Posts Tagged ‘post-mortem’
— 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
Leave a comment!
This was the first Ludum Dare I participated and I wasn’t even supposed to do so. I wanted to. I thought about it. But didn’t try to organize anything with anyone that would complement my skills before the weekend.
I basically got inspired by a friend of mine who is learning how to code and that was going to participate by herself, and I started thinking on what I could do with little time (I had a busy weekend) and very little art (my artistic skills are severly challenged).
So I came up with Star Trucker:
|planets! galaxies! relevant title screen image.|
It’s kind of a slow paced minimalistic resource balancing simulator that you’ll fail at (get those genre defining buzzwords in).
Although it starts very slowly and admitedly potentially boring, it ramps up difficulty quite nicely to a point where everything gets a bit hectic. Succeeding at keeping that hecticness steady until the player eventually drops the ball due to having to juggle a bunch of planets and transports at the same time. There’s no winning condition.
|here, have a screenshot.|
I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’s definitely a higher quality product that I usually manage at game jams and I think that that had all to do with the limitations I knew I had going in (lack of time and lack of art). This forced me to come up with a very basic concept whose mechanics were as simple as they could be. Thanks to that, I managed to get the core game loop working in a handful of hours which allowed me to take some time to draw the planets, pay attention to player feedback and deliver those tiny bits of polish that make a huge difference. There’s some balancing and tweaking to be done, for sure, but the more I worked on it, the more I felt that this was a concept with room to grow.
Inevitably, I started thinking on how this could be developed further and I started outlining a couple of new features that could add depth to the game. I was keen on doing more with this concept and the next couple of days gave me the motivation I needed. I don’t know if people are just being really nice, but everyone’s feedback has been incredibly positive and the ideas that have been thrown at me have been helping me a lot in shaping the direction of where I’m going to try to take the game.
Thanks to everyone that has tried the game and that has been giving me invaluable feedback and ideas. Please keep them coming.
The vision for Star Trucker is lining up to be something that is right up my alley and I’m quite keen to see how far the mechanics can be pushed and how much depth can be added to it. I’m confident that I can make something good out of this.
I’ll be updating my blog (half-done games) with progress on the game. If you’re interested, follow it or my twitter feed.
Thank you for reading.
Okay, I’ve let this sit for a while, and I think I’m ready to unpack how this jam (and my entry, which you can play here) went.
What went right:
Execution of style
When we decided the plot of the game (which I’ll talk about later), it didn’t really take much discussion to find out how we wanted the game to look. Our pixel artist, Gordon, has a very distinct, angular, heavily-stylised look to his illustrations, perfect for a game that is heavily about style and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The artwork I produced for the game was a bunch of photomontages. For a game about bringing separate realms together, I liked the idea of my pieces being all kinds of stock photos smashed together and those montages juxtaposed against much cleaner and precise pixel art.
The hexagon motif kind of just… emerged. It started when I made the graphic for the item window, which was initially square until I started using that rad hexagon font for the text. And soon it was everywhere. Even Akachi’s wallpaper at his house is made of hexagons!
More of this post under the cut.
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. “
This time was actually the first time I had a chance to send in something that I felt was finished and worth posting.
Naturally this is also my first post mortem, so bear with me :p
Being in the Netherlands ment that the theme would be announced 3 am local time. I tried staying up but I kind of wanted to sleep at 1 so I decided to not stay awake.
The next day first thing I did was look up the theme and take a good shower which helped out pretty well.
I think I only got a few options for myself but this one seemed small enough to actually finish in 48 hours.
Sunday I wouldn’t have much time so I tried to complete as much as I could on Saterday.
I started out in Planbox (a handy tool I’de like to use instead of the old-school TODO txt files), planning all things I needed to do to complete the idea.
Starting with the art for the planets actually came pretty natural and I was very, very pleased with how it turned out.
I was going to use Unity which allows for coloring of sprites so I only used grayscale colors to “draw” the images (actually just placing pixels).
Also, I just love how you can make stuff look like something with a few layers of gray, presenting angles in the image that aren’t really there, if you get what I mean.
After 4 hours or so all art for the game was done (planets, bridge, turret, initial astroids) so it was time to build the gameplay.
Usually I just spend time making “useful” stuff to speed up development, though this time I just went with what I had to do and do more “hacking together”.
The next day I didn’t had much time and I ended up with all features implemented, just non of the interface to support it.
This ment that I just had to move away from the compo and try submitting to the jam the next day.
The next day I spend some more time doing art for the UI and implementing that all.
In the end – it was the last 10 minutes before deadline – I called it done-ish and started to get the stuff ready for the web.
There was no sound and not much polish but it had to go and I was happy with it.
I guess it’s time for the propper post mortem categories now :p
- I made pretty sick art: I actually didn’t though I was able to impress myself with the quality of art I made this game. Sure I made art before but this time I felt like I grew a little in what I could do, and now CAN do.
- I finished it and it has gameplay!!: As I said, usually I spent more time working on utilities that “help” me finish my games easier but this time I just went ahead and actually hook everything up and get it to work as a real game.
- The game is pretty fun and easy to extend: I haven’t played it with someone else yet, but even solo the game was pretty fun (even it was too hard).
The love for programming flamed up as it never did before. Which is a good thing since it inspired me to continue to work on this thing and continue with my other projects a bit easier as well. Completing a game and sharing it is, I think, one of the most important things to do if you work in this industry. I had never done it before…well I did with the companies I worked for, but this time it was really something that is truely me and no-one else and that makes it feel very special.
- Astroids: The art for the astroids!! Omg I have redone that so many times because I wasn’t pleased with it. The end result is pretty good. The other times I tried to hard to make it match the other style with the black and white stuff only. (Don’t tell anyone but the final astroids are just a random outline filled with a gradient stroke.)
- Balancing: I didn’t took the time to actually play the game as a full thing during development. In the end this led to a pretty hard game since I didn’t had time to balance it out a little. Most of the values in there are just my first intuition of what I though would fit (not horrible but could have been better).
- No explanation: I fixed this pretty early on the next day after submission by adding a simpel line that you can actually press f1 to show the keys again. I had this implemented but didn’t let the player know this.
- Some bugs: Sure there were some bugs that actually broke how the game should be played (clicking disabled buttons with the mouse would trigger and such). This again was due to the fact that I didn’t played my own game.
The day after submission I spent the full day going through everything and fix the bugs that broke the game as well as update the entry post to provide extra information.
At the moment I’m still working on the same project and I’m almost done implementing the Versus mode that was brought up in several comments on my submission entry.
Thanks all for the comments! I really kept me focused on what was next.
I’ve also polished up some things and I still want to fully implement touch and mouse support since that’s what I’m trying to do with my other current project I’m working on (tablet racegame).
I will post the updated version with Versus mode soon so you can all play it against your friends and family!
My LD#30 entry is called Galactic Tollway Authority (GTA). The idea is you manage a tollway system that allows cargo ships to instantly transport across the galaxy by entering gates through wormholes. Pirates are attacking the ships, so you have to create toll routes to bypass the pirate threat while managing your cash.
What Went Right
- Kept to a graphics time budget. Instead of spending time tweaking graphics and trying to be a perfectionist (since I’m no artist I would never be happy anyway). This gave me more time to work on the code. The one minor tweak that would have been nice is to make the ending gate more distinctive. This has caused some users difficultly.
- Making a web based game. Previous entries required you to download my executable and run on Windows. Since I was using Python this was a large download and sometimes there were compatibility problems for the audio and OpenGL support. Then there was the fear people had of downloading malware. That’s why I decided to switch to a pure HTML5 based platform like Phaser. I’m glad I did it. I think it has made it much easier for people to try my game. I personally, don’t want to play anything but Web based games anymore.
- jfxr for sound effects. iNudge for music. I didn’t spend a lot of time, and got decent results, thanks to the magic of these tools.
What Went Wrong
- Adding winning/losing states and level advancement so near the end. This gives no time to make it more satisfying and properly balance the game. I continue to make this mistake. I was lucky that just adding planets when you advance the level did increase the difficulty, but then I didn’t balance other factors like the cost of buying gates should go up a lot more. Once you get past the first level you have so much cash that cash management is no longer much of an issue.
- Counting on the random planet generation to produce fun levels. It was quick at first to just randomly place the planets. This really leaves too much chance to making a level fun to play. I have a few simple planet generation rules, such as no overlapping planets and a minimum distance so that pirates can attack. I wanted to be able to drag planets around so I could manually generate the first set of levels to ensure they were fun, but never got around to implementing this.
- Not knowing every browser does not support the .ogg format. The morning after the deadline I tried to load the game in Safari and it appeared to hang while preloading. After figuring out how to bring up the debug console, discovered it was related to the music/sound files not loading. Quickly used media.io to convert to MP3 and got that working. Luckily, the compo rules allow these types of fixes after the submission deadline.
In the end, I’m happy with my entry. I’ve done about a dozen LD’s (going back to LD#1), and each time manage to get farther along with less work.
I will continue to use Phaser for future competitions. I have a long list of improvements to this game I would like to make before the next LD so I can keep in practice with Phaser. I hope being more familiar with the tools will give me more time to focus on making the game more fun to play.
You have to send special signal to make connection to another planet.
Signal is a result of adding multiple lasers with different colors (RGB).
Lasers beam are created from generators(flying balls).
You can apply specific color to generator using crystals and your laser.
Your task is to prepare your SIGNAL similar to TARGET signal.
To change target, press [space].
I started with idea of making 3d “laser and mirrors” type of game. Where you would have mirrors with different colours, and your beam react different on each one. I even succeed but find it very difficult to control beam direction. After fighting 1 day to make it enjoyable I dropped it. Finally I ended up with concept of split colour to R G B code and make objective to generate given colour (RGB code) to connect to another planet.
After last LD where I fight a lot with creating graphic by my own, I decided that next (this) LD I will start in jam. Possibility to use already created assets so I could spend few hours on creating effects, or level design and then focus on gameplay was good decision.
First time I used electric guitar for sounds effect and I’m very happy of it. I planned to spend more time on recording audio, but because of loosing time on first idea that I dropped I could use only audio that I recorded for tests. Anyway final result is ok, and I’m sure I will make something better next time!
I’m thinking about possibility to run over planet, explore new crystals and then prepare special signals. Then each signal could create something, or make special attack for different targets.
Do not hesitate to try!
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
Ludum dare is always a great time, although I reach a certain point where I feel some frustration about submitting an unfinished product. But the main responsible for this, is obviously me.
For this edition, it was like someone had asked me to make a selection of the biggest mistakes a jammer can do.
↓ READ THE REST ↓
What went right:
I felt like the scope was perfect for the limited amount of time I had this weekend. This was mostly luck, but I also knew when to quit tweaking and didn’t regret it.
The match-3 and block-dropping algorithms fell into place like magic. To be fair, I’d given it some forethought–I did a quick Unity refresher on Wednesday where I attempted to build the line-clearing mechanic of Tetris with help from this tutorial. However, that’s a much simpler algorithm and I didn’t have an exact plan. It was a leap of faith that paid off early, leaving all of Sunday for polish. (I’d probably remiss if I didn’t mention that the match-3 concept was inspired by the time I spent in SeishunCon‘s digital gaming room this year.)
I’m happy with the art. I didn’t stretch myself stylistically, and it’s not as crisp and detailed as what I’d hoped, but overall it feels pretty slick if you don’t look too closely. I love posting those screenshots because it feels like a “real” game (well, at least to me).
As in the past, adding a GVerb track covers over a multitude of recording sins. I’m going to say this a lot in this post, but this feels like cheating.
Driving 40 minutes back from the Knoxville Game Design meetup is always a good way to start thinking about design and algorithms.
What could have gone better:
I basically shoehorned a puzzle game into the theme. This was premeditated, mainly because I was itching to dip my toe into the genre. It restrained the scope by removing the need for level design, which helped. However, it also felt like cheating the system to start thinking about a game genre so early (especially since I feel like my LD29 entry was a much stronger “Connected Worlds” concept).
Overall gameplay was good, but not great. I’m happy with this in one sense–I didn’t make a ton of explicit design decisions, so I won the “go with whatever’s easiest” lottery. Still, I feel like the “flip or drop” choice is missing something. I enjoy the game, but I restart as soon as I clear out all of the obvious flip combos. Once I have to drop blocks, it’s like I’ve failed. I feel like a “flip or shift” mechanic would have been better.
What went wrong:
Because I wasn’t livestreaming, I tried to do a status update video on Friday night. OpenBroadcaster doesn’t work smoothly on my laptop. I wasted about an hour or so tinkering with OBS on a night I ended up staying up until 4am.
I don’t understand music. Originally, I picked the current chord progression as a base, then played some random notes over it on a second track. Seemed clever on Saturday, but on Sunday I realized it was too chaotic. After talking to Mike at the post-LD meetup, I think I need to study up on some music theory basics rather than hoping a clever experiment will pay off. (I feel like I’m reusing the same chord progressions and I always use a similar rhythm/picking pattern.)
Overall, I don’t feel like I stretched myself like I should have. I stick to the same style musically and artistically because I don’t have a lot of range. I stick to Unity because it’s all I know. To be honest, I’ve had a few good ratings in past LDs, so I avoid the unfamiliar because I want to keep that up. Next LD where I have the time, I need to set a few goals–for example, use Inkscape instead of GIMP, or use a digital tool like PxTone or Bfxr.
First off, this Ludum Dare has been a lot of fun. It is fortunate and unfortunate that so many people have participated. The good side is that you get such a vast array of talents all coming to the same place. The unfortunate side is that you can’t play all of the games. The ones I have seen so far have been awesome. Great job everyone!
So Musical Trade Routes… It was a little crazy putting this thing together. I am sure everyone feels the same way about their own games I am actually shocked at the positive feedback I have been receiving. All of the cool stuff that people seem to like were afterthought things that I threw together in the twilight hours of the competition. I wanted to make my game have an abstract approach to the theme – so far most have not noticed it. I wanted to connect the worlds of poetry and music together. As I knew this would be an abstract theme, I placed in a more obvious connecting trade routes between worlds.
With only a couple of hours to plan on day 1, I could not think of anything to do with this theme. I came up with some views on how to address the theme and posted them around, but that was the extent. I went to bed a little sad that I would not be participating. When I woke up the next morning, I decided to start looking into linking poetry and music and to make a little space game, just so I would have something to submit. The plan was to work on planning each for a few hours and then see which seemed like a better path. As I continued doing both, the idea of a piano ship evolved. I quickly made some piano music and did my best to make a flight simulation. I had never done either one before, so I am extremely happy with how they came out, even though it is not perfect.
I then began to create planets. I was going to leave half of them unnamed and just white circles. Before moving on I convinced myself to just finish naming and coloring so I could say something was done. I threw in some lines between the planets and made it so each planet (0-9) would display its own lines to connecting planets. I finished up the day by making a “difficulty” variable that I assigned to each planet.
Sunday morning I woke up and just started banging out some poetry. Haikus seemed like the easiest way to go. All I need was 120 syllables and all ten planets were done:
I started working on enemies, but just quickly made some meteors. I decided to get done the space combat system. Simplest solution was random spawns based on the difficulty variable. I felt this would make it more interesting because it might interrupt whatever song people were playing and create a new song entirely. I got a chance to play test it quite a few times, so difficulty was adjusted here and there. A few of the polish things that I was hoping to add were a hard mode, music playback and a sonnet. Those who have played it might not have realized that the title screen was a sonnet
Music playback – This has been a favorite for most of the people who have played the game. At the end of each level, you get to hear the music that you played while in flight.
The poetry – Not many have commented on the poetry, but I am actually happy with how it came out. Also at the win screen, you get to read the planet’s Haiku while your own music is playing in the background.
Enemies – I wanted so bad to have a lot of enemies, space ships, curving asteroids, other music coming in. That would have been so much fun.
Free Piano – I added this in post-comp. I received feedback early on that a more realistic piano would have been better. In the post comp, I added in more key sets for playing and opened the option for multiple key strokes at the same time. I have not taken the time to make a music playback for free-piano mode, though.
Graphics – I am not an artist. I know the graphics were not fantastic.
Future of the game:
I totally want to continue this project. I think it would do well in the mobile market. I even tried putting it on the google play store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ceosol.MTR). Its free to download. If anything, at least you’ll have a little music creator on your phone or tablet
I want to add more to the piano, for sure. Maybe you could swipe left or right to go up and down octaves. You could purchase new ships that have different instruments.
A suggestion was also made with the free piano mode that spawn times could be decreased and you would have faster action happening.
Thank you again to everybody who has tried it out. I was so burnt out at the end that I was thinking the game was absolutely horrible. I am delighted by all of the feedback, good and bad. Keep it coming!