Posts Tagged ‘timelapse’
So the Mini Ludum Dare #53 was my first ever LD, and all I can say is that it was fantastic! Great people, game development, and an excuse to geek out and rapidly destroy my health over the period of 48 hours. I entered the jam as a solo participant (because I don’t have any game developer friends in real life) and spent the weekend in the solitude of my study. It was an experience that definitely opened my eyes to quite a few things.
A Cruel World was my attempt to express my artistic side a bit. I don’t have time to do art anymore, and even though I’m terrible at digital art (I’m more comfortable with a good ol’ pencil and paper) it was a great learning experience for me. Although the atmosphere may have been a little wishy-washy, it was meant to be a depressing exploration game covering the topics of corruption and greed, self-image issues, deforestation, animal cruelty, and over-reliance on religion. This was my take on ‘The Future Is Now’ theme – because these are problems that we face today, that will only worsen as time goes by.
The atmosphere I aimed for was heavy, with anthropomorphic character designs that matched each NPCs character (such as the wolf being the greedy salesman, and the sheep being the religious figure). I would have loved to have had more time to build a more complete world and to iron out many of the bugs, but alas it didn’t work out this way.
The Development Process
With only 48 hours to complete the game, I used my own libGDX-based framework (with already implemented input, render, debugging, and audio controller classes). From here, it was a simple matter of creating the world-space, drawing the art, coding the logic, and slapping in some audio for good measure. I started with a notebook and pencil for all my designs (all concepts, artwork, algorithms, and level layouts) and subsequently implemented my designs as I went.
Although I have developed a few small games, I have explored quite a lot of new territory this time around. For instance, I have never written a free-roaming game with separate levels, so this was an interesting endeavor to implement dedicated classes, each with their own self-contained logic, for each world-space. An inventory system (although extremely basic) was another thing that I had never touched on.
The fact that I had an extremely tight schedule and clear deadline definitely helped me set aside my uncertainty and simply slap together code to make it all work. I tend to be overly pedantic when it comes to programming, always considering optimal memory/CPU usage, neatness, code commenting, and so on. There is no time for this in LD however, and this really helped me overcome my care and simply MAKE THINGS WORK (albeit only adopting this strategy nearly half-way through the compo).
What I Took Away
All in all, I was quite happy with the result. It may be slightly buggy, and perhaps I could have been clearer about where to go and what to do, but then again it is an exploration game. I would have changed a few things if I could however, but as I said I had run out of time.
First things first, I realize now that programming is my absolute favorite part of the game development process. The labyrinth of flowing code is an intoxicating mind-game to me – a way to lose myself in complicated algorithms and hierarchical visibility. I loved the art side of things as well, but I found it became somewhat tedious (and anyone who has played my game may see how the quality of art declines the further you get.) This may have been the problem of hand-drawn art taking so damn long to make, and this coupled with the deadline put me off. Who knows?
Secondly, I learned that an exploration game is not the best approach to compo with such a short deadline. It has almost zero replay-ability, the slightest bugs come out glaring like a car’s headlights in the dead of night and utterly ruin the experience, and you simply do not have enough time to create an expansive and interesting world that will offer a lengthily play-through.
On the game front, I definitely would have approached some problems differently. I relied too heavily on boolean control variables for inter-class communication, which could have been replaced by a much more, much simpler system if I simply based actions on player position, instead of an activation button while the player stands at a specific position. It’s a minor thing, but this simply change would have saved me an hour or two of debugging which could have been used far more productively. Good knowledge for next time then.
All in all however (as I said), I am pleased with what I accomplished. The purpose of these jams is to extend your knowledge and experience, and this is exactly what I managed to do. I explored new territory with A Cruel World, and enjoyed every sleep-deprived second of it. I’ll definitely be more confident, prepared, and efficient at the next Ludum Dare. I will also take what I have learnt in the mere 48 hours of development and funnel it into my current Android game - a project I hope to complete soon and release on the Play Store.
To end off this post, I have uploaded the time-lapse video of the development process for anyone who likes to stare at low-framerate, illegible windows:
Just another note: I haven’t had the chance to play through any other games as of yet. I’ve been out of town, and operating only by smartphone for the last couple of days. Last night I returned, and I’m off again tomorrow morning. Perhaps next week I will have a gap in order to melt my mind with some of your guy’s lovely creativity. Until then, have good one!
This being my third Ludum Dare I had a decent idea of what I was getting myself into. These game jams are really a great way of practicing on actually making something from start to finish. I think that is what many of us really need to get better at, I know I for one have put tons of time into other bigger projects which never see the light of day, maybe because they are simply too big of projects. Here are some quick tips which I’ve learned from previous mistakes and could be good for newcomers entering into a ludum dare, for starting any new game project I guess.
- Start with making something really simple and make sure the “fun factor” is there early on, the rest is polish!
- Don’t explore some new technology while trying to complete a game.
- Give each aspect (design, planning, code, graphics, audio, testing, etc) enough time each. Don’t spend the first day and a half coding and get the rest done in a few hours.
- Make sure the game is done well before the deadline so you have time for playtesting, bugfixing and polish.
- The most important thing is to complete a game from start to finish, not that it’s the most feature packed perfect game.
So I’ve been playing unhealthy amounts of Spelunky lately and I wanted to make a platformer with a bit of the same vibe, and I’m a huge space fan so I went for that. When the theme got decided I thought I’d make a underground platformer. Since I love the jetpack in spelunky and don’t get it often enough, I thought I’d make a game with a similar feel as the jetpack in Spelunky. I also wanted to make a simple and addicting game with online highscore, so I played around with the idea until I ended up with what the game is now. It could still get a lot better, but I’m quite happy with the end result in just two days work.
Warmup & Making Music
I’m especially happy with having produced music for in the game, and am even quite happy with the end result. Truth is I’ve wanted to learn how to make music for a while now, and started various tutorials but never got very far. The day before Ludum dare I made a warmup game called Space Survivor. It took me about 2 hours to make, and looking at the highscore stats I can say that it’s probably the game I’ve made with best time coded vs time played ratio ever.. which is a bit depressing. Anyway, the cool thing is I also decided I was going to make music for the game. I opened a a music program called SunVox, which is the first music program where I actually like the UI, and decided I’m going to make a song from start to end, it doesn’t matter how crappy it is, but it’s going to be finished. My first song. Instead of trying to learn each aspect of music and mastering it before I even make a song, this technique really taught me how to make music and I put it in the game! And I’m so happy for it! The day after Ludum dare started and I made another track and put it in my Ludum Dare entry, and it turned out quite nice for my second track ever!
For the first time I felt that I was done enough for the deadline. Overall I’m very happy with the end result, here are some points which I’m happy with
- I had a nice balance of time spent coding, making art, making sound, making music, testing, bugfixing and polishing which made all areas good enough!
- I actually made music for my game and learned how to make it in the process!
- I had online highscores – this is something that really makes some games so much more fun!
- The game feels like a complete game and is polished
- I invited two friends over for a little Jam-Lan-Party, this made the whole thing event more fun and I think we made better games because of it!
Although I’m very happy with the end result, there were a few hickups.
- About half way in on day two I began writing ugly code to make things rapidly. This made the final code quite cluddered and just makes it harder to update and improve the game further. I will have to spend a day just to cleanup the code later!
- Lesson: Things don’t have to be perfectly coded, but alteast keep it clean and organized at all times!
- Some MySQL issues have made the online highscores slow/unresponsive sometimes, which results in a lot of statistics/scores have gotten lost. This is really a shame because I wanted to present cool playstats here for you!
- Lesson: Brush up MySQL skills for next time for better highscores/stats!
- I’ve got about 60 ratings to my game and I’ve done 120 on others, so I can’t complain. Still somehow I feel it’s very hard to get people to try my game. I believe this is in large part because I don’t have a web version. I know the feeling when testing games, if you gotta download it, let alone run a seperate redist install, it’s hard to want to try it! I really do think this is a shame, I think games feel better when not played in a browser. And c#/xna is awesome!
- Lesson: Consider using a web-platform next time or accept low play stats. (HTML5, Unity, etc)
- The title. To be honest I suck at titles. It was never really my intention that the game would be named Gravity. I sort of just wrote something while designing the graphics/menu to get the style right. In the end time was running out and I hadn’t thought of a better title and then I forgot. I thought of the George Clooney film and just added a random subtitle since I thought that looked cool too.
- Lesson: Titles can be important, decide on a good one early on and roll with it. It’s hard to think up a good name at the last minute!
Some play stats!
With each play being registered in an online highscore, I can also calculate some play stats from them. Sadly my MySQL skills weren’t good enough in time, so a lot of the stats got lost because of a query taking very long time to load sometimes.. But here are some fun play stats at the time of writing!
Disclamer: Sadly up to approx 50% of plays may be missing, so stats below could probably be doubled, but this is what I’ve got! (Any new stats should be recorded correctly I believe)
- Total number of unique players: 82
- Total number of plays: 6617
- Avarage plays per player: 80
- Total play time all players: 35 hours 1 min 55 seconds
- Avarage time played per player: 25 minutes
- Player with most plays
- Diamonde: 718
- Rebecca: 595
- Tobias-PC: 587
- Maxime: 549
- Anebo: 517
Check out the timelapse of making Gravity! May contain spoilers!
Lastly, I would really appreciate if you
Good luck in the final results all!
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.
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
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,
Here’s a time-lapse for my entry. It’s probably not very exciting, but I’m posting it anyway.
Play the game here
With the weather being so nice outside last weekend, it was really hard to get psyched about sitting in front of the computer all weekend to make a game. However, I’ve participated in every Ludum Dare and mini-Ludum Dare since #26, so I felt compelled to make something even if it was really simple. I really didn’t have any good ideas for “Beneath the Surface”, so I decided to create a treasure hunting game. For my LD29 warmup, I made a simple MineSweeper game, so I thought it would be neat to expand on the basic concepts of that game. Instead of avoiding mines, you are trying to find buried treasure in a three dimensional world.
At first I just got the hidden treasure pieces to randomly populate on the game world, which are the items you must find. The digging unit was the first that I created, which I renamed “excavator” since it sounds fancier. He just uncovers whatever is hidden at his location. However, randomly adding excavators to the map really didn’t seem challenging.
Then I got the idea to allow the player to “ping” the map to get a general idea of the treasure location. This reminded me of the news stories about crews using scanning devices to find the missing Malaysian airplane off the coast of Australia. I originally wanted to have a heat map showing the pinged locations and the amount of treasure in the area. However, I had to settle for just colored circle areas on the ground representing the amount of treasure in the area. It was fitting that this is very similar to the job that an archaeological surveyor does, so I created a “surveyor” unit specifically for this job.
Finally, an excavator only knows about digging, and only a true expert would know the value of a lost treasure. Therefore, I created the “appraiser” unit to determine the value of each discovered treasure. The inspiration of this unit came from shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers, where they will call in an expert to determine the value of a given “piece”.
I had plenty of more ideas which had to be cut. There was going to be rocks on the game world and an explosives expert unit which would destroy the rocks so that the excavator could dig. I also did a little research on some of the most famous lost archaeological artifacts from around the world, which I wanted to include in my game. However, I just had enough time to include one treasure piece which looks like a golden chalice. I also got suggestions to add adversaries like spiders, floods, and diseases which could eliminate units, but I didn’t have time to include any of those.
For this game, I wasn’t too worried about creating the best looking game ever. In my previous Ludum Dare entries, I spent much more time polishing, but it never seemed to have much of an impact on my ratings. I’m much less concerned about ratings this time, and more focused on learning new things. For example, this time I got fully functional map controls working with the mouse, including zoom in/out with the mouse wheel. I figured out how to create a unit on the game world at the position where the player clicks. When implementing that feature, I got stuck when trying to cast a ray from the camera to the plane on the ground. For some reason, none of the camera API calls were working. I thought my Unity libraries may have gotten hosed or there was some issue with the compiler. After taking a break and coming back to it, I realized that on the title screen I had created a script called “Camera” for moving the title camera. All calls to camera were referring to that script, which explained why I could not access any of the Camera API methods. Changing the name of my title camera script resolved that problem.
Another issue was with the appraisers. Since the player could add an appraiser at any location in the world, the appraiser would need to walk to the nearest treasure. I did learn that I can access all of the Treasure objects by tagging them with “treasure” and then calling the GameObject.GetObjectsWithTag method. This also resolves a Unity problem that I was never able to figure out, which is referencing game world objects (in the Hierarchy) from a Prefab.
I will admit that there are some things that I’ve done so many times when creating a Unity game, that it just isn’t fun anymore. One of those things is creating human models. Unfortunately, in the 48 hour compo pre-existing assets are not allowed, so I had to create a human model from scratch again. I guess it’s good for the Blender practice. I used one model for the three different units, but used a different texture and animation for each unit. I originally started by creating the excavator with a shovel, but I found that it was going to be way too difficult to animate the character with the object, so the shovel was removed.
In the end, I got most of the basics working but it really didn’t look like a completed game. There was a bug which sometimes prevented the appraisers from collecting treasures. After looking into it some more, I found that this was because I thought that code execution stopped when Destroy was called on a gameObject. Actually, the script attached to a gameObject will continue until the Update method finishes. In my code, the appraiser was targeting the next treasure after Destroy was called, so that no other appraisers could target the treasure and appraise it. That was a simple one line fix to solve.
The biggest mistake that I think I made in this Ludum Dare was spending to much time basically re-inventing the wheel. I really don’t like the default Unity GUI buttons, so I decided to make my own. However, the process of making custom buttons is not a trivial one and is time consuming. Before the next Ludum Dare, I would like to have my own personal Unity library for things like graphical toggle buttons, menus, camera controls, font outlines, and dialog boxes. That way I could spend more time making the game, rather than trying to get a button to illuminate.
I liked the concept of this game, because I haven’t seen it done before. Therefore, I spent a little time this weekend making some changes for the Post-Compo version. I looked into how to modify the Unity terrain at run-time, so now when the excavators dig, it actually makes a dip in the terrain which is what I had originally envisioned. The biggest problem I ran into is that the terrain map starts at 0 height, so there was no way to make the terrain go any lower. Setting the base terrain level to 300 fixed this problem, and I just subtract 0.005 from the terrain height where the excavator digs. It took me a little while to figure out that the height array is from 0 to 1, not actual world units.
Overall, I’m happy with the results of this game. It definitely isn’t as visually impressive as my previous Ludum Dare entries, but I think the gameplay is much deeper. Adding adversaries to the game would probably make it much more exciting. If there is enough interest, I would be willing to port it to other platforms, since I think it would make a great mobile game. Online features such as leaderboards would also be nice to have. If I ever felt really ambitious, I could have an online server containing treasure data for everyone playing the game, so everyone is excavating from the same online world.
My timelapse finally finished uploading so here it is. (Jello will probably hate me though because it includes a look at the ending)
My game turned out simple but humorous. It makes you feel like you’re diving deep and the chaos grows fast. Here’s my tool list and a time lapse:
Primary tools used to develop the game:
- Flash Professional CS6
- Flash Develop
Play the game here.
Finally finished timelapsing the development of my entry, Quantum Tunnelling!
This one was a pain to produce. I had forgotten to use Chronolapse, so the entire feed comes from painstakingly reassembled twitch vods. It was worth it though, and it gave me time to practice editing and video file manipulation with FFMPEG!
All in all I’m thrilled with the reaction people are having to Quantum Tunnelling. The basic skeleton of my ideas is there and people are responding so positively to it, while helpfully pointing out areas that need work or attention that I would have completely missed. I’m incredibly grateful for this feedback, and I intend to develop the concept further into a full playable web game with a bit more polish and content.
I hope to write a full postmortem after the judging period is over but for now I have hundreds of games to keep me entertained and inspired
So for this Ludum Dare, with the theme of “Beneath The Surface”, I decided to make a game where you work as a maintenance engineer who works between the streets and an underground train tunnel, this is Under Maintenance.
I wanted to get back into Ludum Dare because of how much I enjoyed LD27, however I was travelling out to see friends on Saturday so I had very little time to do a compo entry. However it didn’t stop me from working on a simple game, so I decided to put as much energy I can during my free time to bring you this busy micromanagement platformer. As such I appreciate giving your time to reading my post mortem, which includes a timelapse and tweets among other stuff and see how I managed to fit social events and my job into this Ludum Dare.
I will be writing a post-mortem very shortly, but in the mean time you can still vote on my game
This was a fun Ludum Dare. I think I really nailed the theme with my game, “Layers”. A few people were having difficulty playing the game, so I decided to make a video to give an introduction to it. I also tacked the timelapse at the end of the video:
Please play and leave a comment for layers. I am planning on making a video of some of my favorite entries in a week or two, once works lets up a bit.
I wrote up a postpartum (aka postmortem) on my personal blog. I’m not sure what the rules/opinions are about cross-posting, so I’ll just link to it from here.
I got my timelapse edited and pieced together! :3 It’s really funny to go through and see my battery power dipping up and down. XD But I hope you guys enjoy it! There are big chunks where I cut off the timelapse, mostly because I forgot to record it. But there were significantly less art assets than usual.
We had a ton of fun this time around, and I hope it shows!
Be sure to rate our game here!