Posts Tagged ‘ld25’
I’m in for my fourth time.
The tools will be pretty much the same as always: C# code, Unity3D (with my simple 2D Tools), cheap gfx with Gimp or Paint.net, Bfxr.
I’m back for a third go at Ludum Dare. After a first rather successful (in the personally fulfilling sense) and second substantially more successful entry, I feel. I will be entering with very similar sets of tools as the past two times but this time I will entering with ROCK-HARD DETERMINATION. That determination, of course, is to make something that makes me happy.
- Language: Lua
- Framework: LÖVE
- Code Editor: Sublime Text
- Music Writing: MuseScore
- Audio Editing: Adobe Audition CS6
- Image Editing: Adobe Photoshop CS6
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Today I released MidBoss (v0.5 beta), because stuff might still change and/or break) as a feature complete game. It’s an overhauled, rebalanced version of my LD25 game, and my January entry for One Game a Month.
MidBoss is a game about possessing your defeated enemies in order to become stronger. You play the weakest of the dungeon denizens, an imp with no ability other than possessing other creatures. Your goal is to defeat and possess increasingly stronger creatures, unlocking their abilities for yourself and becoming stronger as you go along, and eventually defeat and become the dungeon’s ultimate endboss.
Features now include:
- Possess your enemy and gain their strengths and skills
- Dynamic music system with more frenetic music to accompany action
- Line of sight and fog of war systems
- A total of 15 monsters to defeat and 10 skills to unlock
- Randomly generated dungeon floors
- Single-file save and resume
- Permanent death, if you die your save is gone (save-scumming is available)
- Full options menu including key rebinding
I had never participated to Ludum Dare. Sometimes because of lack of inspiration, very often because of lack of time, sometimes because when I noticed that the jam had began, it was already ended. For Ludum Dare 25 that was organized last month, I was aware of it just some hours after the launch. The theme was inspiring and I also had a funny (at least in my opinion) idea.
Click on the image to get it!
MidBoss post compo version
So, MidBoss did fairly well in the ratings. I won’t bore you with the full overview, but it came in #81 in fun, and #91 overall. Pretty good! I kind of wish I hadn’t taken Sunday off, maybe it would’ve done better as a compo entry than a jam entry. It’s not like I actually spent the available 72 hours on it, but oh well.
Since the competition I’ve been working on the game, to polish it up and make it more playable. The post compo version is now ready and you can get it here. Keep in mind that I intend to change core gameplay mechanics to make the game easier to balance and maintain in the future! New features include:
- Dynamic line of sight and lighting
- Save/resume feature (save scumming is available)
- Dynamic music system
- Options menu (also for key rebinding!)
- Various bugfixes
And that’s not the end of MidBoss, I want to keep developing it further, so if you have any comments or feedback, or want to keep updated on progress, please follow @Enichan!
Just realized I hadn’t posted this timelapse of our jam entry recorded by Toinane (thanks!) here yet:
The first 16 minutes show us working an infiltration game (first 24h), but then as we realiezd we weren’t going to be able to do something fun and complete in the short time left, we decided to switch to a simpler, more directly fun project involving a dictator shooting tourists hogging his beach. You can start watching at 16:45 if you want to see the second project directly.
The software we used to work together in real-time is called CraftStudio (I’m the developer of it), it’s a blocky, pixelarty 3d game-making platform with a strong focus on being easy to use for people of all backgrounds / ages and featuring fully collaborative editing tools over the Internet.
If you haven’t already, you can play Beach, please! here. It’s fun, I promise.
This was my first Ludum Dare and I must say it was an awesome experience. I’ve learned a lot and I’m also pretty amazed by how much I got done in those two days. So here’s the post mortem for my entry.
What went right
Since this was my first LD I didn’t really know what to expect or how much I would be able to get done. So I was amazed that I actually got the core gameplay working given the fact I went for simulation game. I was also surprised at my own coding. Usually I tell people I’m not a very good coder but looking back all I did was coding
So I’m pretty happy how the game plays. Its fun to watch the citizens walk around and do their thing. The initial brainstorming and mind mapping helped me a lot as well in filtering out game ideas. The minimalistic graphic style turned out well but this may also be due to my previous games and experience with it. Ultimately it allowed my spent as much time coding as possible.
What went wrong
The core game concept was to force the player to suppress their citizens in order to win the game. So even the player has good intentions he will be looked as an evil king in the eyes of his citizens. The problem with this concept is that it was difficult to generate enough feedback to the player so he would understand it. I also stumbled upon how to communicate to the player that he has to force his people back to work in order to win the game. The intro story of the immediate great drought tries to provide some motivation and context but I’m not sure of people even did read all that. I tried to display angry citizens by placing a dark cloud above their heads but something else like them rallying and demonstrating in front of the castle probably would’ve been better.
Another thing was that depending on the camera zoom some things got lost and they player didn’t get what was going on or why things happened a certain way. This brings me to the next issue. The user interface which displays necessary game information but in a unappealing and cryptic way. For example its very easy to lose track of the food count.
I didn’t have time to create a tutorial or some introduction to the gameplay mechanics. I also didn’t have time to properly playtest the game in the end and there are some severe balancing issues.
Feedback is king! Because if the player doesn’t get whats going on the game isn’t going to be much fun, unless of course thats to point of the game. This is a kind of obvious thing but it gets lost so easily in between all those awesome features inside your head. I’ll definitely spend more time on communicating things better to the player in my next Ludum Dare. I’ll also try to do a simpler game so I’ll actually have enough time for that as well. I’m definitely looking forward to it.
If you want to play the game then follow this link.
First of all, happy new year, everyone!
So, I’ve rated around 100 games by now and what I can say is: wow. You guys can really make incredible things in a short time. It was great to see that everyone went through this and came up with so many creative ideas and games, it really inspires me to see so many people trying hard to create something good. This was really a great experience.
Participating on this ludum dare was a surprise to me. I was home on friday thinking about how cool it would be to participate but i couldnt, i wouldn’t be home on saturday so i didn’t have enough time. I couldn’t do it, i gave up. But then, when i got home on the saturday night i started looking at all of your posts and i really couldn’t hold myself. I needed to participate. Many ideas started floating around my head, “you are the villain” was a really cool theme too. I coudn’t really do much on the saturday because i was really tired, but on the other two days i couldn’t stop working on my first game: Target:Restaurant!
Yeah, my first game! And i’m really happy about it! Its not really finished tho, there’s just a little bit of gameplay but i had so much fun making it and seeing the result and the feedback.. You guys are the best. Thanks for all your advice and compliments, i really aprecciate it, i learned a lot from this competition. I’m working on a full version of my game and i will be finishing it soon!
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!)
@xbelanch was kind enough to produce an OS X build of my LD25 game, Bad Puppy, so you can now play the game if you’re a Mac user.
I am not sure whether the build he produced was the compo version or the post-compo, as I am unable to play it myself due to lack of Mac. Easiest way to tell is if the people in the game are all male and have green sweaters, it is the compo build.
The OS X build is not up on the main site yet, so for now please obtain it from the Mirror link.
Herein, I unearth a few more hidden games that I found by poking at random icons in the “Browse All Entries” screen. I hit a run of about 5 awesome games in a row, so two of these are from that streak.
We see a lot of first-time Unity users do the same thing, wherein they drop the standard CharacterController down into a scene with a standard 1st person POV camera, don’t change the control scheme, and proceed to experiment with importing some assets, throwing around some particle effects, and getting a handle on sending messages around the Heirarchy. While all these things appear to be true of White Rabbit, there’s a huge investment in attention to detail that make it stand strongly apart from others that do the same thing. The textures and shaders are gorgeous. The overall aesthetic makes it such that the floating text narration feels right. The dramatic timing and set design is thoughtful and masterfully executed. The theme is only tenuously followed, but I can forgive that in light of the polish and excellence in presentation here.
This game gave me some very vague and brief flashbacks to Tecmo’s Deception back on the PS1, if that game had more of a board-game feel to it. I very much enjoyed playing around with efficient floorplans and dungeon layouts. Even lowly spike pit rooms have uses not just for proper spacing but because there are heroes that are particularly weak to them.
I actually felt pretty bad after I played Vixen. Sure, it’s a game. Yeah, I’m exploring all the options given. Still, the particular villain type you’re playing here is both low and all too common. The banality of the situation kind of got to me. Once you’re done being a jerk, it might be worth going back and playing one more time and find a way to *not* be one after all.
Although it wasn’t my first game, it was my first LD. My first game was in HTML5 too, for a jam in two weeks, it was a TD with physics and A* pathfinding, made from scratch. It was completely broken, buggy and with bad programmer art.
However, I’m writing the postmortem for anoher game, a platformer. I couldn’t make a timelapse, as it missed the first 4 hours (programming,music,some art), and the last 2 hours(uploading the game somewhere). The link is here.
Stuff that went well:
- It was playable by the deadline
Stuff that went wrong (unavoidable)
- Time. The first day was completely killed, and the second day, I was too tired to think straight. That probably caused the bugs.
- For some reason, my laptop keyboard broke. It was just after uploading it for the first time. Then I somehow managed to fix the mute button bug at least on Mozilla Firefox, but gave up, as typing i dfficult with a broke keybord.
Stuff that went wrong (avoidable)
- Writing collision detection from scratch. Do not try this at a 48h compo.
- Lack of audio skilz.
- Bad programer art (it was supposed to be placeholder, but as it was nearing deadline, I had to make cuts).
- The controls bug. I tried to do something cool with them, but failed trying. However, fixing that bug would probably make the game evr more borng.
- Wrong hardcoded values (too weak gravity, too strong stiction to ground, too much control in the air, too weak hardness of the protagonist
Greetings all! A week-and-a-bit after the fact, here’s a mini post-mortem of our LD 25 Jam entry – SUPER Witch Hunter Pro.
Overall, the Jam was a fantastic experience for us both. It’s the first time we’ve worked as a team on a finished indie game, and has whet both our appetites for more of the same. At the very least we’ll be taking SWHP to a further finished version after LD judging is completed.
Overall, things went quite well.
We made good use of our first hour with a focused discussion about how villains can be interpreted in various media, and the different approaches to playing as one. It wasn’t long before we settled on subject of history judging once righteous/heroic actions as villainous or unseemly. The most compelling villains are often well-intentioned, and history often decides where villainy lies. Our scenario – What if 17th century European witch burnings were today widely perceived as good and heroic deeds, and how would they have been realized as a series of hit arcade games? We were both inspired by this, and it energized us both from the offset.
- General design & Scope
Since subject matter and history were quite “heavy” – what with women being burned alive at the stake (and worse) – we decided a simple arcade gameplay treatment would help lighten (or conceal) the tone, as well as forcing us to boil down a complex situation into basic elements. Those elements became Pyre, Wood, Witch and Fire. We looked at Game & Watch titles as an example of the sort of “plate-spinning” gameplay we wanted, though we decided to take it a step further, with many small simple loops operating in a single screen layout. We set ourselves a gameplay goal that wasn’t too ambitious, but suitable for LD. It was important to us that we could realize something relatively final, without too many obviously unfinished elements.
We both knew exactly what we were doing as a team, and where our individual strengths and responsibilities were. There was little to no downtime during the Jam due to this. We prioritized tasks that were dependencies for each other, so that there was no waiting for one another.
Implementation per design/plan went without too many hitches or serious bugs. The Pyre object acted as a nice anchor for much of our gameplay events, which helped concentrate development efforts.
- Art, 2.5d Approach
We decided early to go with 2.5d, largely sprite animation due to the short dev time and classic arcade inspired gameplay. A fixed camera allowed us to exploit a lot of time-saving tricks, and provided the game with a strong visual style. This choice allowed us to very quickly test and finalize character, gameplay and level assets.
- Scoring & General Feedback
Although we certainly could have had more, we were both pleased enough that we managed to address most important game events with visual and aural feedback. A decent variety of text dialogue/copy lent the game some added character. Scoring with combos and a basic rankings system being intact helped us get closer to our arcade game goal. These things went a long way towards making our entry feel complete.
Though not our collective strong suit, it was great we managed to get in as much as we did – ensuring no screen was too aurally empty and key events had sound. As well as boosting the final presentation, ranting about burning heretics for the VO recording was a great way to release some pressure during rapid development.
We’re planning to add all of these and more in a future (post-LD) version.
- Difficulty curve
Though we had several avenues for adding a difficulty curve, and it being fairly necessary; we knew we wouldn’t have time to properly adjust or test it, or to make It obvious enough it was in effect. We left it out so that everyone that played the game once would at least be exposed to all it had to offer.
- Victory Conditions
You can’t technically “win”. Though this is true to the arcade and game & watch references, it’d still have been nice to provided round/levels for a greater sense of progression and encouragement. As we didn’t include a difficulty curve, however, there was little basis for inserting this (and not enough time).
- Pyre score feedback
One important feedback layer we didn’t have time for was the score earning display which would appear at the pyre on “Burn Complete”. Unfortunately, though the combo (Serial Burn) bonus multiplier is working in the final game, it’s not really something the player is aware of due to this feedback not being there.
- Gating, Rain, Cauldron Bombs…
Evolving level design to include dynamic blocking and slowing volumes, rain clouds which slow or reverse fire growth, wood thieves, witches flying overhead with cauldron goop bombs, other stuff to set on fire… all the “next step” ideas that you gotta drop due to time
- More Power-ups!
To go hand in hand with more hazards, a greater variety of power-ups would have exposed further gameplay depth.
- Piety loss feedback
Since this is essentially player HP, more obvious feedback is needed – especially when failure was imminent.
Play the game:
Song of the Entry (I still have this stuck in my head…)
As happy as we are with the game, I think the biggest positive for us was our proven ability to work well as a team, and under within the time constraint. LD has really empowered us to push harder at making indie development a personal reality. So – thanks LD!
from Ben & Jerry
@JerryVerhoeven | @benjkers