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I’m in!

Posted by
Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 2:57 pm

This shall be my fourth LD.  My tools:

Development – IntelliJ Idea (similar to Eclipse: pure Java).

Audio – Garage Band or possibly raw recording from my actual piano.

Graphics – GIMP.

You can download a game about my in-ness over here: link.  It even has original music!

Post-Partum

Posted by
Monday, August 29th, 2016 10:29 am

First of all, I refuse to call this a post-mortem, because post-partum is so much more appropriate, and no one died (this time :P).

After my failure in LD 35, I came back more determined than before to finish a game.  And since my LD 34 entry didn’t have any music, I decided I wanted music in it this time.

What went right:

+ The music!  It took some hours of screwing around with my recording device and with various Java audio interfaces, but I got my music to play in-game, on loop.

+ The gestalt — unlike last time, I managed to implement several different aspects of a game without getting distracted by one while working on another.

What went wrong (or could be better):

+ The art — it wasn’t so bad, I just didn’t enjoy making it.  I’ll probably make a more abstract game next time, or else find an artist and enter the Jam.

+ The clicks — in a rush, I made it so that when you pick up an item, its upper-left corner, not its center, follows your mouse.  This made it hard for players to put the items where they wanted, since they were probably aiming the center of the item where they wanted it to go.

+ The difficulty — without spoiling too much: one player noted that the game can be finished by trial and error, i.e. without actually solving the core puzzle.  But, others enjoyed the more tangential challenges.  Next time I’ll work on making every puzzle, or at least the important ones, harder to finish without actually solving them.

What (nearly) went ugly:

The very first two comments on my game, which I read before going to bed last night, both stated that they couldn’t run the game.  I went to sleep thinking I had some huge problem that I’d need to solve, woke up stressed, and went immediately on LD.com to see if anyone had posted more details on the problem…only to find that other people had no problem, and that one of the two original commentors had realized the problem was on their end — their JVM needed to be updated — and fixed it.  The other seemed to have unpacked the .jar, which was itself the runnable game, thinking that a different .jar would be inside.

I’ll still probably write the next game in Java 7 and put it in a .zip with instructions, though, just to make it silliness-proof :)

Lione's Letter

Lione’s Letter

Lione’s Letter can be played here.

I’m in!

Posted by
Thursday, August 25th, 2016 9:28 pm

Coding: Java

Graphics: GIMP

Audio: Direct recording + Piano + sfxr

Strategy: Put real effort into designing the concept, and keep it simple!

Last LD I failed because I hated the concept I was working towards and I spent too much time getting an unimportant detail right.  This time I’m gonna stick to things that won’t require so much time to get right, and find an idea I love before getting started.

I’m out :(

Posted by
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 10:38 pm

My brother and I got off to a strong start last night, getting costumes and animations implemented, but I spent almost all of today trying to make wall collision work to satisfaction, and even though what I have isn’t unusable, it’s buggy, and I had to completely throw out slanted walls because I couldn’t make them work. None of the other mechanics I wanted are implemented — and none of the music is written — and we have school on Monday, so we couldn’t really work on it then, or even late Sunday night. On top of that, my screen-recording software crashed four hours into today, releasing its recording into the void.

I asked my brother what he thought of the project, and he reported a decline in interest as well, stating that he wanted to stop if I did. So sadly, I’m calling it quits this time. I’ll probably come back for LD36 — alone, so I can’t screw someone else over like this again — since LD34 was much more fun than this was a failure.

For anyone seeking advice, these are the things I learned today (using Java and working from scratch).  It won’t work for everyone, but if you are struggling to establish a stride, then these four points may serve as a helpful starting point:

1. Keep it simple, stupid. Seriously, I can’t say this enough. Every detail you remove from the plan is a detail you don’t have to implement. You can add it in later if you have time at the end. Heck, my last game consisted of a red rectangle dodging blue rectangles. All the fun was in the level design, which I laid out in plain text files in the last ten hours or so.

2. Don’t start in the middle. When I made my game for LD34, I began with the core mechanic: getting hit by something. From there, I added left/right motion, then screen-changing, then leveling up. I tied these things together into a coherent whole. Then, I started again at the “bottom of the tree” of features, implementing internal statistics and achievements, and tying those two things together. Finally, I tied the Mechanics portion to the Achievements portion, and out came a game that, despite it not gleaming in the sun, I was very happy with. This was a bottom-up approach.

Alternatively, I could have started with the idea of a Mechanics/Achievements duality, then portioned each category into features, and finally implemented the features one at a time, keeping in mind all along that I already have the entire game planned out, and I only need to implement what I planned. That would be a top-down approach.

This time, however, I began in the middle. Once I had the VERY basics down, I told myself “OK, now create everything you need to put together level 1.” This, more than anything else, was my downfall.  I jumped uncontrollably from one feature to another — collision, gravity, textures, collision again — leaving each one messily coded and buggy. In the end, just two hours ago, I was frantically laboring over collision-resolution, when I became so overwhelmed by the utter bloodbath of broken code I had to work with that I made the call to give up entirely.

Please don’t do this. Bottom-up or top-down, I don’t care, but pick one of them.

3. Write what you know. It’s good to get a new experience doing something completely unfamiliar, but in the confines of 48 or 72 hours, it sometimes isn’t possible to taste that magic and get a final product out the door. If you know how to make abstract games with simple controls, make an abstract game with simple controls. If you don’t know anything about werewolves or succubi, but you studied Chemistry for six years in grade school, bend the theme to suit your knowledge.  I wondered, briefly after setting out on this disaster, whether I should have made the shapes that shift mere circles and squares, and told my brother “Sorry, I don’t need an artist.” I decided no, but the answer was yes: not knowing the first thing about making a good platformer was, to say the least, a detriment.

4. Write what you love. I’ll be honest: I had, and have, a more or less complete picture of the goal game — the game that I was aiming to create, with all its mechanics and textures and sounds — in my mind.  I had that picture since nearly the start of the event, when the theme was announced, and I had it in mind even as I stopped coding to eat, discuss, design, and relax.

And I hate it.

Seeing the theme suggestion No Text had already prompted me to design, in my mind, a game where the main character wakes up in a damp forest under a cloudy sky, and is given brief, poetic narratives and hints via a quiet, almost subconscious voice. I could barely stop myself from cheating and working on it before the contest began. I may even work on such a game outside of LD in the future.

But the point is, that would have been a game that I could spend 48 hours focusing intensely on. It would have been a game I’d be happy to put loads of energy into, to sacrifice sleep and family time for. My idea for this LD — a cartoon-y, light-mooded, stupid-looking (no offense to my brother’s art) puzzle platformer — was not.

I think I read somewhere — or else I just made this up myself — that when you like something, you’re happy to see it, but when you love something, you’re happy just to think about it.

Make a game you love.

I am in

Posted by
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 5:18 pm

I finished my first game, zx, for Ludum Dare 34, and I will be joining in again this time! I may or may not be working with my brother memefarmer to create a game for the Jam instead this time.

Waiting for the results…

Posted by
Monday, January 4th, 2016 9:14 pm

To frustrated qwertz-keyboard users…

Posted by
Saturday, December 19th, 2015 9:11 am

Did you know?  In the game zx you can change the two buttons to be any two letters you want!  Just scroll to the left one screen with ‘z’ after you download the jar file

Before

Before

After

After

Level 0

Posted by
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 5:00 pm

I have finished the basic structure of the game: the player’s paddle, the screens she can traverse, and the level-world that starts a level when you enter and lets you out when you’ve finished it :)

Next on the list is creating a text format for the levels, so I don’t have to hardcode a class for every single one.  Also, trophies may become a thing if I have time.  And a friend of mine has alerted me that Z and X are terrible controls on the German keyboard, so I will try to add an option to change them.

I’d have a little video showing my progress, but none of the file formats I can convert to are permitted on the site :/

I’m in!

Posted by
Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 7:35 pm

Hey everyone, this is my first time around in LD.

OS: Debian (Linux)
Coding tool: Intellij IDEA (a better Eclipse)
Language: Java 8
Graphics: Gimp
Sound: Home piano, possible sfxr as well

Game plan:  Take nap Friday afternoon.  Await announcement at 9 on Friday (Easy Coast, woo!), begin sketching immediately.  Use power acquired during nap to stay up late and begin coding if a good idea comes along.  Eat and sleep intermittently, while simultaneously improving my game and lowering my standards, until they eventually meet in the middle, hopefully before Sunday.  Add crappy graphics and music along the way if I have time.

Happy designing!

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