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Weapons of Mass Construction – a Post Mortem

Posted by
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 11:08 pm

What an adventure.

 

I learned of Ludum Dare from my past obsession with the game Minecraft. I really enjoy looking into the backgrounds of works: how they were developed, fun facts about the creative process, etc. As I was reading about Notch, I found out he participated in some weird contest called “looduhm dair.” I played his games that he made for it, and thought it was interesting, but then it went on the back burner.

Now, for most of my life I’ve been interested in computers and such. When I was a kid I designed meager webpages, and eventually I started learning to program games. I also did animation for a while, and although that has kind of died out I still love to draw. Lately I’ve taken a great interest in designing games, which has been greatly spurred on by things such as Egoraptor’s “Sequelitis” series and the dev commentary from Valve games, among other things.

However, I had never fully completed a game. I had created many test beds for small bits of code, but never anything full and what I did create was pretty awful.

A friend of mine was talking about how much he’d love to try making games, but he had no programming knowledge. Enter myself.

So this pretty much spurred on my interest in games, and I soon remembered this Ludum Dare thing and decided it would be fun to participate in it, and that I’d learn a lot from it.

So how’d it go down?

Once the theme was announced, my mind got to work. About ~10 minutes after, I had an idea. A sort of reverse-Mario, where you place Goombas and gaps in his way. I kept thinking over the theme for about another hour, though. I didn’t want to go with my first idea, fearing it wasn’t good enough.

Though after a short time I decided that I was gonna try out making a little AI-controlled character jump over blocks in Game Maker. It worked well, and I kept adding things and fixing bugs in “ld25test.gmk”.

Weird stuff happened, and it was frustrating, as it was my first proper AI. The player got stuck in blocks, on corners, turned around in weird places.

So I decided to start forming this AI around tighter “rules” and then the idea came to me to use these rules against the AI.

Time passed and soon my small tests formed into something reminiscent of a tech demo for a game. The little red square which was a placeholder for the player jumped over black squares (blocks) and avoided blue squares (enemies). Fun fact: the enemy placeholder sprite was a 32×32 blue square, and so the final design for the enemy was, you guessed it, a blue square. With legs.

Another fun fact: the canned particle effect used for explosions, the player dying, the player killing enemies, and slightly modified for the teleport effect, was the first particle effect I made and was intended as a placeholder. I just liked the look of it a lot and made it dynamic so the particles could change color based on the object.

Bear in mind that all of this was done about an hour after the theme was announced, and beforehand I was planning to not start until the next day. Holy hell, am I glad that I didn’t choose to do that. Probably about half of the base engine for the game was made that night.

As time went on I just added more and then came right down to the deadline with a few minutes to spare, and the game you’ve all (hopefully) played came to be.

so OP...

so OP…

What Went Right

First, I think the central mechanic of the game was definitely popular and definitely allowed people to look past other, less desirable parts of the game. It feels damn good to make a little robot explode into bits, and to have the sort of freedom in the game.

I think the length was good, and kept the levels from getting too stale.

I think the levels are, in general, designed well and teach the player effectively. In fact, my little brother was my playtester and could pass most of the levels with a bit of head-scratching, which is a good sign.

I think the art came out well and gives a fun look to the game.

I especially like the quick sounds I whipped up, specifically the bomb dude’s “wwwwoooOOOOooooowww!”

What Went Wrong

The puzzles could have some really cheap solutions. This goes hand-in-hand with the bomb dudes being too OP. This was simply because I didn’t have the time to tweak these things, because…

I did a bad job at time management. All in all, it came together, but the levels towards the end got pretty repetitive, the ending was anticlimactic, the title screen was cheap, and the gameplay and levels required large amounts of balance.

However, pretty much everything that went bad, in my opinion, was due to the above.

 

So, to conclude, successful Ludum Dare! Yay!

Oh GOD

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 7:14 pm

That really came down to the line, I was panicking near the end.

Anyways, the game is up. WHEW.

The final stretch!

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 1:29 pm

With 5.5 hours left, all there is to do is level design and polish! The game is coming along well.

Also, my little brother is my playtester, so I assume that if HE can pass the levels, anyone can!

Small Update Screenshot

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 11:37 pm
One of the levels!

One of the levels!

Just a bit of progress here. There’s a flag now! And a portal with neat effects and stuff!

Progress Report!

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 8:26 pm
SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

The above image is actually quite a good thing.

So basically I’ve gotten the basic gameplay and art done. There are three obstacles you can spawn: spikes (pictured), bomb guys (also pictured), and generic, bouncy goomba-like enemies (not pictured :C). You get a certain number for each puzzle of all of the obstacles to place in front of the H.E.R.O. (Heroic Emulated Redeemer Object), which is the little robot guy pictured above. He is completely controlled by a set of simple AI instructions that are all revealed to the player. He spawns in the portal (left side of the screen) and progresses rightwards. Your main goal is to stop him from reaching the end of the level.

Now all I need is levels, sound, music, and menus. Hoorah!

Good morning, good morning!

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 9:55 am
Irish Breakfast and Honey Bunches of Oats, the breakfast of champions!

Irish Breakfast and Honey Bunches of Oats, the breakfast of champions!

Hello all! Just wanted to share my food with y’all, Instagram-style.

Just got a bit of work to do before I can jump back on the bandwagon. If all goes well, this should be a pretty good game! ^^

Update

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 11:36 pm
Heroic Emulated Redeemer Object

Heroic Emulated Redeemer Object

Here’s a doodle of the character, H.E.R.O. Or is he the enemy? I guess so.

I’ve gotten the pixel art for this little guy done as of now, and an engine that is working well. I think I’m going to duck out for the night, however, and I’ll be back to work around later morning-noonish tomorrow!

Progress So Far

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 10:40 pm

So I’ve got a concept and a basic engine coming along.

Basically, the heroes have too much work to do, defeating villains and all (that’s you!). So they build a rudimentary Heroic Emulated Redeemer Object (or H.E.R.O., for short) to do their work for them. It runs by a basic set of A.I. rules (such as “H.E.R.O. will jump when it encounters an obstacle that can be cleared). However, it is still in the beta stages and can be thwarted easily. So you are the malevolent God-like being who must stop H.E.R.O. by placing obstacles and enemies in his way. However, you’re cutting back on your budget and can only place a few obstacles.

Right now the engine has some basic enemy and player A.I. I plan to add various obstacles, as well as a way to place obstacles.

So far the resources that I may be using are:

  • Game Maker
  • Eddy’s Platformer Engine (for a few code snippets)
  • SFXR
  • PxTone
  • GraphicsGale
  • Paint Tool SAI (for sketches and stuff)
  • LabChirp

And now, for a break!

Use of engine

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 8:50 pm

Heads up, might be using Eddy’s Platformer Engine in my game. 😉

LD25 Turntable Room!

Posted by
Saturday, December 8th, 2012 3:33 pm

http://turntable.fm/50c3bf8caaa5cd163f57e270

Once the compo starts, if you guys want to come in and play some montage music and other assorted stuff to entertain the devs as they do their dev thang, drop in to this room on Turntable!

Hello, all you fine people!

Posted by
Thursday, December 6th, 2012 9:16 pm

I’m Dan. I’ve fallen in love with game design, and I feel like LD would be a fun challenge that would hone my skills well.

I’ll be seeing you!

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