EscApe was my first entry to Ludum Dare and I did it mainly to learn stuff. I’ve had a lot of programming experience before, but I’ve never done any graphical games. Although I use C++, Python, PHP in everyday manner (work stuff), I decided to go with FlashPunk, having no knowledge at all about either the framework or the ActionScript 3 (besides that they exist) – but being familiar with object-oriented programming, this issue itself didn’t turn out to be that much of a problem.
I’m quite happy with my creation. I’m unhappy with the code, but I decided on developing speed, not beauty. As this is my first game, and done in only 48 hours, it feels just O.K. in my opinion (that is, I could do better, but it’s not awful).
See below for idea explanation, “what went right & wrong” and playthrough video.
Entry (rate): http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-21/?action=rate&uid=5431
Full playthrough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCgw09ZlRhY
I recommend playing the game instead of watching the playthrough. It’s web based anyway!
I didn’t like the theme that much, and didn’t have any prepared idea. In the beginning I decided only that this will be monkey – related game (“escape” – “esc ape” – “ape”: see what I did there, mwahaha?), rest came to me when I rememberd that recently I’ve seen “Ugh!” gameplay video, a DOS/Amiga/Commodore64 game from 1992. It bringed back lots of memories, since I friggin’ loved it when I was a kid, so I decided to try and make something similar.
What went right.
- I used all the time I could get. Compo started at 4 a.m. and I stayed up until then just to see the theme, then I got some sleep. I worked the next day all the time, taking some short brakes, and went to sleep around 3 a.m. On Sunday I worked until 3:30 a.m. or so and then submitted.
- Ogmo Editor, level creation. I really didn’t expect to be able to pull this one off.
- Mechanics/Physics. I like the look and feel of them, and that the game is quite hard. I feel the mechanics are quite similar to “Ugh!”, although they could get a little polish.
- Graphics. I have no talent at all, so producing such animations (especially flying machine, death sequences) was really hard and really rewarding (It’s nice to see that people generally like my flying monkey).
- Good general workplan. I wanted to have all the mechanics on the first day and do the animation – intensive graphics on Sunday, and this went well. Also, I’ve done most of the mechanics I wanted to do.
- Timelapse video. Chronolapse FTW! It’s full 48 hours of my life in 7 minutes.
- I learnt a lot: AS3, FlashPunk (+some drawing). I wouldn’t do this without the deadline, so this is something I’m satisfied with.
What went wrong.
- I neglected most of the things to do at the weekend. Without my girlfriend, I would die of hunger.
- I didn’t check my software and then wasted some time on installing (Audacity), learning (GraphicsGale), or figuring what’s wrong with it (FlashDevelop 4 beta 1).
- I didn’t prepare. It’s nice to know I still can learn a programming language and make a game in 48 hours, even when not prepared, but a little basecode would get me a long way.
- Learning language on the fly was a generally bad idea, but it could be worse. I do a lot of programming, but doing more FlashPunk research BEFORE the compo would help a lot. Also, there isn’t a lot of FlashPunk documentation. There are some basic tutorials, but I kinda hoped for more – google helped a lot, but this is something to consider next time.
- I wasted a lot of time on graphics, having not much of a talent. I should be making more levels instead.
- I waited with the submission until an hour before the original deadline and the site problems kinda freaked me out (although I managed to submit on time).
- The code looks horrible. Half-way I decided to speed up with the development, so there are lots of hacks here and there.
- There is no ending. I had no time to do it.
It was great! Finishing a game within 48 hours leaves a scent of accomplishment and I feel I REALLY needed that right now. I got really hyped during the development process, especially when I knew the game will be finished (i.e. playable and with graphics) before the submission deadline. Next time, I will be more prepared (unless I switch to a different, unknown language:P), especially in terms of base code or prototyping. I’ve had so much fun developing my game, I’m sure I will be doing this again!
And hey, maybe I will work on EscApe more, so maybe this isn’t a post mortem after all.