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Battle Switch Arena Post-Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 1:37 am

Battle Switch Arena Post-Mortem Progress 3

Battle Switch Arena


– 10 Second Terrain Switching First-Person Shooter Arena

This was my first Ludum Dare and it was both a grueling and thrilling experience. Props to anyone who tried and big congratulations to anyone who finished. And to anyone who bowed out early, don’t be discouraged and to please try again. I think the 48 hour constraint is very difficult but a great way to figure out what can be done and to keep goals achievable. Also this is a great way to experiment and to push yourself to try new things in a safe and friendly environment.


What Went Right:

Unity extremely helped with  the ease of use and the quick nature I can put different parts together. If I wanted to test a directional light changing different colors and direction over time or random terrain generation, it was very quick to implement and use in an actual play environment. It also certainly helped that I’ve become familiar with Unity over time already, but it was good to have to make everything myself.


I used randomness as many times and as best as I could to unburden myself from content creation. I’m no designer and I’m no artist so I went with what I could do, which is make everything programmatic. I made random directional light color and direction, random terrain generation with the walls made at random heights, enemies that have random behaviors and move randomly.


Battle Switch Arena Post-Mortem Progress 1

Progress of the first ~6 hours of work 


What Went Wrong:

I really had no idea what my concept was for the theme or what kind of game I was making for probably 70% of the development. I spent most of my time writing boiler-plate and back-end code like a finite state machine, logger, or timer that was structurally useful and important but never made for a concrete reason. I would think of ideas and concepts but I could never commit myself to continue on with the idea. Eventually, I made things that I thought looked cool and they fell together into some shell of a game.


I did a development cardinal sin and implemented a feature within the last hour until submission. I knew that the falling pillars of the map didn’t do anything to the player when it fell on them but trap them, so I figured I would try and make the pillar actually kill the player. Except I added physics colliders to the bottoms of every single pillar which was probably ~200 of them and it worked but I could not figure out why my frames per second were abysmal, and I only had 30 minutes left to work. I scrambled to fix it and with only minutes to spare. Luckily, I always had the option to stop immediately and cut the feature before any more harm could be done, but I can’t always be so lucky.


Battle Switch Arena Post-Mortem Progress 2

Progress of the first ~12 hours of work


Looking Forward:

I would definitely like to learn more about Unity, especially performance improvements. The time constraint doesn’t always lead into good, efficient code but there are things I want to improve like my memory leaking VBO count, lessening the usage of MonoBehaviours and Update functions, and better usage of coroutines.


I definitely need to push myself to commit to a game concept. I floundered a lot on what I would do and it hurt my development over time. It’s hard to work towards something without ever having an actual target. I need to brainstorm, make a decision and stick with it, but have the flexibility to make changes when necessary.



I had a lot of fun doing Ludum Dare and I love seeing everyone’s progress and work. I encourage more people of all skill levels and fields to try this because I see some awesome stuff all around.

– Gordon Lee

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