Well, first thing first how do you do a post-mortem on your own?
Second thing is – how do you do a post mortem to a short game as mine?
I think I still have lessons to share though so … call it the irrumabo you want!
How To Begin
Well, try anything! Just make something! How I usually begin, and how I began this LD is like that:
Plan vs Result – Close enough
Write any idea! Even silly ones! It might turn upside down!
For example – I wrote “Anti-cheering”. This is of course a maybe wierd maybe dumbest idea ever – A game about getting down on the player (the computer). Next I wrote 3D Pacman. Sounds good at first and than you realize all pacman monster do is following the player hoping to touch it. Not that intereseting. Key rule: Never make the player do something you (the programmer) can do yourself. If you can make the character pathfollow pacman, unless you add some punch this isn’t a game, this just sucks. Among other ideas were “Clumsy Situations” which apperantely was taken so I’m happy I didn’t use this. The wierdest thing was “getting hit or acting cute or nerdy gets you points”. OK what? XD
Okay maybe not EVERY idea is good, but bad ideas can turn into things later – for example the anti-cheering became a mocking laughter in the beginning of each level, to help the mood. Try to use the ideas even if you won’t make the game around them! You spent time thinking about them, so use that effort!
Know Your Tools
My claim this LD was that I can accomplish making a game with a tool I don’t know. I took two-three days to study it and that’s it. Finito. Ut ‘eam.
Making it worse I chose Blender Game Engine – a very unconventional, undocumented annoying engine which has all the tools just hidden in its core offering no help getting them. Unpolished, lacking simple and trivial operations like making a copy of an object to another scene without loosing it’s logic. Indeed very annoying stuff, and I’m not talking about the bugs, crashes and BSODs yet.
My point is – get to know your tools a little more than three days since this means you practiced less than the time of one LD to prepare to LD. If the keynote this year wasn’t clear – KNOW YOU TOOLS!
Beacuse tiredness is never good at LD. It’s better sleeping than writing buggy code or having struggle to concentrate.
Do DARE, but Don’t Get TOO Ambitious
There’s always a cost. In my case – I was making a simple AI using the tools blender gave me but even with the help of an engine – getting to do an AI that have over the game two different weapons with different mechanics, having him following coins, aiming at you and retreating when you’re too close is kinda a long thing to do when it’s basically my first time making an animated 3D character, and don’t forget you have to texture all those. This gave me though LOTS of mechanics to play with but don’t forget – there’s always a cost (as I stated in the beginning of this paragraph). In my case it was the length – lots of gameplay but merely 6 levels. It made the game basically a prototype of something that could have more levels, and it might make you lose some points.
The Good: Learn, Enjoy & Make a Game You’re Proud of
Oh I surely learned a lot. I DARED this Ludum Dare, even though it had its cost I’m pretty proud of the amount of gameplay I achieved in 48 hours, knowing this is my first time making a game with this tool.
I think the game is pretty fun once you get the goal and controls – it’s a puzzle platformer based on color-mechanics correlation. Obviously you’re told nothing in the beginning about this but Shhhh keep it a secret! The players need to figure stuff for themselves and I think that this is one aspect I might actually done right. Making a vague beginning might draw some people in! Not too vague though cause then you’re just making ’em all go away!
Playing My Entry
We all know that’s why we actually make this thing – shmeless advertising. But I hopefully shared with you my lessons and also explained myself – why the game came out so short.
A mini-game, A prototype, call it whatever you want. I had an idea in mind and even though I procrastinated I actually managed to transfer it into something playable!
So.. it was all worth it =]