Posts Tagged ‘ld48’
This was my first Ludum Dare and actually first game ever. I had a blast developing and playing my game, so I thought I’d contribute a small write-up of how things went.
What I used:
- Code: Haxe (language, targeted Flash), HaxeFlixel (library), Flashdevelop (IDE)
- Art: Paint.NET
- Sounds: bfxr
- Music: Autotracker-Bu
What went right:
- Theme/idea — I loved the theme and was inspired to draw from Italian author Italo Calvino’s short story “The Distance of the Moon” (from Cosmicomics) for my game. The premise is that the moon comes extremely close to the surface of the Earth, and all you need to climb onto it is a boat and a ladder. If you aren’t familiar with it, then you may recognize La Luna, a Pixar short that was based on Calvino’s work.
- Central mechanic — I wanted something arcade-y, so skill-based and fast. Something fun. While brainstorming, I remembered an old DOS game called Night Raid (maybe Night Raid 2?), where you shoot bullets from a little bunker to stop parachuting dudes from landing and invading. This fit brilliantly with my initial idea: instead of shooting bullets, you launch dudes (hence the game’s name) from the ladder, who have to jump the gulf of space and use gravity to land on the moon)
- Programming — I’ve been working on a hobby game in HaxeFlixel (nowhere near done), and I know programming already, so this was not too challenging for me. No bugs were found, as far as I can tell.
- Music, sounds — the content generation tools recommended by the Ludum Dare community are amazing! They create assets almost instantaneously, which helped my game feel way more polished. Autotracker-Bu is next to magic, and I actually plan to sit down and peruse its source thoroughly.
- Art — I am not a pixel artist. I decided to embrace my programmer art, and use a simple style (again, reminiscent of Night Raid). I stayed consistent in my style, so I think I pulled it off — the best part is of course the dudes themselves.
- Juice — though I could use more juice, all the extra little things worked well. The pretentiousness of juxtaposing a Calvino quote on a Flash game works well on two levels: it heightens the silliness of “Dude Launch” and serves to set up the setting and theme of the game. Other little things include the particle emitters (explosions), level transitions, and the multiple game modes.
What (almost) went wrong:
- Controls? — I say with a question because the whole point of the game is the wonky QWOP-like controls. If the ladder was rigid and the boat had pixel-perfect movement, what would be the challenge? Still, some people complained about it, though many more “got it” and loved it. Another person requested key-remapping, which I think is also a little much given this is a Flash game (can you remap QWOP keys?) and a game made in 48 hours.
- UI / feedback — no one commented on this, but I feel it was a failure. If I had more time and skills at designing UI, I would’ve presented feedback to the user differently than just have “debug”-type info splashed in the upper screen. I think a bar at the bottom tracking dudes left would’ve been better. Also, dudes could’ve changed color to reflect their velocity, so players could better understand why they died or not.
- Time – simply put, I went up until the last hour working on polishing my game, removing comments from the code, packing it all up, hosting it. Putting things like music (!) in at the last minute was risky but I am so glad I powered through and kept working. Next time I’ll have better pacing.
- Scope — originally, the idea was to have dudes walk around on the moon then attempt a return. After the first couple hours of day 1, I knew there was no way I could get that to work. Thankfully, having dudes explode when they hit the moon or sea was fun enough by itself, so I had a better-scoped game than I realized! The lesson here is: pare your game down to the lowest level of workable gameplay and make it really good.
Overall, I’d say my game was successful. I set out to make a simple, weird, funny game that people found both amusing and fun. Most of “what went wrong” didn’t really go wrong — it almost did. In fact, it came out way more polished and bug free than I would’ve anticipated. But most important of all: the players. The feedback from players has been positive and most have embraced the ridiculousness of the game and controls. It’s really satisfying putting a game out there and seeing others enjoy it.
Thanks to all players and your input!
Thanks for being a really great community. Looking forward to more Ludum Dare compos/jams in the future!
P.S. – my favorite comment on the game: “Very creative and intuitive control scheme. This could be expanded into a full game with a bit more story, obstacles etc. It’s really fun as it is and there’s something strangely beautiful about seeing a host of little naked dudes caught up between the moon and the sea – Calvino would have approved. “
I made a game called Glass Heart Empire. It’s a roguelike where you leave corpses after dying, which are lootable by other players in their worlds.
Normally I don’t try to think about the themes during the theme voting that much, because I think getting and elaborating on an idea should be like bugfixing part of the 48 hour time frame. But then, voting on a theme without thinking about its approachability is somehow hard.
It was pretty clear that Connected Worlds will win (given the votes) and together with that nice, new board game I played days ago (called Robinson Crusoe), I somehow wanted to do something with exploring and surviving in the wilderness.
As Ludum Dare starts here in Germany at 03:00 AM, I went to sleep after looking up the theme. I played with the wilderness survival idea but it was somehow difficult to pin it down to something manageable in 48 hours. Finally, a new and better idea came during sleep. As a Dark Souls fan I always loved the idea of connected player worlds. If you are not familiar with Dark Souls: players fight solo through their game world, but messages written on the floor appear from other players’ worlds, players can invade the world, you see ghosts and puddles of blood from other players and so on.
In the end, I settled with such a shared world idea, because I’m confident with basic “internet things”. I set the genre to roguelike, because in contrast to a common action RPG, roguelikes may be easier to implement in terms of proper collision detection, movement and especially animation.
What Went Wrong
- Scope: I reduced the scope as much as possible, but I wasn’t able to finish the game: I had not enough time to test/balance it as well as making any sounds or music. Why? I had to program the roguelike basics and, yeah, it took more time as expected (surprise surprise!).
- Game Design: While I’m really happy how the game plays, I wished a had done a more reduced approach where I can polish and test more. Why? I think that’s just the never ending battle of ambition and experience.
- Sleep: I slept not that much and I think this resulted in some efficiency issues. Why? I just can’t sleep if I have stuff to do! With a deadline! A 48 hour deadline!
What Went Right
- Fun: While it was a lot of stress, I really enjoyed the making of.
- Online-Feature: I got the online feature as fast as I hoped, without any time-consuming bugs or problems.
- Graphics: I settled with a style fast and just worked through the different tiles and monsters. Some time ago, I always had to fight until I got a visual style to work with.
If someone is interested in how I made the corpse-saving and -loading: it’s quite simple if you are familiar with PHP. I know, it’s the dumbest solution, but it just works. Not recommended for “proper” games!
There is a getter-PHP-script which reads the corpse data (player’s name, x-coordinate on map, y-coordinate on map, amount of lootable experience) and echoes them as plain text, with “;” as a separator within a corpse-data-entry and “|” between corpses. Example: “Unknown;5;12;3|OtherCorpse;2;12;5|…”.
A setter-PHP-script takes data with a similar format and adds it to the database (don’t forget security in terms of SQL-injection etc.).
Within the game’s code (I work in C# with XNA), I have a getter and setter class which mirror the functionality of the PHP-script on my webspace. If a player dies, the game registers a record in the setter-class. At the start of a game, the getter-class downloads the corpse data with a http-request.
If you want more details, you can checkout the source code.
If you want to add some corpses to the 3419 corpses stored in my database, your are welcome!
Play Glass Heart Empire
Check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=32989
I almost didn’t make it this time, but in the end everything went well. My first participation in Ludum Dare was in the previous edition. I remember that time I was scared because it was a new experience. I had little time developing. My skills as a fast developer hadn’t yet been tested. My last game had taken six months to get ready, so thinking about creating something moderately decent at 48 hours was a real challenge. However, I survived that experience and I was very happy with the result.
This time, things were a little different. The date of Ludum Dare 30 coincided with my vacation, so there was some family activities planned that I shouldn’t or wanted to avoid. That made it nearly imposible to enter the Compo and had me settle with the Jam, even following all the rules of the frenetic 48 hours edition. But my first Ludum Dare had been so rewarding in terms of fun and learning, that I was determined to enter again. When the complex and interesting theme Connected World was announced, it was clear that I would not let it escape.
In my time zone, the theme is announced at 8 pm on Friday, so from that moment I began to think of an idea. Nothing occurred to me, the theme seems terribly difficult so I went to my sisters for aid. We were brain storming for a while until the idea of a frantic RPG where worlds were constantly changing and you have to switch weapon even faster to stay alive came and we found it great. It had that mixture of madness with an air of “it might work”.
When it comes to themes for Ludum Dare I like to stay with the first complete idea that comes to mind. I know that if I think too much I begin to look for detail and I’ll end up finding enough cons to not choose it. So I prefer to begin work immediately on the idea, with a competition like this there is no time to be too insecure with your ideas. Take one and go forward. It is the only way to do it in time.
What went right?
Though it seemed crazy at first, the idea began to take shape as it went. Unlike last time, I decided to start with the mechanics and leave the graphics for last. That way I could feel that I had a game ready before making it pretty. The goal was to have the main mechanic ready at the end of day one (Saturday). I was going to the beach on Sunday so I could not participate. I will be back on Monday to tacke tha art and hopefully finish before delivering time at 8 pm. This was fulfilled so well it’s scary. At 6 pm on Monday, I had the game ready and it was time to play test. Watching my sisters getting angry and hitting the retry button again and again with a smile was gratifying. It was proof that the game was just what I wanted: hard and addictive. Happy with the result, but without being able to believe it was done so fast I used the last few hours to create assets, prepare gamejolt page and take some screenshots. I managed to finish everything on time and by 7:50 I was sumitting the game.
What went wrong?
Although I was happy with the result, as the comments started to appear it was clear that the game was too difficult. I’ve always had a soft spot for hard games, I am a fan of Super Meat Boy (and Edmund McMillen, actually, as you can tell by the similarities of “I Think I Broke Something” with The Binding of Isaac) I also enjoyed the simple difficulty of the infamous Dong Nguyen bird, before all the cloning chaos ruined the experience. I wanted “I Think I Broke Something” to have that: Play, die, be upset and play again thing. I think in a way I did it, but also think I overdid it, many players have said that the difficulty doesn’t let them appreciate other aspects of the game like art and sounds. And that’s something I’d like to correct
Because of this, I thought of creating a post compo version with some adjustments, but when I started thinking about it I realized I had enough material for something else. Something more elaborate, more complex and more fun. So, I decided to take the next step and make “I think I broke something” a fully fleshed out game. You have no idea all the thing I want to add to it and that wasn’t possible with the limited time. So you can be sure that the final version will have enough material to keep you glued for a while. I want to keep the simplicity of design while adding additional content, along with all the feed back I have received from the community, I’m sure I have enough to enhance the experience. First I will finish my current project Taita: Rise of the Half-breed, and them, thanks to Ludum Dare, and have a worthy successor.
Ludum Dare 30 was as frantic as before, but even more satisfying. The community response has been overwhelming, beside the weak points, “I think I broke something” has received many positive comments and that’s rewarding. I’m glad I participated, for sure this new edition was as rewarding as the first. I feel that with every Ludum Dare I become a better developer and although I’m still a long way from the top, there is no doubt that the Jam is the right place to having fun and to learn.
Stay tuned for more progress and expect great things from “I think I broke something” in the near future. Meanwhile enjoy the current version, and remember Play, die, be upset and play again!
As the title says, this was my first LD, and I’m proud to say that I actually “finished” a game.
I was streaming for almost 30 hours, here’s a 5 minute timelapse video of the weekend:
The game I created, HexConquest, is a turn based strategy game, made with Unity.
Here it is
When I woke up on saturday, the competition was already 7 hours in, and I tried to come up with an idea as fast as possible. The first idea was a strange tower defense game, but I tossed it pretty fast. I could reuse the tile generation code I created for the tower defense game for my second project. The second idea was to create a playing field controlled by different fractions, and the player should use his units to conquest the enemies’ zone to connect his main world to others. As you see in the list below, I didn’t get to actually implement the “zone”-thingy, that’s why the theme may not appear obvious…
I didn’t make a plan (one of the things I want to do different next time), so it was pretty chaotic. I spent a lot of time with the pathfinding, so I had to do the A.I. (a topic on which I don’t have any experience with at all) and game objective in a rush and couldn’t even start creating sound/music anymore.
- Action Menu
- Particle Effects
- Planets & Conquest
- Round Manager
The game has some serious usability problems, few bugs and calls for an overhaul. Until the next LD, I will spend time to improve everything and implement all the features I wanted in the beginning.
As I’m only a hobbyist developer, I learned more over a single weekend than I learned in all the months I was using Unity before, most likely because I never finished a game and never had to deal with every subject of development.
This was the first, but definitely not the last LD for me!
PS: Thanks for all the feedback on my game, it helps a lot.
First thanks to all that have tried my game and rated it.
As many have mentioned the flotiness of the controls, I thought I would share a video of me playing the game to show, what I think is a good play/run. In the video I get a time of 128.8 seconds which is 20 sec over the maximum difficulty which is reached at time 100 sec.
After the 100 seconds you are you own worst enemy, because of the wrapping around of space letting your bullets hit you in the back
Hope this shows that the game isn’t suppose to go on for more than a minute or two.
Hope you enjoy.
Now, go make games
In case you’re looking to dive straight in to another jam, the second annual #SpeccyJam starts on 29th August 2014
Dev’s have 1 week (29th August – 5th September) to create a ZX Spectrum flavoured game.
It can be for any platform (Browser, HTML5, Flash, Mobile, iOS, Android, PC .. anything), and you can use any game dev tools to create it (doesn’t need to be programmed in machine code and load on a cassette tape or anything like that.)
Just as long as it looks / feels / plays like a ZX Spectrum game, then it is fine!
You must use only the ZX Spectrum colours and resolution, and you can use the “attribute clash” rules if you want to make it look more authentic (but not a strict rule).
For more details about rules and registration (by way of forum), check out http://www.speccyjam.com, and follow @SpeccyJam on twitter
Thanks for reading, and hope to see you there!
A-a-and this is my second successful LD48. The first one was #28 and I made a game about parallel universes with some time bending stuff. This one I continue my experiments with simple, yet unusual gameplay concepts. That’s how I decided to make NECLiD.
The core idea came to my head few months ago. I was trying to come up with gameplay ideas for (how ironic!) parallelsync. Last time I “touched” it I spent, like, a month and got literally nothing. But what can be better for creativity than limited amount of time? Nothing.
Oh, and here’s the link to the entry.
- Intellij IDEA 13
- Photoshop CS5
- Truly Rapid Development. The core stuff was ready after 5-6 hours from the beginning (my beginning, not the LD’s one), the whole game was written in 26 hours. What bothered me for, like, 60% of this time is level design. Gosh, I hate level design… well… I thought that I hate it but…
- Level Design Is Fun! Yeah, I actually mean it. I had a great time making, well, three levels. As far as I can see from feedback a lot of people can’t solve level 2-1, because its geometry is weird. Can you solve it?
- I Like It. For real, I’m very pleased with the result, I’m pretty pleased with music and graphics. I always wanted to “play” with non-euclidean (-ish) mechanics and weird level geometries. I have only one dream left: a rhythm game. Get ready, LD31!
- Games For Everyone. My last jam entry was NeuroIDE for Cyberpunk Jam in April. It was the first time I thought about accessibility in games and changed few details to make the game accessible for colorblind. This time I raised the bar: my LD30 entry features: 1). OpenDyslexia font, which made font more readable for those with dyslexia; 2). ability to remap keys, which not only helps people with non-Qwerty keyboards, but also made it playable for left-handed people and people with motor disabilities; 3). colorblind friendliness.
I want to illustrate the last one with example.
In early builds tiles could be separated only by colors, pink or blue:
But then I applied protanopia filter and, well…
Which ones are pink? Which ones are blue? What’s going on? The solution to this problem was pretty simple and elegant:
It was a small fix for me as developer, but could be a massive improvement for those who have problems with color distinguishing.
- Cut This, Cut That. Well. It’s a compo. It’s only 48 hours. It’s only one way to produce stable and polished entry — cut stuff from the initial concept. Few characters with different abilities were brutally cut from the game and it made “Change Character” button pretty useless (not to mention, that it confused a lot of people that tried to switch to human character with visible Neclid Planes).
- HTML5, WHY YOU DON’T WORK. I hate this phase. Because I have weird problems with HTML5 ports. Every. Jam. And each time problems are totally new. This time HTML5 port on itch.io and GameJolt thought that it should leave arrow keys for browser to process. And when people tried to navigate through menu they accidentally scroll the page. It was fixed, of course, but, you know, it’s not a good stuff.
Walking On The Neclid Planes
What’s next? To be honest, I don’t know. :) I was working on a “big” project before LD, but I really like how NECLiD looks and plays. I also like the feedback and comments on it, so… should I switch the active project? Should I postpone the previous one and try to finish this one?
- Post Mortem-
At first when I heard the theme, I was less than excited. But after some thought and debate with myself, I started to really like the theme and I knew right away that i did not want to create a space game, or a game that relied on characters with switchable worlds, or had multiple worlds that you could interact with at the same time. I wanted to create a game where you had to take some lovable rects and help them back to their own world or be selfish and go yourself and by doing so maybe teach you something about yourself.
2. What went right
I created an entire game in 48 hours. Complete with graphics, music, sound fx, levels, game-play, and even morality choice.
3. What went wrong
Pretty much everything. Dial-up internet, that speaks for itself, i almost missed the submission time-frame because of dial-up. I failed in the designing stage, the game I made did not resemble in any way to what i had designed on paper. At first I started with a 2d plat-former, by the end of a few hour long rampage of making the 2d game mechanics and art I realized it’d be better as a 3D plat-former. I had created mechanics and the art assets for a game I was never going to keep or finish, so I delete it all ! Big mistake, in retrospect i could and should have kept the art and tried to reuse them but i didn’t. I failed at creating a HTML5 port, mostly due to me never trying to build a UE4′s HTML5 project before and the UE4 HTML5 tool-chain being super finicky and really un-intuitive. Next LD I will have a proper build process for HTML5 ports before hand as well as offering support for Linux and OS/X platforms.
Having proper design choices before development is key. Also having and knowing your tools for ports is highly important. Better than dial-up net, i should have taken my laptop to the local free wifi and uploaded it there. But regardless im getting better than dialup soon. In the end I don’t think I could have squeezed out much more efficiency in my work. Focusing that efficiency on the other hand was a huge problem. My development style was so erratic, i went from making music and mechanics to sound fx to art back to music back to mechanics to level design, and so on and so forth, but in the end I am happy with what I made and to me that makes me a winner of LD48.
-The Red, Gre²n, and Blu Explanation-
The game is about racism, segregation, and self-image. Where you and these lovable rects come from & Where you and they are going in this all connected world. Red, Gre²n, and Blu all come from different worlds but you the player are a mix of Red, Gre²n, and Blu, but somewhere along the way you lost your color, that thing that makes you, you; your self image. You are told that by helping these lovable rects to get back to their own world, that would some how help you get your color back. During the game you are either desperately trying to use the others as stepping stones to see their worlds, or helping them get back to their own world. All to reclaim your lost color. No matter what you do or how you do it in the game, at some point you need the help from the lovable rects.
Yep, you read that right AffixIt is about race, segregation, and self-image. not sure if it is really clear within the game but if you read this and have played AffixIt, now you know what I was aiming for and if you haven’t played it go check it out before you read the rest of this.
The game heavily relies on the fact the player is given a choice, either travel yourself, or put one of the lovable rects through the colored world portals. No matter your choice in the game all the portals lead to the same place at the end, where you can reflect on what you did, maybe in every level you helped only one color to their colored portal, maybe you tried to help one color per level, maybe you said screw these rects, im gonna invade their worlds. Maybe you noticed it didn’t matter their color and that any one of them could travel to any other colors world. Maybe you didn’t do any of those. No matter what you did or how you did it, all of our worlds are interconnected, it doesn’t matter where you come from. We all need help at some point from others to accomplish things. You cant do everything on your own. In the end we all end up in the same place. Maybe my game helped you realize something about yourself, maybe you thought it was pretentious, and to some extent it probably is.
Original post (and game you can play) can be found here!
This game began with me toying around with a basic top down RPG.
The dialogue system is a reworking of the one made for my previous game jam entry.
There’s no real objective, it’s just a little demo made in 48 hours for KiwiJam 14 and Ludum Dare 30.
I want to make a world with other NPCs, implement a full dialogue and cutscene system, inventories, party members, a journal, and a map system. Your typical RPG, minus the combat. Using the engine, I’d like to create an engaging world with characters, colors, and atmosphere, and fill it with beautiful little tales the player can immerse themselves in.
This demo is just a precursor to that lofty vision.
Remember to play it in fullscreen!
How to Play
Use WASD / Arrow keys, or even better, click and hold your mouse to move around.
Click on the other fellow to talk to him.
Click on the door to open / close it.
Well, there it is! My first completed Ludum Dare!
I’ve had some feedback on my game so far, but I don’t expect it to go very far. I had very little time, and so the level design was sparse and last minute.
Things I accomplished
- Learned how to use LOVE 2D
- Learned a lot about tile-based games and collision detection
- Implemented my core mechanic successfully
- Made some tile-art
Things to work on for next time
- Don’t start a jam when you know life is going to get in the way
- Learn your engine better beforehand
- Post updates more often
Well, thanks to everyone here at the 3oth Ludum Dare, and have fun in the weeks of playing and rating ahead!
-DeltaF1, StarHopper Studios
So here we are. Finally finished my submission for LD30. This is quite an achievement for me since, for the past 3 years, I have been trying–and miserably failing–to make a game, let alone make it in 48/72 hours. I’ve always had trouble pairing/grouping up with other people, so I am for the most part a lone gamedev. I’m not exactly a 1337 coder, and my art skillz amount to those adorable crayon drawings your 5-yr old had you put up in the fridge (ok, maybe not as adorable as that even). But I try.
And today, I finally made.a.frickin’.game!
Best.day.ever. Well, at least until I find a girlfriend.
Congratulations to all of you who made it. As for those who didn’t–I can honestly say that I’ve literally been there and so I know for a fact that you should keep at it! Just frickin’ keep at it, my friends, and one day, you’ll be staring at the Ludumdare page on your computer screen in sheer disbelief at the words ‘ENTRY SAVED.’
Rock on, dudes.
This was my first gamejam entry ever. I knew the Ludum Dare was coming as a friend had asked me to join his team, but as the voting result got out, I got swooned in the hype and decided to try entry of my own. Get something finished. At the same time, it was good intro to Unity & programming – neither of which I’m that practiced with.
What I went right:
-Scope: small and simple was well within the time limit and my coding skills.
-Atmosphere, Thanks to unity particles. Sure, they are done with presets, but it made nice boiling sea. As my main challenge was coding, models were very minimalistic, worked here.
-Music composed with a generator. Fast and good enough.
-Support: having helping minds to bang against when solving issues and good documentation to refer to.
-Learning. There was lots of that.
-Finished it! Yes!
What went wrong:
-Coding, while it went alright, even some more experience under the hat would’ve enabled so much more. Better effects, more effects, smoother everything, better controls.
-Testing. I’m not certain it is possible to complete the game as it is supposed to. Luckily, some triggers collision detections bug and make it possible. Actually generating and validating levels like these would be interesting. topology problem. Afterwards got good feedback regarding controls and field of view, but that was already past the deadline.
What was missing:
Mainly a proper player character and more levels. A Menu, story screens, some animations, more sounds and music, timer based scoreboard and testing.
Proper Name: Went for the silly compound word just for the sake of visual of quirky triple l’s boderd by symmetrical i’s. Amh, yeah.
First completed LD. This was a good intro for the starting season in the uni, got confidence knowing that I can make it. Inspiring, wanting to work more on graphics and I’m certain I’ll participate again!
Thanks to the friends and family making this possible.
I appear to be afraid of making games.
My LD26 submission was an immersive world with graphics and audio, interactions and special effects, challenge and progress. It was clunky, confusing, cheesy, and short, but it was a game.
When LD27 rolled around, I looked through my feedback and made a plan. Graphics and interface were the biggest complaints I received, so I focused on a clean interface and smooth graphics. In that, I succeeded… but at the loss of a complex goal, and immersive interaction. The comments indicated such, but I didn’t get the hint.
LD28 added back some of that interaction, and gave the player a means to manipulate the ways they interacted with the game. It added back a challenge and goal, but lost the graphical and auditory polish, and it required content to really shine. Most of my time was spent on the upgrade interface, which was lauded, but the game suffered for it.
I didn’t feel too bad about my LD30 submission. I mean, it was missing 90% of my desired features, the graphics got skipped again, and I didn’t have enough time to playtest it well, so it’s statistically unlikely you’ll complete even a single objective… but that’s Ludum Dare right? 600 lines of code later, the inventory system works, the random goal and automatic goal-checking works, the random resource generation and base-color modification works, and the entire backend ties together in a bug-free manner. There are simple particle effects, some moody ambient audio, and a few hurried attempts at humor… It’s still a moderately successful submission.
The comment that really kicked me in the gut was, “Nice GUI Demo”. I know they didn’t mean it maliciously, but really? The worst part is, I can’t argue with it. I watched my timelapse, and I spent almost the entirety of the Compo mucking with the GUI. You don’t interact with the planets (yes, those were supposed to be planets), you push buttons. Everything is a button. You don’t live in this world at all. It worked for Adventure Games, but I guess we grew out of those in the late 90′s.
Immersion is hard. And evidently important.
Amidst the complaints Elder Scrolls Online receives (yes, random neuron firing here), one is how they focused on a nearly GUI-free experience. I’m beginning to understand their decision.
My goal for Ludum Dare 30 was to make a game that didn’t disappoint me. Instead, I think I discovered one of the issues holding me back. Just as good, I’d say.
During my seventh Ludum Dare competition the theme was Connected Worlds. I started around 05:30 CEST on Saturday and submitted it around 03:00 on Monday. I worked thirty-six hours on the game, slept ten hours (2 + 8), used three hours for writing down a concept, drew sixteen hours, used around eight hours for creating the game’s logic and six hours for music. The other time was used for play testing, blogging, eating and quick breaks.
First things first, before you can start making your game, you need an idea and plan. Thus I started with brainstorming. Writing down related and interesting keywords around the theme “Connected worlds”. I figured most people would go for a space or island settings, which is attractive but I wanted to create something different, more unique. I made some small trips and played with ideas related to abstract, race and relation types of connected world and decided to settle down with something from my favorite theme: Cyber Punk, most notable worlds like Ghost in the Shell.
When I finished writing down a small synopsis of my brain twists I started to lay down simple visual world and adding the elements. When I got a small world I proceeded with testing and adjusting the concept bit by bit until I was satisfied.
Once I had the prototype of the actual gameplay I could start drawing the game world.
Game level and icons
This included a background, network node icons, guard icons, citizen icons and more. I spread this in several stages, every stage ending up more detailed. I swapped between drawing on the game level and icons and the prologue and epilogue scenes. Which allowed me to take a break on a drawing and look at it again after an half an hour with a “fresh look”.
Prologue & Epilogue
The prologue and epilogue were a bit different from the art I had to draw for the actual game. The prologue and epilogue are a timed story without interacting but with moving assets. This took the most time to draw. I planned six scenes with several large moving elements like humans, hands or walls.
Audio is one of my worst development skills. I don’t work with audio often or I have a composer making the actual audio. For the simple sounds like button pushes or other quick sounds I used simple tones, combined, altered just to give a small beep. For the actual music I decided I was going to use a combination of audio generators and Audacity. It took me a while before I had the desired sound which didn’t get annoying after the initial 30 seconds.
To make sure the game was submitted on time (before 03:00) I already submitted it around 02:30 on Monday. That was before I found out the submission deadline was till 04:00. The good thing about hosting it online you can post a link and update it. So around 02:55 I wrapped everything up and ended with a good stretch. I was a bit stiff from hanging above my drawing tablet
Everything done and submitted, I’m happy about my schedule and work. I didn’t really have timing issues but some things did take longer than hoped. The concept seemed easier than it was. And of course the concept took some more fine tuning to make it actually challenging.