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…
Likes food, water, oxygen, etc..
Qeelom - xCode user
Awarded by Peter
on April 24, 2012
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:
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.
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?)
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.
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)
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.
Ideas I’ve had so far!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Well, it seems like a good time for a postmortem, having gotten a little feedback.
What Went Well
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Or, so the theory goes. It’s coming down to the last few hours, so I think I’m going to shift my focus. The game is *playable*, but I’m not too happy with it. It feels like one of those games where I need to change its course a little (well, enough to need major rewrites… so not a little), which is pretty common for me in these competitions. Unfortunately, I don’t have another day to do that with. Therefore, this gameplay is complete! Anyways, I’m going to get down to polishing it. This may be hard because, as it stands, my graphics are:
1. A fish. They’re a lot like gray blobs.
2. A bigger fish. They’re just the fish before, but turned red and given spikes.
3. Algae. These are green dots.
Anyways, I guess I’m going to make the deadline and have a disastrously original game on my hands.
I’m worried that people aren’t going to be able to really feel the impact of their actions on the game; it’s sometimes hard to get a good balance between the simulation and letting the player be in control. I’ve hard this problem before (See: Dwarven Isolation), but I think I’ve got a solution this time: Let the player shoot meteors!
Suddenly, I feel stupid for attempting this idea. Also, I feel like a god. This isn’t a game yet (which is why I feel stupid), but it’s actually remarkable as it is. It does a fair simulation of two species (which are generalized! I could probably add in some more without much effort – I’ll bet a 3rd would make everything unstable – perfect for a game). One is algae, which are small, fast-reproducing and photosynthesizing things. The next are… algae eaters (I’m not a biologist). They eat the algae and reproduce. They also starve though, ‘cuz they don’t know how to control their budding and can wipe out all but an epsilon of the algae in an area. Also they’re profoundly stupid and have been observered travelling in hoards towards a single piece of algae then all dying. In general, the system is about in dynamic equilibrium.
I really hope I can game-ify this (and I have the general idea), but I can’t work anymore tonight. I think that this game will be pretty different from the others I’ve made and from the others that will be submitted, and I’ll be happy with it if I can pull of the execution…
Also, I have a property called “birthRange” in my code. It makes babies go everywhere. I think that’s pretty cool.
Well, I’ve put about an hour of work in so far (not much), but it’s starting to look like a good ol’ fashioned “Oh crap, this game concept isn’t actually fun” jam. I was kind of envisaging a lot more pillaging and stuff, but it turns out that AI are hard to program. I just need some organisms that will eat and fight, but my “move randomly unless you see something – if you see something, kill it!” seems to be poorly implemented and not really a good strategy. Also, the bottom of the food-chain is hard to make. I mean, everything’s gotta eat, so everything’s gotta be able to kill it, but it has to be abundant… so… I’m going to have to figure out how to make it reproduce…
Ugh, who would’ve thought that biology was so complicated. I wonder if I can somehow evolve the whole game field into a starting state – it worked on Earth didn’t it? Also, on an unrelated note, I just made life a whole lot happier: when animals don’t fight, they reproduce like mad!
(Of course, brushes with failure are how I know I’m doing it right! You don’t get into trouble without taking risks.)