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Ludum Dare 31
December 5th-8th, 2014

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Ludum Dare 31:
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MiniLD #XX

Post-Results & Tips

Posted by
January 8th, 2014 4:39 am

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I figured I’d do a writeup of my results for Asphyxia .  I wish I could put these ratings into a sexy graph, but seeing as it was my first ludum dare that wouldn’t be very interesting ;)

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#20 Mood – Nice, the game was obviously aimed at the mood and there was some though competition in this category, with masterpieces like rxi’s game. Some described the story as very sad, others as a punch in the stomach (the ending) and some as intense, it’s nice to have been able to put some mood into it (which is a first for me).

#35 Audio & #118 Graphics - Surprisingly high, the music in the game was the first I ever created, so this result very awesome to see! I’m definetely no artist, so for me this graphics rating is a nice proof that even a programmer can score moderately high without talent if you put effort into it (first time I’m putting anything other than programmer art/primitive shapes in a game).

#131 Overall – I was aiming for top 100, which I didn’t make, but I suppose that goal was a bit too high for a first ludum dare. 131 is still a very nice result regardless!

#415 Fun, #494 Theme, #546 Humor - I think this game was quite the opposite of humor, but still an average score of 2.13? Strange :) As for fun and theme, it was not very original in the theme category (one life in story) and funwise, it was way too hard.

Alright, so much for the ratings, they’re not what LD is about, it’s more about what you learn.

Here are some tips for next jams that I have learned along the way in this jam, I tried to add those that I don’t read in every other tip list (eat and sleep):

  1. Your game is probably too hard.  As the maker of a game, you are much more skilled in your game as you know exactly how it works and have played it a whole lot. Have your game playtested, even in a jam, and scale the difficulty down.
  2. Add story skip functionality. Add skip functionality to intro’s and parts of the story (if your game has one). In my game the intro was not skippable, which was a big, big mistake.
  3. Add level skip functionality (in my game I had a button show up after X failed attempts). This allows players that are struggling or simply don’t have the time to try many times to see the story/ending of your game regardless. This is not that hard to add and in my eyes is a must in story-driven games.
  4. Add sound. Any sound is always better than no sound, if you are not an audio pro, consider recording things around you with your crappy microphone or generating sounds with bfxr. If you do it really well, it can make for a great experience all by itself, see Atmospherium‘s game.
  5. Do one thing well. I often end up over-scoping in jams, it’s not so much that I didn’t put in every feature I wanted, it’s that the game does not do one thing very well, but does a lot of things. I think this problem is especially present in  the programming-end of the game developer spectrum.
  6. Don’t finish with programmer art. Making art is not impossible for programmers, do plan to span some time on at least reasonable art.
  7. Build for Linux too. I’m not a Linux user myself, but many of jammers (especially the veterans (who vote on a lot of games and give great criticism)) are. There is no Unity Web Player for  Linux, so build for Linux!
  8. Put instructions in the game, when the player needs it (first) . In my opinion this is so much better than putting a list on your submission page or at the very start of the game. Here are some examples of how it can be done.
  9. Watch a stream of someone playing your game (or an IRL person). This is basically how I learned most of this, post-jam there a bunch of people streaming games, it’s a great opportunity to see someone struggle with things that you thought were intuitive/easy.

Hope this helps some of us ;).

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3 Responses to “Post-Results & Tips”

  1. I would add to #8 “will my controls work for more than right handed people with qwerty keyboards” and as an experience from having made two entries with control issues:

    Of something is slightly nagging in the back of your head while developing and you are thinking that this will be good enough even if it is problematic, write it down as a todo and try to fix it.

    Also there could be something to say about checking that it is easy for people to run. Do you have dependencies, try bundle them with you code. Make Web player of you can. While you can make a game that needs four xbox controllers to play you might not get many votes.

    Great list. Some new points I hadn’t thought of.

  2. rxi says:

    Congrats on your placing on mood and audio! I’m actually a little surprised by how you placed in the other categories, I would have expected your graphics and overall placing to be higher; I really loved the way the game looked, I think it was the first game I played this Ludum Dare and it set the bar at a nice height for the rest of the games I played.

    Your 10 tips seem pretty sound. In addition I would suggest adding the ability to invert the mouse in a first person shooter, and mappings for both cursor keys and WASD in games which use those keys for movement. I find it’s easy to add these things in if you keep it in mind from the start, as you can quickly write the code when you have a few minutes to spare. Despite what some people think I find it’s split quite evenly between people who use inverted mouse in an FPS and people who don’t, and trying to use the one you don’t find natural tends to make the game near impossible to play at all. To a lesser extent this also applies to which hand you want to use for character movement (WASD vs cursor keys).

  3. Young Living Essential Oils starter kit,

    Post-Results & Tips | Ludum Dare

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