Posts Tagged ‘LD21’
So, Cosmic Heist was my entry for the recent Ludum Dare compo. It was a major success by my reckoning, as it was completed in time. That aside, however, I would like to write a little about how things went.
What went right
I spent some time coming up with a couple of interesting(ish) ideas, but ended up throwing them out before settling on what became Cosmic Heist. When I designed the game that actually ended up being made, I actually cut out tons of things, and cut even more as I developed it. This is one area that I really want to improve (I, like many others, am horrible at the “cutting things until it’s right” part), and I feel I made some good progress during this compo. I was able to reject tons of ideas, some good, some bad, but all non-essential.
I had a decent personal code base to start from, and already knew all about the language, libraries, and tools I used beforehand, so I was able to jump right in.
I left some time for play-testing and bug fixing/tweaking near the end, but ended up not needing very much of it. The game was small and simple enough that it wasn’t too buggy by the end, and my wife and I tested it some as I worked on it anyway. However, I would definitely leave this buffer time again anyway, because it really kept things stress-free.
The menus ended up looking/working/sounding great, and I added a cool animated menu background near the end that I really liked. I’ll probably use some of the work that went into that stuff off into the future in other projects.
The music turned out to not suck as much as I thought it would. That was actually my highest-scoring area in the competition, and I am still somewhat unsure what to make of that. This was my first time really making any music, and I don’t really have experience playing/reading/etc. music either. But it doesn’t sound too bad, so I am counting that as a nice success.
The controls are really fluid, and are my favorite part of the whole thing by far. The way you control the ship is great, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I actually didn’t spend much time tweaking that, and by implementing everything I needed for it, I had a whole system for various enemy ship movements, too.
What went wrong
The player’s ship is a bit oddly shaped. This makes it hard to see where you are going. I didn’t realize this at all (duh! isn’t it obvious! the ship points in the direction I drew it to point!) until people began commenting on it. Certainly something that would need to be fixed.
Some people kept looking for the shoot button. I didn’t make it very obvious (at all) that there is no shooting in the game. You just pilot your ship, and enemy ships try to plow into you.
There were a couple of features I wanted to get in, but had to cut due to time constraints. I wanted enemy ships to shoot at you, and every level was supposed to start at a shipyard, from which you had just stolen a ship.
There might be a problem with the Linux build of the game, as one person mentioned they couldn’t get it to run. Unfortunately, it runs fine for me, but I only have two machines to test it on, and they are both almost identical in both hardware and software. If anyone has or can test the game on Linux and tell me if it a) explodes, b)doesn’t run at all, or c) runs fine, I would greatly appreciate it.
All in all, as I said, I was very pleased with the outcome, and I even got some people to play my game, so that was really exciting. I hadn’t ever participated or followed LD until now, so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I honestly didn’t think anyone would even see my game! Thanks to everyone who rated mine. One thing that I regret is that I didn’t have time to rate any games myself. I did play a few, and they were all great. Next time, I want to set aside some time to rate a good number of games.
Ludum Dare 21 is finished and rating time too and we have the rating results.
Vampire Runner was #290, not so good as other of our previous Ludum Dare games, but on the other hand there was a lot of games in this one, almost three times the games of the previous Ludum Dares.
Here are the scores Vampire Runner got in this Ludum Dare:
Position Category Score #87 Community 3.22 #144 Coolness 4% #159 Fun 2.94 #168 Humor 2.18 #290 Overall 2.75 #305 Graphics 2.50 #339 Audio 1.29 #345 Innovation 2.38 #450 Theme 2.00
Now, I want to share a small post mortem of the game and explain why I feel the score is what I expected.
What went wrong
- As the game started like some kind of Canabalt clone, because my lack of imagination, I was a bit unmotivated so Saturday progress was really slow and unproductive.
- I feel I lost too much time making the vampire animations and forgot about the environment assets.
- The game lack of audio and that goes against the Ludum Dare score.
- I forgot to reflect inside the game the connection with Ludum Dare’s theme.
- Missing on-line high scores: it shouldn’t be so hard to add it as I have Face Hunt (and other games) experience but I was a bit lazy and didn’t. One reason to have this one is to make the game more competitive and also to know who is playing the game.
What went right
- On Sunday, I almost restarted the way I was making the game and focused on making it really small and fun. It kinda worked.
- Making the game available on a lot of platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows and Android.
I totally agree with the score of the game because I started with no motivation and for that reason I didn’t tried so hard, obviously that goes against making a good game. Here is a list of why I agree or not with each score.
- Community: I shared a lot of stuff: source code, timelapse, made it work on multiple platforms. I believe that counts as community rating, so 3.22 is right for me.
- Fun: Game IS fun (at least I feel that and some other people does), so 2.94 is right for me (maybe a bit more).
- Humor: Game has a bit of humor when the vampire explodes, and maybe the vampire graphics are funny too, but only that, so 2.18 is right for me (even more than I expected).
- Graphics: Only the vampire animation is something worth to value here, the background and obstacles are not so cool, so 2.50 is around what I expected.
- Audio: Game has no audio, I am not agree with the score of 1.29.
- Innovation: Game is almost a clone of Canabalt with some modifications, it has a bit of innovation but not too much, so I agree with a score of 2.38.
- Theme: If you read the game description, it says what was the intention of the theme connection but as I failed to reflect that inside the game I believe 2.00 is right for me.
Thats all, hope you like it.
(note: this entry is almost a copy/paste of this entry from our blog)
I guess I’ll write a little bit here about how my game turned out. Here is a screenshot as a reference.
This was my first Ludum Dare and I’m glad I participated. My game was originally intended to be a reverse tower defense game but it didn’t really work out exactly like I would have liked it to. I wanted it to be a frantic run through a bunch of randomly put together rooms with a bunch of towers shooting at you. I had that working about 24 hours in, but I came to the realization that it wasn’t fun at all. I contemplated quitting at that point because I was frustrated and a little angry that my game wasn’t fun. I ended up salvaging my game by reducing the number of followers the character has and trying to make the player be strategic with the way he navigates through the rooms in order to protect his followers. I’ll be honest that my game still wasn’t very fun, but I’m glad that I stuck it out and finished.
What went right:
- I finished!
- I liked the follower mechanic.
- I think my in-air spinning knife animation was pretty awesome.
- I tried something different. (As opposed to the type of game I would normally make)
What went wrong:
- Music. I have no musical talent at all, but sometimes I manage to get lucky and make a good track. I tried, but I failed.
- Game wasn’t fun.
- Lots of the code was poorly written.
- Awesome knife animation…
- Various future game ideas
I really enjoyed participating and I definitely plan on participating in future Ludum Dares. The community here is awesome and I am very thankful for the people who work hard to organize this and keep everything running smoothly. You are doing an awesome job!
So I haven’t had a chance to do a postmortem yet (it’s coming, promise!), so I decided to quickly put together a commentary video for my game, Escape from Flatland.
Phew, now that this crazy 48+something marathon is over, I finally got the time to think about it without having to worry about the deadline.
It’s time to ramble! ^^
EscApe was my first entry to Ludum Dare and I did it mainly to learn stuff. I’ve had a lot of programming experience before, but I’ve never done any graphical games. Although I use C++, Python, PHP in everyday manner (work stuff), I decided to go with FlashPunk, having no knowledge at all about either the framework or the ActionScript 3 (besides that they exist) – but being familiar with object-oriented programming, this issue itself didn’t turn out to be that much of a problem.
I’m quite happy with my creation. I’m unhappy with the code, but I decided on developing speed, not beauty. As this is my first game, and done in only 48 hours, it feels just O.K. in my opinion (that is, I could do better, but it’s not awful).
See below for idea explanation, “what went right & wrong” and playthrough video.
“Bunnies, Back Into Your Cage!” was my second Big Ludum Dare game, so I didn’t expect anything surprising here. Of course I was wrong.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
1) Idea and tools
I began my 43 hours of game development (I woke up ca. 5 hours after the theme was announced) without any idea. I already knew I wanted to use Unity3D though (because I use it at work and made my last LD game with it), so I tried to make my concept fitting a 3D engine. After some time I had the idea of a guy running faster and faster as long as he doesn’t hit anything concrete. If you run fast enough (e.g. after running in circles quite some time), you could break certain walls and destroy enemies. Objects would have different values to which speed they react.
So I started Unity3D and did a small prototype. One of the first problems here were the physics though. Smashing through walls only looks good with falling and tumbling pieces of trash, but physics aren’t much controllable. As soon as the player runs into something, he becomes slower. When there are many bricks (sized 2*1*1 meter or so) lying around, the player becomes slower constantly. Which is tedious and not much fun.
The lesson here: Don’t add physics unless they are part of the core gameplay.
In the end, the prototype just didn’t make any fun even after some hours of work, so I started to distract myself with things on the web and IRC. Motivation was completely vanished – the fact that the theme “Escape” wasn’t really to my liking didn’t help much either. But as soon as I realized that I was more procrastinating than working on the game, I stopped. Grudgingly, I closed Unity3D.
Even though this was bad at least it led me to using Flash, with which I made my final entry: “Bunnies, Back Into Your Cage!” – a game about capturing bunnies that escaped.
3) Again, theme
My second idea didn’t fit the theme any time. I had the idea of a really minimalistic Minecraft which I would call “Pixelcraft”. From there, I began to write code, with more motivation, and at some point, the prototype was playable, and even a little bit fun.
Of course, it was missing the “Escape”.
The player controls were wonky from the beginning, and still are wonky. “Tedious” is the adjective I hear most as feedback to my game.
This is because everything moves/works block-wise. A block was originally meant to be pixel-sized, so this is why I chose to do the movement this way. Now, to add a little bit detail, the blocks are 8*8 pixels (they really are 32*32 pixels, but you can’t see that, hehe), and the controls feel strange. It feels like you often can’t direct the protagonist where you want him to be. Of course, I have no problems with the control scheme, but I am the creator, so this is expected.
The lesson here: Take the time to let your game test by others. They will crush your ego by pointing out all the bugs, but it will be worth in the end. I think. (Of course, the *real* problem is that in the Ludum Dare IRC channel were 330 people who all needed game testers. Try another channel or your girlfriend then. )
5) Being not Notch
With ~600 entries, not being the creator of Minecraft can draw some of the attention off your entry. You have to compensate it with marketing. And like most people, I hate doing marketing.
Lesson learned: Be notch. Top notch!
I like inudge, but the music sounds just like the one from my last entry. Also, there still is no way to export to WAV or MP3, so I had to record the tune with Audacity. But whatever recording method I tried, it either didn’t record or it all sounded strange and noisy. Even other recording tools made it sound like some horrible sound experiment.
The lesson learned: Sometimes, just rebooting your computer can help. It’s some kind of magic.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
1) Flash. And FlashPunk.
I just began to love this combination, because you get results so fast. I started my second try at 18 o’clock, so I only had 34 hours left – sleeping included. Yet I came around to make full game, with levels. Cool!
2) FlashDevelop as a level editor.
This is a screenshot of my “level edtor”.
As you can see, you can edit not only rows, but also columns with FlashDevelop. This made it much easier to edit my ASCII array level definitions. Also, I am happy that I decided not to dwell into level definition files, but just hardcode the whole thing. I got levels pretty late, about 8 hours before submission, and yet it didn’t feel like “too late”.
3) Pixel art.
I often hear “nice art” or “I love the graphics” for my entry. This baffles me – everything is just 8*8 pixels. It was a piece of cake to do the graphics. I don’t even have animations, or different frames for walking left/right. OK, color selection may be a factor, but that isn’t hard to get right, either. Just choose colors with nearly the same saturation. Bang, instant good-looking art!
The lesson here: Minimalism is for teh win!
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to play my game!
Didn’t finish. I’m just too tired right now, and it’s nowhere near done. Thats what you get for slacking off I guess…
Things that went well:
* Forming idea’s
Things that didn’t go well:
* Always putting my idea’s in and wasting time instead of working on the core game
* Internet on computer
* Notch livestream
Overall a great experience. I feel ready for december. I’ll try not to get distracted as easily.
movement = arrowkeys
rest = R
if Stamina = 0, you need 20 rests. (should have lowered, didn’t… méh)
Turn based gameplay, but with buttonbashing, feels reamtime-ish
TimeLapse day 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ8XI1YOXMY
TimeLapse day 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjmUgS86rW8
My game for this compo was Black Hole, a game where the objective is to escape both the horde of Drones who cornered you, and the black hole which they cornered you against.
Fortunately for you, a long-dead alien race left a platform here, which feeds off of the emissions of the black hole and broadcasts energy to all nearby ships. You have moved in close to this platform and the black hole itself, and thus avoided the gigantic Drone Mothership which was chasing you. However, the smaller Drone forces can and did pursue you, so now you must hold out against them to recharge your Jump Engines, allowing you to jump to beyond lightspeed and escape to your home.
The coding process was quite frantic. I had to write the entire game engine, and at one point ended up re-writing and re-integrating the entire collision engine, as I had failed to discover that my method of detecting overlapping rectangles was not accurate if they were rotated. Fortunately, I’m quite skilled with circle based collision, and it only took about 20 minutes to switch and integrate.
Another thing to note: I was high on Oxycodone and other painkillers the entire time, having gotten my wisdom teeth removed on Thursday. This caused many dumb mistakes, the majority being simple math related. I persevered through it though, and ended up coming out with what I think is a fun game!
Plans for the future: to continue to develop this game. I want to add more enemies, powerups, and new game modes.
Timelapse Part One is here.
Timelapse Part Two is here.
I’ll be writing a Post Mortem at some point… Thanks for the fun times all! Cheers!
Edit: 1814 lines of code, for those of you who care.
Here is a timelapse for my entry
Well, I got somewhere! I had set out some personal goals this time to see how far I could get.
a) Get the mechanics I wanted to make in
b) Get the levels buildable with my editor + Tiled so content is quicker
c) Finish at least 5 tutorial levels (which I did, all tutorials, merged one into the other leaving 4).
d) Don’t rush.
I got 4/4 for my personal goals, and I have something playable that I can expand on which is pretty much what I wanted.
What went wrong
1) Don’t rush. This was intentional, and I slept normally, didn’t spend all the time I could have so probably only about half the total time was spent.
This means its not a game, just a tutorial but since those were my goals, I am still happy with the outcome.
2) Trying to make a grappling hook that you can control
I lost a lot of time working on this rope thing that was pretty damn awesome (i love box2d) but it wasnt stable enough to use for now.
3) Only getting a concept/story idea late on saturday afternoon. Unhelpful. The rest of the time was spent working on all sorts of prototyped mechanics and stuff that i was hoping to use.
What went right
1) Mechanics and gameplay went first, then allowing me to edit them from the editor, then polish and art and such.
The editors kinda work like this :
Build the layout in tiled. Create triggers and object layers for whatever you need.
Once you have that, the level will load it for you, you can use the in game editor to edit the scene. Adding sprites, collisions, triggers and more.
Once you have that, you can edit the properties needed to connect the gameplay to the sprite objects. Like that glass1 will destroy the sprite tagged with glass1 in the editor.
What is next
Hopefully I will be able to make a few of them in time for the jam to show of the actual concept. Otherwise, I will just make some levels over the next few days and hopefully do a post release.
This Ludum Dare was a bit hard, I got a zero originality idea and that demotivated me over the process, so I tried to finish it quickly but almost without love.
The game name is Vampire Runner, like Canabalt, you control a guy who runs forever and runs faster and faster but instead jumping to avoid obstacles, in you have to activate your super skill to move through obstacles. The main objective remains the same.
Here are some images:
Running happy while there are no walls near
Using his move through wall skill near a wall
Lost all the skill energy while moving through a wall.
Despite I put almost no love to the game (well, I did for the graphics) the game is funny, so give it a try and I hope you like it.
P.S.: I will add the timelapse when I finish processing it.
This was my first time doing anything like this, and I’m actually pretty happy with the output.
There are a few minor bugs, but nothing killer (I think/hope)
I decided to go for a more story-based game than I have before. The gameplay could be better, but I will continue to work on it after Ludum Dare.
I also eventually try to port it to other platforms, namely Linux.
Ok, here is what happened since my last post.
[OPTIONAL SAD STORY]
I was supposed to start working on the project yesterday after lunch but didn’t find the inspiration and was tired as hell so before writing a single line of code I took a short nap that somehow became a ~3hrs long sleep. I woke up around 6 PM and after coming back to my senses (around 6:30PM) I sat in front of the computer so I could start working on the game. I settled with Monkey as the programming language and made some progress with the code… but as the night fell I started running into some problems. I was not satisfied with the overall implementation of a few things and although I tried a few alternative ways I was not getting the results I wanted. My goal was to finish the game that night so I could spend the few hours I would have available on Sunday to make music/sound and better graphics. Around 3 AM I discovered (by checking facebook) that DST was to be resumed that night… so it was 1 hour later than what my clock was telling me. Having my time cut by my “little” nap and the damn DST, and frustrated because I was unable to achieve the results I wanted for the game, I decided to give up on the project.
I woke up this Sunday a bit before lunch, a bit depressed for having abandoned the project.
My sister entered my room and asked me about the competition and I told her I gave up on it last night. I remained on bed a few more minutes and then started thinking on my plans for the day.
I discovered I had nothing better to do, so after a few minutes, I decided to give it another shot at the project. I rescued the files from the recycle bin and started working on it again. Don’t ask me why I did that… I didn’t have a single reason to resume the project… in fact, it was quite unrealistic to even think it was possible to finish the game in the remaining time having already lost like 50% of the estimated time I had. But I was not in a hurry for finishing now… I was .. just curious to see how far I could go with it…
[/OPTIONAL SAD STORY]
I actually got trolled by the clock. I checked the LD page and made my schedule according the remaining time it displayed. I should have grown suspicious that it was still telling me that the compo would end around 10:00 PM despite the DST, but I wasn’t thinking on the DST in that moment.
I managed to finish the game code around 8 PM, so I had like 2 hours to make some music. After trying a few programs from the LD tools page and realizing I didn’t have time to learn any of those I settled with composing the music with my DS (and the DS-10 Synthesizer) and record it on the PC with a stereo cable. It worked fine. I made the special FX with SFXR on my computer.
I wrote the sound manager module and then rebuilt the project. It worked fine except for one thing… background music was not looping. I tried a few things but given the time constraint I ended up giving up on it, leaving only the special fxs.
With like 40 minutes remaining until the end of the submission deadline I uploaded everything to my website and tried it on the browser. It worked fine except for a minor thing… I was loading resources in the moment you need them, so the first time you face an open door, or any of the game screens, the game freezes for a second or so in order to load the image/sound. BAD.
I coded a quick and dirty image manager class that I could use to keep a cache of previously loaded images. Then replaced all loading calls for cache calls and added a few calls at the beginning of the code to cache the most heavy images (so they were already loaded from the start) and then uploaded the game again. Now it was working fine. As I didn’t write a cache for sounds you may miss a few sounds if they are too slow to load, but that shouldn’t affect the experience.
With only 18 minutes remaining until the end of the competition I finished uploading the game and submitting it into the compo. I was done.
I felt so relaxed that I kicked back and checked the IRC…. only to find that it was still 1 hour and 18 minutes until the end. Damn YOU DST!! LOL.
TL;DR? Managed to make the game. Don’t ask for the graphics as I had like half the time I was supposed to have (which was already around 1 day total). Had some problems but fixed them (although some compromises were done). Total time was around 8 hours including “art”, “sound”, and “music” (which was not included for technical reasons). Also, I’m bipolar.
P.S: You need to correctly avoid/enter 50 doors to win the game. Good luck with THAT!
This was my first time competing in Ludum Dare, and I spent most of the time trying to learn java. I finally gave up on that briefly, and spent 2 hours making this game. It’s not all that good, and I never got around to putting in any RPG elements other than having variables for strength and dexterity….which were never really used in game, only increased a bit on level up. I tried to make it funny, but to each his own. Hopefully by next time, I will know enough about java to make a game with it.
I didn’t like the theme very much when I woke up. Was wondering what I could do with it.
After going to the shops with my GF, couldn’t think of anything else but the beach. Mainly because this beeing the first decent weekend for a while here in Belgium…
And then I had it! Whales escaping from Whalers.
Did a quick code and (BAH) programmer art
spot the whale, spot the whaler.
I did a lot of slacking off, even after the late start
Trying to think ideas for the game, I believe that Escape is a hard theme because is an open and closed theme at the same time, you have freedom in a lot of variables but you cant escape from making a game where you are Escaping from someone/something to reach some goal, or at least I lack of imagination.
So, in the end, I decide to use the word like it is and make an Escape game, the first idea I had was to make something philosophical like playing a game where you want to achieve total freedom but that was impossible and the idea of the game was to transmit exactly that, total freedom don’t exists (sad game).
After thinking more ideas, I decided to make something really simple and try to finish it, so my last idea is a simple game like Canabalt where you play as a Vampire escaping from the Sun light, with some features like Robot Unicorn Attack where you can dash in the air.
Lets see what happens, maybe I get a better idea later and abandon this game to do the other one.
I was unsure if i would have time and a good idea to enter, but i have something brewing in the back of my head and an idea about a look so i’m taking a stab at making it happen!
To make sure i don’t waste too much time if i’m going to fail i’m starting out with the hardest code now and if i finish that today i’ll be able to focus on game features tomorrow. (Yeah the wrong order but i don’t wanna spend too much time on art so i’m gonna try automating it)
/ Jonas Lund signing in