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Computational Media student at Georgia Tech.

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LD22 Post-Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 7:46 am

It’s been over a day, and I’m still pretty winded from LD. Look, I made some game about clones, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/43348544/LudumDare22.swf, and that was a really fun idea to play with. Messed up a whole bunch, learned a lot, and definitely enjoyed every bit of the experience. 😀

Ahhh, I also like pictures:

 

What went right:

1. Learning how to program two years ago and making plenty of random gameplay prototypes for fun. One of those prototypes was a city populated with your former selves–which was one of the biggest inspirations for my concept here. It seemed to be an interesting angle to play on the theme, and I really wanted to flesh the notion of combat in that idea out. Knowing exactly what I wanted to do pretty much the minute the theme was announced let me hit the ground sprinting.

2. Programming faux-AI. If you’re going to have clones with guns, it’s no fun if they’re turrets–that was the problem I ran into halfway through my programming. I didn’t have the time to devote to clever AI, and I didn’t think that a fancy 2D shooting AI would have been worth it. I ended up doing a super simple idea–randomly move either left, right, or up–that just worked. Which, in retrospect, was by far the part of my game I am happiest about. ^__^

3. Postings updates of my progress during the compo. I didn’t do post anything during my first Dare because I’m a hermit, but I really wanted to for my second one. I’m glad I did too. Updating the interwebs with my progress was one of the biggest sources of motivation.

4. My computer didn’t explode. I’m not sure whether most people have this problem, but electronic things I touch tend to like to explode. Went through three different laptops in the last four months. This one is a repaired version of the first, and it popped open a blue screen of death the day before the competition. I took a gamble not using subversion and a backup laptop with everything installed just in case, but I figured that I had bigger concerns if bad things happened.  It didn’t though, and I’m pretty thankful.

5. Taking plenty of breaks and sitting next to my refrigerator. Mmm… so much delicious orange juice. I couldn’t have done it without you. Spending a lot of time away from staring at a computer screen to recharge my mind definitely helped getting back to a lively pace.

 

What went wrong:

1. Attempting last minute sound effects and music composition. If a person like me can’t do digital composition to begin with, he probably shouldn’t try to learn how to with new tools during the last three hours of the compo. I’m sure I also made the process of picking and implementing sound effects way more complicated than for smarter peeps. None of my audio work in the last three hours made it, and the game ultimately only had a sampled drum beat I used as a placeholder/last resort background tune and no sound effects to speak of. Looking back, I should have definitely walked through the audio development process beforehand.

2. Spending a tad too much time on creating content. It’s one of my pet peeves about myself. During my first Dare, I spent probably half the time designing, creating, and implementing a superfluous amount of upgrades that just ended up overwhelming players. I consciously toned it down significantly this go around (only a quarter of the time), but I could have added a lot more feedback/agency to the gameplay if I had a few more hours.

3. Not addressing the theme/mood in the game. I thought that the concept itself would be enough to speak the theme, but not too many others did when they played it, lol. I should have added narrative elements to really push my concept through and what’s happening behind the scene. As it is, it might as well be any other shooter with bouncing music.

4. Not playtesting it beyond the first couple of levels or with a fresh pair of eyes. After staring at a game for hours (especially only staring at the first few levels), I began to really notice the subtle differences between the player character and his cloned enemies. Unfortunately for new players, distinguishing them was a lot more difficult. Biggest regret this LD: not playtesting.

 

That’s it. Thanks for listening. I hope you had as much fun this LD as I did! Cheers.

Game mechanics, check. Onward for ~8h of art and music!

Posted by
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 10:50 am

Update #2.

The concept again: You’re in a box, which you escape from by destroying the walls. Completing a level creates a copy of yourself with your current stats, a Shadow Link, that follows you to all future levels. Unfortunately, he dislikes how you smell and wants you to go away. Being unable to speak, his only way of expressing his feelings is to shoot you in the face.

Here’s the playable build, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/43348544/LudumDare22.swf

Flixel’s awesome.

And a screenshot of placeholder art:

Finally, a playable version :D

Posted by
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 11:17 pm

It’s a web .swf file. No downloads necessary!
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/43348544/LudumDare22.swf

After ~12 hours of coding into my 2nd Ludum Dare, here’s my still very inexperienced work in progress riddled with balance issues, bugs, unimplemented dreams, terrible placeholder UI, and really awesome placeholder art and music from Adam Atomic and DrPetter, respectively.

What I’m most happy with is the concept that I plain lucked across. I had the idea daydreaming way back during my first ever programming course. Every time you complete a level, you create another copy of yourself with all of your current abilities–Shadow Link, if you will–who unfortunately really dislikes you and wants you to go away. I just hope that my execution will ultimately be able to do it justice.

If you’re on one of your rare breaks in the compo, try it out. Tell me what you think needs extra swings of the fixin’ bat. Thanks, cheers!

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