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Awarded by tinyworlds
on May 1, 2013

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Little teaser screenshot

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 7:50 am

ss

I have everything ready except music

Posted by
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:43 am

And I kinda suck at music. I have been experimenting with wolfram tones for a while, but still am not satisfied.

 

Anybody got any tips?

So some screenshots to show my progress

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 3:30 pm

So I thought some of you would be interested in seeing what other people would come up with.

Below is a screenshot of the only real level in my game, a simple platformer

screenshot104

Basicly the aim is to try and collect the “coins” (colored blocks) before the 10 seconds run out

screenshot105

 

After the ten second you are given the option to upgrade your abilities, which in turn allow you to move faster and jump higher

screenshot103

Now the goal of the game is to reach the end of the level, however in the beginning you are to slow to reach it in 10 seconds.

Personally I am not completely satisfied as I feel the concept is both not that original (I really could not think of anything else) and the game is a little bit to frustrating (hard) and I dont know how to fix the second part.

I was thinking of adding 2 difficulties, one 10 second per live and one easy more where you are given 10 seconds of “valve time” so that you have some more time if you fail to often.

Anyway, tomorrow I will probably make a proper ending and title screen, add sound and music and polish everything up.

Between the lines Post mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 1:17 pm

 

After having submitted my first game for Ludum dare, now my first post mortem.

screenshot101

Overall I must say, it was a heck of a lot of fun. Also things went surprisingly better than expected. I was expecting my game to be mediocre, seeing as how this is my first ever fully completed game. However it got a lot of responses and most of them were quite positive. I even got on the 50 most commented games list

What went right

  • Theme. I personally thought the theme was horrible and way too open to be creative with when starting. (Still do.) I just started making a simple platformer, because I knew how to do it and just made it somewhat like the theme. (taking inspirating from simple google searches). After a while I still didn’t have a better idea so I just kept the platformer and expanded it.
  • Gameplay. My game is basicly a simple platformer with one special mechanic; the ability to become intangible and fall through platforms, wall and ceilings. I personally thought this was a very simple and not that special idea. However there were several comments about how people thought the mechanic was really good.
  • Time managment. I thought I would be working on this until a few hours or perhaps even minutes till the deadline, but I found myself reaching all of my set goals with still 14 hours left. This was very nice because it gave me the ability to fix a few mistakes which I found later.
  • Graphics. I probably spend about have the time I spend on this game on improving the graphics and the end result is quite pleasing. I ended up using a new techinique using scanned paper and it gave a very real look. If you want a full post explaining the steps I took to get this look, leave a comment and I will give a full explanation.
  • Potatoes. I added some potatoes as collectables as a joke. However I later found I always wanted to try and get all potatoes (even though I was playtesting and really should just test the level normally). Here is a hint to all ludem darers: add collectables. I also added a counted on the final screen to show how many you found, this added a reason to replay the game and try to find them all.
  • Polishing. This is probably the most important lesson learned from ludem dare. Having a polished game is very fucking important. It doesn’t if you have a 1000 levels or the greatest sound effects. A short, well polished game is much more pleasing than a prototype which might get good if you put some time in it. Also because I had a reasonably polished game after the first day, I could set myself a list of standards I wanted my game to meet. That way I could focus on the most important parts and get the game ready very quickly. The take home message: Make your game presentable (loading screen, main menu, playable levels, ending screen) as soon as posible as it will help you smooth the rest of the game creation.
  • A skip level button. After having everything polished, I had a fun little easter egg ending. However some of my levels were a bit hard, but I still wanted everybody to see the ending. So I added a skip level button. This was later appreciated by a few commenters, but was not something I would have added if I didn’t have an ending in place already.
  • The tutorials. I wanted to tutorials that explains that had as few words as possible and did not restrict players at all. I personally hate it when a game comes with a wall of text and has you tediously forcing you to do all kinds of things exactly as said. Below is a picture of the first tutorial level. (It is also the first level after the title screen if you want to try it out.)

This level is supposed to teach you the following

  1. You move the little block
  2. Left arrow moves you left
  3. Right arrow moves you right
  4. You cannot normally move through the black, but you can through the red,blue and yellow
  5. If you touch red,blue or yellow, that color is added to your sprite
  6. If you have all three colors, you go to the next level

I ended up conveying all this information in no more than 0 words and 2 symbols.

screenshot102

The player start out right below the symbol for the right arrow key, the above screenshot is of the end of the level. Now let’s pretend the person playing this level does not guess how the game works. Of course the first thing most people do is randomly press some buttons, but hopefully they will see the little symbol which is supposed to represent the right arrow key. So eventually they will press the right key. They will see the player sprite move. (As it is the only thing that moves in this level) and will learn 1. and 3. However the player will eventually reach the red area. Since the player does not know how to jump yet, he will fall through the red, teaching him 4. However since he will automatically touch red, red will be added to the sprite. After falling through the red, there is a little opening. This is so the player had a clear view of the sprite and can see that the sprite now contains red, teaching him 5. Also now the player when trying to go right will eventually run into a wall, forcing him to try something else and press the left arrow keys , because that is the other symbol on screen. Now the player learns 2. Of course, the player may now expect to gain both blue and yellow as he passed through them. If the player missed that the sprite contains red, after collecting all three colors, the sprite looks noticibly differenct is surround by a large volume of white so it should be obvious all three colors are collected. After that I purposfully added a delay before going to the next level. If I didn’t players may not notice all 3 colors being collected or may mistake just touching blue as the end condition. After a short delay the level fades into the next level and the player learns 6. There are several “tutorial” levels spread throughout the game. I placed only the bare minimum at the beginning, because otherwise it might become tedious and only added tutorials for new mechanics right before there were normal levels utilizing that mechanic. I personally think good tutorials are important, because if you can make a tutorial without restricting the player to something like having to read textboxes or something like that, it makes the game much more fun. It’s a shame so many modern games do it wrong. If you a good example of a commercial game that it right, have a look at this analysis of megaman x

What went wrong

  • Playtesting. I was the only one who played the game before releasing it. This was a big mistake as some of the first comments pointed out some obvious mistakes which a simple playtest by a third-party would have pointed out. Luckely I released well before the deadline, so I was this able to make some adjustements.
  • Sound. I could not get the sound effects to play at the same time as the music, so I ended up dropping the sound effects in favor of the music.

Plans for the next ludum dare

I enjoyed this ludum dare a lot and kept it simple because my main goal was to actually finish a game so I kept it simple and use only simple tools. For the next ludum dare I will probably set myself a bit of challenge and try to do something more difficult. I will probably make my own game engine the next time beforehand (and release it publicly so other ludem darers can use it too) so I will be able to do some more daring things, that I would otherwise not have the time for if I did them from scratch.

Maybe a silly question

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 2:43 pm

I have been looking but could not figure it out. How do I change my profile picture?

Finished

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 7:08 am

screenshot110

Done,

My game is done way ahead of time. It took me 17 Hours, 24 Minutes and 37 Seconds of total work (according to my twitch stream) and there were still 14 hours in the competition left when I was done.

You can find it her:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=20699

if you want to try it out.

You can find my progress of yesterday here:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2013/04/27/everything-went-better-than-expected-2/

What I changed since yesterday:

1.Graphics

First image are the old graphics, second image is the new graphics

screenshot102 screenshot112

 

Basicly I added more shadows. I have written my own “Lightning engine”. It is very simplistic, but looks quite nice. This is basicly what it does

1. Add a drop shadow for all static objects (black,blue,red and yellow areas). This is done at runtime by calculated them and placing tiles below them.

2. Add an shadow object to each moving thing (player and potatoes) and have it move relative to the light source and object. Right now the light source is the center of the screen. This takes very few resources as there are usually at most 2 objects moving object onscreen.

3. Add a filter over everything that darkens the edges and keeps the center bright. For some reason this makes things look better.

I also added the following which doesnt show up in screenshot that well

1.Particle effects when jumping. Since I could not get sound effect to work together with music, I decided to drop them. To give some feedback to the user I decided to add some particle effect to let the player know they jumped.

2. Squishiness, basically the player will change dimensions slightly when jumping, running and landing to make the player look more “alive”

Moar blocks

Because I had trouble making enough levels, I decided to add some more mechanics. I added the purple area, which when you touch it causes instant failure so You have to move around them. I also added a green “Portal” area. Basically each green block is point to another green block and when you touch it you are teleported to the other block it points to. It allowed for some interesting levels. Also the green blocks are capable of changing your velocity, so making a green block point to itself effectively  allows you to launch the player.

Moar potatoes (and more levels)

Yesterday I had 15 levels, Today I have upped that to 32. Also there are now 42 collectable potatoes and they are quite challenging to get, so it adds some replay value. Right now it has more than enough levels. It took me 11 minutes to finish the entire game. Which means it is more than enough for a player new to my game. Also I think some of my levels may be too hard, so I made a skip level button appear after you died a few times to allow everybody to reach the ending.

Sound

I forgot to mention this in my previous post, but I suck at music. So I used freely avaible music in my game. For my game I used music by Kevin Macleod (http://incompetech.com/) who is so awesome that he lets anyone use his music as long as you give proper credits.

 

Everything went better than expected

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 8:41 am

Today I woke up early to start Ludum dare. I had seen the previous polls and was sure the theme would be either destruction and creation or afterlife, So I already had an idea of what I wanted. My original plan was to make a platformer based around explosives set in hell where the goal was to bomb yourself out of hell.

Then I red my email: the theme was minimalism. This I did not like at all, not only were my ideas useful, I could not think of anything interesting to do so I simply started googling a bit. After a while I tried imitating Piet Mondriaanand I got something looking like this.

scr

After that I started implementing the mechanics; Normally you cannot pass through the black lines and you must have touched both the red, blue and yellow parts to go to the next level. By pressing a key you can slip through the black lines, but If you make a mistake you fall off the screen and have to redo the level (not that the levels take very long). After some time I had the genius of laying a piece of paper under the printer. I then used my gimp skills and improved the graphics by making every texture based on paper. (also added custom shadows, but they are subtle). The same level as above looks like this now:

screenshot108

 

(There actually is a potato hidden in that level, but it’s hard to find).This actually looks presentable, and I choose to stick with this style. I have also already settled on the name: “Between the Lines”. My main concern is that since I have started many games, but never finished one, I might end up with an unfinished game. So I put a lot of focus in making the game presentable.

screenshot101

 

I succeeded. I have a custom loading screen, a “Menu” an ending and have even implemented the potato sub-theme. Here is a screenshot of my collecting a potato.

screenshot104

 

The good news is that the Game is going pretty well and could already be submitted.

The bad news is that it is still kinda short. I would like to make the game have 30 levels. Right now there are 15 levels and I can finish the game in about two minutes, which means that a new player would probably take 10 minutes. This is probably enough, but somehow it feels to short.

screenshot102

 

I’ll update tomorrow to let you all know what improvements I have made

 

Making a livestream

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 3:21 am

Hi there,

I have decided to make a livestream this ludum dare. Hopefully people will like seeing my game come together or learn something from it. I have been testing it yesterday and it seems to be working quite well. The main concern I have it that I might reveal some personal information by accident. For instance I might start reading my mail, which I don’t like other people to read.

If you would like to view the live stream tomorrow, you can find the stream here: http://www.twitch.tv/martijn_ludum/videos or by searching for the game “Ludum Dare” on twitch tv.

First time entering

Posted by
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 2:07 am

Hi there, this is my first time doing something like this. I have made many games/ experiments already but never really finished or released anything. I wonder how much I can do in 48 hours.

Anyways, this is what I plan on using

  • Enviroment: GameMaker; Although it sucks for large projects, it is great for making something workable in a short time frame.
  • Graphcis: Mypaint for backgrounds, Gimp for everything else
  • Sound effects: Bfxr; it is simply awesome for creating sound effects
  • Music: Public domain music, possibly wolfram tones; I have very little musical talent, so I have to keep it simple here

The weird thing is that I like using GameMaker for quick game making even though I run linux. It runs perfectly in wine though.

By the way, I upvoted Potato. I am very interested to see what kind of things people come up with if that becomes the theme.

I potato does not become the theme (which it probably won’t) I plan on adding a potato easter egg, just ’cause

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