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A Victorian Circus Post-Mortem

Posted by
Sunday, December 28th, 2014 5:35 pm

What went right:

-Deciding the idea

The idea creation process was very efficient, we used 2 hours and came up with around 9 possible ideas for our theme. Many which were more interesting in a game mechanics perspective but Ludum Dare is about giving a laugh for people who have about 30 second to test your game and move to test the next one :). We chose the game idea which had inspired our artist the most. Also having combination mechanics means that when you add 1 asset, the combination amount grows to the power of 2!


We agreed with our programmer to do the whole jam process twice on Thursday. I went through the design of 12 random game ideas,, used 15 minutes for each. We then picked one, made a proto in 3 hours then picked a second idea, made again a proto in 3 hours, this time including the artist to the process. We got all our tools ready, version control, animation software, unity etc… We ran into troubles that would have been infuriating during the Jam.

-Art style

The idea we picked up had the art style almost defined in it. It was efficient to create a lot of assets yet still be original. Our Artist delivered on the whole thing and our Jam entry ended-up relying almost entirely on his art! A big plus for his quirky sense of humor! Not only the art style is great but it is so interesting that we have to reuse those assets and try to make completely different games out of them! The universe, the brand, the moneeeee, muahah!

-Post-Jam dev

Now, this is were things get interesting. We run a small indie studio and wanted to see what could we publish in 3 weeks. This was a perfect occasion to try. Having just worked 1.5 years on our previous game, we felt so good about just going for it. Not worrying about every single details. We just want it out there by the time the Ludum Dare voting closes. We managed to implement pretty much everything a minimum viable product needs and we know that if the engagement is at the right level, we can push the development further. If people don’t like it, then we move on, no harm done.

What went wrong:

-Game play added last

We knew what we want to do, we made good progress the first two days but we didn’t put any game mechanics, as we were focused on all the assets that were coming at us so fast. Making nice scenes with little animations here and there… The second day went for me me all into animating the animal, not very optimally. The third day was supposed to be 100% for the game play but even then… the first time I played the game we had discuss doing was about 4 hours before the deadline and then all the animation imports were corrupted by unity and there was either no challenge at all, or way too hard to get anywhere.

So like always the game was impossible to play, and if you master it, you’d discover maybe 4 animals out of 11 we used all our time on… Which bring us to our next point.

-Too many assets for a concept

The animals looked so cool combined strangely, that it became a game to invent new animals that would come out interesting… The we had to have a clown, then we needed a toucan… We ended up having animals that needed custom animations.. Some had extra neck parts, some animals have knees, some have elbows, which inverts totally the way they walk and I had never animated anything walking!

-Discover the limit of you tools

Making the animation was half of the trouble, because, of course, the first one you make, works perfectly. Then you start duplicating and replacing assets and the file grows and you start to run into those little bugs of pre-alpha libraries have tons of. Unity would always corrupt like 75% of the animation, having double heads on the dash animation, some animation missing big parts of the corpse… It was unwanted chaos after a full day of animating. It felt devastating. It was supposed to work like a charm.

-Game Design

We wanted simple, easy to understand. We didn’t play in the Jam spirit. We didn’t explore any wacky game mechanics. We did some +1 design. Take a runner, bring one new aspect, try how it turns out. We wanted to see what can come out from those combined animals but we never really focused on the game design itself. This would have to wait after the jam. The next prototype will make use of those asset and will explore new game mechanics, but for now, that would be all from me. Thank for reading so far!


TRY IT, our post jam version is one day away from the release now :)!!


A Victorian Circus has arrived in town

Posted by
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 6:58 am



Shortly after the explosion at the zoo, the market price of dead animal parts plummeted and a surgeon starts to fulfill his childhood dream of running a Circus.

Rumours has it that the circus also has human parts from a Clown Car Accident…


Some will accuse our journal of photoshopping the evidence but I think you are the best witness.

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=31361 (the balance is a bit off as we forgot to push our last balance changes to the game, there are plenty of animals to unlock if you manage to go far enough!)


I shall raise my top hat to our fantastic artist and friend, Emilien Rotival, Don’t think twice who you hire as your freelance artist!



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