Posts Tagged ‘flashpunk’
Hello. I didn’t make a post about my LD game yet, so here it is.
I would have liked to put in more levels, music, blah blah, but overall I think it turned out pretty good. Give it a try.
Well I made it through my first LD with Monochrome as my entry!
It was tiring, and frustrating on occasion, but mainly it was pretty fun and I can’t wait to give it another try!
I just wish I had learned more before starting, because I lost a lot of time learning to do some stuff for the first time, and it made me waste time on silly mistakes and work slower overall. I couldn’t do as much as I wanted, but oh well, I definitely learned a lot (although I left my code real messy :x).
In Monochrome You Only Get One color at a time. The one-colored world you see is the world you are in, but periodically the channel changes and you have to deal with another one-colored world, so be sure to move in time to arrive at an adequate position in the following color (or you may even end up stuck in walls until the world changes)! I hope you enjoy this little platformer!
When I first saw that there’s some October Challenge on LD page, I thought I don’t have a time for this… But then I read the rules and realized that I am already working on a game that fits this challenge! It’s a flash game I started to make in July and I already have planned to publish it on Kongregate this month, and eventually earn a few bucks. I must say that participating in last two LD’s (#26 and #27) was a big motivation for me to keep working on my game (not to mention the experience I gained). The thing is that this game is already about 95% done – I just need to design last two worlds and do some final polish – but I hope it is still ok for the October Challenge.
Well, something about the game now. The title is
The Ancient Eye
and it is some kind of shooter/defense game. Basically you are the giant, ancient, magic eyeball and have to fight against hordes of different enemies that come in waves (there would be 10 worlds, 6 waves in each). After each wave you visit the shop and buy weapons – and that is the most important element of this game. Diffirent weapons have diffirent powers and strike areas, so you have to choose the most suitable weapons to deal with different enemies types and their configurations – and this is the key to victory. Sounds easy, but you usually you don’t have much time to think about strategy when you are surrounded by enemies. Enough of speaking, here are some screenshots:
Level selection screen
Some in-game screenshots
Statistics displayed after each world
and weapons book.
I think I will publish this game in about two weeks – so stay tuned!
If you haven’t already, please play and rate our game, Hyper Furball!
This is my 5th Ludum Dare entry, and my second time working together with my artist xellaya. Things came together really nicely, and I’m really proud at what we managed to do in the 72 hours. Here’s what the game looks like:
Let’s go over what went well and not as well this time around…
What went well:
Settling on a good concept
We threw quite a few ideas around before settling on our sidescrolling RPG with the “hyper mode” mechanic. Initially we were thinking about doing a Warioware style 10-second minigame collection (nothing new, but probably still fun), and were also seriously considering doing something along the lines of Off the Leash. The idea thee was that you keep running to the right and have various obstacles and powerups that slow you down and speed you up, and you have 10 seconds to reach each checkpoint. I was all set to start working on that when xellaya pointed out that there really wasn’t anything new about what we were making. I thought about it some more and I agreed that it probably…wasn’t that exciting. Friday night came and went and we still weren’t sure what we wanted to make, but eventually my train of thought went to “we should make the 10 seconds as intense and crazy as possible”, and from there I got the idea of a side-scroller where hyper mode basically involves you steamrolling a whole bunch of enemies and leveling up a bunch. It ended up working really well, and I think it uses the theme in a way that’s clear, functional, yet non-cliche. Awesome.
Liberal copy-pasting of code
There’s kind of a delicate balance when it comes to high-speed coding. You don’t want to be clean and neat with everything, because it just takes too much time, and you’re only working with your code for one weekend anyways (not to mention, I’m the only coder here)…but you don’t want to be -so- messy that you end up introducing bugs and making things hard for yourself. I ended up copying a lot of code from my LD26 entry Minimalist Mayhem, which I also did in Flashpunk, and that sped things up a lot, as I already had code for flashing the screen (with fadeout), and I didn’t have to think about the proper way to create/recycle objects in Flashpunk or anything like that. There was also just a lot of one-off code that ended up getting duplicated, like the code for the parallax backgrounds–after doing that once, I just copy-pasted it each time xellaya finished a new set of backgrounds and I didn’t even have to think about it. Yes, messy, but as long as you’re careful, it all works, and it’s fast.
So many, so many Ludum Dare games are lacking in polish, but it makes such a big difference. It’s what makes your game seem AWESOME. That’s why it’s so important to pick something that you can execute easily, because once you finish the main execution, you can spend all the rest of your time making you game look pretty and fancy and smooth. Screen transitions, sound effects, cleaning up your UI…all these nice little things really add up. I’m really proud of the intro and title screen, for example–first impressions really count! I was really excited when I put in xellaya’s graphics for the title and synced it all with the music…so proud! Did I have to implement a jukebox screen with scrolling backgrounds (that cycle through the 4 different levels!) and colored stars flying around? No…but it’s really neat and awesome, right?
We really worked together well this time…I’m an LD vet by now, so I know how things go and I basically didn’t run into any big hiccups at all, aside from a FlashDevelop “out of heap space” compilation error which disappeared every time I restarted Flashdevelop (phew!). I even hacked the Flashpunk Text class to get the outline effect on all my text! I’m comfortable with Flashpunk and I’ve gotten really really good at making game soundtracks in constrained time periods now–in total, I wrote all the music in around 7 hours’ worth of time! (all that training from One Hour Compo paying off!) xellaya was also much more set up for things this time and we didn’t run into any of the miscellaneous troubles that we had last time for Marriage Quest (pngs being exported without transparency, etc.). We used Dropbox to get artwork from her machine onto mine; don’t know why we didn’t do that last time. It’s important to play to your (or your team’s) strengths when you’re thinking up a game…xellaya likes drawing cute things, and I really excel with 9-bit chiptune music, so it was great that we ended up with something that allowed us to use our talents to their maximum potential.
We both had the whole weekend to work on our game, which was awesome. No other stuff to worry about, no imminent tests or projects, no getting sick, etc. Awesome.
What went not quite as well:
I did better than last time (Minimalist Mayhem just had a single huge screen with all the instructions on it)–I was especially proud of the “mash space” animation that shows up on screen the first time you enter hyper mode. But the level up screen isn’t really that intuitive…in fact, the checkboxes ended up making everyone assume that you can use your mouse to click on them. Which…still confuses me, to be honest, but maybe that’s just because I’m an oldschool console gamer and I think everyone else is weirdos in the way that they think. I don’t really know how this could have been better, but I didn’t spend that much effort really thinking about it. I guess I’m just not that great at UI design. xellaya didn’t really have the time to think about this either, though, so in the end we just did what we could, and I think it’s at least functional. It’s not great, but probably not -bad- either.
The gameplay for our game is…”decent”. I wasn’t entirely happy with the simple attack/block mechanic that I had going on for normal combat, but I knew that it would end up being okay in the end because that’s not really the focus of the game anyways–the focus of the game is having fun with ridiculous crazy hyper mode! Still, I wish I could have made normal combat at least a bit more interesting somehow, though I’m still not sure exactly how I would do that. I think in the end I didn’t have time to push for enemy attack variations or anything like that, and xellaya didn’t want to do a lot of animation…if we had spent more time on this, the polish level would have suffered. So this is not really a mistake, per se, but still wish it could have been better. This is probably the main point that might hurt our ratings.
Not Enough Playtesting
Yeah, yeah, super common problem. This always happens, really. It’s important to get feedback and have people play your game, but…when your heads-down trying to cram in the last few features (Breaktime mode!), it just ends up by the wayside sometimes. I think I really lucked out that the game isn’t horribly unbalanced (at least, in a way that makes it not fun), because I really didn’t have that much time to spend on that and tweaking the enemy strengths and the upgrade requirements. I did spend a -decent- amount of time on it, which is why leveling up takes about the right amount of time and everything, so I didn’t do too bad here. But I feel like this was a danger area that I managed to sneak by on.
All in all, we did a great job, and I’m really proud of how things turned out. Our game is quite fun, and I’ve been trying to see how fast I can complete it using no continues
Please leave your feedback and comments! Oh, and go check out the soundtrack download too!
Came in to work this morning to see that our LD27 game had 1000+ gameplays on Kongregate. Turns out it’s featured on the front page of the site in the “Trending” and “Hot New Games” sections!
We really want to tweak some things and add weapons, levels and music to the game for the post-jam version, so hopefully this is the start of something cool.
Thanks to everyone who played it!
I just wanted to let people know about the enhanced version of my game I just uploaded. It’s an abstract game where you use shadows to orient yourself and go through walls to escape enemies.
You can play Shape of shades here : [PLAY]
So my first joke when I learned the theme was “My games are already minimalist.”
I was collaborating with Anand so I could have more elaborate art than I could have made on my own, and the first thought when you think of a “minimalist game” would be red wedges shooting white circles or something.
So on Friday we considered a few directions to take the idea that would address the theme, especially ones that would allow minimalist and non-minimalist elements to co-mingle.
1) A non-minimalist character exploring a minimalist world.
2) Perhaps everything is coloured rectangles until you get close to it or shine a light on it or something.
3) A strategy game that you can switch between two different modes, one with character stats and firing ranges and things, one where they are white and black pieces that move by square.
4) A strategy game of minimalists vs. non-minimalists
We started going with 4, then started thinking a Tower Defense would be easiest to finish in a weekend, ( compared to a more symmetrical strategy game, where I would need to program the A.I. ) and somehow while drawing the sketches for it, we came up with the unique aiming mechanism, which you can see here:
Note also that the towers were initially vertical boxes. The lines were meant to show where the rear towers had a clear line-of-sight, but looking at it, we thought, what if that’s how you aimed, not with a single tower, but with a pair of towers? So we seized on that as a mechanism that made the game a little more innovative than just yet another TD game, and set to work.
I programmed it in Flashpunk, because I had used it before. Anand and I hadn’t collaborated before, so I wanted to keep the number of new things under control. I looked up a lot of things on Flash Game Dojo while the Flashpunk.net site is down.
After playtesting, maybe the game is a little too simplistic, which has made it tough to balance, in terms of if you make the creeps too tough, they overwhelm you no matter what you do, and if you make them too easy, you would have to go out of your way to lose. We have a couple ideas on what would add some depth to it, but by the time we thought of them, it was too late to implement them.
IceBreaker is a minimalist free-pause RTS-ish thing (probably better described as an FTL-like, though bearing little similarity) set in a Cyberspace similar to the one portrayed in William Gibson’s Neuromancer (a book which changed my adolescent life and is at least partially responsible for my getting into programming).
I didn’t get much (okay, any) journal-writing done during the weekend, though there’s a vague run-down of events in the project’s github page.
So consider this (rather large) postmortem post-hoc overcompensation. (and apologies in advance for the spam)
You can’t quite tell, but it’s a stripped-down RTS:
- no resources or buildings (instead you have gestation periods for replication)
- since you can’t build unit factories, you instead have to replicate (and be vulnerable), but if you’re standing still you will heal
- there /are/ classes, but they are restricted to *strength* (hit amount) and *vitality* (health)
- it’s meant to be broken down into very short levels, generally with you collecting/destroying something which is being protected.
- Four litres of coffee consumed
- A whole forest of tobacco
- 3,617 lines of code
- That’s 60 A4 pages if printed out
- According to Wolfram Alpha that’s:
- about 17.8 metres ( 58 ft ) tall
- 6.6 storeys high
- and about half the diameter of the Hindenberg
- Very sore wrists (hush, you!)
- somewhere between 3 and 6 hours of sleep
What went wrong
- strong underlying system
- unlike my last two LudumDare attempts, I knew what I wanted to do very quickly, I wrote about three pages of ideas and then stopped when I realised I’d already made my mind up to do the first one.
However I didn’t flesh out the details as much as usual and so started building the basic framework while pondering, knowing I could change the details later on. This resulted in a lot of code ( ~60ft worth! ) that, whilst extremely useful was probably not necessary to get the basics of the game done.
I remain convinced that it was doable within the alotted time period (the post compo version is only an extra 4 hours work, with the last 3 mostly being unnecesary tweaking)
- unlike my last two LudumDare attempts, I knew what I wanted to do very quickly, I wrote about three pages of ideas and then stopped when I realised I’d already made my mind up to do the first one.
- not enough testing of environment
- I did more preparation than previously, but I wasted time on a few things which could have been sorted out before the compo:
- setting up the live stream stole about 1-2 hours, admittedly I was feeling a bit braindead/overwhelmed/uninspired so this was a better utilisation of time than say, nothing. But this should have “Just Worked”
- Final builds (I’ll get to that)
- I did more preparation than previously, but I wasted time on a few things which could have been sorted out before the compo:
- using an unfamiliar framework and language (again)
- In my first LD, I used AS3/FlashPunk which I’d picked up a couple of hours before the compo. In the second, I used Java/LibGDX and didn’t complete – whilst I had familiarity with Java I was very very new to LibGDX and as a result spent wayy too much time googling. This time was a fair bit better (Haxe is quite similar to Java/AS3) but I still had little to now experience with either it, or HaxePunk
- HaxePunk is quite nice, but unfortunately not quite “there” yet for me, I wrote a disproportionately large amount of patches to the library in order to get basic features to work normally. This stole quite a bit of time, but it was far too late in the project to change ships. I look forward to using it more though.
- refactoring at the halfway point
- despite having most of the system quite well designed in my head, I had to stop and write a vast swathe of code on day 2, partially to undo the odd choices of my sleep-deprived self the night before
- sleep (braindead 6+6 hours)
- I should have done it sooner, and more. I’m quite good without sleep, but I ran rampant on the code-base when I started getting exhausted. Much time was spent rectifying this spaghetti. I’m not sure how long I actually slept (somewhere between 4 and 6 hours), but I easily lost 12 hours to silly choices and then the bleary-headedness upon waking.
- didn’t demonstrate theme clearly enough (despite following it)
- I had basic gameplay down very early in the project this time, but the sleep-spaghetti resulted in about 10-12 hours of programming which left me (effectively) where I started
- I actually planned quite well in a lot of ways, but some very fundamental (and rudimentary) aspects were overlooked initially, resulting in much confusion and wasted time
- submission process panic!
- I tested my environment this time to avoid this exact thing. However I discovered (at submission time) that whilst my project ran perfectly in the Flash standalone player, it would silently fail completely in-browser. It turns out all I had to do was add “-web” to the build command, but it took me far too long to discover this!
- no end-game detection or automatic level progression
- despite “shipping” with a few levels, the submission process issues resulted in my missing the 20 minutes that I needed to finalise this important factor of a “short-level based game” and the gameplay suffers for it.
What went right
- strong underlying system
- Yes, it’s a dirty trick having this in both sections. But I maintain that the approach was a good one, early efforts resulted in the tutorial system being a mere 45 minutes to implement, and most new features were added extremely quickly
- I used JSON for most of the configuration of the game, allowing rapid prototyping of enemy AI, character attributes, menus and the tutorial system)
- using Haxe and SublimeText 2
- This was a pretty awesome combination, I look forward to being able to justify the $70 license for SublimeText2 (this was my first real experience with it, and it was wonderful). I have been using (shudder) Eclipse for a while despite my lack of appreciation for IDEs in general so it was nice to have a “real” development environment again. However I’ve gotten rather dependent on Eclipse’s easy mass-refactoring, and you can really tell (names of things changed through the course of the project and thus there are some things named Agents which are actually Actors and so forth)
- the game idea
- I think this concept is pretty sound, and I enjoyed playtesting it. Definitely building some more levels and a little more “Juice” and thrusting it in the face of anyone who walks by
- music and art
- There were a few times when my brain completely went on strike, so it was good to change gears and work in Blender or Renoise to build some of the feel, having these elements in game was also fantastic for morale.
- The music was made in about 5-15 minutes for each of the two tracks
- Art was quite quick too, despite a few false starts
- tutorial system
- I’m really happy with the tutorial system, which could also double as a mission introduction system. It hooks into game events and each dialog of the tutorial can have a number of events required before it appears, or disappears making it very easy to make a clear (and importantly, responsive) tutorial.
Thanks to everyone for an awesome experience yet again!
I strongly encourage you to try out the Jam/Post-compo version after you’ve rated, as it’ll be a lot more clear what I was trying to achieve
I just finished and submitted my game. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
Play the game here.
8PM over here. Haven’t eaten anything since waking up, sheesh.
It’s great to be done. Yeah, would have been nice if I had the time to get one or two more features in…can think of a lot of things I would want to add, but it’s totally fine. Totally fine.
Anyways, here’s Minimalist MAYHEM:
Try it. It’s pretty awesome. And come on, how can you not try a game called Minimalist MAYHEM? Especially with a title screen like that???
Anyways, get some rest, everyone. We’ll wait until we recuperate (and until the LD servers recuperate) for now.
And of course, good luck to everyone who’s still toiling away in the jam. You can do it!
a short puzzle about escaping from a room full of trap
this is my first game this year, as I’m joined #onegameamonth
this is my 3rd game so far, and actually my first non-jam game because the other two are LD game
I created this with flashpunk+ogmo editor ex
when i’m creating this, i’m thinking about making some simple game with simple mechanic that i actually can do it and finish it. i’m choosing puzzle genre because i think for simple game, puzzle will be the best choice. well, i dunno how this turn out before i get some feedback, but i hope you will enjoy this game…
I’ve posted a post-compo version of Hunter to Hunted on Kongregate. This article focuses on said event, making it a post-”post-compo post” post. The new version fixes the bugs you never encountered, includes online high scores that you can only watch from the sidelines while drooling (most likely out of retardation rather than admiration), and adds a help menu to wrap your pathetic minds around those colorful funny things moving on the screen. Radical changes weren’t needed because one can’t improve on perfection.
Not that you’d deserve to pick the fruits of my efforts. Not that I’d expect you to understand the revolutionary nature of the gameplay after you’ve rated my entry #461 in Fun. I’m no mathematician, but it seems to imply you implied there were 460 more fun games in LD25, and that ain’t right.
I also wrote 25 pages of witty remarks, but they’d be wasted on a bunch of illiterate rednecks, so I’ll cut this short.
Now go to hell, and take my game with you. So you can try it out.
Happy New Year, folks!
I thought it’s time to write a postmortem too. For those who haven’t seen my game yet, you can find it by clicking on one of these conveniently placed handcrafted icons:
And now without further ado, here we go:
Some things went wrong
Yup, I’ll make that the first section. I think the game turned out pretty well all in all, so I’ll let the best come last!
Not everything went right though. First and foremost: It took me hours and hours to get motivated. Motivation is my biggest problem when I work alone. I’m not too good with game design, and often I don’t see if a game can be great before it becomes great – which seldom happens in the first few hours. There are many moments on the first day where I wanted to give up. What helped me was to remember that I’ve felt this way before with other projects and they turned out great! And now I have another one of those.
What didn’t help either is that I have no definitive base code library, I extracted my base code from another project and had to delete stuff that doesn’t fit. And then post it here. It takes time, and I don’t feel too good about it as it goes a bit against the Ludum Dare spirit. I’ll take care of that soon and will have one for the next LD!
Unsurprisingly, the clock wasn’t kind to me. Two of the levels were created in 10 minutes before the deadline. The first level is my “easy” test level, and the fourth level is my “hard” test level. I didn’t even have time to test the two in between. The third level works quite well, the second is awful but at least it’s beatable in about 1 1/2 minutes…
The music doesn’t sound stealthy at all. I am no musician, so this is no surprise. I’m not sure if I want to put enough energy in this to get better just for the LDs, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with that. I should have added an option to turn it off though.
Some things went right
Probably the most important thing: I wrote a to-do list before I started. This is so incredibly helpful and I hope all of you are doing it. For those who are not, here are the benefits of doing it:
- You think about the code design along the way. It’s not as exhausting, restricting and time intensive as doing a full-blown software design and it still gives you a general sense of what you need.
- You can always look how much you still have to do and how you’re doing progress-wise.
- Most importantly: It keeps you from digressing. At least that’s what it does for me – every time I feel like I’m lacking clear directions, I check my to-do list. Works without fail.
I had a level editor at hand. Mind you, it’s nothing fancy – it couldn’t be easier actually:
Yup, it’s just TextPad – with an XML file, shown with a slightly modified version of the Laser Systems font. It’s dead easy to parse. I’ll surly have something fancier in the future when I’m more established with games that actually need an editor, but for now its service was perfect.
It was 10 hours before the deadline. There was no time to be wasted. Yet I was idle browsing the FlashPunk forum without anything specific to look for. And guess what I found: TileLighting [1.0.1], made 6 days before the Ludum Dare. On an impulse, I spent 2 hours to integrate it. Here is the result:
Is there are lesson to be learned from that? I have no idea. All I know is that it made the game SO much better – it basically gave the game one of its major mechanics.
Speaking of major mechanics, I was 8 hours before the deadline and I had to decide which single feature on my huge to do list I wanted to implement – all others were to be discarded. I decided on lock-picking, and it turned out great. After the light became such an essential tool in the game, I decided to link the lock-picking to the lighting level – just how it would be the case in real life: The more light you have, the easier it is to do something hard. This feature received the most praise in the comments which makes me pretty happy!
Another important thing was that I focused on what I can do best: Gameplay. I could’ve spent more time on the graphics, but then it still wouldn’t look good and be much less fun. I think the abstract graphics are working well for the time being.
Another good thing was that I inserted sound effects and music. They might not sound as well as in other games where the developers actually know what they are doing, but it’s still a vast improvement to silence! I think I did both in 1 1/2 hours. With 48 hours in total, there is no excuse not to add them.
Here’s one more on gameplay: Enemies don’t have to be intelligent, they just have to work and be fun. I thought about implementing pathfinding, but took a far easier route in the end and I fare just as well:
- Enemies just patrol a straight line.
- When they hit a wall, they go left or right.
- When they scrape a wall and find an opening, sometimes they enter it.
- An enemy that spots a player goes to where he saw him last, then follows the player’s trail a few seconds:
And yup, that’s it. Just going straight for a point, then following a trail the player leaves. It’s was rather easy to make and is a lot of fun to play against!
I have no idea how much impact the fact that I made a gameplay video had, but I think it was a pretty good idea. It can give people a sense of the game if they don’t have enough time or incentive to play it and it can provide basic instructions for those who don’t like to read and can’t figure it out by just playing. It’s not hard to make, it doesn’t take much time and you can do it after the deadline: You should definitely make one too!
Some things were learned
A few lessons learned/tips:
- Don’t like the theme? Neither did I. Deal with it! You can still make a fun game. It’s not like you have to design your whole game around it. Sure, that would be cool – but having a game that will get 1/5 in the Theme rating is still better than having no game at all because you gave up before you even started.
- Keep calm and carry on: Never give up while there is still time! Maybe the game isn’t great now and you don’t have any idea how to improve it, but if you carry on, inspiration will hit.
- A to-do list helps to keep you on track. It also helps with the design. And tells you were you stand progress-wise. Write one before you start developing.
- Focus on what you do best. For me that’s gameplay, and that’s why my game isn’t as pretty to look at as other games, but it’s a lot of fun.
- Add sound effects and music. Even if you’re not good at it, I guarantee that your game will feel FAR better with them, and with good tools, it won’t take you long to make and insert it either. (In case of doubt, just add an option to turn off the music.)
- Sleep. Yeah, 48 hours isn’t much time, but if you’re fresh you work better. And who knows what kind of ideas you get when you’ll get your subconscious some time to rest?
- Music for Programming is pretty cool. Especially when you’re having a hard time concentrating.
Some features were discarded
Are you interested in what I wanted to implement, but ran out of time to do? Here is a quick breakdown:
- Level / Gameplay
- Treasure makes you slower
- Treasure: Weight (can only carry certain amount)
- Step-on mines
- Alarm Level
- Enemies shoot
- Vanishing / Hidden after time
I don’t want to elaborate on these, just give a quick impression, but it’s such a pity that some of them are missing! I wanted to have lasers as obstacles, maybe switching on and off, traps to force you to have a higher light level (and maybe a trap disarming mini game), an alarm level slowly escalating difficulty when you’re seen, enemies shooting at you, and my favourite: Dynamite to break walls, but alerting every guard even if they can’t see you.
But well, you can only do so much in 48 hours. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the result. It’s a very good feeling I did that all on my own, and I am glad I participated!
Some thanks are offered
Thanks to the Ludum Dare organizers and to the great, great community! You guys have made a wonderful thing here and are doing all of this in your free time and it is so much appreciated! I cannot believe how many games were made, and how many kind comments I got on my game – I’ve seldom experienced such a friendly community. I had a great time and I will definitely participate again!
Do you have any questions I didn’t elaborate on? I’ll happily answer them in the comments! And you could leave a little comment if you enjoyed reading this or what you rather wanted to read.
Apropos, one last thing: Thanks a lot for reading this postmortem! It hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. (And it’s probably pretty obvious, but maybe you want to follow this other conveniently placed link and rate my game? Your feedback means a lot to me!)
LD #25 was significant for me. Not only did I submit my first entry to the compo, it is the first time that I have created a game and put it up for anyone in the world to play. The feedback in the comments has been fantastic, and I’m kicking myself for not having participated sooner.
Take a minute and try Goombah! here.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw the theme announcement was to focus on a grand villain – Darth Vader, Genghis Khan, Kane, etc. The second thing I thought of was stupid and funny. I went with that.
It’s hard out there for a goomba. He sits on a little platform, waiting patiently for the plumber to show up, at which time mr. goomba either gets stepped on or walks off a ledge. I didn’t want to make the game quite that boring, so I took out the ledges and provided an endless stream of jumping men to avoid. The goomba’s chances of survival are still slim, but at least it is interesting!
What went well
- Kept it simple – I had a simple design that was not too difficult to implement in a few hours. I considered adding game play features, but focused instead on making everything look nice and by the time I could have come back to changing game play it was time to submit.
- Flashpunk – The only exposure I had to flash development before the compo was running through the flashpunk tutorial. For me it was a great place to start, and that engine is a snap to use!
- Draw first – I am not what you would call an artistically gifted man. I spent the first hour or two in GIMP drawing out the sprites for the game, so that I knew they were done and did not have to worry about the art while I was working on the code. If I had done it the other way around, I’m not sure my placeholder art (colored squares) would have ever been replaced.
- Submit early – I submitted the game early on Sunday because I had other obligations, and at that time only a few dozen games total had been submitted. I know they don’t count for scoring, but almost 50 people had played my game before the end of the day. That’s just cool.
What could be better
- Levels – One thing I would have liked would be to add some variety to the game by having different platform configurations to mix up the game play. The game works, but does get boring pretty quickly.
- Interface – An actual menu, instructions screen, and game over screen would be nice to have in there. The text elements up top were a last minute addition, and while I think they do the job it could be better.
- Frame based motion – I would much rather have implemented motion based on actual elapsed time, but started the game by implementing motion based on number of frames passed. Around hour 5 I realized that this could be an issue, but never managed to go back and rework it. Next time, I’ll start the right way.
Having actually made a game in a weekend, and then having so many people play and comment on that game has been a great experience. And to everyone who has played and commented on my entry, thank you!
I’ve seen the infamous Ludum Dare come to an end for the fifth time! Once again I submitted a game I was satisfied with, but there were many who did not survive.
Ludum Dare is never the same thing twice, and nothing can fully prepare you for it. But unusually many things were different this time. The most glaring thing was my new framework, FlashPunk, which I learned thinking of game jams specifically. And by “new”, I mean I went from knowing Hello World to finishing my most addictive LD entry in 4 days.
This was a self-imposed challenge, and I conquered it. That’s what LD is all about.
But it wasn’t a case of going from point A to point B. The main theme in my development turned out to be redesigning and piecing things together.
In the beginning, it seemed deceptively easy. I had some routines from previous LDs, and FlashPunk felt convenient for getting things done fast, so I was already working on the presentation on the first day.
Little did I know I was riding a train to the wrong direction!
A ONE-WAY TRAIN!
In the last quarter of the compo, I reached the point I’d previously named the “Ludum Dare middle-age crisis”. I thought of all the possible games I could have made instead of wasting time on something so lackluster.
The final 10 hours was where the magic happened. I stopped beating around the bush and admitted to myself I didn’t like the gameplay; it didn’t have enough action, it didn’t have enough control, it didn’t have enough strategy. It wasn’t a game I’d wanted to play if it came up while rating entries. I decided I wasn’t going to take the easy way out and submit a mediocre, unfinished game. I wouldn’t be happy unless I improved somehow from the last time.
Finally, I made an effort to consider something fundamental.
Namely, the feel of the game. Something that can’t be communicated. The thing that separates gaming from other mediums. Being able to concentrate on it was why I’d chosen a small scope to begin with.
I had to remind myself, what do I want the game to feel like? What do I do to get there? Game design starts with the spark of motivation, a flash of what the finished product will feel like. You know, “wouldn’t it be awesome to have a game where…”. I had strayed too far from this initial impression and didn’t trust my intuition. It was time for me to stop and look back for once.
I had been racing for one stroke of insight, without realizing I’d already run past several. I just couldn’t feel them because the gameplay didn’t reflect them properly. I had been adding more and more unconnected ideas, taking the thing apart and rebuilding it over and over. The source code was a mashup of unfinished games with incompatible gameplay.
So I reviewed what was important to me – resource management, strategic preparation, micromanagement, emergent puzzles – and only left the features that I felt supported these.
Suddenly, it was fun to play. Success isn’t a linear path, often it’s failing and failing until there are so many failures that they block the exits and one of the balls is bound to go in.
Anyway, after the intense last stretch, I managed to submit in time, even with a couple of minutes to spare. Everything came together after all.
A quick recap would be in order:
What went right
- I learned something new about game design and Flash development.
- The music rocks, the graphics are crispy.
- The game is pretty simplistic while having lots of depth. Basically, I did the game I wanted to play.
What went wrong
- The code’s somewhat messy and rushed, leading to a bug that places two blocks in the same tile, and even a gamebreaking bug if you get far enough while playing it conservatively (in terms of enemy placement). I seem to encounter the latter annoyingly often nowadays…
- People are saying it’s confusing. Learning the mechanics through trial and error was something I was aiming for, but maybe more visual cues should be used to improve the process.
Based on those points, I’m pleased to announce I will be making a post-compo version of my entry! I’m going to at least clean up the code, squish the bugs, and add the “ignorable tutorial” I brainstormed in the comment section. I’d love to make upgraded versions of all my Ludum Dare entries some day, but I feel this one urgently deserves it, and it can be done feasibly. Hell, maybe I’ll even submit it to Kongregate with a high score feature.
I finished my Ludum Dare entry, I didn’t make a post yesterday because I was too tired.
Come play it if you want some rpg goodness. Click here!
Also, here’s a timelapse.
Burglary, an action/stealth game about stealing from the rich and giving to those needing it: Yourself.
And here we go, a blog-post about my entry!
Explore the premises. Evade the guards. Pick locks.
Steal the treasures! And the escape with them.
Burglary, an action/stealth game about stealing from
the rich and giving to those needing it: Yourself.
View a gameplay video on YouTube:
Steps taken so far:
- Hear what the theme is
- Do some brainstorming
- Decide to do something with Unity
- Get a good nights sleep
- Decide not to go with Unity after all and do AS3/Flashpunk instead
- Finally upload the base code*
- FINALLY start coding away!
Good luck everybody!
*) I know it’s bad style to upload it so late – I’m sorry. I don’t have base code per se, I salvage other projects, so I had to get the idea first to decide on which set of base code to use. Next time I’ll do it properly!
edit: Damn, I forgot some level loading code. Updated.