ZUNZANDA – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Phantom_Green)
April 24th, 2012 10:53 am


This weekend was crazy. Ludum Dare 23, the 10th anniversary of the best dang game jam around, was number one on my list of priorities. I wanted to go all out for the 10th anniversary, and I did. I altered my sleep schedule so I could work during the night, which is my most productive time. I started working on the game after midnight on Friday… then I went to sleep sometime the next morning. I then stayed up ALL night on Saturday… and stayed up all the way until submission time.

Then … I crashed.

I crashed hard.

And on Monday… I was met with some terrible news. My aunt had just passed away.

Normally by this time, I’ve already played 15 – 20 LD games. But due to my sleep schedule, I couldn’t follow through. I was gonna start on Monday morning. Then I got the news about my aunt and things obviously changed. So here I am… on Tuesday morning… and I still haven’t played a single LD game. I spent some time adding a dedication to my aunt in ZUNZANDA’s credits, which I hope the judges are OK with. I then ironed out some bugs that I discovered while playtesting and getting feedback from others… but only game killing bugs. One glitch even caused the player input to stop completely, so I had to deal with that ASAP. Dropbox also borked my upload link… but I didn’t know because the site was so jammed up that I couldn’t even get to my own entry page. I said “SCREW IT!” and passed out.

But I did find a horrible bug. Well… less of a bug and more of an I’M AN IDIOT AND FORGOT TO ADD THIS VERY IMPORTANT FEATURE TO THE GAME issue. I won’t reveal what it is. Maybe you won’t notice. *cringe*

What the hell is Zunzanda?

Well… it’s a game about a tiny world. But the twist is that the world is getting smaller by the minute… and you gotta stop it! How?

With this totally rad terrain sculpting system, of course!

Well, that was going to be the primary focus of the game, but the dynamic tiles and terrain destruction features sort of fell out of the spotlight when I realized that what I had in my head would not be possible in 48 hours. I originally wanted the player character to have two forms… one that could attack but was forced to stand on solid ground, and a form that could not attack, but could float between platforms. The terrain was originally going to change drastically over the course of a ‘stage’, but now you’ll find that it’s much more gradual.

It took me a long time to get the dynamic tile system working, but it turned out MOSTLY alright. It’s kinda fugly and it’s not incredibly seamless, but it does what I wanted it to… and HEY… for 48 hours… it’s GREAT.

So what else can this game do?


The game is broken down into waves… with each wave throwing more enemies at you. Your goal is to kill those star jellies as quickly as you can before they eat your world. The only way to kill ’em is to collect those starshines that fall from they sky. Get enough of ’em and you’ll unleash a burst of light that fries ’em dead. Then you get a bit of a break so you can ‘cash in’ your dead jellies for new terrain tiles to rebuild your world. It’s a constant battle of dodging holes while racing for those precious starshines… and staying away from those jellies while they try to gobble up your land. It gets pretty intense… even if it did end up being a bit unforgiving with ‘deaths’.

If you wanna keep reading… follow me after the jump and we’ll keep it going.

I decided that Sunday would be audio and polish day. That’s why I had to stay up all night on Saturday… because I was behind. I ended up pulling an all-nighter to finish up the wave system and get the foundation in place for the intro and the voiceovers.

Yeah, voiceovers.

I basically ripped off Bastion. If you haven’t played Bastion, then just pretend that I came up with the narration style that you find in ZUNZANDA. I was expecting the voiceovers to take the longest, but it actually went smoothly. I had a system, I stuck to it, and everything turned out better than I had imagined. I wrote a quick ‘script’, did two takes, and then started piecing it all together.

After the voiceovers, I wrote two pieces of music: One for the title/story sequences, and the other for gameplay. I’m pretty DANG happy with how they turned out.

HEY… I even had time to make some quick and dirty SFX before the deadline. I’m not too thrilled about using SFXR again, but it always comes through in a pinch. I wanted the SFX to be a bit more natural for this, but OH WELL.

So what did I learn this time?

I learned that I think I’ll skip the next Ludum Dare.
I had SO MUCH FUN but this one really drained me, and now I just wanna play some games.

I’d love to be able to just sit back and WATCH LD24, so that’s what I’m gonna do.


You can play and rate ZUNZANDA right HERE

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