About TackoramaLtd (twitter: @tackoramaltd)

A one man indie dev.

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Ludum Dare 33

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Wash out

Posted by (twitter: @tackoramaltd)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 4:02 pm

No inspiration. Nothing worth getting excited about. Yes I hate the theme and really hate the other theme but worse than that I have nothing to show for many hours of scribbling. Sadly, I’m out. And also going out too.

I’m provisionally in

Posted by (twitter: @tackoramaltd)
Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 3:40 pm

I didn’t think I would have time this December to spare a whole weekend but at the moment I can afford to do my second jam.

I’ll be using the same tools as last time (Unity 5, photoshop, audacity) and hope to make a better game this time.

Fingers crossed the theme isn’t sucky.

Ludum Dare 33 – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @tackoramaltd)
Thursday, August 27th, 2015 12:47 pm

This was my first Ludum Dare and I was not sure of what to expect or even if I was going to finish. As it happens it was an intense, exhilarating, and sobering experience. I learnt a couple of new things code-wise and about Unity but the biggest gain was the buzz of actually completing a video game in 72 hours. Here is my assessment of my first game jam.

I hated the theme but this didn’t effect my enthusiasm.
From the moment the theme was announced (2am local time) I was eager to get working on the game and got over/around the crap theme quickly. I woke up at 6am and had my game concept clear in my head by 7-30am. Then the hard slog began and thoughts of that awful choice for a theme faded as I made a plan for my game. By 8am on day one I had a game concept, a title, and a plan.

A rough plan helps.
Day One: Mechanics and Gameplay.
Day Two: Graphics, Sound, and Things.
Day Three: Cleanup, Spit, Polish, Submit.

Sleep: 6 to 8 hours on Days One and Two. Day Three sleep after submission.
Coffee: Alternate strong cups with juice.
Food: Limit junk food to day time. Proper meal in the evening. No alcohol.

I largely stuck to that plan with a little overlap and every couple of hours I stopped to see how things were going and adjusted along the way. Some ideas never made it but that was expected. Time management, even in a rough way, was essential. That meant that by the end of day one I could sleep easily.

Play test. A lot.
On that first day and play testing was crucial. Getting the mechanics right in terms of coding is far removed from the actual experience of the final game but still core and I’m glad I spent that first day on them. I have my family and friends to thank for this as their perspective was priceless.

A pretty face goes a long way.
At the end of the second day with all the graphics and sound completed my game lifted out of placeholders into something good. My background is in graphic design so the interface and title screens were never going to be MSPaint jobs. Where I failed in the visuals was not having time or the answer of combining photo-realistic backgrounds with sprites that looked as pleasing as they did.

Sound is essential.
I loved recording the sounds for my game, as did the people I asked to scream, giggle, and makes fools of themselves while I recorded it all on my iPhone. Then into Audacity and into the game. I loved scoring the music as well as my game needed a simple, comic touch and in Finale I was able to spend only two hours on music. But it was all worth it as at the end of the two days because not only was my game was 95% of the way there but with the sound it was entertaining as well.

The last mile of the marathon is the worst.
The third and final day I was tired of seeing the same code again and again. I spent the morning and lunch time putting final touches on this and that, amending and correcting. Then I went out for a late lunch with friends. Acutally went out. A couple of hours later when I got home I realised I was done. I am in two minds about the remaining 9 hours I threw away: I could have used them to push the game further but risked screwing it up; but on the other hand I was tired and needed to do something else other than make a game. While my game was uploading to GitHub I got the screenshots ready, typed a readme, and went to the submission page on Ludum Dare.

The unexpected was always around the corner.
I was surprised how much fun the whole experience was. But I was also disappointed with the time wasted on certain things (Unity particle system and collision layers – I am staring really hard at you). I played it safe by not using the jam to learn something completely new but I did extend what I did know. My entry was only the second video game I’ve ever made and it proved that I can do it. I did it. I was not expecting to finish, or if I did it would be with a ramshackle game. That was the biggest surprise – a well presented, completed game. Big treat for me!

Participation is better than observation.
I was too much of a coward to stream my work or take screenshots and shudder to think what it would reveal. I was far too lost in the process and all the details to give a toss about recording the process. For my next jam I will repeat this and not bother with showing (off) the work and focus on the goal: to complete a game. I also never bothered to look much at what other people were doing. I’m sure I missed out on some interesting footage but during the jam it would have been another distraction I could have done without.

End rant
Why was You Are The Monster a crap theme? Because it encouraged video game designers to only draw inspiriation from each other, in effect to consume each other. Not all designers did. But glancing at the 2,700 submissions it is clear that the result was a lot of submissions that looked, sounded, and played far too similar to other games, albeit from the monster’s perspective. I thought the point of a LD theme was to provide freshness to games, instead of leaning heavily on what’s gone before. I hoped for a LD theme that made you think (and voted accordingly). Instead the final theme for LD33 was lazy, auto-destructive, and cheap. Yes I hated it, really hated it. I said so at the start and still feel that way a couple of days post-submission. I hope the voting pattern is not repeated for future jams.

Tackorama

Nearly the end of the first day

Posted by (twitter: @tackoramaltd)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 3:38 pm

First up a confession – I hate this theme. A lot. Really, a lot.

But having got over the urge to rehash an old video game from the monsters’ perspective I decided to go with you are the monster as in you are doing acts against nature…

Completed (mostly):

  • Concept
  • Mechanics
  • Scripting

Left to do:

  • All the in-game graphics
  • All the in-game sound
  • Spit and polish

NOT going for the compo as I’ve used third party assests, a smidgen. Plus I want the extra day.

Below is a sample from the title screen…

Kill All Fairies title

More to report at the end of day two.

I’m in – first timer

Posted by (twitter: @tackoramaltd)
Thursday, August 6th, 2015 9:00 am

Tools (I’m on a Mac)

  • Unity 2D (code)
  • Photoshop (graphics)
  • Finale, Audacity, SFXR (sound)
  • Coffee machine (Columbia’s finest buzz juice)

I’ve no idea how it will go am considering going for a triple whammy of combining LD33 with LD32 and LD31…but that’s if the theme for LD33 turns out to be really broad.

Probably end up sharing the file via Dropbox or IndieDB.

Will definitely talk about it onĀ my website.

Am working solo but if I can get my sister and her nephew to provide sound effects I will.

LD 33 Wallpaper

Posted by (twitter: @tackoramaltd)
Thursday, August 6th, 2015 9:00 am

Here is my LD33 wallpaper…

LD33 Wallpaper by Tackorama

LD33 Wallpaper by Tackorama

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