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Operation Barrage Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Thursday, December 25th, 2014 7:31 am

First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you’re having a great vacation!

Now, back to business… As promised, here’s the Post Mortem for the small prototype I did for this Ludum Dare. It’s called Operation Barrage and you can download and rate it at this link. It’s an RTS/Action game for 2 people playing on the same tablet device. The prototype features an Android version and also a Windows/Web version. Here is me playing against my alter ego, taking turns.

If you like this project stay tuned for more news. I have been working and continue to work on a post jam version and you will be seeing more updates soon.


The goodScreenshot 2014-12-07 20.23.58


  • The concept: I find this concept really entertaining. This is actually a game I would like to play on my tablet, but have not been able to find it. So, not only I had a blast developing it, but I also enjoy playing it. Now this might seem obvious, but having fun playing it after 8 hours of working on it really helps with motivation.
  • Achievable, scalable design: After overshooting the goals in my last LD jam, this time I wanted to start simple. A concept that is fun to play even without tons of content, but that can be easily expanded upon. I think this time around I have achieved that goal.
  • Although balancing is secondary in a prototype, I actually got a chance to tweak unit costs, abilities and parameters both during the jam and immediately afterwards. It’s a great way to evolve the concept into something that people want to play based on the feedback loop right from the start.


The badScreenshot 2014-12-07 20.24.02


  • Unclear tutorial: I consider this my Achilles’ heel, mostly due to the lack of time and feedback during a jam. A one screen visual tutorial wasn’t feasible here since there is a bit of content to explain. But still, a small explanation scenario for the controls and each unit would have been better than the rushed tutorial I did which was basically just a masked huge wall of text.
  • Bad UI: Now that Unity 4.6 is here, there are no more excuses for crappy UIs, and I hope to get a good enough grasp on it to improve this area for next time. The UX was not designed ahead of time, and it shows. Elements are placed around randomly and it’s hard to find the information you need fast.
  • Unclear game design: I based this game on the principles of Starcraft: tactics, strategy and economy, though on a much smaller scale and different design path for obvious reasons. Unfortunately I never quite understood if I wanted it to be a slow game of strategic thinking, or a faster, micro and action focused RTS like Starcraft. This is something I still don’t quite know, but hope it will flesh itself out as development continues.
  • Little polish in visual design: I’m no artist, but I can definetly do better than circles and stars. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to polish the visual aspect like graphics and particle effects.


The uglyScreenshot 2014-12-07 20.23.56


  • Bad controls: being a touch focused game I spent most of the time testing that. Unfortunately, due to my lack of experience in this area, the controls never quite felt good on an actual device. With 2 people furiously tapping on a low end Android tablet that doesn’t register touches well at times, doing the action you want becomes an exercise in frustration. Mouse controls were slapped on fast and weren’t very intuitive or fast.
  • No AI: Even though the game was very visible, and got lots of votes, not many people offered feedback. I imagine this to be due to the fact that playing it is a chore compared to other entries. You need to install and APK on your Android tablet, find a friend, understand the rules and explain them to him or her as well. An AI and a decent desktop version would have alleviated this problem greatly, but unfortunately was unfeasible, due to the lack of time and my lack of experience in AI programming (is it even possible to do sensible AI for an RTS in a jam?). I hoped to work around this issue by adding a new play mode: hotseat. Taking turns was my idea of someone playing against himself or against another player on a desktop, but since it was done very fast, it wasn’t calibrated well, and the turns were WAAY too fast.


So, like I said, I had lots of fun with this LD entry, and even though it has lots of flaws, I think I know how to address them and bring out the potential of the concept. That means I will still be working on it until I’m happy with the results. If you want to follow the development or get access to the latest test builds on Google Play (which include a test mode with 3d graphics, and lots of fixes and improvements) message me or follow me on Twitter.

Happy holidays people!

Screenshot 2014-12-25 14.28.09

Final Day summary and entry finished

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Monday, December 8th, 2014 5:36 pm

It lives! I may not have slept this night, but sleep is overrated anyway. I’m rather pleased with how the game turned out. I spent today polishing the game, solving bugs and actually balancing the units. The only big part that I wanted to finish but couldn’t was the AI, but in retrospect that was a monstrous task anyway. Good thing I had a backup plan. I introduce you to the hotseat mode:

So taking turns is my idea of letting you play on your computer with a friend, alone, or on a small device, if you don’t happen to have an Android tablet and a friend that likes strategy games lying around. The AI I would have done in a jam would have been rudimentary anyway, so maybe giving you a chance to play against yourself taking ‘turns’ was a better idea anyway.

So, apart from a few bugs that I didn’t quite manage to squish (nothing game breaking hopefully) the game works quite nicely, and I actually had fun testing it this morning with a friend.

If this looks even remotely interesting to you, please give it a try on my entry page. I will be continuing this game in the future so any feedback you can give is more than welcome!

I’ll be publishing a Post Mortem these days with a few things I’ve learned from this jam, but now is the time for REST! Happy submission everyone! :)

Day 1 Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 5:26 pm

Today was pretty brutal, but I managed to implement most of the stuff I had planned.

The gun platforms are working decently now, you can buy new ones, and the game finishes and can be restarted. I’ve also submitted the game to the Play store so it can hopefully be approved by tomorrow. The game page is also prepped and ready.

There’s still lots of work to do. I’ve changed my mind about the AI. I will not try to implement it tomorrow as it would be impossible to finish. Instead, I will implement a hotseat mode, where you can take turns with someone so you can play on your PC or maybe alone just so you can get a taste of the game. Here’s my trello board of the stuff I’ll try to do next. This is the second time I’m using trello to organize a project as I hate the clunky issue tracker on Bitbucket and I have no more repositories left on GitHub. But I have to say trello is not that bad. The biggest disadvantage is you can’t cross-reference issues with commits, but working through the back history of a repo is not something I do often in a jam anyways, so it’s a good tool that I recommend.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 01.04.03

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 10:35 am

Small update on my strategy game. Most of the stuff seems to be working except for the building of new units. Will try to do that tonight so I can just do polish and maybe an AI tomorrow.

Day 0 Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 11:31 am

I’m pretty tired now, so I’m going to call it a day, but first, an update on what happened today. Maybe someone will find it useful, if not it is still a great way to organize myself 😛

The game (no name yet) is a local multiplayer RTS/action for tablets. You can control gun platforms on your side of the screen and your objective is to destroy the commander of the enemy.

  • The commander is the unit with the star. It can mine the nearby asteroid (green) to get resources which can be used to buy more platforms (not implemented yet). The asteroid will move around your field so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth risking the commander to mine it.
  • The machine gun shoots bullets at regular intervals. Has the potential to spam the enemy side
  • The shield blocks incoming attacks (will reflect them in the future, and will be disabled after a hit)
  • The missle launcher shoots missles that only go forward but follow the platform that shot it on the Y axis. You can micro these as guided shots that penetrate the enemy defense in tight points.
  • The mortar launcher lobs a bomb that will always hit the target and cause area damage, but is very slow to fire and travel and the platform is very vulnerable


If you want more updates on the project follow me on Twitter and Twitch :)

So my plans for coming days are as follows:


  • Implement the building of new units
  • Better controls on both tablet and PC
  • Better visual feedback (especially when a platform is about to shoot)
  • Victory conditions and menu


  • Polish
  • Basic AI
  • Testing and balancing with real people

Extra work that I probably won’t have time to do:

  • Implement 2 new platforms: one that slows down stuff in an area in the enemy side of the field, and a shotgun

Have a good jam everyone! 😀

Screenshot 2014-12-06 19.07.18(2)

My strategy for tablet entry

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 5:56 am


Well, as long as I’m having my break I might as well post this. A screenshot of my progress so far for the jam. The game will be a strategy/action game played locally by 2 players on Android tablets (there will also be a PC version for testing purposes and an AI mode if I have time). Each player controls the position and rotation of different types of platforms in their side of the field. The platforms so far are

  • Machine gun: shoots bullets at regular intervals
  • Shield: blocks incoming damage

The objective is to manage your side to overpower the enemy side (I’m planning on adding mineable resources with which you can build new platforms and a base that you have to destroy later on).

If you want more updates on this project follow me on twitter or follow my Twitch stream, which will be up soon.

Have a nice jam everyone!

Screenshot 2014-12-06 13.41.26







Deep Descent Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @sirdorius)
Saturday, May 17th, 2014 9:35 am



This is my 3rd LD and this time I wanted to write a postmortem to share my thoughts and experience. Deep Descent is the compo game and you can play it here. It’mostroesplosivos a game where you have to get to the center of the planet by killing monsters and using your totally physically accurate harpoon gun that bounces off enemies and gains their power.

The Good

  • Good concept: To make use of the theme we came up with the side view. A sectioned planet made the theme evident both visually and from a go
    al standpoint: you can see your progress clearly and it’s not a very common concept to use a spherical world (I miss you, Populous 3!). To add gameplay to this idea we wanted an original weapon. Not just X diverse weapons, but one unique weapon that can function as X weapons. That way we came up with the harpoon gun. It makes use of gravity on a spherical world so it’s pretty unique to control, and it bounces off enemies acquiring their power, which makes for some cool combos.
  • Diverse team: It was the first time I worked in a jam with so many people (4 programmers, 1 2D artist and 2 musicians). Most of the jams I’ve done mostrogelato
    up until now were by myself or 2-3 people that were always programmers. It was a great experience to work with and coordinate so many diverse figures in the not-most-ideal conditions (but more on  that later)
  • Experienced team: Each of us had previous experience working on other games or jams, experience wi
    th the tools we used and some of us had even worked together
  • Good music and graphics: At the end of what seemed like the 1000th hour of programming I had barely listened to the music our guys had composed and hadn’t really paid much attention to the graphics, but I was amazed at the end to see how nicely everything fell into place together and raised the enjoyment of what I could only describe as “a buggy mess”. Erika‘s cute character design and drawings (made so the game could be enjoyable to her little brother) and Igor‘s and Roland‘s compositions gave life to everything!

protagonista                    mostrolumacone

The Bad

  • Remote communication: We couldn’t find a place to fit so many people for 3 days so we made due with Google Hangouts. I all of the jams I’ve done I’ve always worked with my teammates face to face. Online communication is slower, and it gives you less incentive to work, because you’re not as committed as when you SEE your mates working constantly. It was obvious that organizing 7 people online would be a huge challenge, but considering this was our first time I think we managed to do it pretty well.
  • Overextending design: “4 programmers can implement X amount of features” I thought. What I didn’t really consider was what would happen when 2 of them didn’t work full time on the project. They had told me this from the start but I was hoping to convince them to invest more. The design of the game needed 4 enemy types (and consequently 4 weapon types) and a boss to be fun. A layered design would have been better in this case (and in general really). Features that are most fun should be implemented first and the others left last. For a jam, I have come to believe that a single mechanic should be designed at the beginning. When that’s working it can be:
  1. Polished: Juice it up and make it clearer/more fun
  2. Extended: everything that falls in the “more of this” category
  3. Scratched: if it’s just not as good as you though
  • Lots of bugs: In the end we actually had 4 enemies, but their intelligence, attacks and powers given to you harpoon gun were all very bugged and unreliable. The teleporter to the next level works 1/10th of the time, and the player was even invulnerable when it was first published. While some of these bugs were patched and will continue to be patched soon, it was a terrible state for the game to be in for the voting stage.
  • Lack of polish: If you’ve read this up until now this was obviously coming. There are things can be done to improve the experience, like the fact that you don’t have much to do on each layer except jump and kill enemies. The game mechanics are not clear and have to be explained before: you can’t tell what powers your harpoon has, you can’t tell what the objective is or how the teleporters work

Hope this was an interesting read and see you guys in 3 months when I’ll be using all the stuff I’ve learned.


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