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Lost in the Dark, a post mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 10:37 am

This is a post mortem of my LD27 entry Lost in the Dark”, a maze-horror game.


Day 1 (Friday night):
I sat in front of my computer at one o’clock (I live in Iceland) at night when the theme was announced. “10 Seconds” it said. I thought “Oh fudge, this will be hard!” and went into brainstorming mode. I ended up thinking about various concepts revolving around a maze and ten seconds. Since I expected many of the entries to have some maze elements and maybe a “get from here to there in ten seconds!” thing going on I wanted to do something a bit different. I decided on a mechanic where you are walking around a maze but time is an added pressure. maybe the maze will lock up as soon as the time runs out, but I thought ten seconds to complete mazes was too short. The maze would have to be tiny or the controls super fast. I eventually hatched the whole “Repeating darkness for ten seconds and then ever shortening periods of light” which gave the player lots of time to escape the maze. To make things interesting I added a bit of a survival element in it where the player would not be alone in the maze.

I fired up unity, created an empty object and started work on the most important aspect of the game, the maze! I implemented a variation of the sidewinder maze algorithm which resulted in nice tree-like mazes so the path would be pretty clear while the player could easily choose the wrong “branch” of the maze and end up lost.

This would take up the friday night and the first few hours of saturday to complete. But I was satisfied with the result:

Lost in the Dark maze gen

Lost in the Dark maze gen

day 2 (Saturday):
I fired up Blender and quickly mocked up a character model (which ended up staying in the game as seen in the “victory” screenshot:


After the player model was modeled, rigged, textured and a couple of animations hastily thrown in I created a second texture for the zombies which inhabit the maze (green and purple screams “zombie!” right? 😉 ):


After adding a couple of block types (walls, floors) as well I had all my major building blocks set up, now all I needed was the gameplay.

I had rarely used unity3d before this so I had very little idea on how to make the characters actually move. This took a couple of hours to implement.

I added a timer class which would keep track of what should happen when and control the camera angles as well as light intensity levels. When the player enters the game the view is like this:


But every ten seconds he gets a few seconds of “light” which changed the camera angle and illuminated the maze:


This felt right to me. After adding a victory condition “Yay, you got out! Have another level!” and a losing condition “Yay, you lost! Have a death scene!” I had my gameplay set up.

day 3 (Sunday):

With my game almost complete I went ahead and added some atmospheric and smoothing elements (Lerping is easy in unity as I found out that day. It made my “snapping” angle camera transition to the illumination view much smoother) such as zombie speak (Credit for that idea goes to my girlfriend) and tweaking the lighting all I had left was sound, gameplay testing and bug-fixing.

I “bugged” a few of my friends and my girlfriend into playing the game and hunt for bugs. None of them found much  so I chalked that part “done”.

Sounds gave me trouble. I wanted to keep within the spirit of the competition and make everything myself. But everything I attempted to make was crap. In the end I decided against having sounds since no sound does less harm than crap sounds in my opinion. (Many have said in the comments they miss the sound, so I kinda shot myself in the foot there I think 😛 )

The good:
I learned heaps about Unity3D, it is a nifty little toolkit which I see myself using again in the near future. I am also pleased with myself for releasing a “completed” game for once. I usually end up tinkering with the mechanics until my enthusiasm for whatever I am working on is gone.

The bad:
Not many things to be said that went wrong. I almost wish I had changed my entry to be an “jam” entry instead of the 48 hour challenge so I could have added sounds. But hey, I decided to to 48 hours and gosh darnit 48 hours it would be!

All in all this was a good experience. I created a game, learned about unity and had fun :)

My entry page is here (I urge you to try it out and give me a rating/comment).

See you all next time :)

Posted by
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 12:14 pm

I am done for this one. Now I just look forward to a couple of weeks playing other peoples entries.
Here are some screenshots from my entry : Lost in the Dark, A game where you are lost in a maze in which the ten second time period plays a big part in your survival. Will you escape? Or will you become one of… them…?


This was very fun. It was my first time doing a Ludum dare, but I will definately participate in more of them.

Progress, 18 hours into it

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 11:31 am

The concept is going to be simple A maze game where you have a certain time to escape before it locks up, trapping you in there forever… along with zombies!
(I feel like I should have spent more time learning how to use Unity before this, but this is fun :) )

A zombie, AAH!

A test of the maze generator.

In-game gameplay:

Hoping to have all the core gameplay mechanics down by tonight so I have part of the evening and tomorrow to polish things up and maybe add some more content.



First time in Ludum :)

Posted by
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 2:56 am

Well, this should be fun. I have never actually finished a game, nor have I ever attempted to make one in such a short time so this will be fun!

The tools will depend on what direction I will go in depending on the theme.
C++, SDL, Photoshop.

Unity3D, Blender, Photoshop

See ya when the time comes.

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