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My Post Mortem: It’s Space: The joys and pains of LD22

Posted by
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 9:03 pm

My Ludum Dare entry is, a Untiy3D based arcadey space shooter. It is either my first or second game, I have another Unity 3d project I’ve worked on, on and off, for the past few months. That’s a somewhat less interesting and complete game than my LD entry, and has less content as well, so I’m willing to call It’s Space my first game. I’m honestly still reeling from how much I got done and how well it turned out, and my mind is spinning with ways to expand it.

What went well:

The art: I used tools I’m quite familiar with, Wings3d and Photoshop, and I’d already experimented with getting assets from them into Unity3D before the competition, so everything went smoothly there. Some of the models I made turned out to be surprisingly effective, and for the most part they seem to evoke the right reactions in players that I’ve been able to observe.

Unity3D: I’d spent the week leading up to the Dare trying to come up with things that’d be useful for games and learning how to make them work in Unity, such as being able to click on objects and whatnot. As a result I didn’t find myself hitting many walls where I just didn’t know how to use the engine, and was able to spend most of the time making things instead of figuring out how to make things.

Coding: This is probably going to be damning myself with faint praise, but I was very pleased with how much I was about to write code to be reusable and flexible, which saved me having to write lots of duplicated behaviors for new objects and enemies. As a result I think I would have been able to add more enemies into the game in the final hours, had other things not intervened.

Preparation: I food in advance so i wouldn’t have to stop to cook but would still be well fed. That worked out great, and if I did another Dare I’d do that again.

What went wrong:

The art: Though I’m pleased with a lot of the art, the most important visual in the game, the player’s ship, turns out to be a formless grey rectangle from the camera’s position. It looks more interesting from other angles, I swear!

in-game anglePerspective View

I’ve already started work on a replacement ship that should look more interesting.

The theme: I don’t think I engaged the theme very well. I had some ideas for a slightly more thoughtful take on the theme, but couldn’t think of any real gameplay to go with them. In the end I essentially said “Screw it, I like spaceship games, I’ll make a lonely spaceship game!”. That said, I did want to make the game about exploring a grand and empty ruined civilization, and I think that would work with the theme fine. I intend to expand on what traces of that there already are as I work on the game in the future.

The code: There are some boneheaded things in the code right now that stemmed from me doing things wrong and not bothering to fix them, such as player’s velocity not being independent of player’s rotation. Motion was to be, and should be, more Newtonian than it is, but alas.

The pain: Several hours before the deadline I went to pour hot water into a mug as part of the construction of a hot drink designed to keep me going for the home stretch. Being at that time somewhat impaired in my motor function due to lack of sleep, I proceeded to pour just-shy-of-boiling hot water over my hand as well as into the mug. At that point coding ceased early and I submitted what I had at the time. I consider this to be my biggest mistake of the Dare.

Minor burns aside(they’ve already healed) I found the Dare extremely enjoyable and rewarding. I’d do it again, and I hope to turn my entry into something greater over the coming weeks. Thank you all for this exciting event, and I look forward to playing as many games as I can stand as I work through my ratings responsibility.

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