Ludum Dare 31
December 5th-8th, 2014

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This LD I had the strange idea of making a j-RPG.
Thus Heaving of the Depths was born. You can play it here

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WHAT WENT RIGHT

1. It’s pretty! I wanted a very beautiful game and I think that went well. There’s a ton of art in this thing. As usual, I create new assets as needed. I ended up with two large photoshop files: an overworld sea where you navigate the ocean in your pirate ship, and a battle screen, where I made all battle sprites and animations. What this lets me do is keep a consistent color palette and style across the whole project, and essentially replaces the concept art stage that a normal game goes through. I used amazing references like Legend of Zelda Windwaker and Breath of Fire IV.

big map

Overworld assets

2. I learnt tons of stuff! I used cinema4D and my nonexistent 3D skills to make a fast and loose 8-direction ship with minimal effort. I tried my hand at procedural generation: all islands are generated randomly within certain limitations, to keep the level solvable and the sea traversable. I had a stroke of genius at the last moment and created a “miner” entity that swims through the level and places gold coins wherever it goes, at runtime. This was to ensure an interesting curving path through the level, so players would want to explore it.

3. It’s a complete adventure, my storytelling skills were also, I thought, nonexistent, but the story of Sunny and Cod just flowed through me like I was on fire. It’s got a beginning, middle and end, it’s got obstacles and emotions. I usually end up making a very unfulfilling game. This time I feel I made a difference.

4. it has a branching storyline. Well, ok, a few tiny branches. Such as when you are defeated by the 3 blacktopuses you get a different message to the one you get if you clear them. Or when Sunny tells you you need the fast sail if you don’t have it, but acknowledges if you’ve already bought it. But that’s still a lot of work. I have a much better grasp of how to implement a dialogue system.

5. it has a turn-based battle system: implemented from scratch. Boring and barebones, yes. But it gets the job done.

6. I get to develop it further. I’m dedicating the next 6 months to this game. I started a new devlog here

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WHAT WENT WRONG

1. No sound  I didn’t have the time

2. Button-mashing battles the battle system is uninteresting. That’s ok, and it’s all I had time for, but if I’m going to make this a full-fledged RPG, I need a good battle system. Feel free to send me ideas. Grandia and Child of Light are obviously lovely choices, where the result of a battle can be spectacularly overturned. Also Persona 3 and Fallout 2 have good battle systems. Since you’re spending half the game in battle, I owe it to myself to fix the button-mashing boringness.

3. Time management. Well I don’t know, I did a lot for three days. But it’s not as fun as a more complete experience such as the amazing SCUBA BEAR (go check it out NOW). On the other hand, I like to follow through with my ideas for Ludum Dare, instead of making a smaller game just because of time constraints.
Here’s my Timelapse video:

And thanks to everyone who commented, everyone who played my game, everyone who made a game for us to play. I love Ludum Dare, I want to never stop making games.

Until next time,

love,

Christina

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3 Responses to “Heaving of the Depths – postmortem, timelapse and stuff”

  1. sorceress says:

    Your spritework here is wonderful Christina. I always look forward to seeing your art. I’d love to be able to draw like this. :)

  2. TeamFlare says:

    I can’t express enough how awesome this looks :)
    Thanks alot for the postmortem and timelapse!

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