Dowser Postmortem

Posted by
May 1st, 2014 2:09 am

Wow, Lucy! A Postmortem

This was my first Ludum Dare, and it was a success in the sense I most care about: I finished a game. The first real game I’ve made in a long time. So that’s awesome.

Give Dowser a spin!

 

“Beneath the Surface”

I think the theme was great. It left room for interpretation, both literal and not-so-literal, and ideas were ripe for the taking. I ended up settling on a dowsing game. I sketched out a few gameplay ideas on paper and drew the character designs on Friday, and left everything else for the remaining two days.

What Went Right

The Sound: This was the easiest part for me — it’s what I’m most used to. I just fired up my DAW, loaded in some synths and drum machines and banged away on my keyboard. It took a little under 3 hours to finish all of the music and sfx. I made sure to carve some time for this early on, I really wanted my game to have the sound I heard in my head.

The Graphics: While making art’s not exactly a breeze for me, getting to know Aseprite a few months before Ludum Dare helped tons. Instead of wrestling with shortcuts or tucked-away options in menus, I could focus on wrestling with my own art skills :) .

The Engine: Flashpunk ended up being a snap to use. I practiced with it for a month or two before Ludum Dare, getting the hang of the basics and finding out how it does things, and that ended up making all the difference. I didn’t have to look up a single reference or tutorial on it to get it to work and do what I wanted. I will keep using Flashpunk for sure, I love using it.

What went wrong

Organization woes: I ended up with files piling up in folders across my hard drive, breaking the pace when I had to stop and look for something or make sure I was moving/accessing the right file. Next time I want to have a more straightforward scheme set in place to keep things flowing.

Import woes: Even though composing the music went well, when it came to importing it Flash kept spitting out arcane error messages. This took me completely by surprise. I eventually got it working by tweaking export settings in Audacity, but I’m still not sure what I did! Next time I definitely want to get this sorted out and make sure I know exactly what Flash can and can’t accept.

Export woes: I have no idea how to write a preloader, nor how to embed an swf in a html file. I ended up running out of time so I opted to ditch the preloader and just linking straight to the swf. Not exactly ideal. Definitely need to fill in this knowledge gap.

Conclusion

In the end, I had a lot of fun and learned a great deal about making a game. There’s a lot I don’t know and there were more than a few missteps but I am extremely happy with what I made. And the LD community is awesome! I am one-hundred percent going to do Ludum Dare again.

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