The Post-Mortem-Post

Posted by
April 20th, 2015 11:41 am


Well, here I am at then end of my second LD after 3 years.

Few things different from last time- I’m in college now, so I could literally devote all 48 hours to the compo (not that I  did- sleep’s important yo.), I’m using Game Maker: Studio instead of 8.1- I never realized how many time-saving functions they added, and I actually have half an idea how to write and format code properly.

For everything different, something else was the same- I’m still horrible at art, hate level design, and went down to the wire.

About an hour before, I went to the store to pick up some supplies-


Got back, configured OBS for streaming, and sat back and waited for the theme to be announced. 9PM rolls around (start of the Dare around here), and I look it up on Twitter.

“An unconventional weapon.”

What? To be fair, I did vote for it, but I didn’t really think of a use. It was more of a “hah, that might be neat” rather than “I know something cool to do with this.”  So I sit there and brainstorm. I took the theme to mean traditionally non-violent or lethal weapons. I had a few options- I toyed with whacking people with a towel, or some sort of healing mechanic, but ultimately it came down to two options: A shield that does damage based on the damage it receives, or a spaceship that can ram into people, with an emphasis on shield management- the later of which was what would grow to be Astro-Tow. So, with an idea in my head, and a IDE on my screen, I went to work.

Day 1:

First up, was to get re-familiarized with Game Maker Studio. I’ve been working with Game Maker since the v6 days, but this was the first time I picked it up in over a year. This time around, I wanted to make use of the new Box2D physics in GM:S, since I really hadn’t done anything with it yet, A bit of messing around and I stumbled upon the “weld” function. I thought it might be neat to make a grappling hook with it.


Welds were oddly enough pretty easy. Like, they worked the first time. That never happens. Same with the ropes. Did a bit of work on the graphics, and called it a night.

Day 2:

The next morning, I get up, have a quick snack, and get to work. The task for the day was to work on damage states and collisions. That was pretty easy, I had done that before. After that, I got to work on enemy AI. It was a bit more complicated, as the usual methods for pathfinding aren’t compatible with the physics engine. (To be honest, it still isn’t at a state I’d like, but I didn’t have time to fix it.) I started out trying to focus, listen to music, and get stuff done, which worked for a few hours. I finally gave up and turned on Dexter on the other screen…

It worked out, and let me kinda mindlessly chug along through the tweaking of variables. For instance, the speed of lasers was far too slow, resulting in this amazing piece of modern art:


By the end of the day, I completed the enemies, and a few elements for the tutorial. In all it was just a really long, tedious day. I spent a good 40% of my time just trying to tweak the properties of objects to swing right or interact correctly. I did enjoy making the shield effects, I think they turned out really nice.

Day 3:

Day three was “polish and game-ify” day for me. I had all the mechanics I wanted in place, so all I had to do was put together the tutorial and pound out some bugs. That was the plan at least.

Then my roomate gave me this idea: different tool types: a grapple that would pull things together, or thrusters that would push objects. I and I thought that was a great idea. So that’s what I did. I re-wrote my grapple code to accept different points of origin, and a method to switch between them. My jury-rig holding, I moved on, and started doing level design for the tutorials.

Originally, the tutorials were supposed to be a ploy- setting you up for a puzzler, that then turned into an arcade adventure type thing, to go with the “unconventional weapon” theme. While this made a sort of appearance in the final product, it’s not nearly as sudden or drastic as I wanted. AS it came down to the line, I had to nix that aspect and run with the existing “carry a barrel to the collector” mechanic to advance.

Down to the line, I re-wrote my grappling hook code again, trying to iron some bugs out, and just finished with about 10 minutes left. Went and added a start screen and end state, and that was it.


This was overall really fun! It was great to get back into an old hobby, and just kinda work on the same thing for a full weekend. It worked really well with my schedule, so there was no stress or anything. While it’s not exactly what I wanted to do, but I’m glad I finished, and am very pleased with my final product.

I hope you all had a great time too, and I look forward to trying your stuff as well!

One Response to “The Post-Mortem-Post”

  1. Grimelios says:

    Congrats on finishing! Thanks for writing that.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]