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Postmortem

Posted by
Friday, May 3rd, 2013 7:52 am

This was my second participation in LD, and while I don’t consider it a great success, I’m happy I produced something. Here’s the link to the game: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=18395. It is basically a minimal (non-digital) painting simulator. You use your brush to spread and mix colors given in the palette on the right side. The palette is part of the painting and shares the physics of the whole paper. You can paint over any image files and see how well you are matching the image guide.

The theme minimalism didn’t really get me excited, so I initially ignored it and thought about what would be interesting to code. I came up with the painting idea, thinking I could make it into some kind of game in which the painting lives and the player interacts with it. However, in the end, I never got a good idea for such a game, and ended up just improving the painting simulation.

I used the theme as a guiding principle and managed to reduce color painting into just mouse movement with left-clicking. So unlike in an image editing program, there’s no “toolbox” or any kind of abstract settings that let you insert into the paper arbitrary stuff brought from “outside”. In this game, you are confined to work inside the painting itself (excluding the water-button, which is actually optional).

In conclusion, I think I managed to use the theme okay, coding went smoothly, but I just had no idea what to actually code. I started programming before planning the game and that didn’t work out. On the other hand, if I had just kept on planning unsuccessfully, I might not have finished anything. I’m looking forward for next LD!

Post-compo release and post-mortem

Posted by
Sunday, January 6th, 2013 4:30 pm

I managed to finish my first LD entry and I now present you a post-compo version of it. Play it here. Title screen:

intro

I made improvements based mainly on what people said about the game:

  • Added music (from http://www.nosoapradio.us/)
  • Added sound effects (with sfxr)
  • Added intro/help screen (as seen above)
  • Polished the graphics a bit, lowered window size
  • Increased player control
  • Made it more game-like instead of a simulator
  • Let the player control destinies of Igor and Dmitri

Some post-mortem thoughts:

Comments gave mixed feedback about the graphical style of the game. Graphics were made in about 10 minutes, and I doubt more time would have made them any better, considering my interest and skill in art.

Lack of music and sound was perhaps worse than I thought. Next time I’ll try to include those in the compo release. The post-compo sounds are not impressive by any means, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

Intro screen to explain the game and controls is also something I’ll try to get into the actual release next time around.

Player control was a central issue in this game. The player can only vaguely affect the behavior of a large number of independent AI agents to indirectly achieve his goal. Many players reported they didn’t feel like they were in control and I’m not entirely satisfied with the improvements of the post-compo release I made to address that.

The game was an experiment in emergent gameplay created by multiple AI units – a simulator type of game. I think the emergence was limited as the minions do not really interact with each other, only the Hero. That is, the game wasn’t complex enough to be really interesting. I have a feeling I’ll be trying something similar in the future, using what I learned here.

 

In conclusion, I think my first LD entry was quite successful. I learned a lot and want to make more games in the future. I was also very impressed by entries by other people and look forward to seeing the results of voting!

Great success

Posted by
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 1:48 pm

 already_dead

I did it! My first LD entry has been submitted. It is a game in which you try to win, but not by too much. As an Evil Overlord, you don’t want the Hero to ruin your plans, but you don’t want him to die either, because that would spoil the fun! More on the submission page.

That was most intense coding I remember ever having done. Towards the end I had to start heavily cutting corners. There are so many global variables and redundant checks, and so much duplicated code that I don’t ever want to look at the code again 😀

I had some time to spare but was too exhausted to start implementing anything – testing my game is pretty tedious. So there’s no sound, no starting screen, and most placeholder art is better than what you see in the game. Still, I completed what I set out to do – to create a game with many AI controlled agents and player only having global control over their behavior.

I feel I was very lucky with the theme, planning the game took only about 15 minutes. And I even managed to include a goat!

If he didn’t have a cute (but deadly) pet goat, he wouldn’t be an Evil Overlord. On the left, you can see Igor and Dmitri, trusted associates of the Evil Overlord.

more_men

The game is controlled by giving orders to your minions by choosing one of three available random choices. There are three levels, at the end of each level there are special choices.

orders

See you in next LD!

I’m in

Posted by
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 2:05 pm

I had totally forgotten about LD until yesterday, and impulsively decided to join.

Having little time to prepare, I think I’ll be using Python and not making a web version of the game.

Good luck to everybody!

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