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Seriously late post mortem…

Posted by
Sunday, June 15th, 2014 9:29 am

Ok, this is a bit embarassing… It’s been almost 2 months and I still haven’t posted my post mortem for LD29. I actually had some rough thoughts written down right after the compo but have been postponing writing a proper post because of school and such… I know, excuses, excuses… So anyway, here goes:

The bad

  • Idea was not very coherent – This time around I spent less time thinking up an idea and started a little quicker. The problem was that I had a few loose ideas which seemed nice at first, but later I had a hard time getting them to fit together.
  • Panic – Because of the above, some time around the middle of the compo I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish anything playable and was starting to think about quitting.
  • Not enough polish – Some parts of the game were a little rushed, like the level design (same problem as in my last compo, will I ever learn? :P). Other things that could use some more love: the graphics, the HUD and I’m also not 100% happy with the “physics”.

The good

  • Kind of fun movement mechanics – This was what prevented me from giving up on the game. I wasn’t sure if my overall gameplay ideas made any sense but in my moment of weakness I just sat and played around with the small prototype that I had so far. I noticed that the movement mechanics, though kind of wonky, were pretty fun and I decided to keep going, thinking that at the very least I’d have a boring game with fun character movement.
  • Ideas somehow fit together in the end – I threw in most of the elements I wanted to include and to my surprise something more or less playable came out…

Other observations

  • Even simple platformer physics take time to code (compared to simple top-down movement).
  • Pixel-based maps are fun and easy to edit.

Next time

  • Spend more time on graphics to get a nice art style?
  • Don’t worry so much about finishing.
  • Get something playable on day 1 (and later polish).
  • Maybe finally make some music…
  • Start playing with level design early (having an interesting map helps to come up with game mechanics).

Done!

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 6:04 pm

Phew! Just a quick post before I collapse…
This time around I had a few moments when I felt like giving up. I didn’t really know where I was going with my game for the majority of the compo. Seems like I managed to finish *something* though. It even somewhat resembles a game, I guess.
Here’s a screenshot:

screen1

And here’s the game link: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=21212
Enjoy!

Day 1

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 4:06 pm

Click for animated gif!
fish

So this is what I have so far… A jumping fish and some people walking back and forth. Still not exactly sure what the gameplay will be… I had a few different ideas which may or may not be compatible, but if all else fails I at least have some relatively fun (pseudo-)physics.

I’m in

Posted by
Friday, April 25th, 2014 2:16 pm

This is my third Ludum Dare. Here is my toolbox:

Language: JavaScript/HTML5
Framework: Jaws
Base code: https://github.com/meszka/ld29/tree/base-code (includes a simple Tiled map reader for Jaws and other small utility functions)
Editor: Vim
Graphics: Aseprite, Gimp
Sound: Bfxr, possibly Sunvox
Other tools: possibly Tiled for editing maps

10s Castaway post mortem

Posted by
Sunday, September 15th, 2013 6:13 am

ld26_final

The good

  • Tiled – I used this editor for the first time and it was very easy and flexible. It supports multiple layers but I only used two: one regular layer for the map and one object layer for trees, items etc. For map drawing Tiled has a great “terrain brush” which can draw all your edge and corner tiles for you. Another killer feature is JSON export which makes maps super easy to parse in a JavaScript game.
  • Jaws – This was my second game made using this nifty JavaScript game library and it definitely saved me a lot of time. It has many helpful components that help with drawing and animating sprites, simple collisions, keyboard input and camera scrolling. At the same time it doesn’t force a custom class/entity model onto you  like many other JavaScript libraries. You can use just the parts that you like and it’s very easy to bend Jaws to your own needs: there’s no problem using raw canvas functions.
  • Pre-compo experimentation / base code – Before the compo I played around with Jaws and JS seeing how easy it would be to use a custom font or parse a Tiled map. After messing around I extracted the code that looked useful (as well as some code from my previous LD entry) into reusable functions which I threw into my base code. As I mentioned above, parsing Tiled’s JSON maps is really easy so I probably would’ve managed to write this code during the compo, but having a simple base code was quite helpful. For loading a custom font I used this small library which I also found during my  pre-compo experimentation: https://github.com/Pomax/Font.js

The not so good

  • Time organization – I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a good idea. Perhaps it would’ve been better to settle on an idea earlier on and get more work done during day 1. On the other hand it was nice to know more or less what I wanted to do before I started coding. This is a tough trade-off. Hopefully as I gain more experience in ludum daring my idea generation skills will also improve. During coding I feel like I wasted some time trying to find the most elegant way to do OOP/inheritance in JavaScript. I probably should’ve left this sort of stuff for post-compo refactoring and just do the easiest thing that worked. I also didn’t end up making any music due to lack of time an energy.
  • Last minute level design – This kind of fits in with the previous point but I think it’s important enough to deserve it’s own bullet. So yeah… level design is important, so don’t leave it till the last moment like I did. I was only going for a single map, so I managed to make something more or less playable pretty fast but I think I should have set aside more time for this.
  • Graphics tools – I started out using Aseprite (first time user), which seemed pretty nice for sprite sheet animation. I had some problems with the native linux version (cursor lag) so I used the windows version via Wine, which seemed to run smoothly, but later I discovered it had some problems with browsing the file system. So I ended up falling back to GIMP, which is okay, but not really optimized for pixel-pushing and animation. Next time I might try using Grafx2 which has gotten support for animation since the last time I used it. Grafx2 saves animations as animated gifs, but those can easily be converted to a sprite sheet using ImageMagick. Its extensibility via LUA scripts also seems pretty sweet.

All in all I’m quite happy with my second LD entry. I think it’s a step forward from my previous game in some ways, like more interesting graphics. Still no music unfortunately, so that is a goal for my next LD :)

Done… more or less

Posted by
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 3:34 pm

ld26_final

Oh man, my second LD was pretty tough! So I guess the game’s finished, or at least as finished as it will be before the compo deadline. Unfortunately I ran out of time and energy to make music. I have some more ideas for the game so I’m thinking about making a post-compo update sometime.

Well here it is. Enjoy.

Item sprites

Posted by
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 5:17 am

ld27_items_trees

I thought drawing a convincing axe in 8×8 pixels was hard until I tried drawing a fishing rod ^^’

Edit: Just noticed the strangely overlapping trees, oops.

Day 1 screenshot

Posted by
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 2:45 pm

ld27_day1

Here’s what I have after day one. Gameplay is still pretty nonexistent. Hopefully I’ll get more work done tommorow now that I know what I’m going for.

Second time

Posted by
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 2:53 pm

Hey, this will be my second LD.

I’ll be using javascript with the Jaws library again.

Here’s my base code. Mostly a collection of functions that might come in handy.

This time around I hope to spend some more time on graphics and sound. I might even try creating some simple music using sunvox :)

Finished

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 2:45 pm

Here is my submission. Enjoy!

final_shot1

After day 1

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 1:28 pm

Here’s a playable demo of what I’ve made today: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/23027068/ld48_day1/index.html

Controls: Minimalistic! Space and only space. Tap to move, hold to rotate, hold longer to shoot. Kill the “zombies” and avoid “lava”.

Still not sure if this has any fun potential, the controls are the only original idea, and they’re a bit frustrating.

First screenshot

Posted by
Saturday, April 27th, 2013 7:55 am

 

shot1

 

As you can clearly see on the above screenshot, it’s a single-button survival game (same button for rotating, moving and shooting). Very simple so far, but I’m glad I have something game-like going.

 

I’m in

Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 12:20 pm

First LD ever. Hopefully I won’t get crushed by lack of ideas.

I’ll be using:

  • language: JavaScript (HTML5 canvas)
  • library: jaws
  • graphics: probably GIMP
  • sound: sfxr/bfxr
  • music: maybe autotracker
  • editor: vim

Here’s my basecode (mostly some helper functions and a script for converting audio files).

I’ll try to go for the 48h compo and if I run out of time I’ll fall back to the jam.

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