Ludum Dare 31
December 5th-8th, 2014

October Challenge 2014
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Awarded by Peter
on April 24, 2012

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Power Grab: Post-mortem

Posted by
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 2:31 pm

In this, my 6th Ludum Dare, I had yet another fairly unique experience, encountering both new and old challenges and successes:

(Repeatable) Stuff That Went Well

  • My code was organized. In the past, I’ve written all the code for the game into the main function. This made it difficult to have more than one level and made it painful to add, for instance, a starting screen. In general, it let me make more content than usual.
  • I got feedback from people (well, one person), then implemented it. I did this early, leaving me time to do a good job implementing it and still leaving me a whole day for assets. The comment really helped me though, giving me an idea of what would make my game fun.
  • I left a lot of time to make assets after finishing the game. I spent the second day solely on assets.
  • Based on my own playing of the game, I refined the balancing of the game to draw more attention to the special mechanic I’d added to the game.
  • I chose an easily attainable goal and then built on it. I had somewhat of an engine done within the first hour or two. From there, I was able to add more stuff and polish.
  • Certain bits of polish were really helpful to the game. For instance, the sword in my game was pretty sweet.
  • I stayed motivated. In the middle of this competition, I kind of hated my game, or at least, I didn’t put much faith into it and didn’t really know what to do to fix it. However, I pushed on, doing what I did know how to do (assets) and then revisiting the gameplay later and finding that it was not really as bad as I’d thought and that I did have solutions for it.

(Avoidable) Stuff That Went Poorly

  • My code was spread out. There was no single place I could do all the balancing from, so it was a huge pain to do so. Also, I made too many tabs on Processing, so I could only see the names of 3 or 4 at a time, which made it hard to find any specific class’ definition.
  • I didn’t put much thought into what sort of mood I wanted. Resultantly, I didn’t exactly create any cohesive mood.
  • My art still wasn’t terribly good. I think I could have used more animation to make the top-down thing more convincing, but I don’t know. I wish I were better with this sort of thing.
  • The controls may not have been the best choice.
  • I don’t often play games based on action or on being quick and not so much on decisions. I therefore found it difficult to capture that sort of gameplay well.
  • The game concept isn’t wholly original. It feel more like a variation on some sort of shooter game – the majority of the game (the shooter part) has been done before. Only a small aspect (the part about summoning enemies by taking stuff) is really new. Then again, people keep saying they like the idea, so… maybe it’s a good concept.
  • I did not proofread the title page. It has a lot of typos. Like the good player of a game that I am, I never read anything in my game and just clicked on stuff.

Also, if you are one of the >1000 people who haven’t tried my game, you can click here. (P.S. I love comments on my game – it’s one of the best parts of the dare for me)

Oops

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 5:36 pm

Turns out I’m not capable of writing any sort of “light” or “happy” music. This doesn’t quite fit with the rest of my things. Or maybe it’s more of a thing of my sound effects and graphics being too light for my game. In any case, my music and other assets kind of disagree in mood. Oops…

Home Stretch!

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 4:35 pm

Well, aside from adding some music (I already have sound effects though), and some particle effects that I want to add, but aren’t really imperative and a few other minutia, my game is basically done. I think it’s more fun than I thought last night – the graphics and stuff make a difference, I guess and somewhere in all the balancing I did, I guess I struck a balance, since now my idea of “You should decide between taking more artifacts and being more powerful now, and being safer in two rounds”. Here’s some pictures:

screenshot-1864

screenshot-4493

screenshot-3224

End of the Day, In My Typical Conundrum

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 9:52 pm

Well, I have something which I could very well submit right now and I think players would “get” it enough to play it and maybe enjoy it, so that’s good. It’s always a relief to get to this stage. All in all, it’ll be another Ludum Dare game, but unfortunately, I think I’ve already missed my mark a little on this one – it’s not nearly as original as I usually aim to be, but maybe that’s because the original part of the game mechanic needs careful balancing that I just don’t have time for. That’s a little discouraging, but it’d take a whole lot more than that to stop me from finishing.

However, I still think the gameplay needs work. If anyone feels like playing my game, I’d love any comment you have. You can find the latest builds here.

Also, perhaps more pressingly, I don’t have many assets. I *really* don’t know how to draw characters from a top down perspective. They’re supposed to be people, but right now they kind of look like spaceships or something – maybe zombies. They’re not very… specific, I guess. I’ve sort of resigned to the standpoint of that as long as I’m consistent, it’s good enough, although really, that’s not where I want to be. They’re better than nothing and I think I can make some particles and stuff, which might help. (I think I organized my code really well this time, and it’s payed off nicely).

Still, I have only tomorrow (and not even all of that because people insist on having birthdays every single year) to make the remaining assets and put them in and to tweak gameplay and do whatever needs to be done. I’m sure that’s sufficient, and I think my assets might turn out fairly well this time around, given that I have a significant number of graphics – certainly, I can’t do worse on graphics than last time. Anyways, I’m going to go sleep.

Slooooow Down A Little

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 7:07 pm

So, I think I kind of know where to go next with my game. I have a few things to change:

  • Have fewer, but stronger enemies.
  • Make the enemies slower.
  • Add drops from enemies. Which makes sense ’cause you’re supposed to be stealing your stuff from them.
  • Maybe add some variety to the levels somehow, like a landscape-ish.

Hopefully I get all that done in the next two or three hours (or learn to sleep-code. Anyone got a tutorial for that?)

Something *Playable*

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 4:37 pm

Well, it’s not quite what I wanted (I’m not sure if that’s because my idea doesn’t work of because I balanced it badly), but I do now have something playable. To be specific, playable by anyone reading this if they click here. I’m not really sure how to proceed in terms of gameplay, because I think it needs more, but, usually, when I get stuck like this, I just make assets until I get unstuck, so I’m gonna do that.

Progress!

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 12:05 pm

This has proven to not be the hardest project, which is great. Right now, I have a pretty nice system into which I can add basically any sort of weapon, enemy, or artifact I want to. The game is mostly tied together too, so I should be able to get down to making some form of content soon and see if my game actually is fun. Hurray! Also pro-tip: Learn to use dot-product well. They will save you an infinite* amount of time.

I’d post screenshots, but I want to get back to developing. Just picture a white circle in the middle of a bunch of red circles. You’re the white circle and your enemies are the red circle.

(*Results may vary)

Awake and Ready

Posted by
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 7:53 am

I haven’t started programming yet and overslept a little, but in any case, I have an idea I think will work: you play as a little hero dude who moves around and shoots or stabs things. Between each level, you get to choose upgrades from a pool of “artifacts” gathered in battle. The things you shoot and stab are spawned in future levels when you choose to use an artifact. In this way, you are the villain, since your choices cause enemies to spawn.

The Obligatory Idea Post (Contains 50% Pure Idea-Paste!)

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 8:10 pm

Ideas I’ve had so far!

  1. Something to do with suffering consequences from your actions. Specifically, something where the ONLY way to do anything is to do something currently which will incur some consequence later. So, the past you is your enemy. This could be sort of like an arcade game with some character who, to be upgraded, agrees to be attacked by N enemies in one minute. Then, to survive, one must advance fast enough to handle the enemies, but not so fast as to spawn a deadly wave of enemies.
  2. Some sort of traditional game, except you play as the enemy instead. I’m pretty sure this idea has already been had by, say, everyone else, so I’m not going to do it.
  3. A sort of “puzzle” where there are mirrors and other objects that make copies of you, reflected and perhaps in a location with some differences. For instance, mirror you might be next to a box of TNT (conveniently), but you might not be, so if you punch it, “KAPLOW!” goes mirror you.
  4. A game where one has to fight against a lot of “good” people who think you’re the villain in order to… to do something.

I like the first one the most because it is totally within the scope of a Ludum Dare and uses the theme in gameplay. Maybe I could play with the idea of you being a villain more than just to yourself – maybe you’re in a position of power over others or something. E.g. you have to guard them, but you’re a really crappy guard who also spawned the monsters. I shall get down to business tomorrow after the magic of sleep (or, a variant of sleep I like, waiting in bed, thinking about stuff) has made my mind clearer and chewed over this idea.

A Ludum Dare Just in Time!

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 4:40 pm

I haven’t had much luck developing recently, somewhat due to interruptions from homework/not being very familiar with Java (C++ is my thing, you know?)/sleeping. But thankfully, to that there’s a cure and it’s called the Ludum Dare! Trust me, I’ve tried it 5 times before, and it works unbelievably well. Although, on the flip side of that, it’s unlikely I’ll get any work done on my other game, which is an adaptation of the this game I made a few months ago for Ludum Dare 23.

In any case, this time around, I’m hoping to make a game which is awesome or weird or creative or (adjective other than “average” or “normal”). To do this, I intend to use Processing, GIMP, Garage Band, cfxr, and whatever else proves useful. Providing that my house doesn’t/hasn’t already run out of food, this is going to be fun!

Postmortem: Planetary Overseer

Posted by
Friday, August 31st, 2012 6:51 pm

Well, it seems like a good time for a postmortem, having gotten a little feedback.

What Went Well

  1. Originality, theme-connection. The product I made this time is fairly unique from ones I’ve made previously: this game is fully based on the theme and is very original. I’m proud of this and I think it results from a pretty simple rule I try to follow and think that, this time around, I achieved: The game must relate to the theme even before any assets are made.
  2. Respect for Evolution’s Elegance. This is a bit of an odd thing to have come out of a game jam, but I have a new respect for how awesome evolution is. My code has nothing in it that says a whole species should be able to gain new, positive traits if they are introduced via mutation, but that happens. It was really rewarding to, after a few hours of work, be able to see a beloved theory in action.
  3. More confidence. I had only one day for this dare, but it turned out to be one of my favorite experiences with the Ludum Dare. Also, what I made is genuinely something from my own imagination, not a copy of anything else. Really, that’s why I love this competition: I get to have an idea then realize it.

What Didn’t

  1. Graphics. I cannot draw fish. At least, in this amount of time, I can’t. I probably should learn something more about making graphics some day, but it’s not really what I’m passionate about. In general, at the end, I felt I’d done something cool, but didn’t really want to polish, therefore, I didn’t polish.
  2. Goal of Gameplay. I think that what I have is a neat toy. You can play around with it and try things out, but the goal isn’t very strong – making the most mutations doesn’t really give the depth of gameplay I wanted and was really just a thing of “I don’t know what to do. I don’t have time to figure it out.” I still don’t know an appropriate goal.
  3. Focus. I wasn’t at all focused this time around. I think this was really mostly a thing of circumstance though; I wasn’t able to start until about the midpoint of the competition, and even then, I’d been away from home for a while, so there were other things I wanted to do (and then I did them). I felt sort of like I couldn’t do more at the end, even though I could see areas for improvement that I could accomplish before time was up.

Submited

Posted by
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 4:08 pm

Well, I’ve run out work to do on my game (I’m gonna be honest: these graphics are about the best I can do for fish…), which means it’s time to submit! Click me if you want to see it. The game still has a really prototype-y feel to it, which is a shame, but there’s not much to help it other than going almost back to the drawing board. I’m still proud of it though – in terms of “how much fun users will have with this” or “how pretty it looks”, it can’t hold a candle to my submission from LD23, but in terms of how original it is, this submission wins out. I think I’ve got an interesting start, but a good execution of this idea was infeasible from the start; although I avoided anything nasty like evolutionary algorithms, I ran into having a system which is hard for users to play with. Really, there needs to be more depth in the ecosystem to pull the idea off – right now, there’s no way the herbivores will ever find a niche and live unless they drive their predators to extinction, and that’s a problem. I’d love to pursue this idea further, but it’s not a project for 24 hours.

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