Swarm Hunter Post-Mortem

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December 17th, 2015 5:15 pm

How was the world’s first First-person zebra-beetle air-combat simulator made? Sate your thirst for knowledge with words from the source, after the moving pictures.



The Wait

This time around I had no prior project ideas or learning goals. Going in cold.

Out here the jam starts way past bed-time, so when the theme(s) were announced I hit the sack right away and let my subconscious deal with the thinking.

The Idea

I scribbled down a plan first thing in the morning.

It contains some doodles of a segmented flower and futuristic looking bees with the following words:

LD34 Ideas, Growing:
Movement – 6dof
Goal – Defend

The shortest design document I’ve ever done and that’s what I went with.

The Jam

With lessons learned from the past jams I enforced a very rigid sleep-work rhythm: 16h work, 8h sleep, 16h work (the first 8 hours had already passed). As such I ended up working a total of 30 hours with the last 2 hours spent on eating, showering and short breaks.

Working itself went swimmingly. The programming tasks weren’t too difficult and I even managed to use a third-party open-source plugin for the bee movement which saved me more than few hours of coding and debugging.

The Panic

It wouldn’t be a jam without at least one little hiccup. This time around it was audio.

With 6 hours to spare I felt more than comfortable with my chances to finish in time. After recording and listening to the buzzing sounds I made it became obvious that while mimicking what a human might think a bee sounds like is easy, the real deal that is not. Looping and trying the sound in the simulation proper revealed another problem, it’s super annoying to listen to for more than 10 seconds when uttered by swarms of bees.

In the end I managed to fix it by applying a few Audacity effects to make it less monotonous and lower in tone. It’s not perfect by any means, but I consider the outcome an Xmas miracle. The other sounds worked right out the gate, which must be part of the same miracle.

The End

Overall I haven’t had this successful a Ludum Dare Jam since LD26.

I’m not going to do an extensive Post-Jam version this time, but I do intend to give it a bit more graphical polish and a tutorial of sorts in due time.


Play it here!

And, please, read the description for controls, there’s no in-game help at the moment.

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