I’m glad I had the chance to participate in another Ludum Dare compo. I made Skeleton’s Revenge, a Nintendo Hard 2D platform game where the standard player and enemy traits are reversed. I planned better and got a game done in 48 hours without cutting features, but now that the ratings are in, it’s time to take the gloves off and critique my own game for real.
No video this time, since my previous LD video has only 77 views as of this writing. Throughout this postmortem, I’ll be comparing my ratings with my other LD game, Asteroid Defender from LD23.
Innovation (2.79, #394), was (2.67, #549)
LD 25’s theme was “You Are The Villain,” and the first approach that comes to mind is to take an existing type of game and flip it around so you now play as the villain. I took it a little further and made the player character act like an platform game enemy, and make the enemies act like platform game heroes. I spent a lot of time on the enemy AI for running, jumping, and attacking, but I couldn’t get them to convincingly act like a player would.
Fun (3.57, #65), was (3.17, #239)
Yay, my game is fun! I’m really happy to make top 100 in something this time. The platforming mechanics are solid unless you’re an enemy landing from a big jump. Every death is your own fault unless it’s the jump pictured above, which I found out was a two-frame window. I got a lot of comments saying that they couldn’t get past that jump. I had to rush and build all the levels in the game in the last two hours of the compo, and the game suffered.
Theme (3.23, #360), was (3.25, #314)
I adequately stayed within the theme. After playing other entries, I realized that my skeleton doesn’t do anything evil or villainous other than attacking the heroes that get in his way. I do like the video game hero archetypes I ended up with: the animal mascot character (goat), the weapon-swinging warrior (hunter), and the brittle soldier with a gun (gunner.) At least the game has an ending this time, but the final boss battle was terribly anti-climactic.
Graphics (2.38, #569), was (2.58, #593)
Yeah, my games look like ass. I thought I stepped up my programmer art this time. My sprites are actually animated now, and I stuck to a monochrome theme to make it easier for me to crank out sprites when I needed them. There’s no reason I couldn’t have done 3-color sprites instead. The levels are constructed entirely out of white blocks and spikes, which I admit is extremely lazy. I should’ve added some backgrounds, or at least some different-looking blocks.
Audio (3.00, #169), was (3.00, #216)
Renoise rocks! I put more effort into music this time, and I like how it turned out. I wanted to sound like a Nintendo hard 2D platform game, and I don’t think I subconsciously channeled Castlevania this time. That SID sound I used as a lead instrument is loud and kinda grating, so I should have replaced it with something better. Bfxr is excellent for generating sound effects, but it’s so ubiquitous in Ludum Dare, it didn’t help my audio scores.
Mood (3.08, #211), was (2.36, #626)
Players seem to really like trolling this game’s enemies. Finally, you deal collision damage to enemies! We haven’t seen that since Wario Land! I reversed the vulnerability to spikes, too, so only enemies get killed on spikes but you can walk across them harmlessly. It’s good to troll enemies, but like I said, you don’t actually do anything mean in this game. I really should have worked some Videogame Cruelty Potential into this.
Overall (3.14, #282), was (2.92, #452)
This game was a good experiment. I kept my expectations low, and I got a fun game out of it. It’d have been better if I made better decisions in design. The monochrome graphics were easy to make, but it wouldn’t have killed me to add some color. Considering the game was made in 100% Game Maker pseudocode, I had no reason to run out of time for level design and testing. I made a decent game, but I want to make a better game next time.
Coolness (28%, #990), was (20%, #1007)
I could say some stuff about how I started a new job two days after the compo and multiple schedule changes sapped my energy to do stuff outside of work. Yes, that happened again, but that’s no excuse. I still had plenty of days off, and I got sidetracked with Minecraft, Deus Ex, and other games instead of rating more entries. Thank you to all the players that found my game and tried it. If I get another LD weekend off work, I’ll do it smarter.