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

    Burglary: A Postmortem (Happy New Year Everyone!)

    Posted by (twitter: @tolicious)
    Monday, December 31st, 2012 9:18 pm

    Happy New Year, folks!

    I thought it’s time to write a postmortem too. For those who haven’t seen my game yet, you can find it by clicking on one of these conveniently placed handcrafted icons:

    icon-small

    youtube-icon-small

    And now without further ado, here we go:

     

    Some things went wrong

    Yup, I’ll make that the first section. I think the game turned out pretty well all in all, so I’ll let the best come last!

    Not everything went right though. First and foremost: It took me hours and hours to get motivated. Motivation is my biggest problem when I work alone. I’m not too good with game design, and often I don’t see if a game can be great before it becomes great – which seldom happens in the first few hours. There are many moments on the first day where I wanted to give up. What helped me was to remember that I’ve felt this way before with other projects and they turned out great! And now I have another one of those.

    What didn’t help either is that I have no definitive base code library, I extracted my base code from another project and had to delete stuff that doesn’t fit. And then post it here. It takes time, and I don’t feel too good about it as it goes a bit against the Ludum Dare spirit. I’ll take care of that soon and will have one for the next LD!

    Unsurprisingly, the clock wasn’t kind to me. Two of the levels were created in 10 minutes before the deadline. The first level is my “easy” test level, and the fourth level is my “hard” test level. I didn’t even have time to test the two in between. The third level works quite well, the second is awful but at least it’s beatable in about 1 1/2 minutes…

    The music doesn’t sound stealthy at all. I am no musician, so this is no surprise. I’m not sure if I want to put enough energy in this to get better just for the LDs, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with that. I should have added an option to turn it off though.

     

    Some things went right

    Probably the most important thing: I wrote a to-do list before I started. This is so incredibly helpful and I hope all of you are doing it. For those who are not, here are the benefits of doing it:

    • You think about the code design along the way. It’s not as exhausting, restricting and time intensive as doing a full-blown software design and it still gives you a general sense of what you need.
    • You can always look how much you still have to do and how you’re doing progress-wise.
    • Most importantly: It keeps you from digressing. At least that’s what it does for me – every time I feel like I’m lacking clear directions, I check my to-do list. Works without fail.

     

    I had a level editor at hand. Mind you, it’s nothing fancy – it couldn’t be easier actually:

    level editor_thumb

    Yup, it’s just TextPad – with an XML file, shown with a slightly modified version of the Laser Systems font. It’s dead easy to parse. I’ll surly have something fancier in the future when I’m more established with games that actually need an editor, but for now its service was perfect.

     

    It was 10 hours before the deadline. There was no time to be wasted. Yet I was idle browsing the FlashPunk forum without anything specific to look for. And guess what I found: TileLighting [1.0.1], made 6 days before the Ludum Dare. On an impulse, I spent 2 hours to integrate it. Here is the result:

    comparison-both

    Is there are lesson to be learned from that? I have no idea. All I know is that it made the game SO much better – it basically gave the game one of its major mechanics.

     

    Speaking of major mechanics, I was 8 hours before the deadline and I had to decide which single feature on my huge to do list I wanted to implement – all others were to be discarded. I decided on lock-picking, and it turned out great. After the light became such an essential tool in the game, I decided to link the lock-picking to the lighting level – just how it would be the case in real life: The more light you have, the easier it is to do something hard. This feature received the most praise in the comments which makes me pretty happy!

     

    Another important thing was that I focused on what I can do best: Gameplay. I could’ve spent more time on the graphics, but then it still wouldn’t look good and be much less fun. I think the abstract graphics are working well for the time being.

     

    Another good thing was that I inserted sound effects and music. They might not sound as well as in other games where the developers actually know what they are doing, but it’s still a vast improvement to silence! I think I did both in 1 1/2 hours. With 48 hours in total, there is no excuse not to add them.

     

    Here’s one more on gameplay: Enemies don’t have to be intelligent, they just have to work and be fun. I thought about implementing pathfinding, but took a far easier route in the end and I fare just as well:

    • Enemies just patrol a straight line.
    • When they hit a wall, they go left or right.
    • When they scrape a wall and find an opening, sometimes they enter it.
    • An enemy that spots a player goes to where he saw him last, then follows the player’s trail a few seconds:

    trail_thumb

    And yup, that’s it. Just going straight for a point, then following a trail the player leaves. It’s was rather easy to make and is a lot of fun to play against!

     

    I have no idea how much impact the fact that I made a gameplay video had, but I think it was a pretty good idea. It can give people a sense of the game if they don’t have enough time or incentive to play it and it can provide basic instructions for those who don’t like to read and can’t figure it out by just playing. It’s not hard to make, it doesn’t take much time and you can do it after the deadline: You should definitely make one too!

     

    Some things were learned

    A few lessons learned/tips:

    • Don’t like the theme? Neither did I. Deal with it! You can still make a fun game. It’s not like you have to design your whole game around it. Sure, that would be cool – but having a game that will get 1/5 in the Theme rating is still better than having no game at all because you gave up before you even started.
    • Keep calm and carry on: Never give up while there is still time! Maybe the game isn’t great now and you don’t have any idea how to improve it, but if you carry on, inspiration will hit.
    • A to-do list helps to keep you on track. It also helps with the design. And tells you were you stand progress-wise. Write one before you start developing.
    • Focus on what you do best. For me that’s gameplay, and that’s why my game isn’t as pretty to look at as other games, but it’s a lot of fun.
    • Add sound effects and music. Even if you’re not good at it, I guarantee that your game will feel FAR better with them, and with good tools, it won’t take you long to make and insert it either. (In case of doubt, just add an option to turn off the music.)
    • Sleep. Yeah, 48 hours isn’t much time, but if you’re fresh you work better. And who knows what kind of ideas you get when you’ll get your subconscious some time to rest?
    • Music for Programming is pretty cool. Especially when you’re having a hard time concentrating.

     

    Some features were discarded

    Are you interested in what I wanted to implement, but ran out of time to do? Here is a quick breakdown:

    • Level / Gameplay
      • Lasers
      • Treasure makes you slower
      • Treasure: Weight (can only carry certain amount)
      • Traps
        • Step-on mines
        • Bleeding
      • Alarm Level
      • Timer
    • Enemies
      • Enemies shoot
    • Equipment
      • Dynamite
      • Vanishing / Hidden after time
      • Hacking
      • EMP

    I don’t want to elaborate on these, just give a quick impression, but it’s such a pity that some of them are missing! I wanted to have lasers as obstacles, maybe switching on and off, traps to force you to have a higher light level (and maybe a trap disarming mini game), an alarm level slowly escalating difficulty when you’re seen, enemies shooting at you, and my favourite: Dynamite to break walls, but alerting every guard even if they can’t see you.

     

    But well, you can only do so much in 48 hours. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the result. It’s a very good feeling I did that all on my own, and I am glad I participated!

     

    Some thanks are offered

    Thanks to the Ludum Dare organizers and to the great, great community! You guys have made a wonderful thing here and are doing all of this in your free time and it is so much appreciated! I cannot believe how many games were made, and how many kind comments I got on my game – I’ve seldom experienced such a friendly community. I had a great time and I will definitely participate again!

     

    Do you have any questions I didn’t elaborate on? I’ll happily answer them in the comments! And you could leave a little comment if you enjoyed reading this or what you rather wanted to read.

    Apropos, one last thing: Thanks a lot for reading this postmortem! It hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. (And it’s probably pretty obvious, but maybe you want to follow this other conveniently placed link and rate my game? Your feedback means a lot to me!)

    Gathering statistics about your downloads

    Posted by
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 3:44 pm

    I know it’s a bit late to get the nice after competition statistics, but if you haven’t been doing so already, you can use bit.ly to gather a small extra bit of statistics for your download/click-through information on your game. The service is free; and the setup is as simple as pasting in your current URLs and using the bit.ly shortened URLs instead.

    Then, you can track your stats by logging into your bit.ly account, clicking on your “bitmark” for the other URL, clicking the little i, and then the other little i next to your simple stats. It then breaks down your click information by time, referral website, and location.

    If you provide bitmarks for all of your various versions, you can see the popularity split among the different platforms as well.

    It’s a neat little free tool that I hope people can use to their advantage.

    Power Grab: Post-mortem

    Posted by
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 2:31 pm

    In this, my 6th Ludum Dare, I had yet another fairly unique experience, encountering both new and old challenges and successes:

    (Repeatable) Stuff That Went Well

    • My code was organized. In the past, I’ve written all the code for the game into the main function. This made it difficult to have more than one level and made it painful to add, for instance, a starting screen. In general, it let me make more content than usual.
    • I got feedback from people (well, one person), then implemented it. I did this early, leaving me time to do a good job implementing it and still leaving me a whole day for assets. The comment really helped me though, giving me an idea of what would make my game fun.
    • I left a lot of time to make assets after finishing the game. I spent the second day solely on assets.
    • Based on my own playing of the game, I refined the balancing of the game to draw more attention to the special mechanic I’d added to the game.
    • I chose an easily attainable goal and then built on it. I had somewhat of an engine done within the first hour or two. From there, I was able to add more stuff and polish.
    • Certain bits of polish were really helpful to the game. For instance, the sword in my game was pretty sweet.
    • I stayed motivated. In the middle of this competition, I kind of hated my game, or at least, I didn’t put much faith into it and didn’t really know what to do to fix it. However, I pushed on, doing what I did know how to do (assets) and then revisiting the gameplay later and finding that it was not really as bad as I’d thought and that I did have solutions for it.

    (Avoidable) Stuff That Went Poorly

    • My code was spread out. There was no single place I could do all the balancing from, so it was a huge pain to do so. Also, I made too many tabs on Processing, so I could only see the names of 3 or 4 at a time, which made it hard to find any specific class’ definition.
    • I didn’t put much thought into what sort of mood I wanted. Resultantly, I didn’t exactly create any cohesive mood.
    • My art still wasn’t terribly good. I think I could have used more animation to make the top-down thing more convincing, but I don’t know. I wish I were better with this sort of thing.
    • The controls may not have been the best choice.
    • I don’t often play games based on action or on being quick and not so much on decisions. I therefore found it difficult to capture that sort of gameplay well.
    • The game concept isn’t wholly original. It feel more like a variation on some sort of shooter game – the majority of the game (the shooter part) has been done before. Only a small aspect (the part about summoning enemies by taking stuff) is really new. Then again, people keep saying they like the idea, so… maybe it’s a good concept.
    • I did not proofread the title page. It has a lot of typos. Like the good player of a game that I am, I never read anything in my game and just clicked on stuff.

    Also, if you are one of the >1000 people who haven’t tried my game, you can click here. (P.S. I love comments on my game – it’s one of the best parts of the dare for me)

    LD48 was Fun!

    Posted by (twitter: @zanzlanz)
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 4:39 am

    Hey there developers and gamers!

    I had a lot of fun with Ludum Dare last weekend.  It’s always a blast to make a game that turns out pretty good!

    What went great:
    – The theme.
    I feel like the theme gave me a lot of room to be creative and come up with something the rest of the developers didn’t.  I love the freedom of that.  Kudos to the Ludum Dare team for making that possible :D
    Flash.
    I know what I’m doing when I’m in Flash.  I spent half my life learning Flash xD
    It crashed twice, but thankfully it has autosave, and I didn’t lose too much.  Tip: The debugger decides to crash every few tests…
    Not using a chunk engine.
    It’s true.  The original engine I made had the start of a chunk engine.  It didn’t make sense.  It was awful!
    Streaming.
    I LOVED streaming, not just because it motivated me, but because I got to meet some really neat people in the chat.  I listed everyone I could remember in the “EXTRA” section of my game menu because it was so fun.
    My idea.
    I had a good idea right from the start.  It’s really important to get the basics down in your game before you go and add goats or something.  That’s what I learned from this experience.  As quickly as I could I built a working game with a unique concept and simply gameplay.  Afterwards I added all the less-needed features, like music and a menu…
    Time management.
    48 hours to make a game.  It seems impossible, but when you start doing it, it’s surprising how fast you work.  At least for me.  I was able to get done what I had to get done in the time I had to get done doing it (twitter reference).

    What went not-so-great:
    – The details.
    It’s not really expected to have a detailed game during Ludum Dare, but I feel like the features I did have weren’t pushed to the right spot.  The regenerating stamina was too slow, the leveling up was boring, and some other things (like the particle size).  I’m sure it would make the game less glitchy if some of my rendering wasn’t messy too.  Hopefully I’ll get around to fixing it up and making it a finished game!

    Overall I think I did a great job, and I had fun!  I like a lot of the games I’m rating too!  Great job everyone else :D
    Here’s my submission: Dragon Boss

    Later,
    - Zanzlanz

    My Tips: What I learnt from The Fix

    Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
    Monday, December 17th, 2012 3:23 pm

    So, I’m done and dusted – first LD is completed, and I’ve built my first game in the process.  I’m immensely proud, but also a little sad – I made some real rookie mistakes, and I think I could have produced a far, far more polished game with ten or so more hours and a little more motivation.  So instead of the traditional post-mortem, here are what I’d tell my pre-LD me, if I had the good fortune to send him an inter-dimensional time-travelling message.

    1. Learn your weak areas, and focus on them

    I did this mostly right – prior to LD, I read a few tutorials on creating good programmer art, and those were invaluable.  Sadly, I didn’t also realise that I didn’t know the first thing about making music, so had to figure it out as I went along.  I lost a fair few hours figuring out whether I wanted to use SunVox or not.

    2.  Define your mood early, and stick to it

    I knew pretty early on what I wanted from The Fix – the feel of 1940s New York underground boxing, with black and white pictures, quiet piano music, and a small crowd.  What I hadn’t really figured is that I really don’t have  the skill for that.  I can’t draw boxers for crap, let alone make good piano music.   Had I taken that into account, and gone for a more cutesy aesthetic, I would probably have ended up with a far more coherent game with fewer stick figures.

    3. Think of which features you’re willing to lose

    Early on, think about what’s core to your game, and what’s superfluous faffing around.  Think about what you can lose, and what you need to implement – and get that done early.  My game would have been massively improved with a rudimentary betting system, but I was just so out of motivation 2 days in that I didn’t get it done.  That’s a huge shame, in hindsight.

    4. 48 hours is actually  damn long time

    I assumed, like most people do, that I might fail LD because due to running out of time.  I was nowhere near that happening – 48 hours is a huge amount of time for a basic game.  What’s far more likely to kill you is burning out and running out of motivation.   So take some time off: go outside and enjoy life.  I spent all of Sunday morning outside with my girlfriend, and had a really, really productive afternoon.

     

    I think that’s all for now.  If you’re reading this and considering jumping into LD, then the most important tip of all is this – don’t worry too much.  Enjoy yourself, build something that works, and finish it off.  There are plenty more jams in the future.  I’ll definitely be back for another :)

    Scripted Movement Paths in a Hurry

    Posted by
    Sunday, December 16th, 2012 9:53 am

     

    Don’t have a sensible workflow for creating movement paths? No problem!  Just make a mesh in Blender that’s a long chain of vertices where you want something to move:

    04

     

    Export that chain as a .obj file. That format is an easy to read plaintext file, with each vertex’s position given by a line beginning with “v”.

    05

    Just grab the vertex positions from that and you have a path to walk along. You can even copy-paste the vertex positions into your raw code if you’re in full LD panic mode.

    24 Tips for making a fun platformer

    Posted by (twitter: @KarnakGames)
    Saturday, December 15th, 2012 2:21 pm

    Since most of Ludum Dare games are platformers I think this is a required read to all of us:

    11 Tips for making a fun platformer

    and…

    13 More Tips for Making a Fun Platformer

    Lessons from the Warmup

    Posted by (twitter: @crimsoneer)
    Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 3:38 pm

    So, I’ve gone and produced my warm-up game.    It’s called Driver Hunter, and it’s laughably abysmal, but I figured it’d be worth doing just to see if I could actually produce a working executable.  Don’t trust  that fancy tool you’ve been told does the trick, because it doesn’t.  Distributing pygame is like fighting an angry dwarf.  In my case, it turns out pygame doesn’t like my system font.  Don’t ask why.  So my game now uses Arial, because I’m hip like that.  If  Pygame2exe isn’t working, maybe it’s worth trying for you too.

    So yes, lesson 1) check you can actually publish your damn game.  Do you want to release to mac?  To Linux?  To Windows?  Try it, and make sure it bloody works.

    Lesson 2?  Sound.  I’ve never done any of my own sound before, but seeing I’m trying to enter the compo, looks like I’m going to have to!   I discovered automata thanks to this post, and it worked flawlessly, producing something that was at least barely passable as game music.

    Other than that?  I’m good to go!  Timetable is cleared, tools are ready, fridge is stocked with diet coke.  I’ll be producing a timelapse if I can :)

    Greetings to all the new guys! (a.k.a. Folis’ inofficial guide for newbies.)

    Posted by (twitter: @F0lis)
    Monday, December 10th, 2012 7:48 am

    Well, looks like we have a lot of newcomers again this time!

    And as I appreciate all of the new guys, I’ll just welcome all of you! So have a warm welcome and a hug from me!

    And now I’ll try my hand at a McFunkypants-style guide, which contains some  teaching and hinting and also motivation!:

    • To get the most out of the compo, join the #ludumdare IRC channel on the AfterNET IRC network. (You need a IRC client for that. Check here or here or here for these.) – There are tons of awesome, and really nice people there who are willing to help you. If you want to talk to me directly just poke Folis. I’m there very often.
    • Generally get involved with the community as much as you can! People love to see photos of your desk, food, a timelapse (you can use ChronoLapse by Keeyai for this), or just a screenshot with some text every now and then. Also, don’t forget to write a post-mortem!
    • Check out the LD survival guide by fellow LDer Sol_HSA – It’s a very nice guide that helped me a lot during my first compo! You don’t have to follow every rule, but there are a few I can recommend: Sleep, tool preparation (use the Warmup for that!), and taking breaks. Those helped me the most. You should probably avoid alcohol too.
    • Check the tips section, it contains many useful posts written by other LD veterans! They know what they’re talking about!
    • And some general tips for the game design:

      KISS (Keep it simple & stupid)! Your game shouldn’t be a overly complex 3D turn-based online strategy sim! Try to get a small idea. Describe it briefly (about the size of a tweet. Thanks to Neonlare for that idea!)

      Cut features when needed! Sometimes there’s this great mechanic you have, and it takes AGES to implement. This is where a mental battle begins. If a feature takes too long to implement, you should consider cutting it (except if it’s your core mechanic). Sometimes that’ll help with speeding up development!

      Get something playable quickly! You shouldn’t waste any time getting some nice, solid engine going. You don’t need an all-rounder. Just get your core mechanic into the game as fast as you can. If all else fails, you can still submit something like that.

      Avoid feature creep. Yes, there’s this great feature, and that great mechanic, but you have a very limited timeframe, so forget about all the unneeded mechanics. Focus on the main idea!

      Playtest, playtest, playtest! Hop on IRC (see above) and let people play your game (there’s always someone who has time for this)! They will find bugs you might not see! And they can point out any balancing flaws, graphical hiccups and other problems (The experience of DLL hell isn’t exactly great.)

      Polish! If you have time left, replace the placeholder art with some pretty pixels. Compose some music (check the tools section!), add some bleeps and blops! Give your game that “finished” feel.

    • But there’s one rule above all others: Don’t forget to have fun! After all, Ludum Dare is a competition just for the fun of making games! You shouldn’t force yourself to apply all of these rules, if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

    And after you read through this wall of text, here are some final words of motivation: Even if the time is limited, I know that you CAN do it! We all can do it!

    Perhaps you are like me and have never made a game before Ludum Dare? Don’t worry! My very first game ever was made during Ludum Dare #19!

    And even if you don’t manage to finish: There is always a next time.

    Alright, that’s all I have to say for today!
    Maybe you’ll come to IRC for a chat?

    See ya,
    - Folis

    (P.S: Is there like a position for welcoming and helping the first-timers with their questions? If there is, I’d love to do that! *looks at PoV*)

    New Here, Looking Forward to my First Ludum Dare

    Posted by (twitter: @https://twitter.com/Gravity_Games)
    Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 5:09 pm

    Hi, Gravity Games here, and I can’t wait until the next Ludum Dare! I do however have a few questions about the rules if you don’t mind.

    1) I saw in the rules that we ARE allowed to use base code if its mentioned before the dare, but how far would be considered base? Like, a basic routine to open a window and draw graphics? A basic engine with a level editor (though I’m assuming that this would be a little bit too far to be considered a base).

    2) Continuing the above question, I have a level format that I tend to use for every project I start. I was wondering if it would be okay to copy and paste the same code that reads these files, or would I have to recode the same format from scratch. Or would I have to make a completely new format entirely?

    3) Continuing from the level format question, I already have a level editor for this format. Is it against the rules to use this level editor presuming I use the same level format? If so, would it be acceptable to program a new editor, or should I just type in the levels with a text editor?

    4) Is it against the rules to submit a game to the dare, continue to work on it for the rest of the hours of the jam, and then resubmit it for the jam?

    5) Finally, I’ve never completed a game before (not 100% anyway), much less in 48 hours. Quite obviously this is a big challenge for me, so how would I start practicing? Would you recommend going to past ludum dares and completing them, or is there an ongoing challenge I can use for practice?

    Matthew’s big list of public-domain songs

    Posted by (twitter: @IcarusTyler)
    Monday, October 29th, 2012 2:36 am

    Hey guys!

    Looking for established high-profile music? Don’t want to search websites for that one awesome track?

    Then go check out Matthew’s Big List of Public Domain Songs!

    Features several dozen folk-songs and classical pieces, used in such games as

    Go check it out. Also features some pointers to locate more awesome usable tracks.

    -Matthew

    Vox Update – v0.19

    Posted by (twitter: @AlwaysGeeky)
    Monday, October 22nd, 2012 1:51 pm

    Hi guys,

    22 days into October challenge, and here is an update on the current version of Vox. Version v0.19 has just been released on Desura and IndieDB, so I thought I would share a post on here to list some of the new features and updates to Vox.

    http://www.desura.com/games/Vox
    http://www.indiedb.com/games/vox

    Here are the newest features:

    • More Enemies in the world.
    • Flying enemies.
    • Skeleton archers shoot you from a distance.
    • Skelebobs chase you and try to kill your with their deadly swords.
    • King Slime boss spawns when you kill too many of his little slime buddies.
    • Interactable NPCs.
    • NPC movement behaviours – waypoints, world navigation and player follow.
    • Questing system.
    • Treasure chests.
    • Signposts.
    • Particle editor in the game.
    • Particle effects can be added to character parts. i.e head, body, feet, etc.
    • particle effects can be added to created weapons and items.
    • Undo feature added to creation mode.
    • Much better character creation screen in front-end menu.
    • Ore deposits that can be mined for ore.
    • Collectable items (hearts, coins, ore).
    • Damage text popups.
    • Improved HUD graphics.
    • Experience bar and leveling up.
    • Gradient background and better sky rendering.
    • Clouds.
    • Better intro animation.
    • New custom frontend music and game music.
    • Smoother mouse controls.
    • X360 gamepad support.

    Here are some recent videos demonstrating new gameplay:

    There is a free version to download and test and I would really appreciate it if people would be willing to try this and maybe provide some feedback. As always I am really curious to hear peoples opinions and suggestions. I really like player feedback and love to hear what people’s opinions are (Unless of course they are just the 500th person to state that Vox looks similar to Minecraft or CW :P).

    Thanks.
    AlwaysGeeky

    Update and a happy belated #ScreenshotSaturday

    Posted by (twitter: @mathk_)
    Sunday, October 14th, 2012 3:26 pm

    Okay, guys and gals – I’ll force myself to give you another little update about how my game for the OctoberChallenge is coming along.

    Procrastination, Story & Concept

    I have had some slow days in the last week, with some problems to motivate myself. As I’m a chronic procrastinater even for stuff which I really deeply care about (like games), I’ve developed few little tricks to overcome my anxious, lazy demons.

    Most often – for me, atleast – the problem is, that I simply pick too broad goals for my to-do-list.

    Something like „work on game“ will not work for me at all – something like „fix bug X and redo the art for enemy Y“, on the other hand, will work real wonders.

    The former will enhance the feeling of „this-is-too-much-work“ as it doesn’t set boundaries. Also it doesn’t reward you for finishing todays to-do-list at all because it doesn’t emphasize any goal that has been reached. „work on game“ can mean a minute or 16 hours. It doesn’t break my vicious circle of procrastinating brain chemistry (I’m no doctor, but that’s how it seems to work for me ;)).

    The latter – on the other hand – emphasizes exactly that. You can reward yourself extremely easy by checking easy and quick tasks. As you have clear goals for the next day it also happens really often that I come up with solutions while trying to fall asleep or being under the shower – because I know what’s coming next. That doesn’t happen with the more broad and general goals. To me, another really important aspect is that I have a clear end which I can work towards. If I have to do some things which I don’t find particularly fun, then I will work extra fast and efficient because when I’m done with them, I’m done for the day.

    What I would generally suggest to those of you with the same bad habits as myself: try to find causes! When you procrastinate over and over again, even though you actually like what you do, it doesn’t mean you’re a lazy person (I doubt such a thing even exists) or it is somehow hardcoded into your genes, it just means that you formed bad behavioural patterns which form this sort of vicious circle.

    I assume most of us are pretty good at analytical thinking (and creative at the same time, which seems to encourage procrastination ;)) – some self analysis can actually really help in these cases.

    What are your experiences with procrastinating and overcoming it?

     

    Enough of the rambling and on to my actual work!

    As my daily goals got broader and broader over the last week, I realized that some concepts for my game really lacked definition. A few of these worked wonders for getting me on the right track again:

    I had big holes in the story which I had planned as a major column of my games experience – so they had to be dealt with. After that sink was unclogged, creativity and motivation could flow again. Sometimes it’s the simple things!

     

    Happy belated #ScreenshotSaturday

    Some screenshots taken from a small testbed-level:

    The testbed – this is where the magic happens… hopefully!

    My placeholder (or maybe not, we’ll see!) menu screen

     

    Development Process

    I would like to talk a little about my development process and pipeline. Maybe some of you find it interesting.

    I develop my, yet to be properly named, game in Java with the aid of the Slick2D framework. Java was a no-brainer for me, as that is the only language in which I have some notable experience and it is also what we mostly use at university (and I actually LIKE it ;)). Slick2D – on the other hand – I will probably only use for really small quick prototypes after this one. At least until it gets some major updates (or I take the time to contribute some things myself). It caused me some very unnecessary bugs, also the TilEd implementation is not really sufficient and has a few weird bugs (including inexplicable, OS-specific ones).

    That leads me right to my next tool:

    My testbed level… those who played my LD24 entry might recognize it!

    TilEd

    It does everything I need for this project and quite a lot more, yet it also does have its quirks… Can somebody recommend another awesome Mapeditor with Java support? Don’t get me wrong – I would strongly suggest you try TilEd, it’s just that it’s not very stable for me and it could really have a more streamlined user experience.

     

    For source control I use Git with Bitbucket:

    Commits of the last days

    Even though I work alone on this project, I actually don’t want to miss this anymore. Once it is set up, it is really comfortable for working on multiple computers and also for when you just quickly want to try some things in your code without the fear of breaking everything. Good integration in Eclipse via Egit!

     

    Twitter

    Last but not least I’d like to bother you again with my twitter stream. I’m pretty new to twitter so I would love to have a chat (and maybe some mutual following? *the-rock-stare*) with more of you over there! ;)

    Self.postmortem:publish()

    Posted by
    Thursday, September 20th, 2012 12:37 pm

    Oh, so the voting has finished… Let’s look at my result ! With comments !

    • Bronze Coolness 67% : Hey, so 1 rating!=1% Because I have rated about 45 games….
    • #76 Overall 3.63 : Woooooooo … OMAGAD I’M 76th on 1406 GAMES I’M …
    • #77 Fun 3.51 : Having 133 kittens trying to kill is fun.
    • #86 Humor 3.16 : Oh yeah. Kittens . They do everything for you !
    • #152 Mood 3.10 : Uh. I though It was impossible to make a moody game with humor, apparently I was wrong.
    • #161 Audio 3.06 : Uh, again . Just using autotracker-bu and bfxr can give you a good rating . (But I wish I was better at SunVox) .
    • #275 Graphics 3.17 : The graphics were simple pixel-art, and apparently, it worked .
    • #364 Innovation 2.86 : Ok, it was just another rogue-like, after all .
    • #647 Theme 2.09 : Oh. I think we have here my main failure , and here is why :
    Suppose you wake up, find-out Evolution was the chosen one . In France, here, LD 24 started at 2h so the best option was to simply sleep during the night then find the right idea in the morning . The problem was that I have a really poor imagination when it comes to game design .
    10 hours or so, and I don’t have any idea yet . So I took my shower . Taking your shower give you ideas, I don’t know why but that’s like this .
     There is something that I didn’t want to do, was these games where you are a bacteria who eat smaller bacterias, and get eaten by bigger bacteria . I wanted something original … So I took the sum of E,V,O,L,U,T,I,O, and N translate into number and got 133 . Then I did a game based on the theme “133“.
    Sure, It’s original, but now, I think that was a bad idea because there is so much games that actually made an evolution-related game. Some with an interesting take on the theme, some which are pure fun, some with humor
    I then made some games in the last month, they aren’t finished, or polished. It look like I suddently rediscovered the joy of coding.
    Also, I will be in MLD37 ! :D I’ll do a sandbox game.
    Things learned :
    • Take your time to find the idea .
    • Don’t make personal libs if you are fast, it’s too easy -> not fun.
    • Try to be better each time at each points. If you are bad at graphics, try to be better at this .

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