Hi all, this is the post mortem for my Ludum Dare 24 entry called “Silent Game of Death”.
First of I want to thank the community for all the comments I’ve already received , this was my first Ludum Dare and I’m quite happy with the outcome.
Ok lets start from the beginning shall we? During the summer I made a small 2D framework, using C++, SFML for window management and OpenGL for rendering. I stopped working on it when I got back to work though, I still had some “minor” things left to add before I could start making games in it. One of the things missing in my framework was audio handling, I had no way of loading or playing sound. Skip forward two months and I see Notch post about this thing called Ludum Dare, I almost imminently decide that I want to join in and sign up. I still have a half completed framework so I’ll need to work that out before the Dare begins. This was the Wednesday before the start by the way. So I sat down on Friday and added the audio handling and went to bed at about midnight, I live in Sweden so it started at 3 in the morning here. Here’s a time lapse of my progress all the way from the beginning to the bitter end!
I wake up and see the theme. I get really excited and scared at the same time. “Evolution” is such a HUGE theme, I start by making an idea cloud and just writing up everything that comes to mind. I start working on a game, a HUGE game, a game about evolving creatures for customers but first you have to grow the food for the creatures to affect their DNA. It was going to be great! Well no, I soon realized this was simply to big, scrapped the idea but kept the grid I had created for the farm game (this is the reason the enemy block texture is in the folder “ground” and is called “grass.bmp”). I came up with a new idea of using Conway’s Game of Life in some way and decided that it should be the main enemy of my game, so that the player was something like a virus or a disease. This evolved into a top-down shoot’em up with a ship that fires plasma bullets on blocks, really original!
Anyways I was about 4 hours from the end of the Dare when I noticed the silence in my game and realized that I’ve completely forgotten about all the sound! At this point I had some game breaking bugs and also some major features I still wanted to implement (gamestates and stuff like that) so I took the decision to skip putting in some half-assed sound-effects and went on to make the game stable and not feeling buggy or broken.
Things that went well
- Using my own framework, I really were expecting to do some work on it while in the Dare but I didn’t have to make any major modifications to it!
- Working on the second idea.
- Putting work into making the game playable, and to some degree fun. Making sure the game wasn’t crashing or behaving oddly.
- Gamestates, a begining and an end, making sure the player isn’t overly confused on what’s going on.
- Planning, I should have planned my time from the beginning, not just coding away and wished for rainbows and green forests.
- Eating habits, junk food isn’t that good for energy purposes.
- Sleeping habits, I could probably have worked a couple of more hours on the Sunday if I gotten up two or maybe three hours earlier.
- The sound issue.
- Final polish, the game feels ok but still needs a bit (a lot) more polish. This include both gameplay “smoothness” and graphics.
- Time spent on graphics, spent way too little time on the graphics.
So I guess that’s it, I’ve learnt a massive amount of what I’m capable of and not. This have most definitely lit my game-making “spark” again and I will join the next Ludum Dare! Please play my game and add some to the comments, I really love reading what users think of it and I will most likely use these comments when I complete this game.