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Candelabra — Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @gregaring)
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 11:58 am

This was my first Ludum Dare competition entry.  It was an exhausting weekend, but overall it was a great experience and I am enjoying playing and rating games and receiving feedback.  I am content with what I was able to put together in 48 hours.  Some things went well, and as always there is a lot of room for improvement.  I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the development process of Candelabra.

candelabra_450

 

Each level of Candelabra begins with the lighting of a match, and ends with the lighting of a candle.  Matches burn out in 10 seconds. Matches also go out if you drag them too quickly.   Keep the flame alive by lighting other matches and flammables.

The Good

  • Limited Scope – I aimed for the game to have 10 levels and I was able to accomplish that.  There are a few core game mechanics – clicking and dragging matches to light other matches, dodging water, dodging blocks, and lighting fireballs which travel along a set path.  Much more than that I think would be too complicated.  Any less would be too boring.
  • Simple Controls – One thing I’ve noticed is that after playing 40 or so games from this competition is that it’s not easy for me to adapt to the multitude of control schemes I’ve encountered.  I haven’t come across many that are too hard to learn, but when you’re playing lots of games in a short period of time, it’s a lot easier when controls are introduced as you play the game.  Having to read a paragraph of instructions can kill it for me.  I wanted people to be able to play my game without doing any reading, and for the most part I think that is the case.  If you haven’t figured out what to do in 10 seconds, the word SPACE appears, which is all the instruction needed to get going (hopefully the player realizes quickly you need to click and drag the match).
  • Unity – It’s a great engine and I have a lot of experience with it, so there weren’t any technical hurdles.  I’m no artist, so I used Unity’s lighting and particle system to improve the aesthetics.  All the text in the game was made with a Unity plugin called Polygon Tool, which lets you create polygons by adding and modifying points in the editor.  This was the first time I used it in-depth, and it was perfect for what I needed.  For the few textures I used, I made some quick random images in Paint.NET and took one picture of some rocks near my house.

The Bad

  • Audio – It’s not that I thought the audio itself was bad, but it does not sound the same across different speakers.  I made the music with Linux Multimedia Studio.  I was wearing headphones.  The background music consists of three oscillating waves which shift subtly every 4 measures or so.  The effect is noticeable and helps set a weird, eerie mood IF you have headphones on.  If not, your speakers may not pick up the subtle changes in the waves and it just sounds like an annoying buzzing noise.  I wish I could have caught this problem because it would have been easy to avoid.  If you do play with headphones, I think the audio is ok.  Definitely could be better, though.  Also, I would have really liked to record the sound of an actual match lighting, but I could not capture a quality recording.
  • Frustration – The main game mechanic can be incredibly frustrating.  Moving the mouse the slightest bit too fast will put out the flame.  You can do this 5, 6… 10 times in a row even when you SWEAR you won’t do it another time.  But you will… oh you will.  I did not have time to have other people test this mechanic or I would have a better idea of how sensitive to make it.  I adjusted the sensitivity a few times, settled on what felt right to me, and hoped that it wouldn’t be too hard or too easy for the average person.  I’m not sure if the satisfaction of beating the game outweighs the pain endured while playing, and for that, I apologize, but will not be held responsible for any broken computer peripherals.

Thank you for playing Candelabra.  I really enjoyed making it and would love to hear your feedback, good or bad.

14 matches were harmed during the making of this game.

 

 

Permitted Unity Middleware?

Posted by (twitter: @gregaring)
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 7:44 am

Greetings,
Looking forward to my first LD solo entry.  I plan on using the following tools:

Game Engine
 Unity3d with:
2D Toolkit (https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/#/content/908)
Polygon Tool (https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/#/content/1032)
iTween (https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/#/content/84)

Are commercial libraries such as 2D Toolkit and Polygon Tool permitted?  Obviously we don’t want to release their source.  I am getting lots of mixed responses when searching for this answer.

Audio
sfxr
Audacity
Linux Multimedia Studio (LMMS)

Art
Paint.NET
Photoshop

 

Thanks and have fun !!

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