Well. First Ludum Dare. What an experience! I went into it not knowing exactly what to expect, and I’m still not exactly sure what happened.
Here’s the post-mortem for All That Are Lost Will Be Found
My LD journal can be found Here
My website, with a more detailed log of the game creation can be found at OnePingSoftware.com
All That Are Lost Will Be Found is a game about Hero. Hero’s role is to seek out, and bring light to the Losties (no, not the TV show). Unfortunately, there are also evil creatures on the prowl. Hero’s only means of defense is an inner light that illuminates the environment for a brief moment.
What went right
- I finished the game! As time went by, I became more and more convinced that I wasn’t even going to have something to turn in by the end of the 48hrs. This, however, actually helped as this somewhat caused me to set more realistic expectations and lower the bar to a reasonable level.
- All of my tools worked. Having not participated in the warmup weekend, I was seriously worried that I’d be working away, and realize that I didn’t have the required software, or that it wouldn’t work correctly. None of this happened, though, and all my tools worked flawlessly.
- I slept. Originally, I had planned on powering through the competition for as long as I could, before collapsing. Instead–and due to the location I was working at–I got at least six hours of sleep each night, which in the long run helped immensely. I think that my original plan of pulling a 48hr coding session would have been about the worst thing I could have done.
- I adapted. There’s nothing more frustrating than making the decision to throw out everything you created in the first seven hours of the compo. However, on Saturday morning I realized that everything I’d done the night before just didn’t feel right. In essence, I was simply making another shoot-em-up platformer. So, I did what any good designer should be able to do: trashed the whole thing and started from scratch. Being able to do this helps detach me from the project and not wig out if I can’t get “that one feature” into it.
- Working with others. Normally, I think I’d have been inclined to take on the weekend solo, locked in an airtight room. This was not the case! I was working in the same space as a couple of other designers, which was great! It’s always inspirational to be able to get up and see what someone else is working on, rather than sitting in front of your project all day while your brain turns to mush.
What didn’t go so well
- Eating. I practically starved myself during the whole 48 hrs. In retrospect, it would have been much healthier (and no doubt helped with brain functioning) to have taken the time to stop and get a good meal at least twice a day.
- I started off on the wrong foot. When the theme was released, I panicked. Then I did what comes natural to me in such situations: I began writing code without any idea as to what I was going to do with it. And then I dreamed up this massive project that was way outside of my abilities for 48 hours. Lesson for next time: see what the theme is, turn off computer monitor, and walk away until an idea comes to mind. This would have saved me seven hours of time spent on a bad, half-baked idea.
- Level Design. It’s the bane of my existence. I put this off until the last minute on Sunday, and wasted a lot of time working on minor details, rather than concentrating on making the entire game/level more engaging and fun (and then working on the details in the remaining time).
- Sound. I’ve never done anything with sound before, and I simply ignored it, as I didn’t know how easy it was to whip up a few effects in sfxr. In the future, I’ll create sounds along with the rest of the assets I create, rather than saving them to the end and hopefully having time to add them in.
- Forgot to declare assets ahead of time. There were a couple of Unity scripts I’ve written previously (in particular, a level generation one) that I fail to mention up front for possible use in the game. As such, I was stuck with the painful realization that the script is on my computer (I even opened it and looked at it once!), yet I could not use it.
All code, assets, and design done by me. Created in 48 hrs on a Windows 7 desktop in Unity. Models/graphics were created using Blender and Gimp, respectively. Testing done on an additional Macbook Pro.
In retrospect, the entire project turned out really well. I’m extremely proud that I made and completed a game, albeit a very short one! In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter very much, but it’s still cool.
Thanks all for simply “being around”, even if you don’t play my game or read this post. I felt like I was living in spirit amongst a community of thousands of game designers. Pretty cool stuff. Cheers! *raises glass*