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Death Death Evolution Postmortem, Timelapses & Soundtrack

Posted by (twitter: @radhesion)
Sunday, September 9th, 2012 9:27 pm

For this LD, team RADMARS attempted to make a puzzle platformer where you have to die in order to progress. It was a big challenge, but I think we managed to make something pretty awesome. Check it out here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=7860

We have postmortems for 3 out of the 4 members of RADMARS for you today (and timelapse videos for two of those). Up first is roushey, who decided to write a very lot for some reason:

This Ludum Dare went surprisingly smooth. We started off Friday night cooking up a bunch of good ideas and finally settled on the concept that every time you die, you gain a new ability based on how you died. We then spent the rest of the night fleshing out all the abilities you would have, flagging them as necessary, nice to have, and eventually cutting some. After that we had a pretty solid plan to always tab back into and check where we were at. We also put TODOs for art, programming, levels, etc on the doc as well so we could quickly see what the other team members were doing without pestering them.



Escape from MiniMars Postmortem & Extras

Posted by (twitter: @radhesion)
Sunday, April 29th, 2012 8:11 pm

(quick game link for reference: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=7860)

Since ours was a team-based jam entry we got 3 postmortems for ya. spacemars/mroushey’s first:

Just finished up my second Ludum Dare, and my first time in the jam version of the competition. Myself and two other darer’s ( adhesion, and emarcotte ) joined forces to take on LD23′s theme: Tiny World. Pretty much all of the first day was spent coming up with ideas. After 4 hours of tossing ideas around we boiled it down to “Escape from MiniMars”.

You are a robot that finds himself on the surface of mars (well, minimars… but its the same damned thing :P ) and must escape. For all intents and purposes it is a mario style platformer. We loved the idea however, that there would be tons of tiny people in this tiny world that love the shit out of robots. They chase after you and jump on so they can hug you! Killing them was to be incredibly easy as youre… a goddamn giant robot. The difficulty is such that the people can never really kill you (except in maybe one or 2 areas) so its more of a way to kinda color the world and just make you chuckle a little bit whist mowing all these tiny dudes down with supercharged eye-lazers.

Now since this was a JAM entry, we had a team. Emarcotte adhesion and I all programmed it up.  (although they did most of the work, I just tweaked jump arcs and stuff like that XD ) While Adhesion rocked his chiptune magic and I was free to spend pretty much the entire weekend making art assets.


For the art and level design I used a combination of Photoshop, Graphics Gale (http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/), and Tiled ( http://www.mapeditor.org/). The game was programmed using MelonJS (http://www.melonjs.org/) (a html5 canvas game engine).

I really can’t say enough about Tiled. It’s a map editor thats incredibly easy to use and can export data in a buncha different formats, one of them being XML.

All you do is import your tileset, and start to paint. You can have multiple layers of map tiles, setup entities within the level, as well as setup your collision maps. Flash’s Flixel and MelonJS both have native support for this guy. It’s a must in my opinion.

Graphics Gale is a pretty nice freeware pixel animation app. The interface is a bit clunky, and the Layer stuff can be a bit annoying, but It works really well for animation.

Photoshop is an obvious choice, but it pretty much blows for animation. XD If Graphics Gale’s UI was better id never close it~

MelonJS is pretty easy to work with.  You can make a platformer basically out of the box. The engine is pretty high level though, I found that you have to hack in even the most basic of additional features.  I also have some pretty large complaints about html/js games and javascript in general, but that is a rant that will go on and on and on forever. :/


Last LD I did the compo and I must say, it was brutal. I didn’t get to put as much time as i wanted into either programming, art or.. cough cough sound. (if you saw my last game, the music was actually playing a randomized selection of notes. ) With the jam, you get more time, and more manpower. I really do like both, but I think the jam comes out a little bit ahead in my book. I got to work on art to my heart’s content (and drawing arm’s discontent) and got what i feel to be quite a bit of stuff done. I think i will do the compo for my next LD competition, but the JAM was damned fun.

and now adhesion’s postmortem:

I’m very pleased with how this LD went overall – we made a solid game, didn’t overextend too much, and learned quite a bit about HTML5 game engine issues & melonJS. I’m super proud of what we accomplished.

what went right:
Music/sound – I was really happy with how both came out. I was so pumped to actually hear them in game; audio just makes a massive difference in the overall experience. I ended up doing the music in 2 separate chunks of time (thanks to the extra time of the jam), which felt a lot better than the one giant slog when I did the LD22 compo – that got a bit frustrating at the end. The tools I used, Ableton Live & bfxr, worked great as expected. I focused more on FM synths for the music which made it all the more awesome.

Graphics – I obviously can’t take credit, but I have to point out how much of an intense badass roushey is, and as such his art is amazing as usual.

Coding (mostly) – Despite being not all that familiar with Javascript, and despite all the horror stories I’ve heard about its awful innards, I found it quite easy to use – didn’t have any huge (core JS-related) bugs, and I was able to figure out the built-in data structures and such without too much trouble.

what went wrong:
Time management, again – was an intense rush at the end to get the final polish done, particularly the RADMARS intro screen (waaaay worth it though :D). It was also hard to be productive on saturday before a lot of the art assets were done, which is kind of a weird side effect of melonJS providing a lot of the core gameplay functionality very easily. Plus, I had to work on the Monday the jam ends and ended up miscalculating how much time I would have to work on it that day which didn’t help.

Code framework, a little – had some major memory/memory leak issues right at the end which was really frustrating to deal with. (Wish I caught that earlier, it kinda drove me insane for a while.) I managed to fix it but more familiarity with Javascript, melonJS & browser debugging tools would’ve definitely helped. Struggled with a multiple collision issue for a while too – in retrospect it was pretty obvious, hopefully I’ll wise up to this stuff as I do more game dev stuff. Otherwise I’m pretty satisfied with melonJS in general.

Whew! Overall LD was a great experience again. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to do this sort of challenge and have something awesome to show for it at the end. See you in August!

and emarcotte’s:

– Dedicated time would definitely help, coming in and out of the project is frustrating and anti productive
– flexibility of javascript makes time very productive, melon’s tool integration is also very flexible and simple.
– asset pipeline is still a mystery to me, roushey just does magic and we consume it…
– polish is 90% of the battle. the rest is easy.

Extra bonus stuffs!!:



Planet Earth Is Blue – Playthrough Video, Timelapse & Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @radhesion)
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 10:39 pm

Edit: I also put up the soundtrack if anyone wants to check it out!

What Went Right:

Time Management…?
I was able to plan out most of my time pretty well, so thankfully I was able to implement nearly all of the features I wanted, with just a few minor ones going undone. I spent about 5-6 hours on audio, probably roughly the same on graphics, and the rest coding, which is about what I expected (and planned) going into the weekend.

I was already pretty experienced in making this style of music (and making music in general, which I’ve been doing since 2004) so it wasn’t too horrible of a prospect to make a bunch of game tracks in a short amount of time. Having done a whole ton of album-a-days (http://crapart.spacebar.org/aad) helped on that front too – thanks Tom 7! Trying to come up with a variety of original material was probably the most creatively difficult aspect of the whole weekend but I’m really happy with how the music came out. And of course, working with bfxr was a pleasure.

What Went Wrong:

Game Balance/Playing My Own Game
I think the biggest issue with the game as it stands is the balance or difficulty – depending on how you play it, it’s probably either way too easy or way too hard. This wasn’t really obvious to me until around Sunday when I little else to do but play my own game and do lots of polish. It’s kind of funny to think that I didn’t spend enough time playing my own game in a 48-hour game dev competition, but it actually makes sense, especially considering the sort of game I was going for. I’ll try to keep this one at the forefront when I do my next Ludum Dare.

Slight Unfamiliarity with Tools
This wasn’t too much of an issue, but I had to look up a few XNA-related things to implement certain features, particularly graphics-related ones. I also struggled with GIMP a bit, which is probably understandable to anyone who has ever used it.

All in all this was an awesome experience. Can’t wait for the next challenge!

Planet Earth Is Blue, And There’s Nothing I Can Do

Posted by (twitter: @radhesion)
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 9:27 pm


So pumped to have finished my first Ludum Dare entry! (And first real finished game project period!) It was down to the wire time-wise but I was able to implement nearly all of the features I wanted. I even had enough time to make a font, some passable sprites and backgrounds, and bang out almost 7 minutes of actually decent music, the latter done in 5 hours on Saturday night – no huge technical hurdles code-wise except for a few XNA SpriteBatch quirks. Somehow I made a fully playable, fun, challenging game! Hooray! Timelapse video forthcoming.


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