About HThomson (twitter: @https://twitter.com/HThomson_Dev)

Independent game developer, artist and programmer.


Ludum Dare 33

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This is for being an awesome sport!
Awarded by Dizzyman572
on September 14, 2015

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PROWL – Post Mortem

Saturday, September 5th, 2015 6:18 am


Chasing sheep vv small


So I’ve finally got around to writing up a post mortem and I’d first like to thank everyone who’s played PROWL so far, especially those who’ve left feedback. Some of your suggestions have been really helpful and have already influenced the further development of the game.

This is my first ever Ludum Dare and I decided to jump in the deep end by entering the compo. I’ve entered one other game jam before but it was a very small affair and I had 72hrs rather than 48. The most noticeable difference when entering the Ludum Dare was the volume of community participation, it was a novel experience to be developing a game alongside so many other people. Every time I’d refresh the Ludum Dare home page there would be a new post from someone else who was at a similar development stage to me but was approaching the theme from a completely different angle. I think seeing everyone else’s progression is what I’ve enjoyed most about this game jam, but anyway, onto my evaluation:

The good:

tentacles 2


  • Tentacles! I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the tentacles. Interestingly, these were added quite late on in development . Initially I planned to give the wolf legs but animating the legs by hand to an acceptable degree of quality proved to be quite time consuming and given the tight 48 hour time constraint I decided to cut a corner. After a quick Photoshop mockup I fell in love with the tentacle aesthetic and soon implemented writhing, procedurally generated, procedurally animated tentacles. These sinister black wisps immediately changed the tone of the game and I doubt the further mood design would have taken the direction it did if it wasn’t for their existence.




  • Mood, this is something I’m personally satisfied with as well as something that seems to have gone down well with other players. Only a couple of hours before the deadline PROWL was devoid of any sort of mood whatsoever, the environment was bland, the wolf had no presence and the whole thing just generally felt unfinished. However after a couple of post-processing features were added the visuals were soon standing up for themselves, but there was still something missing. So, with under an hour to spare I finally added the missing piece, audio. The sniffing of nostrils, a steady heart beat and soon my wolf was alive! Furtively sneaking in the shadows, flanking sheep and dodging shot gun shells finally felt like one cohesive experience and I was incredibly relieved to have got it all in before the time was up.


farmer gif small


  • Fun, (kind of). If you set yourself a challenge of killing all the sheep then PROWL can actually get quite addicting. The ‘so close’ factor experienced when you’ve only got a handful of sheep remaining but die after not quite dodging a farmers gunshot can lead to a compulsive playing experience. Unfortunately the beginning of the game is quite slow paced meaning many people may become bored before they discover the true challenge of the game. I’m trying to fix this design flaw in the post-compo version.

The bad:

  • PROWL’s map is quite wide and the sheep are spaced slightly too far apart, meaning there will be times when the player is just drifting in the darkness as they travel to the next flock of sheep. I received a useful comment from Psypol about adjusting the alphas of the sheep dots around the edges to indicate the distance to each sheep. I’ve added this to my post-compo version and so far I’ve found it to be very helpful as it gives the player more of a focus since they can easily identify which sheep is the closest and therefore reduce the amount of time spent wandering in the darkness.




  • PROWL also suffers from appearing too easy at the start of the game. Until the player meets any farmers the challenging aspect of the game remains unclear and it seems as though the game consists of merely chasing sheep unhindered. This is due to farmers being spread quite sparsely across the map. I’m not sure how to fix this yet since I don’t want to just increase the number of farmers as I fear that if the map were to become too crowded it would eliminate the tension that builds up when you haven’t seen a farmer for a while. I’ll have to think about this some more :/
  • A feature I’d like to add is a system that keeps track of your past high score so that you know how close you came to beating your best. Global high scores would also be cool.


On the whole I’ve greatly enjoyed my first Ludum Dare experience and hope to release a post-compo version of PROWL fairly soon.

Thanks for reading, if you want to play prowl you can do so here: Play PROWL

First Ludum Dare complete!

Monday, August 24th, 2015 5:29 pm


PROWL is finished

Very pleased that I actually managed to finish, it was pretty hit and miss at one point but I managed to get some killer code done in the last couple of minutes and avoided any unpredictable bugs popping up. So overall very happy :)

Link to play: Play Prowl

Good luck everyone :)






Twitter: @HThomson_Dev

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