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 http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=5788. 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:

Timelapse

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. :)

-Mach


One Response to “Treasure! Postmortem and Timelapse”

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

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