Well, screw you guys. My game is going to have potato anyway!
I’ve done next to nothing to prepare for this LD, so it’ll be the same tools as ever: HTML5, Chrome, Sublime Text, Audacity and GIMP.
Going to be doing another HTML5/Canvas game, not going to bother using any libraries because 2D stuff with canvas is already plenty simple enough.
Tools will probably be the same as last time – Chrome, GIMP, bfxr/sfxr, Audacity, Sublime Text, git, Dropbox, imagemagick and pen and paper.
What went right
I got plenty of sleep before I started. The start time was 2am for me, so I went to bed about 9:30 pm and got up at 5am. A good nights sleep and I got to start only 3 hours in. I had good food throughout, kept hydrated and I left the computer for a lot of time when thinking things through so I felt good, rested and comfortable while I was working.
I had the idea that became my game very quickly and was able to think out where I could take it before I actually got sat down to code. I used the same editor and debugging tools (Chrome developer tools) that I would use on a normal work day, and I had been doing a fair amount of HTML5/canvas work recently too so I was very comfortable turning my idea into a quick prototype and didn’t get bogged down in bug fixing or trying to work out how to do complicated things. Even the (limited) sound effects were easy to create and use, probably taking no more than 25 minutes for the lot including hooking them into the game.
Most importantly for my confidence, I had something that looked like a game, with enemies, a core mechanic, losing conditions, sounds, title screen, game over screen, etc. long before the first day was over. I knew I had something to submit and so I could go out on a limb and experiment on day two.
What went wrong
Unfortunately, I actually thought my idea sucked for most of the weekend. While the idea came to me within half an hour of waking up it took me a good 5 hours longer to commit myself to making it because I was desperately trying to think of something better.
Of course, I only got that 5 hours thinking time because I didn’t really have the weekend free. Some 12 hours of the weekend were spent playing with my son or helping my wife. It was nice not to be stuck at the computer all weekend, and it did give me plenty of time to reflect on what I wanted to do and get a bit of perspective, but I still think I’d have made a better game if that time could have been invested in directly making it.
Being in a safe position at the start of day two, I INTENDED to go all out on adding extra features, working on the graphics, adding music, etc. However, I found that now that I knew I could submit what I had, combined with the fact I thought my idea was basically bad, I couldn’t really motivate myself to do anything big and instead spent the time tweaking things back and forth. Ultimately I stopped working on it altogether several hours before the deadline.
And while, looking back on it, I can see that my idea wasn’t all that bad after all, the overall game experience is marred by the difficulty being poorly balanced. At the end of the first day people said it was too hard, but after I dialled it back a lot I didn’t get it play-tested again. It was only when the comp was over I started to get the comments saying it was way too easy.
I think next time I will have to force myself out of my comfort zone at the start. I did have 3 or 4 other decent ideas before I started coding that I dismissed because I thought they were too big. I think if I had gone for one of those I would have actually kept my motivation up more to the end.
On that note I also need to expand my comfort zone by making some different types of games between now and LD #24 so that I know what I’m capable of and have a greater repertoire to call on.
Also: Testing, testing, testing. There are a lot of people I know that would have happily played the game for 10 minutes and given feedback towards the end of Sunday but I didn’t bother. If I’d had 3 or 4 people play it I might have got the difficulty right in time.
I updated my LD23 blog with a short review of the day so far.
I’m tracking my progress on my external LD23 blog which also has a link to my in-progress game.
We’re 15 hours into the compo and so far I’ve only managed about 5 or 6 hours coding, but the rest of today should be plain sailing. My game is already enough to call it a game, so I get to spend the rest of the time making it awesome.
I am feeling like maybe I should have pushed myself harder on my idea, though. I had several ideas and in the end picked the one that was simplest but least fun. Oh, well, there is always next time!
I already did an “I’m in” but I wanted to share my LD23 blog and to wish everyone good luck for tomorrow!
I’ve been warming up by making a little base code library at https://github.com/wibblymat/html5-game-library but its going to require a lot of work before the day! I also started some base code at https://github.com/wibblymat/ld23 that I might use as well. Not sure!
Nervous, excited, can’t wait!