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Lots of progress but still no real game… good times

Posted by
Monday, December 14th, 2015 10:00 am

This LD I am entering into the jam with the help of my brother who will be doing the art assets. Right now I have just a few hours left before the jam is over (since I’m working today) but hopefully we can make it a legitimate entry in time. It’s been a pretty exciting LD for me and I’ve had a lot of fun with this one so far. The basic concept of this game is a monster who loves to eat and just happens to be inside a food production facility. Here are some GIFs with the game’s development progression:


Got IK working with a grab function

Got IK working with a grab function


Got a basic conveyer belt working

Got a basic conveyer belt working


Added some hooks to grab from (...or not to)

Added some hooks to grab from (…or not to grab from)


Created a crankable valve

Created a crankable valve


Created a use for the valve because why not

Created a use for the valve because why not


Got some basic artwork in

Got some basic artwork in


More artwork! (and other small things)


Hope you like the look so far. Once again it’s not finished but hopefully in the last few hours tonight we can make it into a real game. Looking forward to playing all the other LD entries!

First LD Post Mortem! Monster Companion.

Posted by
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 8:44 am

Well it’s been quite fun but also pretty stressful since this LD was my first. To give some context for my post mortem before reading it, you can play my entry here: Monster Companion (sorry the title is horrible lol).

I’ll start by saying that I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve made one social Flash game way back in the day and that was it (and that was with two others). Every other game project I’ve tried to start has been failed attempts upon failed attempts. I figured LD was a good way for me to break out of that habit and finally finish something. However I wasn’t even remotely prepared for how difficult it would be.

As soon as the theme was announced it was 9 PM and I didn’t have a clue what game I wanted to make. And here came my first big mistake. I knew that I would run out of time if I tried to create most things from scratch so I decided to use some third-party assets for Unity. There was this one 2D shadow asset I bought a while ago that I wanted to try so I started fooling around with it. Eventually through trying to learn how to use the asset and getting it to work the way I wanted I had some basic prototype of a lantern that would sway with physics and emit a light that would cast shadows. Cool tech demo, but not a game. It took me all night to do that and it was super late that I don’t even remember, maybe 3 AM or 4 AM and I didn’t have a single thing for my real LD entry. I thought maybe I could make it a game where you (as a monster) have to blow out the lanterns to scare humans but ultimately I just didn’t see any real game materializing out of this tech demo.

The next day I basically gave up on LD since I knew I wouldn’t have enough time so I just took it easy. However there was one game idea that I wanted to try to remake that I never had a chance to, and even though it didn’t match the theme I thought “why not”. I wanted to make a game similar to or even just a remake of Tether which was made in a game jam. If you haven’t played this game with other people you MUST! It’s absolutely a blast.


My inspiration!

As I began creating the fundamentals of the game such as top view 2d physics-based movement with chains connecting two characters I came up with a different idea which was to take some of the fun concepts from Tether but to make it into a single-player game. It was at this point that I thought that perhaps I could actually make a LD game after all. Since I was doing this solo and I’m a complete programmer, I used some sprites and sound fx from assets I’ve bought in the past, and used a song from PremiumBeat.com as a placeholder (which sadly stayed in the game… I should have removed it before entering). Long story short I just started programming this game out and came up with mechanics as I went. It was a horribly thought-out game and aside from the main concept of a pet that would drag you in whichever way it wanted (which may work with you or against you) I didn’t really know what else I was doing. I wanted the pet to have some sort of a personality where if you treated it well it would follow you and if you treated it badly it would hate you and work against you. However since the theme was You are a Monster, I decided to make the pet lend itself towards being used and abused and that’s where the idea of using it as a shield came about. I was able to program one pet that had some sort of decent AI. If it’s happiness level was high it would follow you, if it was moderately happy it would be a dead weight, and if it was very unhappy it would go in the direction opposite of you (fight against you). I also programmed in a “random” state where it would just move in a random direction but it didn’t work well in the game so I took it out. I had such a programming focus that night that I stayed up until 5 AM and finally went to bed after I had a pretty decent prototype of the game… although it wasn’t fun or worth finishing.


The next day I was out most of the day but I was able to finish up some stuff which is where I ended up realizing that the game was not that interesting until I added multiple pets along with enhancements to the AI which allowed the pets to go for nearby food. If they were extremely desperate for food their “food targeting radius” would be much higher. Then the game suddenly became a bit more fun, but there were balance/bug issues that I never ended up fixing (ex. if all the pets are fighting against you they can pull you outside the camera, I’m pretty sure sometimes the AI glitches and they just start pulling you in a random way, etc).

On Monday I went to work and had some last minute things to do before submission. I had to actually make a UI, main screen, create a main game song, high score saving, and fix a few critical bugs. I basically threw together the most disgusting UI and main screen of life which showed your high score but was able to barely get it in before the deadline. I also spent a good hour or two trying to make my own song for the game to replace the placeholder but I realized I don’t have a clue how to make music which I will probably have to learn for next time!

By the end of the submission I was simply exhausted. The Monday I went to work was brutal and I would definitely not do that again. Overall I’ve learned a lot from this and can’t wait for next LD!


Things that went wrong

  1. Trying to come up with a game idea based on a cool graphical feature instead of coming up with a game idea based on a good game mechanic
  2. Lack of sleep
  3. No preparation before the event

Things that went right

  1. I think the game concept and mechanics were pretty decent. It still needs a lot of polish to be fun though.
  2. I finally finished a game project!

Things to do for next time

  1. Try to prepare a few possible game ideas based on the themes in the final round
  2. Possibly prepare some basic framework code that I can reuse in LD (UI code, player input code, high score code, etc)
  3. Sleep and eat well no matter the deadline – it’s not worth it
  4. Instead of rushing to the keyboard to program the game, plan plan plan the game first!

If you actually read all of this, thank you! I’m looking forward to the next LD where hopefully I can improve on everything I did wrong. It’s also super fun playing everyone else’s entries (and seeing how bad mine is in comparison lol). Cheers!

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