Hey, you!! was my first Ludum Dare entry and my first jam-like experience. I wanted to share my thoughts about it

Hey, you!!

Hey, you!! You can play my game here ;)

I always wanted to enter a Ludum Dare but never had the time. I found about this one on friday, just 9 hours shy of the theme announcement, which in my timezone was at 3:00a.m. So I used that time to mentally prepare myself, set up the workspace, learn the rules, trying to come up with ideas… I read this which was very helpful and did some tests to decide the art stlye. By the time of the theme announcement I was really tired and went to bed hoping some brilliant idea came to me in dreams or something.

That didn’t happen. I woke up in the morning and fiddled with a couple of ideas but they seemed too complex to finish. It took a couple of panicky hours to come up with the chosen idea and even then it was still complex, but it felt achievable. That idea was a game of detecting pickpockets inside an underground train.

Hey, You!! Concept

The starting concept. Sitting women are hard to draw.

I always loved stealth games, but I didn’t feel confident on finishing nice stealth mechanics on time. So why not reverse it? From the user perspective the controls get reduced to just one click, which let me focus on making other details interesting like A.I. So with this in mind I started working.

My first intention was to make something using Unity which is the platform I’m currently learning. But then again I also wanted to finish something. My lack of confidence made me resort to Flash which I’ve plenty more experience with. This at first felt a bit bad because I thought I’d be missing out on some learning experience, but oh boy was I wrong! By the first afternoon I was cutting features like crazy and even when I was working with a familiar tool I didn’t see myself finishing it.

Hey, you!! thief

This guy was supposedly holding on a pole originally.

At first the idea was that the characters would be able to sit down, stand up, move around, grab the poles, even go in and out of the car by the sides. I also had in mind some kind of random events like lights going out for a brief time and things like that. But I needed to make the basics first. So I focused on making the movement of one character and the thief behaviour, for whom I used the grabbing-the-pole sprite to make him look like stealing. If you have good sight you can see it sometimes, it’s a frame that lasts for 0.3 seconds 😉
At the end of the first day I gained a lot of confidence by having those basics behaviours defined, but there was a lot left to do. I went to bed to get some energy for the second and last day.

On sunday morning I made a list of things left so I could prioritize. Instead of adding more features I tried to make the current ones more fun. I thought making some apologetic dialogue while they moved around would be silly fun and gave me the idea of making them realize they were robbed and panic. So with the main features clear I dedicated that morning to make every sound effect I needed and every UI piece. I wanted to make some music too but didn’t have the time.

Hey, you!! happy coincidence

This floor reflection effect wasn’t even originally intended. I thought I could take advantage of the transparency of the layers afterwards.

With that done, sunday afternoon looked promising, I finally did the animation for the illusion of the train moving which until then it was completely stationary and after finishing the main features I thought about adding some more. The first and sadly last, were the trainstation stops, where the guys could get on and off the train. This feature took a lot longer than expected due to some nasty bugs and I almost lost it there. Eventually I got around and finished it just 30 minutes before the deadline.

In conclusion, the experience was intense, hard but worth it, I learned a lot not just about technical stuff but also management and decision making. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward the next one already. I think it’s amazing the amount of talented people participating.

Hope you people like my game, thanks! 😉

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