Hello! You are now reading the post-mortem post for Monstre de Coiffure. I will try to explain what happened during those 3 crazy days, and how we actually got shit done considering time limits.
This Ludum Dare was very messy in terms of work time. Itamar had to work 50% of the time, and both Mati & Itamar got tickets to see the Alt-J concert they have been waiting months for. On different days. Time was of the essence, and we had to find ways to work around the pressure.
I got to Mati & Itamar’s house as always. Itamar wasn’t around (he works as a barista) so me and Mati enjoyed some oriental food and mayonnaise. We set up our battle stations and hit the bed. Itamar came later in the night.
We woke up and found out about the theme. We all went “meh” simultaneously, because we had really been hoping for some of the other themes to win. The Ernst’s dad made us some delicious hot cheese burekas, and we started cracking on game ideas. Mati thought of a game about working at a monster beauty salon. We immediately loved the idea and started playing around with it, but soon Itamar had to leave for work
A few hours later, Mati had some pretty sprites ready, while I started to have doubts about the game. I didn’t find what would make it fun or addicting.
I seriously started thinking about dropping the idea but Mati convinced me to continue working on it to at least get something playable going, and then decide if we wanted to keep it. I drew a disgusting placeholder and coded some basic stuff like buttons and basic effects. Fast forward a few hours and we had a basic engine ready.
At the time you could only interact with the eyes that would follow a base monster sprite around, making it seem like they were part of it. I took a second look at what we had so far, and actually began to like. I’m really glad Mati convinced me into working on the game. I continued to spew code while Mati continued to design some stuff, and like 4 hours later we had all of the basic tools just about ready gameplay-wise.
I’m actually really proud of how loop-able this gif is.
We were all blown away by the amount of love this gif has gotten, so that gave us a lot of motivation to keep working on the game.
At this point Itamar came back from work and immediately started the monster bases, but we soon had to go to sleep.
We all woke up to some delicious cereal. We decided we’d work mostly on the monsters, a background, and the random traits engine.
Itamar spent all day working on the monster bases, which later became our trusty customers:
Each monster base has a bunch of unique parts that belong to it (eyes and mouths) while we also had some generic parts that would fit on most monsters.
For example, this mouth and eye are exclusive to Longhead:
While these look good on anyone:
The way the randomization works is by picking a base body, and dictating some parameters that would decide the number of eyes and mouths the monster had, and where everything would be positioned on its’ face. This beauty AI was very time consuming to write, but I think the monstrosities it can create are worth it in the end:
After we had a good old-fashioned Lonebot Pizza Party™, Mati worked hard on a nice barbershop background while I worked on some cheesy * * * particle effects * * * and soon we had something real nice going:
Itamar and I spent literally hours optimizing the monster randomization to make sure almost all combinations looked horrifyingly tasty, while Mati churned hours on finalizing the background. Soon Itamar had to leave for the concert and it was just me and Mati, left listening to Mario Paint covers of Shrek songs. (also Monsters Inc. music and French cafe music because reasons)
Suezo had started working on music and sound effects and we hit the bed.
We all woke up to hear Suezo’s work. He made us some awesome sound effects for spraying and painting stuff, however, the music he made us wasn’t really what we wanted.
We were really hoping to have some layed-back-sorta-ironic French musette music in the background, but instead Jason took it in a more of a stressed French pizzeria shop working around the clock theme. It was really good, but it wasn’t what we were looking for, so unfortunately we had to drop it. You can still listen to it here:
Itamar had to work again and Mati and I were left together again to finish up the game. Mati finished up any missing sprites, while also finally finishing the background (which is made of two parts – a background and a foreground)
I started cracking on the actual gameplay-y part of the game. I wrote an accuracy algorithm which would produce a number between 0 – 1 that would represent the accuracy of any beautification done on the monster to the requested features on the mannequin. I added some progression, such as requests becoming more absurd as you would play, or small things like needing to be more accurate when applying lipstick.
I won’t bore you too much with how the game evaluates your score and increases in difficulty as you play, while also preventing repetition in generated monsters.
We churned work hours but soon Mati had to go to the same concert Itamar went to yesterday. I went home and continued working from there.
I still had to implement a Game Over screen, a tutorial, sound effects and music. I created a simple app-esque screen with some stats about your accuracy and how many rounds you finished, and a credits scene. It actually was a lot of work and time was running out, and I couldn’t stay up late because I had to go back to the army in the morning. The game was pretty much done at this point, but it had no sound.
I added two (hopefully) unlicensed musette tracks from YouTube and recorded sounds (such as my Ukulele’s strings for applying mascara or those monster moans you hear when you finish a round).
I was really under pressure, but I had made in time. Then I thought about a funny idea. I got some generic screams and yells from findsounds and implemented into the game without Mati & Itamar’s knowledge. I think they actually add a lot 😀
And that’s it! I was done, just on time. My head was on fire and I went to sleep only to wake up to another lengthy army day.
What went right
- Fun. This isn’t something I usually say, but I think the game is really fun to play. It’s easy to pick up and learn.
- Polish. Despite the many constraints we had to work with, we still managed to push a shiny monstrosity.
- Graphics. I really want to give the bros some mad props here. I think the monsters look amazing, and everything just clicks together when you look at it.
- Variety. The gameplay isn’t repetitive and you’ll get a bunch of crazy monster combinations when playing, which is something really important a small game like this should have.
- Humor. It’s pretty funny, right? Right?
What went wrong
- Time. Real life really decided to interfere with the development of this game, and we had to work under a ton of pressure to push it out.
- Tutorial. I didn’t have too much time to implement a proper tutorial, so what we have now is admittedly kind of a mess, in terms of a tutorial.
- Feedback. We originally wanted to implement a visual feedback on how you did each round. Itamar even drew some cool score sprites that would pop from under the bell when you’d finish a stage, but I was just too exhausted to implement it. I’m really sad it had to be that way.
That’s it. We had a ton of fun working on this disgusting abomination, and we really hope the world likes it. I think this might’ve been one of our best Ludum Dares to date.
– Lonebot ♥♥
P.S: Happy birthday Mati, you magnificient Afro baring hero.