Afterlife Dance Party Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Wertle)
August 29th, 2014 11:04 pm

This was my third Ludum Dare, and although I did¬†Afterlife Dance Party¬†within 48 hours and mostly solo, I decided on the last day to switch to the jam so I could have someone help me with music (John Fio to the rescue!) Now, goals and lessons learned and stuff…

screenshot1

I went into this jam with some very specific personal goals, which I think helped a lot as self-imposed constraints which lead me to come up with an idea relatively quickly.

1) I knew I didn’t have my usual levels of energy for this LD as I’ve been swamped at work, so I wanted to do something around a very simple mechanic that would not involve worrying about the camera, complex input or creating levels.

2) I felt like drawing, so I wanted to do something where I got to make some animations

3) Past game jams have always had me tooling with mechanic balancing, tutorials, and feedback until the very end, which usually leaves the art super rough. This time I wanted to leave myself some time to do a pass of cleanup on my art. Fortunately, this constraint worked rather will with #1.

So how did I do?
screenshot2

Well on all fronts I think I accomplished my goals. The mechanic in the game is incredibly simple 4-arrow key input and a goal of “dodge the things.” Instead of having to create levels I just created a set of spawn rules that got progressively harder, so the core of the game was pretty much finished on Friday night. I had a blast drawing all the animations, and actually left some time to color things, so goals succeeded there as well.

I actually think switching to the jam was also a sort of success. I can do ambient music or very mild stuff if it doesn’t matter if the music is disconnected from the gameplay, but once this idea developed I realized that my skills were just not up to par to write something that would accompany a dance party. Since the initial reason for doing the compo was that I didn’t have energy to spend on more than 48 hours, it was no issue for me to switch over and get help with music. Afterall, the goal was to not spend too much stress that weekend.

screenshot3

Gameplay-wise, there were a few things I was a little sad I didn’t get to. Mostly I wanted to do a pass on spawn rules and tracking to prevent “impossible” dodges, such as if something spawns in the center and on the bottom layer at the same time. I also really wanted to implement diagonal transitions, which would have also helped with this issue, but they proved too scopey for the weekend. I think those would have helped me end up with something that could have been played for a lot longer with a more satisfying ramp up in challenge.

Between now and December I have a couple of goals for myself to prepare for next Ludum Dare:

1. Get more music practice in, and find a tool that I can get comfortable with.

2. I want to do next LD in something other than Construct 2, so get some practice in with Gamemaker or something. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Construct 2, but I want to expand my tools knowledge and learn some different applications.

That’s all for now, thanks to everyone who played my game!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z98rd5i8vx4

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