An (extremely late) post-mortem of what went wrong…

Posted by (twitter: @DPbrad)
May 8th, 2012 3:11 am

Ultimately, I did not end up submitting my game to Ludum Dare, despite it having being mostly finished by the first day. Despite real-life getting in the way (I had some boring things I had to take care of on the second day), I also suffered a few technical problems with my external debugger freaking out on me after I accidentally typed some keyboard shortcut which took me a long time to sort out.

I have competed in Ludum Dare before, I think 19 (or 20?) and 21, and have also entered some other game jams, but this had to be the most frustrating one I have ever entered before. My game was a simple concept, a stripped down platformer where each finish point lead to a new level which got bigger and bigger in relation to the last, in a similar vein to Fracuum (Which is GREAT!). I had finished much of the idea and level designs after 2 or 3 hours, and as it was like 5am at this point, I went to sleep and woke up about 10am (ish) and got to work on setting up an Ogmo Editor project and designing all the levels. Rather than creating my tiles and using those, I just used the grid tool and then wrote a basic script which placed the correct tiles in the correct places, so tiles with grass on top would go where you could walk, and dirt tiles would go at least 1 block under a grassy tile. I had this finished by noon, and then started getting my player sorted out. I had a bit of a problem as I have been using a different programming language to AS3 for a few months, so couldn’t remember the syntax for some grid detection code, but after a few (frustrating) hours, I had the entire physics of the player down. At this point, I decided to take a break, and came back to the project at around 5pm. By now, much of the core elements were there, I quickly whipped together a basic menu which consisted of pretty much nothing more than a handful of level buttons, and a little options menu where you could turn of the sound and music, which I had not even added yet.

Once the menu had been finished, I noticed a bug in the players movement, where if you landed in between 2 grid blocks with enough downward velocity, you would get jammed in between them. This was easily fixed by changing a few things around and I had it solved in 15 minutes. This is now the point where everything went belly-up. I was typing some code, and accidentally pressed some keyboard combination which activated some little remote debugger. I just closed it off and tried compiling my project, only to be presented with a million debugger errors and the game just freezing when it launched. I tried reloading FlashDevelop, to no avail as the same message simply appeared again. I tried making a new project and simply copying all code & assets over, but it seems I did something to FlashDevelop itself, as the same thing happened. By now, I was just losing track of time and before I knew it, the time was 11pm and I was tired and frustrated. I eventually just decided to re-install FlashDevelop, which solved the problem, but I decided to call it a day and go to sleep.

The following day was “disrupted” by real-life getting in the way, I was busy all morning and much of the afternoon, and was only able to get back to work on the game by about 5:30 pm. By now, I only decided I would add a few sound effects, some music and a dynamic background picture, rather than just a boring black background. I had this finished, but then when I actually tested my game for the final time, I realised that it wasn’t quite as fun as I wanted it to be. The 8 levels I had made were all quite easy even though I had tried to make some of them tough, so I decided to get back into Ogmo Editor and whip up some tough bad-ass levels. After a few hours, I had made another 11 levels, all of which I thought would be quite hard. I loaded them into my project and added them into the game and tested them, and after 20 minutes of testing them, I realised that without more components in the game, i.e. traps, buttons, LASERS, switches, portals, collectibles, keys, etc. , that all levels would be limited to nothing more than timing your jumps and keeping momentum going into jumps. It was less a nitty-gritty Super Meat Boy type platformer, and more of a crappy free-running game where after you got the hang of the controls, every level was pretty easy to complete.

By now, I was pretty demoralised, and without enough time to properly add all the things mentioned above, and on top of that not enough time to actually make good levels with all those things utilised in a smart way, I decided to just….well….give up.

Since then, I have added some of those features, but have taken a hiatus until June as I have Uni exams starting from tomorrow until the 29th, so I should probably, I don’t know, revise a bit?

One Response to “An (extremely late) post-mortem of what went wrong…”

  1. Johnicholas says:

    I’m sorry that you didn’t post what you had.

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