Posts Tagged ‘postmortem’
Greeting my dear friends! Nice to see you again. One week has passed after Ludum Dare 30 deadline. I had enough sleep, played a lot of (300 actually) LD’s entries and also I’ve got a lot of feedbacks about my game “the Beginning”. I think it’s a good time to write a postmortem and share some thoughts about competition. Here we go!
Following post contains spoilers!
PLAY THE GAME BEFORE READING!
First of all I would like to tell you about some circumstances that preceded the competition. A couple weeks before LD weekend my boss told me that I will have a short business trip exactly the same weekend. I was pissed off. But then I checked flight tickets and realised that I will come back Saturday evening. So I would have a couple hours on Saturday and whole Sunday to participate in competition.
Another thing that should be mentioned is that I’m living in Shanghai and the competition started at 9am Saturday morning and deadline was at 9am Monday morning in my time-zone. This circumstance gave me some advantage in my situation.
So, Saturday 9am, theme has been announced and the competition officially has been started.
Honestly, I don’t like the theme. I believe that there were some more original and more interesting themes, but… whatever. When I read the theme first time it was like “Oh, there will be a lot of games about literally connecting planets, controlling twins and swapping dimensions… boring“. And after several hundreds of entries been played and watched I can say that I was right. Anyway, I had no choice. I started thinking about my game and how I can stand out from crowd.
Idea and concept
I spend about an hour thinking about an idea. I rejected 4 ideas that came to my head and then I ended up with “the Beginning”. This is the game about baby who lives in 2 worlds at the same time – our world and a world inside his mother’s womb. These two worlds are obviously connected – mother can feel when baby moves and baby can hear and feel what happens in “outer” world.
I decided it should be a journey from the moment of conceiving to the moment of birth. My initial idea was to make 9 levels, each represents 1 month of life inside the womb. I also wanted to show how baby growth – appearance changes each level, the character obtains new abilities (eating, grabbing things, rotating, etc.). I made some short research regarding a process of growing inside the womb. After all this activities I was able to plot basic storyline and key-milestones.
Art style & mood
There are 2 main reasons why I picked minimalism as a visual style for my game:
- I didn’t have enough time to produce quality pixel-art.
- I wanted to keep things abstract to maintain mystery about what happens in the game.
I really wanted to show process of growing but keep it as abstract as possible so player won’t be able to figure out who is the main character and where he is until the very end of the game. Since game supposed to contain only 9 levels I’ve made 9 “stages of growth” of main character:
To set up some tension I came with the idea that there won’t be any music. Player can hear only heartbeat (of main character’s mother) and each level it becomes louder and faster. Players who have managed to complete the game say that it’s really cool and contribute to the mood very well.
Speaking about mystery it worth to mention that it became the best and the worst feature of the game at the same time. This is the game about story. About mysterious story. A lot of players mentioned that they really liked the mood of the game. Another feature that helps to set up mysterious mood is the dialog between a mother and a father of the main character. At the very beginning players don’t know who are these MAN and WOMAN, and why they’re watching him. Some player wrote in comments that he was convinced that he was playing some creature in lab.
So, players get hooked from the very beginning and its really cool. But to figure out what this game is about, to experience this “Wow!” moment and understand why it’s about connected worlds players must complete the game… And this is the worst thing because the game appeared to be so difficult and hard to complete for most of the players. I managed to fix it only in post-compo version of the game.
In a first day after deadline some players complained about difficulty of the game. Levels are very long and there are no checkpoints. A first solution was to make a walkthrough video. It was better than nothing, but still not enough. I started to think about simplified version of the game. I decided that making checkpoints logic from scratch would be time consuming so it was better to fix the existing levels without changing gameplay.
I started working on this version Tuesday afternoon. I uploaded simplified version Tuesday evening and it was really worth it. I’ve got a lot of positive feedbacks, because most of the players were able to complete new simplified version. Since that moment I could spend all my time playing other entries and working on promotion of my entry (twitter, twitch, postmortem, etc.).
What went right
- Idea. I spend a couple hours on brainstorming and detalization, so I started developing process with strong and clear concept in my head.
- Development. I didn’t encounter any significant problems during development process except some minor issues with physics and camera jitter.
- Controls appeared to be very smooth and responsive.
- Minimalist art-style and mood.
- Walkthrough video.
- Simplified version.
- Twitter and Twitch activity.
What went wrong
- Prioritization. I spend whole Sunday working on levels. I ended up with 8 level out of 9. Most of these levels appeared to be very long and difficult, so I had to spend even more time to make simplified version. It would be better if I made less levels and spent some time to implement checkpoints in the game.
- QA. Since I spent all Sunday working on levels I didn’t have time for proper playtest. Initially I was thinking that my wife and some my friend would play it and give me some feedbacks. Unfortunately, deadline time was 9am Monday (Shanghai local time). I built my game about 7am so it was impossible to ask someone to play it. I just tested it by myself, prepared some description and screenshots and uploaded all the stuff to LD website.
I don’t want to rush with this project. I need time to rest, to clear my mind. Also I want to collect more feedback from players. Then I gonna look at this project again with more self-criticism. There is a chance that I will continue working on this project, but I’m still not sure about it.
It was a great experience for me. It was tough, but definitely worth it. I can’t wait to participate next LD or other game jam.
Hello, everyone. Iam ‘the’, and i made a game for this Ludum Dare, named ‘KOSMOVALSE‘. It is a game where you fly in open space around asteroids, kill monsters, collect armor and health bonuses and earn scores.
Of course, i planned to make something more, but it is a 48 hours competition, right?
So, let’s talk firstly about two big fails in my game:
- Theme. I wanted to do really small worlds in every asteroids with bosses and NPC. And enemies in space just must interfere to player to travel between them. Now it is sounds funny, but every time i planned to make a game, it is looks like Fallout, even not first. So, after a 24 hours when only mechanics was done, i decide to do something more then color changes only when i have enough time at the end of second day.
- PyOpenGL. It was first public game i made with PyOpenGL API instead of pure pygame and now i have a lot of comments like “crashed after button pressed”. That is means OpenGl shaders really do not work in many systems even between gamers from ludum dare community and i need to find a way to do something with that if i want to use them. Because of this I spend Monday morning to recompile sources with exceptions and also i very very sad now.
After this i want to say what in my opinion was a good in my game :
- Walking on asteroids. I do not know any other 2d games when you can walk on surfaces that placed at any angle (comment, if you know). Mostly people do platformers with simple gravitation scheme and sometimes with wall jumping, because of this it was pretty interesting for me to made a game where player can run on non-spherical asteroids.
- Black-white color scheme. I spend a lot of time in first day to understand how the game world will be looks like, especially asteroids (try to write shaders for them, use brown texture), and finally found this awesome simple scheme. I am not god at drawing (you can check my previous ludum dare game for example) and it was really great decision.
In addition this is a history of my ludum dare weekend:
- Day 1, progress 0% ) O no, they chose this theme =(
- Day 1, progress 2% ) This green rectangle is player and he is moving, not bad.
- Day 1, progress 5% ) This connected lines are asteroids, let’s make a collision system.
- Day 1, progress 15% ) Ok, i did it!
- Day 1, progress 10% ) No, i dont =( need to find a bag
- Day 1, progress 25% ) Now it is a lot of asteroids and i can walk on them and fly between them!
- Day 1, progress 35% ) Made shader for player rocket-pack trace, not bad.
- Day 1, progress 35% ) This shader for asteroids looks ugly.
- Day 1, progress 35% ) This shader for asteroids still looks ugly.
- Day 1, progress 35% ) x_X
- Day 1, progress 35% ) Why i even decide to take a part in this ludum dare when i can spend my weekends for something else, i will never add a second world and complete this game in time!(
- Day 1, progress 45% ) This black and white scheme looks cool, draw a player sprites in them.
- Day ?, progress 50% ) First enemy appeared, need to sleep
- Day 2, progress 60% ) Now player can shoot, also added new enemy.
- Day 2, progress 70% ) Now with three enemy classes and routine with they sprites load code looks terribly, no way to found something in.
- Day 2, progress 80% ) Finally I have a headache from all of this generated sounds.
- Day 2, progress 90% ) Hey, this menu appeared when i smashed my head on keyboard.
- Day 2, progress 95% ) Ok, compiled file do not work under Windows, need to load extra GLUT dlls.
- Day 2, progress 100% ) Uploa….. sleep.
PS. You can find my entry here, some of my previous games available here and here. If you know what is a problem with OpenGl shaders please post some information or link, i will be really happy. Sorry for bad English!.
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. “
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 Equilibrium for LD30, and here’s my post-mortem:
I learned a lot during this compo, and I want this post to be advice, mainly for myself, but also for everyone else interested in how to make a game in 48h if you suck at making games.
This time, I didn’t really care at all about what the theme would be. I used the time before the weekend to set up my tools and plan the development process. This allowed me to get to work in the morning without being sad and upset about the theme voting results. I did quite a bit of brainstorming and didn’t use my computer at all, except for research. I absolutely didn’t want to be inspired by other game developers, but have my own idea. It took some time, but it worked, and I had a fairly simple concept in mind. However, I ended up having to invent some weird context to make it related to the theme.
- Tips: don’t bitch about the theme, brainstorm, have an idea.
I had made a very clear but flexible plan for my time management, so when I woke up on Saturday, I knew exactly what to do. For the most part I sticked to my plan and had a working prototype after the first couple of hours. I used Google Keep as a simple but effective way to organize my tasks without getting distracted.
- Tips: know what to do, use to-do lists.
I took some breaks, and I didn’t spend them in front of the computer. I feel like I could have taken more, because moving around and thinking about other stuff keeps me motivated and comfortable. It’s kind of paradoxical that you get things done faster if you don’t work on it all the time, but it works really well. Also, I tried to use my screen space efficiently. Having two monitors can be dangerous, because it’s so easy getting distracted by livestreams or even the Ludum Dare website. I kept my to-do list and a tab for research on one screen and developed and tested on the other for most of the time. Having a tidy environment is helpful too, especially if you like scribbling and doodling on paper, but my desk was a mess as always.
- Tips: take breaks, use space efficiently.
I can’t draw. I don’t have the knowledge, practice and utensils to make beautiful graphics. I didn’t use a single image file in my game, and still people tell me they like the visuals. Focusing on a consistent style and not wasting my time with drawing and redrawing tons of pictures was a wise decision. The time I spent on figuring out the math for drawing my simple shapes was definitely well spent.
- Tips: do what you can, don’t be afraid of math.
I implemented music and sounds pretty late in the development process, when the game was almost done. This allowed me to make them fit the graphics perfectly. I’m not an expert in music theory, but with my basic knowledge of harmony, I managed to create some non-annoying audio in a reasonable time. I used Sunvox to create both the ambient music and the sound effects, and it all went together quite well.
- Tips: do what you can, make it fit the mood.
In the end, I had a playable (though not ‘finishable’) game. I’ve made some of my friends and family play the result and also got some nice and constructive feedback from other Ludum Darers. Without a doubt, it needs improvement, mainly because the game concept is hard to understand and there is no real goal. I got a lot of positive criticism for audiovisuals. I’m personally very satisfied with my game, and know what to change to make it an enjoyable game.
It’s been almost two years since I made my first game for LD, and I’m amazed by what people have achieved. I’ve made tons of great experiences. I’ve done things I never thought I was able to and I learned lots of lessons, also for life. Ludum Dare and its community has helped me in so many ways. I’m still not a good game designer/developer, but I’m on a path in the right direction.
Thank you for everything!
One of the things that I love about these events is that you learn so much, even more so from your failures than your successes.
Here are some notes from making my entry The Ghosts You Left Me.
What went well:
- I managed to achieve my goals of good mood, visuals and immersion
- No problems with deployment or submission
- When I was working on the game, none of the time was wasted. My work rate was fairly normal. It wasn’t too rushed, until the end, but it was solid production.
- I had a lot of fun making things from scratch – particularly the audio. You don’t really give much thought to this when you make something normally, using external sources. Grab a texture from CGTextures, grab some audio from Freesound, etc. Making it yourself is an entirely different process and it’s so much more exciting! I had to wander around my house, listening to noises, moving things and scraping things to see if they could produce the noises I was looking for. It was so much fun, and so much more real. Creating things from scratch makes you gain a new level of respect for things that you’d otherwise take for granted.
- I was incredibly happy to have created something, ANYTHING. It’s sometimes hard to push myself to work on personal projects, but when I do make something I’m usually quite proud of “levelling up” that small amount more.
What went badly:
- I should have gotten feedback earlier. The first person to play my game was my brother, who I showed it to just after I had submitted it. Watching someone play your game very quickly allows you to see its downfalls. He couldn’t understand the message audio clearly, and didn’t realise he had to click on Locker 3. To be fair though I didn’t have much gameplay to test until near the end, but I definitely need to get someone to play it BEFORE I submit, next time
- Computer crashed twice and lost a bit of progress… something might have got messed around when I installed a wireless adapter… not a huge issue
- Started to lose motivation after ~6 hours or so. There was a LAN party going on and I wanted to go, so after a bit of stalling I did go. I think it was more that I wanted some social interaction during that weekend, I felt like such a reclusive hermit staying at home. Because I didn’t really have much to show at that point besides some models, I didn’t feel like I had achieved much yet so it almost made it feel like if I continued that the entire weekend, it would be a waste of a weekend. I needed to get out.
- Didn’t give much thought to gameplay until about 10-12 hours in out of the 17 total, so it ended up being very simple (which I expected going in)
Playing the entries/ratings:
- I am absolutely inspired by the amount of talent here, and the quality and originality of some entries – makes me want to try a lot harder next time!
- It’s really exciting to get feedback on my entry. What I’ve received so far is generally very positive and there’s some constructive feedback as well which I agree with. I find myself checking my entry page numerous times a day to look for new comments (notifications system plis!).
Why I liked Ludum Dare:
- I needed the deadline that Ludum Dare imposed. I hate pressure, but I’m one of the people who need it in order to get anything done, otherwise I’m too “cruisey” with doing things.
- I also was motivated by the competition and the excitement of other people around the world doing it at the same time
- Getting feedback from fellow developers can be so different from getting feedback from others who have less or no experience in game development. They are both very capable of giving feedback regarding what they see, the content, what is bad and what could be better. They can both be impressed, or disappointed. But the difference is that one has a better understanding and appreciation what goes into making it, and how difficult it is to create something under such a short time frame. It’s much the same in different aspects of life really. I value feedback from both groups very much, but it’s very refreshing to get feedback from people who *know*.
Next Ludum Dare:
- I am DEFINITELY going to enter if I’m free that weekend
- Focus on more of a balance of nice aesthetics and gameplay, as the gameplay was lacking in my first entry
- I’d like to try and get more innovative gameplay rather than something that everyone’s already seen
- A bit more of a plan up-front, and maybe schedule my estimated time allocations
- Actually think more about the theme when it’s announced or in final voting stages, instead of thinking of an idea beforehand and then trying to fit in with the theme – the most innovative entries I’ve seen are ones which have a lot to do with the theme and creatively used it
- I’ll probably still do it solo, and alone, but I think taking a 1-2 hour break every 5 hours or so is important to keep my motivation levels up
- Get people to play it BEFORE I submit
Next steps for my entry?
I would ideally like to continue it. As I mentioned and many people agreed with, it was just an intro to a longer game, and wasn’t really a full game in itself. There’s so much more that could be done, and so much more that I want to do with it. I guess we’ll have to see how it goes with the motivation and setting aside time for it
And that’s all for now! Very excited for the next LD, and also excited to see the results of this one. Well done to everyone who put in a submission and best of luck.
This Ludum Dare was interesting, as it was my most ambitious game. And it failed. I should have known.
What went wrong? As always I tried to include an AI, random generation of something (this time a world), a dijkstra-algorithm (and removed it again, it always needed too much time calculating the paths) and fun.
And… it worked! Except for the dijkstra, which was at least bug free, but still not fast enough to calculate paths for 100+ animals every few seconds. And far from fast enough while running on a Pi. I had animals, the player could build rudimenarily, the villagers spawned, there were not exponentially many of them, things were fun (for me).
So, what was the problem? For multiplayer in a website I used websockets, which are great for that stuff, it went better than expected. But then again, it was the first project I successfully used websockets for. I found a python library (ws4py) based on another python library (cherrypy) with which I never worked before, and used them. Bad decision. It was sunday evening, three hours before deadline, when I first tried moving from localhost (lo) to local/public IPs/Domains (wlan0, eth0). Didn’t work. The Python socket implementation has a small bug… crashing connections far too often. I changed some parts, sent smaller packets, added small time.sleeps, It made the connection more stable. Then at least one in ten survived and worked. For a game based on an active connection that’s bad. But at least you could reload and play on.
But then not only did the connections crash, but sometimes also the thread handling the sockets. From the library. The bug is in the python standard lib. Without a chance for me to fix the bug. So… It doesn’t work.
What did I learn? Don’t be ambitious. I should have known that. Multiplayer is a lot of work. Use libraries you have already worked with. Did I ever do that? I guess not, but this time that paid out badly. Don’t use two languages at the same time. Make fun games!
So far, see you in december. I’m sorry my game does not work. Neither did using different backends for the websockets work, nor using pypy for the server.
Okay well, I have this stuff which is buggy, almost has no gameplay and was not even made within 48 hours but only in ~10 but somehow I stll can be proud of.
What was bad?
I’d start with it, cause it’s the more. Practically everything went wrong.
- I didn’t even have Internet conection at home, so I couldn’t join the flow of the community with WIP shots and random tweets. It’s pretty important for me, as it’s a major “feature” of Ludum Dare for me.
- My first idea was good, but went bad: it was too far from what I imagined, an beyond a point, it overwhelmed several bugs as well. Finally, I couldn’t even do “basic operations” like return the value of the tile Player is standing on. At this point, I gave up.
- On the second day, I had other things do to (girlfriend visit – so yeah, kinda important!) so had very little time. Maybe I simplified too much on the contribution itself.
The what was good?
Suprisingly, the most important thing went well.
- I LEARNT. Both the abandoned and the fina game learnt me somethig bot facts and programming things.
So I learnt:
- that procedural generation is extremely hard sometimes, and even though you wouldn’t think, writin a proper random map generator might take much more time than creating maps by hand.
- that proedural generation is STILL helluva funny!
- that addig features in hurry is like using bubble gum instead of duct tapes. The result is the same.
- that even if ugly, hanging trains are god damn awesome.
- that you can create decently looking people even from 4 pixels.
- that fun can cover the mistakes in gameplay.
- how to create randomly wandering people.
- how to use sound functions in LÖVE properly. It’s the mos important since I was completely lost before.
- how to use color changing functions in LÖVE properly.
- how to create realistic trains (in behavioural aspects)
So yeah, finally I learnt in LD#30 that the most important thing in Ludum Dare is LEARNING.
When we (me and tommislav) first started thinking about organizing a game jam at Isotop we never imagined that we’d get the response we actually got. During two days in August over 15 people gathered at the Isotop office in Stockholm to develop games for the Ludum Dare game jam, eat pizza and have an excellent good time!
These are the entries submitted by the participants from our Real World Gathering
Trapped Between Worlds
Terrorist Hunter 2D
by Martin Vilcans
The Two Sides of the Rio Grande
frozzare from Isotop tried out Haxe and Haxeflixel for the first time, and even though he created a fully playable game, he did not submit it to the compo. However you can give it a try here.
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.
My game is called “When Worlds Collide”, and you can play it here. I had a lot of fun during the competition, and I learned a lot too!
What went right:
I had an idea before I started. Usually I try to think of ideas for each of the themes in the final round so that I am prepared. This time, I simply had two ideas that I liked, and fortunately could think of ways to fit them into the themes. So this is something that could have went wrong, but didn’t.
I succeeded in making my game’s code modular and clean early on. Sure, by the end of the weekend it was a mess, but because it began well-structured and easy to modify, I was able to make changes to the game and fix parts that weren’t fun or didn’t work well enough without using up a lot of time.
The game is juicy. Very juicy. The biggest issue my games have (whether they were made for a jam or not) is a lack of visual polish and feedback. I specifically wanted to improve in that area with this game, and I think I succeeded. Images just don’t do it justice.
The game is fun. That’s what is most important, in my opinion.
What went wrong:
I should have spent more time working. Honestly, I didn’t take a lot of breaks, but I submitted early and didn’t work until the deadline. I was tired. There are a few things I can think of that should have been better, but aren’t.
There are bugs. Well, all code has bugs, so of course this game has bugs. What I mean is that there are known bugs. The are known bugs that have taken so much of my time, and still aren’t completely fixed. In the past I’ve almost always succeeded in fixing every known bug before submission, so this is a huge disappointment to me.
In the end, I’m extremely happy with how the game turned out. Many things went right, only a few things went wrong, and the game is fun. I’m considering adding multiplayer cooperative and versus modes, but for now, you could always play cooperatively on the same keyboard.
My fifth Ludum Dare, after a small 2 Ludum Dare break! I think this time went a little better than other times in terms of how fun the game is, though it suffered a little bit in that I wasn’t able to add as much polish as I would have liked. I used no middleware or prebuilt engines as I thought it would be worth the learning experience, and it sort of was! Here’s a breakdown of how things went:
Things that worked out
- I’ve been messing around with WebGL a lot recently, and thought it might be a good idea to try out a deferred lighting system for the map rendering. At first I thought it might take too long, but the final result turned out looking fantastic (and running smoothly too)! I’m definitely going to experiment a lot more with this in future.
- The grapple mechanic – I spent basically the whole first day tweaking it to work perfectly. You might not notice while playing – but the gravity force is actually disabled when using the grappling hook! This makes it much easier to swing around a point in a circular motion.
- The level editor I used, Tiled was completely on point! The editor was much more robust than Ogmo Editor, and the json export was a godsend.
- PxTone always amazes me – I have no idea how I was able to create music that fast.
- The graphics really worked out this time. I started each tile by designing specific palettes for them and then deviating a little. The result is quite striking!
Things that didn’t work out
- I designed all of the levels in the game in literally a few hours, so I couldn’t really streamline them.
- Only the level shown in the top gif really uses the platform switching mechanic to it’s fullest potential, I didn’t have enough time to integrate it into the others (especially level 2! those platforms before the swing around could have been switchable – but I had worries that the difficulty would spike because of it)
- I wrote the music in literally the last 30 minutes, so let’s just say that it incredibly accurately encapsulates how rushed I was at that point.
- Because I used no middleware or pre-made collision engine or loader – I spent a lot of the time setting up the game engine from scratch. If I didn’t do that, a lot more time could have been dedicated to level design and adding decorative tiles to the levels.
- No menus! No victory music! Altogether not quite as “complete” feeling as my previous games.
Making an accidental sequel
I’m going to ramble for a bit – so I’ll put a read more tag here. Click that if you want to, uh, read more.