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Yet another post mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 8:20 pm

So this was an interesting dare.

The theme made for a very difficult start to the weekend and I was simply not ready.

I’m usually really good with coming up with an idea at the very least, but this time was different. I kept thinking of totally new things, none of which were amazing.

I spent the first two hours drafting my first idea, and the next six working on it before hitting a snag and deciding that no, this idea will not do. Panicking I began a new project based on a backup idea I had from a while back. But that turned out just as bad with me abandoning it just after the 24 hour mark.

Just when I was ready to give up a new idea hit me, not bad I thought, and got to work. If this was a Hollywood film, there’d be a montage scene for my next six hours, where I powered through and coded like a madman. With under 12 hours to go I had the basis for my game and just needed some graphics, sounds, and UI.

This was my first major attempt at making a game without a large engine (such as Unity), using Processing for graphics (Java) all I had to do was…everything else. And it was a blast.

Things that went right:

  • The theme allowed me to not worry too much about graphics and sound, I could make some small stuff and call it a day.
  • Developing without an engine allowed me to have much greater control over development, it’s a lot of work but quite rewarding.
  • I like Java programming.

Things that went wrong:

  • It took less than 12 hours to make this game, but I really wish I came up with this idea at the start.
  • Even thought I made what I wanted, it was originally a slightly different idea and had to be adapted when certain things just didn’t work (and when I didn’t have the time to fix said bugs)

My game, Don’t Get Wet, is available here, and I hope to soon have an Android port up and running.

Don't Get Wet

What do we learn during a dare?

Posted by
Monday, December 17th, 2012 1:19 am

My second Ludum Dare and can already see how much I’ve improved relative to my last attempt.

Between my last dare and this one, my skills as a programmer and games developer have certainly improved, which is reflected in my entry. But yet again I need to face the fact that 48 hours isn’t a lot of time, and I need to scope and prioritize my project accordingly. That means cut that one mechanic you’ve been working on for hours due to one elusive bug and get to work on graphics and sound.

Seriously people, I cannot emphasis it enough, the graphics and the sound are among the most important features in the game. It doesn’t have to be flawless art but choose a scheme/color palette and follow it. And there is always a lot more of it then you think, get to work early.

But I’ve also learn’t that I can accomplish so much more using a develop as you think approach, rather then spending the first few hours of the dare simply planning out an idea with pen and paper. My game didn’t take shape until at least 20 hours in when I finally decided on an art-style and began work on some graphical assets. I also finally took the time to learn to make particle effects (about damn time), which is good, because the best ways you can improve the feel of your game is particles, sounds, and game reactions (environment or npc). Oh and I’ve been reminded just how much I love doing AI work, I regret that I wasn’t able to find the time to code something a bit more complicated for my npc’s.

However I managed to complete enough to be proud to submit my work, you can find my game, Crustacean Chaos, by following this link.

All in all it’s been a lot of fun and I can’t wait until the next one.

Crustacean Chaos

The things we do in the name of Ludum Dare…

Posted by
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 11:25 pm

So, I’ve completed my very first Ludum Dare, and I must say, I’ve learnt a great deal about the game development process.

First and foremost, you can view my entry (We Fall Again) from this link.

 

It didn’t take me long to come up with a well thought out and intriguing idea, but damn, was I in for a treat when I discovered that there was no way I was going to implement everything I set out to do.

Establishing the core mechanics and gameplay wasn’t hard, despite minor setbacks I thought I was on track and possibly even ahead of schedule by the 12 hour mark. This was not the case, but I didn’t realise, so at this stage I thought I could slow down a bit.

While I had completed the majority of the technical work by the first night (In Australia, the competition started 11 am Saturday) I thought I’d stay up and try pull an all nighter, only after midnight did issues start to arise, I won’t bore you with the details but here is a rough rundown of the things I’ll be paying more attention to for future Ludum Dares:

  • Sound design – in order to get this right (especially in a game where the sound will make or break it) this must be considered early and refined extensively, dedicate a good portion of your time to sound, if you believe you require it.
  • Graphical assets – being a programmer at heart, this was the first time I seriously had to make my own graphical assets, and let me tell you, it’s damn hard to find which colour palettes ‘work’ with the atmosphere of your game and what kind of artstyle won’t look out of place in your environment. Less is more is the lesson I learn’t too late.
  • Menu’s, GUI’s, introductions, and formalities – you never consider putting in a credits page until the end right? While you shouldn’t be dedicating too much precious time to the little things, remember to consider them and be ready to implement at a moments notice.
  • Finally, be sure the player has a clear view of what the goal of your game is – I found that my game was a bit difficult to understand a bit too late, and in my haste to correct and clarify the objective(s) I believe I actually ‘damaged’ my creation. :(

Overall the challenge was a lot of fun and I really look forward to the next Ludum Dare, I hope to be able to compare my next games to this one and think “I sure have come a long way since then”.

 

All the best everyone!

Komradus signing out.

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