London Bridges Reflective Post

Posted by (twitter: @LPGhatguy)
December 22nd, 2012 11:23 pm

This is a post-mortem of my second Ludum Dare. You can play the game it’s about, London Bridges, here.

I used my open-source frame by the name of Ussuri to write my game, which is available here and the version I used in the entry available here as it’s been in relatively heavy development after the competition.

When the theme was announced, I was excited. I immediately coded in a couple core objects while thinking about what on Earth I was going to do. Talking with my long distance girlfriend the entire weekend gave me some interesting ideas, and these started here. We both started throwing out names of various villains and player challenges that were present in popular games, movies, books, comics, songs and the world. Some of them aren’t weren’t even villains! I have a big hand-written list with some of the ideas not really being relevant, but my printer/scanner isn’t cooperating (HP doesn’t like Windows 8) so a typed out version is available here. It included names like Darth Vader, zombies, Omni-Man, and Gandhi.

The last idea (which came about because my girlfriend is an engineering student) was that you were to be a bridge trying to collapse itself to kill as many people as possible, with engineers that looked like spiders crawling all over you to try to fix you. The idea ended up changing into a game where people were trying to hold a parade and you felt the urge (as the bridge) to throw them off. It was going to be a castle-defending type game, except there would be multiple floors.

I spent my first night was spent making a couple core engine additions to assist in things I struggled with in Ludum Dare 24. I then made a title screen and went to sleep.

I got about 10 hours of sleep, which was nice, and got to working. I made the gameplay switch in my sleep the night before, and started coding that. By the end of the day I could throw people off the bridge, and I had placeholder sounds, art, and music in place. When you picked an enemy up they would declare “I am picked up” and then would proceed to proclaim “I am falling” upon being dropped. I went to be and got another 10 hours of sleep.

The final day, I added in more enemy types (including a last minute “nondescript animal” which may or may not be a goat) along with real sounds and music. I updated the bridge graphics, polished up some menus, added an intro, some instructions, winning/losing conditions, and some floaty clouds. I rebuilt the sound engine from the bottom-up to allow for more sounds to be played at once (which was really worth it) and considered it done.

I then traveled to a friend’s house to demo the game to him and a couple others. It went really well except for the fact that I had a massive, game breaking bug. Camera tweening on slower machines would go on forever, breaking everything. I ran home with two hours before the compo ended and fixed the bug, confirming with a couple other friends.

I screened for any more bugs before submitting the game.

What went well:

  • I had experience from Ludum Dare 24 which helped in the overall experience
  • Having a framework instead of writing from scratch was way easier.
  • People got laughs out of the sounds and overall concept of the game
  • I slept for almost have the competition and still finished.
  • I made a game that I enjoy

What went badly:

I’m not entirely sure at this point, but there are some people who just don’t like the game. Some people just don’t like my voice, either. This’ll probably get sorted out more later once the scores come in, but as it stands I have no idea.

What I learned:

  • Having a framework beforehand makes development much much easier
  • Music is a wonderful thing, as is good company

I’ll be ready for Ludum Dare 26 with an improved version of the framework, and even more game development knowledge.

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