Post LD48… What Worked and What Didn’t

Posted by (twitter: @Guardian_Bob)
August 28th, 2012 8:30 am

Sheep Breeder

The Good

  • Following the Theme
      I was able to get a more strict adherence to the theme than most. Let’s be honest here, “evolving” a gun at random isn’t really evolving. It is mutating. For true evolution you need generations and traits passed on.  In playing a number of games I’ve seen this issue side stepped. My wife who is a sheep farmer (where you breed to get certain traits) has been educating me for years, so I felt I had a very good grounding in reality for this game.
      Basically with a theme like evolution you can:

    • Complain
    • Make the game you want and ignore the theme
    • Make the game you kinda want that you can kinda claim follows the theme
    • Follow the theme – ignore the consequences
      I’m glad I followed the theme, even if it felt more challenging.
  • Content Generation
      This is more luck than anything else. I could use real sheep for sounds and pictures.
  • VirtualBox
      While it might make playing some games harder, this was a blessing for me while developing. Taking a snapshot as I was developing was far easier than using any kind of SCC or other backup system. Time lapse became simple, you can even see the virtual machine reboot in my timelapse video.
  • Visual Studio 2012
      Microsoft hasn’t changed Visual Studio much in the past years. Yes it is themed differently, but it works basically the same which helped a lot. I only stated using it 3 days before the compo so this worked out. It could have gone the other direction fairly easily.
  • .Net 3.5
      I was able to make a game that will run on just about any Windows based machine without installing anything extra. This made me quite happy.
  • SFML
      I only used the audio portion, and barely scratched the surface of this 3rd party library. I appreciate the ease of use and clean structure.
  • Lack of Bugs
      Watch my timelapse video, there are very few show stopping bugs. Taking care while constructing my classes helped immensely with this.
  • Finishing
      The last game I did was in Hypercard nearly 20 years ago. Tic-tac-toe. I’m proud that I was able to finish with something playable.
  • Own Webserver – Semi-Live Stream
      On the VM host I was able to use the timelapse software to create screen shots as I worked. Those were saved on a network drive and shared via webpage as I was going along. This semi-live stream kept my server from dying (even though there was over 2 GB of files downloaded) while people were watching. There’s something to be said for owning the entire chain.
  • Sleep/Food
      Typically I get 6 hours of sleep. I got 7 each night during the Ludum Dare. I know my brain was in over drive as my body kept yelling “Consume All The FOOD!” I was able to finish without coffee or any soda with caffeine. Beer did help as well at night to settle things down.

The Bad

  • Following the Theme
      I had an awesome idea for parallel worlds/companion that I would have loved to do. Maybe next time.
  • Content Generation
      I can’t draw to save my life. I can’t make sounds/music. I focused on the core game play as a result. The screenshot doesn’t look as interesting as most entries.
  • Visual Studio 2012
      Microsoft hasn’t changed Visual Studio much in the past years. They haven’t fixed the bug where the tool generates a 32-bit icon it can’t edit. What’s worse, the default color pallet for the icon editor is all shades of gray, with no standard 8 bit pallet provided. Intellisense stopped working. You’d think after 7 years they could get this right.
  • Lack of Experience
      I haven’t done a lot of game design, so this was tough in many ways for me.
  • Food
      I needed more variety in my food choices. It would have made me much happier.
  • Time/Features
      I had to drop a major feature that would have helped a lot with the game. The bi-annual fair, which was supposed to give the player money and help them see their progress. I just couldn’t do it in time.

I Almost Soiled My Trousers When…

  • .Net 3.5 + SFML + VirtualBox
      I was using a 32-bit version of Windows 7. I had to submit my entry a few hours early due to another engagement. Right before I submit I tried my game on the host OS. It crashes with no information. I bring up the event viewer and see that SFML had an invalid image exception. Invalid Image? I’m not using the image library. WTF? Then it hits me. My host is 64 bit and the VM is 32. The invalid image exception isn’t related to media at all, it is the dll image. I quickly force my project to build in 32 bit mode. That diving catch prevented many other headaches later on.

2 Responses to “Post LD48… What Worked and What Didn’t”

  1. It’s a good thing that there’s a lot of unique ways to interpret the theme then, instead of only one way to do it!

    This competition would be a lot more boring if they had just said “make a game with generations and evolution.”

    • Guardian_Bob says:

      Fair enough, and I absolutely agree it is open to some interpretation; however, rather than evolving a pre-defined gun at a pre-defined point it would be better to take a more holistic approach. Each time the user wins your shoot-em up, mutate the enemies. If the user still wins try a different mutation.

      Each time the enemies win, mutate the player until they can beat the enemies. The game has to keep the two in balance. At that point and more faithfully represents evolution and still allows plenty of flexibility.

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