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A million things… But it’s Ludum Dare time anyway!

Posted by
Friday, April 20th, 2012 1:26 pm

So let’s see… I’ve got a million and one things to do for school, but whatever. Starcraft 2 has a fairly interesting weekend with MLG, but whatever. Snooker world championship starts this weekend as well… But it’s still Ludum Dare. Last but not least, blizzard decided to open up Diablo 3 beta for everyone for only this weekend… Damn it all…

But it’s Ludum Dare!

Will use my old framework (uses C++, SFML and some lua):
https://github.com/treeman/7days

Will try to survive!

Postmortem: Sat-E

Posted by
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 11:26 am

This is my postmortem for my Ludum Dare 22 entry, Sat-E. You can find the timelapse over here.

The Good

Motivation

I was really motivated for this dare and it showed in the game and outside it. It’s super hard to make a game in only 48 hours but this time it went pretty well. My previous attempts went okay, but there were always something lacking. This time the game feels a little bit more finished so I’m going in the right direction.

After the game the programming motivation continued and with it I’ve been improving my small fast prototyping framework I use when making games. I got a lot of ideas on improvements during the weekend so that’s great.

The feedback

I was moderately happy with how the game turned out, it didn’t contain everything I had envisioned after all, but I got a ton of positive feedback anyway which is wonderful! It seems like some thinks that my game is good and there’s nothing better for your game making confidence than a bunch of flattering words. I’m even considering developing the game more, maybe spending a couple of days here and there on it during a couple of months when I have the time?

I learned a lot!

The best way to learn something is just to do and it’s still true. I’ve found a bunch of ways to improve and shorten my code, I’ve made an “infinite” space constructed by individual chunks and that game physics != real physics. Awesome.

Game design is a pretty fascinating creature. Sometimes you give it your best but the resulting game isn’t funny, other times you think your game is shit but then you get comments on your “amazing” game! This time I was certain the game was crap, a neat idea wrapped behind a boring gameplay but turns out it maybe wasn’t that boring after all?

I got this comment:

“Also the fact that when that happened the game didn’t simply reset, I lost my money but not my items,
literally stopped me from rage quitting. Bravo”

My thougts? Wait that’s a bug! Hmm…

My girlfriend

Of course as I live together with someone it’s quite hard to devote an entire weekend, plus the extra time before and after, with my computer. Veronica handled it wonderfully well and she was very supportive which means a lot to me and it helped a ton.

The Bad

The music

There’s no music but I had grand plans for making music for the first time ever! It failed hard though. Which brings me to the next point…

Not familiar with the tools

I used my own framework for the game, which is fine, but my last game with it was in May 2011! Which is a looong time ago. I was a bit (a lot) out of practice with this whole pixel arts thing. And of course I had never used LMMS to make music and that didn’t happen. I was short of time and it was too big of a deal to start it with the last minute.

Not enough time

Even though I had the whole weekend planned for the dare and I skipped practice on Sunday I was still short on time. I’m not really sure why though. I made a pretty simple game, not a lot of art and I generated sound with bfxr which took no time at all… The reasons really must be:

  1. Not enough practice.
  2. Unfamiliarity with the tools. Correlates closely to #1.
  3. I’m bad and LD is hard.

When I see all these amazing games I’m reminded on how much better other game makers are. I need more practice and I need to make more games. I should enter the next dare, enter the experimental gameplay project and just make more games.

And let’s face it: Making a game in 48 hours is frickin hard.

The Ugly

The art

Oh god… I suck at making art. Let’s just leave it at that.

The code

There’s a lot of bad and wrong in there, it works but it’s not pretty. In fact, it’s ugly.

The gameplay

This is a tricky one. I thought about placing this in the bad section as I didn’t find the game very pleasing at all. The beginning was too slow, the ending too long and there wasn’t enough incentive to continue flying through endless space I thought. But I got a lot of positive comments and reactions which is wonderful! I don’t fully understand why yet so I’m tagging the gameplay as ugly. After all the gameplay wasn’t like in my dream…

Ending thoughts

Before entering the competition I’m always nervous but high spirited. That feeling is always crushed during the weekend and when I finally get the game done and uploaded I think it’s the worst game ever. Luckily I’m greeted with positive feedback and that was the case this time again. Maybe they are okay, not super of course, but simply okay.

This time the dare came at a time where I felt I haven’t done anything meaningful for a long time, it’s just school, little programming and no game making. Now after my spirits are high and I can face a new year with many more games to come!

Until next time, cheers!

“Sat-E” timelapse

Posted by
Monday, December 19th, 2011 12:21 pm

Here’s the timelapse for my game Sat-E. Note to self: record more than 1 frame per min or you won’t see much at all!

A pause for a sparse screenshot

Posted by
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 6:15 am

Lot’s and lot’s of things left raaawrr.

game

I made Food!

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 10:59 am

Many hours into the competition and I’m not really where I’d like to be. I would’ve hoped I could’ve at least gotten some basic functionality into the game but still haven’t happened.

But I did manage to cook during all this time! And not just heat up something in the microwave but some actual cooking.

Fisk
My girlfriend didn’t do this I swear. Well okay she did help me with the potatoes…

Most epic finals ever

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 6:24 am

I’m continuing to procrastinate here, you’re warned.

Holy heck the Blizzard Cup finals was so unbelievably epic I can’t find my words! DRG down 0-3, tying it up 3-3 and in almost, almost, loosing the final game in the best series since… Ever?

Now with that finally out there I can focus on the game making again. Hm.

Cogs slowly starting to turn

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 3:17 am

Woke up about 5-6 hours after the competiton started (it started in the middle of the night). I copied my hello world program from the framework and started to wait for GSL to begin. About 2 hours after the kpop girls appeared the actual games started (they are on now!). So far I’ve done practically nothing gameplay wise but that’s okay, I’ve been watching kpop!!

Kpop!!

Here I Come

Posted by
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 1:34 am

The time has finally come. After more than three hours of exam writing, and almost double spent on studying for it, I am now ready to declare my entry into Ludum Dare 22! I’ve been away far too long, with my entries for the 17th and the 20th dare being almost a century away, the ancient game making creature will once again move into action. We’ll just hope the game won’t be ancient as well…

Leaving that behind us I can now focus on what to actually use. I wanted to try some new language and some new environment but that seems lika a really bad idea. So I will stick to what I know:

My fast prototyping library consisting of old C++ on top of the nice SFML engine.
sfxr, or maybe the newer bfxr for sound effects. It’s seriously great, give it a try!
Probably mtpaint for some nice pixelated graphics. I would like to try out inkscape for some vector based graphics but I might skip it this time.

LMMS for music making. This I tried to use a long time ago… And failed miserably. It’ll be a fun, fun weekend!
And finally my little timelapse recording hack for linux. Be careful if you want to try it, it will most likely blow up in your face and take your computer down with it. Handle with care.

And of course here’s where I’ll be spending most of my waking hours:

Ludum Dare 22 setup
I’m planning on getting some new food during all this, but I’m not entirely sure yet.

My first timelapse

Posted by
Monday, May 2nd, 2011 2:46 am

I saw all these cool timelapse videos everyone was making so this time I wanted to do one too! I made a perl timelapse script and off I went!

Only… I forgot to start it the first few hours and I lost some screens in the beginning to some technical difficulties. It’s not always a good idea to throw up a script the day before heh, heh.

Anyways, here’s the result:

I’m Done!

Posted by
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 5:42 pm

Man oh man finally…

Damn I’m tired but I managed to wrap up something fun I think. Will leave the creation of various binary files and posts for tomorrow. My bed is longing for me now, or is the other way round? Can’t ever be sure can you?

It’s Crunch Time

Posted by
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 2:04 pm

I got into a big nice slump a few hours ago, too tired to do anything real productive and useful. So I quit coding/graphics whatever I was doing and I trained a bit, stretched and doing some limbering up in front of Idra vs Select. Damn Idra played well despite his rage quits. Thereafter I went to the shower and now I’m back and now I’m ready to go.

I’ve got most of the functionality done, I think, and the graphics looks fairly okay. But the game isn’t fun and the sounds are awful and I’ve got a lot to do. But it’s crunch time now baby.

Unefficient Coding

Posted by
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 5:48 am

Ugh I just realized how horrible my code is! I have tiles with some stuff, you can add a path and objects to it and then you can send a shockwave through them. But naturally I have separate lists, sets and some more lists for them! I think I’m gonna go with the super inefficient approach and just loop, loop, loop through them all. But we’ll see what I’ll do. Time constraint is the most important thing after all.


And it still looks mostly the same.

Productive people sleep?

Posted by
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 3:30 pm

I read a study somewhere, sometime, that claimed really productive people slept more than others. Well I think I’m gonna give that a try here, I’ll need all the help I can get. I’ve got a lot left. Ugh.

Omg?

At least I’ve got something that looks like… Something.

Stuck, Tired and a change of Heart

Posted by
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 11:00 am

Wow, it’s been a hard day. I spent nearly 6 hours non stop shopping with the girlfriend and my feet, legs, arms and back hurt like hell. I’ve been trying to code and do some minor artwork but it’s all gone nowhere really, at least nowhere fast. And it looks like I’ve been going at a dead end now – it’s time for a pretty large rethinking. But it’s gonna be a fairly large project… Damnation to it all.

I feel the pain from being away from C++ and game programming for so long – I need to constantly refresh on functions, classes and whatnot. The venture into Perl, Haskell, Lisp and whatever has sure made me a better coder, but now I just feel like a damn slow one! I got off to such a great start, but now it’s falling apart a bit.

Now I have some positive things too. My girlfriend is ever supporting and I think she understands the hours I want to put into this this and tomorrow night. I think I have a really, really great idea for the game!

You’re gonna play the role of an alien or some sort of divine spirit, I was thinking of the guy from Tron Legacy who was set to create a perfect world, who has been given an imbalazer which will let him to transform plants and animals. Then you should create a system of sorts, something like a digital circuit, which will emit sounds when an animal reaches a goal or a function or similar. This way you can create all sorts of circuits, with the ultimate goal of being able to create binary algebra – so you can make a calculator or whatever. The sound thing is partly from me being lazy (don’t have to spend all day making something that sounds like music) but also so you can create your own song!

Phew.

Now it’s barbecue time and I’m preparing for a long coding night tonight.

I’m off!

Posted by
Friday, April 29th, 2011 11:22 pm

As the compo starts 4 am for us lucky Europeans I was planning to wake up really, really early. As it often is with these things… It doesn’t really work quite well. But I did wake up somewhere between 6 and 7, which is a real feat for a night owl like me!

I’ve made a lot, a lot of progress actually. I made the bulk of the code for an isogrid (admittedly I had made something really similar for a previous unfinished game which makes it pretty damn easy) and now I have a working grid.. err it looks like a grid at least lol.

I has a grid!

Naturally I messed up my timelapse script (I didn’t start it lol, and there was a fault in it). But now it should be fixed!

Now we’re soon going on a shopping spree but before then I hope I can get some more work done!

As prepared as prepared can be

Posted by
Friday, April 29th, 2011 12:10 pm

It’s been over a year since my last Ludum Dare and now I think it’s enough fooling around with school and other things, I want to be in again!

Not that it’s going to be easy… I promised by better half that we’re going out on a shopping spree tomorrow, and I will hurry through it (she made me promise) and then there’s Walpurgis Night so we’re gonna do some barbecue too. To top it off one of my best friends is coming over on Sunday and that’s not a lot of time left for some hardcore game making, but I will do my very best. Minimalism is the way to go I guess.

These are my tools:

  1. LMMS for sound
  2. My 7days fast prototyping library It’s a simple collection of useful stuff I feel help when you’re making a game. Uses SFML at it’s core for graphics, sound and whatnot.
  3. mtPaint an awesome tool for pixel graphics. Hopefully I’ll come up with something remotely nice looking.

There’s nothing more to it really. I made a simple time lapse script in Perl so I can monitor my making, or lack thereof. I think I saw some script for that here for linux but I dunno, I made my own anyway. I’ll be drawing power from Raubtier, Sarah Brightman, Hans Zimmer and some classical composers (Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi etc) I think.

I hope I can find some time and get something nice done.

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