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Ludum Dare 35

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The spirit is willing, the brain is not

Posted by
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 1:52 am

So I was hyped for this LD.  Cleared my schedule.  Ready to go.

Woke up, felt a little groggy and off, but not too bad, and still totally hyped.  Excitedly waited the hours down to theme announcement.  Then it happened.

90 minutes before theme announcement I started feeling rather sick.  Okay, fine, I can probably still LD sick.  I mean it’s basically just staying home and chilling in my pajamas, right?

Yeah, no.  At theme announcement I spent a little while tinkering with ideas and decided to go for a 2d platformer.

I then spent over an hour completely and utterly failing to create the absolute basics of a 2d platformer.  I looked at older code as a reference, and I just could not put these pieces together in my head to put them together in the game.  After more than an hour of this, I decided to go take a nap.

The nap has helped.  The brain fog is a little less severe, but I still can’t seem to organize my thoughts enough to organize basic elements for a game.  I can’t even get a simple prototype running because I just can’t think.  Not feeling too hot physically, either; the stomach upset is annoying, but the brain fog is absolutely driving me up a wall.

I keep thinking about how little time is left and that just seems to make it worse, adding anxiety to illness.  I have been reminding myself that I popped into the Compo on a whim last LD (my first!) 9 hours in and still banged out a functional game, from scratch, in about 24 hours – albeit that game had very small scope.  I know I can do this.  Just not right now.

I’ll probably sleep some more in a bit.  Maybe I’ll feel better in a little while and manage to put something together.  Maybe I’ll tinker with art for a little while and leave coding for later.

Maybe I’ll go for the Jam this time (again, once feeling a little clearer), for the extra time and the ability to re-use some older code as a starting point.

Or maybe I’ll drop completely and do what I did every LD prior to last – watch streamers make their own stuff 😉  Much fun, much learning.  And it’s been a lot of fun looking through posts here and seeing what others have accomplished in 6 hours, you guys rock!

Right now, though, I’m just trying to clear my head.  Stupid head, why you do this thing?

Postmortem – Space Dock

Posted by
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 5:38 am

I’ve had such a good time reading other first-timers’ (and veterans’) experiences, I will put nervousness aside and share my own as well :)

Planning:

Ohhh…that is a thing we’re supposed to do, isn’t it?

Yeah, I didn’t actually plan to participate at all.

I’ve been an LD lurker for a little while. The plan for this past weekend was to settle in watching my two favorite GameMaker tutorial makers stream the creation of their games. Was really quite looking forward to it.

Then, while looking over pre-LD footage they had up during their pre-dev sleep breaks, I had an idea. A very small-scope idea that I thus thought I could reasonably do in time. Before I could let anxiety get the better of me, I created an LD account (the name accurately reflecting my feelings ;)) and started work…6 or 7 hours into the thing.

It was completely worth it.

What went right:

Since the idea was so simple, my minimum viable prototype came together very quickly.

I playtested extensively throughout the dev process and afterward as a final check-up. When I used testing shortcuts such as winning the game at level 1, I made sure to do later testing passes once the shortcuts were removed, just to be sure everything still worked. This extra pass caught a drawing bug on level 5’s win state.

I made sure to stand up and walk around and stretch occasionally. I also got up and cooked when I was hungry which, rather than being a distraction, helped me clear my head and re-focus.

It was so much fun making my craptacular explosion animation. I also rather enjoyed designing the stitched-together abomination of a ship which I have lovingly christened Frankenship.

frankenship

I feel a ton more comfortable with GameMaker’s draw functions now, just, a ton.

What went wrong:

I didn’t sleep. While I’m new to game dev, I am not new to programming (though rusty) and this is something which happens a lot when I really get into programming. I avoid caffeine, but even if I go to bed, I just lay there programming/designing in my head, unable to let go of something until it’s solved. I was so amped that I didn’t sleep for a while after finishing, either – and I was exhausted. Should have gone to bed just a few hours after I started, instead I worked on the game for 16-18 hours.

It had working music at one point, made at Otomata. But the game is so short that even with it only starting over on game restart it still got seriously obnoxious during my own playtesting – there were good odds it was going to annoy others, and it seemed extraneous. So I removed it, a decision I am comfortable with for this particular game.

I originally planned to put a little more detail into the station, windows on the rings and simple shading and such. But my art tools were such a pain to use (more on this later) that I chose to leave them simple, only adding a little detail to the center ring to draw attention to the goal. At least they aren’t distracting? 😉

Not entirely happy with the first expansion level for the ship, even if it does form the basis for all the other levels. It just doesn’t seem like a big enough change from the first level, serving as more introduction to the idea that the ship changes than any real increase in challenge.

I struggled with getting some characters such as apostrophes to work in my text, even after making sure I had included them in my font and font ranges. I couldn’t seem to get concatenation to work, and that annoyed me.

OMFG did I really put a grey moon behind my grey station that my mostly grey ship navigates?

What I hope to do better:

Uh, planning, mostly. If I’d known I was going to participate, my artwork probably wouldn’t have all been done in Microsoft Paint and GameMaker’s own Sprite and BG editors. Making the rings was far more obnoxious than it had any right to be. Definitely need to pick up some tools.

Sleep more, hopefully? If I do a larger game which will take more time, this may end up a moot point.

Hopefully next time I’ll make something which isn’t so dependent on Precise Collision detection in GameMaker. Although it was appropriate here, and the game is small, it seriously felt WEIRD for my first game to use that.


I had so much fun guys! Both developing my own game and playing others’. And I’ve been floored by the comments. My thought on making it was “Yes, this is technically a game, I am learning” but so many of you have said you had fun with it and that means a lot.

To any timid or nervous fellow lurkers out there, next time this comes around, dive in! It’s worth it :)

Space Dock can be found here.

Posted by
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 11:22 pm

SpaceDockScreenshot

Yeah, that’s Space Dock in a nutshell.  Anyone remember Captain Skyhawk with the infuriating spinning docking sequences?

I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to finish in time, this being my first LD/real project, and I didn’t have a good feeling about the theme, but I managed to find a very simple idea and am pretty stoked with that.  Had a working prototype done very quickly, so actually spent a lot of time on getting things like the “endings” right. Just trying to structure things better. Learned a ton and, honestly, I have a nasty habit of not finishing things, so finishing even a small project feels great.

I’m just floored and in awe of some of the more ambitious (and creative) ideas so many of you guys are knocking out.  :)

My first thing that isn’t a Tutorial

Posted by
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 9:39 am

 

Scared's first game

frankenship

 

 

 

It’s going to be quite short, but I’m learning new things :)

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