Ludum Dare 32
Theme:
An Unconventional Weapon

Judging Ends in
Don’t forget to Play and Rate games! Click Me!

PlayRate80Star

About fanatiko

Entries

 
Ludum Dare 24
 
Ludum Dare 23

fanatiko's Trophies

fanatiko's Archive

Postmortem

Posted by
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 3:41 am

So, my first Ludum Dare was a success. My first objective for this edition was to manage to finish something, and at the end I had plenty of time to deliver so, probably, I was too cautious with my estimation.

What went right?

  • Programming language and libraries: I have relied, mainly on plain C++ and simple SDL which proved to work quite well to program a simple game.
  • Data driven: Making the levels data driven was a VERY lucky choice. I was able to tweak them quite easily, although for the next jam I’m going with a tool
  • Sound Effects: sfxr worked awesome. And FX really add a lot to the project.
  • Pixel art: Maybe I see the game through fathers eyes, but I think the simplistic 8-bit look makes programmer art looks pretty decent.
  • Planning: Since I decided to participate, I had a timetable in mind. I’ve managed to be “on time” for the full weekend. Saturday night I had the game with graphics, music, sfx and I made a “beta” version which tested on my father computer (if you work on Windows you MUST do this). I was able to expend sunday morning polishing the levels and music. Even I had time to add a new type of enemy in the game.

What went wrong?

  • Lack of art skills: I’m pretty comfortable programming but I’ve found I lack art skills. Not only unfamiliarity with tools, although PyxelEdit had some quirks (like not remembering last used folders) and lacks some way of previewing animations (or I didn’t know how to do it), I had never animated a sprite and couldn’t get a walk animation I liked. I even decided to switch to a simplistic character, because it was easier to animate.
  • Lack of a tool: Making the game data driven was a good choice, but for next compo I think I need to experiment with some tool to layout the sprites. If you check my Timelapse you’ll see I expend a lot of time tweaking the numbers in a text file. Manipulating text files with Vim is quite easy, but being my first time making art I didn’t prepare the sprites in a way they were easing to remember (nor made a reference chart, although I had one for enemies).
  • Theme: I wanted to do something original and, while I think my idea of going for a Borrowers theme was nifty, I don’t think I was able to put that on the game.
  • More mechanics: I wanted to keep the game short, but the biggest improvement I left out  was adding a new set of enemies and levels based on “ice” (the food section). I think I have almost exploited fully the tools I had for designing levels. The game is quite easy as it is now, but I have tried to don’t require the player to use double jump or the wall jump.
  • Testing: I only had 2 other computers at home without development environment, so my test cases weren’t able to cover the full range of problems people have been finding in the game. I should have added more error checking code and a MessageBox, so I can find why people can’t run the game. Next time, I will do a very simple warmup game with the boilerplate I’ll use and try to test it in as many machines I can find.

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun programming Arnold Bros and I plan to refactor the code and try improving the graphics as a way to get some pixel art skill for the next Ludum Dare. If I can I’ll try to get friday and monday off work so I can squeeze some extra hours to add ambition to the project and to do some preparation before the jam.

First compo

Posted by
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 2:05 pm

I have known the competition since, maybe, five years and I have always wanted to participate. Last week I saw that this edition is the 10 year anniversary, and I decided to jump in this time. I wasn’t able to schedule all my weekend (and maybe take a day off monday) to commit to the compo, but I’ll try to make the best of the hours I have.

As a first timer, my objective this year is submitting something. My tool choices may not be the best, but without almost any preparation I haven’t been able to test a tile map editor or a different music creation tool (I feel this year most of us will use Otomata for the music).

Programming: I’ll code in C++ with Visual Studio 2010 using SDL (with SDLImage for loading PNG, sdl_picofont) and TinyOAL for audio. bss_util looks quite useful (and seems it’s quite similar to TinyOAL), but as I don’t know it very well, I’ll stay with the STL. For my VCS I’ll use Plastic SCM.

Graphics: PyxelEdit, GIMP and Color Scheme Designer 3

Sound: sfxr and Otomata

I plan to hang in the IRC (mIRC), record the weekend with Chronolapse and share my tracklist in Spotify. I will also tweet at @fanatiko but, probably, in Spanish.

Good luck and greetings from Barcelona. The city, not the planet.

[cache: storing page]