Ludum Dare 30
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23
Ludum Dare 22
Ludum Dare 21
The "You know your game systems!" award
Awarded by Jacic
on September 7, 2012
Mage’s Tower is a text adventure game involving portals leading to different worlds. It’s not completed, but I decided to submit it because I did spend my weekend trying to put something together. Even if I failed, I’d like to know if my general idea was interesting for anyone.
To the point
I did submit a game. This is good. The bad thing is that I didn’t manage to finish it, so the experience is incomplete. This is fairly important for a Twine game, so I’m a little heartbroken, especially since I took another day to work on it (I could use only a couple of hours out of it though) and had to submit it as a Jam entry.
You can play my game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=5431
As I said, it’s not going to be a complete experience, but if you fancy similar games, you can at least look at what I tried to do.
It turns out that Twine is a very good tool to make choose-your-own-adventure style games. This was my first time using it, and in the end I was surprised how interestingly complicated things you can do using such a simple tool.
I’ve had some problems with it at the beginning, though. Using a lot of community-made macros, it turned out some things look different under different browsers (Firefox vs. Chrome vs. mobile browser), and I really wanted for the game to be consistent. In the end, some transitions don’t work as they should in Firefox. And I’m reassured that developing something for the web (HTML5+CSS3) is still a hellish experience. Some of the macros were outdated and I tried to fix them, with little success.
Also, not knowing Twine did come with a price. It took me too much time to think about how to organize things like dialogs, quests, inventory – I actually started to figure things out towards the end of the competition, and some experience here would have helped.
I learned a lot – maybe not in terms of technical knowledge, but more about my limitations. I learned that creating a compelling story in English is not as simple as I thought it might be (mainly because I’m not English), and I gained a lot of respect for IF creators in general. Maybe reading more books in English would have helped.
Also, it’s not enough to know some MilkyTracker to create something that sounds okay (hence no sound in my game, which is a bummer because I did spend some time on creating some very bad music and I did adapt Twine to play it).
There’s this saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I know exactly what it means now.
While I was really crushed when Compo ended knowing that I might not be able to finish any game even under Jam rules, I’m glad I did submit something in the end (otherwise my weekend would have been wasted). I’m not satisfied with my work, but Ludum Dare is a good time to take risks.
After you’ve visited all 9 worlds, and tried to get all 3 achievements (involving repeatable actions), there’s not much more to see, so there’s no point playing after that. Sorry.
It should be playable on mobiles, though all the effects work as intended only in Chrome.
- don’t bother with effects, music, etc. at first – this should be something you work on at the end of the compo
- if you’re going to dive into a completely new software when making a game – take an evening or two to have a look at it first
- if you’re not able to finish your game during LD, remember it’s the process of making it that counts
Anyways, congrats to everyone that did finish a game this weekend!
After spending too much time on not important stuff, I somehow managed to get Twine under control, but the story needs a lot more content to be playable. It’s not going to be something really cool, but at least I managed to implement a simple inventory system and work through some of the scripts I wanted to use. There’s even a simple achievement system in place.
Tried to compose some kind of music for my game but it went pretty awful, so I’m not sure what to do about it yet. It seems that knowing how to use a tracker software is really only a very small part of the success.
Congrats to everyone finishing the Compo, and good luck to everyone participating in the Jam!
Also, I wanted to have some kind of story completed by the end of the day, but it’s far from it, actually. It turns out it’s not that easy to create a compelling story in English, even if I feel I know the language pretty well. It’s probably because I didn’t really read that many books in that language and I lack practice when it comes to writing stories in language other than my own.
But hey, I’m not giving up – which means that today will be a little intense for me. I did acquire some respect for all the Twine authors out there, and got some interesting ideas for my own text engine (if I ever come up with one), so while I cannot aim for high notes with my game, I hope it will at least be entertaining.
Okay, okay. So I decided to try Twine this time (yep, I know next to nothing about it, so it must be a success, right?). I’m not native English speaker, so this might be a little hard story-wise, but interactive fiction fits my general idea and I wanted to try this for quite a long time. And LD seems like a great opportunity to test weird ideas, as always!
So the plan for today is to get a little more knowledge about Twine macros, custom scripts, etc., and have the story fleshed out. I was aiming for some more interactivity using custom JS, but we’ll see how it goes. Story is a minimum for today.
Tomorrow I should work on the graphics (want to have some), and music (I did play with MilkyTracker for a couple of hours).
The final aim is to have a IF game working on desktop as well as mobile.
It seems that I’m in.
So the big hopes this time is that I:
- get some good ideas, decide on one quickly
- create some music for my game (this is a completely new thing for me)
- finish something without falling back to AS3 (I feel like it’s time to move on to something else)
- don’t spend too much time on tech stuff: stay simple but entertaining
Graphics: Graphics Gale, Paint.NET
Sound: bfxr or sfxr, MilkyTracker, Audacity
Source Control: Mercurial (local repository)
Oh, and chronolapse, of course! Cannot have it on full-time, because I’ll be working from my laptop though.
Well, good luck everyone!
It’s time for a postmortem of The Hunt. It wasn’t the usual, great LD experience for me, as I had to enter the Jam just to finish my entry, but I’m happy I did manage to finish something… Well, let’s start…
- I did finish a game. I think last time I was so happy that I managed to do this was during my first LD.
- I like the graphical effect I managed to achieve with backgrounds. This is definitely something to explore further in different projects.
- I left polishing the code for later/never: no component object models, no fancy object-oriented techniques, just plain simple entities. And I DIDN’T CARE.
- I used the additional time to test my levels, and now I think that the difficulty curve is quite fine. The game can be beaten, but does get a little harder with each level. Even my mom can play it!
- I hated the theme. I couldn’t think of anything that I would really like, which resulted in me starting to work around 13 hours after the compo started.
- The original idea to use Twine over AS3 was better, especially considering my time constraints (RL stuff).
- I was late for the compo and had to enter jam instead, and didn’t really gain that much out of it (I managed to add only 4 more levels)…
- I didn’t have time for anything. I didn’t implement anything interesting, and my weekend consisted of switching between LD and other things. I didn’t even add Kongregate API.
- Waited with creating assets too long: in the end I had to look for some pictures on the web and use combination of rotoscopy, palette reduction, recoloring and similar techniques just to have something. It turned out fine, but I wish I had a better plan.
- I think it’s probably the most non-innovative game I’ve ever created, but I also think that it was a worthwhile experience. Maybe it’s even not that horribly bad in terms of gameplay (it’s simple & casual), but kinda mindless, not very innovative and lacking theme-wise.
- I feel it’s kinda time to change the technology I work with (AS3), just to see something new. Haxe, HTML5, maybe even try something 3D… I must think about it some more, but it’s the right thing to try for me.
Either way, I’m looking forward to the next LD.
While I write a postmortem for my abominable entry, you can watch my timelapse. Usually I keep chronolapse running for the whole Compo – this time I had to keep switching it on and off because of other things I had to do on my computer. It’s around 20 hours of coding. I also added some comments.
And if you want to see and rate my Jam entry, here’s the link.
Had a lot of real-life related things to do. The horrible theme also didn’t help (it seems I’m more creative when theme is more specific), and me sticking to AS3 instead of writing some nice story with Twine was a bad idea. The whole process took more than expected.
The game is actually completely working, but there’s only one level, and the general idea was to create at least 10 levels (gameplay is a little stupid so some variety in levels is crucial). I’m not sure I’m going to add much else.
It’s also the most stupid, most annoying, most bloody game I’ve ever made. It’s a simple saloon-shooting game, where the point is to kill nice people instead of bad guys. Yeah, I know – not very promising.
Will work on this some more tomorrow!
Sadly, I got things to do this weekend, so it will be less than 48 hours for me, and most of the time I have to cut out is right in the middle of Saturday. So this time I will be really glad if I finish anything at all, really.
I wanted to try Monkey or Haxe this time, but now I consider using Twine (twee, to be exact) to focus on the content. I’ve had very little experience with it, so it will still be something new for me, and this may be difficult anyway, because I’m a programmer mainly and delving into nice English metaphors isn’t what I do best (besides, it’s not my first language).
Wish me luck!
Okay, before I start with my post-mortem, some advertisements.
If you’re interested in playing the original Meow for MUTATION! and rating the game, visit the entry page. There’s also the updated, post-compo version there, but I recommend trying it after rating the original. If you’re interested in timelapse, check it out here. Thanks!
This game contains kittens. In fact, mutated ones!
- Game design document. It’s very good to write what you want to do – even if just for future reference.
- Using a genetic algorithm. Generally it’s good to use stuff that you know best – and I did use such algorithms a lot some time ago. It’s a very simple implementation, but it took me very little time to code. It works neat, too.
- Graphics. Wow, 5 mins of searching in google “how to draw a cat” and I had a general idea of how I want my mutating cats to look like. Modular graphics were a great idea (although a little complicated in implementation), and honestly, I’m still impressed by my mad skillz. First drawings were made with real pencil on a real paper and that was also quite a good idea (later I used a tablet).
- Forums, community, overall help one can find on the web. FlashPunk forums especially.
- Employing event tracking in google analytics. This was quite easy, actually. Now I’m able to track how many people play my game, what’s their average score, and many other things. I will try to post some statistics later.
- Reading “Game Coding Complete” and thinking (too much) about structuring my code just right (just stick to your framework!). I blame the authors.
- Not testing. This seems more important with every LD I take part in. My game is completely untested – and again, unbalanced and too hard (too few means of controlling the population; the easiest way to fix it is allowing the player to select specimens for reproduction, not deletion – this is done in the post-compo version). I keep forgetting that games need to be fun and playable, not concept-accurate.
- Trying to make something in FL studio for the first time without creating anything before (I managed to record myself saying “meow”, modify this sound into beats and stuff, create some simple, annoying loop, but it was just too much work) – I generated something with GreaseMonkey’s autotracker. It’s an awesome piece of code.
- Thinking too big for the compo. Wow, I was bold enough to think that I could also do a tower-defense part to the game. Like, on top of the general GA idea. I decided to cut the tower-defense idea after the first day.
- My mood, when I figured my idea might bee too much for me. Just in the middle of the compo, I was pretty sure I won’t make it. I even wanted to resign already, but kept coding anyway, just for the sake of it. After some substantial cuts to the idea, I was able to complete something playable.
The Ugly (truth)
- It’s a 48 hour competition: don’t waste time on semantics. Know what to do with your code structure and how you’re supposed to do it.
- In fact, try to not waste time at all: the simpler the idea or the more you’ve had experience with something similar before, the better the result. It’s great to learn new things during the compo, but this can reflect badly on overall quality of your game.
- Get some utils ready before the compo. Some basic stuff, some helper structures, etc. For example, I wasted too much time on coding Entities able to contain child Entities in FP, just to create some screens with messages. I wasted a great amount of time on reading the code of punk.ui and had to hack&slash it to make it work in my environment.
- If you don’t code games everyday, or you plan to use a language you don’t use very often, warm up before the compo!
Overall, this was a great weekend and I look forward to the next Ludum Dare!
Here’s the timelapse of my entry, Meow for MUTATION! Also, having no time to test it during the compo, I managed to finish a post-compo version today, with a quite different mechanic – I think it makes the game a little more playable. If you want to rate it, be sure to take into consideration only the original, though!