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Lab Resist

Posted by
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 5:34 pm

From the team:

First off, thank you to everyone who has played and enjoyed Lab Resist. We are really pleased and proud of the result of this weekend of teamwork and learning.

What’s the game about?

Lab Resist is a stealth game where you have to protect yourself and the laboratory you work in from the S.W.A.T.. You’ve been doing some evil stuff and they know it, and since you’re not done yet you can’t get caught!

Why this game?

Our initial thought was trying to avoid Rampage like games because our intuition told us that many people would do that. So we thought about mechanics we like and how we could add some kind of twist without just swapping the roles. After some coffees and a crazy brainstorming, the inspiration of a Metal Gear Solid-like game was the one that most pleased us. So we went for it!

The workflow

Everything was already prepared when we sat in front of our computer. In order to start prototyping as soon as possible, we used a homemade engine that was already tested and developed from previous ludum dares and had everything we needed for the game to be completed successfully. We also bought a set of tools that helped us to develop some other features like the animation of the sprites. And finally we thought that we should try Tiled as the tool of choice to make the map. One of the programmers did the parser one week before so it should be ready to integrate into any game.

Did it work well?

Sort of! Bringing a basic structure to a ludum dare is a must in order not to lose time. Photoshop brushes and presets to work with pixel-art or whatever style is chosen, a basic flow for the game to behave… The first execution of the game was running very soon. Except that it wasn’t a game yet.

So, what went wrong?

First of all, the only thing that wasn’t properly tested before the event required more work than the planned: the Tiled parser. It was working, but we needed to implement many other options in addition to the basic ones for the game to be fully configured from the editor. So one of the programmers had to put some effort on it from the very beginning.

Then, we had some trouble with our planning. We wanted to have a first playable of the game with win and lose conditions after 8 hours. That was realistic, but in the end we were paying too much attention to detail for that first milestone we imposed ourselves, and we weren’t producing enough assets and useful code. At the end of the first day, we learned the hard way that it wasn’t worth it: we were very late if we wanted to make it.

But mid-day 2, sunday in our time zone, we did it. The game was playable and started to shape. Then we realised that we didn’t have clear mechanics to implement. We all knew that we wanted to make a MGS like game where the player could place traps to the enemies to prevent them to reach the core room of the laboratory. But how exactly? What kind of traps? What kind of enemies? Many ideas had come to mind during the whole weekend, but being too much focused on developing the product made us forget about the game itself.

Was it that bad? What went right?

No, it wasn’t that bad. Every team member had clear objectives since the beginning of the event and knew its purpose and its goals. The art team quickly started to develop assets that we rapidly integrated in our engine, which allowed to provide immediate feedback so everyone could work non-stop, with almost no dependencies.

We were lucky since every one of us felt very comfortable within the team and that gave us the ability to react quickly to our problems. Being able to stay focused, open minded and discern between what was and what wasn’t important gave us the ability to take quick and right decisions to later boost the game to a level of fun and challenge that we didn’t get at that point.

So we arrived at the end of day two with a complete game. The truth is that the map wasn’t at its best, we missed many effects and visual feedback but we had something. That was the point to had a break and then aim to finish it the next day, the last one. Having good breaks and getting a nice amount of sleep was a key to our success. If you work in the industry you know that crunching is counter-productive, so we tried to avoid that at all costs.

Is that all? What’s next?

Of course the game isn’t finished yet. Every time a ludum dare ends, even when we are exhausted, we always wish we had juuust one more day. Next version will have:

  • Improved and balanced player detection
  • Visual tips of how to control the player (we detected that many players didn’t know that the doors could be closed)
  • Visual feedback of the enemies’ field of view.
  • Bug fixes. Players reported that you could be perma-shooted by an enemy under certain conditions.
  • Better respawn animation. Or at least clearer.
  • More items.
  • More enemies.
  • Sound effects!
  • A second, more interesting map.
  • Polishment everywhere. You never have enough of this one.

We also want to give many many thanks to Oriol Batlle, who gladly offered to make the soundtrack of the game under his very limited available time.

I hope you all enjoy playing the game as much as we did making it here.
DarkLight Team.

Idilium Post Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 8:02 am

– Abstract

Idilium is a game about a magical creature that suddenly realises that some enchantment connected his world with an unknown one. His duty is to collect enough magical power to break this unpleasant situation! Gather all the gems spread in both worlds and find your way to the end of the level! Good luck!

Captura de pantalla 2014-08-26 a la(s) 02.38.53 Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 02.44.52

– The creative process

Connected worlds can aboard a wide variety of game genres, from RPG, puzzles to stealth or action. It only depends on the flavor you want to give to the game as a developer, so in our case we chose to de what we do better – platformers.

From art direction, we wanted to experiment with a more abstract and magical atmosphere. We love cartoons and we wanted to translate this flavour to our game. Since we would put different worlds in the game, it also made sense that we could experiment with different styles from one to another. But the latter was also challenging, as they couldn’t be too much different or they would feel unconnected.

Also, we wanted to make sure that both worlds were clearly differentiated, not only from an art standpoint, but also in matters of level and mechanics designs. So we decided to switch gravity! This way, both worlds are really connected and traveling from one to another is just a matter of going high enough. Voilà!

Java is our language of choice. Not only we are experienced with it, but we also built a big robust engine from previous entries/projects that would make our life easier. We prepared a basic game loop, a basic character controller, level design tool and its parser, a sprite animation editor, a basic collision/physics engine and some other basic parts that can be reused in every game – until we felt we were prepared for the contest and ready to go.

Captura de pantalla 2014-08-26 a la(s) 02.39.57

– What went right

We had a straightforward plan – we knew what we wanted to do and how to achieve it. So we started prototyping it and we saw that the core mechanic and its wow effect was wonderful. It worked!

Also we know from collected feedback that the art design and the music fits perfectly with the mood we wanted to inspire with the game – a wide world to be explored, challenging but not stressful and cute.

– What went wrong

We had some issues regarding with not testing enough our engine before the start of the contest, so we lost time debugging some core features we shouldn’t have lost time with.

Also we underestimated the amount of work the game would take from an artistic point of view. More animations should be added for better feedback, an ending cinematic, a wider tileset for the map and a cleaner UI. Also we should be giving better clues about where to go during the gameplay! Right now the map seems a little puzzling.

– What we would do next

If we had to choose something, we would try to make the game *beautiful*. We would animate every single tile of the map so we would be showing that the world(s) is(are) really alive. We want to make this a really enveloping experience.

Please try the game and rate it! We would really appreciate it. Thank you!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=27472

 

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