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A brief Post Mortem for Captain NinjaBeard

Posted by
Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 7:59 pm

screenshot_captain

As soon as the two button theme was announced, I knew that I wanted to make a game where you used a sword and a gun.  The sword would be used to gain forward movement as you cut through enemies, and the gun would use backwards momentum as the gun recoil would push you back from wherever you were shooting at.  My first idea was for a side scrolling infinite runner type of game, but in my head the mechanics didn’t seem to mesh that well for that kind of game.  My second idea was for a top-down room clearing shooter, which seemed like a better fit for the mechanics, but I wasn’t in love yet.  The idea I went with was for an arcade arena shooter that used gravity to add extra importance and nuance to the movement mechanics.

The end result is Captain NinjaBeard.  This is my fourth Ludum Dare and in my opinion, this is by far my best game.  The mechanics work really well to create a frantic, fast paced experience.  You can of course go HERE to play, rate, comment, subscribe, follow the game on Twitter and MySpace, etc.

actuallygood

(Just ignore that fact that I’m plummeting to my death in this picture)

 

Things I liked/ went well:

  • The Mechanics work like a dream.  The wild movement and spray of your gun complements the incredibly precise movement of your Katana really well.  It’s always nice as a designer when things just work.
  • The difficulty curve is nice and snappy.  One of the biggest mistakes I made with my second game, Final Breakfast, was that the difficulty curve was so slow that you would never want to replay the game.  Arcade games often need a much steeper curve than you’d think in order to keep them interesting across multiple playthroughs.  I ended up more than doubling the speed of the difficulty increase in this game, and I still think it wouldn’t hurt to be raised a bit more.
  • The Primary color pallette works great.  It wasn’t something I planned since the beginning but it was something that sort of developed as I started to finalize the look of the game.  The red and yellow objects really pop against the deep blue backdrop.  The color pallette isn’t completely consistent accross some of the earlier sprites (like the UI) but that’s just a small issue.
  • The death sound/animation turned out really well.  It’s always a huge plus when dying in a game makes you laugh.

Rough spots:

  • I was completely out of my element with trying to make a seascape.  Originally, I was going to add waves and ripples to my ocean backdrop, but when it came time to actually drawing the background, my attempt was… pretty embarrassing.  I ended up just slapping some parallax on to some blue rectangles and clouds, which actually turned out looking ok.  It’s very clean, but it’s not particularly impressive.
  • Sound was a nightmare.  Usually just going into SFXR and cranking out some sounds is the easiest part of the whole process, but as I found out, SFXR can’t make sound effects that loop very well, which I needed for my laser enemy.  Luckily, I eventually remembered that Milky Tracker, the tracker I used, can make excellent looping samples.  I was going to make a looping sound for the rockets as well but I couldn’t make anything that sounded pleasant so I just made a one time sound effect for when the rockets enter the game which ended up being an important game element since you could now tell when the rockets have spawned and how many there are in the group without seeing them.  I was also going to make a sound effect for the waves you create when you get close or shoot at the water, but I couldn’t make anything that didn’t sound like ear cancer so I just made the spray silent.  Overall, the sound turned out fine, but I lost a lot of time and got pretty frustrated through the whole ordeal.

 

So far, apart from my first game, all of the games I’ve made have been lighthearted, simple arcadey action games.  Next Ludum Dare, I’d like to try something a bit more complex with maybe a bit more mood and atmosphere, but I really can’t know what I’m going to make until the competition starts and the theme is announced.  I don’t want to force myself into making a game I’m not really inspired by so who knows what kind of game I’ll make next.

FINAL BREAKFAST Post Compo: Darker and Toastier

Posted by
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 10:10 am

You’ve probably heard the old game design tip where if something is too easy for you than it’s probably just right for the players, well, I tried living by that principal with FINAL BREAKFAST, but I forgot that my target audience were all hard boiled game developers that are probably pretty dang good at them vidya games.  I’ve received common criticisms about the game taking too long or being too easy.  Post Compo, I’m hoping to fix that.  The new FB is designed to get harder much faster and keep you on your toes throughout the game.  Because of the way the game is scored, you can get similar scores to what you could in the Comp version, but it takes less time.  I managed to get a new highscore of 1287 on this new build.  Come see if you can beat it.  If you’re toaster enough.

You can play the post compo or judge the original competition build here:

 http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-32/?action=preview&uid=45321

 

Other new things worth noting, you can now mute the in-game music by pressing M.

Players that have trouble fitting the game on their monitor can shrink the game by pressing F1.

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