best sci-fi entries.

    –Snoother

    Crisis Culture – Post Mortem

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 12:23 pm

    menubanner

    Okay, I’ve let this sit for a while, and I think I’m ready to unpack how this jam (and my entry, which you can play here) went.

    What went right:

    Execution of style

    DandySmileWhen we decided the plot of the game (which I’ll talk about later), it didn’t really take much discussion to find out how we wanted the game to look. Our pixel artist, Gordon, has a very distinct, angular, heavily-stylised look to his illustrations, perfect for a game that is heavily about style and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

    The artwork I produced for the game was a bunch of photomontages. For a game about bringing separate realms together, I liked the idea of my pieces being all kinds of stock photos smashed together and those montages juxtaposed against much cleaner and precise pixel art.

    The hexagon motif kind of just… emerged. It started when I made the graphic for the item window, which was initially square until I started using that rad hexagon font for the text. And soon it was everywhere. Even Akachi’s wallpaper at his house is made of hexagons!

    More of this post under the cut.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    The Beginning – Postmortem

    Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
    August 31st, 2014 11:31 am

    ORIGINAL BLOG-POST (with fancy quotes)

    Greeting my dear friends! Nice to see you again. One week has passed after Ludum Dare 30 deadline. I had enough sleep, played a lot of (300 actually) LD’s entries and also I’ve got a lot of feedbacks about my game “the Beginning”. I think it’s a good time to write a postmortem and share some thoughts about competition. Here we go!

    The Beginning by Nuclear Napalm

    ATTENTION!
    Following post contains spoilers!
    PLAY THE GAME BEFORE READING!

    Pre-conditions

    First of all I would like to tell you about some circumstances that preceded the competition. A couple weeks before LD weekend my boss told me that I will have a short business trip exactly the same weekend. I was pissed off. But then I checked flight tickets and realised that I will come back Saturday evening. So I would have a couple hours on Saturday and whole Sunday to participate in competition.

    Another thing that should be mentioned is that I’m living in Shanghai and the competition started at 9am Saturday morning and deadline was at 9am Monday morning in my time-zone. This circumstance gave me some advantage in my situation.


    Theme

    So, Saturday 9am, theme has been announced and the competition officially has been started.

    Honestly, I don’t like the theme. I believe that there were some more original and more interesting themes, but… whatever. When I read the theme first time it was like “Oh, there will be a lot of games about literally connecting planets, controlling twins and swapping dimensions… boring“. And after several hundreds of entries been played and watched I can say that I was right. Anyway, I had no choice. I started thinking about my game and how I can stand out from crowd.


    Idea and concept

    I spend about an hour thinking about an idea. I rejected 4 ideas that came to my head and then I ended up with “the Beginning”. This is the game about baby who lives in 2 worlds at the same time – our world and a world inside his mother’s womb. These two worlds are obviously connected – mother can feel when baby moves and baby can hear and feel what happens in “outer” world.

    I decided it should be a  journey from the moment of conceiving to the moment of birth. My initial idea was to make 9 levels, each represents 1 month of life inside the womb. I also wanted to show how baby growth – appearance changes each level, the character obtains new abilities (eating, grabbing things, rotating, etc.). I made some short research regarding a process of growing inside the womb. After all this activities I was able to plot basic storyline and key-milestones.


    Art style & mood

    There are 2 main reasons why I picked minimalism as a visual style for my game:

    1. I didn’t have enough time to produce quality pixel-art.
    2. I wanted to keep things abstract to maintain mystery about what happens in the game.

    I really wanted to show process of growing but keep it as abstract as possible so player won’t be able to figure out who is the main character and where he is until the very end of the game. Since game supposed to contain only 9 levels I’ve made 9 “stages of growth” of main character:

    the Beginning - character by Nuclear Napalm

    To set up some tension I came with the idea that there won’t be any music. Player can hear only heartbeat (of main character’s mother) and each level it becomes louder and faster. Players who have managed to complete the game say that it’s really cool and contribute to the mood very well.

    Speaking about mystery it worth to mention that it became the best and the worst feature of the game at the same time. This is the game about story. About mysterious story. A lot of players mentioned that they really liked the mood of the game. Another feature that helps to set up mysterious mood is the dialog between a mother and a father of the main character. At the very beginning players don’t know who are these MAN and WOMAN, and why they’re watching him. Some player wrote in comments that he was convinced that he was playing some creature in lab.

    So, players get hooked from the very beginning and its really cool. But to figure out what this game is about, to experience this “Wow!” moment and understand why it’s about connected worlds players must complete the game… And this is the worst thing because the game appeared to be so difficult and hard to complete for most of the players. I managed to fix it only in post-compo version of the game.


    Post-compo

    In a first day after deadline some players complained about difficulty of the game. Levels are very long and there are no checkpoints. A first solution was to make a walkthrough video. It was better than nothing, but still not enough. I started to think about simplified version of the game. I decided that making checkpoints logic from scratch would be time consuming so it was better to fix the existing levels without changing gameplay.

    I started working on this version Tuesday afternoon. I uploaded simplified version Tuesday evening and it was really worth it. I’ve got a lot of positive feedbacks, because most of the players were able to complete new simplified version. Since that moment I could spend all my time playing other entries and working on promotion of my entry (twitter, twitch, postmortem, etc.).


    What went right

    • Idea. I spend a couple hours on brainstorming and detalization, so I started developing process with strong and clear concept in my head.
    • Development. I didn’t encounter any significant problems during development process except some minor issues with physics and camera jitter.
    • Controls appeared to be very smooth and responsive.
    • Minimalist art-style and mood.
    • Walkthrough video.
    • Simplified version.
    • Twitter and Twitch activity.

    What went wrong

    • Difficulty.
    • Prioritization. I spend whole Sunday working on levels. I ended up with 8 level out of 9. Most of these levels appeared to be very long and difficult, so I had to spend even more time to make simplified version. It would be better if I made less levels and spent some time to implement checkpoints in the game.
    • QA. Since I spent all Sunday working on levels I didn’t have time for proper playtest. Initially I was thinking that my wife and some my friend would play it and give me some feedbacks. Unfortunately, deadline time was 9am Monday (Shanghai local time). I built my game about 7am so it was impossible to ask someone to play it. I just tested it by myself, prepared some description and screenshots and uploaded all the stuff to LD website.

    What’s next?

    I don’t want to rush with this project. I need time to rest, to clear my mind. Also I want to collect more feedback from players. Then I gonna look at this project again with more self-criticism. There is a chance that I will continue working on this project, but I’m still not sure about it.


    Conclusion

    It was a great experience for me. It was tough, but definitely worth it. I can’t wait to participate next LD or other game jam.

    Thank you for reading. If you like “The Beginning” let’s stay in touch: follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Stay cool, stay indie! I’ll come back soon!

    Timelapse of Omnis

    Posted by (twitter: @bytegrove)
    August 31st, 2014 11:21 am

    I just put together a timelapse of my jam entry: “Omnis”, the reverse-god-sim-hack-and-slash!

    player_sprites5
    Play it here: Omnis entry page

     

     

     

    Garden of Oblivion Release : Escape the Garden

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 10:50 am

    Better late than never, right XD ?

    title screen

    One day Reven awakens in a strange but beautiful place where the young teenager is treated like a very special guest. There are talking animals, each being rather kind and friendly. Unless the door is mentioned. The one in the back of the garden. But what could be behind that mysterious door ? And why Reven isn’t allowed to go out ? You shouldn’t try to know the truth…

    GoO 02GoO 03GoO 04

    Due to lack of time, the game jam version was really unpolished and full of bugs. We fixed many of them with an update but we felt it was still very much incomplete. So we took some more days to make a post-jam version on itch.io that offers a more polished experience.  If you want to rate the original LD entry, drop by our page =).

    Post-mortem incoming !

    I herd you leik gamez

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 10:03 am

    So I put four games into a game so that you can play while you play. Plus the plot is about bacon strips trying to come together to assemble a pig back – does it get any better than that?

     

    THE BACON UPRISING, BABY

     

    Post Compo version 1.1

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 9:26 am

    Since the Jam was over I’ve continued to work on my little game and I just posted the first post-jam version!

    You can now battle your friends in local VERSUS mode
    Destroy the other player before it destroys you!!! 

    VersusBig

    [Play it here]

     

    Orbital Expansion, Working on a Post Compo Version

    Posted by (twitter: @Eniimal)
    August 31st, 2014 9:25 am

    I’m currently working on the Post Compo version of my Ludum Dare Entry :

    Orbital Expansion

    I changed the UI System, making it more understandable, adding some icons and i also started to add more content, new buildings etc.

    The menu now has new buttons with more space.

    I will work a couple of more weeks on this Post Compo version, but If you want, you can try the 48H version of the game :

    Orbital Exansion (48H Version)

     

    Space Horror Alpha 2 Build

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 8:39 am

    I decided to continue working on the game since the LD version was pretty far from what I planned to do. Here’s the updated build that addresses a number of issues mentioned on the comments and adds features missing from the original.

    One of the issues addressed is balance, as the original version was pretty much impossible to beat. The new one might be a bit too easy, or at least it feels like that to me.

    Alpha2 Release Notes

    - Modified game balancing, now the game should be completable.
    - Added missions. They can be acquired from planets and yield rewards upon completion. You always start with a ‘Build Portal’ mission.
    - Added a clear notification when the Horde Strength grows.
    - Added an end of turn summary.
    - Added a battle end summary.
    - Added a particle effect to planets that already have portals.
    - Navigation buttons now hidden when inventory is open.
    - Added a button to view instructions during play.
    - Added an exploration panel for choosing whether to explore or end turn.
    - Added end of turn events, which can yield good or bad things.
    - Added a menu (press ESC to access) for quitting / restarting.
    - Normal enemies do not generate Horde Strength anymore (except if they defeat you).
    - Types of enemies spawned are now tied to how many portals you have.
    - Lots of small fixes.

    Future Releases

    I still have a lot of ideas on how to improve the game, including new events, randomised planets, new scenarios (meaning different win/lose conditions), explaining the backstory, etc. Whether or not I will continue working on the game depends a lot on the feedback I get, if there are people who’d actually want to see a further refined versions, I’ll have some motivation to keep on making them (so let me know!).

    Another thing I want to do is take the game further away from the Arkham Horror design, as it currently feels a bit too much of a clone.

    Downloads Links

    Windows

    Mac

     

     

    Submit your games for our LiveStream

    Posted by
    August 31st, 2014 8:36 am

    Hey!
    We had some technical issues when starting up earlier today, but we’re up and running now!
    So come and join us as we play a bunch of your games.

    You can submit your game here!

    STAR TURTLE 64 POST-MORTEM

    Posted by (twitter: @chikun_dev)
    August 31st, 2014 8:01 am

    Hi there! We’re chikun, and we made a game called Star Turtle 64. It is the sequel to our Ludum Dare 29 game Turtle Simulator, which rode on the wave of ‘simulator’ games at the time and came first for Humour in the Jam with 4.58/5.00.

    We are an eight-person group, and have competed in many game jams, as illustrated by the table below:
    members

    We experienced our best reception from Turtle Simulator, which has outlandish writing and strange characters. So we decided to continue that theme in this Ludum Dare. Sadly, our main writer had prior commitments, and we underestimated the extent of these commitments. As we realised this, and also realised that we were relying on our writing, we decided that we needed to focus on other aspects of the game. Here I will break down each part of the game and list what we did right and what we did wrong.

    Main Menu

    Let’s start off with an obvious one. The main menu was created almost entirely by Chris, one of our programmers. All of the code was written by him, and the final redesign was by Josef.
    main1main2

    This was a major success. Not many negative points to mention, except for potentially a better background image. The ‘scale mode’ and ‘volume’ options were little flairs that we hadn’t included in a game before.

    Enemies

    We hadn’t written a combat system like this before. Random enemy spawning was calculated by Mark and refined by Bradley, who also wrote the player’s weapons, inventory, and enemy movements and attacks.

     

     

     

     

     

    As a positive, it was an interesting new system which was implemented quickly. Bradley’s code was effective and powerful, even though it was messy and structured strangely. The inventory animation was smooth, and the weapon-switch hotkeys on Q and E, though not widely used, were appreciated.

    As for negatives, there were too many enemies according to some comments. This was a common topic of discussion, with some people praising the ‘fight or run’ battles, and others feeling overwhelmed. The final boss was also unclear, which makes sense. (The final boss has its type above its head instead of health – you have to shoot it depending on its weakness). Some people didn’t like enemies respawning upon leaving a room.

    Writing

    Ryan wrote a script with most parts fleshed out (intro speech, Garfunkel speech, level introductions and Broodmother), and Josef filled in the rest. Ideas were bounced around constantly, and a prominent one which stuck was the Michael Jordan basketball planet (originally the Air planet).
    write1 write2

     

     

     

     

     

    The dialogue was well-received this time. We planned to include so much more, along with many NPCs, but we had little time to complete anything substantial. We originally planned to have planets which were ‘at war’ and which hated each other, but that could not have existed without NPCs.

    Map Design

    Our map designer Mathew decided to approach this Ludum Dare with a greater focus on backgrounds than on tilesets. This may have lead to our maps being larger than we’d previously anticipated, though much more detailed.
    lava

    The largeness of our maps is a common criticism. We also originally planned to add much, much more into our environments, including collectibles to open up other puzzles, and small villages. A more concise and better developed script and vision would have lead to better maps. There were a lot of last-minute decisions which meant we didn’t have time to change the maps either.

    Graphics

    Only one member of the group didn’t contribute to graphics at any level and that was Cohen, our dedicated musician.

    • Bradley recoloured the knights and also designed the spaceship. He designed the weapon sprites and also created the inventory screen.
    • Chris designed the original main menu.
    • Gage designed the pulsating planet links and the hell gate which appears in the middle of the space pentagram. He also designed the on-screen controls of the Android port.
    • Josef edited the main menu and added HP above enemy heads. He also chose fonts and wrote the credits menu. He implemented animations and dialogue.
    • Mark designed most of the sprites in the game (including the main character). His pixel art was impressive, and also very quickly produced.
    • Mathew created all of the maps in the game (backgrounds and borders). He also designed all of the planets, except for the basketball planet.
    • Ryan designed the ‘cover art’ for the game.

    9UjglVj (1)

    Our graphical style was mostly criticised. One person claimed our graphics were disturbing. Why would they think that…
    1One reason that people didn’t like our graphics was perhaps that our backgrounds had more detail than our moving entities. Seven people working on graphics also creates a certain level of inconsistency, which was probably a problem too. I suppose a dedicated sprite artist and greater attention to detail is what will help us next time.

    Audio

    Most of the (rather expansive) audio production was handled by Cohen, with Josef creating a few tracks and Ryan creating the main theme. We used Psycle, Cubase, Audacity, sfxr and an electric guitar.
    psycke

    This is the most work we’ve put into background music in a game, by far. It has resulted in a 21-track soundtrack. Some people wanted music to be improved, but most people enjoyed it. Not all sound effects were implemented due to time constraints, however.

    Technical

    Prior to this game jam, we used Dropbox. This was mostly terrible. We used Bitbucket and git this time, which was vastly superior, especially for a group as large as ours this time. We highly recommend it for even small groups. We created a framework before the Ludum Dare started which was highly helpful.

    We also used bit.ly to track link clicks this time. This was useful to see who is clicking what:
    links

    Conclusion

    We believe we performed well this time, however we feel there were many areas where we could have improved. We probably weren’t used to working in such a large group.

    This time, we may do well in Humour again, but we aren’t sure exactly how we’re going to do in rankings. Hopefully we do well, and we’re confident that we’ll do well in -some- area, but we’re not sure where.

    Thank you for reading! Please check out our game if you haven’t already. Here are some photos from the development process as well.


    All posts, images, and comments are owned by their creators.

    [cache: storing page]