6 tips for the next Ludum Dare (video)

September 3rd, 2015 11:07 am


Participating to this event has been quite a challenge for Arthur and me. We decided to use our own game engine, and it was a lot of fun! The jam turned into a great learning experience.

Instead of a postmortem, I decided to work on a video to share my take on how to approach a jam. Beyond finishing a game and getting a good rank in the competition, jams are one of the best occasion to become better designers. They also are great to find new partner.

I think it wouldn’t be useful for you to read a postmortem about our entry, as it is very straightforward: the game has some potential, but it feels very repetitive as it lacks content. It was our first time making a game together with my teammate. It took us a day to find our marks, and we weren’t left with enough time to implement everything we wanted to.

Instead, I’d like to share a trick I used to gain a lot of time with asset export during the event. When you use an automatic export tool like Photoshop’s or shoebox’s split PSD function, your pictures are trimmed. In a jam, as you want to place assets really fast in game. Sometimes, you need whole batches of assets to have a fixed size. That way, you can give multiple assets the same pivot position, and have them line up easily in game.

It’s actually pretty simple to achieve: you just have to draw one black pixel in each corner of your desired bounding box, and set it to 1% opacity. It won’t be visible to the player, but it will force your exporter to preserve the image size you want. As we don’t have an editor yet in our engine, this was a real timesaver, for animations in particular.

I set every pixel back to 100% opacity in the exported image below to reveal those black pixels:


In Photoshop, I am putting them into a smart object, which is duplicated to each group that needs this export constraint. It is something I use for animations, but not only. It’s really helpful with life bars and other UI elements that need to stack as well.


Do you want to get in touch? You can find me on twitter @NathanLovatoArt.

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