That was a blast! This was my first Ludum Dare, but will defiantly not be my last. Thank you to everyone involved.
Before the competition started, I had designs in mind, wrote some stuff down, and was testing out a million 2D platform game mechanics. I’ve been doing primarily 3d stuff over the last year, so I began to question why I was entering a realm I wasn’t comfortable with for a 48 hour competition. At the last minute I decided to switch to a 3D approach.
The whole process was really organic, I let the game design itself. I didn’t take time to write out a plan or design document. Design documents are great, and serve their purpose… but they are no fun to play and I can use that time to add cat powered mega bullets.
What went right…
I got the full support of my wonderful and loving family. Every minute I wanted to work on the game, I had, distraction free. Can’t express the importance and appreciation of that small fact.
I completed the game. By using a definition of ‘complete’ that really only applies to games made in 48 hours. There is a hint of a story. Win/Loss conditions, mechanics, sound… The basics are there.
The game is fun. I enjoy it at least. Once I turned it in last night and the LD website went kaput, I spent a while playing it… not play testing it, but playing it. It was nice.
I believe I did a really good job with my coding time management. I worked a short time on each mechanic then really took a step back and decided if it “just didn’t feel right”, or flat out just didn’t work. Rather than beat a dead horse, I was able to drop them and move on to the stuff that did work. What I was most concerned about, generation of the antagonist and controlling it’s growth actually just worked out with minimal issues. In the beginning, it reproduced so fast it would kill the framerate after a minute or two playing… I ended up calling that “hardcore” mode, with a warning, but optimizations and balancing added later killed the fun in that
The hardcore mode “bloom attack”. The visual and sound… It just works for me.
What could have gone a lot better
I resorted to lazy coding a bit too quick. Played the “public” and “static” cards way too early. Some last minute bug fixes were a challenge, (and there are still a few minor ones lurking that I believe are tied into the above).
I got in a good chunk of time in to work on balancing and difficulty levels but it wasn’t nearly enough. A few more hours to work on balancing would have helped a lot.
The “art”, if you can call it that needed some more love. Some may find the color shifting thing a bit obnoxious… but then again, others will want more. All the modeling was done in code and consists solely of cubes. Some more interesting powerup and bullet shapes would have been nice.
Some of the sounds just don’t work for me. Except for the “bloom”… did I mention the bloom? I like the bloom.
The jealous side of me is trying to decide if next time I should go for a web game. Probably going to lose a lot of plays and votes for being a Windows-only application. Lose several more for XNA’s outside requirements. It may not be right, but it is what it is.
In the end though.. I didn’t do it for votes… I did it for the fun and the experience. And by those measures, I already won Ludum Dare.