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ExtraVertical – AfterThoughts

Posted by
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 12:25 am

Brain finally returning to normal. That was an interesting weekend. I kept track of my hours in notepad – turns out I worked about 39 of the possible 48 hours. And I started about an hour and a half late. That was a week’s work in two days!

So my game is ExtraVertical (http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=rate&uid=7598). I wanted to do something different, as I suspected there would be countless platformer and ‘explore the dark caves/tunnel’ games. So I decided to make a skiing game, with an 80’s flair. My game also doesn’t really have a proper scoring mechanic or goal – it’s more a short exploration into my interpretation of the theme.

ExtraVertical - The play on words that no one will get


What Went Well:

-I had the complete concept in my head from the beginning. I knew exactly how I wanted it to play out, from beginning to end. This has been a problem in the past, as I’ve had half baked ideas that I thought would be fun, but after early implementation, discovered that the mechanic doesn’t fully hold water and needs a lot of rethinking to make it work.

-The graphics. I’ve not done a game with pixel art before, and there’s only a bit in this game, but the feel of it worked out better than expected, and using a small color palette for all the colors gave it somewhat of a consistent feeling.

-The Slick2D game library, which I had never even heard of before this competition actually worked out quite well with only minor issues. Once I had everything setup to build and deploy (more on that later), no major issues were encountered.

What Went Wrong:

-This was my first Ludum Dare. And despite reading how strongly┬ápeople recommended familiarizing yourself with your tools and getting your workflow from compilation to deployment nailed ahead of time, I totally under-prepared. I had not really used Java in about 5 years. I had never even heard of this Slick2D game library I used, nevermind used it. I hadn’t used either of the paint programs I worked with (Paint.NET, and then after finding no palette support, switching to GIMP, which is quite frustrating in its own right). I hadn’t used GarageBand. Or deployed with Java Web Start.

I did try to prepare though. In the few days leading up to the competition I attempted to get some test code to deploy with Java Web Start, but was totally unsuccessful and left clueless as to how to fix it. So, sitting down at my computer an hour and a half after the competition started, I was left to try and figure it out. It took me about 4 hours to finally get it to deploy from the web. Turns out you need to SIGN THE F*CKING JAR FILES. Sorry for that.

-While the interpretation of the theme made sense in my head, it didn’t translate into a very understandable mechanic in the game. I’ll try to explain: you’re an extroverted ‘hotshot’ who needs the admiration and attention of others to be happy. Without it, you feel desperately alone and unwanted. Unfortunately, in the game, this theme isn’t obvious, and makes the game’s ‘scoring’ and end-game mechanic confusing. I don’t think people get the title either…

-And as always, the game could have benefited from more gameplay polish and content. But everyone can say that I’m sure.

That’s it! Cheers to everyone who participated, it was one of the most intense, stressful and fun experiences I’ve had and will definitely not be my last contribution. Looking forward to playing everyone’s games!

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