About Codexus (twitter: @codexus)

Lazy coder and occasional hobbyist game developer. ;p

My advice on how to rock at making a LD game

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 27
 
Ludum Dare 26
 
Ludum Dare 25
 
Ludum Dare 24
 
Ludum Dare 23
 
Ludum Dare 22
 
Ludum Dare 21
 
Ludum Dare 18
 
Ludum Dare 17
 
Ludum Dare 16
 
Ludum Dare 15
 

Codexus's Trophies

you know about SILX #LD27
Awarded by alvivar
on September 7, 2013
Motivational Speaker Award
Awarded by krangGAMES
on August 18, 2011
The Montage Meme Starter Award
Awarded by Terry
on August 20, 2010
Your art makes the rest of us look bad trophy
Awarded by Tyler
on April 25, 2010
The Madk Award for Excellence in Graphic Art
Awarded by madk
on December 15, 2009
Award for Game Most Likely to Cause Persued-By-Orange-Jello Nightmares
Awarded by Frimkron
on August 13, 2008

Codexus's Archive

“Isn’t that crate?” Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Thursday, December 17th, 2015 1:44 pm

finalss

PLAY AND RATE

My game is 3d puzzle game based on the two-button theme. Each door requires the activation of two different buttons in order to be opened.

Tools used:

  • Unity 5
  • Modo
  • ZBrush
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • Band-in-a-Box
  • Reason

What went right:

I managed to finish a game. After a winning streak of finishing a game for 7 LDs in a row (and a total of 16), I couldn’t finish one since LD #27.Β  So I hope I’ll be back on track from now on.

To maximize my chances, I stuck to a simple plan, aiming for a style of game that I managed to do successfully in the past. I resisted the urge to try crazy ideas that while more original would have mostly likely failed. I was once again tempted to make my game a VR game for the Oculus Rift but as cool as that would have been I’m glad I focused first on making a game.

Also I was able to work hard for a total of 45h of actual work over 3 days, barely finishing in time.

What went wrong:

Time management:

Main character: 40%

Level graphics: 20%

Implementing the gameplay : 25%

Level design: 10%

Sound, music and GUI: 5%

I spent twice as much time on my main character thanΒ  I did in previous LDs for no increase in quality. I had decided to finally switch to using Modo for my whole process instead of doing the rigging and animation in Blender. I had prepared for that and tested the workflow but I guess that wasn’t enough and I lost some time when hitting a few technical difficulties. Part of the problem was I couldn’t refrain using my newly acquired knowledge and went too far with the rigging (for example, adding a foot roll system). I also let myself carried away during the texturing with Substance Painter that I was using for the first time in production. Both software are awesome, but it’s easy to just try things and lose focus of the goal that should have been to finish the character as quickly as possible.

As a result, after finishing the rest of the game, I had not enough time for making levels, which is why there are only 4 levels, and the only level that was supposed to be interesting is actually flawed and can be completed without really solving it. So that part is a failure.

Overall even if I lost some time, I was happy with my new tools and I will continue to use this workflow. I just need to be more practiced at it and not let myself too carried away into details.

I’m so slow :(

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 11:50 pm

Things did not go very well today. My plan was to have at least the main character finished with animation and some minimum gameplay. But I’ve not been able to progress as fast as during previous LDs. Probably because I changed my workflow with some tools I’m not yet really efficient with. Using Substance Painter for my textures and switching to Modo for the rigging and animation (I previously used Blender for that part, which was a bit annoying since I use Modo for everything else). So in the end I barely managed to finish my character (I don’t even like it very much) but not its animations.

Anyway I hope I will find the motivation to continue tomorrow.

Some kind of modern genie?

Some kind of modern genie? (Unity)

Last chance attempt at finishing one of those

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 12:17 pm

After 6 failed LDs in a row, I’m back for one last chance to prove to the world and myself that I can still do it. Betting everything against impossible odds, I will attem^C Stop with the over-dramatization! πŸ˜‰

Well anyway things were going well for a time:

But yeah, lately for various reasons I haven’t been able to finish a Ludum Dare game. So this time it’s going to be different. I’m really motivated to make a game no matter what.

I think my number one mistake has been to try too hard to find a perfect idea for the theme, and I ended up losing time at the beginning and then being stuck with a concept that just didn’t work. So this time I will stick with a simple plan:

Day 1 – Make my main character, its animations and controls and have at least a mini 3rd person platformer no matter what the theme is.
Day 2 – Incrementally make the game interesting, by incorporating more gameplay concepts inspired by the theme
Day 3 – Just polish and add sound and more levels because everything else will already be 100% done, right?

It's my desk!

It’s my desk!

I will use:

  • Unity 5.3
  • Modo 901
  • Substance Designer & Painter
  • ZBrush
  • and probably generate a music in Band-In-A-Box that I will arrange in either Reason or Sonar.
Here's a cute monkey to make you read this post.

Here’s a cute monkey to make you read this post.

I’m in (the Rift)

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 12:29 pm

After two failed LDs in a row, I’m back with a vengeance!

This time I’m making a game for the Oculus Rift DK2. (Don’t worry I’ll think of something for those who don’t have one)

Oh and I will be streaming!

Category: 72h Jam (solo mode)
Tools: Unity 3d, Modo, ZBrush, Blender, Oculus Rift DK2, etc, etc

woohoo DK2!

My battle station

My previous games (it’s nice when I fail LDs that I don’t have to update those… sort of)

Click for youtube video of all my games

Click for youtube video of all my games

 

I told you it wasn’t a lie

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 3:42 am

Healthy food as always πŸ˜€

Cake!

I’m starting to have a better idea of what my game could be… But so far I have only wasted time messing with NGUI to get a menu usable with the rift…

Here I go again…

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Friday, April 25th, 2014 11:44 am

Hi guys,

I’m in! yay!

OK last time did not end very well for various reasons (including a bad cold during the weekend) so I hope this time I will submit an entry.

I will most likely go for the jam category but who knows I might finish early and enter the compo (right, that’s not very likely).

I use Unity 3D, Modo 801 (brand new version not even installed yet!), ZBrush, Blender, Photoshop, Substance Designer and Painter, Reason, Sonar X3, lots of VSTs, Band-in-a-Box… ok I’ll stop here, I know I own too much software I just can’t resist. Gotta buy them all.

Also I really want to make a game for the Oculus Rift this time. I know not many people have one but we are allowed to make ports of our games after the deadline so I could release it first for the Rift then have a version for regular boring screens.

Anyway I have updated my youtube video with all my previous games:

Good luck! Have fun!

PS: I hope the theme won’t suck!

I AM FAIL

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Monday, December 16th, 2013 4:22 pm

After a streak of 7 finished ludum dare in a row, I must admit that LD28 defeated me.

What went wrong?

  • Well, I had a bit of a cold all weekend, so I wasn’t very productive and since I was very tired, I decided to let myself sleep as much as I could so I just didn’t work as much as usual.
  • It took me a while to motivate myself to make a game for this theme.
  • The theme restriction prevented me from moving my game into a different direction, that might have been more fun and easier to finish because I had to stick to my initial excuse for “you only get one”
  • I lacked a clear and strong concept for my game, so I ended up toying with it rather than moving toward a finished game in a straight line.
  • Increasing expectations, especially after LD26 which went very well, I have had increasing expectations about what the quality of my game should be.

But anyway I had fun, I didn’t finish but I did spend most of 3 days playing with Unity, ZBrush, Substance Designer, etc and I got some embryo of a game out of it. Anyway, here’s a screenshot:

ld28-ss1

Much confusion

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 12:15 am

doge

Well, I knew this was coming. It fits the pattern of the previous votes but I wish we could have had a better theme for a change. I’ll mostly ignore it, I’m sure there will be only one of something in my game anyway…

You are not prepared!

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Friday, December 13th, 2013 11:59 am

43836523

I’m in! Full Jam Mode Edition!

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 2:00 pm

Hey guys! It’s me again! πŸ˜€

So I’ve been wondering what to do for this LD since I’ve been feeling like I have been stagnating a bit and redoing some of the same things over and over again while my games don’t get more popular.

I thought about trying to go like all 2D and pixels and all that retro shit that’s popular with the kids and I’ll be rich and famous and everything…

But NO! I won’t sell out, somebody has to stand for 3d graphics and draw a line. Pixels this far and no further!

So I’ll do the exact opposite. I have been entering my games in the Jam category but I still made my games mostly according to the stricter compo rules. But this time I won’t do that. I’ll use all the resources available to avoid reinventing the wheel and basically try to see how far I can go in 3 days without any restrictions.

I suspect some people won’t like it and I’ll probably get some bad votes due to that. However, I will fully document what I use so that you’ll be able to judge fairly.

Anyway, here’s my traditional previous entries picture and…

GOOD LUCK, HAVE FUN!

ld48-allgames28

First day: not much done

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 6:25 pm

Mmmm, I wasted way too much time on my character. It would be OK if I was doing the jam. I got too used to having an extra day and as a result finishing a game tomorrow is going to be quite hard.

ld27ss01

Getting started

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 1:32 am

As I thought, pretty terrible theme. But I’m finally ready to get started anyway, waking up was hard and I’m already on my second Red Bull. I won’t worry too much about the theme, I get bad theme scores when I try to think of an original way to use the theme deep in my gameplay (people don’t seem to see the theme unless you make it obvious).

I'll be there, making a game

I’ll be there, making a game

I’m probably going to hate the theme but…

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 2:43 pm

that’s not a reason for not participating!

So the usual, Unity, ZBrush, Modo, Blender, Photoshop plus a bunch of stuff I might use (or not).

I’m going for the compo this time, so I’ll have to be more focused right from the start instead of wasting the first day as usual…

So many games

So many games

Final part of 10s videos released!

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 12:22 pm

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Index of games 1|2|3|4

The last part is released, it’s a bit shorter than the others but still full of good games! And that’s all for this LD! We have a total of 455 games featured on those videos. That’s not bad at all! So many creative games!

Thank you for participating and my apologies if somehow your game got left out (I hope I got everybody).

Night of the living post mortems

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Monday, May 20th, 2013 6:02 am

Time for a little post-mortemy thing. I suspect nobody reads them, but in a few years, I’ll go through my old posts and find it and have a good laugh. Let’s use a chronological format for a change!

Before the jam

As usual I didn’t practice for it, I didn’t do any gamedev or graphics or anything related since the previous LD :/ So I was rusty. At the end of last year, I had some time in between jobs to learn new ZBrush skills but I didn’t know how much I had lost since then. Three ludum dare per year is just not enough practice.

The theme is revealed!

Of all the themes in the preliminary rounds, there was only one I really hated, yup: minimalism.

I hate it because all LD games are already minimalistic by necessity. The whole point of participating in a Ludum Dare is to see how much you can do in a limited time. Choosing minimalism as the theme, is basically giving up before you even start. In my opinion, there are already too many minimalistic games in a regular LD. Games where the author instead of trying to work on all aspects of a game decides that colored squares placeholders are good enough. This isn’t about how good your skills are, it’s about at least giving it a try and learning in the process. Don’t aim for minimalism, aim big! It’s better to fail gloriously than to not even try!

Day 1: Anti-minimalism 3rd person shooter

After recovering from discovering that terrible theme, my first idea was to make an anti-minimalism game, I thought about a few ideas like destroying minimalist paintings and finally I chose to do a 3rd person shooter where you fight alien invaders trying to impose their minimalistic philosophy on Earth. I’ve never made a LD game where you can shoot stuff, my games tend to be peaceful, so this might have been the occasion to change that?

I spent half the first day working on the shooter mechanics and enemies and for the second half I worked on my main character.

Day 2: New game idea

After waking up, I realized that I was not very far along with my shooter game. The shooting part wasn’t really fun and I realized I would need a ton of custom animations for it to work with my character. And while I had some ideas to create a funny world, they didn’t really all fit together with the gameplay and I had no clear vision of what the game would actually be like.

At this point, I had implemented a way to push the aliens bodies once they are killed. And I realized it’s actually quite fun to just play with that and try to move them around. How about a game where you just have to push a ball around with physics?

So I already had my main character, the gameplay only required a trivial amount of work, the rest of the day was spent working on a few levels. At the end of the 48h I had something I could have released in the compo category if I rushed the final hours but I wanted to use the extra day to make the game a little bit better.

Day 3: Polish!

For the first time in a LD, I started the final day knowing I already had something that I could finish and release any time I wanted. Things I did that day:

Prettified the levels with some props and alternative textures and I added two more levels with a bit more elaborate mechanics (unfortunately the one with the bridge has a bit of a nasty bug, I didn’t notice it in my testing due to being biased as to how I expected the level to be solved. It wasn’t even a code bug, I just forgot a two-clicks setting in Unity :( How annoying!).

I tried to improve my character’s animation (without much success, animation is something I’ve never really spent time learning, I just fake it during game jams. I’ll work on that for the next LD).

I spent a bit more time than usual on the sounds, and even though the music is a randomly generated .mid file, I did spend some time in Reason choosing instruments and mixing it for a little extra.

In the end, I even had time to turn the code I had written for the minimalistic aliens into butterflies. A poetic way to end the conversion of what started as a shooting game in to a totally non-violent one :)

After the jam

I’m really glad I got lots of feedback this time. Over a hundred people played and rated my game, that was most likely due to getting an extra bit of spotlight thanks to my video compilation project but it’s nice to have my audience expand like that. That’s one good thing about making a game for a LD, you are pretty much guaranteed actual players! πŸ˜€

Also thanks to the wonders of Twitch technology, I was able to see two people play my game in real time. I don’t usually see anybody play my games at all and that was really interesting as both did unexpected things.

For next time

  • Animation has to be my priority. I have improved my character creation skills so now the animation has to follow or it looks a bit weird.
  • Try to work on at least another game to avoid getting too rusty in between LDs

PLAY MY GAME HERE

10 Second Videos Compilation Project (Final part released)

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 12:45 pm

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Index of games 1|2|3|4

The last part is released, it’s a bit shorter than the others but still full of good games! That’s all for this LD! Thank you for participating and my apologies if somehow your game got left out (I hope I got everybody).

(more…)

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