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Loyds Tale Post Mortem.

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Saturday, December 24th, 2011 7:41 am

As posted on my blog at: http://bombpersons.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/loyds-tale-ludum-dare-was-fun/

So I entered the Ludum Jam last weekend with my housemates. We went in completely unprepared with no libraries at all. We made everything from scratch in those 3 days, including a tile engine, all the art, the level loader T_T. We didn’t get too much sleep  haha. You can play our game here. We named our games character Loyd Hasketh as its the first thing a random name generator pumped out. So our game is called Loyds Tale.

This bits actually quite tricky.

Our game idea was that you played a pirate, rabbit .. thing you finds himself ship wrecked on desert island with a mysterious bed in the middle of it. When you wake up from your slumber, the whole island had lifted out of the ocean and turned into a huge tower. You then have to make your way down the tower in a typical platforming fashion.

We made sure to have no other humanoid enemies, in order to reinforce the “Alone” theme. We did add some birds in there to give it some difficulty however.

We used Tiled as our map editor. It’s free, has a nice and easy to load XML map format, and is pretty flexible to use. We did have to resort to some pretty strange ways of inserting entities into the map, but it still worked.

Post Mortem

Day 1

On the first day we focused on getting the tile engine finished. I worked on the map loading whilst the others sorted out the actual drawing of the tiles. At this point our motivation was pretty high, as the code was still reasonable clean. We also wrote a simple entity system to go alongside the map, and created some sprite for the tiles and character.

Day 2

We fleshed out the entity system and the collision for the player (understanding that this is always a big problem in creating platformers we worked on this a lot). I worked on creating some hazards for the player, like spikes and breakable blocks. As the day went on we got less and less motivated. The code was getting messy as we had to hack things in to make them work, it was dawning on us how terrible our game was T_T.

Day 3

Sill demoralized from day 2, we worked on adding more hazards and designing the level. One of our team members had to leave about half way through the day to go home, so it ended up with just two of us adding the finishing touches. I spent most of the day creating the level. As we finally finished the game and submitted it, we could relax. It wasn’t long after that we realized that the game we created wasn’t *that* bad. You know it was passable considering that we created it from scratch in 3 days.

The Good

  1. We got on with it, and finished it within a reasonable amount of time. We didn’t spend to long thinking of the idea and concept.
  2. Using Tiled was a brilliant idea, it saved us a lot of time. We wouldn’t have even considered writing a platformer without it.
  3. XNA was great. We all knew XNA very well as we all have a lot of experience using it. I would have preferred to use something more portable however =(
  4. This is amazing. Bfxr is an improved version of Sfxr which is simply amazing for creating simple sound effects. My friend at university swears by it.

The Bad

  1. We weren’t prepared. We really should have written a library to help us create a game in the weeks before the competition. It would have saved us a lot of time and kept our code more tidy. It wasn’t really feasible to do this time because we had a lot of assignments in the weeks leading up to the ludum dare.
  2. Next time we do the ludum dare, we will definitely try to steer clear of platformers. They are a lot of work to program the back end to (collision mostly), and it is difficult to create unique gameplay using them (our game is pretty generic haha). We would definitely want to do something different in April.
  3. We shouldn’t have resorted to messy code so early. We should have set most of the framework and ideas from the start rather than making them up as we went along. This resulted in horrible code that was painful to debug and lot’s of code repetition.

Other thoughts

Next time we might want to be more active in the community as the we are making the game. Like participating in the IRC channels or creating a timelapse video. Perhaps we will do one of those nextime =)





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