Spitoon was my first ever Ludum Dare submission. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had watched Notch’s live feed of his entry for LD 22 and was inspired to participate in the next one. Here is how I think it went.
What went right
- I managed to make a mostly-playable game with (AFAIK) a somewhat unique mechanic.
- My graphics, though simple, got the job done. I was pleased with how they turned out, mostly.
- I learned that I can perform under a very tight deadline and for very long periods of time.
- I made my first Timelapse as well as my first ever upload to YouTube!
- I had a lot of fun!
What went wrong
This is always the more interesting part, I imagine:
- Many bugs made it into the posted version. Among them are the spitballs appearing at full size for a split-second before being resized (this one bothers me a lot, as it messes with the visual style and happens repeatedly), and spitballs sometimes stopping dead in their tracks when they aren’t supposed to.
- The game uses up way more memory than it should, particularly by the later levels. This was a problem I had spent a good portion of time trying to fix, but, alas, I just don’t know enough yet about proper and efficient garbage collection. This is where my relative lack of experience with ActionScript, Flixel, and programming in general really shows through. It is something I’m slowly working on, however.
- No sound! I had even practiced a bit with generating sounds with SFXR before the competition, but in the end, I spent too much time fixing bugs and designing levels (both of which took up more time than I had originally planned on) to get to this stage of development at all. A game like this really deserves some nice spitting sound effects to round it out, but I had to prioritize, and sound I deemed was less important than the other stuff.
- Too short! I realize that the bar isn’t necessarily very high as far as length of gameplay with this sort of competition, but I really wanted to shoot for a minimum of 10 well-thought-out levels at minimum (20 if I could help it). That said, I had to settle for 7 levels, with 2 of them being pretty bare in terms of “puzzleyness.” I also wanted to have an actual menu and a way to restart the current level, but I just didn’t get to implementing it.
- I misspelled the name of my game! :O I don’t know whether to chalk this up to being tired or what, but yes, it’s spelled ‘Spittoon,’ not ‘Spitoon.’ I didn’t name my game til right toward the end, and although I’m usually a pretty decent speller most of the time, this time I got it wrong. A 5-second Google check could have shown me I had it wrong, but it just didn’t occur to me until the next day to do so. At this point, I can either fix the spelling for the post-compo version, or leave it as is and just call it my own. Does anyone have any preference on this? Should I leave it “Spitoon” or should I fix it and call it “Spittoon” from now on?
For the Future
Shortfalls aside, I really did have a blast participating, and I absolutely plan on being in future competitions for Ludum Dare. Feedback has been wonderful and it’s so encouraging to hear people’s thoughts about the game. I’m also planning on releasing a “post-competition” version of the game with all the bug fixes, sound effects, and additional levels I wanted to include in the original version. Hopefully, work schedule and family life permitting, I’ll be able to put that out sometime in the next 2 or 3 weeks. Thank you for reading and thanks to everyone for making this a great experience! I’ve already played quite a few of the other entries, and I’m terribly impressed; I can’t wait to play even more!
EDIT: The post-compo version was released about a week ago, and here’s the download link: