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First half

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 7:54 am

The first few hours have been great!

A bunch of brainstorming some very different ideas. Scribbled notes, jotted symbols, inspiration from random words on the internet.


I boiled down my thoughts into a list of specific themes and mechanics, and pitched them to my friend. Some of them needed more writing/narrative effort, some were more of a challenge to code…


I’m constantly reminding myself of my motto for the weekend, “finished trumps awesome”. My plan was to pick something simple, even if it wasn’t awesome. This turns out to be more of a challenge than I hoped.My “best” idea – which is to say, the one I’m running with instead of deciding forever – isn’t quite formed. A two-scale game where the inner game affects the outer game – just isn’t gelling into place yet. None of the inner/outer combinations I’ve been thinking of seem like they’d be obvious or fun.

I’ve totally got game envy from my friend – while I’m still stuck in the mists of generality and abstraction, my friend’s idea is concrete and simple, ready to implement.

I’m going to have to switch ideas completely, or just go with one of the games that may not be obvious fun.

I’m in again… this time I brought a friend…

Posted by
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 8:42 am

I entered back in Ludum Dare #24 (Evolution), when I made a very unpolished word game.

This weekend not only am I entering but I’ve roped in a friend to do it at the same time. Neither of us are warmed up (or particularly used to game development) but we’re both keen as commanders.

What’s likely to be in my toolbox this time? Let’s see…

Sound and Music:

  • Earslap music generation tools: Circuli for ambience, and Otomata
  • Abundant Music – if I need more complex music
  • Leshy’s SFMaker (or maybe CFXR)
  • Audacity for recording and sample editing


  • Pen and paper
  • The camera on my phone
  • Pixelmator for big image editing (photos, textures)
  • I might buy Pixen if I need to do pixel art sprite animations

Code and Infrastructure:

  • CoffeeScript (compiling to JavaScript) because it makes me feel nice
  • The Phaser game engine seems popular, let’s go with that.
  • Yeoman and a generator for convenient Web scaffolding
  • Lo-Dash, Browserify, Bower, Grunt, LiveReload, whatever else the kids are using these days
  • Web hosting on GitHub Pages or whatever.

My main goal this time around is to make a “complete” and somewhat polished game in the allotted time without burning myself out. If the game is actually fun or artistic, I’ll consider that a great bonus.

I’d better get some sleep before the theme is announced….

Algorithms and optimisation

Posted by
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 6:00 am

## 4pm (43 hours to go)

Researching algorithms around word changes. Levenshtein distances seem to be the big thing. I start wondering if I’ll run into speed issues with naively running through a whole dictionary (~50k words). I wish I was stronger at computer science — algorithms and data structures might be very relevant here. I wonder about trading off time for space, pre-calculating the nearest neighbours for all of the words.

A quick in-browser test seems that doing string matching over 50k words is quick enough to not notice. 500k is a bit slower but still doable. I guess I can start without optimizing.

Just getting started

Posted by
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 6:00 am

48 hours to go (11am local time)

I wake up and check the theme. Evolution. OK, fair enough. The first thought that comes to mind is clusters of little round cells, growing and evolving to more complex clusters. A bit like a rounded, 3D “Game of Life”. I don’t want a non-interactive game, though.

A round arena with cells in the middle, and the player fires “evolution rays” or maybe just a destructive “trimming laser” at parts of the growth? Hmm. I like the visual.
How might the cellular growth work? I sketch out some circles and lines, and it looks like a bad soda stick animation. I don’t know if I can make this fun.

OK, what else is there? Evolving words?

Nothing new came to me in the shower, so I started work.

First visuals

Posted by
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 5:59 am

44 hours to go (3pm local time)

Finally got my wireframe looking kinda how I want. I probably spent too much time figuring out the CSS for nested lists, considering that I haven’t even validated that this kind of game will be fun. Good enough for now, anyway.

An early screenshot of Evolving Words

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