I failed… I am out.
What was my idea?
Quite simple it was suppose to be a turn based RPG, about this guy who has a long weekend and wants to spend it by himself, a series of events happen where his alone time gets interrupted. He then goes out on a quest to find a nice quite spot where no one will talk to him. The turn based battle system is turn based conversation where when you randomly encounter people who want to talk to you, you have attacks like “witty retort”, “blank stare”, and “random fact”. Your heath is measured in Will to Live, and your opponents have interest meters. When they lose interest they walk away. You can also run from the conversation but some people can block that like Police Officers, Jehovah’s Witness, Homeless Guy. I had a simple campaign mapped out that should have taken the user about 30 minutes to beat.
What I got done?
A complete sprite, a map system, and input manager, no battle system. Less than half of the code I needed and less than 20% of the graphics needed, 0% of the sounds, and about 50% of the text I needed (flavor text for attacks, and the basic dialog not finalized).
So what did I learn from this?
Make sure you have to software you plan to use installed on your computer, I recently did a reinstall of my OS and I didn’t actually install a lot of the software I thought I did, for instance I had C# 2010 installed instead of C++ 2010, so there is one hour gone installing and updating.
Make sure your alarm clock is set to work properly, I slept too long on Friday night, bye bye 9 hours.
Make sure you are familiar with the libraries you are using, I ran into this last time to, last time I thought it would be great to learn SDL only to learn I hate SDL but I trudged through it finished my game mostly. This time I went back to what I know GLUT I used freeGLUT just for the sake of Open Source but still nothing new to learn but new features if I feel the need. The problem is that this time I had to use some other library to use load textures, something I didn’t look-up before the time started. After a few searches I found devIL which seemed promising because of how similar the syntax is to openGL and the ability to load a file directly into openGL without having to write a helper function. The problem is these functions kept giving me a texture name of zero, I even rewrote the function using simple syntax, I still kept getting the same error codes “extension not found”, file could not be opened. ~2-3 hours of searching later I found out I linked the Unicode version of the library instead of the ANSI. After that I got a good 5 hours of programming in and managed to display a partial test map for my game.
Make sure you don’t have anything else planned for the same time as this compo, I had planned to celebrate both my Dad’s return to the country and his birthday, so all the family was in town so it was an unavoidable yet lovely time sink. 5 hours gone there.
Then for the next 4 hours before sleep I got everything drawing and updating properly with my key press manager in place, also got some simple tile sheets working. Got to bed at a reasonably late time, and work up at a manageable 8am.Had myself a great breakfast eggs, toast, and sausage. Sat at my computer and immediately realize how much work I had to get done in the next 14 hours, after putting in about 2 hours of work I realize that I was not as productive as I needed to be to complete this so I got distracted 12 hours in.
First thought I would think of a simpler idea that I could use my code with, I drew a blank. I had a few ideas that made me to mental gymnastics to fit with the theme. Single player pong, asteroids clones where you had to shoot all asteroids except for pink heart shaped ones. Just plain bad ideas! So I admitted defeat, gave up and watch the new episode of Chuck that aired one hour in to the contest. 6 hours later I wrote this post.
I don’t know if this last part could be a message for me not to lose focus, but ultimately if I had been prepared I would never have been to the point where I felt like I ran out of time, family obligations or otherwise.
But in good news I convinced one of my friends to compete as well and he is on his way to get a game posted in time.
I’ll get you next time Ludum Dare… next time