Posts Tagged ‘post-mortem’
This was the first Ludum Dare that Paperbox Studios had ever participated in, we had a great time making our game Kid Got Lost and were quite pleased with the feedback that we had received for our entry. When the theme of connected worlds was revealed we knew that the obvious choice was to make some sort of turn based strategy or a 4X game since this type of game play would fit in so naturally to the theme of connected worlds.
After lots of brainstorming we eventually came up with the idea of creating Kid Got Lost, a maze game at its core but we implemented a mechanic where you could shift from one dimension to another, this is where the theme of connected worlds played its part in our idea.
The goal of our game is to find a key and then precede to finding the door, sounds easy enough but you need to look into the other dimension in order to be able to see different objects such as the Key, traps, portals and the door. You are not alone in the other dimension though, you need to be wary of ghosts who can sense your presence when in the other dimension and will come after you.
Sound became quite an important element within Kid Got Lost, initially we just wanted sound and music for the sake of actually having those elements within our game. Our amazing sound designer though had other ideas, in a few hours he had managed to create amazing atmospheric music and eerie sound effects that turned our game into quite a chilling experience. The sounds also play an integral part, as the player will be able to listen to the howls of the ghosts near by, acting almost as a warning of when it is safe to swap between dimensions.
After we had published our game on Ludum Dare, we began to receive some feedback. Most of the feedback received were positive, commenting on the unique concept and mechanic, complementing the art style and the sound effects as well. Although we intended from the beginning that we wanted Kid Got Lost to be a difficult game, the idea of the game was to challenge the player until they finally made it through the maze and the aftermath would be a sense of satisfaction. Unfortunately this backfired on us, and we ended up changing it just a bit in order to make it slightly easier.
All in all Ludum Dare was a fun and amazing experience for the whole team, we learnt a lot of lessons but at the end of the day were happy with our product. We played some amazing games from other developers and were amazed by so many great submissions that were made, it’s just so intriguing to see what other developers came up with working within the same time and theme constraints and how they went about making it. We are definitely looking forward to the next Ludum Dare Jam but until then guys keep making great games, keep innovating and have a great time.
My puzzle game for LD30 is now available on Android. I also made a postcompo version.
The main goal of the postcompo version was to simplify the rules a little. Until now, every powered tile could be moved.
This was never the goal, most levels can be solved by moving only the Supernova.
But without the possibility of moving other tiles my random level generation could produce impossible levels.
I have now fixed my random level generation, so there is no need to move other tiles around.
Here are the changes :
Slight change of rule : only the supernova can be moved around
Progression (last level unlocked) is now saved
Random levels Hard & Unknown better balanced
Last level completely remade (less difficult)
What Went Wrong:
– We started with 3 people and good ideas, but the ideas proved to ambitious and 1 person quit, so we only really started after about half the time had already passed.
– A lot of people thought our game was too hard. We can both beat it easily, along with a few other people, but most people struggled with it.
– The game is pretty short, which is partly why we wanted to make it so challenging. We didn’t end up with enough time to make the entire game that we had planned, so we had to settle for limiting the game to one area, instead of implementing a whole story with multiple areas.
– We didn’t have time to make custom audio. The sound effects actually turned out pretty well (we didn’t make them ourselves), but there was no music. For our game from the last competition we had time to make an entire custom soundtrack with multiple tracks. Here is our last game if you’re interested:
What Went Well:
- The game is pretty well polished. Despite not being able to complete our entire idea, when we realized that we wouldn’t have time to add much more, we dedicated the last few hours to polishing what we already had.
– The mood turned out very well. We added flickering lights and eerie sound effects that really contributed to the creepy mood of the game. People have said our game is scary, and we’re glad to have been able to achieve that with simple looking enemies (shadows) and without adding any gore.
– Despite many people thinking it was too hard, we think the game mechanics themselves were actually pretty innovative. Many people did games with the idea of pressing a button to go into another world, but our game has a bar that shows how far into the other world you are and if it fills up you lose. This, along with the flashlight mechanic that drives the shadows away, makes for very interesting and unique game-play.
– There is a Nick Cage Easter egg somewhere in the game.
We had a good idea for this game and it turned well, but we would like to release a post-compo version sometime in the future. This would include many more areas and possibly some of the story that we didn’t add. The difficulty level would also be changed. Many people thought that the flashlight didn’t do much to stop the shadows even though it actually slows them down considerably. Therefore, we’ll try to make it FEEL as if the flashlight does more and possibly make it actually do a little more. With a bigger game we could also have more progressive difficulty, so that people would get used to using the flashlight in easy areas before it got to difficult. We’re also planning to add many other features like lit-up areas that would act as safe-zones and a lantern with limited uses that would drive away shadows if you are surrounded.
Praise the Sun!
TLDR: The end result is not what we imagined when we started to work on the game, but overall the experience was great, and we are really happy we keep participating. Go and play the game! (BEWARE: Frustration guaranteed)
Here is a little gameplay video. Sorry for the bad quality, but when I realized it was too late. While recording this gameplay, more than ever I felt how the game is damn frustrating and urged me to burn down my computer a couple of times. Anyone up to beat my score?
What went wrong
It was friday night here when the theme was announced. We were at a pub with some friends. Everyone was talking and making suggestions of what game we could make. While that’s great, having a lot of ideas dancing in your head is sometimes not that cool. We were suffering an “idea overflow” and every idea seemed unoriginal or not doable. The same night we picked the best looking despite doubts, and started working on that one saturday morning.
TIME, TIME, TIME!!
We couldn’t get to the point of our original idea. The game was intended to contain “dream objects” as obstacles. Each level should have been aesthetically different, resembling a escape from different connected dream worlds: Level 1 should have been vectorial art, level 2 pixel art, level 3 doodles, level 4 realistic objects and so on (with some effects and transitions in between). We were running out of time so we ended up using photoshop filters over the same sprites, getting not good results. PLUS the game goes so fast, that anything but the player is noticeable. I guess that’s why the link with the theme might be weak to nonexistent for anyone playing.
+ More time would have bought us a much polished game with less coding horrors (and better level design, and better everything). I guess this can be improved a little doing a couple of “warmups” and exercising so everything is “fresh” when LD begins.
So you think this game is hard?
Nobody but us tested the game before submission. I guess by doing that we could have seen how the game runs in different machines, and how frustrating the game and each level could be.
Our record for the entire game is ~9 minutes (the first times ranged 15-20), but there is a noticeable unbalance in some levels.
For example these are the marks for each level:
I’m sure little to none people other than us finished the game.
What went right
Compact core mechanics + simple controls
We knew we wanted to make a “little fun game” with simple mechanics and controls beforehand.
We had fun
Being friends and getting together a whole weekend to make a game is great. LD is a great excuse to reunite, share meals, drinks and enjoy moments doing what we like to do
We made a great level editor, that allowed us to visually place every element, and export / import as json.
Difficulty – Challenge vs. Frustration
What draws the line between challenge and frustration? There are a lot of readings and thoughts on the topic and this experience was a trigger to further learn on that game design topic.
Thanks to everyone in the LD community that helped and contributed with cool feedback, games and stories.
Hopefully in some near future we will get the time and motivation to fix and improve all the things that were wrong with the game, but meanwhile you can
play it get frustrated here.
This was my first LD entry, so I thought I’d write a short post-mortem.
I had been wanting to create a 4X game for quite a while, and when the theme for LD 30 was announced to be “Connected Worlds”, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to do something about the idea, as well as trying to actually finish a game for once
With a lot of ideas I wanted to include and limited time, I needed to scope things down heavily. Long story short, I submitted my entry with a few hours to go, and have reflected on what worked and what didn’t.
- I made a quick music loop just to have some music, as I figured something was better than nothing. I was expecting some comments from people playing/rating the game – as I know that the style of music I make is kind of a niche – but most of the comments I ended up getting about the music were positive.
- I have a really hard time making my own graphics, and was expecting comments pointing this out. In practice this wasn’t something people commented on, which leads me to believe I made the right choice not spending more time on them than I did. Spending them on gameplay/features seemed like better use of the limited time.
- My original vision was a turn-based game, but during development I’d let the ticks run automatically to speed up testing. I ended up liking the pausable real-time gameplay, and kept it like that. Friends and co-workers thought this was something that made it pretty original, but many of the commenters here thought the game was too fast and chaotic. I assume most of these players didn’t know about the pause key though (which wasn’t very well documented – more about this in the next section.)
- If I had more time, I would have liked to balance and tweak the gameplay before submitting a lot more. There were some pretty obvious balance issues, but all in all I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
- My game is somewhat complex, and I didn’t include very detailed instructions. I had some simple tooltips in-game as well as a short toggleable instruction text, but things like what buildings did what weren’t very well explained. A lot of people commented this, and I could probably have given them a better experience if I had explained more of this at the time of submission. (The post-compo version has tables detailing building bonus numbers and research effects.)
- I had a button that was pretty important to gameplay, that unfortunately wasn’t very obvious if you didn’t read the instructions (and most didn’t). Some people found it by accident, but I should definitely have made it more clear that it was clickable and what it did. (The button in question is the one that opens the research screen – a window that adds a lot of strategy and choices to the game, and kind of makes or breaks the gameplay.)
I had a lot of fun making the game during the compo weekend, and reading peoples’ feedback is very humbling and rewarding. As a conclusion I have to declare my first LD entry a personal success – if nothing else – for finishing my first game in a long time
Thanks for reading!
LD #30 was not only my first participation in Ludum Dare, but also a first time when I published a game to a wide audience. I learned very much when I was making new game and when I was getting ffedback after I submitted it. If you would like to play my game, it can be found here: Constellation – the game about restoring and destroying connections between worlds.
I’m not an experienced game developer and don’t have much programming bachground, and making games is just a hobby for me. About an year ago I started to explore this area, at first – for practical purposes (I need to make several simple games for a website of educational organisation, where I work), and then I saw, that I can use it to express my own ideas. Mostly I work using Stencyl 3.1 with its visual programming, but work on developing my programming skills beyond this level.
Paint and Inkscape on PC and InfinitePainter on tablet
– I made a finished game, that has a plot with the beginning, the end (actually, two endings, although with only small difference) and something inbetween. I also added some interesting details, like two wearpons, that differently affects on different enemies.
– I managed to make instructions and explanations part of the game (so people can understand, what is happening, even if they don’t read the description)
– I am confident with graphics I made in short time (I expected that it woud be more difficult and will take much time)
– Using Stencyl 3.1 really saved me much time at initial stage of making a game. The only problem with it is that compiling a project takes long (several minutes). But it turns into a nice working rhythm: while it compiles, I draw sprites or backgrounds, then check the result of compilation… than add what I’ve drawn… etc. So it was nice for working solo.
– I choose the idea, that cannot be fully realized in 1 or 2 levels. To clearly show the idea of restoring right connections between worlds to form a constellation, I need more levels: initially I planned to made 5-6 words with two levels in each, but this was unrealistic. So I finished 3 worlds (one of them presented with 2 levels, others – with 1)
– I didn’t have enough time to make sounds and music. I see, that music can add much to the mood of the game, and have a tool to make it (Music Maker Jam), but just didn’t have time. So I managed only to add two sounds generated with sfxr – one in the intro and one when the player loses life.
– I also didn’t have time to draw animated sprites.
– Some people reported in comments, that the controls in my game aren’t very good. I think I need to read some documentation about Stencyl and Box2D to find, what is the problem. (As for me, controls aren’t ideal, but they don’t make game too hard or boring or unplayable)
– Two-wearpon system was good idea in general, but some players commented, that they finished the game using only one gun. Now I see, how to made the system more balanced, and maybe use this idea later.
What to do next?
I don’t know now, if I will make improved version of my game Constellation or not. I made a version where I fixed some bugs and typos, mentioned in the comments, but I don’t know, if I want to spend time on polishing it (adding music, more levels, better graphics. improving controls etc.) Probably, yes (at least, music and animations), because it is always sad for me to leave ideas in such half-embodied state. Probably, not now, because I have some other projects to work on. In any case, I hope I will have time to took part in next LD, because this was a great experience for me, and I found several other creative ideas for later use, when I was working on this game. I also had wonderful experience playing and rating games made by others. Thanks to all, see you at next LD!
I’m really, really happy with my Ludum Dare game this time, so I thought I’d share it some more!
I took a post-modern approach to connected worlds – people live in different worlds based on their perceptions, but are connected by ‘reality’, whatever that is.
What went right
I brainstormed a whole bunch of potential mechanics for the concept of different perspectives. I actually thought of 4 different characters, and quite a few more ideas. I then implemented the mechanics one at a time.
With around 10 hours left, I decided to stop designing levels, and not add any new mechanics but instead focus on polish, and pretty particles. I could have included more mechanics, but I think the polish was much more important.
I also programmed it all from scratch! No game libraries (not that game libraries aren’t great too)
I plan on uploading a timelapse, and a post-compo version with a few more levels in the next few days (depending on how busy I am)
Phew! It was a hard LD! For long time I had this idea of making a game in which you would play in real world(basically use photos as background/map). The connected worlds theme was great excuse to do that. Generally this Jam was definitely one of the better Ludum Dares I took part in.
What went right:
-Idea for a game(distilled over ~2 years, this had to be good)
-Speed of level design(when I made first photo level, the rest of them was finished in~1 hour, Tiled is great for that purpose)
What went ok:
-AI, my first finished AI that is at least somehow dangerous
-Audio, my first attempt was really smooth(~30 mins to implement+create sound). Sadly the sounds are a bit too plain.
What went not right:
-I wanted to make a jumpy platformer. Then I made main character leg-less robot on tracks. I didn’t have time to add some kind of rocket-y jumping, so the lore is a bit edited to adress that.
-Collisions and movement, I had to pause game game before every level since the tunneling is really bad if I don’t. Now I know that this could be easily subverted by using more constant timestep.
What went wrong:
-Using my own, untested in real scenario library(had to hot fix it 2 hours into a LD)
-Tile level design(not colorful, not enough tile variants, rooms feel empty)
-Graphics, the main enemy is well… weird, the protagonist is blocky and not detailed enough.
Lessons i have learned:
-TEST YOUR LIBRARY
-IF YOU ARE NOT AN ARTIST: DRAW YOUR PIXELS, NOT ART
Cosmic Conqueror: A Radical Imperialistic Space Adventure
Cosmic Conqueror is a space exploration game we did for the jam and worked pretty much until the last minute on. We’re happy how it came out and we enjoy the concept so much that we’re actually gonna keep working on the game past Ludum Dare, we’ve already added a bunch of features! (But I’ll touch back on that later)
How It Started: The game started with a base concept, explore planets, kill the aliens, get followers and make money. We didn’t really have an endgame goal for the game and we probably should have, instead the goal was just to collect as much money as you possibly could, which ended up pretty alright. We had a difficult time coming up with ideas for a game initially, we shied away from two world puzzle concepts and deep personal type games. We just wanted something simple and engaging, so what’s better then cosmic dominance? We discussed our planetary concept ideas and quickly got to work, we started within the first hour or so of the jam.
Ending Rush: At the end we finished up bridge building to connect the planets (which makes you more money) which was a bit of a challenge. We had to get the bridges connecting properly and menus in within about 6 hours and everything was coming to a sudden end, it was late at night, we hadn’t slept the night before, and we knew we had to iron these things out before we could release, so we got to work. Gage worked on getting the bridges to connect properly while I finished up some miscellaneous graphics. Finally the bridges were done with about an hour left, and us tired ready to submit dudes still had to make a menu; so we just quickly slapped together a somewhat buggy menu and it was good to go! Our submission was complete, and we were pretty excited about it!
POST LD: We released a post LD submission on the page a day later fixing some bugs with menus and bridges and it helped out quite a bit, we felt pretty good about it at that point. We’re still working on it now, fixing bugs, adding cool new things and expanding it quite a bit to make it into a real game! It’s a really neat project and we are very excited about it. Isn’t space just totally cool?
And, if you have any interest in what’s gonna happen to the game, you can follow us on twitter.
I made a post in my blog telling my experience within this ludum dare.
- I made a game based on behavior trees, a technique for game AI which I implemented from scratch (spent >20h on it);
- The game is about connecting people;
- First Ludum Dare that I didn’t change the plan in the half of the compo!
- Behavior Tree worked very well and there were no relevant bug at the final version of the game;
- Despite the time I spent on it, the visual of the game is pretty good;
- There are very few games on Ludum Dare that uses AI as this one, I’m very proud of it;
- Constant fear of failing to finish it;
- Very hard to model behavior trees programatically;
- VERY hard to debug behavior trees without visual helper;
- Mechanics is incredible boring and repetitive;
- I couldn’t finish several aspects of the game, but the worse was the sound and not fixing the crap mechanics;
Reading this before playing the game may diminish the amount of enjoyment you would get out of it! I recommend you go HERE first. It’s not very long.
About The Game:
The game I ended up submitting to this Ludum Dare is a bit of an odd one that doesn’t really fall into any pre-defined genre, but it has elements of platformer, puzzle and adventure games in it. You navigate several worlds from a first-person perspective, try to figure out how they work and try to reach an arbitrary ending.
What Went Right:
After the announcement of the theme I went through my usual Ludum Dare routine of talking to people I know and then going for a walk in order to figure out what I should try making. I was able to come up with how I would implement the theme reasonably quickly, in that the player would be able to travel between the normal world, heaven, hell and a weird intermediate world.
Despite being very simple 3D graphics, I think I managed to make a fairly interesting looking game. Each world had its own atmosphere. (Although I think heaven was a bit lacking as it was added towards the very end of development) The water in the city world and the tentacle and eye filled things in hell are the elements I thought turned out the best
I managed to keep the interactions the player could perform fairly simple in this game, but I feel they still made the game fun enough. I re-implemented an item picking up and carrying system I had used before in what is probably my favourite of my prior Ludum Dare entries: Reach the Moon
I had very few problems implementing the features I wanted to and so minimised the amount of time I would spend scratching my head at a problem. Drawing diagrams on paper to help visualise the problem really helped me.
What Didn’t Go So Well:
I had a bit of trouble staying motivated during the 48 hours, primarily because I wasn’t certain what I wanted the final game to be like, and so I took a fair few breaks. By 9pm on the Sunday evening (Perth time, so with about 12 hours remaining) I was very doubtful that I was going to finish. Thankfully I managed to stay focused for a few more hours (Thanks in part to the over-cheerfulness of the Katamari Forver soundtrack) and had my entry submitted by 2am.
There is none. This was primarily a result of my time management. By 2am I didn’t really want to launch up SFXR and start putting sound effects where I thought they needed to be, and so decided near enough was good enough. I also know absolutely nothing about creating music. None of the Ludum Dare games I have ever made have any.
I only tested my game on my own computer. So by the time I woke up on Monday morning I had discovered that most PC’s could not handle the city world of the game. (Turned out all the people created too many vertex buffers for graphics cards to handle) I managed to sort this out eventually and make the game runnable.
This Ludum Dare I also tried hosting my game on some other websites, namely GameJolt and itch.io. It’s been really enjoyable being able to see how many people are viewing and downloading the game, with GameJolt having much greater amounts of people than itch.io.
Overall I think this Ludum Dare went very well and look forward to seeing the results and participating in the next one that I can.
— I know this post is looong, but I would be so happy if you would read it and maybe comment your thoughts —
So I finished my game very tight to the deadline, but I finished it! YAY
About the game
So you are an (evil) empire that wants to take over the universe. You start by choosing your own name such as “Ludum Dare Galaxy Empire”, “Das Dritte Reich”, “Little Tim’s Multi-World Domination”, “DPRK” or something else creative for you to come up with. (HAS TO BE EVIL) To connect worlds to your empire, make a spaceship by resources and start connecting!
First of all I started making the game too late. I stayed up all night and waited for the theme to be announced at 3:00 (danish time) and went to sleep after that. I woke up at about 13:00 and was kind of too lazy to get up and start Ludum Dare’ing. So I got some food and started making a game. I thought I would use Unity, but I just wasted my first hours to find out my idea was too hard to make (I have only made one game in Unity before…) So… I ended up using Game Maker: Studio like last time, and I had to come up with a new idea…
Time passed and I finally had an idea but it was kind of unclear, so I started by making the graphics. I worked and worked and checked twitter and facebook and worked and checked youtube and worked and got distracted again and worked and so on. When it was around 4:00 and I decided to get some sleep my game wasn’t even near a game yet. Half time; not at all half done. The next day I was a bit more concentrated, but my idea wasn’t clear enough yet. I made some sketches on paper to get a better overview of what my game was about. I worked a lot without being sure what the game would turn in to. But around 6 hours before deadline I thought my idea was done enough, and I just had to finish the game too.
The original idea:
At that point my idea was something like: You have a planet. The population grows and there is a maximum number of people the Earth has room for, so you have to get the population over to other planets. To get to different planets you need spaceships, you make by resources. The Earth also has an amount of resourses that grows. There are different planets, that have different: number of spaceships needed to connect, speed of getting resources and max capacity of people. So you had to populate all the planets without getting overpopulated and getting a lot of resources.
But… All I had done at that time was: The system for getting resources and population, displaying everything over the planet, and upgrading and buying stuff. Now I just needed to make the player able to connect to the other planets by using the spaceships… And long story short: I used some hours to figure out how to “copy” the system to more planets and ended up not getting it to work. So it was 2-3 hours before deadline I only had one working planet, and no connection-stuff.
The final one:
So… I changed the idea totally, so you just connected to other worlds with spaceships, and it just said “connected”, instead of the idea of every planet having different population, stuff to upgrade, buttons etc. And by doing that the “population” thing would make no sense, so I removed that too.
So the deadline came closer and I worked as fast as I could. I remembered there was also the “submission hour” and quick made some music, and finished the game itself in the last 10 minutes of the submission hour (Yes, it was technically over deadline, but fuck it…). I uploaded it, and did the porting after the deadline. SLEEP. The next day I made the thumbnail and uploaded the source.
I feel okay about the final result, but the game turned out to be a bit boring… Overall this was probably the worst – out of 2 LD compos, and 4 total game jams I participated in – game I’ve made. But again, it’s okay; A nice little game.
Looking forward to see the results!
What I’ll do better next:
Next time I will work more focused instead of the on/off-work as I did this time. Get up. Food. Jam.
I will learn Unity more, and test some ideas before the compo starts AKA do the warm-up weekend, so I’m ready to make a game.
Timelapse / follow
I made it with ChronoLapse, nice software!
Post-Mortem & Story
I know this might be a bit late but I’ve had a busy week, so here goes anyway. This post is divided into three parts (sandwiched with unashamed self-promotion at either end). The first tells the story of the event and what I went through creating it. It’s quite detailed, so if you’re not interested in that bit please jump ahead to the post-mortem and feedback sections, in which I critique my work and reflect on feedback from you guys so far.
For Ludum Dare 30: Connected Worlds, I created a game called Harmony, one of the many space-themed entries that made it into the gallery for the event. The game revolves creating an equilibrium in military (often accidentally spelt with two ‘L’s throughout the game, forgive my sins) and economic powers between the inhabitants of six planets so that they can live together peacefully. This is achieved by the player carefully selecting the geographic properties of the planets each of the six races start on and using various powers throughout the game to influence the rate of growth of the civilisations.
The game essentially takes place over three phases: the setup phase, in which the player creates the planets and settles the races; the pre-space phase, in which the player is given time to balance each of the races strengths pre-emptively; and the final space phase, in which planets start to interact with each other, the results of which can be catastrophic should the player have failed to setup and balance in the earlier points in the game.
You can read the story (with pictures!), post-mortem and feedback after the jump.
A little late, but you can read my just-published (second) LD Post Mortem here:
I didn’t post it here, because it’s german (my english is far from good enough to express my thoughts)
Beside the post mortem, you can play and rate my entry here:
I would also love to play your games, if they are playable on a linux machine
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