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Seasons Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@cbear_wallis)
Monday, August 31st, 2015 8:55 pm

Graham Dolle(Artist, Coder, Co-designer)

I would like to take some time to talk about the game we made for this Ludum Dare. I worked with my girlfriend on this LD as I did with the last. We started out wanting to make a game about alien planets and exploration in the form a twine-style game, but after thinking about the work division and the amount of work it would take we decided to make a puzzle game in Unity instead.

The game all began with one game design doc…but it’s more of just a doodle

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so from the beginning we head a decent idea of how the game would work. As we went through I slowly added more mechanics and more structure. The First night we really didnt do anything but plan because i had to work. The second night though…I stayed up the whole night writing the map loading code and all the mechanics. The next day we hung out at a barnes and noble in Baltimore and made some levels and tightened up some code. Then that monday we finished up the levels and did some vfx and format stuff(menus etc.). This game came out really well and it was super easy and fun to make so we’ll be working on it more. Many of the bugs and short comings of the jam version have been worked out this past week. Anyways, not a long post-mortem, but feel free to ask me any questions on twitter or here @cbear_wallis <3 and try out the game

 

Bailey Carroll(Co-designer, Musician)

Our first idea for the jam was a text-based game about a space explorer whose race is dying and needs to get to a planet that has the main ingredient for a cure. I did a whole bunch of pre-writing for this game, and we brainstormed a ton before realizing the game we hoped to make was just too big and would take more than a few days to make. That being said, we quickly changed our whole look on the jam. Knowing from the start that we didn’t want to follow the theme, we decided to make a different take on the game we made for the last Ludum Dare entitled Garden State.

Since I don’t code at all, my job was mostly planning out the game and coming up with quirky ideas for levels. Roadblocks or water-sources that would fit into each season were a must considering our only ideas were water drops and stones when we started our original planning. Both Graham and I were able to meet up only on one occasion during the making of the game, which proved to be both vital and awful; vital because of the work we were able to do together and awful because we should have spent another day together just planning it. Not having another day to just work on the game was our biggest roadblock in my opinion. The game was my first introduction to level design and I was faced with a lot of problems along the way that would have been easily resolved if Graham and I were together. All in all, however, my only regret is not putting in more flower puns. Flower puns make everything much better.

<3 try out the game <3

Garden State Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@cbear_wallis)
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 7:46 am

GardenScreenShot_9

Last weekend I attended a hackathon at the University of Maryland, suffice to say I didn’t get much sleep. So when I realized that the Ludum Dare was happening the very next weekend I was both excited and incredibly unsure if I would actually be able to do it. I eventually decided to do something for the jam with the help of my girlfriend! It was friday night, the Ludum Dare had officially started and I just got home at 9:30 EST. It was time to make a game.

I knew what I wanted to do from the start. The idea I had was to make a grid based puzzle game with tree and flowers and stuff. Originally, this game was to be a way more strategic and deep, but it really didn’t turn out that way. My biggest flaw during this jam was that I overplanned before starting and then I had all these expectations of my design that in reality just simply didn’t work. Now, this isn’t my first jam in the least so I’m aware of all the pitfalls, but I still fall for them sometimes. It’s all about finding that balancing between starting and planning. Start too quickly and you end up make a structure that can’t support it’s weight and which has no direction. Plan too much before starting and you wind up forgetting that the laws of physics exist; you build things that are suited more for the mind than the real world. So, I had a design for a puzzle game that didn’t really work.

GardenScreenShot_7

On the second day I decided to redesign or rather repurpose the existing mechanics for a different game of sorts and I had an epiphany of sorts. I noticed when playing the game that it became something that wasn’t really about winning or losing but it built out these cool looking gardens. The nature of what I call the “Bramble”, which is the darker looking bushes, is random. The Bramble looks for empty grass around it and randomly chooses one to grow to. This created a really cool visual almost akin to prim’s algorithm when generating mazes. I really enjoyed this aspect and, although it was quite experimental, I decided to go with it. So the final day was adding final GUI fixes(which were a pain) and getting sfx etc. all working fine.

Another cool thing that I put in was that all the plants talk randomly. My girlfriend wrote all this dialog for the plants to spout out. This was originally going to be a much bigger part with the plants actually commenting on the games state. For instance, if you have a lot of flowers maybe the trees will tell you to plant some different things etc. I think this is a really cool idea because most of the time puzzle games don’t insert narrative in this manner(there are some like maybe Girls like Robots I think it’s called something like that). But yeah I think my implementation of the text boxes are a little shady because I did them so quickly but people seem to not mind since the dialog is funny.

But yeah, I’m pretty happy with this game and if anything I learned bit and pieces that will make me better for next time!

Play the Game <3

GardenScreenShot_8

 

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