Yesterday, I submitted my warmup game, SameOrb, and was happy to be able to finish during the weekend. I picked an hard time limit to myself to check how I could manage the polishing phase. The engine/toy was quickly done the first day and the gameplay/balance/arts the next day, with a big gap between them where I was erroneously thinking that having few bouncing balls was an “almost-done” game. So it was something like a 2 half-days project.
It was a very fun exercise and I learned a lot of good lessons about time management for the true Ludum Dare challenge, except the theme part, we’ll see how that goes. Here are the steps which required more time than I expected, and I hope to fix that in my LD. Classic tips, but I can now confirm that I should follow them
– Challenge/gameplay. Even when the engine and controls are done, I still need levels, checkpoint etc
– Be nice with new player. Ok, no time to write tutorial or instructions, and *I* know them, but need to focus more on intuitive feedback to explain things.
– Don’t add sounds at the end, it’s not just arts, it can be an important interface feedback.
– Tweaking and testing physics is hard, and messy hardcoded values don’t help.
– Still need to watch performance. No time to optimize, but brute force everywhere sometimes leads to problems.
– Deciding when to stop adding features and when to start polishing gameplay and arts, is very important.
– Keep some time for the release step, stop coding *before* the last minute.
– Still take breaks, it’s important for performance and allow to think about the big picture.
Ok, I hope it helps someone (other than me), and don’t forget to have fun