Posts Tagged ‘Ludum Dare’
Although it was not completed in time for the Jam, we would like to share the game we started for Ludum Dare 28.
More details at the link above.
Hi guys and fellow devs,
Just wanted to hop in the postmortem wagon and let you learn a bit more about how I worked on “One”, my LD28 entry. English isn’t my mother tongue, so be ready to read approximate french-glish.
If you’re interested, you can first test my game here.
When I heard about the theme, I got a little disappointed because I voted against it, for the simple reason it didn’t inspire me that much. I almost gave up on participating. My first idea was to make a game about getting only one seed in an arid world, but it was too complicated and, in my opinion, not original enough.
I was a bit depressed that saturday, the sky was dark. Thinking about the LD smoking my cigarette outside, I suddenly decided to cheer myself up by cheering other up, and I decided to make the happiest and cutest game I was able to do in 48h.
With that in mind, I thought about the theme again and remembered that one dream I used to have which filled me with happiness. In this dream I wasn’t flying but jumping so high, and falling so hard ! It was fun and magic. I decided to turn that into a small game.
For those who didn’t play the game, the game is about a little child who learn to jump up to the stars. Little light balls help you to get higher and higher.
I’m what you could call a experienced dev, with more than 20 games released in my career, and 4-5 game jams. After several years, I’m now experienced with scoping a game. My advice is to always go for the simplest idea you can have. Because during the course of development, either for a full game or a jam, you’ll always spend twice the time you planned on small things like researching, debugging, adding signs and feedback, etc. We always tend to underestimate the details, so focusing on the simplest idea and growing from there is often the best solution.
I used Flixel, which is, in my experience, one of the best technology for game jams, for two reasons : it’s perfect to create very small projects in a very short time, and it’s meant to be distributed online, as it’s Flash based. The second is useful for LD because people tend to test games with Web version more (it’s far from being enough to get a lot of ratings, but it helps a bit).
My idea for One was so simple I managed to tackle gameplay code in a couple of hours. I love when it goes that way, because I know I can use plenty of time to make art, music and moreover add signs & feedbacks.
Several people have been surprised, playing One, that there isn’t any instruction. Well it’s been a choice. I love to do game jams to experiment with ergonomics. Having no instruction is a risky challenge. If it’s done right it helps immersion and focusing on the message of the game. If done wrong, it simply ruins the whole experience. So far, I don’t think anybody really got stuck in the game, so I would say I’ve done it right this time !
Here are a non-exhaustive list of simple things I implemented to make sure players learn how to play by themselves :
- Control scheme : as intuitive as possible, only three buttons (left, right and up). Duplicated on ZQD and QWD
- At least one bonus is visible on screen at start, encouraging to reach it and learn to jump and move.
- Audio feedback when touching bonus and also when reaching the current max altitude, hinting a bit on what to do.
- Midgame, my texts help a bit, by notifying that there’s more to discover upward.
I’ve worked with Photoshop. I’ve made backgrounds mainly using a brush to get this cloudy aspect. I didn’t want to spend too much time on animation so I made only a few poses of the character, mixing pixel art and painting techniques.
Surprisingly, I spent most of my time on music, with at least 4 hours spent on it. I must say I got a little carried I really enjoyed making it, so I wasn’t able to stop until I was satisfied with that small piece.
What went right
This LD went really well, for the main reason I did a game with a message and an intention in mind, I think. Working with the purpose of sharing a bit of love and poetry is wonderful. I managed to do a little something I’m proud of in far less than 48h because I didn’t get too ambitious and managed to focus on a simple idea and make the best I could of it.
What went wrong
The game was a bit oversized, and loaded from a website it discouraged some of my early testers. They complained it wasn’t working because I forgot to add a preloader : the page showed a blank page for around a minute. I hope those early testers didn’t rate the game too bad. I also stupidly forgot to proof-read my texts and let a small typo in the game (which I corrected later, as I learned it was allowed).
Make game with love, message and passion, focus on a simple idea but don’t forget about the little details ! Happy new year everyone, and let 2014 be filled with hope, love and plenty of wonderful games ! I think games can help the world be a better place, so keep going guys, I love you all.
You can reach me at contact [at] cuvegames.com if you have any question or feedback which I would love to have.
I’ve updated my Jam entry – youGOO!
Its a webcam game to test your fist reflexes.
- Better fist detection
- Improved edge collision (number used to go off-screen)
- High Score (displays your maximum score for current session)
- Sound FX!
- Faster gameplay
Check it out at
Please do leave suggestions/ideas/death threats in the comments.
Has anybody had success with looping music in HTML5 or JS? Please let me know…
Really want to put in a looping theme, but it stalls after the first playback…
Hey all! I’ve been enjoying a lot of games from this Ludum Dare, and I hope you all have to. I participated myself in the jam, collaborating with another indie game dev known as Code_Assassin. However, through details I’ll explain below, we didn’t finish. While we did submit an entry, it wasn’t a finished game like we hoped, and after a day of thought, we requested the entry to be taken down, and the game removed from Newgrounds.
Our game originally started off with a premise of finding a mob boss out of a group of people, the levels and the clues would be random each time, but you only had one chance at killing the boss. We agreed on using Flixel as our framework due to its ease of use, my experience from using it in last year’s Ludum Dare and CA’s experience with Actionscript3, and that we could upload it to the web. We got a Git repository set up and we were hyped up and ready to go!
This jam entry was probably the most complete project we made so far. We had a lot of fun coding this short puzzler over the weekend. If anyone is having trouble solving the levels – we have uploaded a quick walkthrough above. Note that there are multiple solutions to some of the levels.
Here’s a gameplay GIF from my jam entry…
Obviously, i’m terrible at my own game
See how much you can score at
I like the idea behind ludum dare but this site needs work. The competition is more then 10 years old, it is the most recognized by media. Game designers are usually thoughtful people. This site needs to be designed from the ground up with aim for innovation and indie movement.
I feel strange when I have to rate at least 20 games(goal suggested by the system). It means that I have to skim through a lot of content and make a shallow comment. System is not designed to make you think and provide valid criticism of the game.
The site needs to be open platform with transparent rules and design goals. I even do not want to talk about it’s rating system. Right now it’s painful to use. I think it needs to go away.
When you make a comment, game creator should be able to mark your comment as useful. Sort of like stackoverflow. Then we can view games of people who provide the most valid criticism of games. If game creator thinks that criticism is fair then it must be good, person must be thoughtful and deserves recognition.
What do you guys think about the future of ludum dare?
retweet this: https://twitter.com/Sol_HSA/status/412824692672589825
EDIT: due to request..
Well the game’s up and you can play it here http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-28/?action=preview&uid=29557
It’s our first game ever and Jam and it’s been a great time.
Climb the Teide and put the one and only cap on it before it sneezes.
Lots of bugs and things to fix. You can beat the whole level, even thought the webplayer hides some platforms on the left of the screen. Sometimes greed will take over a character and won’t throw the cap. Just keep trying will walking from one platform to the other, he’ll eventually cave in.
Hope you enjoy!
Completely forgot to formally announce my Compo game, so here it is!
Dinosaur Ranger Interview: Burrito Challenge SUPREME (DRIBCS) is a quirky, fast typing game made in Unity3D.
It’s the job of your dreams: dinosaur ranger. You’re on step away from living your life to its fullest. You’ve trained for years for this moment and all you have to do is pass the interview.
In a fit of foolishness, you snarfed down a huge burrito for breakfast, and now it’s trying to make its way out! Quickly type your responses, avoiding mistakes and try not to soil yourself!
After finishing my 4th LD ever, competing annually, I can honestly say I learned a lot this go around. Previous years, i spent the time building up to it practicing whatever language/framework I planned on using. This year, i decided to try using Unity. I had some vague exposure to unity a handful of times, but nothing this extensive.
I can honestly say, as far as frameworks go, it’s really rather slick. I could definitely see using it in a real project.
At the end of the day, though, I’m honestly not too enthused with the results. I really just couldn’t come up with any good ideas for the theme this year. All previous years, i had so many ideas buzzing around I couldn’t get to all of them, and ended up having to cut things. This year, i got essentially everything in I planned from the get go, with plenty of time left of my hands to mull over extra ideas. All in all, i honestly don’t think the game turned out that fun, either. I honestly felt really restricted by the theme. Oh well, here’s hoping to a better LD next year!
Greetings gamers, this is Andy Etter typing.
I’ve just submitted our entry for this month’s compo. Personally, this is my first game jam. I was roped into Ludum Dare by our programmer, Dan Hayes. We were counting on the theme being ‘Corruption’, as we had a few nifty ideas for such a game, but the will of the voters fancied something a bit more defined. We had some nice ideas for ‘You only get one’ as well, including a tower-defence sidescroller where you only have a single throwing javelin to defend yourself against monsters, but we were all in favor of an action puzzler, where several people had jumped out of a plane and only had one parachute between them.
After a bit of development, we eventually decided on more of a time-travel thriller, where one of the passengers onboard the plane is a time-assassin (of course!) and you have to give a duff parachute to the culprit. You were originally going to do this by cross-examining the passengers, looking at their passport details and trying to wade through their screams and cries for mercy as they plummet towards the unforgiving ground. This would create a sort of Papers Please style gameplay, where the only time limit is how long it takes for the passengers to fall to their deaths.
The victory conditions were to be that, if the player guessed the assassin correctly, they would be rewarded with a cutscene of the future killer being erased from time, and the plane sailing off into the Bermuda sunset, blissfully unaware that they would have had to plea for their lives in an alternate reality.
There’s a lot more we would have liked to add to this game, including some more animations to the characters, a more obvious ground-rush-up effect and more actual gameplay in terms of the cross-examinations and character development. But that’s the nature of Ludum Dare I guess!
All in all, I had a lot of fun doing the art for this game and I will definitely be entering the next compo. I learned a lot and I hope you enjoy our game!
Final game looks like this:
It is an asymmetrical 2 player (one with a mouse and keyboard, the other with an Xbox 360 gamepad) 3D fire sim toy thing. You only get one match’s life (if you’re player 1). Water and fire interact in the usual way. Strike the match on the rough rock to start. Points are awarded for tree/ house voxels burnt to the ground. There’s no sound.
This was my second ever game jam and I learned lots from this project – obviously fire simulation, but also the particulars of Unity’s particle systems and I’m sure lots of other things I can’t remember now.
Obvious bugs include the match floating up at certain times, due to unity’s physics collider. The match probably shouldn’t float on the water either…
I started lots of things that didn’t go into the final game – independent voxel fire grids that could interact, procedural generation of terrain. I guess the maths was a bit too difficult after nearly 28 hours of programming for my brain! I really shouldn’t have eaten so much sugar. Maybe next game jam I’ll remember!
The last two days have been crazy. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on a game, and I was nervous about jumping into a game jam while my skills aren’t up to par, but I am extremely proud of myself and what I built.
What did I build?
Well, I built a game called Tumbling Towers. I’ve come to call it a reverse Tetris/Jenga style game where you receive a random block and you must build up and try to not knock the tower down. The goal of the game is to build as high as you can and score as many points as you can.
Where the theme “You Only Have One” came into play is where you can only build with one of the three materials in the game, and you can only build in one direction (up); (yes, for some reason I instinctively ended my sentence with a semi colon there… the two days of heavy coding must’ve drilled that into my head much, much more.)
Sounds cool, where can I play it?
It wasn’t just me who worked on the game, I got some late assistance from a good friend of mine, who did some of the art last night. (Just the building blocks). Also, I used a friend’s music he made for the game.
I’m not really sure. I really want to continue the project and make it more clean, pretty, polished, etc. and maybe release it on iOS/Android. A few of my friends have been playing it pretty often and have been enjoying the builds I was sending them, and I think it can be a pretty fun game to play on tablets. It needs some optimization for them, but it can be done.
When I decide to jump into doing that has yet to be decided, but maybe early January once I’m done with my One Game a Month project for this month.
If anything, I might use this as a base for a Physics based puzzle game I had an idea for a few weeks ago. It could go hand in-hand with it.
What did I learn?
This is something I want to write down to allow myself to reflect on my skills and learn how to improve next time I work on a game.
Art - Art isn’t my strong suit. I should have found an artist at the beginning. The artist I worked with mid-way through only had enough time to do work for a small bit of the game.
Scope - I applied a rule I made for myself long ago, which was to keep it simple and not go out of scope. For once, I followed the idea of just creating a simple mechanic and working from there. For game jams, this works wonderfully well. Definitely something I’ll consider again next time.
Testers - This was the first time I actively put out builds during a game jam. Twitter friends as well as my personal friends were more than willing to test out the game in it’s early phases, which helped me discover a bug that wasn’t showing on any of my 3 computers. Test early, and test often!
Programming - Holy crap, I programmed this entire thing?! I still don’t believe it. I know C# and Unity, and have made things before, but never completed anything. I consider what I did a completed product, even though it has it’s obvious flaws. This has boosted my morale and while I know I can’t take on a super crazy, out of scope project just yet, I do know I can create simplistic games in Unity 3D.
Unity’s 2D is Really Easy - Oh yeah, Unity has a really easy 2D system. I thought it’d be a bit challenging, but it works extremely well and is easy to pick up. Definitely using Unity’s 2D development tools from now on.
Until next time…
Well, that’s all. Thank you Ludum Dare, and the Ludum Dare community. I made some good friends during this jam that I didn’t expect to make. It’s been fun chatting in the chat rooms, checking out everyone’s live stream, and tweeting with you all while I took breaks and relaxed. I can’t wait for the next one and am happy I finally have a completed project for the Ludum Dare/Jam.
Time for me to shameless plug myself:
If you’d like, please follow me on Twitter. My handel is @AngryFacing.
You can also check out my website, http://mudry.me, which I’ll be updating with game development blogs, and so forth. If you want, you can also check out some of my shipped games and other projects.
Thanks again everyone and see you all next jam!
Oh, I recorded myself doing a lot of the development. If I can pull the videos from my Twitch stream, I’ll post a time lapse.
Well, this has been great, and I’m finally done!
I’d be lying if I said this hadden’t been a lot of fun, but I think I could of done much, much better — I just got a late start.
My final verdict of my own product is as so: It could of been MUCH, MUCH more…
You can take a look for yourselves, here:
And you can listen to the music here, if you’re interested in that:
The game has a name; Papaya. I have added new game mechanics, new tiles and an entirely new themed map with different aesthetics..
Giving a small sneak peek here, as I don’t want to spoil the greater picture:
Level one of my Bat-simulator is now playable at http://aardal.nu/Ludumdare/
So far the mechanics for movement are roughly figured out, and the first level is mostly done. Most of the dev time so far has been tilemaking and deciding what game mechanics I will need to meet the theme.
Our intrepid bat needs to enter the fort of the beaver-hipsters. But why?! – Well I need to make the rest of the levels for that.
I was the one who made the unusually challenging 10 Second Paper Flight. This will probably be a hectic Ludum Dare for me since I’ll be at a Christmas Party on the Saturday and work on the Monday, but what the hell, I like making games and I can use some of Saturday to plan something interesting.
Anyways, I plan to use the following tools:
- GitHub (Source Control, my first ever solo project to use source control :O)
- HaxeFlixel (Game Libraries)
- Paint.Net (Graphics)
- Tiled (Possible Level Design)
- iNudge (Possible music)
- Bfxr (Sound Effects)
My plans/advice so far for the jam, based on last Ludum Dare:
- Plan well.
- Constantly show your progress.
- Graphics and Music are just as important as the game itself.
- Know how and where you will distribute your game.
- Everyone likes Time Lapse vids
- Follow the 621 (Sleep, Food and Clean Yourself :P)
Everyone have a good Ludum Dare!
I’ve done several Ludum Dares in the past, and the one thing that I’d recommend to anyone is to always remember, you’re doing this for fun.
- If something comes along that sounds more fun, or is more important, go do it.
- Take breaks. Go on a walk. Get away from the computer. Draw inspiration from the world, or let your subconscious tackle a tough problem while you enjoy yourself.
- Don’t get stuck. Use a tool like Stutter to force yourself to bounce from art to programming to design to playtesting. (Yes, this is a shameless plug.)
- Sleep (or, at the very least, powernap). A tired developer is a sub-optimal developer. Four hours of peak development is worth much more than 16 hours of mediocre development.
- Eat. Food is fuel, and fuel, like sleep, is required to perform at peak.
- If you want to dominate your Ludum Dare (or appear to), don’t learn your tools while you work. Decide upon your arsenal now, and learn as much as you can about them.
- Revision control is your best friend. Commit early, commit often. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be committing way more than you think you need to, and this is good. Reverting fifteen minutes worth of bug code is better than spending another fifteen debugging. (Don’t forget to master revision control before the compo!)
- Submit your shit. Does your game crash? Submit it. Does your game suck? Submit it. Is your game so awful it’s embarrassing? Submit it! Once you’ve submitted it, realize you’ve completed a Ludum Dare, how awesome that is, how many people wish they were you, how attractive you are, and how much better you’ll do next time!
- Have fun. Have I mentioned that you’re doing this for kicks? If you’re stressed, worried, bored, upset, or tired, you’re doing a bad games make job. Have fun, goddamnit.