The Void Beast post-mortem

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August 26th, 2015 5:58 am

In a nutshell, me and my artist completed a Ludum Dare Jam that we weren’t supposed to be joining, but we were proud that we made the choice. We were busy and were loaded with college assignment, however, being inspired by the theme, I told him that we should definitely make a game now (as we have skipped the past 2 Ludum Dares).

Screenshot 2015-08-24 23.17.30

The Void Beast - Hard Mode

Play our game here!

 

Some back story (skip this if you want)

It was 11am Saturday noon when I opened my eyes (yes, I am a night owl), I decided to scroll through Facebook. I saw the first post on the home page, it was one of my Games Development Club (GDC) members wishing me and three others (who are also in the club) good luck in Ludum Dare. I was speaking to myself “Dude, I thought I told you I am not joining??”.

But then again, as the president of the club (oh yes, I am), I decided that I should set a good example to the other club members who didn’t join. I was already late 2 hours (Ludum Dare theme was announced on 9am my time), but I have been even more late the previous Ludum Dare (with 6 hours in, holy shit!), and I am confident that I still have enough time.

While still lying on bed, I brainstormed with my artist and composer (he is new and has no experience in music making yet). I came up with an idea that you are a monster that hunts human down, and the gameplay is roughly inspired by MOBA games such as Dota 2 etc. They agreed, and we went on with the plan.

I woke up and prepared myself and had a brunch while brainstorming to myself how the gameplay will be like. My artist won’t be available until around 8-9 pm (he is out with his family, and he didn’t expected that we are going to join Ludum Dare this time), and I told the composer to go on and try to make some Dota 2-like music. And so, off we go for the next 7 hours. I will be focusing on programming the core gameplay features without the help of any arts.

It wasn’t until 8pm when the composer said he couldn’t make any music, and something is always wrong about it. He felt like he couldn’t continue this Ludum Dare, so I set him free. Well, its not like I don’t know how to compose music anyway, right?

And then, when my artist finally came online at around 9pm, and we continue the rest of the Ludum Dare until Sunday midnight. I showed the game to my GDC members and he showed the game to his friends to get some comment and test for bugs. We implemented the full tutorial slideshow that night, some few minor gameplay changes and bugfixes from the observation when we showed them the game.

We completed the game under 2 days, and the 3rd day is only reserved for beta testing and to make final adjustments and polishing the gameplay.

 

Tools used

  • Game engine – Game Maker Studio: Professional Edition (me)
  • Image editor – Photoshop CC (artist)
  • Sound effects generator – SFXR (me)

 

What went right?

  • Gameplay idea – Everyone (except for one of my friend) is praising the gameplay concept and encouraged us to continue making this game. Well, I didn’t actually think that this garnered much interest, but we think that we know what our next full game project is going to be >:D
  • All planned features – Surprisingly, we were able to implement all of the planned features under 2 days, with the addition of few more features on the third day. Previously, we would have cut corners and do only bare minimum gameplay, but we have improved a lot since then and having much more experience helps too.
  • All assets are original – Oh yeah, its the most indie-est of all indies! And we lived in the basement under the basement! Holy shit its so original 😀

 

What didn’t went so well?

  • Music – There was no music, I didn’t have enough time to focus on it myself, plus I’m not quite confident in music composing yet, and wasting few hours just to get a crappy music? Nah, gameplay’s far more important IMO.
  • Graphic – Since the artist came in late on the first day, he has a lot to catch up on, so instead of going for quality, he had to opt for speed. And that’s why it doesn’t look as pretty as it should have been, but its functional!
  • Game optimization – Since I didn’t want to deal with any more bugs (as experienced in my previous non-LD game projects), I had to use tons of global variables in order to save debugging time and make sure that everything works. And I didn’t do any texture swaps optimization or stops drawing things that are outside of screen as well. This might cause those with lower specs computer unable to run the game without some FPS hell.
  • Bugs – There is still one or two minor bugs left, particularly with the stars that is given to those who completed certain difficulties setting. However, since its not game-breaking nor its that important, I’ve decided to just leave it for now until someone complains 😛
  • Balancing – I will agree that the game is slightly harder for certain people (including my artist as well, his highest score is only Level 5), and the spells mana requirement, the upgrades etc wasn’t very well balanced, but still playable. In the previous Ludum Dare, we had plenty of time for rebalancing the gameplay, but this time we didn’t have enough time and only the last day to finally find out what rebalancing we should do etc. But I think its still playable, as long as you have the right strategy to approach it :)

 

Conclusion

We were really impressed that we managed to squeeze in so much gameplay features in such a short time (2 days for core gameplay) for something we previously thought might take more than just 3 days of hardworking. We also found out that there is a great potential in this game (from the feedback of those who played the game), and we have decided to turn it into a full game in the near future, after we have gathered more ideas on improvement that is. We had great fun in this Ludum Dare, I hope to see y’all in the next Ludum Dare again!

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