About johndb (twitter: @johndeboer)

I'm a software developer in west Michigan, and a new hobby for me is making games.

For 2013 I am taking part in #onegameamonth to get as much practice as possible, I hope it goes well!


Ludum Dare 25

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Goombah! Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @johndeboer)
Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 8:47 am

LD #25 was significant for me.  Not only did I submit my first entry to the compo, it is the first time that I have created a game and put it up for anyone in the world to play.  The feedback in the comments has been fantastic, and I’m kicking myself for not having participated sooner.

Take a minute and try Goombah! here.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the theme announcement was to focus on a grand villain – Darth Vader, Genghis Khan, Kane, etc.  The second thing I thought of was stupid and funny.  I went with that.

It’s hard out there for a goomba.  He sits on a little platform, waiting patiently for the plumber to show up, at which time mr. goomba either gets stepped on or walks off a ledge.  I didn’t want to make the game quite that boring, so I took out the ledges and provided an endless stream of jumping men to avoid.  The goomba’s chances of survival are still slim, but at least it is interesting!

What went well

  • Kept it simple – I had a simple design that was not too difficult to implement in a few hours.  I considered adding game play features, but focused instead on making everything look nice and by the time I could have come back to changing game play it was time to submit.
  • Flashpunk – The only exposure I had to flash development before the compo was running through the flashpunk tutorial.  For me it was a great place to start, and that engine is a snap to use!
  • Draw first – I am not what you would call an artistically gifted man.  I spent the first hour or two in GIMP drawing out the sprites for the game, so that I knew they were done and did not have to worry about the art while I was working on the code.  If I had done it the other way around, I’m not sure my placeholder art (colored squares) would have ever been replaced.
  • Submit early – I submitted the game early on Sunday because I had other obligations, and at that time only a few dozen games total had been submitted.  I know they don’t count for scoring, but almost 50 people had played my game before the end of the day.  That’s just cool.

What could be better

  • Levels – One thing I would have liked would be to add some variety to the game by having different platform configurations to mix up the game play.  The game works, but does get boring pretty quickly.
  • Interface – An actual menu, instructions screen, and game over screen would be nice to have in there.  The text elements up top were a last minute addition, and while I think they do the job it could be better.
  • Frame based motion – I would much rather have implemented motion based on actual elapsed time, but started the game by implementing motion based on number of frames passed.  Around hour 5 I realized that this could be an issue, but never managed to go back and rework it.  Next time, I’ll start the right way.

Having actually made a game in a weekend, and then having so many people play and comment on that game has been a great experience.  And to everyone who has played and commented on my entry, thank you!

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