Posts Tagged ‘jam’
Well this was unexpected
This is my first completed Ludum Dare jam and this time I did the incredible choice of teaming up with some friends.
Me and Samuel (Blixt Gordon here on Ludum Dare)worked tirelessly on the game for the first two days on the game Surf Ace. I have heard that finishing a Ludum Dare
game was something really hard and that we should keep the ideas streamlined and simple. F**k that we thought lets to a game where
you can not only surf and flip (which to be honest, would have been awesome!) but also catch fish on a spear and then ride it.
“Oh brains you are fantastic creatures” – Me
I had my hesitations about the completion of this game up until the last day when one of our friends came to record the hilarious sound effects and another friend
helped out on the fiddle to create the track for the game. This all took place in the last 5 hours so you can understand my concern.
The last hours was by far the best part of the development when we had the game ready and just played around with the details.
That is, right until we figured out there is no tutorial to our game and the controls are unique to our game so it was a must.
As you probably have figured out by now it went splendid, we got a good game out of it and most important. We had an awesome time making it!
If you have read until now, here is a potato for the long post (had a lot to say I guess).
Hey guys, I’ve compiled a little behind the scenes video of our (rather frenetic) LD#29 experience. Enjoy
You can play Infection HERE
Despite only hearing of the jam 9 hours before it began, I got a pretty good start! I got stuck for an idea for a while, just barely managing to get one before Saturday, and prepare a basic template with which to build the game on.
After that, the rest of the next day was spent preparing the first few features. Getting the actual text input done was actually one of the easiest parts, since I was re-using code I’d developed recently in another unreleased game of mine with the same thing. After that, I ran into another design halt as I tried to figure out what I’d do for the left side of the screen, such as whether I’d use buttons or pure text input. Once I got over that (took about an hour alone) I added the first four resources, the day system and the first few commands.
Sunday started off pretty good – I had a decent plan going; finish off the game’s features, then work on story and polish tomorrow. As for finishing the features, I didn’t end up managing that, though I did get most of it.
Throughout Sunday, I managed to add village professions to help automatically generate resources and take some of the difficulty off, added a little ‘exhaustion’ mechanic to prevent gather-spamming, add the ‘time’ command and put in the resource stats, all the while attempting to tackle a strange bug thought I fixed that I still don’t understand.
Monday was definitely hectic. I spent the better portion of the day implementing upgrades – something I hadn’t originally planned on adding at all – and then another half hour to slowly find out why this suddenly didn’t work, to find variables I forgot to change when I refactored some code earlier.
After finishing upgrades, and spending even more time on adding more info for the professions, I finally got to work on the story and add a win condition with 3 hours left til’ the Jam ended. After some quick designing, I ended up deciding to change the story from it’s original direction. I first had decided the end would involve you finding the villagers to actually be cultists, and to run away after discovering one of the terrible rituals they held, but instead settled on something subtler, although the ending ended up no less sudden.
After rushing to fix a few bugs that were discovered with the ending and add a Favicon, the game was submitted and complete.
I’m actually really surprised with the outcome of the game, and very happy I managed to complete so much of the original idea – and then a little more! Better yet was seeing the first few comments on the game, which were surprisingly positive! I ran into a bump with hosting, but this was easily resolved by putting a mirror up on Google Drive.
Things that went well
- Keeping the idea to something I could handle – This was stretched a little bit, with me barely finished before time was up, but I nonetheless managed to keep the plans to just the right size for me to get everything done and still put out something good.
- The chosen language – I picked HTML5 because I’ve got some pretty good and recent experience with it, having worked on two incremental games before this, so I was able to get to the game quickly and easily.
- The outcome – I am very pleased with what I managed. I never thought I’d be able to pull this off in 72 hours.
- Getting sleep, eating well and going outside – I actually took more walks outside than I usually did, and took regular breaks to get away from it, kept fed and got plenty of sleep each night, which I think played a good part in making the end result what it is.
Things that didn’t go so good
- Planning – I didn’t really get too much of a chance to do it very much, what with having only 9 hours of awareness that the Ludum Dare was even going on – a lot of which was spent wondering if I’d even join.
- The story – What with it being more last-minute, I wasn’t able to flesh it out as much as I would’ve liked.
Suffice to say I’ve had a whale of a time doing this, and am ecstatic I decided to join. I’ll most definitely be here in August to do it all again!
Villager can also be found here, if you’d like to play it:
Finally, after getting some sleep, we can say that our game was successfully submitted. It was the first time when we made a horror game with self-made sound effects. Although “Whistle” has some ugly bugs the experience was really interesting, and we are almost happy with the result. Not everything went as we wanted, that’s why we are going to fix that in Post Compo version. It would be great to get some feedback, so please check our game here
In our turn, we want to congratulate all of you who reached the finish line! It’s time to play and rate all these great games now
Play it here: virophage
All in all, I’m outrageously happy with how this project turned out. The concept and mechanics actually came out really well, and the two other people I worked with knew exactly where to go with their end of the project, as well as working with enough autonomy so as not to hold us up. When the theme was first announced, I was hesitant with it, trying to make sure we steered away from anything to do with water and/or caves or mining. I had a feeling those were going to be the bulk of the things that came to mind when you hear the theme.
Initially on Friday we had some good, long discussions on what we could do. Ultimately, we came down to two different ideas, the idea we used (virus attacking the immune system), and one that sounded fun, but probably more work than we had the gumption and time for, a sort of rogue-like Fishing RPG. The details of the second one aren’t terribly important, but suffice it to say that your fishing gear was like items you could find and equip in an RPG, and to catch fish, you had to battle them with your lure. We joked about this concept for probably far longer than I care to think about, given our small time frame.
One of our team members was remote compared to the rest of us (all two), so we used a teamspeak server run by a mutual friend. Suffice to say, I’m actually really happy with how the remote communication worked out in this instance. The person who was remote, MechaToddZilla, is actually the person who I participated in my first ludum dare with, this being my 5th one to date. As an aside, I think I’m getting pretty good at gauging what is and isn’t a possibility to fit into these. As I go along, there’s less and less features that need to be cut, and in this instance, adding of new things that weren’t even planned in the first place. Where as the first LD I participated in, there was probably a good 15-20 features we had to cut out. There was still a few things I had to axe that I had wanted to do because I didn’t think it would be feasible to implement well in the timeframe we have.
After some preparations (and a snacks/drinks run) and initial prototyping, of which, the prototype looks nothing like what we eventually ended up with, both in mechanics and design, and that’s ok, we proceeded to call it a day without any real work other than getting prepared.
This is where the bulk of the work happened. I spent most of the day head-down in the code working to bring our creation to life. We ran into several snafu’s with BoxSync working between the three of us, and i don’t know if it was a weird interaction with the newer version of unity, or something up with the latest BoxSync software, but for the entire weekend we couldn’t get it to sync terribly properly. This is both odd and annoying, since I’ve used BoxSync on my last 2 or 3 LD’s I’ve worked on without any issue at all.
Other than the issues we ran into with the other two not being able to really playtest anything most of the day, everything else went quite smoothly. MechaTodd kept adding more and more graphics into the project, and for a while there I thought I wasn’t going to have enough need for most of them in the game at the rate it was progressing vs how quickly I was getting the game implemented. TinariKao added a number of sound effects to the project that he actually made on his own with a microphone and some ingenuity, which, sadly, I wasn’t able to get around to using too terribly many of them. Both from a lack of any real need and due to getting a large portion of the mechanics down.
About halfway through the day, MechaTodd turned his attention to the musical aspect of the game, which I have to say, I think turned out pretty well. I think the small tune on it’s own is fairly evocative of a heartbeat, and complements the game very well. I’ll admit, at this point, I didn’t have the mechanics anywhere near done, and MechaTodd and TinariKao had created a ton of content that I was afraid I wasn’t going to have a chance to use much of. That said, shortly afterwards, things really started coming together within the game. I eventually called it a day with the base mechanics fully intact, but not much actual content to the game other than the white blood cells being a thing.
This is where things really started to pull together.
I started this day unsure of the particular direction I needed to go with the game. The mechanics were all intact, but there wasn’t much to DO in the game. So i started designing a handful of bosses. At this point, the game was relatively unbalanced, and became super easy REALLY fast, so i decided to implement some scaling. To this effect, I made every boss and power up grant you 10 “level” and every normal enemy kill 1 “level”, and I started scaling boss health and damage, as well as normal enemy health and spawn rate. I also decided to up the spawn rate of power ups to make level gaining increase exponentially as you go along, thus making the game start off slowly, and ramp up in how hectic it is. It actually worked out fairly well.
With all this in place, I decided to try to give players a bit more direct influence on their attacks. To this ends, i set about trying to give the player the ability to shoot projectiles, that was earned from defeating bosses. At first, I had planned to simply have you fire at the mouse cursor. I had done this in the past in unity, but I remember it being somewhat wonky and difficult to actually implement. After googling it for a bit, and trying out some stuff with getting relative positions to the camera, i realized it wasn’t going too well, and I was spending way to much time on it. That was when I had what I think was a fairly brilliant idea.
I decided to make the firing pattern fire in a predictable 8-directional pattern. This, i felt, actually works out MUCH better than the original plan of simply firing at the cursor, and was significantly easier to implement. It also gave me some extra tweaks to give to the boss rewards.
At this point, I was once again entirely unsure of where to go with the game, but i felt it needed more challenge to it. It was then i decided to add in the super boss, which was a giant combination of every enemy currently in the game. It was actually quite easy to implement, as the mechanics for the game had really fallen into place at this time. I also talked MechaTodd into coming up with boss music for these fights. From here, things really started winding down, and we moved in to balance mode, trying to make the game get tough later on, but not too tough early.
I went through several balancing iterations, some way too easy, some way too hard. I ended the day unsure if it was going to be balanced well enough for the release on monday.
Going back to my usual day job left me with little time to do much on this project. However, what scant few hours i did have after I got home went straight into playtesting and balance tweaking. I think the results we ended with worked out very well, the game starts simple and ramps up to harder difficulty really starting around level 1000. With that in place, we pulled the trigger, locked in the code, and submitted our entry.
What went right
Overall, the gameplay mechanics really started to fall into place at an early point in the games development, which i was very happy with. Unity, as usual, strikes a good balance between ease of use, portability, and design freedom to allow us to get a good game up and running in a very short window. Teamspeak was also invaluable to our communication, and held up admirably. After our initial design sessions, everyone knew their part, and we set about our tasks, idly chatting between head-down working sessions. This can only be accredited to working with people you really trust to get their part done, and is absolutely essential in such a short timeframe.
What went wrong
Box. Box single-handedly encompassed every single issue we had with this project. We spent at least a total of 3 or 4 hours among each of us just working around issues with box, waiting for syncing, resolving conflicts, wiping out and redownloading the project, etc. We were able to limp along in this aspect and get everything done, but had the process worked seemlessly, we might have had considerably more time to pump into adding things to the game.
Had the rest of the project not been going so well, this very much so could have ended up being a show-stopper when it came to getting our project finished on time. Luckily, everything else ran so spectacularly well.
At the end of the day, I’m very happy with how the project turned out. Despite its simplicity, the game is actually pretty fun, and based on the reviews I’m currently seeing in the comments, people seem to agree. The mechanics, graphics, and sound all mesh so well to create a pretty solid overall experience. As usual, there was more I wished I could have gotten finished, but there’s only so many hours in a Ludum Dare weekend. At least this time i was very good at recognizing my limits, and what would really put us on a time crunch, and was able to effectively mitigate any problems that would have caused. There was still obviously a few concessions made in the sake of time, but not nearly so many as I have done in the past.
Whew! My entry for LD29 is up as of a couple hours ago. It’s a sandboxy physics game where you play as a poltergeist defending your castle from invading knights.
If you leave a comment of any kind it’s very likely that I’ll end up playing your game sometime in the next week, so keep that in mind! I’m sure that goes for a lot of the other developers as well.
I may do a postmortem later in the week. For now it’s time to chill out with some whiskey and play some games!
This is my game for Ludum Dare 29! I decided to use the theme, “Beneath the Surface”, in two different ways. Everything in the game was made by me, except for the fancy font. I was gonna be entering in the compo, but I ran out of time. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
I’ve just submitted my first completed game ever to the Ludum Dare Game Jam! I would really appreciate it if you guys could play it and rate it. Here are some screenshots, because everyone loves ‘em:
(If you’re wondering why the player is holding a knife but shoots, it’s because of a lack of communication team-wise and the time limit. :P)
Three hours to go, and all of the important stuff is done.
All that’s left now is to complete the story, which is small, so it should be relatively easy, and just polish if time allows it.
This LD I could not make my entry, I was showing my games in a videogames conference, it is as important as make videogames, for sure!.
So,here is a screenshot of the prototype
Anyway, I got a lot of feedback from ficzone14 for my games during the jam
aka “Mole Invaders” aka “Moles From Outer Space” aka
“Surface Scratchers” aka “Terrorforming” aka “Spacedrills”
I haven’t done pixel art in quite some time, I really need to brush up, but I feel pretty good about how this came out. Consider this a first-draft until we get more time to polish (if at all)!
Things are looking good, except that it’s search light is coming out it’s butt.
This is for team Excalibur‘s entry, most-likely named Kraken Unchained.
Tools: Photoshop, Excalibur.js, bfxr, Visual Studio 2013