Ludum Dare 28
Ludum Dare 26
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 17
Ludum Dare 16
About Maple (twitter: @itsMaple)
I like game dev, and the many aspects that come with it, such as programming, art, music - even though I'm not good at it, and game design. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes I like wasting time more. I also like a very wide range of music, I like to skateboard - but I don't get out much, I'm interested in Japanese and Japanese culture, and I like dreams and am fascinated with the human mind, and the unknown. My favourite genre of game is Metroidvania, and I someday hope to create a game worthy of moving someone emotionally in some way.
Forgive me for being ‘that guy’, but as a regular LDer I’ve come to find myself disliking this one particular thing: Titles of links get split between lines! It’s just a small pet peeve of mine, but I was thinking — if the fix is simple enough, and other people aren’t a fan of it either — that it be fixed and titles of links (that go over the edge) instead start a new line. Just a thought I’ve been meaning to bring to your attention. Don’t mind me!
In order for there to be a genuine winning theme, agree or not, I don’t think the previous round’s winners should be public.
I was thinking… There should be an official archive that lists all of each LD’s top 3 games, ranked against eachother based on their overall stat, so then we can see what the highest rated LD games of all time are, and try to make a game better than the best one of all time, which could be up there for a few LDs or something, until a higher rated game is made (which also came 1st, 2nd, or 3rd). It would be a growing list, so each LD, the top 3 games are added to it, in correct place based on their rating (Or top 6 games, if there was a Jam variant of the list too).
This is actually a response to mdkess, but I felt that it should be it’s own post. You may want to read mdkess’ post which can be found here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2012/09/11/on-the-rating-system/
> The other issue that I see is that there’s no guideline for ratings.
There is indeed a guideline. It can be found here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/rules/ (scroll down to “Judging”)
When I’m rating, I don’t think too much. Players don’t think too much when they are playing a game. They either enjoy certain aspects, or not, so I try to reflect this in the way I rate games, in the hopes that the ratings are more authentic. I don’t think too hard about the categories or try to split it up too much in my mind. What you will now read, is merely me trying to analyse the way I think about categories, but when I actually rate them, it’s pretty much by impulse.
Here is how I think/feel about the different categories:
I agree with Codexus on the “Theme” category being weak. The only person really able to know how well they did in Theme, is the person who made the game. In the Judging guidelines, for Theme, it says “How well an entry suits the theme. Do they perhaps do something creative or unexpected with the theme?”. The problem is, if a game is creative and unexpected in it’s use of the theme, people rate it low because it doesn’t seem to follow the theme, or it seems to have used the developer’s warped (when actually potentially creative) view of the theme as an excuse for their implementation of it. In other words, it’s impossible to know if a theme is creative or used as an excuse unless you are the developer, and as a player you can only rate the Theme category with how unoriginal and close to the literal theme as possible, so this is what people do. I personally have a lot of trouble rating Theme, because if it isn’t creative, then I should rate it low according to the Judging guidelines, and if it is creative, I don’t know weather it actually is, or if the theme is just used as an excuse for their game. Perhaps Theme should be rated according to how genuinely it feels like it follows the theme, while on the surface seeming completely unrelated to the theme. Otherwise I just can’t see someone’s Theme rating being helpful to them at all.
So I know I’m talking a lot about the theme category… Here, have some more:
I think themes are a big part of what makes Ludum Dare, so I don’t think the theme category should be taken away necessarily, but maybe something to just keep in mind, is that I don’t think Ludum Dare is here to get people to make sure their game follows the theme. Ludum Dare is here to get people excited about making games, and to actually make one. For some, the theme can be very off-putting because they can’t think of something to make under it. I know people who had an idea for another theme in the voting period, and were excited for it, but just didn’t participate because the winning theme discouraged their idea. While I like there being a focused theme, I think something needs to happen to compensate for people like that. I don’t know what… Perhaps it only needs to be as simple as a small message in the post that announces the theme. I dunno.
I think this is fine, and too unlike theme to be merged. “Have you experienced this before? No? That’s what I thought.”
-Mood and Humour-
I don’t think these should be taken out or merged. A serious or emotion-provoking game can have funny parts or well placed humour. Furthermore, I think Mood is more like “How well did the game make you feel (negative or positive) the way that the game was trying to make you feel?” I think this is completely different to Humour. To me, Mood is a game-long thing, whereas Humour isn’t necessarily so. Humour to me is more like “The parts that were trying (or perhaps not necessarily trying) to be funny, were they funny?”
Fun is… Well, I’ve been rating “Fun” the way that I would rate “Addictive” (but still sort of keeping “Fun” in mind, the same way that with “Audio” you think of music and sound effects separately), if it existed, because in the Judging guidelines it says something like “Did you look up at the clock and realise it was hours later?”. I think addictive, and fun, are two different things. You can be playing a game that is hard to put down (maybe you want to see the ending, so you trudge on), but it isn’t very fun to play. I’ve played many games like this. I think “Fun” is how great it feels to play. Sort of like the mood category, but not directed at how well the feeling of the game manifests within you, instead, how fun the mechanics are. With these thoughts, I believe an “Addictive” category should be added, which is how engaging the game was, and “Fun”, being how good the mechanics felt to play with. Surely Fun can affect Addictive, but a game can be addictive without being fun.
-Graphics and Audio-
I think these are fine as is. I don’t think these should be elaborated on or split up or anything.
So I think I would have the categories presented something like this (perhaps questions should actually be given alongside the category as you are rating them, so that everyone is on the same page?):
-Overall: Generally, how much did you like the experience?
-Theme: How creative, and authentic did the creativeness of, the theme implementation feel?
-Fun: How fun were the gameplay mechanics?
-Addictive: How compelled were you to continue playing?
-Mood: How close did you feel to the way the game was intending (or not so intending) to make you feel?
-Humour: How humourous were the intended (or not so intended) parts or aspects of the game?
-Graphics: How well did you feel the graphics enhanced your experience?
-Audio: How well did you feel the audio enhanced your experience?
Sorry I didn’t post a pre-mortem / “I’m in”. I had planned to… Really!
It doesn’t feel like it, but this has been my 7th Ludum Dare, and as always, I’m satisfied. If you’d like to try my game, you can do so here:
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=1551 ← There is also a timelapse there, but I suggest playing the game first if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Here’s what went down, this Ludum Dare:
– I went to bed at 6am, when the theme was to be announced at 11am. 5 hours sleep.
– I made something and walked around in it for a long time when I could have been expanding what I had.
– I fell asleep at the computer for an hour or so, and then went to bed afterwards at I don’t know what hour, but when I had to wake up, It took me a while for my senses to alert, even though I was consciously trying to focus.
– Finally decided what to do with said thing I made, and started doing it. Started getting tired at about 2am, wasting more time and “play testing” my game. Had to take a break.
– A hot milo didn’t help. Tried to battle the tire because at this point I wasn’t satisfied enough with submitting what I had, and I was worried that if I went to bed I wouldn’t be able to wake up until after Ludum Dare ended. I fell asleep again at the computer.
– Luckily, I woke up probably around 2 hours later and had the alertness required to awkwardly record sound effects, compose a track and add some final touches.
So what can we learn from this series of events? I had one hell of a time. That, and also, something I’m beginning to realise, is just how much more could be accomplished with a focused mind and a plan. I feel I could have done twice as much if I kept a better todo list and had things in the front of my mind to do instead of wasting time playing my unfinished game. Oh, and also having a better rest, like last time. To be fair, I haven’t really made this kind of game before, so I was learning as I made this too. I still look forward to playing the games where everything went right; I don’t think anyone has seen what can truly be achieved with 48 hours, even though so many people leave Ludum Dare in awe.
Well, it’s time to rate more entries.
The theme was to be announced at 11AM where I live, so I had time to walk to the nearest supermarket to do some last minute stocking up while the sky was overcast and the air was still fresh and misty, and get back to eat something I can’t remember if I’ve even experienced before at breakfast time: Bacon and eggs on toast, with juice. I then did some last-minute flicking through of The Game Jam Survival Guide, wrote down somewhat of a plan for the 48 hours which mainly consisted of what I was going to do in the first quarter of Ludum Dare because I didn’t have time to plan much more, and then I uploaded a GameMaker 8.1 (.gm81) file (which contained the stuff needed to play .pttune files) and distributed it in a blog entry on the Ludum Dare website so as to follow the rules like a good boy. Well, I finished posting that blog entry 20 mins in to the 48 hours due to website traffic screwing me over as everyone raced in to check what the theme was (and also due to the fact I am not a fast typer), and didn’t even end up using .pttune files in the actual game. The theme was “Tiny World”.
Dawn of The First Day -48 Hours Remain-
Following the little plan I put together, I did really well to begin with and had a box maneuvering around a test room the way the character does in the final version of the game, and also a way to move on to the next level within the first few hours. I then imported the font I was to use in the game and started displaying a giant number in the background of the levels to show what level the player is currently on, and made a simple rain effect by simply drawing lines at random over a simple gradient background (oh no, two games in a row I’ve used a gradient as a background!). I also made the gems at this point too, which I later changed into keys.
After that I was kinda lost and didn’t know how to make my game idea fit the theme, nor did I know what small step I should take next in moving my game towards the complete idea I had in my mind either. After some pondering I remembered something I learnt myself a while ago that was reiterated to me in The Game Jam Survival Guide: The first thing you should do is make the most basic thing you can call a complete game; something with a menu, a level, a way to win, and a way to lose. It’s here that I added those red dangers and worked on the player respawning via lighting strike (I was going to change the “dangers” into spikes later on, but after I made the first few levels I decided they looked almost like little berries or something on the side of a giant vine, and so I left them like that so it at least looked like you may have been really tiny, because I still didn’t have much of an idea of how I was to tackle the “Tiny World” theme). It’s also here that I worked on the main menu and the most basic tileset which was to be used in the level/s, which I had planned to give some texture or pattern later if I had the time, which I didn’t. I then made the first levels (the green ones), with text showing the player the mechanics that are used in the game, and wasted a bunch of time sitting there playing through what I had made while thinking of what to do next. It was getting late, so I slept on it.
Dawn of The Second Day -24 Hours Remain-
I woke early, shaved early, clipped my nails early, and showered early, whilst gathering in my mind some sort of plan for the morning to follow through with until I was to attend church. As planned, I jumped onto the computer, programmed the file saving system including the saving of best runs and displaying of the stats on the title menu, and I made character sprites and got them displaying properly in place of the character hitbox, then I left for church.
In the afternoon after a bit of food, It was time to get back into it. I made the mini intro cutscene where you see yourself running across the screen and jumping over the red dangers, and I made the ending level and the ending mini cutscene, turned the gems into keys, and made the Congratulations screen which follows, displaying the stats of that run. The game could now be called done; I now had the basic framework of the game complete.
It was time to add sound, music, and wrap it all up with a few more levels. To start off, I tried to get .pttune files playing in the game. After I did this, I decided I didn’t have time to make my own music anyway, and then cut out the .pttune functionality from the game, made the rain sound effect in Pxtone which I exported to .wav and softened with GameMaker’s inbuilt basic sound manipulation stuff, then moved on to making the rest of the sound effects with SFXR, alongside the running game, to try to get sounds that I thought fit well. I was very happy with how the lightning sound effect turned out. I then did the same thing with Autotracker-bu and music; I generated about 20 tracks and played the game with the rain sound and other sound effects implemented while listening to the tracks, and eliminating ones I thought didn’t feel right, until I ended up with the tracks you hear in the game now, after converting the .it files to .wav and then to .mp3. It was time to make levels until the submission time. I had work the next day, so submission time for me was before I went to bed.
Before designing levels, I thought I should gauge how difficult I was making them by testing the limits of the physics. For example, I knew that the player could jump x blocks high, and jump x blocks far, and how far the player could jump, and the limits of where they could land by running off a platform and holding right, etc (You can actually see me testing this in the timelapse. You can see I make a room with purple tiles laid out like a grid. I was using that grid of tiles as a way of measuring the distance that the different maneuvers take you in different situations). I would then use this information to know how hard I was making levels. For example if I wanted to make an easy level, knowing that the player can jump x blocks high, maybe all of the jumps in an easy level should only require the player to jump half that high, so as to make it easy, and more difficult levels would require the player to jump with more precision to make jumps. This testing was all well and good, and probably would have gotten somewhere, but there was just no way I’d be able to properly design levels using this distance counting method in the time I had left, so I stopped with that and just hurried on to making levels. I was aiming to make 20, but I realised they were all going to be crap If I just rushed them out like that. I had rushed out the 5 yellow stages just then, guessing how hard the jumps were that I was making the player traverse, and they didn’t turn out very unique or good in my opinion, so I decided to cut the levels down to 15 and just have some fun with the last 5 levels (also disregarding the testing I did, and just winging it and playtesting). As I was making the levels, I made it so that each set of 5 levels had their own architecture, which I thought ended up alright. The green ones I threw the blocks around in a mountainous, curvacious fashion like a forest, while you can see the yellow section had all platforms that weird shape, and the blue world had levels structured like buildings.
I then played the game through just as a general sort of sweep, to catch any obvious problems with it to fix before I uploaded, but all was good, so then I wrote up my submission and submitted my entry. It was late. I was happy with my game. It was time for bed.
What Went Right
– I did plan at least a little bit before the start of the 48 hours.
– I went to bed on time and woke up refreshed, early.
– I stayed in familiar territory in regards to the character spriting, and as such was able to do that rather fast.
– I made something that was “complete” early, allowing me to choose how to refine my game in the spare time I had left over.
– Deciding to let Autotracker-bu handle the music meant that I was able to spend more time making levels.
What Went Wrong / Amending mistakes
– I could have planned much more than I did prior to Ludum Dare. I was lost a few times during the 48 hours and wasted time trying to decide what to do next when I could have been progressing the game.
– It is still a habit of mine to playtest more than needs be, procrastinating and wasting time that could be used developing the game (This being said, overall I was rather happy with my low procrastination levels this Ludum Dare).
– I wasted a lot of time doing things that didn’t make it into the final game, like fiddling around with Pxtone and testing the limits of the physics. This could have been better anticipated.
– I was testing the physics so that I could develop levels to be a specific level of difficulty, but because I didn’t use that information and just powered on to making as many levels as I could, I got so into making the difficult path for the 5 blue levels super amazing that I forgot to make the easy path of those blue levels actually easy. I really wanted to make it so that most people would be able to beat the game, but I got carried away and as such, a very small percentage of people have actually beaten it, and that is by taking the ‘easy’ route. I should have thought more and had better control over the difficulty curve I was feeding down the player’s throat.
– I uh, also could have bought less food or something. I still had more than half of the stuff I got for the weekend still sitting in the fridge.
I’m fairly certain that I could have made my entry in half of the time with all of my mistakes amended and a little bit of speed-dev practice down. I should probably make typing with all of my fingers a habit too. With a bit of practice, I believe the same sort of game with better graphics, gameplay, homemade music, and added wildlife or enemies is fairly doable by one person in 48 hours. I look forward to being blown away by entries like these. Until then, put down your glasses and let your eyes recover from the wall of text I threw into them.
(…Holy crap, did I just write a 2000 word essay?…)
Roughly 10 hours left for me after I wake up. Let’s see how I go.
I’ll be using the following during this Ludum Dare:
Game Maker 8.1
Paint.net for graphics
SFXR for sound
Either Pxtone (if I have time) or Autotracker-bu for music
This Game Maker 8.1 file which has everything you need to play .pttune files with Game Maker (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6478756/Misc/pxtone.gm81)
Annnnnd I think that’s about it.
See you all on the battle field. Good luck!
Here’s a quick screenshot of the game I’ve got going for this Ludum Dare ;3 Hopefully I get it finished in time.
Okay, ANOTHER BUG was fixed. you can now (finally) beat the game. I’ve played it through ;3
Also, i was planning on keeping this a secret but i cant hold exciting things in for long >_<
A secret path!? Could it be?!
Oh, and by the way, if anyone liked that font i made and used in my game, you can download that here.
I fixed everything and made the entry more readable / aesthetic. Also uploaded the Source.
Okay so i just woke up after my long period of post-LD sleep and i discovered the the goal of my game (collecting the 4 heart pieces) is unacheivable because you cant move between rooms smothely and you get stuck in walls. i think i know how to fix it (i didnt have this problem before, and that is why i submitted it without checking) and just then i found this:
“After the deadline, we do allow bugfixes. You’re allowed to fix any bugs that stop a player from playing or finishing your game. Make your fixes and upload/edit your entry as appropriate.
New content however is outside the scope of what’s considered a bugfix. You’re welcome to and encouraged to make a “post compo” version of your game after the deadline. Feel free to edit your entry post and make a new posting on the blog to tell us about it.”
So please tell me, am i able to fix this and resubmit it now?