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Post Mortem for ‘Artifacts of Monstrosity’

Posted by
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 4:56 pm

Alright, it’s about time I wrote a post mortem. It’s my second (successful) ludum dare, and although I had to skip the compo and go for the jam, I’m really happy with the results.

‘Artifacts Of Monstrosity’ is a top down zelda style action-rpg / shoot em up (I guess), with a big world to explore and a stupid boss to defeat after collecting 4 mostly useless items.

screenshot

SOME THINGS THAT WENT RIGHT

Code Reuse:

I had already been messing around porting my LD28 game from C++ to Javascript, so I just borrowed code from that as needed. It was pretty tightly coupled to the other game, and I ended up needing to rewrite a lot of stuff, but it still saved me a ton of time.

Graphics And Animation:

I’m kind of surprised with how well the animation came out for the main character. I guess all those pixel art tutorials I read sunk in somehow. As nice as everything looks though, I’m thinking of adopting a simpler style for future dares, to have more time to spend on gameplay.

monstertilesheet-crop-white-bg

Level Design:

I used Tiled for my level editing, which has its annoyances but overall was infinitely nicer than what I did for my last LD game, which was png images with colors keyed to tiles and objects.

With the extra time from choosing to go for the jam, I went nuts making whole bunch of interesting areas to explore, helping create a sense of adventure.

Simple Gameplay:

My original ideas were over-ambitious: I wanted inventory menus, equippable gear, shops, minibosses, etc. and I had to cut it all. The end game is really simple, but still fun, I think.

Ludum dare helps you realize games don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’ as long as the fundamentals are right

THINGS THAT WENT NOT SO RIGHT

Motivation:

I was way more motivated for my first LD, which was good because I did all the engine code from scratch on that one. This time I used an existing codebase, but I ended up losing most of the time gained due to a lazier pace and procrastination.  On the other hand rushing the whole time sucks, so maybe it’s better to be prepared and avoid the need to work frantically.

Tedious Code Writing:

Even drawing from an existing codebase, I still ended up needing to write collision handlers and resources management scripts, etc. I need to put this stuff together into a complete, flexible engine.

Too Much Unfinished Stuff:

I didn’t prioritize well enough, so a lot of things were missed — no sound for one, but I also left a lot of signs and npc’s around that don’t do anything when clicked on and that bugs the crap out of me.

THINGS THAT IM NOT SURE ABOUT

Tiled:

Tiled is a pretty fantastic editor in a lot of ways, and lets you build maps fast, but it also has some annoying aspects. I had kind of a weird workflow and ended up writing a bunch of ruby scripts to process Tiled’s output.

Javascript:

Javascript is really awesome despite it’s quirks, and I love that the programs I write can run anywhere. But I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with dynamic typing. Every time I spend 20 minutes debugging some stupid typo that would have been caught at compile time in a static language I die a little inside.

POST JAM EDITION?

I’m planning on making a post jam edition when I get time.

Some things I’m planning (besides fixing stuff): music (I got some from open game art picked out), sound effects, new areas, bigger dungeons, enemy variations, a better final boss, more signs and monsters to talk to, and maybe even shops of some kind. I’ll make a post when I finish it.

In the meantime, Click here to Play ‘Artifacts Of Monstrosity’.  It runs in the browser!

I’m in!

Posted by
Friday, August 21st, 2015 8:10 am

First time in a while LD has worked out for my schedule, so I’m definitely in.

This will be my third LD — I finished a game for LD28, and then failed at another one cuz I only had one day :P.

I’ll be using HTML5 and Javascript this time, and paint.net, probably graphicsgale, bfxr, and I’m thinking of using Tiled for a level editor.

I’ve actually been rewriting my first LD game in Javascript, so I’m planning on pulling some code from that – stuff like input handlers and drawing routines, etc.  Gonna stick to just canvas — I’ve been messing with webgl and shaders but don’t really have a handle on it yet.

Anyways, good luck everyone, here’s hoping the theme doesn’t suck!

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