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Ludum Dare scores: always there to make you feel down

Posted by
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 2:29 am

I love how comment section is filled with comments like “good game”, “fun” etc. and then the scores come back to bite you in the ass.

Best of LD 37 (after 40 games)

Posted by
Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 10:51 am

The Best of:

 

1. One Room Hotel

Many Ludum Dare games do great at one particular thing while doing not so great at everything else. “One Room Hotel” is awesome because it delivers at everything. It’s not a game you will be remembering for that one awesome mechanic. Instead it is very consistent at what it does. You can feel there was a clear direction pointed out at the beginning of the project and every aspect of the game was dedicated to following that main idea. It’s a great product in the best sense of the word.

Reason to play: Overall game quality, consistency

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=55226

 

2. Apricot Drop

Two things will always sell: tits and violence. You can add one more: cuteness. That’s the way chosen in “Apricot Drop”. The game follows the most ridiculous gameplay ever – you take apricot and drop it in different places. Playing the game is just an excuse to experience the cuteness – that tiny little room and throwing around that adorable apricot with its tiny little eyes. Makes your heart melt. The catchy tune played whenever you successfully toss apricot does its share at keeping you addicted to the experience.

Reason to play: Cuteness overload, pure sugar

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=125598

3. Tree House Quest

Think about Pokemon Blue made by guys from Cartoon Network and you get “Tree House Quest”. What amazes me is the scale of the project. In 72 hours there was a place for: good cartoonish graphic, fight system, attacks unlocking, decent AI and funny plot. Of course there are entries who did this or that better but to have entry combining so many cool things into one game – now that’s something! The game difficulty is just right. You will fail but checkpoints make gameplay forgiving enough to try again. It’s one time adventure but it’s worth giving a go.

Reason to play: It’s big and good

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=46262

4. Humanity Walks Into a Bar

I’m not really sure how to sell this game except saying that’s it’s smart and innovative. As a matter of fact it’s so innovative that’s it difficult to compare to anything else. You start off with three humans each of different color. Humans are able to breed making kids of new colors that are a mix of their parents colors. Humans are able to kill each other thus removing a color from your population genepool. Your task is to make as many colors as possible before the bar where game takes place reaches its capacity limit. I like that this game takes a serious topic of genetics but doesn’t take itself seriously. We mix colors instead of genes and people hatch out of eggs, because why not!

Reason to play: Innovation.

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=29565


Worth checking out:

 

5. Heavens Inc.

“Heavens Inc”. is a “Reigns” kind of choice game where you have make humanity doesn’t go extinct. A wide variety of people will ask you for help from kings and bishops to local drunks. The game has a lots of humor in it both while presenting your believers and from offered choices. Sometimes being a God means sending dreadful plagues other times it involves becoming a talking burning bush. The game provides a good balance between both of “religion is serious” and “religion is ridiculous” approaches. The game does its share when building your God persona. All believers coming to you with “My dear God …” or “Oh Almighty …” – this really makes you feel like a guy in charge. Never suffered from God complex before? This game will fix it.

Reason to play: Being God is a serious job, not always…

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=25497

6. Room 007

You play as a room. You are the room! Done with my review – go play it.

Reason to play: Idea

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=3035

 

7. Bleep Sheep

This is a winner at let’s make it simple category. A sheep that goes right-left-right while trying to avoid obstacles. It’s simple but it works and is surprisingly enjoyable.

Reason to play: Simplicity that works, fun

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=16061

8. Code Red

This game is good on its own: it has tight controls, good graphics and good pacing and so on. What really makes it stand out are those tiny things that skyrocket gameplay value. Splash of blood on the walls. Screenshake on almost any action. Camera that follows the player when he jumps but isn’t stuck on him. This game can pretty much serve as tutorial what to do to upgrade your game from good to awesome.

Reason to play: Effects, “The Art of Screenshake”

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=124600

And if you have time be sure to play my entry as well:

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-37/?action=preview&uid=34334

PostMortem: The killer is in this room

Posted by
Sunday, December 18th, 2016 12:34 pm

(Personal) history:

I have been looking forward to this Ludum Dare as a retribution for my bad entry during LD 35. The frustration was building up for quite some time so I was ready to jump into 48 hours of coding madness.

 

Initial design:

LD starts in my time-zone at 3 a.m. and I always wait for it because I get the best ideas during the night. I give myself 1-2 hours for designing then I go to sleep. My mind processes the initial concept and when I wake up I have clear vision of what I want to do.

I don’t remember how I got the idea of detective game. Initially I wanted to game about barricading myself from threats of the outside world: work, bosses, family responsibilities etc. but somehow the detective idea came up and stuck.

The game follows a classic Agatha Christie kind of crime novel. Some people gather in the room during dinner party the lights goes out and when they are back on one of the attendants is found dead. Then detective starts his investigation. “I gathered you all here to tell you, that the killer is actually in this room.” became a motto of the game. The Einstein’s riddle became an inspiration for gameplay. What I had in mind was: “I want to do something like this but more interactive”.

The gameplay was supposed to consist of 2 phases:

  • crime scene, where you would gather the evidence (never made it to the game)
  • interrogation, where you would talk to the suspects in order to determine the truth

 

Moscow model

The moscow model is one of the designing techniques I heard during one of the game dev lectures. It stands for “must have”, “should have”, “could have”, “would have“.

  1. Must have – these are core mechanics. Unfulfilling those means game is unplayable.
  2. Should have – these are no crucial for the project but lack of implementing will be noticeable by player.
  3. Could have – these are extras. They are supposed to make your game stand out from the crowd. They add value to your project but dropping them doesn’t hurt you.
  4. Would have – cool stuff but we most likely won’t have time to implement them.

 

I knew from the start I want minimal graphic design. I’m not an artist so that was reason number one. The second one was that the style went very well with the theme of the game.

The third reason is the game I played a long time ago that became my inspiration. I think it was called something like “I love her but she’s a zombie”. Game was build on rectangles and followed a story of boy (blue rectangle) trying to get to his girlfriend (pink rectangle) while avoiding zombies (green rectangles). On the reaching your girlfriend on the last level she turns out to be zombified and zombify you as well.

 

According to moscow model this is what my game would look like:

  1. Must have – collecting evidence, interrogation of suspects, pointing out the killer, display of collected evidence
  2. Should have – story introduction
  3. Could have – different look for different suspects, sounds, solution (link in the game, solution outside)
  4. Would have – it’s LD no time to even hope to implement “would have” section

 

Day 1.

  • Woke up around 10:30 am.
  • Kicked off with UI. Scaling of buttons messes up fonts. (wasted 2 hours). It’s Ludum Dare – time is ticking. Can I even give myself time to try to find solution for it?
  • How about ray-casting + cubes? But I have little experience with that. It won’t be something that I would be able to do without troubles.
  • Sick – headache. Probably due to weather conditions. Unable to work. (6 hours – suffering + sleeping).
  • Evening, cured but depressed. Outside of LudumDare I’m in really strange moment of my life. Almost finished my master’s course on the university but at the same time I’m about to become a drop out. Should I even push LudumDare? On the other hand the idea for the game is great and dedicating my weekend to the study doesn’t guarantee improvement of my academics situation.
  • Determination. During one of the lectures on start-ups one of the slides showed HackerRank’s coders rank where Polish developers were ranked at #3. This picture was well known to me even before the lecture as my social network has retweeted it a lot. However what was said during lecture and wasn’t known to me is that in the same rank Polish developers were #1 in “never give up” category. Time to grit your teeth, pull your sh*t together and live up to that title.

 

So here I’m day one almost gone and all I have are some early sketches of integrations scene and nothing more. Let’s see what is there to be done and what can be done differently (meaning faster).

 

Evidence collecting was something that from the start I didn’t like. It would require drawings of the crime scene, something for what I had neither time nor skill. If I wanted to examine the body I would need additional close-ups which would further prolong the work. The worse of it all is that I didn’t have idea how to make it fun.

The bottom line is:

  • Is it easy to do? Do you have resources and skill to do it? – No.
  • Is it fun for the player? – No.
  • Then drop it.

This decision cuts my project in half while removing boring content and making player spend more time on the fun part – the interrogation. Player still needed to learn about the evidences so I introduced a crime scene report.

 

Around the time I came up with report design I decided to do one more change. In the initial idea during the investigation on the body of the victim there would be possible to find two kinds of pets fur – one of the victim’s pet and the other one of the killer’s. I found this idea silly so instead I decided to place fingerprints in the report. This would force player to actually open and read it while at the same time adding up to the mood of the game.

 

Learning from my fails with UI I decided to switch controls from mouse to the keyboard – it’s much easier to implement. My game utilizes 6 keys: spacebar, left, right, 1, 2, 3. To further speed-up implementation left key implementation was postponed. The choices were looped – going right from your last choice would make player pick the first choice so left key wasn’t so crucial.

 

Sleeping during day paid back as I could work longer into the night. By the end of day one I had done pointing out the killer, reading report, switching between suspects and I had great build-up for integration part (had most of dialogues prepared).

Moscow model at the end of day 1:

  1. Must have – interrogation of suspects, pointing out the killer, report
  2. Should have – story introduction
  3. Could have – different look for different suspects, sounds, solution (link in the game, solution outside)

 

Day 2.

Day 2 went smoothly. With half or project gone because of design decisions I had plenty of time to work on whatever was left in scope.

 

Day spend, in order of making:

  1. Interrogation
  2. Story introduction
  3. Title menu
  4. Sounds
  5. Upload to LudumDare

 

Story introduction is another thing that was changed in order to do things quicker. Initially I wanted to make a cutscene with comic like bubbles whenever character was talking. The cutscene however proved to be difficult to implement. The problem with bubbles in movies is the time measurement. You go too fast people wont’ be able to read it, too slow people get bored. Instead I went with slideshow that changed on spacebar click.

 

The unexpected additional task appeared when I thought about credits. Credits are important. I didn’t feel like doing a fancy title menu where there be a button that showed credits. Instead I made a title screen with credits on it. Title screen was inspired by crime novel covers which uses simple shapes with palette consisting of red, white and black.

 

crime_novel

Google says “crime novel cover”

 

screenshot_1

My title screen

 

The nice thing is that I ended 2-3 hours before the end and managed to upload my game before LudumDare became unresponsive. The only thing I didn’t implement was different looks for different suspects. It would be really useful for colorblind people but I would lose something from my minimal graphic style so in the end I didn’t do it.

 

LudumDare – art of scaling the scope:

LudumDare for me is always about reducing project to the essentials upon which we are ready to build some cool but non-essential elements. Summary of things changed during the run of the project:

  • Evidence collecting replaced by report – quicker to make, evidence collecting wasn’t fun, adds to mood
  • Mouse controls to keyboard controls – quicker to make
  • 2 types of pet fur to fur + fingerprints – more mood, more sense
  • Story cutscene to story slide-show – no impact on value and less work

 

Architecture

The thing I’m really proud of is that I used component architecture in my game. I had one central “gameManagerScript” that was tasked with keeping track of the game. Only it could get input from the player and forward it to the scripts which would execute actions. The components could perform some actions on the “gameManagerScript” but they needed to introduce themselves. This is in case “gameManagerScript” decided to ignore some components. This design provides nice function separation and makes sure newly added components won’t mess up the other ones already tested and working.

 

LD1

Game architecture

 

Player feedback:

I was sure not everyone would dedicate themselves to the story. Some players would point out the killer at random and I’m ok with this. Some people got the intention, invested in the story and seem to really enjoyed the game.

The major problem was the controls. I assumed too many things would be rather obvious or just that players would somehow figure things out that. Some people didn’t.

Some people had problems with screen resolution. I have kept fixed window size. Laptops with smaller screens couldn’t fit in my game. Better keep ratio fixed next time.

Thank you for reading. If you feel like it you can play my game:

The killer is in this room

Finished, going to sleep, now!

Posted by
Sunday, December 11th, 2016 8:26 pm

Done it, made it. I was about to give up because for the first half of first day I had terrible headache. I’m not even sure for what genre my game qualifies. I guess it’s something puzzle…ish but it’s ok because it turned out rather cool.

 

Now jsut waiting for bugs to come out.

Good luck everyone

Posted by
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 12:08 pm

I won’t be attending LD because at that time I will be rocking on with Rammstein in Wroclaw.

Best of luck to everyone taking part \m/

Games to play

Posted by
Sunday, May 1st, 2016 3:38 am

One week left, play these games!

 

  1. Biological Warfare

This is a simple top-down shooter that was filled to the brim with various effects. The most effective being the walls that move, connect and divide – making the walls come to live. Authors provided a tutorial for the walls effect what is really nice on their behalf.

Reason to play: Walls are alive

 

  1. Prince Charmless

2D platformer that masters at everything. Art is eye-candy. Controls are tight. High quality leaves no place for complains.

The way the theme was treated deserves a special mention. In the game the player controls an ugly prince and one of the tasks is to give him extreme makeover by such means as removing pimples and cleaning his teeth.

The other part of the game is a platformer with player constantly running and jump being the only control. The task is to get from the bottom to the top. Levels are well planed – they are small but both placement and number of obstacles feels just about right.

Reason to play: Theme interpretation, Overall perfection

 

  1. Polypotian

Polypotian is a mixture of puzzle and platformer. If you like Portal this game is definitely for you.

In the game we are able to throw special balls that lead to alternative version of the level. Player must switch between two versions of the level in order to avoid gaps and lasers. The really cool thing is that throwing a ball literally generates a inter-dimensional door that you can look through. This really enhances the experiences.

Game could have been better here and there but the ball mechanic easily makes up for small flaws.

Reason to play: Inter-dimensional door effect

 

  1. Fast dungeon

While this game has weak connection to the theme, boss being shape-shifter, it is fun. This is RPG – the main idea is that you gather experience only to die and gain more experience until you will be strong enough to kill the boss. This makes dying ok – it’s just another part of gameplay and not a mark of defeat.

Art: I usually dislike pixel-art. I believe it’s cheap to play on nostalgia with intention to rise the scores for art. Major difference is that this game keeps sprites at extremely high quality. It’s enjoyable to experience the world because of how it all has been drawn. It’s one of the best pixel-arts I have seen.

Reason to play: HQ pixel-art, fun

 

  1. Exhuman

Top-down RPG “shooter”. Shooter is kept in question mark because at the beginning you start with bare fists. Only after you kill enough enemies you can open a chest and have a chance to find a weapon. Once you do game becomes fun, until you die because upgrades are lost on death.

The game is rough at the beginning and some things could have been handled differently but gameplay is not the major reason to play this game. The main reason is 3D art. Based (mostly) around polygons you can feel it was fully intentional to keep game in this style (and not due to lack of talent).

Reason to play: 3D art

================================

Game chosen after playing 26 games.

My Twitter to keep you updated

You should play this (after 50 games)

Posted by
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 5:02 pm

Patient Zero

25437-shot1-1440443493.png-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=25437

The game puts you in role of patient zero and your job is to infect all people on the map. At first you go sneaky picking victims one by one in dark alleys. Once your horde is big enough you go “frenzy” to outrun military post and spread your infection further.

Why should I play it: gameplay and mood

Ludzilla

14065-shot1-1440377639.jpg-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=14065

The game has the best idea for audio ever! Titular character is so awesome that it should become a logo of this edition.

Why should I play it: titular character and audio

The water ghost

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=47536

47536-shot0-1440355145.png-eq-900-500

When I saw screenshots for this game I thought it’s going to be bad… and I was so mistaken. It short fun (lasting about 1-2 minutes) but comments made by children are hilarious! Especially refferences to “Tommy” and how “this whole trip was his idea”.

Why should I play it: humour

The Devil’s Daughter

44332-shot1-1440463978.jpg-eq-900-500

This game is well made all around but the art is really what gets your attention. Pallette limited to black, white and orange. Style? Something between internet comics and Biding of Issac? See it yourself.

Why should I play it: art style

Humane Harvest

40341-shot0-1440452806.png-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=40341

Some games are good, some games are bad. But some games are wtf. So in this game you kidnap humans, put them in ground make them grow and once they are ripe you cut off their hands. Yey! If games you made where a form of Rorschach test a creator of this one should be in asylum by now.

Why should I play it: wtf of this edition

Who’s the Monster!

57628-shot3-1440467657.png-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=57628

In this game you ought to find out shapeshifter using given clues. Nice change from endless killings.

Why should I play it: genre

Can I Haz Monsters?

20557-shot0-1440465760.jpg-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=20557

This game is a mixture of platformer and puzzle game. What is amazing however is that solving puzzles involves talking to monsters => and by talking I mean learning their language word by word. Learning process runs so smoothly and is so nicely implamented. It’s so natural, not being forceful at any point. The desings for monster themselves arent bad either.

Why should I play it: learning to speak “monsterish”

Barrel Roll Ultra!

27438-shot0-1440517499.png-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=27438

There are many games that puts you in seat of the bad guy from classic game. This one is just well made.

Why should I play it: overall quality

Moon Base Shootout

25813-shot0-1440466069.png-eq-900-500

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=25813

If you play action-puzzle game it usually goes like this: shooting, puzzles, shooting, puzzles. This game is a mixture of both and not by switch between these two genres, it’s a mixture all the time.

The action of the game takes place in space. Added twist to the game: if you break the window the space vaccum will suck everything until something blocks the hole. Everything meaning your enemies(good!) and sometimes YOU(not good). A simple idea of sucking things out allows you to use enviroment to your advantage which is great! No more shoot them till they die. Unless you want to solve it that way which is ok as well. Sucking allows you to move rocks blocking the pathway in boulder rash style giving a games a puzzles to solve.  Most of the time however you will be forced to solve puzzles under fire. So break the glass and pray you won’t be sucked out!

Art is fascinating, it’s tiny eye-candy.

Why should I play it: sucking mechanics, tiny art

————————————–

And if you still have some time you can check my entry as well:

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=34334

What’s the difference between humour and mood?

Posted by
Monday, August 24th, 2015 3:10 pm

How would you define difference between mood and humour? In horror game it’s pretty simple that if you are caught in by atmosphere it’s mood. But What if you play a game where zombie are drawn in funny cartoonish style(accompanied by equaly funny noises)? Is it fun because of the mood or because of the humour?

What do you use to create music?

Posted by
Monday, August 24th, 2015 9:24 am

During LD33 I wasn’t able to find good random music generator. I want a tool that’s easy to understand and at the same time allows customization.

At best if it would allow to generate music from chosen genre.

 

The reason why I’m posting this is because during LD33 I needed a nice battle/combat theme. I thought about some nice rock music but every music generator found by Google created happy tunes instead.

Music Ludum Dare

Posted by
Thursday, August 13th, 2015 4:34 pm

Do you think we could make one LD with themes to choose from consisting only from titles of songs. I mean old evergreen songs that everyone knows (not recent hits).

Few themes/songs example (add more):

  1. Ring of fire (Johnny Cash)
  2. Paint it Black (The Rolling Stones)
  3. Ride the Lightning (Metallica)
  4. Oops! I Did It Again (Britney Spears)
  5. I Love Playing With Fire (The Runaways)
  6. The Tide is High(The Tide is High)

because most of these titles are just asking to theme a game

Mona Lisa on LD

Posted by
Monday, November 24th, 2014 11:41 am

Is it ok to use picture of Mona Lisa in my game during LD? Or should I paint here myself if I want to use her?

Cool games + 2nd LD post

Posted by
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 4:24 pm

4 days remain so here goes some nice entries:

 

1. Cluster Struck – katamari goes intergalactic

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=35779

 

2. Chipset-0 – great mechanics + really cute robot

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=2982

3. Flicker – interesting puzzle game

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=24705

4. Universal Love – kill enemies with love… or missiles

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=25025

5. Triple Threat – 3-player checkers

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=41447

6. Starpiercer – really pretty

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=39357

7. Planetary Marriage Counseling – two planets want to get a divorce

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=30802

8.Alien Gift Exchange – humorous point’n’click

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=2362

9. Connecting LD30 to the Real World – map of LD competitors, see how big LD is.

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=10313

 

Probably you have tried most of these titles but I wanted to expose those that for some reason gave me that wow! feeling.

 

———————————————————————————————————————————————

This was my second LD. It went much better than first one.

A. First LD – LD #29

It was terrible. I was at BBQ at my friend’s house and got too drunk. I woke up at 3.a.m.(second day) and was rushing to finish.

Wasted plenty of time doing great menu and background. The result was that halfway-through I event didn’t start doing

gameplay. Once I was finished I was ashamed of my work. I was even wondering if it was worth sending to LD. The idea for the

game that was supposed to be “so great” turned out to be rather boring. I still believe that mechanics could be used but as

minigame in bigger point’n’click game, not as solo game.

 

B. LD#30

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=34334

When I heard the topic I was at first: “great topic!”  and then I was “sh*t I don’t have any ideas what and how to do it”.

I thought of oribitals(not sure of the name) and wanted to do something similar. I started with doing gameplay using

templates of graphics. Then I went on to do graphics. For last one came menu, instructions,ending and NG medals.

What didn’t work out is gravitation of enemies. Enemies were supposed to be drawn to players but there was strange

bug that sometimes pushed forcefully enemies away from players instead towards them. I think it was because gravity wasn’t

updated with every movement step. As I started doing it 3-4hours before end of LD I decided to drop the idea. The game wasn’t

rushed so I could do some more graphical effects(like pulsating stars). It wouldn’t take a lot of time but it would highly

improve the experience.

 

C. LD thoughts

The main problem for me is how big this contests is so there is good chance that your game will be send and not viewed by anyone.

Comments are too nice. It seems that nobody gives positive criticism – pointing out what could have been made better. It’s always

“I really like your game” etc. In this kind of environment you are not really sure if your game is worth anything. It’s contest made

by programmers for programmers. What we are missing is footballer-jock steroid type of guy who would be like: “That’s cool!”,

“Tits, nice!”, “This game is worthless sh*t” because we always look at things from “how much work did it take to make it” perspective.

I will most likely participate in next edition because as there are many bad things I can tell about LD in the end it’s addictive fun.

 

Sorry if this post is written in strange manner but it’s my first post here.

 

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