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Getting ready for Ludum Dare 😀 Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a venue this time (again) so I’m jamming from home – which is okay, since my best LDJAMs have been from home >_<
But I really enjoy the group jams…
Anyhow, this time around I’ve only got one vague goal to shoot for.
I wanna make a game about decisions.
Being an avid boardgamer (and designer), I want to make something that’s less about reflexes and real-time skill and more about decisions and implications. I know this isn’t a new idea, but looking back on my previous LD games:
A game about a landshark shooting missiles in bullet time.
A game about crushing friends with deadly accurately tossed boxes.
A game about a cop piloting various mecha.
A game in which you are a pokemon and must eat to not starve but your food is also your cover and trainers are out to catch you.
A game about… Pooping shots to escape.
I feel that’s one area I hadn’t explored yet. So here we go!
Please compare it to BOOOST Compo version if you have time, and let me know if what I’ve changed is for the better 😛
It’s the last day, and I’m finally kicking my own ass to put this thing up! I’d been working on it on and off pretty much since the day after LD weekend, and… What can I say, it’s been a thoughtful couple of weeks.
Booosting the ship
I spent a lot of time tweaking the flight physics again, that being the thing that really defines this experience. It was a real struggle getting it between satisfyingly drifty and satisfyingly responsive. This new version is much more responsive in some ways, but does not let you do anything you want. It’s.
A big change was to the fuel system – instead of two bars, there is now one. Left and right flight does not require fuel, but thrusting directly up does. This lets the player manoeuvre when needed without worrying about fuel, but the regeneration and cost is higher than before, striking a new balance.
The top of the game field also expanded, affording the player more time to react to incoming ships, if they’re not invincible. You’re not always invincible while flying up – you’ll only be if you have 50% on your fuel meter and continued burning after the initial boost.
Booosting the enemy
The big bad changed from the wall of flame to an actual ship with armour and engines. This gave the player something to focus on besides what’s ahead. In the earlier levels, interacting with the boss isn’t really necessary, but later, the boss’s speed picks up, and your escape would be made easier if you blew up the boss’s engines, slowing it down.
The idea was to have more variety in the boss’s composition and components, but I haven’t gotten that far yet, and balancing the numbers on this has proven to be very, very very hard. I would love some input on how you perceive the difficulty of the game in its current state!
I had the worst ending to a pretty good LD – As I settled down with about an hour to go last night to compile my entry for upload, I noticed that my OSX build wasn’t running. Perturbed, I tried a Windows build to run on my other machine. Then WebGL and WebPlayer.
Long story short, much panic, much anguish. I didn’t know what the problem was at 6am my time. I asked everyone for help – twitter, an article here, my local forums, everyone I could – it was 6am, and I was drained. So I crashed out.
Continued looking this morning, with many inputs from the wonderful folks here, on twitter, and some of my friends who were awake by this time, and thankfully discovered the really, really obscure bug by trial and error. It has something to do with Canvas items not having materials. Who knew. Maybe keep that link handy in case you run into the dreadful craziness.
So finally I was able to upload working builds of:
Edit: Thanks to everyone for your input, you are all awesome!
I eventually found the problem! It’s super obscure and I hope everyone takes note because you would never know about it otherwise. Like I didn’t:
the game would crash when it tried to load a scene with any UI objects that had any component with a material set to none. Changing all the UI elements to have any actual material prevented crashes (but also screwed up the looks of the UI).
The fix was to go into Edit > Project Settings > Graphics and under “Always Included Shaders” make sure that it contained UI/Default and UI/Default Font. Mine didn’t have either of those, but when I added them all the crashing problems went away and the built game ran flawlessly.
Long story short (again), my game works perfectly in the Unity Editor, and gives no errors when I build (build successful), but when I run any of the builds (OSX and windows, even WebPlayer and WebGL fails to work), it crashes right at the splash screen. Without fail.
I’ve tried development build, I’ve tried rebooting, I’ve tried all the abovementioned builds. Everything crashes.
I’ve no idea how to find anything on this because there’s no error. Please can anyone assist?
I finished relatively early, and thought “yay, time to upload”. So I start building my builds.
Long story short:
I’m on Unity. None of my builds have ran successfully. I’m on a MacBook Pro, first thing I tried was OSX build. The build completes, but when I run it, it crashes right at the splash screen.
I tried Windows (on a Windows machine), same. Instant crash.
WebGL doesn’t work
WebPlayer doesn’t work
I’m at a complete loss, I don’t know what to turn to, because there’re no errors in Editor at all, and the errors OSX throws me is some huge memory dump thing that I haven’t the foggiest clue on.
I don’t know if it’s something wrong with Unity or my dev environment. This has never happened before, not all the way across all platforms and without any errors. Just before this jam I updated to Unity 5.3, so that’s the only thing I have to blame on, except I kept 5.23, and I tried to compile with that too, which gave me pretty much the same results.
As it is now, I don’t know if my machine can’t run these builds, or if these builds won’t run on anyone’s machine… I just don’t know
I’ve uploaded everything I can, but I don’t know if any of it runs. If there’s a good samaritan out there who has the time and might know more than I do about crazy Unity errors, my source is here too, have at it and… Hopefully this helps someone else too.
A quick good morning all! Just woke up, I think I overslept (alarm set for 5:30, woke up confused to no alarm at 6:30… I must have gotten AM/PM messed up :P), but that’s okay.
Yesterday, about 14 hours in, I decided to give up on my first concept because I realised it was WAY overscoped. It was Yes No Mayor, and it required me to build a whole damn economy engine as well as make it fun. Too ambitious for me for now. So I started over.
And that’s okay! It was liberating not sticking with something that made me feel uncomfortable, which I did during LD32, and that was both my least favourite LD as well as my lowest scoring one, despite having packed in A TON of work.
So this is what I have now before I went to my nap.
Fair thee well my first LD34 idea. Yes No Mayor was about a little mayor getting hassled for stuff by everyone to grow the town. Yes, no yes, no.
But alas the scope was way too big, having to create an economy and a whole bunch of structures and interacting systems. I’ve learned from my previous crowd-inclusive LD that… just don’t go down that route. Stick to something doable.
Thanks for the awesome jam good LD friends! 😀 Thanks for voting and the cool chats and feedback and votes!
Had a wonderful #LDJAM this time around, I felt much better about this one than my previous one, both during and after the jam. And that definitely showed in the score
So now that I’ve done four LDs (sorry #30, I couldn’t get to you), I can put some kind of data together and see if I can make sense of my performance. And to be honest, it’s baffling.
LD32 vs LD33
First, comparing this one to the previous shows a definite improvement, and that I’m really happy about. The previous one was really quite uninspired and rushed, and I’m glad that my approach to this one (not pre-determining what to make before the jam) has yielded far more creative and interesting results.
LD 31 vs LD33
In comparison to my best LD so far, I couldn’t beat it. But hey, that’s really not a major issue. But that feels like an anomaly to me… my LD31 was a purely multiplayer game which meant it was impossible to test, with no Audio to speak of so it scored 0 there, and it was a platformer which was like 80% of other games. Why did it do so well?? Was it genuinely a great game, and I really should work on that one further, or was it an anomaly? WHICH IS IT?? D:
PokEscape placing 437th on theme makes me feel kinda sad, because the very first line of the description said “You are the (Poke)Monster!”, which I thought was a great fit for the theme. Which meant that 90% of people who rated the game either missed that line or never read it, or didn’t agree with it. Sigh.
I went through my games and roughly counted up how many comments I had on each game, and this last one was a lot higher than the rest by about 50%, which is possibly significant. Was it because this game referenced Pokemon? Or was it due to other factors? I really would like to know how many ratings my past games has. Don’t know where to find that. Sigh.
It’s been a rad Ludum Dare as usual 😀 After this analysis I think I’ve decided that data analysis is not useful without a sample size of a billion So just keep jamming and having fun, making cool shit is the best you can do! Until next time amigos!
Last Ludum Dare, I went in with pre-conceived notions of what I was going to make, and I felt it would have been better if I didn’t. This time, I went in with a blank canvas. Hell, I didn’t even look at the theme list to prepare myself.
The theme was You Are the Monster – a theme quite a few jammers bemoaned because it’s quite close to a theme a few LDs back – You Are the Villain. I wasn’t around back then (darn kids, right?), but I vaguely had the feeling it was done before. I didn’t care though, brainstorm commenced, there were a few decent ones, but when our chatter made me laugh out loud, I knew I had to do it;
You’re a monster. You’re a pocket monster (pokemon). You’re the lamest pokemon ever. You’re Magikarp. No, you’re so lame, you’re Magicrap. But you want to be the best you can be. Which is Gyrados. No, Gyradeuce. The crap puns flowed. I laughed, and off I went.
A stealth game where you have to eat your cover
That was the final destination of the core mechanic brainstorm, and that turned out to be super important. There were many interpretations of that core mechanic alone – Initially the game was not going to be on a grid, and physics-based, so you would dash around the place and slide and roll, etc. A turn-based version was also considered. But eventually a real-time, grid-based system was decided upon because it was actually the most predictable in terms of building and balancing.
Art priorities: 1. Fast, 2. Acceptable
The process was fairly straightforward, I made placeholder art because I didn’t want to spend too much time on art in the beginning, and just like the previous LD, I didn’t really get a chance to update them later. I think this is pretty much going to be the norm rather than the exception. Make okay placeholder art, but don’t waste time on them initially.
I’m privileged in this regard because I’m an artist/designer primarily. But don’t worry, what advantage I have on art I make up in shortcomings on my coding side.
Three dee two dee
The one interesting thing that I feel like is worth talking about technically and art wise is the 3D/2D effect that I have, where the sprites order correctly. Anyone who knows about z-sorting knows it’s a chore, and I didn’t feel like making the game constantly read y values and re-assigning them to different layers at runtime. So I tinkered and came up with this:
By tilting all the sprites at an angle, they overlapped correctly without having to programmatically set each sprite’s layer at runtime. The camera is a perspective camera with a limited field of vision, so it looks 2D, but is set in 3D.
I really liked how the effect came out – there’s a little 3Dness to it but still has the 2D charm that I love. And I didn’t need to make polygons 😛
First of all, thanks very much for all you who played and rated and talked about it! 😀
Initial feedback on the game was super cool It’s currently sitting on 110 ratings, which I think is the highest I’ve had (though I can’t confirm this, don’t know how to look up past rating counts).
There’s also been a bit of coverage by some really awesome people 😀
I’m having dinner so I thought I’d take a break and post about this problem I’m having.
This game starts you as Magicrap, minding his own business, trying to not starve to death. Then these bastard cap-wearing kids show up and start throwing these fucking balls at you, and you gotta escape them, or get caught and ushered into a monsterous life of slavery servitude, or starve.
The mechanics aren’t all in yet, but the main tension is that it’s a stealth game where you have to eat your cover to stay alive.