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Bad Guy’s Terrarium Postmortem

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 5:14 pm

I got two ideas for the theme: “Beneath the surface”

  • The first one was a word play: “Beneath the surf Ace” – A surf game.
  • The second idea was making a Dungeon Simulator game

I had seen videos of “What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord?“, a game that only exists for the PSP, and had wanted to do something similar for the PC.

I should have gone with the surf idea. California Games, the first videogame about surf, did it great. I could have concocted something similar (with mutant crabs or something).

But I was ambitious, and I bit off more than I could chew.

The original idea was creating an ecosystem – there’s food in the soil. While creating your dungeon, you digg that soil. When soil with nutrients is digged out, a creature is created. The more food there is, the more powerful the creature is. But there’s a food chain: slugs are at the bottom, and are the only ones capable of consuming food directly from soil. Rats eat slugs. And goblins eat rats. If a creature doesn’t eat, it eventually dies. Some creatures release nutrients when they die.

In time, enemies (heroes) attack your dungeon, and your creatures must defend it. But I never got to that point. I never even finished modelling the food chain – my rats don’t eat slugs, and my demons don’t eat rats. They just wander around until they die xD. And heros never come.

So, instead of a dungeon simulator, I built a terrarium – an ant farm.



At least it’s an improvement over my previous try – I have some programmer graphics to show, and the game is, if not properly fun, at least vaguely interesting. My wife thinks the rats are incredibly cute.

What’s missing:

  • Rats and Goblins should eat.
  • Enemies should enter the dungeon every x time.
  • Intro screen.
  • Sound.
  • Some kind of score system
  • Mana and the creatures derived from it

Lessons learned:

  • When you get two ideas, pick the one that looks simpler to implement. You can build the cool one later, out of the compo’s clock. It’s only 2 days.
  • Art: I am not good at it. Nor fast. That 4-frames walking animation could probably have been 2 frames instead. 3 colors is more than enough for any monster. Don’t try to use a new tool in a compo.
  • I can’t write “fast but ugly” code to save my life. Clean code actually saved me more often than not.
  • I’m old and I need rest. I watched 3 episodes of Breaking Bad and slept around 14 hours in total.
  • Being able to do the game in small increments, and test what worked etc, was crucial.
  • I lost too much time on initial infrastructure.

My entry is here:


I don’t expect you to vote up something so clearly unfinished, but a comment saying how cute my rats are would be appreciated.


I am in

Posted by
Friday, April 25th, 2014 7:19 am

I intend to fail again at Ludum Dare.

The tools I will use for failing:

My failure plan is timeboxed:

  • Go to bed early on Friday – LD starts at 3 in the morning for me 😀
  • Wake up early on saturday. Plan game until breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Saturday evening: Have a bunch of squares moving around
  • Sunday morning: Paint graphics
  • Sunday evening: Sound, menus and music, in that order, and if possible

Totally optimistic, but that’s the spirit, eh?

Fay: A “faylure” (post-mortem post)

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 6:24 pm

The game premise I came out with was nice: you are Morgana le Fay, and must kill everyone in Camelot.

I had a reasonable design idea in the first 2-3 hours of the post; Morgana was going to have only two powers: Blinking and possessing her enemies.

Unfortunately t I failed to get something playable and finished on time. I made lots of mistakes that have contributed to this but the most important one (IMHO) was that I left the main gameplay element (possession) to the last. The second one was that when I realised that the game structure I had didn’t allow possessing the way I wanted, I thought “I will fix it in 1 or 2 hours…”. I should have adapted the design to the new constraint instead – “if Morgana can’t possess, maybe she can throw fireballs or something”. I obsessed over possession, and hours went by. I still have not finished it.

I don’t have pretty graphics to show, since I didn’t even start with the graphics (or sound); here is how it looks:

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 2.14.37 AM


The source code is on github: https://github.com/kikito/fay

I’m not going to post a .love file, because I consider it too raw for being playable.

My experience has been painful, and not very pleasant, to be honest. I’m not sure I will be back on future compos. But I’ve learned a lot, and even could find some places to improve in my own libs.

Good night!


I’m in – kikito

Posted by
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 4:45 am

I’m kikito, from the LÖVE forums, and I’m joining this compo for the first time.

For coding, I will be using LÖVE as my engine of choice. I’m quite sure I will use some of the open source libraries I’ve published on my github page. My initial release will be a .love file, and I will try to port it to windows once the compo is over.

Art-wise, If I’m not able to get away with simple graphical primitives (rectangles, circles, lines, etc), I will try to get as much as I can from freely available repositories of graphics/sounds and generators. I will commit produce original art only as a last resort. For your own shake.

Communication-wise, I don’t plan to post here very often during the compo itself. Maybe one post during the development, and one post-mortem.



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