My First Ludum Dare: Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@Dizzyman52)
September 13th, 2015 10:00 pm

Howdy everyone, considering that we’re on the eve of when judging should end, and we all receive those ratings we’ve been dying to look at for a few weeks now, I thought I should take the time to describe the experience I went through while making my LD entry: The Banana Eater. 

Conception:

      When I saw the theme: You are the monster. I immediately went to work coming up with ideas. The idea I came up with at that time was completely different from what I actually developed. You see, at first I was thinking about making a prehistoric where you played as some early humanoid dinosaur who would end up taking a lost human child back to her village. This idea was very tempting for me to follow, as I wanted to explore more of my art side instead of programming stuff all of the time. That in part explains why I went with this software called: Stencyl for which I had bought the pro license just a month earlier on humble bundle. With that software, I didn’t have to do too much to get things working and I think Stencyl definitely did its job very well. Anyway, when it actually came time to start making the game I pretty much came to realize that what I was envisioning was far too ambitious. And when I say quickly, I do mean. This one picture illustrates just how far I went with that idea.

asdf

Yeah, just that one frame and I decided to give up on that idea. I got really worried about the art style, and the whether or not the colors would look good. So distraught that my idea wouldn’t work, I sat there at my desk trying to come up with a simpler game idea. After five minutes I decided to keep doodling in paint.net, might as well keep myself busy. I tried redrawing the character I came up with. As I redrawing, I began to notice that he looked more and more like a monkey, at which point I kind of said, “Well… What if I made a game where you play as a gorialla and eat bananas?” And that my good friends is how The Banana Eater officially began development.

What went right:

Audio

      The audio is probably the most successful aspect to this game! I didn’t want any chiptune like SFX as those tend to make the game feel very digital in my opinion. I wanted the game to feel a little cartoony so what I did was that I recorded all of the sounds in the game with my mouth and adjusted them to make each sound just right. The soundtrack to this game was actually born out of accident. You see I was sharing this one soundtrack I created in lmms with my little who politely told me that the song sucked.

However, she liked the sound effect I had made when the gorilla eats a banana with me saying in a deep tone, “nom, nom, nom, nom, nom,  nom.” And she recommended that I make a whole song just out of me saying that. At first, I was a little reluctan to do this but I decided that it would make for some good menu music and pull the player in. When I implemented the song, there was a bug where the song would keep playing after the player left the menu. I was going to fix, but I ended deciding to keep it playing. After tons of playtest, the song grew on to me and it actually helped inspire the ending of this game to which I recorded an ending song for. So yeah, the audio was spectacular this time out in my opinion. At least, when compared to some of my previous projects.

Art:

I really enjoyed creating the art for this game! I decided to go with a very simple color pallet to help keep things simple with three at maximum which were black, white and yellow. Here are the sprite sheets I made for all of the characters in the game.

Banana BananaPeels BananaPolice GoldenBanana Mayor Monkey

The banana peels were actually inspired from another game called: Hotline Maimi. In that game, the enemies you killed would remain on the floor instead of disappear like in most other games. This one feature added a nice sense of game feel to Hotline Maimi, as it gave the player a little nostalgia trip of what they did as they traveled back through the level. So with this in mind, I decided to add the banana peels because why not? What makes this added feature in funnier though is that I’ve never played Hotline Maimi. I just watched a youtube video called: Game Maker’s Toolkit by Mark Brown, here’s a link if you want to watch it yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=216_5nu4aVQ

Levels:

The levels were actually the last thing on my to do list. Reason for this was because I wanted to get the gameplay just right before I started cranking out a bunch of content. I started making them by drawing them on a piece of paper which I would then translate into the level editor. Here are the sketches I made.

Scan0005 Scan0004 Scan0003

While this is very simplistic just to hand draw these levels, it actually did help me design these levels at a much faster rate and even iterate some of these levels so they could be the best I could possibly make them.

Some of my favorite levels, though in this game are those that are set within Potassium Park. I loved the trees, and the flowers that the player could step. As a matter of fact, I loved the theme so much that I decided to re-skin the prototype level I was using to test out my game with the Potassium Park theme. I was both expanding on something that I loved and reusing content.Level 1 Level 3 Level 4 Level 7

BonusLevel

The last picture is the level that I was referring to earlier. It was really fun designing these levels, and if I could I would’ve definitely added some more!

Gameplay:

Honestly, the gameplay in The Banana Eater, was very simple. thanks to Stencyl I was able to get a working prototype working very quickly. The eating mechanic was definitely the most important thing to get right. I didn’t want the player to have sit too long without continuing, and make it satisfying for the player to convince them to keep eating the bananas. Prior that there really isn’t any reason for the player to eat these bananas at all, they could just go through the entire game without eating a single banana if they so desired.

What went wrong:

I definitely think that the biggest thing that has plagued this game has been the bugs. While their not game breaking, they were definitely consistent and were glaring oversights. I’m talking layering issues with sprites, and I didn’t even get to add a stun animation to the golden bananas because I held myself to this weird rule where the golden bananas are too cool to be stunned. Kind of lame in hindsight.

But besides those things, I can’t really find anything else bad with this game! And you have no idea how much I want to find something bad about this game! Even the bugs I mentioned earlier were easy enough to fix in a post-compo version. I’m not sure whether I’m really looking at this game with a good set of critical eyes when it comes to its flaws because I think just too close to this game.  I absolutely love this game, and it bugs me that I can’t find anything greatly significant that I can improve upon for my next project! If you’re reading this post please go play my game and post a comment so that I can hear some stinking flak and get sense knocked into me.

Conclusion:

The Banana Eater, was the one of the funnest projects I’ve made in a long while and it was an absolute honor that it was also the first game I would submit into a Ludum Dare. Hopefully, the next Ludum Dare will be just as fun to make as this one was. Thank you so much for reading my post-mortem and I’ll catch you later. 😉

 

EDIT:

I forgot to include the link to my game in this post! Sorry about that.

Shout out to Will Edwards for pointing out that mistake, I appreciate it man :D!

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=35620

 


2 Responses to “My First Ludum Dare: Post-Mortem”

  1. General says:

    Again I look at the screenshots and hear this music :) Good job!

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