Gems of the Evolving Land – postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
September 1st, 2012 5:30 pm

This is the first time I really finished a game for the compo and I am myself satisfied with it, so it deservs a postmortem! :)

Story time…

I had nothing what I wanted to learn on this LD so I decided I will actually try to do a game this time. I chose to use Processing what I didn’t used after I learned it on the Octobers LD, so I refreshed my knowledge  in it and went shopping. Bought a lot of stuff and now the amount is proven to be enought. I didn’t slept before the compo because I had real life in the way and the theme anouncement is at 3 am here. I managed to be up by wanting to beat Notch so badly – someone posted a gif where Notch is dancing…

After the theme anounce I had now idea what to do because I thought everyone will make pokemons and misinterpret evolution with upgrading, so I rejected all this kind of stuff that came in to my mind. After some time I had an idea to make an evolving land – because land can evolve :) – and I always wanted to make a tilebased game. So I started to partition the window into tiles – used OOP design from the begining. First I tought I made an L-system what will evolve but I didn’t made one before and didn’t know this is a slow algorithm. So after drawing some fractals with it I finally decided to sleep a little.

After waking up – about 3 or 4 hours later – the idea of using a Game of Life algorithm imadiately banged me in the head. So I started implementing it and played a little with the  random seed and the rules. Some times later I found out I can make mountains and lakes evolving with it. This was so cool but I wanted forests there too. At first I made properties for the tiles that can hold resourcesand the forests but shortly I realized forest must be seperated because it would be bad if I can’t had forests and resources at the same time on a tile. Then fiddled some with it and put up a video.

Now from this point everything was clear for me. I started to implement a zoom function – which is the textured play view now – but I have ran into a very nasty bug which took me 3 hours to fix. After I added the rest of the functionality – like blowing up things – and made another video quckly and went to sleep.

The last day –  overslept a little – I made some gfx – with non seamless tiles – and posted a pic. After I saw my game – this was the first time I considered it a game, beore it was a simple algorithm – with textures I redesigned the code to be more modular so I can add other screens. Made the gfx for the HUD and the menu. And it’s done – about 2 minutes before the end of the competition!

What did I do right?

Closed all social sites and stuff except the #ld48 hashtag and mentions on twitter and the ludumdare channel on irc. I checked others once saturday and once sunday but didn’t red anything just what was sent for me personally and I was interested in. Also I didn’t wached any videos on YouTube just check once everyday and added new videos to the watchlater list.

Found a way to keep myself in a feel of wanting to make a great game before the compo. Mainly I wanted to beat Notch but I saw later on twitter he isn’t very motivated – that time my game was enought motivation for me though.

For every idea in my mind which took me a minute to think through I sad “Too complicated get the f*** out of my head!”. This way I managed to keep it simple and get the best ideas first almost always.

I managed to drink just as much beer so my mind is creative but at the same time I can constantly concentrate and work.

…and what not?

I was stuck with the L-system too much because I was tired and couldn’t get my mind to move on and because I like fractals too much. 😀

I messed an LD up with a nasty bug and now I wasn’t able to think through what can be the cause. And basically the code is run by magic still. I don’t know why that part of the code is working. I was so desperate I just moved around code mindlessly into ifs/elses and out and added +1s or -1s randomly to everythin, rewritten the whole thing a few times and voila! Magic! XD

After compo stuff

I made a walkthrough video of my game.

I started a review series where I try to review 5 games a day – battling with my bad english – selected mostly from those games which creators rated mine. Here is the list:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDA5CBD08ABBD9DA8&feature=view_all

Be sure to like the videos and rate my game to get into the reviews. Also subscribe so you get notified of the new episodes, and share so others can watch too!

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