Creating a game with virtual cardboard

Posted by
August 29th, 2014 10:10 am

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a great time drafting and executing their game ideas.

Diorama is my first Ludum Dare entry. I should also note that my team composed of just me. I focused heavily on creating an aesthetically pleasing environment and creating an enjoyable mood. Ideally, with the specific combination of art, music, and writing, playing the game should support a state of happiness and calmness.

Oddly enough, I created all of the scenes for the game before thinking about characters or their desires. I did so even before imagining how they would weave together. While I realize that could have been a severe detriment to the gameplay and “connectivity” of the story (rushing forward without a clear thought in mind), I also believe it forced me to think as openly as I could. I believe this in turn helped me tremendously.

The Experience Overall & Working Alone
Being strictly honest, many times over the course of creating Diorama, I wanted to simply set it down and give up. The task of creating all of the primary and secondary scenes, characters, dialogue, items, stories – and on top of that, programming the entire thing together was exceedingly daunting. I often found myself switching glances between my monitor and my bed, which had remained unoccupied for the greater portion of the night and early morning. Upon finishing the game, however, I felt an enormous amount of relief and satisfaction. I’m glad to have participated overall.

Notes and Thoughts
As I’ve said, Diorama focuses highly on mood and aesthetics. For example, all of the characters speak in rhyme and rhythm. Additionally, each scene and character is to look as if it were created in a Diorama (tape and string supporting items, cut-out flaps, etc). The music as well was another important part of setting the right mood.

Each character has a specific desire, however I wanted to avoid having them asking the player directly to help them with it. The player would find that they formulate a way to help them, and instead of the character expecting the help, they receive it as a surprise. Also, I wanted to give the player and idea of why each character deserved the help, or the context as to why it was important to the character.

Here’s some art advice as well. Don’t expect things to look great from the start. Seldom have I found my favorite works of art looked fantastic when they began. Keep a sharp eye out for inspirational art. I can’t describe how much I love looking at people’s art and seeing what techniques or advice I can take in from it.

Character Desires
I had to spend quite a bit of time mulling over what each character would want. For example, the Lumberjack in the Forest was expected to want something with his trees, however that would have created for a very flat character (no pun intended). Additionally, at the time I had not thought of having two characters interact directly, unlike the others who interact indirectly. With a bit of relaxation and clear thought, many of the character’s desires and connections seemed to fall into place. One thing lead to another, and not before long, I had a creative link from start to finish.

Creating a Complete Game
I wanted more than anything to create a complete game, no matter the costs. (Those costs were my comfort, sleep, and sanity). I’m incredibly relieved to have completed the entire vision of my game within the time constraints. If this was an issue for anyone out there, I wouldn’t suggest you worry about it, (Realistically, I placed as many hours into the creation of this as the average full-time worker puts into their job over a week) I sacrificed a lot of time, and it’s up to the individual to see if it’s worth it. I’m still trying to debate that question.

Overall it was a neat experience, and hearing the positive feedback on the game makes it all worth it. I’ll certainly be participating in the next Ludum Dare!



One Response to “Creating a game with virtual cardboard”

  1. InfectionTeam says:

    Wow this looks incredible! I know LD can be grueling at times haha, glad you stuck it out 😀
    Hmm, gonna have to get my hands on a pc before I can play it though ^^

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