Post Mortem: Zen Jen

Posted by
December 16th, 2015 10:13 pm

zen jen art

If you haven’t checked it out yet, play Zen Jen here!

What went right:

Time management and setting realistic goals. In past LDs, I have had overly-ambitious games planned, only to waste time and scrap most of the plans — and have a really strung-together game as a result. This time I focused on the main game mechanic first, and then built around it. It’s still a modest little game, but I feel it’s the most cohesive and holistic game I’ve made in an LD.

Using LOVE for the first time in an LD was great. I’ve been learning it for a few months, building a codebase based on what I know, flashpunk. It was great. Only thing that stumped me was audio (see below).

Music was really simple — as a game about meditation, it’s lots of long pads and enveloping sounds. So I just had fun dialing in synth sounds and piling on the reverb. I left the melody out so the notes generated by the player had room to breathe.

What went wrong:

Only thing that tripped me up about LOVE was how it handles audio. Being used to flash, I thought it would create multiple instances automatically so as to not cut off already playing sounds. Thankfully I found a library (SLAM) that did the trick. Thank you!

The flipside of using my own codebase was that it still has its problems, so I had to wrestle with it a few times during the compo. Hopefully by next time it will have solidified into a robust little game making machine. Can’t wait!


Third Ludum Dare I’ve finished, and I’m having more fun with each one. The community is great, I’m forced to finish a game for once, and lots of good games come out of it. Love y’all <3

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3 Responses to “Post Mortem: Zen Jen”

  1. oz2mura says:

    Yeah, I’d say keeping it simple really helped making the game feel polished and the mood of your game really shined through, became more of an experience, rather than just a game. Really enjoyed it. 😀

  2. edmilsonrocha says:

    Interesting. What did you use to make the sound effects for the notes generated by the player?

    • fluidvolt says:

      Thanks guys! Glad people are intrigued by the game. :)

      The sound effects: they’re all created from piano samples pitched up an octave — that gives them that twinkly, stretched sound — and fed through some generous reverb. I exported six or seven notes as separate wav files and the game just chooses one at random, played at random volumes (within a certain range). That way you get different chords and textures when playing multiple notes at once. Came out okay, I hope!

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