Pocket Strife: Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @josefnpat)
April 24th, 2012 11:36 am

Pocket Strife Entry

What went right:

  • Git helped me keep everything in order, and even supplied me with a gource! In a Jam, as opposed to compo, git would have been perfectly, but in retrospect, it’s a little superfluous for a compo. I would still do it, as it is really only a few extra minutes of my time, and gives me something to roll back on if need be.
  • Being well rested makes a world of difference. I got three or four more times more done on Sunday when I was well rested than I did on Saturday in only double the time.
  • Know your tech – using love (love2d.org) was pure awesome, as I knew the API and I knew Lua.
  • Bring your own tech – I prepared for this LD by asking myself, what are libraries that one would normall find in games? These are the ones I used from the ones I brought with.
    • Build scripts for all OS’s (This was a blessing. When I was done, all I had to do was run two scripts, and I had the *.love, *.exe and *.app ready to rock and roll). Sure, mine only work on linux, but they output to everything!
    • Love Menu: There is nothing more wasteful than re-writing a god damn menu system. I wrote this one a long while back, and have used it multiple times. It looks good, and is fully scriptable. Build one giant view object, and let the library do the rest.
    • Bar lib – Again, another common element, this code ended up being a one-liner in my main.lua, but it saved so much time and looked so much better than just a random solid green bar.
  • Timelapse yourself. It stops you from screwing around much
  • Minimal scope is the best scope. Remember, you can always add more later, but you can’t release a game if it isn’t a game.
  • Make sure the art you make can be made quickly, and with high quality – I have recently discovered that I can actually push a lot of awesome pixel art out, as long as I only use two bit graphics (4 colors) So I open up GIMP
  • Don’t waste time generating! Making some crap from scratch when you don’t need to is probably a big waste of time! ALl you need is a few cases to make something seem random, why does it actually have to be random? I used this fractal world generator five times, http://donjon.bin.sh/world/ and used that as the map system.
  • Forget performance, call it a feature, not a requirement. You won’t believe the shortcuts I took to make this happen, but in the end it goes back to knowing your tech. I wouldn’t have had any of these issues if I had know how to do isometric tiles correctly. Reducing the framerate should have come later.
  • Stop bitching, and get working! Seriously, I saw so many people wasting time on IRC bitching about the theme. The themes LD gives are so vauge, you can do just about any thing you want. Oh, folks, stop naming your game “Tiny World” please.

What went wrong:

  • Know your tech. Working with isometrics was a god damn horror, and caused 95% of my framerate and mouse issues. Use concepts you are used to. This is not a time to learn new tech, this is a time to produce a game you know how to make. In retrospect, I should have made this game in straight 2d tiles.
  • Plan more! I should have planned for another hour or so. I found myself making the game up as I went along, and when I started noticing I was making assets and code that were out of scope, and then later removing them, I had to sit down with my notes again, and decide what the hell I was actually going to do
  • Make your machine ready for you. Have your stuff built, make sure it’s up to date, and stable. I had about fifteen minutes to rebuild love 0.8.0 from tag on ubuntu 10.04 (and keep in mind, it doesn’t build if you are running 10.04, so you have to do some hackery)
  • Kittens don’t let you code much. They seem to think everything in your monitor is real, and your keyboard is for sitting on.


What this showed me is to participate even if you don’t have time! I did this entire game in 13.5 hours.

Pocket Strife Entry

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