Well, if you spent the last few years being slapped around a table all day, you’d be grumpy too! This ball just wants to be alone on his blocky islands.
Entry is here.
(And yes, the .eel files are plain text source files, so that’s the full, hackable game source right there. The language is a bit like Lua with a C-like syntax.)
Well, the other balls don’t really do anything, as I didn’t get around to implement any AI. And I didn’t get around to do any music either. And, it might have been a good idea to “tilt” the terrain of the higher level maps towards the viewer, or just select a few good areas from the Perlin terrain, as it gets a bit tricky when you can’t see what you’re doing.
What went wrong
Decided to go for isometric 3D, so I had to code the engine for that, along with some physics. Not strictly a bad idea, but it was actually my first attempt at that particular kind of engine, so getting it to work correctly while not melting the CPU might have cost a few hours extra. And, I still got the depth sorting wrong in some cases…
Also got this crazy idea of coding a tiny MIDI sequencer, instead of just typing music in as ChipSound script, but the net result of that was just a wasted hour or so, as I didn’t have enough time to do any music anyway.
The biggest problem, however, was that I just caught a cold with fever, and couldn’t cope with the kind of tempo and short naps I planned for. All in all, I put in 27 hours of effective work time. Could have used 5-10 more hours – and they would have been there, even in the 48 h compo, had I been in proper shape.
What went right
Initially, all I had was this vague idea that the game would be about someone or something that wanted to be left alone. I decided right away that I’d go for isometric 3D and focus on low level game mechanics, so I drew a block in GIMP and coded away.
I realized I wouldn’t have time to do a proper character with walk cycles and stuff with the tools and (lack of) skill at hand, so I considered giving the rubber pig starring in my Fixed Rate Pig SDL example a call – but then remembered I need to work alone, and drew a shiny steel ball in GIMP instead.
Going with a steel ball actually turned out to be a brilliant move, as it became instantly obvious that the game mechanics would focus on bouncy physics, which can be a fair bit of fun in it’s own right, without any “artificial” game rules. In fact, there’s only one rule: A ball that touches the lava dies.
And of course, I did finish in time to submit for the Jam, so failing the main event wasn’t a complete disaster. (Actually did try to submit in time, but it just wouldn’t work – and probably for the better, as that version was pretty useless anyway.)
No real surprises here, but well worth pointing out:
- Coding a custom engine for a time limited event like this is a gamble, unless you really know what you’re doing. Each kind of engine has it’s own set of problems, and unless you’ve written one of that particular kind before, a few hours will likely be lost understanding and solving problems that are brand new to you. That can be fun and challenging, but the gamble is real: If you fail, you’ll still be struggling with the engine by the time of the submission deadline.
- Make sure you have a functional, complete and efficient toolchain that you’re up to speed with, for anything you want to use in the game! I could have leveraged ZeeSpace and ChipSound better, but I don’t yet have a functional authoring tool for the former, and I don’t have a proper music setup. I’ve been having the same problem with Kobo II, and the LD #22 just made it more obvious that I need to fix this ASAP.
One would think that after a full weekend of being ill while working frantically, especially after previously having worked for weeks in a similar manner to get the Kobo II tech preview out, one would just want a long vacation – but I’m more excited than ever to get back to work! I’ll probably start by adding some more gameplay elements to Kobo II for a Christmas Special Tech Preview 2, and then I actually will take a break – by hacking a sequencer/editor for ChipSound…! 😀
UPDATE: Timelapse video uploaded!