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Ludum Dare 30 — August 22nd-25th 2014 — Theme: ??? (Suggest a Theme)
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    Posts Tagged ‘postmortem’

    Lessons learnt while making SnakeFormer

    Posted by (twitter: @tolicious)
    Monday, May 19th, 2014 6:58 am

    This Ludum Dare I made SnakeFormer, a short puzzle game combining Snake with pseudo-physics platformer mechanics.

    Turns out that lava is pretty hot.

    If you’d like to, you can play it here.

    Like just about every game, some lessons were learnt, and I thought I’d write a small piece about them. It’s 12 hours before the judging ends, and nobody has time to read through a novel, so I’ll keep this short!


    Game & Level Design

    If a level has the right difficulty for you, it’ll be too hard for everybody else.
    I swear I’ll remember this lesson one day, haha. That doesn’t necessarily mean “make it easier”, because in a level-based game, there is another approach:

    When in doubt, make more levels.
    Easier levels, preferably. I should’ve spent a lot less time on the menu and instead made more transition levels. Which brings me to:

    Don’t introduce more than one mechanic per level.
    Level 2 introduces: Lava, falling stones AND growing the snake. That’s, uh, a bit too much.

    Even if you think the goal is clear, it might be not.
    So – better make it clearer. The goal in my game is to exit the screen to the right, like in most platformers. Some people thought that they had to eat the whole level though, which is a more Snake-like goal.

    Put instructions in the first level.
    Some players don’t read the instructions before starting the game – but once they are confused inside the game, make it as easy as possible to re-read them.

    Art, Sound & Music

    Glow is freakin’ cool.
    Seriously.

    Homemade sound effects can be quite entertaining.
    Any game needs sound effects, and since I’m no good at making them digitally, I tried to use my mouth for most. Turns out that’s a lot of fun to listen to, and I actually had a few people praise my sound design, especially the eating- and the end-of-level-sounds.

    Abundant Music (music generator) + GXSCC (a MIDI chiptunes-like renderer) are the best team.
    I’m no musician, so I had to use generated stuff. Those two are PERFECT. It still took very long to find songs that sound well together, but that definitly was time well spent.

    Cheery music for hard and punishing gameplay.
    Gnhihihihi. So much fun while watching streamers.

    Process

    Trust in the process and stay open for new ideas.
    The concept I started out was a lot more boring, but then I asked myself “Okay, so those stones fall – what if gravity affects the snake too?” – and then SnakeFormer was born. So even if your initial idea isn’t perfect, go for it anyway instead of giving up, it might evolve into something great later on!

    If your idea comes late, don’t worry! There’s still time!
    I started development 12 hours after the start of the compo – 8 hours sleep, 4 hours pondering. Contrary to all expectations, I’m still alive and the game is playable.

    ToDo lists are great to maintain focus.
    Always use a ToDo list so you won’t lose track of your next tasks. Workflowy works best for me.

     


    Thanks a lot for reading! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    Maybe I made you a bit curious about my game too? If you want to, you can play SnakeFormer here – and I don’t think I have to mention how much I like comments and ratings, do I?

    I’m done here.

     

    Deep Dome postmortem

    Posted by (twitter: @OMGWTFGAMES)
    Monday, May 19th, 2014 4:38 am

    Early in the jam I had a bunch of different ideas. This is pretty normal. I liked the theme, so much so that it almost gave me too many options for achievable small games I would have enjoyed making. In the end I went for my ‘fallback idea’ – something I’d wanted to try if I could tweak it to fit the theme: a Descent-like game with visuals similar to Zombie Gunship.

    What I wanted to achieve was:
    1) Set up 6DOF ship controls that felt good. Not necessarily identical to the original Descent, but along those lines.
    2) Recreate visuals similar to Zombie Gunship (essentially inverted greyscale, with object highlighting)
    3) Incorporate this into a small prototype game, as a sandbox for something bigger.

    original

    All image effects applied

    I’m happy since I feel like I largely met goals (1) and (2), with some detours, while the gameplay component of (3) isn’t nearly refined enough.

    (more…)

    Post mortem

    Posted by
    Monday, May 19th, 2014 2:08 am

    Not so much a post mortem about the game, but about my goals: Same as last time (LD#27) i wanted to use this oportunity to learn, to get to know PHPStorm and to make my first Phaser.js game using TypeScript.

    Well, i have to admit, i am very happy with the outcome. Not that my game Beneath the surface with Sir Walter Wuffington is so great and enjoyable that i am utterly sattisfied with it as a game per se, but i achieved my goal of finishing my first Phaser.js game and i got know PHPStorm a bit. On the TypeScript side i have to admit that i had a hard time to adapt the way i code JS to the TS style and paradigms, but these things can’t be achieved over night so to speak.

    THE GOOD

    Which JS Gameengine to use? After wrestling with my bare hands (i.e. without any game engine) last time around, i decided that it is time to try one of those nice geme engieenes everybody was talking about. After doing some research Phaser.js caught my eye for being relatively new (i.e. supposedly not filled with obsolete clutter and paradigms), which seemed to have a relatively active community and responsive developers (rich hangs around a lot over at the html5gamedev forums) and mobile performance is one of their main focal points. Now, after implementing my first game with it, i am a convert. Try it out for yourself, there are tons of examples and tutorials, and on top of all that it has TypeScript bindings too :)

    Is TypeScript really that much better than CoffeScript or just plain JS? No idea! Looks good though. I have to admit that even with all my motivation, i simply lacked the time to really make use of TS’s advantages. I managed to write my game in TS (well, TS compliant) but it is basically plain JS with a coating of TS to make it compile. After all the time i spent setting up the whole TS / PHPStorm / Phaser.js shebang, there was not that much time left to worry about elegant coding, sth. that i normally value very highly (although i am more an average programmer solutions that are generally more interesting and than elegant).

    I found my new personal favourite IDE: for everyone out there pondering the question of which IDE to use for all their JS / PHP / HTML5 coding, i can give you a warm recommendation: PHPStorm (or WebStorm if you don’t need the PHP part, PHPStorm is WebStorm + PHP) After using Texteditors, KDevelop, Eclipse, Aptana for over a decade for all my WebDevelopment, i have found my new IDE of choice. The code completion, existing templates (jQuery, Drupal, WordPress, …) JS Debugging, the ease with which it integrates with other libraries absolutely convinced me, after being disapointed with the slow improvements and overal buggyness of Aptana.

    THE IMPROVABLE

    Expectations: As i mentioned before, due to the time constraint and my high expectations i had to the game itself, it is not as good as it could have been, but that was to be expected. As i spent probably two thirds of my time figuring out how to do stuff in Phaser.js, TS and PHPStorm, there was not that much time i could invest into the actual game making. I am still pretty content with the result, this time i even have some sounds (two to be exact, but it is a start). If i continue at this pace and stay with the current toolchain, i might produce sth. halfway decent around LD#31 :)

    I was still expecting too much from my game i guess, as i wanted to learn all that stuff but at the same time couldn’t bring myself to tone down my ideas for the game, as it would have felt even emptier / more boring than without the second view. It might be worth to scrap that second part and add some juicyness instead, but who knows, next time around i’ll probably have enough time for both as i will be more proficient in using my current toolchain.

    THE BEATUIFUL

    As always it was amazing to see how much can be achieved in such a short time. For myself i am happy about the work / learning i did in just 48h, and it is always stunning to see what other ppl can come up with in just 48h / 72h.

    The fact that there are others like me out there that just love making games, creating stuff, seeing their ideas come to life and being (more or less ;) ) enjoyed by others warms my heart.

    I can’t wait till next time, till then
    goeth forth and codeth

    p.s: But please, don’t let my ramblings keep you from trying my game :) :


    Beneath the surface with Sir Walter Wuffington

    Main Screen

    Side View

    N.A.M.E. A (very late) Post Mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @Ananace13)
    Sunday, May 18th, 2014 2:30 pm

    Right, I should probably have written and posted this much earlier. But my life doesn’t always give me enough time for these things…

    Regardless, prepare your eyes for the wonder that is;

    Not Your Average Mining Emulator*

    * Gameplay may actually be average

    N.A.M.E.

    N.A.M.E.

     

    This would be my fifth finished game, but also the seventh Ludum Dare I’ve tried to join in on. And I’ve got to say that this was not one of the themes I was hoping for myself, but I still did what I usually do; Sit down for a few hours just after the theme’s released (3am here in Sweden) and sketch up a few game ideas. And then I can take those ideas and polish them after sleeping on it for a few hours.

    The ideas I managed to sketch down for this LD were of a Diablo UI inspired rougelike, a submarine hunting game that also spun off as a wreck hunting game idea, an idea for a submarine shoot’em’up, and finally something of a clone of the old game Motherlode and Clonk. In the end I decided to go for the final idea, as that was the one I felt held the most promise with the lowest amount of graphical work (my weakest point).

     

    So, with that in mind.

    What went right?

    • Had already prepared a simple framework that worked well for a 2D sidescrolling digging game, helped cut down some on the development time. Inputs and things prepared in advance is really nice, since otherwise such things would eat development time.
    • Streamed everything, every second I was at the computer. This really helps with the focus, and I even managed to keep enough attention on the chat to be able to answer some questions that arose from viewers.
    • My art ability seems to have improved slightly since I started Ludum Dare, so the first sprites I did for trees and ores came out looking really well.
    • My thoughts on UI design turned out perfectly fine too, I’ve noticed that many people’ve commented on how nice and smooth the in-house UI looks.
    • A crafting system turned out easier than expected, so I was able to throw it together and put in two recipes in only about one and a half hour.

     

    What went less right?

    • Didn’t think to grab an existing physics engine like Box2D, so lost a huge amount of time writing physics and debugging them. There’s actually a collision bug that slipped through when I was working on ladder support, since I moved some code about and accidentally removed the part of code preventing you from jumping when you have a wall above your head. I really need to cure my NIH syndrome I guess, but it’s just so much fun to recreate the wheel.
    • Didn’t feel I had enough time to really work towards sound or music in the game, so it’s a very silent game. This is something I really suck at doing, so I guess I won’t be releasing any games that take in high scores on Audio any time soon.
    • Still can’t draw a player character in any way, so the player stayed as a cube saying ‘IDLE’ until the last couple of hours. And even then I only really managed a simple stick man.
    • I failed to put together an inventory system like what I originally thought of making, so lost several hours of development rewriting that. In the end I figured that only having a single object on the player was acceptable, and spent more time getting the house to be able to store things.
    • Because the inventory system failed to be finished I had lots of code that was supposed to be used with in-game tools that you couldn’t craft or carry.
    • Didn’t have ingredients for proper food laying about, so ended up with simpler food and that just doesn’t feel as good. No food photos from me this time.

     

    Other thoughts.

    • Another entry made from scratch in C++ using SFML, this is starting to look like a theme for my entries I think. Maybe I should sit down far in advance of the next one and create a larger base framework so I could use that instead, based on SDL maybe?
    • This Ludum Dare I decided to try a simpler game without using my home-grown entity component system Kunlaboro, so this game is more of a statemachine based game. And while it feels really good to go back to my roots for a simple game, I can’t help but feel that I could’ve gotten so much more done if I’d used Kunlaboro for it…
    • I should try to move game logic away from base C++ code and towards scripts, maybe using Lua or Angelscript. This needs for me to have more time before the start of the compo so I can properly prepare the framework though.

     

    To finish, thank you to all the people watching me work. And those of you that commented on the entry, both during the stream and during judging, every bit of criticism helps.

    I’ll be seeing about maybe cleaning this up later on and releasing a post-compo version, though I don’t know how much of the original code would be left afterwards. It started off so nice and neat, but now the codebase if just a horrible bunch of duct tape fixes.

    Below Earth – Post-Mortem

    Posted by
    Sunday, May 18th, 2014 1:00 pm

    Here is a short post-mortem of my third Ludum Dare Entry (Jam): Below Earth.

    In it you play an adventurer (bomb throwing maniac) that is exploring an underground cave only to find a rather hostile environment.

    Play Below Earth

    This time I also tried out some new tools like IntelliJ (IDE) and Aseprite (Pixelart) and I have to say I like them.

    The somewhat good things:

    • Brainstormed the idea long enough and then sticked with it.
    • Prototyped graphics really quickly.
    • The game is actually fun to play.
    • I successfully drew my own pixelart with aseprite.
    • I didn’t neglect my personal duties during the weekend.

     

    Don't mess with the local wild life.

    Don’t mess with the local wild life.

     

    The rather bad things:

    • I originally intended to procedurally generate levels, but then I realized, that I have absolutely no experience with procedural level generation. I ended up with uninteresting and lazy “random” levels. So I later created a level parser to read text-files and made some quick levels, but I also left some of the generated levels in it.
    • It’s too hard. I slowly start to see a pattern with my Ludum Dare games. I always balance it in a way, so that I still have a challenge, but that might not be an acceptable difficulty for others. Having difficult levels itself isn’t the problem, but having a too steep difficulty curve is a problem. I should learn to slowly(!) ramp up the difficulty of the game. Giving the game to playtesters often and early can really help with this.
    • Hiding content in later levels. Because of it’s difficulty, some players never got to see every enemy that the game has to offer. This might be something not true for game-design in general, but it holds true for Ludum Dare, where most people probably don’t have the time to try and master your game. This means all the main game features should be available within the “easy” levels, and only combine them and challenge the player after those levels.
    • This is another entry without music. Music is important for a game, but before I hastily make some annoying 10 second loop I rather leave the game without music. This might be a personal goal for my next LD to focus on music and create some for my game. I just have to find a program I can make some with and learn to use it….
    • I created pixelart. It’s not good, but it’s better than anything I’ve created yet. Still it took far longer than it should have.
    • No Web version. I really tried to get that GWT build to work, but there are so many things that go wrong when they somehow possibly can…

    Time spent (aka everybody loves statistics)

    During the whole weekend (Saturday to Monday because it’s a Jam Entry) I recorded my development time with toggl.com, which is really useful for such things. I ended up spending more time on graphics than I thought I would. Programming seems to be so big, because I was always testing my game inbetween bigger changes and played it over and over again. I also spent a whole hour setting up the project because I was using Libgdx without eclipse. ;)

    That's how I spent my weekend.

    That’s how I spent my weekend.

    Conclusion

    Every Ludum Dare helps me in some way to become a better developer and even a better person. :D

    I found some new nice tools with which I will continue to work.

    I also should try to make my future games not too difficult for the average player.

    I already started and will continue to develop a post-compo version of this game, because this is one of my first games where I feel like polishing it is worthwile.

    If you want to play or rate or try out the post-compo version, you can do this here.

    Deep Descent Postmortem

    Posted by
    Saturday, May 17th, 2014 9:35 am

    deepijfoifj

     

    This is my 3rd LD and this time I wanted to write a postmortem to share my thoughts and experience. Deep Descent is the compo game and you can play it here. It’mostroesplosivos a game where you have to get to the center of the planet by killing monsters and using your totally physically accurate harpoon gun that bounces off enemies and gains their power.

    The Good

    • Good concept: To make use of the theme we came up with the side view. A sectioned planet made the theme evident both visually and from a go
      al standpoint: you can see your progress clearly and it’s not a very common concept to use a spherical world (I miss you, Populous 3!). To add gameplay to this idea we wanted an original weapon. Not just X diverse weapons, but one unique weapon that can function as X weapons. That way we came up with the harpoon gun. It makes use of gravity on a spherical world so it’s pretty unique to control, and it bounces off enemies acquiring their power, which makes for some cool combos.
    • Diverse team: It was the first time I worked in a jam with so many people (4 programmers, 1 2D artist and 2 musicians). Most of the jams I’ve done mostrogelato
      up until now were by myself or 2-3 people that were always programmers. It was a great experience to work with and coordinate so many diverse figures in the not-most-ideal conditions (but more on  that later)
    • Experienced team: Each of us had previous experience working on other games or jams, experience wi
      th the tools we used and some of us had even worked together
    • Good music and graphics: At the end of what seemed like the 1000th hour of programming I had barely listened to the music our guys had composed and hadn’t really paid much attention to the graphics, but I was amazed at the end to see how nicely everything fell into place together and raised the enjoyment of what I could only describe as “a buggy mess”. Erika‘s cute character design and drawings (made so the game could be enjoyable to her little brother) and Igor‘s and Roland‘s compositions gave life to everything!

    protagonista                    mostrolumacone

    The Bad

    • Remote communication: We couldn’t find a place to fit so many people for 3 days so we made due with Google Hangouts. I all of the jams I’ve done I’ve always worked with my teammates face to face. Online communication is slower, and it gives you less incentive to work, because you’re not as committed as when you SEE your mates working constantly. It was obvious that organizing 7 people online would be a huge challenge, but considering this was our first time I think we managed to do it pretty well.
    • Overextending design: “4 programmers can implement X amount of features” I thought. What I didn’t really consider was what would happen when 2 of them didn’t work full time on the project. They had told me this from the start but I was hoping to convince them to invest more. The design of the game needed 4 enemy types (and consequently 4 weapon types) and a boss to be fun. A layered design would have been better in this case (and in general really). Features that are most fun should be implemented first and the others left last. For a jam, I have come to believe that a single mechanic should be designed at the beginning. When that’s working it can be:
    1. Polished: Juice it up and make it clearer/more fun
    2. Extended: everything that falls in the “more of this” category
    3. Scratched: if it’s just not as good as you though
    • Lots of bugs: In the end we actually had 4 enemies, but their intelligence, attacks and powers given to you harpoon gun were all very bugged and unreliable. The teleporter to the next level works 1/10th of the time, and the player was even invulnerable when it was first published. While some of these bugs were patched and will continue to be patched soon, it was a terrible state for the game to be in for the voting stage.
    • Lack of polish: If you’ve read this up until now this was obviously coming. There are things can be done to improve the experience, like the fact that you don’t have much to do on each layer except jump and kill enemies. The game mechanics are not clear and have to be explained before: you can’t tell what powers your harpoon has, you can’t tell what the objective is or how the teleporters work

    Hope this was an interesting read and see you guys in 3 months when I’ll be using all the stuff I’ve learned.

    23353-shot22

    Bridge to the Abyss – Postmortem

    Posted by
    Saturday, May 17th, 2014 1:21 am

    (Disclaimer: I didn’t do this video, it is done by Ganil Ganilder)

    Well, it was a nice first Ludum dare, and my first published game in quite a long time; I’m the type of person who begins many projects, but “takes a lot of time to finish them”… So the two-day deadline was very positive for me. I had first thought of using pixel graphics, but the theme (and the fact that I’m not that good at pixel graphics) made me think of a more vectorial and music oriented game.

    Play the game *here*

    (more…)

    Terror from beneath – Post Mortem

    Posted by
    Friday, May 16th, 2014 7:35 am
    WormSlayer

    That’s how one slays worms

    (sorry about grammar and over-complicated English)

    You can play the game here

    It was my first LD and, in fact, my first game. Actually I’ve been playing with Unity quite a long time, and wanted to make some simple game, but somehow I always tend to end up with some abstract and complex idea which is not-so-easy to implement, and do nothing.

    So my main goal was to actually finish my entry. And that’s the main thing that went right :) I made it! The main thing that went wrong though is that I wasted too much time.

    Idea and general

    Underground worms was literally the first thought that came to my mind (and just to mention: I never played death/megaworm).  So I started to make a worm immediately. And all that “worm” part of idea went OK I think.

    But when it came to the “player” part I just got stuck. I had some ideas including bombs, some distracting items, using of environment(e.g. some safe stone islands) but didn’t manage to have a clear enough picture of how it should work.

    So just to start I made throwing rocks mechanic. I actually made aiming with mouse first =/ and then changed it to  keyboard aiming. The main reason was that I wanted character to throw only ahead, so you have to face a worm  before throwing, but for some reason it felt awkward to me with mouse. Anyway aiming doesn’t make much sense since you don’t have enough time to aim and in general shouldn’t even try.

    Really sad thing is that such simple idea as to make more weapons came to me too late. I decided to make some melee and shotgun but only managed to add some halberd-like weapon which actually made it more easy and fun. But it seems that a lot of people just didn’t see it :( so if you’re one of them please just skip to the 4th level and try it! (you can skip level after dying!)

    (some response to comments)
    Many told me that “it should give some indication where the worm is going to break the surface”, but it doesn’t make much sense given the way the worm moves. The worm tries to reach you so it’ll break the surface exactly where you stand UNLESS you’re moving, then it would surface at some distance from you and more horizontally. And of course you cannot see the worm beneath the surface, because YOU CANNOT SEE WHAT’S BENEATH THE SURFACE, that’s the very idea.

    Audio

    Since I received a lot of positive feedback about music here is the link to it, just in case.

    “Soundtrack” was made relatively fast, I was playing with synths recently and had most of  them already set-up, and music itself… well, it’s so simple and straightforward if you ask me. It sounds EPIC though :) In the middle of the work I thought that it would be great to make a feel of total wormapocalypse, to match the music fully, e.g. add some burning and falling buildings and some people to save :) but I would definitely need at least an artist to do this.

    Alas, I didn’t have any time to make proper sounds.

    Graphics

    There is not much graphics, but graphics took much time. Character took I beileve 2-3 hours overall. I made him twice actually, and have been tweaking come colors and animations every now and then. Worm took over an hour. At least I’m happy with graphics.

    Time management

    Time management in general is what I’m bad at.
    Fist day was productive I think. I made most of the graphics and most worm-related things. But somehow I totally wasted second day. I got stuck with gameplay. After making some gameplay I’ve been spending too much time playing game instead of making it :) So I ended up with the game being far away from finished at the end of day 2 and decided to use 3rd day. Nonetheless there was a lot to do, and all “levels”, sounds and other finalizations were made in last few hours of Jam. I managed to made it just in time of deadline, and it was 5 a.m. for me… such crazy!

    Main things learnt

    KEEP WORKING! If you’re stuck, switch to other things you’ll have to make, or just try to implement it as simple as you can, but keep working.

    Anyway I’m glad that I made it! And I had fun playing your games, can’t wait for another LD!

    Heaving of the Depths – postmortem, timelapse and stuff

    Posted by
    Thursday, May 15th, 2014 12:31 pm

    13139-shot0

    This LD I had the strange idea of making a j-RPG.
    Thus Heaving of the Depths was born. You can play it here

    13139-shot2

    WHAT WENT RIGHT

    1. It’s pretty! I wanted a very beautiful game and I think that went well. There’s a ton of art in this thing. As usual, I create new assets as needed. I ended up with two large photoshop files: an overworld sea where you navigate the ocean in your pirate ship, and a battle screen, where I made all battle sprites and animations. What this lets me do is keep a consistent color palette and style across the whole project, and essentially replaces the concept art stage that a normal game goes through. I used amazing references like Legend of Zelda Windwaker and Breath of Fire IV.

    big map

    Overworld assets

    2. I learnt tons of stuff! I used cinema4D and my nonexistent 3D skills to make a fast and loose 8-direction ship with minimal effort. I tried my hand at procedural generation: all islands are generated randomly within certain limitations, to keep the level solvable and the sea traversable. I had a stroke of genius at the last moment and created a “miner” entity that swims through the level and places gold coins wherever it goes, at runtime. This was to ensure an interesting curving path through the level, so players would want to explore it.

    3. It’s a complete adventure, my storytelling skills were also, I thought, nonexistent, but the story of Sunny and Cod just flowed through me like I was on fire. It’s got a beginning, middle and end, it’s got obstacles and emotions. I usually end up making a very unfulfilling game. This time I feel I made a difference.

    4. it has a branching storyline. Well, ok, a few tiny branches. Such as when you are defeated by the 3 blacktopuses you get a different message to the one you get if you clear them. Or when Sunny tells you you need the fast sail if you don’t have it, but acknowledges if you’ve already bought it. But that’s still a lot of work. I have a much better grasp of how to implement a dialogue system.

    5. it has a turn-based battle system: implemented from scratch. Boring and barebones, yes. But it gets the job done.

    6. I get to develop it further. I’m dedicating the next 6 months to this game. I started a new devlog here

    13139-shot1
    WHAT WENT WRONG

    1. No sound  I didn’t have the time

    2. Button-mashing battles the battle system is uninteresting. That’s ok, and it’s all I had time for, but if I’m going to make this a full-fledged RPG, I need a good battle system. Feel free to send me ideas. Grandia and Child of Light are obviously lovely choices, where the result of a battle can be spectacularly overturned. Also Persona 3 and Fallout 2 have good battle systems. Since you’re spending half the game in battle, I owe it to myself to fix the button-mashing boringness.

    3. Time management. Well I don’t know, I did a lot for three days. But it’s not as fun as a more complete experience such as the amazing SCUBA BEAR (go check it out NOW). On the other hand, I like to follow through with my ideas for Ludum Dare, instead of making a smaller game just because of time constraints.
    Here’s my Timelapse video:

    And thanks to everyone who commented, everyone who played my game, everyone who made a game for us to play. I love Ludum Dare, I want to never stop making games.

    Until next time,

    love,

    Christina

    Her Touch – Her Post-Mortem

    Posted by (twitter: @ZepCap)
    Thursday, May 15th, 2014 5:10 am

    A little late to the reflections party this time, even though it is my favorite kind of party. My game: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=27032

    Exclusive in-game footage!

    Exclusive in-game footage!

    A bunch of things went very well this time, and I made a both subjectively and objectively better game this time than last LD in August. People seem to generally like it, although commenters on this site are notoriously horrible at voicing critique. I’d wish more people actually told people what’s wrong with their games, but that’s for another post.

    Right now, here’s one of them lists the kids dig.

    Where I Rocked

    • Was stubborn at trying to find a good idea. I instantly discarded all ideas that included going under a surface of water or ground, since those were the most obvious ideas, and I was going for something unique. So I used at least an hour thinking about different ways to use the theme in a way that combines mechanics and story, and ended up with an idea that I was confident would work.
    • Time management! The only things I was not able to implement because of Not Enough Time were an end boss (which a lot of people wouldn’t have seen anyway) and another lover. The game did not suffer very much from lacking any of those two, and I managed to put in lots of other stuff: passable story, good sound, decent graphics, unique game-play.
    • Had all tools set up, and I knew the main tool (Game Maker: Studio) very well. This is a big one, since I wasted almost no time with trying to make them work.
    • Abundant-music.com! Seriously! USE THIS! I got a lot of compliments for having music in my game, and it only took me like one or two hours to get a fitting soundtrack. Just make sure to also look at how SynthFont works before the jam (it’s a bit complicated), because otherwise you’ll end up with boring midi files.
    • Tried my hand at things I had never tried before, like designing color palettes and making sound effects, which was a lot of fun and a great experience. It also went well, and I ended up getting a lot of compliments for sound and graphics, which are things that I’ve formerly jumped over lightly or completely ignored.

    Where I Sucked

    • Although I had a good idea from the start, the story wasn’t fully worked out from the beginning, which just resulted in a very vague and not extremely tight story. The majority of my writing happened at 10 pm – 3 am (deadline) between Sunday and Monday, and it suffered accordingly.
    • Difficulty: I don’t actually think that the game is too hard, but it was definitely too hard for a LD game, because people play the games in a very cursory way, and if the game is too hard, people don’t see much of the game.
    • Communicating a crucial part of the mechanic (the fact that when your lover shoots enemies, they are stunned) was not good enough. This is something I always struggle with, because I often try to create new experimental mechanics.
    • I did not solve the problem of telling the story in a satisfying way. This is obviously a huge design problem to be solved in games, and I think I did it better than in many games, but it was definitely too hard to read, because it was told during action.

    All in all, I am very satisfied with the game, even though some things could have been better. I cannot wait to see the results.

    See you all next Ludum Dare!

    -ZC

    Post-Mortem

    Posted by
    Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 1:09 am

    I’d hate to waste front-page real estate talking about my game, but I have to write this sooner or later. I don’t particularly like doing this, so I’ll probably keep it brief.

    vvhat I used:

    • language: English, Python/Pygame
    • framework: PACGFUP (my own crappy little “Point-And-Click Game Framework Using Pygame”)
    • art: ArtRage, GIMP
    • music:  MixCraft

    what went well:

    • the art looks pretty cool I think
    • I’m not the best when it comes to music, but I think the song I made fits the overall mood of the game
    • I drew a lot of art
    • I tried to invent my own language for the rabbits to speak (been reading up on language lately) and it was fun, but I have no idea if anyone figured it out on their own
    • a lot of the comments on the game are very/too nice, and this makes me want to work on it some more
    • just another thing so my list of good things looks longer

    what went poorly:

    • the art could look better
    • the orientation of the images when juxtaposed is off
    • I completely forgot to add sound effects (I wouldn’t have had time to add them though)
    • the framework I used isn’t the best, and made navigating the game confusing/awkward
    • the theme was in the part of the game that didn’t make it into the game
    • the part of the game that is present was supposed to basically be the introduction to the main portion of the game
    • drawing so much art was tiring
    • seeing all the other games makes me feel like I didn’t do as well as I originally though

    looking out from inside the second floor of the bunny hutch

     

    messages for EVERYONE:

    • great games as always, everybody. I have enjoyed every single game I have played, and am sure I would have enjoyed all of them if I had played all of them.
    • keep making games
    • don’t stop making games
    • if you don’t like making games, then you are allowed to stop making games, but otherwise keep making games
    • feel free to take breaks from making games. you don’t need to make games 100% of your free time
    • don’t compare yourself to others (unless you absolutely can’t help yourself)

     

    -cardboard

    A day in the life of Jeremy Postmortem

    Posted by (twitter: @lucidlarva)
    Monday, May 12th, 2014 4:56 pm

    I’ve rated a little over 100 games so far and have decided to finally do a postmortem, but this time, in video format.

    Here be a link to my game’s page

    Organ Run – The Meaty Edition ( Postmortem )

    Posted by
    Monday, May 12th, 2014 4:15 pm

    Hi Everybody

    Finally I can annouce ‘Organ Run – The Meaty Edition’.  It’s a visual rework of the original entry.
    It’s all about eye ‘candy’, eye meat ?, eh … slimier, gloomy meat, a more lively char etc

    Here some comparisions:

    #1 after:

    OrganRun_titel_pm

    Titelscreen reworked

    (more…)

    the dead rest beneath us — postmortem

    Posted by (twitter: @FlorianVltmn)
    Saturday, May 10th, 2014 1:39 pm

     

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 22.30.36

    So we’re a few weeks after Ludum Dare 29, my very first game jam experience. I made this game for the competition: LINK

    I really had a lot of fun participating in the event, got to discover a lot of cool new game developers and amazing concepts. The community is also really great! Overall it’s a great experience I will probably repeat more than once!

    Now let’s talk about the game I made.

    Or is it actually a game? I made this thing called “the dead rest beneath us”, which is about the fact that death is just unbeatable (that’s right, the game is unbeatable and I did that on purpose! Just saying since some people didn’t get it).

    It started with me wondering “so what does lie beneath?”, and after a bit of thinking, coming up with the usual digging or submarine stuff, I thought of dead people. So I thought it might be a good idea to make a game that’d function as a Vanitas. Basically something that makes you reflect upon life and death and such things. I was mainly thinking about death in video games, where killing is pretty much a standard thing to do, and players commonly are subject to dying.

    So there I went, on to make a game without even thinking clearly about the game mechanics or even about what is (part of) the core of games: obstacles to overcome.

    SO WHAT WENT WELL

    The music, the ideas and the art was coming along pretty well during the process. I’m really into creating atmospheric scenes and that was pretty easy for me. Progamming-wise I didn’t do anything very complicated, saving me lots of noob-time.

    SO WHAT WENT LESS WELL

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 22.29.52

    Well, I’ve already mentioned the absence of gameplay mechanics. At first, all scenes were following each other, without even going back to the chapter selection menu between each scene. The music actually builds up across the chapters but you won’t notice it since the title screen pops up between each scene. This was done so players get the sense of failing and feel the need to retry many times.

    In a similar fashion did I add the ending sequence around three hours before submitting the thing. I wasn’t sure people would understand where I was trying to go with the unbeatable levels, and would experience it as just being frustrating. Turns out some people did et frustrated despite of the over-obvious tacked-on things after all!

    So there lies my failure in this 29th Ludum Dare. I learned a lot about incentive and the reaction of players towards my unbeatable little dioramas.I’m probably going to rework this project into something a little bigger once I have enough time, but I’m actually thinking of removing the tacked-on parts that were put there to get the message across as quickly as possible, and expand upon the original concept of an interactive Vanitas. I have quite a few ideas that are more gameplay mechanic-oriented that will be more pertinent than what I have been able to present here. It might not become a game but at least it’ll be a nice interactive experience!

    Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 22.30.15

     

    Thanks for reading, please do leave comments or send me tweets (@FlorianVltmn) about what you thought of the game, it really helps me out! :)


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