The breakfast of champions, which is mostly leftovers from the supper of champions the night before.
I was a little let down when unwanted powers didn’t sweep the votes. So I slept on the broad theme of exploration.
Exploration left it pretty wide open for me, concept wise. I’ve been drooling over stuff like Passage, The Marriage, and Braid again after seeing Chris Hecker’s talk at MIGS a couple of months ago. I figure this is as good a forum as any for making a game filled with allegorical subtext. Not that this is exactly the target demographic, but at least some of you will be tossing me feedback.
I’m thinking a more accessible less artsy Passage. The exploration of time, and decisions in life, couched in a gauntlet style game.
I’ll toss a rough concept document once I’ve got a rough proof of concept done.
Pretension a go go!
So close and yet so far. Two hours short of really putting in an entry. Second Ludum Dare first failure.
In SGDSGU you are a telekinetic kid escaped from a covert government facility. Once they became aware of your escape, they sent out zombies to do away with you. As far as controls go, just click the fully formed stalactites at the top. Puncture zombie heads and try to stay alive!
(You can download what would have been the final here (play it in the stand alone flash player instead of the browser).
– Win condition.
– Stalagmites to block the zombies.
– More user feed back (hover mouse over stalagmites causes a glow).
– Gore effects.
I’m still running on the high of getting the game done on time, figure I may as well decompress with a mini post-mortem.
What Went Right
Settled on a pretty simple concept.
The animation and character creation went extremely smoothly in flash. I like how everything turned out visually. Flint also eased the burden art wise with some neat dynamic deaths for the zombies.
Flint was pretty easy to get up and running, the examples that came along with it could not make it any easier to use.
The game programmatically was not all too complicated, so most of that went pretty smoothly as well.
What Went Wrong
I wasn’t too big on the caverns theme as it left so many options open (?). Yes too many options, through together a bunch of concepts. They were pretty easy to narrow down, most of them included tilesets, yet, since I’ve never drawn tilesets from scratch I was pretty apprehensive about going that route. I did a lot of humming and hawing as Flixel looked like the perfect little engine for this competition. Easy to generate some random caverns toss a ninja rope in there, and bam you’re done. In the end my fear of pixel art was enough to keep me away.
I hate flash registration points.
I need to have a timer going while I’m working on the art, I put way too much time into making the art bits, when a good chunk of it didn’t get used. I know placeholder art, generally becomes the final art. So I try to get it done all in one go. Having the same problem last compo, I think I’ll have to go about it differently next time around.
Wasted a little bit of time getting up to speed on Flint. I have to stop using Ludum Dares as a way to try new things. I need to start dealing with the learning curves before the competition.
Placed my registration points way too willy nilly, wasted way too much time programmatically shifting bitmapdata and registration points around.
Squandered a bunch of time sleeping, got a decent 20 hours of sleep in.
I got most of what I wanted accomplished. I wish I would have had more time to play around with Flint to create some neat gore effects but oh well. Despite all the extra time I sunk into the artwork, it was a good experience, it was good to spend some quality time with my tablet.
Congrats to all you guys the majority of the games this time around look really phenomenal.
A lot of the entries this time around look extremely nifty, I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to show off my own stuff.
You can also check out an early build (mostly showing off the art) here.
It took me a while to come up with a concept that I liked. Spent a little too much time playing around with the art. Still shouldn’t take too long to program the whole thing and toss some sound effects in.
The main concept is your a little guy with telekinesis holding off zombies with stalactites and stalagmites.
The end result for LD will be pretty simple, with more time and Box2D I think the concept would be really nifty.
PET THAT KITTEN! was my second attempted Ludum Dare, my first actual entry, and my first XNA game. Going into this I knew I was going to use this competition as a way to get my feet wet with XNA. Considering the added learning curve I aimed for a very tiny scope. I think I went with the idea that crossed most LD’ers minds, turn the wall into an enemy and have it chase the player.
I had worked with a bunch of C# in the past so putting everything together in XNA wasn’t a problem. I had done my art up in Flash CS3. I had planned on using hobnox to generate my sound effects and music.
What Went Right
The scope I had planned out mostly revolved around the fact that I was tackling XNA for the first time. The scope had lots of features I could easily cut out while still leaving me with a “complete” game. I had done a bit of VB.net and C# managed DirectX stuff in college, XNA turned out be extremely similar so only very few features got cut.
Despite the programmer art, I’m pretty pleased with the way the artwork turned out. It was more time consuming than I had liked, but I feel like it breathed a lot of life into an extremely simple concept. I also decided that however crappy the artwork looked at the start, it would make it into the final project, no placeholder art.
What Went Wrong
I was using this Ludum Dare to kick myself in the butt to get something done in XNA. Most of my perceived problems stemmed from this though. I realize the ideal entries are executeables and broswer based games, no one really likes having to install dependencies or go to too much trouble getting your game going. I’m sure the installer for the XNA framework turned at least a few people away.
On that note, I know I could have gottent his entry done in half the time, possibly with more features if I had just done it in Flash. A good chunk of my time was converting assets to spritesheets and then fixing up the spritesheets (you’ll notice in the wall animation that you can see bits of other sprites on some frames).
My time management for this competition wasn’t too bad, I think I spent too much time on getting some of the artwork done, the time would have been better spent with an in game help screen explaining the game objects and scoring system. The confusion brought on by the scoring system (and a scoring bug) was a huge oversight on my part.
As an XNA project I’m pretty happy with PET THAT KITTEN!. It’s a complete mostly functional game, and I managed to plan my scope out pretty well for the time frame. However as a Ludum Dare entry it’s a little less than ideal as I know I would have been able to polish it(Sound effects!) quite a bit more in Flash and avoid installer issues.
This Ludum Dare was a great learning experience for me. Planning out a scope under such a tight deadline, learning XNA, and finding a couple of really nifty tools for mixing music and creating sound effects.
Here’s my final build.
Phew, a few minutes to spare.
First Ludum Dare, first XNA game. It’s pretty simple, but I’m pretty proud of it.
Download it here.
I was in a rush to upload this so here are the control explanations.
Start – Enter
“Press Y” – Q
“Press B” – E
Drop bomb – Space
Movement – WASD
The game is meant to be played with a 360 controller, so if you’ve got one plug it in.
Things aren’t coming along too bad, the basics of the gameplay are there, and I think I’ll have enough time to add a couple more features.
Currently the main character can dodge the wall, collect and drop bombs. The wall can take damage, when it has taken three hits a new wall will spawn to harass the player.
After checking out the other posts it seems like there will be more than a few games turning the wall into a an enemy that chases the player. So at least my concept will be in good company
Gameplay is restricted to one screen three quarter down. The player’s character will be on one side of the screen and a wall slightly bigger than the player will be on the opposing side. When the game starts, the wall will chase the player down. The wall can only move either horizontally or vertically at anytime. Players score one point per second they avoid the wall.
Every few seconds a new object will appear on the screen. These will be broken up into a few classes:
- Player Interaction: when collided with will force the player to interact with them (arm wrestling guy, kitten that needs petting, soup that needs stirring, etc).
- Wall Interaction: This is broken up into two things, some of the player interaction objects will interact with the wall (the wall will need to stop and pet the kitten as well). There are also three Erlenmeyer flasks of coloured fluid, at the start of each level the effects(shrinking and slowing the wall, speeding up and expanding the wall, giving the wall laser death eyes) of the three flasks will be randomized. Once one of these spawns the wall will give up the chase on the player, and go after the flask. If the player can reach the flask before the wall, he can destroy it.
- Bombs: Once collected the player can place bombs any where on the screen, they have a small blast radius and will have two functions: removing player interaction objects and doing damage to the wall. Once the wall has been hit by three explosions we advance to the next level.
Most of these actions reward the player with points.
As the player progresses through the levels the wall speeds up, and the amount of points they get for each second alive doubles.
I’ve decided to go with XNA 3.0 and Visual Studio 2008 Express as my IDE. I figure I’ll record a few sounds in Audacity and possibly hum a tune for music (if it doesn’t end up being too grating). Doing up all my artwork in Flash.
My main concern with going the XNA route is that the game will be set up to use the controller as input, making it less accessible for most LDers. Setting up keyboard input for it is likely not going to happen within the deadline time.
I’m also going to thank my gal pal, as this was supposed to be her final exams celebration/moving weekend. She is probably the most understanding person ever.
I’m off to my first LD meal.