Treasure! Postmortem and Timelapse

Posted by (twitter: @Mach60KAS)
April 30th, 2013 9:19 am

So, I managed to finish off my game just in time for submission hour last night. There’s not much, but it’s really been a great learning experience! If you’re interested, you can find the submission page at I’ve put together this postmortem for anyone interested in the myriad problems that can occur if they’re looking to join in Ludum Dare:


For my third Ludum Dare and my third game, even though I preferred it to my other games I was a little bit disappointed. Why? It’s simple – inexperience with javascript pushed me beyond the 48-hour target and into the Jam.

Tools and Software Used

  • Sublime Text 2 was used for all the Javascript code, HTML and CSS. I even edited the maps exclusively with it!
  • Photoshop CS5 64-Bit was used for the tileset, sprite and image design.
  • Famitracker, an excellent NES tracker was used to create the sound effects.
  • Google Chrome for testing.

What went right?

  • The stylistic choice of an 8-colour palette really helped simplify the graphics work, and using a set of tonally similar colours makes the graphics easier on the eyes.
  • Tileset design was just as easy as I’d remember it!
  • I had written a system in javascript for loading files and calling specific tiles from tilesets in another project a few weeks prior – a lot of the initial code (which I was writing before I had a fully-formed idea) came naturally.
  • Thankfully, working with canvas and javascript for game logic proved to be quite intuitive in the end.
  • Level construction was quite an easy task once I figured out the many quirks of my systems; it took just a few hours to extend out from a single room to an entire complex of rooms!

What went wrong?

  • Having never so much as looked at collision checking code, writing this (very important) system took a significant amount of time.
  • Writing the game logic was unfortunately troublesome at first while I tried to figure out where each step should occur in the update queue.
  • Being a newbie at javascript, it felt a bit like writing the rendering and control systems took far longer than it should have taken. Ideally I should have anticipated this and prepared an engine in advance or researched an already-existing one.
  • Map editing by text was painful. And I do mean that with all sincerity. I had a look at Ogmo engine mid-compo but I ultimately decided that decoding the file format would have been far too much trouble.
  • Sprite design is… not exactly my cup of tea.
  • I could have probably managed my time more efficiently, or planned it out at all.

Thoughts for next time:

  • Have way more experience with your chosen programming language!
  • Plan out your time well, even if bugs do crop up it’s good to keep a rough idea of what you want to have finished by a certain time.
  • Have an engine you want to use picked out in advance! Unless of course there isn’t an engine quite suitable for your idea.
  • Ideally, write something simple enough that you can finish with enough spare time to write sound effects and/or music. They really complete the experience, and it really sucks not having any completed in time.

If you’ve read this through, then thanks a lot for your time! Now you can return to rating all of the wonderful games that LD48 gives rise to. :)


One Response to “Treasure! Postmortem and Timelapse”

  1. Wow, GREAT post-mortem! Voting on your submission now

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