Just did a first pass on an 8 frame puppy animation! (Usually during these jams I’m lucky to get away with 2 frame anims) It took some time, but it was well worth it methinks! Only problem is it fills me with so much joy I’m wasting precious time watching it over and over 😛
I'm flyingbear AKA George Fan. I once made a game called Plants vs. Zombies
So I gone and done it. I made a post-compo version of this ridiculous game of mine.
There were a few things I reaaaallly wanted to get into the compo version but didn’t. All the graphics were placeholder and I was planning on redoing all of them… but ran out of time. It would’ve also been nice to have more than half an hour to do level design. So I splurged and spent about an extra day sprucing my compo version up.
It now features some decent art and more robust level design, not to mention some new enemies to fight to round out the game. I also made coins not respawn based on some feedback and included some checkpoints so dying isn’t so harsh.
Please won’t you have a look:
When the theme was announced, the first brainstorm I had was a game where the start button, options button, music+sound sliders all fit on a screen and were elements your character interacted with (like, you could slide the music slider while your character stood on it). Wanting at least a few ideas to choose from, my next brainstorm was to just go through a bunch of game genres and think about what they’d be like on a single screen. Going through the genres, I arrived upon pinball, and next thing I knew I was making a pinball game. But! No ordinary pinball game. I thought: What could someone do with pinball to make me want to play it? My conclusion was to make it a Pinball RPG!
A three-table pinball layout sketch
Of course, things started out more ambitiously than they ended up. It was to be “Pinball Quest”, a game where you were a pinball-shaped knight and made your way up 3 pinball tables (all on one screen) until you defeated a dragon boss. As you made it past the first table on the left you would wrap around to the bottom of the second table, and so on. To make things interesting, I had the idea that some areas of the screen would be “fighting” areas, and some would be “healing” areas, so you would try to get to the different parts of the screen depending on your knight’s condition. Also, the enemies would fling projectiles at you and your pinball would take damage directly.
Sketches for what the ball character could be
I quickly sketched out a few ideas of what the pinball could look like, and, after mocking up the 3-pinball-table layout in GameMaker, decided that the character was too small on the screen for my tastes. I like my characters to be big and identifiable on the screen, so long as they’re not so big that gameplay is sacrificed. So, I went to a 2-pinball table layout (still too small!) and finally a single pinball table layout like this:
Unfortunately, even getting to the game to the point where it was in that screenshot took far too long. I was 11 hours into the jam before I had the pinball physics working in an acceptable manner. Here’s where I’ll say something to my future LDing self: Try to pick something where you don’t get bogged down in physics hell so you can spend less time at things you are not so good at and more time on things that you are better at, like game design and balance. Ok there. I went to sleep at 5am the first night, 11 hours into the jam.
From generic pinball to knight to sumo!
When I woke up the next day, I started trying on different things that the main character could be. I jotted down “armadillo”, “hedgehog”, “planet”, and “beach ball” before a flash of inspiration hit and I drew up that sumo sprite you see above. I just love his big round body juxtaposed with his tiny little limbs! The first time I swapped out the knight sprite for the sumo, it made me laugh out loud, so I knew I was onto something good there. I spent the next 30 minutes on “boing technology”, adding some subtle scaling to the sumo so he feels more fleshy and less metallic.
And so ends part 1 of my Post Mortem. Part 2 to come later. Maybe.
I finally put up a web version of SumoBall! When the compo was finished, I tried using Game Maker Studio to export to HTML5 and wasn’t too happy with the results. A few of the effects were missing and it ran so sloooow. (except on my new-ish desktop machine) Well I spent a good portion of Friday optimizing the game, to the point that it’s still not as speedy as I’d like, but somewhat-powerful machines can run the game at an acceptable framerate now.
So check it out! Especially if you skipped it because there was previously no web version. (and you have a somewhat-powerful computer)
It’s Pinball plus Space Invaders plus Upgrades! Does that sound intriguing? Mm hmm, you bet it does!
Check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=16232
This was my first Ludum Dare and I had so much fun I guarantee it won’t be my last. After some uncertainty in my life the week prior, it was invigorating to get back to just making games. I absolutely loved getting to do a little of everything: design/code/art/music. It was like all corners of my brain got a workout!
What went excellent:
-Using Game Maker: I don’t know if Octogeddon would exist if it wasn’t for Game Maker. It just handled so many things that I’m not used to being handled in C++, and saved me a heckuva lot of time. Pixel-perfect collision was free, and I could do rotation and fire projectiles in 360 degrees without having to explode my brain with math.
-Chose a good theme: I didn’t have much time to dwell on the theme, but I think I chose a good one. The octopus lines up with the multi-angle gameplay, the main character is memorable, and the game is just overall ridiculous.
-Chose some relatively simple gameplay: Being my first time doing LD, and being a little rusty with Game Maker, I think this would’ve been a disaster if I chose something overly ambitious.
-Title screen! I spent a little over an hour on this, but I think it was well worth it. I frantically scribbled on a piece of paper, scanned it, and then used flat colors to fill in the image quickly. It’s nice to have an image to help draw attention to your game and make it pop.
-Music: I spent an hour or two on this. Wasn’t sure if it was going to be time well spent, but gosh darn it, I really wanted to make a music track! I even put in a cheat key to turn off the music (‘M’) as a safeguard in case my music track ended up being too grating. But, from the comments I’ve been getting on the music it looks like it paid off. Laura has said many times that she really likes it, and that means a lot coming from her. (I’d say Laura Shigihara knows a thing or two about music!)
-The little touches: Laura took a picture of Octogeddon to send to a friend. At that point, my background was flat blue, but when I looked at the picture, the angle she took it made the background look like it had these nice gradients at the top and bottom. Then I was like “that looks nice!” and promptly added the gradients into the actual background. BAM! 2 seconds of work and the game is like 5% better. Similarly, I already had a bubble particle trailing the subs, but spent a few seconds making an effect that scrolled bubbles really quickly across the background. That little addition gave the game a more frantic feel and upped the excitement level by a ton.
What went bogus:
-Time! Basically, the lack of it. I squandered some time on the first day that I really wish I had on the second as I made a mad dash for the finish. If I hadn’t done that, Octogeddon might’ve had save/pause features, more animations for limbs, and more upgrades like this snail-shell armor, which I’m sad didn’t make it in:
-Ditched mechanics: I spent about an hour trying to work on a mechanic where your elephant trunk would vacuum in DNA, and DNA decayed over time so you’d want to pick it up sooner rather than later. It ended up being too complex with the DNA decay, and too mind-melting when you were trying to juggle firing the cobras with deflecting bullets with sucking in DNA. Luckily I could salvage the mechanic by reversing the direction of the bubbles and making the elephant trunk push back subs.
-Download only: After playing and rating a buncha games, I realized the value of having a web version of your game, and that value is *huge*. That’s some good incentive to make the switch over to a web game engine at some point, but I dunno, Game Maker is just so nice to use. We’ll see…
-Ludum Dare is pretty much the awesomest thing ever
-I’m really happy with Octogeddon, I’m considering fleshing this out into a full game.
-Common Selfheal Fruit-Spike Drink (see my first post) tastes kind of funky, but was just what I needed in the middle of day 2.
Bonus: Here are some notes I scribbled down during the 48 hours
It’s impossible not to think of Bon Jovi right now.
Just a quick update, then I’ll get back to it. So much left to do!
Here’s the title screen I just whipped up!
Yes, you are OCTOGEDDON. Your purpose is to grow more and more limbs while evolving each one into deadlier weapons until you wipe out the human race. It’s a defense game (familiar territory for me I suppose) where you can collect DNA points from vanquished foes to upgrade how many limbs you have and how powerful each limb is.
Here’s a recent screenshot:
First thing that came to my mind after hearing the theme is selectively evolving some sort of creature into some mutant monstrosity. The octopus came about when I was thinking that adding limbs would be a good way to mark your progression.
At first the baddies were gonna be sharks, and you were going to be sort of a “hero” octopus. I changed the sharks to submarines and made it so you are terrorizing the world instead of saving it. The octopus’s face had to change to reflect that of course.
Last night I spent a couple of hours thinking of a theme, then sketched on paper for an hour, then got an octopus rotating onscreen. I made it so you could swap out the octopus limbs for cobra limbs, added projectiles & enemies and worked on the music a bit.
Here’s what I had at the end of last night:
Today I added bubble particles and varied up the enemies (speedy/heavy and ones that shoot back at you). I added 2 more limbs (turtle shell and elephant trunk), got dna collecting up and running, and spent an hour on that title screen.
Laura periodically glances over at what I’m doing and laughs hysterically. I think that’s a good sign.
Ok, back to it. Hope I can finish!
This’ll be my first LD. I’ve done game jams before but this sounds pretty hard core. I feel a little rusty- haven’t worked like this in awhile, but I have a feeling it’ll be lots of fun. Game making is in my blood!!
I bought this drink today. I’m sure it’ll come in handy this weekend and get me through the lulls.
Here’s the plan so far:
1. get theme
2. run around in circles for 10 minutes
3. use game maker, photoshop, skale tracker, sfxr, audacity and my brain to make something sweet