Reveal Postmortem: Ludum Dare is Awesome.

Posted by (twitter: @offwhitefox)
August 22nd, 2011 6:15 pm

Hey All!  I wanted to do a quick postmortem on the game we submitted to the Jam, Reveal.

What went right

A solid  artistic vision.  Most of the artistic vision for this game came from @pixelbutterfly,  who also did the art.  At the core of the game, it’s about uncertainty in a world where the media tells you who to be and how to look.  But as you scratch deeper below that, and peel away the superficial layers, the world only gets uglier.  Finally, as my own little nihilistic touch, you realize that the escape you sought from your uncertainty wasn’t exactly as you had planned it.

A simple mechanic.   We wanted a game about systematic destruction.  What could be funner than that?  Unity3d has a great support for physics at its core, so it lent itself quite naturally to such a game.  Almost everything in the game (except the wallpaper) is powered by pretty standard rigidbody physics, so it was very easy to implement and get running quickly.

What Went Wrong

Startup time issues.  We had some initial creative differences and as a result, ended up not getting started until Saturday night.  As a result, we ended up cutting out several of the more meaningful layers for some of the less intensive ones.  Oddly enough, this didn’t really get in the way of development too much…after cutting the more time-consuming room layers, we finished the game way ahead of time (even submitting before the contest deadline).  That gave us more time for audio and testing.  Sure, it’s not perfect, but for 24 hours of dev it’s pretty good :)

Learning.  I’ve done a lot of game jams in the past, and every time I go into them with the mentality that I want to learn something new and significant.  This is either something specific like, “I want to learn how to write 2D physics and do pixel-perfect collision from scratch,” or something more general like, “I want to think about Level Design in a new way.”  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I learned that much from this game development, and the same goes for @pixelbutterfly.  Because of the vision and scope for the project, she didn’t have any game assets to create from scratch, and her dev computer was out of commission for the weekend.

Summary

Ludum Dare is great!  I’ve followed the Ludum Dare scene for the past year or so, but this is my first time participating, and I’m astounded by the level of creativity and enthusiasm that has come to the table from all over the world.  At Uni, our game development club would host game jams a few times a semester, but they were generally ill-attended affairs with 2 or 3 teams coming out with something to show, and solo development being a rare bird.  As I look through the 500+ game catalog of LD #21 and wonder how I’m going to be able to rate them all in the next 21 days, I know that this is something I want to be a part of for years to come :)


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