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Ludum Dare 30 — August 22nd-25th 2014 — Theme: Connected Worlds
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    Posts Tagged ‘post-mortem’

    Ludum Dare 30 post-mortem: Parallel Puzzles

    Posted by (twitter: @dylanwolf)
    Thursday, August 28th, 2014 4:02 pm

    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.

    Musical Trade Route Post-Mortem

    Posted by
    Thursday, August 28th, 2014 2:04 pm

    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!

    CW MTR logo


    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 :)


    The good:
    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.

    The bad:
    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!

    When Worlds Collide

    Posted by
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 4:46 pm

    Hi everyone :) the game I created for this LD is ‘When Worlds Collide

    You can play, rate & brutally criticize it here!

    Direct unity web player link here!

    gameplay screenshot

    No this is not real space, it’s honestly a gameplay screenshot. Believe it son.

    Mechanics :

    - Randomly generated solar systems, planets, moons etc.

    - Hover your mouse over planets to see planet name, planet population, and planet wealth

    - Grapple multiple planets to haul them around the solar system

    - Solar system radar displaying location of planets and the sun

    - Player health

    - Destructible planets and moons

    - Dogfight with enemy fighters (pretty tough; got it in last minute)


    Keys :

    - ‘Spacebar‘ = Grapple planets

    - ‘F’ = Fullscreen

    - ‘Enter/Return’ = shoot

    - ‘R’ = Create new solar system

    - ‘WASD’ = Move up, left, down, right

    - ‘Left Click’  = Hide controls

    - ‘Mouse Hover’ = View planet information


    gameplay screenshot

    This one is actually a picture of real space.


    Extra : 

    The game is a little rough, but I feel pretty confident with how much content I got into it. There isn’t a definitive goal but it’s still an interesting free roam concept :)

    It’d be awesome if you guys & gals would check it out and tell me what you think and give it a rate. And again, criticism is encouraged. Have a good one! :)

    - Follow Me : @OfficialDingbat

    Post mortem

    Posted by
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 3:06 pm

    I fixed one error in my game, so try it again.

    My plan:

    Connected Worlds:

    Mixed genre – Few types of levels (which have different genre)
    + Mini Worlds – In levels to make character stronger, etc.; different genre
    + Connection – Story: in mission to connect Worlds in war
    Final Match – End of the level; like Mini World but bigger

    Level types:
    |e|t|m| e-enemies t-traps m-Mini Worlds[1-the smallest; 4-the biggest]
    |1|4|3|+ End platformer – Have platforms, you must reach END POINT
    |3|2|1|Killing platformer – Have platforms, you must kill amount of enemies
    |2|3|4|End shooter – More enemies than platformer, you must reach END POINT
    |4|1|2|Killing shooter – More enemies than platformer, you must kill amount of enemies

    Final match types:

    Boss – one big enemy, and few small enemies; must kill big one
    Final wave – many small enemies; must kill amount of enemies
    Cleaning – rest of enemies that survive will be aginst you

    + Platformer:

    Enemies types:

    + Jump-aware – you can jump on them and kill them
    Jumpers – you can jump on them
    Fallers – they can hurt you only if they jump on you
    + Normal – you can kill them only by shooting
    Spikes – you can’t kill them

    (I mark with ‘+’ things what I did)

    Comparing this game and previous LD game:

    This game has story previous doesn’t.

    This game has level chooser with 50 levels (+story) previous have only start button.

    This game has one working level (other 49 are fake) previous have one infinite game loop.

    This game has 5 types of enemies previous 4.

    Two of this game enemy types have automatic shooting.

    In this game you have one weapon (laser) in previous too (fishes).

    In this game you are earning more laser entering the Mini Worlds in previous by eating fishes.

    I put one dialog in this game, no dialog in previous.

    In this game you can enter main menu from game in previous you can’t.

    This game has sounds previous doesn’t.

    This game has 32 used pictures previous only 10.

    This game has 3 sound files, 2 tilemaps and 1 ttf file previous none of these.

    This game has 907 code lines previous only 317 (blank and comment lines doesn’t count).


    What went good:

    - I finished game

    -I create great game plan

    -I created some really good art (for me)

    -I created story

    -I had main menu and so on before Ludum Dare started (I send link to my source code)


    What went bad:

    -Game was to slow in the end

    -I created only one level

    -Map is a bit of buggy

    -Some transparency bugs

    -Only one level type

    -Only one Mini World type

    -No Final Match

    i guess this is a post mortem

    Posted by
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 8:09 am

    Hey there babe, yeah you at the computer, you lookin’ fine tonight.

    My names Harrison and with the help of two close friends we made Galilei, an ~arte~ game

    Here is a full playthrough in action.

    (play/vote on it here)

    Anyway, I felt like I should talk about  the somewhat downwards spiral that was Galilei and why it happened.


    Initial Idea was too vague

    Initially we wanted to make a space game as the artist really loves modelling sci-fi ships and etc, the theme fitted it perfectly but left little to the imagination.
    We didn’t really think past that for a little while and went through a few ideas over the course of 24 hours before we settled on the final idea.

    Most ideas were dumb

    I really wanted to play around with lighting for this, I love minimalist art-styles and wanted to toy with shadows and all that junk, this lead to us starting off with an exploration game that would take place within an asteroid belt around an unknown planet, you would find audio logs and discover that previous ships had been trapped here after being sent through a wormhole.

    that is fairly dumb and we spent too long on it, though some of the basic ideas stayed in but were changed artistically to fit, such as audio logs changing to gems and the reset function being based on a wormhole opening up and dragging you back (kind of i just went nuts making that to be honest)

    I had no idea how to explain the art-style

    I’m a programmer and designer, I was recently funded to start my own company.
    I have a lot of knowledge about game design.
    I suck at the art.

    I’m bloody terrible at making art, I just can’t wrap my head around physically modelling/spriting/painting, I just don’t jive with that.

    In my head I wanted a low poly art-style, that alone is very vague and explaining it to Nicholas was an immense task, eventually he figured out what a tired and slightly drunk me was trying to say and made magic.
    Thanks Nick.

    I ended up hating the art-style on the last day

    Well, I do love it but I spent almost 18 hours coding new things and fixing old things once they handed me the final art assets, So I sat there looking at it for all that time and it got stale to me.
    This didn’t really cause any problems I’m just not entirely happy with how it turned out due to how I had to cut quite a lot of things to make it look any good in time.


    Now I need to talk about the good things


    I’m surprised with what we made

    I’m a very fast coder, I work fast and expect art assets to be done just as fast which is sometimes impossible
    My initial code in prototypes is pretty bloody low, they work well but looking at them is ugly

    I am incredibly impressed at what we made in the time period.
    I know loads of people who study game design and all that junk who have made final projects for their classes that look and play worse than this, and they have passed, and while that might say something about the places they are studying at I prefer to say that we just did something good here, even if I’m disappointed that it’s not what we set out to make.

    People adore the art

    While I’m not the artist on this (Nick and Cameron made the art) it makes me incredibly warm and fuzzy inside to hear people compliment the art-style, I spent so long trying to explain it and it was made almost perfectly and people love it.

    Some fairly important people have seen it now

    I have had this problem where I like to prototype things, people love them and then I get bored of them.
    I work on a project to learn a specific thing and then I drop it once I have learned what I set out to learn.

    That means that a lot of what I make never sees the light of day and I’m never comfortable showing it to people who might want me on their project.

    Seeing that Michael O’Connor (_PipeDreamer_) favourited a tweet I made about finishing Galilei made me happy, even if he’s just looking at whats happening in Ludum and saw that I finished.
    If you see this Michael, you pressing a button made someone feel better about themselves.

    Cameron also has some ties to Interceptor Entertainment, and according to him Frederik Schreiber enjoyed it, even if it’s not a “game” as much as it is a dumb ~arte~ piece.


    Ending statement about LD30

    I absolutely adore all of you, I attempted to do LD28 and had some serious problems with my house at the time and had to drop out.
    This has been an amazing experience.

    We are most likely going to continue working on Galilei as we all enjoyed the weekend even with the incredible lack of sleep.
    We will be changing quite a bit up, most likely removing the spaceship aspect as it had its problems, and without a dedicated QA team we had no chance of ironing that out in 3 days.

    Keep a lookout for it, It’l show up in your feeds again soon!

    By the way, if you are still reading I love you.
    Marry me.

    Planetoid Pilgrim – POSTMORTEM: Space Exploration and Morality Experiment

    Posted by
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 5:14 am


    Hello, everyone! I’m Shaquille Stoutamire (Defacid/Acid) and I had a lot of fun with Ludum Dare this year! I’m really excited that, even though I still had a lot going on, I managed to finish my entry! It’s not as fleshed out as I wanted it to be, but I submitted it in time… with a whole minute to spare!


    - Randomly generated worlds with terrain and plantlife variations

    - Pretty decent gravity and rocket physics (there are definitely bugs, but it’s relatively solid)

    - Basis to a leveling system


    - Fleshing out the level system to actually DO something

    - Adding outposts and environmental interactions like gathering resources and using them to survive

    - Spending too much time on the planet generation: I had already build a similar system before, funnily enough for a previous Ludum Dare, but I ran into an error didn’t want to look at it or use that code base – when I do a game jam, I like to work from scratch in the engine/IDE that I’m using. Next time, even if I’m not going to copy and paste, I’ll at least look. :P

    - Actually fleshing out the morality element. Right now, the player themselves has to ask the question of “Why am I killing these little guys?” when experience doesn’t change anything about the gameplay. But I wanted to actually add something of value to the mix like planets losing color saturation when you kill enemies, but you get something in return so you have to weigh whether or not it’s worth it to kill these defenseless little guys.

    - Clearing my schedule for the event. It was unavoidable (school, watching my son, my car broke down haha) but it still definitely hurt my game. I lost AT LEAST 24 hours due to obligations and 8 to sleeping. So I ended up with about 12 or so game dev hours at the maximum. :(

    I’m going to port my game to HTML5 within the next day so that more people will play it! But within the next 20 days, I’m going to play as many other compo entries as possible! I will make sure to play and rate every game of every person who rates and comments on my game.

    Fusebox Post Mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @empyrealhell)
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 12:01 am

    This past weekend I participated in the 30th Ludum Dare 48-hour competition and created Fusebox, an energy management simulation game. What follows is a summary of my experiences creating it, and what I learned from doing so. I had a lot stacked against me, and while I missed some milestones that would have taken the game from mediocre to great, I think that I did really well considering the situation. Before we can assess that though, we have to start from the beginning.

    Sure-footed as a Mountain Goat

    One week before the Ludum Dare competition started, I was at the local rock gym with a friend of mine. They had more than just rock walls there, and in my first (and most likely last) attempt at this whole slack-lining thing, I fell and landed sideways on my foot. It instantly swelled up to the size of a potato, and I haven’t been able to walk properly since. I have made a pretty decent recovery so far, but one thing I can’t do is sit up. If my foot isn’t elevated above my head, it swells back up like a balloon and becomes incredibly painful. Since working on a computer with any amount of comfort necessitates putting your feet beneath the desk, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

    This is what you get for hanging out with extroverted adrenaline junkies.

    This is what you get for hanging out with extroverted adrenaline junkies.

    Over the course of the weekend, my foot turned out to be both more and less of a problem than I expected. By lowering my chair, throwing a pillow on my desk, and leaning back, I could actually sit somewhat comfortably for more than an hour at my desk. It required me to be a bit twisted, and it probably wasn’t good for my back, but I was actually able to sit at the computer. Had this not been possible, I had a backup plan of writing a game in javascript from my laptop, since it can’t run Unity. In retrospect, I probably should have gone that route, but I really wanted to try this out with Unity, so I suffered through.

    The downside to this was that I couldn’t get into a position that was ideal for either my foot or for writing code. I was at least slightly uncomfortable the entire time, and several times throughout the weekend I had to stop and move to the couch to give my foot a proper rest. This had two side effects. The first was that I lost a lot of development time to laying on the couch with my foot on the back. The second was that in order to try and take advantage of this time I brought my notepad and did as much design and planning as I could while I was away from the computer. This is probably the main reason the game is so complicated and over-engineered.

    This is the first time I've taken hand-written notes in years. I had to use one of those weird scratchy tube things to scrape my thoughts in stone.

    This is the first time I’ve taken hand-written notes in years. I had to use one of those weird scratchy tube things to scrape my thoughts in stone.

    What is it Even Uniting?

    One of the main reasons I do these competitions is to force myself to try something new. I’ve used new engines, tools, or frameworks every time, and I’ve never made a game in a genre that I’ve done before. It’s a great way to learn a lot in a very short amount of time, and when you’ve been programming for a length of time measured in decades, it’s not a stretch to try and figure something out in that time frame. Since my current game project is in Unity, and I’ve been struggling with it since day, I decided that I would force myself to figure out and use Unity for this competition. In retrospect, I’m glad that I did, but it definitely slowed me down quite a bit.

    I also chose to do a very UI-intensive project this time around, for a couple of a reasons. I felt that my foot might get in the way, and I wanted something I could work on from the couch if the need arose. I also know that I hate writing interface code, mostly due to the fact that I’m not very good at designing interfaces, and I find the whole thing very tedious. I may have been setting myself up for failure here, but the goal was never to win the competition. In all of the work I’ve done on Project Dunwich, I have not even touched the interface yet. At one point I actually had to look up how to make a button. I was starting from scratch here.

    So... Much... UI Code...

    So… Much… UI Code…

    The Thought

    Despite using tools and techniques I was unfamiliar with, and dealing with Quato growing on my foot, I felt pretty good going into the competition. I had read through the list of themes, and I focused my thoughts on the highest rated candidates from the first four days of voting. This is by no means a fool-proof method of predicting the winner, and I wasn’t writing any code or committing anything to paper, just idly thinking about the design possibilities. I ran through some ideas while I went about my day, and initially I wanted to make something with more action, since my last two attempts sort of fell flat in that regard. Most of the ideas I thought of with any amount of action seemed either too obvious, or not connected enough to the theme, and UI was another focus area, so I settled for a management sim game.

    Once the theme was actually announced, I was a bit relieved that the top theme won out, since it meant I already at least knew what genre of game I would make for it. The idea was simple, connect worlds together through some interface, but give those worlds multiple, intricate layers of connection. I like to make my games hit the theme in multiple ways, and that satisfied that requirement. Connecting worlds to an energy source was the obvious take on the theme, but having them be linked to each other as well added a nice extra layer of depth to the interpretation. I’m not sure any ever notices these little touches, but it makes me feel better about my interpretations.

    I'm really happy with how the planet rendering turned out. It's a shame I never got a chance to make that interface actually useful though.

    I’m really happy with how the planet rendering turned out. It’s a shame I never got a chance to make that interface actually useful though.

    The Look

    I immediately started with graphics, since I didn’t think there would be very many, and I wanted to get it out of the way. I drew up a mock interface, some icons for the planet stats, and some graphics for the planets themselves, and actually had something passable by the end of the first night. I have used Inkscape quite a bit over the past few months, but I had never done clouds or noise in it, so that was a fun little challenge to overcome. In the end, I spent less than four hours total on graphics, and I’m glad I didn’t have to fight with them at all once I got into the interface code.

    With graphics in hand, I set to create the game objects and renderers that would use them to actually put the images on screen. Unity actually made this really easy, though I have no idea if the setup I used is proper for an entity-component system. Since most of the game objects were just data containers, that didn’t take very long, and well before the half-way mark, all I had left was to write the code to process the interactions on the game objects, and then do a whole lot of UI work. After a brief stint on the couch to rest my foot, I started in on the UI.

    It is a damn good thing I don't have to actually draw interfaces. I drew it and I can't even tell what's going on in some spots.

    It is a damn good thing I don’t have to actually draw interfaces. I drew it and I can’t even tell what’s going on in some spots.

    As I mentioned earlier, I had no idea how to approach the interface. I created things using GUIText and GUITextures, I switched to converting screen coordinates to world coordinates and driving the UI with game objects, and eventually discovered the OnGUI method and settled on using that. Throughout the course of the day on Saturday I created as many interfaces as I could, to enable interaction with the game objects. I could just as easily have started by coding that all into the setup and working on the simulation, but that seemed like it would be harder to iterate on. Once I learned how to make the interfaces, it was a pretty smooth ride of create, test for usability, modify, repeat. I didn’t do things in a very efficient way, there’s a lot of copy/pasted code for UI stuff, but I just kind of zoned out and started writing.

    The Logic

    By the end of Saturday, I had about half of the interface done, and none of the game logic. That seemed like a bad situation to be in, so I set out to right that first thing on Sunday. Since I had spent a fair amount of couch time writing out notes on how I wanted it to work, that actually went pretty fast. The logic is pretty complicated, there are a lot of moving parts that determine how the hardware will react, and how the planets will respond to their situations. The biggest problem with all of that is that I couldn’t get the interfaces done in time to actually explain all of that to the player.

    My half-baked attempt at a tutorial. The best part is that I didn't even get to implement some of the stuff I explained in here. Super useful.

    My half-baked attempt at a tutorial. The best part is that I didn’t even get to implement some of the stuff I explained in here. Super useful.

    The final interfaces were the ones that told you what was going to happen when you advanced the day, and the one that you manage your circuit board. You know, where you actually play the game. I knew what needed to be done, but by Sunday my foot was in open revolt against me. I spent a lot of that final day on the couch resting, and with nothing to plan, I just sat there mentally writing interface code to draw out how I wanted it to look. The funny thing about mentally writing out code, is that it’s a completely useless activity. When I felt good enough to try and implement it, everything fell apart on me. I had planned on whipping up those last two screens and then playtesting the game for bugs and balance. What ended up happening was a mad dash to get the interfaces working that ended about 15 minutes before the deadline.

    At Least I Finished… Sort Of

    I decided that I was done, and 15 minutes wasn’t enough time to get any of the last things I needed from where they were to where they needed to be to even be passable. I set to build my project and upload, and then Unity decided to remind me why I hate it so much. Apparently the method I was using to color the planets with HSV colors was only available when you ran the game through the editor. It wouldn’t even compile. Fortunately, HSV to RGB implementations are a easy to code, so I started throwing one together. In the past I’ve worked on them with hue being an angle from 0 to 360. Unity’s method had it as a float from 0 to 1. No sweat I thought, I’ll just multiply it by 255. If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because it shouldn’t. All of the planets turned green because I mixed up angles with rgb values, but I didn’t have time to figure out why. Up it went, and just like that it was all over.

    I’m glad that I made the choices I did. I learned more about unity and its UI features in this past weekend than I have in the past four months. Sure, I could have scrapped the planet interface and focused more on good UI, and I probably would have been better off spending time on tutorials rather than tweaking button positions. Given the constraints I was working under, I’m really happy with how things turned out. I do have some ideas for how to improve next time though.

    • Simple design with good balance – I had so much time away from the computer that my end product was as overly complicated mess, and there’s really no way for the average player to figure out what’s going on. Having a more simple design with a better balance would have been a better approach. Instead of having four types of compatibility and a two-hundred line calculation for fuse load, cut it down to two stats and spend more time on making sure the numbers work out over the course of the game.
    • Interaction before eye candy – My planets look way better than they need to for a game that is mainly driven by button clicks. If I had put that off until the end, I would have been able to see that before wasting time on them, and I might have had time to implement things like a proper tutorial or a win condition.
    • Playtest as early as possible – I put the core logic off for so long, that by the time I had it finished, I was already in crunch mode. This left me no time to make sure the numbers worked out, or that the game was even fun. With a game like this there’s really no excuse, I could have had unit tests written to test out the formulas and algorithms through all 100 days by Saturday morning if I had prioritized it. Good balance is going to be my main goal for next time.

    That about covers it. I had a good time, and in the end I have another game to throw on the website and say “look what I can do in a weekend.” No matter how bad I do, or how stressful it is, that sense of accomplishment will always be worth it.

    Thoughts on my LD30 Entry

    Posted by (twitter: @mons657)
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 8:54 pm

    LD30 was my first full Ludum Dare.  I had entered two MLDs before, but not any actual compos.  I am happy that I managed to complete my game, but it has some serious problems.  (My game is called “A Rainbow”, by the way).  First and foremost of these was that I didn’t set a standard tick rate, making the game run incredibly fast on fast computers.  Also, the graphics sucked, and there was no audio.  Still, I am pretty happy that I managed to create a game at all in 48 hours without a game engine.  (Although, next time I’m probably going to use Unity).


    The idea for my game was that several coloured worlds existed, and you could teleport between them.  Also, you would be able to see outlines of objects in the other worlds, so you could jump off of an object in one world, teleport, and land on an object in another.  This mostly carried over into the final game, although I wasn’t able to make the outlines appear, in the end I just made it so you could see everything the same in all worlds.


    Originally, I was going to make a sprite-based game.  Then, at the end of day one, I had to restart, since my rendering system wasn’t working.  I ended up using Java’s built-in graphics, which are very underwhelming, but worked.


    I also planned to have 10 levels, but then cut it down to five as a time saving measure.  Later, I reduced this to three.


    All in all, I am quite satisfied with the final game, despite its flaws, and I will definitely be back in December!



    NECLiD LD30 Post Mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @0x0961h)
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 2:28 pm

    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.


    Neclid Tools

    • Intellij IDEA 13
    • LibGDX
    • Photoshop CS5
    • Aseprite

    Good Times

    • 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! :D
    • 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…

    unnamed (1)

    Which ones are pink? Which ones are blue? What’s going on? The solution to this problem was pretty simple and elegant:

    unnamed (2)

    It was a small fix for me as developer, but could be a massive improvement for those who have problems with color distinguishing.

    Bad Times

    • 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?

    Decisions, decisions…

    Must to be Invasion Post-Mortem LD30 (Jam) – Solo

    Posted by (twitter: @progex)
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 1:13 pm

    Hi guys, this is a post-mortem of : Must to be Invasion

    For those who have not played I recommend you play, to better understand what I mean. I will cite references in the game to practical examples.

    What I used:
    - Unity 4.6 (2D project)
    - Photoshop
    - Audition
    - Google


    Day 22/08 – Start: 23h – Total work: 5 hours
    - 3 hours of brainstorm
    - 1 hour enhancement concept
    - 1 hour prototype
    - Sleep (4am day 23)

    Day 23/08 – Start: 13h – Total labor: 16 hours
    - 2 hours drive to implement player
    - 3 hours collecting the web assets
    - 2 pm Lunch / Dinner / Rest / Play / Chat
    - Implement person 30 minutes
    - 1 hours Implementing player commands (shoot, abduct)
    - 30 minutes Implement cars
    - 1 hours Implementing fake-physics
    - 1 hours tidying bugs
    - 1 hours rewriting code to be more readable
    - 2 hours placing and arranging scenery animations, camera
    - 2 hours writing fake-AI for helicopters
    - 30 minutes implementing the helicopters
    - “Breakfast” 30 minutes
    - 1 hours testing and correcting bugs
    - Sleep (15h day 24)

    Day 24/08 – Start: 15h – Total labor: 7 hours
    - 4 hours Rest / Eat / Play
    - 1 hours tidying bugs
    - 30 minutes implementing life cycle (person dies -> turns ghost -> abducts -> turns zombie)
    - 1 hours Fixing problems in resolving
    - 1 hours recreating scenario
    - 1 hours and adding difficulty leaving the way I think it has to be the level
    - 30 minutes implementing sound
    - 2 hours doing input screen and other screens
    - end


    This was my first ludumdare, but not first GameJam. So there are some things I had in mind when I decided to enter:
    - Make a game that I already have in mind how to start (like platform, running, football, etc), ie, not risk on land that I have no idea where to start
    - Use an engine and language (programming) I understand and used before
    - The clear concept is the key
    - Eat well
    - Sleep well
    - Know what your potential. Ex: not necessarily choose the first idea that comes to mind after seeing the theme
    - Know the difference between technique and what can be done in 48h / 72h. I often fall into the trap of thinking you could do a game in so long only because I had already had done and know-how, but unfortunately time is needed, not only to produce but to fix things that do not work, improving among other aspects. Ex: Make a spaceship game
    - Do a post-mortem of the game and numbering (if possible) what were the failures and what happened as planned. This also applies to personal growth

    What I learned and / or should have done
    - I need to learn more about other areas (art, sound). Ex: Scenario
    - I need to stop spending so much time on things that will not change the player experience, or enrich the game. Ex: animation of the input screen
    - Structured better the game, from beginning to end before starting. Ex: no end, and in the middle of the project I thought of putting an end, put two players
    - Having planned my time better. Ex: I overslept and spent time playing and doing other things

    What will never be satisfied and always will think that I have to improve (for game jams)
    - Learn more about the tool
    - Structure the game before you start
    - Polishing, polishing and polishing. I know it’s not possible, but I feel well and is not too bad.
    - Mechanics and Design Level


    Do not know if this will help someone, I found it necessary to share with you what I went through.
    There is a saying: what good is an education if you do not pass along?

    For the last, I encourage you to write and share your post-mortem, I would love to read.

    I hope I have been as thorough. I swear I blacked out many other details to spare you from them.

    Comments, criticisms are welcome.

    Thanks for reading this far.


    Images – More images here

    Murder Between Worlds – Post Mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @ChronusZ)
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 1:01 pm

    This was my second-third time entering Ludum Dare, and boy was it intense this time.

    By second-third time, I mean this is actually my fourth time entering. Last time I didn’t finish, though, because I couldn’t get up the drive to work on a game for a theme like “Beneath the Surface”. It was mostly my own fault, since I got super pumped for the theme “Break the Rules”, which I thought was gonna win. Oh well. Regardless, this time around, I decided to make a murder mystery detective game inspired by the visual novel Danganronpa, which I’ve been playing a lot lately. I’d highly recommend playing it, it’s great. Back on topic, I decided to use a fairly generic interpretation of the theme this time, where you can press tab to switch between two worlds that are very similar on a general scale, but almost everything is the opposite of its otherworld counterpart. For those who don’t know, I tend to use very… unique interpretations of the themes, which usually backfires and makes people think it isn’t related to the theme at all (admittedly, my second game had almost nothing to do with the theme whatsoever. I realized that belatedly mid-development). I tried to avoid that this time.

    Now, this was originally supposed to be a compo entry, but I ran out of time, so I ended up having to shift it to a jam entry. I actually only spent about 20-30% of the time working on the mechanics, which was weird for me, as I usually am very mechanics-based. Most of the time was spent Dark Fire Knightworking on the mountain of artwork that I set for myself when I decided to go with an anime-inspired drawing style. I’m a pretty slow artist, so the art alone probably took nearly a full 20 hours. Writing took quite a bit of time as well, since I tried to make the dialogues all very interesting and give everyone unique personalities (I even made all of the exposition from the PoV of the main character, which took quite a concentrated effort). Overall, I think the writing is probably where this game shines most, followed by the art. Awkwardly, the evidence leading to the solution was probably not that great, which is sort of important for a detective game.

    A quick word on that. I made a decision from the start that I didn’t want this to be  a regular detective point-and-click adventure, where you have to collect all of the evidence to progress towards finding the culprit. I wanted to make this more of a player-centric experience. Therefore, I decided to make it so that the player can arrest anyone at any time, without even finding a single piece of evidence. Additionally, the game never tells you if you were right or not. Although it may be a bit of a strange path to tread, I thought it was better this way. This is a game about looking at evidence and trying to reconstruct what happened in your mind to figure out who was the most likely culprit. None of the evidence is concrete, and only through a combination of multiple pieces of evidence combined with your own intuition can you figure out the who the murderer was. I think that this concept would’ve been a lot better if I had more time to work on making good evidence, though. As it stands, the evidence may come across as either much too vague, much to clear, or much too misleading.

    javaw 2014-08-26 11-58-34-61At the same time, though, I’m quite proud with how this all turned out. The mystery itself is quite clever, in my own opinion, and if I had spent a little more time thinking about how to present the evidence, I’m sure things would’ve been great. I actually asked a few friends what they thought happened after finishing, though, and one of them got it exactly right, so it’s probably not that bad. The art, despite taking so long, is something I impressed myself with, the music is interesting, the writing is funny, and the mechanics seem mostly solid (I did forget to add a crosshair, and one of the pieces of evidence (shown to the right) is impossible to click on. Pretty minor mistakes, though).

    All in all, this was probably the most complete game I’ve ever made for Ludum Dare, and also probably the best. Also probably the one that I slept the least for. And skipped a day of work for. Nevermind that, though.

    Although this exact concept isn’t something I’d particularly like to pursue completion of a full game of, I think at some point a would like to make a game with a similar feel and art style. A mystery game where you can select whoever you think the murderer was and which evidence you think helps your claim, but if you perpetually arrest the wrong person or present the wrong evidence/are missing evidence, you’ll lose face. That sounds like something I’d be willing to do. I don’t know whether I’d keep the two worlds mechanic. I feel like it adds something, but at the same time it just creates needless complexity. Who knows?

    Regardless, as always, I had fun, and look forward to the next one! Now to go back to sleep…


    AffixIt: The Red, Gre²n, and Blu Explanation and -A Post Mortem-

    Posted by
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 8:27 am


    - Post Mortem-
    1. Theme
    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.

    4. Conclusion
    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.

    Space Evolution – Reflection, Resumé or whatever you want to call it

    Posted by
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 8:21 am

    “More an Experiment, than an actual game!”

    The decision to participate at Ludum Dare (for the first)
    I did want to compete in a Ludum Dare before, but I hadn’t time.

    But this time I swore myself to take part in it, if I could imagine a setting under the impulse of the moment. – I couldn’t. I disliked the theme.
    So I spend the first day of the compo-challenge derping around in various streams and saw a vast amount of people coming up with great ideas.
    On the morning of the second day I started drawing planets. They were better than expected, so i showed them a buddy of mine (kuchenkruste).

    We both liked the sprites and decided spontaneously to take part in Ludum Dare 30 (Jam).

    What went well:
    - The sprites turned out to be prettier than I expected. (they’re still far from beeing perfect)
    - Writing parallel on the same code with my buddy using Saros (http://www.saros-project.org/) and Eclipse.
    > That’s it

    What could have been better:
    - Everything!
    - We startet to implement a render-routine using int-Arrays (raw pixels), after implementing the rendering of the primitives (ovals, lines, rectangles and polygons), we decided to dump that project and use Java2D instead.
    - If we were more bound and determined, we would’ve been more motivated.
    - Our time management. (Also a lot to do in real life, so that we couldn’t work fulltime on the game)
    - If we’d been more organized, we could have made faster progress in implementing the application frame and the drawing
    - The fun aspect in the game comes to short, there a not a lot of fun gameplay-mechanics implemented, that we planned to implement

    What we’ve learned:
    - pixel-pushing (alias working with int-Arrays) is cool (because you learn of how it can be done)
    - use Java2D instead of pixel-pushing (you can still achieve the pixel-look) and it’s easier to scale and rotate stuff in
    - premake your own engine or library, if you don’t want to use an existing one
    - know the libraries you want to use (at least a bit)
    - prepare everything you can (which is not forbidden in the rules; eg. prepare a development environment, choose an engine or library (or prepare an own))
    - twinkling and colored stars look better than static, white or yellow ones :D

    What i’ve learned:
    - Lambdas in Java 8 are great and very powerful!
    - tell your family (as long as you live with them), that you have something to do at the weekend and you don’t want to do housework during the competition.
    - Before submitting, test the compiled project jar. (For me it turned out, that during development the game used a different font, than as a compiled jar file)

    Because we wanted to take part, and not throw away the “game”, we handed it in anyway (approx. half a minute before the time limit ended (and the submission hour began)).
    It is more an experiment, than an actual game. Technically it isn’t even an experiment, but an animated and interactive slideshow through my drawn sprites, in that you can connect planets with a kind of leash.

    We know that it’s not really great, but hey, it was fun to programm, to participate and we had a lot of fun in skype and during the development.

    Have a look on it and please don’t hate on it, we really know it’s bad.

    cheers ~ keddelzz & kuchenkruste



    Ludum Dare Post-mortem: Cosmos Kings

    Posted by
    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 7:46 am


    Be prepared to see this screen a lot.

    Game available here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=41747

    It was a lot of fun working on this even with the limited time. Since the Kickstarter campaign for Cavern Kings  is still going on, I tried to get most of the audio work done in the first 24 hours so I wouldn’t neglect my work there and also be able to take care of new tasks here if needed. Vine and Mr. P had a concise vision of what they wanted in the game and gave me an asset list in a matter of hours. While they worked on the game’s art and programming, I started working on the BGM track.

    It took 3h48m to get to this. The track and the SFX were all done in FL Studio, mostly using the native plugin 3xOSC, which I’ve grown to love, with FamiTracker pulses. I have been wanting to make  synthpop-influenced music for games for a long time, but didn’t want to stray away from Cavern Kings’ OST either because, well, gotta love chiptune arps.

    Mr. P wasn’t used to the tool but learned it really fast on the go, and this was a fun experience for all of us, except for a bug (identified and corrected within an hour of the submission), so we don’t rule out continuing to work on this game in the future.

    Cosmos Kings

    Art by Vine
    Music by Ryuno
    Programming by Mr. P

    All posts, images, and comments are owned by their creators.

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