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Post Motem for the 30th Ludum Dare

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Sunday, August 31st, 2014 3:30 pm

Visualisation of git historyGource git video – see out development in action. Git for the win!


We awoke in our various residences and hit the hangout to begin discussing the theme and tossing ideas about. The original plan was for us all to start at Chez Pillbrain at 1000 on the Saturday (we are on UK time so starting too near the theme announcement screws up the tail end of the weekend). Like all good plans this didn’t survive the heat of battle and it wasn’t until after eleven that Hnjslater, Eskoala, Pillbrain and Tompudding finally started the nittty gritty of working out a theme (and playing with Pillbrain’s various coffee making machines). Lots of ideas were tossed around but we ended up settling on the idea of something with a game mechanic similar to worms but in space with gravity and circular planets to jump between. We’d already decided to use pygame with Tompudding’s wrappers around opengl and felt that it’d be a good idea to get some box2d in there too for realistic physics.

We’d all played with pygame but there was a good amount of lively discussion when, a couple of hours in, it became obvious that tom’s engine put the origin in the bottom left. There were tears and hugs and a fist fight but we eventually forgave him.

At this point, ComaToes had finished having his haircut and requested a pickup from Pillbrain (amongst his other roles, he was chief taxi driver). Hnjslater asked him to get a title screen together. Diner was pizzas and we discovered that ComaToes wasn’t actually working on the same game as everyone else, rather he’d been doing his own game based on ours and using eskoala’s assets. We were pretty pissed.

What we did:

  • TomPudding, get the physics in, parallax
  • Eskoala: Lots of sprites
  • Hnjslater: game elements, got the wrapper working with the debian stock box2d
  • Pillbrain: frank discussion with box2d, pygame and python (he was the only one using windows), mouse selection.

What went well:

  • Except ComaToes, we’d all practised with python and pygame so that made it quicker.

What went bad:

  • We all had pygame working but picking box2d at the last minute screwed up windows support.
  • We should’ve done more pair programming at the start.
  • Hnjslat sat awkwardly and as a consequence did his hip in and spent the rest of the weekend limping


We all arrived at Pillbrains between 10 and 11 (well except ComaToes obviously). Eskoala arrived with a veritable orchestra of instruments. We all had things to get on with so we did. Tompudding carried on with bits of physics, some gameplay and teleporters. Hnjslater started making a level and added in a basic AI and some gameplay mechanics. Pillbrain did some gameplay stuff and the heavy lifting of firing projectiles. Eskoala created the game theme and set to work on the incidental noises. Dinner was Sushi and it was off the hook. We also had our first major spat in the team over a class design. If there had been a door, it would’ve been slammed.

What went right

  • We’d all got the hang of git merging and produced a good amount of code
  • Tompudding bought his Aeropress, this entertained the group.

What went bad

  • We should’ve got Eskoala doing some code, she’s a talented dev and we wasted that.
  • We should’ve worked out the gameplay mechanic better, a lot of time was wasted on interactions which didn’t make it to the final game.


Having stayed up late watching Dr Who, it was an emotional start for some of the team but we eventually all started before midday and got down to making a proper game. There was much to do, more sprites and sound effects, weapons, teleporters and a working AI. Ahead of time, being a group of big personalities, we’d agreed that in the case of disagreement, Tompudding gets the last word. To make it clear that he was ending a conversation, we agreed that he was to speak in a Pirate voice. It was possibly one of the best ideas ever. As tensions rose, this was required a few times.

After dinner, we began testing in earnest and found far too many bugs for such a late stage. Meanwhile, efforts were continuing on getting a working AI. We left both too late really. We called it at midnight and Pillbrain once again ferried everyone home. Like the hero that he is, Tompudding was squashing bugs right until submission hour. In particular, there was a horrible interaction between a __init__ and a global that let to a pseudo-infinite loop.

What went well

  • We all wasted too much time enjoying playing the game

What went bad

  • We should’ve found more bugs earlier
  • We should’ve got the AI down well before Monday afternoon

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