Bridge to the Abyss – Postmortem

Posted by
May 17th, 2014 1:21 am

(Disclaimer: I didn’t do this video, it is done by Ganil Ganilder)

Well, it was a nice first Ludum dare, and my first published game in quite a long time; I’m the type of person who begins many projects, but “takes a lot of time to finish them”… So the two-day deadline was very positive for me. I had first thought of using pixel graphics, but the theme (and the fact that I’m not that good at pixel graphics) made me think of a more vectorial and music oriented game.

Play the game *here*

What went well
> The music. For some reason, the theme inspired me greatly. It also helped my think of the three different theme songs. The first one, above the surface, calm and nice, as if there was nothing wrong. Then, as you enter the surface, BANG! an unwelcoming music begins (Beneath the surface, life’s not so nice). And finally, the third song begins and loops forever, a music that is exciting and nice, making you want to stay, because, even if it’s not safe, not calm, “beneath the surface, it’s not that bad”. This made me able to subtly add the theme thanks to the music. And finally, a great idea I had was “Oh it would be nice to have my music and game beat together”. Guess why I used all my music in 120 bpm, and my game at a fps of 32 (instead of the usual 30)?

> The Code. The code was great. Even though it had some bad things (more on that later), it’s probably the one I am most proud of. It’s the first time I use constants like M_MOUSE_PROPULSION for my switch statements, and it helped a lot, as I used to just use numbers for identifying different states. Also, using these constants and switch statements, I managed to fake the Component-Entity paradigm into something implementable in a couple of hours, while keeping the diversity. This allowed my enemies to have different behaviours, so that some of them are following you, and some of them are just circling around. I think this was vital, as if all of them followed you, it wouldn’t be as fun. Actually, there are only three classes; the Main, the GameEngine and the Entity. Beneath the surface, you’re just another “entity”.

> It turned out to be more or less fun. It is also very simple, yet difficult, but the music is rewarding. I think that helped it become nice as a game rather than just a program.

first screenshot


What went wrong
> The music. There’s this weird silence after the mp3s. I tried to cut it, but I didn’t manage to fully smoothen the loops. Also, the second and third don’t concatenate well. There’s this tension the second makes, and the third isn’t able to release it successfully.

> The graphics. They graphics weren’t horrible, but there is a problem with the colours. As you go deeper, the shade of the water changes from bright blue, to black. In between, however, there are a couple of shades that make it very hard to distinguish the red enemies, for some reason.

> Perlin Noise. I wanted to use perlin noise, to make the idling enemies move randomly, and not just in circles. But there isn’t perlin noise on AS3 (I don’t mean the bitmap perlin noise, I wanted the actual function that gives a pseudo-random value if given a three coordinate input). I think I’ll try to make a perlin noise thing for AS3, for my next ludum dares.

> The Code. I was very proud of my code, but it did have some things I could do better. The main problem is that I overused the copy/paste way too much; things that should have been made functions, were copy/pasted in site, and many different modes (after you exit, as you enter) are severe copy-pastes of the main theme, with very slight changes (I should have switch-ed in those changes rather than the whole code). This was due to poor forethought, to be honest.

> Wrong decisions? I tried to make the game as simple as possible, so that you actually didn’t need a tutorial to learn the game.  For that reason, I didn’t add any instruction, except “Mouse, that’s all you need : )”. Now, I also decided only to show the score on the surface, for three main reasons: add to the sensation of being lost in sea, avoid distractions in a game where concentration is vital, and prevent the “Oh no I could have gotten 120394 points, but I lost them, I’m very sad!”. These decisions had mixed and strange result…

“some kind of instructions or objectives would be fine” – agus97 (Newgrounds)

“I think it is fine without instructions but it would be nice if the score would move with the view.” – Mandarien (Newgrounds)

“Lots of fun with wonderful music. At first I found it strange that I couldn’t see my own score once I went deeper. But I like it – adds to the feeling of being lost in a vast ocean.” – reheated (LudumDare)

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