Survived my first Ludum Dare!

Posted by (twitter: @icefoxen)
April 22nd, 2012 7:45 pm

…and I even made a game!  Which even works, last time I checked at least.  Not bad for someone who came down with the flu about three hours into it, hm?  You may find the game here: .  I also made some screencast videos in the comment at the bottom, so check those out too.

Of course the code is fugly, which actually started becoming a significant barrier towards the end.  And of course there’s a ton of things I wanted to do that I didn’t get a chance to.  I had plans for enemies to invade your planet, break the connections holding your planets together, maybe a boss-type enemy, some sort of win condition…

Honestly though?  I think works okay the way it is: simple and arcade-y.  And in a playable state; don’t forget that.  I never felt I wouldn’t complete it in time, but it came much closer than I really expected!  Mainly due to keeling over due to disease on Saturday evening; that probably lost me five hours or more.

The main thing I skimped on is graphics rendering really…  I never imposed any real draw order rules, and as a result the game sort of looks like ass.  I wanted to do much better effects in terms of particles and such as well, plus nicer effects for capturing planets and such.  You were originally supposed to plant a seed that would grow out into a vine that snagged the other planet; the blue line was originally a placeholder.  A placeholder that ended up in the main game… oh well.  There’s a couple bugs left in the geometry in general, too.  Alas.

Lessons learned?  Software rendering, and python in general, is STILL slow.  I STILL hate geometry (though I’m not too bad at it by now).  Programming while you have a fever is STILL a bad idea.  Mixing coordinate systems is ALSO a bad idea, at least if you do it poorly!  And one can make surprisingly cute sprite-art as long as your resolution is 64×64 or smaller.  Maybe next time I’ll try Unity or something, or at LEAST use numpy for vector maths; I bet that’d help a lot in terms of performance.

Maybe I should learn to compose music at least a little?  This game is really begging for some kitchy MIDI tunes.

If I were to continue this, which I may or may not… the thing needs a good hard refactoring, followed by some profiling and optimization.  You don’t REALLY need to run the physics and AI for the bits of the universe you can’t see.  After that would come graphics and bug fixes, with better particles and real animations, and maybe those vines I was talking about.  (I mourn the loss of those vines; I think it would have been really neat conceptually and visually.)  A few more enemy types… a commando with a rocket launcher who could jump, and maybe a gun-bot sort of like the Skysmashers from Iji.  Power-ups. Other planets with engines you could hijack and drive around.  Enemies that tried to come and invade your planet and destroy your engine.  Defense cannons on heavily-defended planets.  The list goes on…

But for now… time for a milk shake!

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