LD23: Post Mortem for Tiny World’s Lunar CTF

Posted by (twitter: @bwdevel)
April 24th, 2012 2:03 pm


  • My first competition ever
  • This is the furthest I have gotten in developing a game, ever
  • I had planned to use Java(LWJGL + Slick2D + MarteEngine) for webstart capabilities but the my dev environment didn’t survive my meddling with version updates on Friday. I ended up switching to GameMaker:HTML5 2 hours before the start of the competition
  • I had less than 10 hours of experience with GameMaker spread over 6 years prior to the start of LD23; ~6 hours 6 years ago, and 2 hours the last two hours before the start of the competition
  • I just started using Inkscape 1 week prior
  • I’ve been on the fringe of gamedev for many years, but have never really done much more than quick prototyping/PoCs
  • The increasing popularity of time-lapses of game-jams are what drew me to participate in LD23.



What Worked

  • Surprising, switching engines 2 hours before the compo started was the best thing I could have done.
  • I was able to pick up and get comfortable with GameMaker quickly. What I didn’t know was easily googleable(word?) with only a few rare exceptions
  • I loved the work-flow of GameMaker. Being able to put concepts together in the project tree and to visually build game logic was a nice way to prototype idea. The transition from taking those drag and drop items and moving them into local and global game scripts worked very well for me.
  • Inkscape is a fantastic tool, even with it’s bugs.
  • s/bfxr SORT of worked, although it getting newer generation sounds was a bit tough. It’s still a fantastic tool and great for 8/16bit sounds.
  • WolframTunes (even though this isn’t really composition and moreso luck).
  • Using the game environment for scrore feedback (lights on the flag bases) rather than puting in GUI overlays.
  • Using OneNote-type tools to track concepts and helpful web links with notes (I used Evernote for this, but OneNote via skydrive is nice too).
  • Staying social during the competition (I kept on top of twitter, IM, the LD site, my own site, and Reddit; all with focus on GameDev and LD23).
  • Letting the theme drive the project. I did no brainstorming at all before the competition and allowed concept drive my creativity once it was released.
  • Music without vocals. I listened to a lot of Clint Mansell, General Fuzz, and John Williams(classical guitarist) throughout the competition. I didn’t try to stay awake beyond reason; had I done so, I would have been listening to Infected Mushroom really late.
  • Submitting the game in a buggy/incomplete state. The feedback on even broken games will make you a better dev.
  • Drawing tablet. Even if it’s a cheap tiny pad, your developer art will be faster and look better than mouse art.
  • Lots of PGTips Tea; ~20 cups.
  • Having a very supportive and understanding significant other



What Sucked

  • Finding bugs/nuances in GameMaker, but not knowing the engine enough to know it was a bug.
  • Breaking my AI in the last few hours of development.
  • Not being able to have the whole basic concept working in time for submission
  • Not realizing I had another hour of development available because I thought the game had to be submitted by the end of the 48 hours and not just that development had to stop.
  • Being so fatigued by the end that I had stopped saving my GameMaker project about 3-4 hours before the end; so I do not have a saved state of the project for the final game.
  • Not having time to put in GUI’s



Lessons Learned

  • Make sure your dev environment is ready before competion and LEAVE IT ALONE
  • Know your engine/language so well that you can have a fully functioning basic game in the first 24 hours of the competition so that you can spend the 2nd half on art, polish, and
  • Have enough discipline to see a problem through, but not so much that you spend TOO much time on it.
  • Take regular breaks and stretch


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