Ludum Dare 30
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Ludum Dare 26
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Ludum Dare 23 Warmup
About Cake&Code (twitter: @cakencode)
We're a design and development duo from Berkeley, CA.
Zeik is a front-end engineer in the bay area. He can program in a few different languages and loves to give new ones a try. He's a big indie game enthusiast and likes fiddling with anything that can be tweaked and changed. (And honestly even things that can't.)
Cake is a multi-discipline designer (visual, ui, graphic, web, etc). She's a bit of a design nazi and likes to obsess over white space, typography, and colors. Check out her portfolio at http://www.microcake.org
Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category
Hey all, it’s time for our post-mortem for our game Pow! Pow! Pow!. Since we’re just a simple two-person team, we’ll divide the info of our post accordingly.
As a graphic designer, my biggest obstacle was to properly illustrate everything and make it look nice. (Remember friends, graphic designers may not = graphic artists!) I knew if I was to paint/draw something, it’d take way too long. So I played up my strengths and went with something that was easily executable but still very eye-catching.
The game’s UI was also a big focus for me. I’m aspiring to move into interface and interaction design, so I tried to focus on that as much as I could.
What Went Right
- Art Direction: I’ve never tried anything like this before, and I’m really glad it came out the way it did. I took a lot of inspiration from older sci-fi movies and The Twilight Zone.
- Music: I used Otomata to create the sort of light doot-doot sounds. I got to play with the tool a little bit beforehand, but this was the first time I really enjoyed what came out of it. It seemed to fit the game pretty well.
- Design: I had a lot fun choosing the right typeface and making the buttons, and I think it looks pretty nice! Typographic pairings are hard to completely master.
- Networking: As Zeik was the more burdened half of the team, I really enjoyed getting to spend the time networking, making posts, and meeting everyone.
What Went Wrong
- Level Design: Ok, I admit I designed the level for my painfully difficult game. My biggest concern was that the game would be too easy. Unfortunately, in my excitement I ended up making the game too difficult for most people. (As demonstrated by most comments in the game page.)
- Sound Effects: I tried using bfxr, and it went terribly wrong. As you guys can tell, there’s only one sound effect, and that’s just a fluke that it randomized to a nice sound. I have no sense for sound at all.
- Health, ugh: We ate horribly the entire weekend, and slept like crap too. Our first two days were based off of pizza, leftover pizza, hot wings, and apple pie. Sounds delicious, but after sitting and working for a few hours straight…it’s disgusting. We also slept about an hour before going to work on the last day of the jam, which wrecked havoc on our bodies and minds. SLEEP MORE. EAT BETTER.
For our first LD I think a lot of things went really right, but of course some things went wrong as well.
What went right
- FlashPunk: thanks Warmup Weekend for opening my eyes about the time constraints and getting me to adopt a backend
- FlashDevelop: I love NP++ but it would have been a mistake since it lacks the power of a dedicated IDE
- OOP and Inheritance: saved me a bunch of batch modifications and probably some find-replaces
- XML levels: made it easier to hand off level design to Cake
What went wrong
- Builds: I was working too intensely on the code to release as many builds as we should, there’s nothing that compares to third-party feedback
- Collisions: despite all seeming to work right at the start, once a rudimentary stage was built it was obvious collisions needed tweaking and this cost me more time than I care to admit
- Time: as expected, the time constraint was quite draining and it made me stress out more and more, in the end worrying about running out of time probably did more harm than good
That’s about it really. LD was an amazing experience and I think we’ll totally take the constructive comments given and improve the game. We’ll also be more ready for the next LD. Gonna go vote for some more games now.
A lot of people generally complained that the game was too hard and some of the mechanics seemed more like a chore and was unpredictable. (We can almost guarantee you, the unpredictability is not unintentional! Sadly most of our choices were with intent to be that way…) As this is our first complete game, we really want to make this as solid as possible for a post-LD version. So here are our planned improvements..
- Better collision: Our art isn’t pixel art, so we admit our collision hit boxes aren’t pixel perfect (Har)
- Sound FX: Cake was in charge of SFX with bfxr, but everything came out obnoxious. Maybe we should just record our own via laptop mic.
- Tutorial Stage: People didn’t understand the complete mechanic of the shrinking and growing trees. (Hint: You’re supposed to stand on the edge to be propelled in that direction. Just saying.) We’re planning on having a tutorial stage so that people learn it, rather than be surprised by it.
- Enemy Difficulty: Boss-Boss (the boss monster) is laughably weak, and Shake-Bell (the cube monster) was depressingly hard. Something’s not right here.
- Speed It Up!: Growing and shrinking took too long. We need to speed it up.
- Animation: Cake got spritesheets ready for a lot of animations in the game, but we ran out of time to implement it. Why waste good art, right?
- Punch/Shoot: We need to differentiate punching and shooting. Right now they do the exact same thing, which would make people wonder why punch when you can just shoot.
Anyways, that’s our postmortem! We hope to announce a finalized game soon!
While Zeik and I figure out our post-mortem thoughts and plans for future tweaks to our game, have a timelapse video courtesy of Cake! And since she’s the artist and designer of Pow! Pow! Pow!, be prepared for lots of colors and cute little aliens. (As well as not-so-cute bigger aliens.)
– Character and asset creation
– Environment design
– Inspiration from The Twilight Zone
– Designing a set of cohesive enemies
– Planning storyboard ideas
– Level design through XML on Dreamweaver and figuring out exact pixel positioning through InDesign
– Brainstorming harmonious typography combinations (Existence Light with Arvo)
– Brief poor attempts at sound editing and sound effects
– Random one-second blip of Michelangelo’s “Pieta”
– Lots of Twitter and IRC shots. Yikes.
– WEBCAM PHOTO TIME!!!
– Excluded: All the facebooking and AIM-ing that ensued
We both cranked through the night and got Pow! Pow! Pow! with enough time to spare! (Except now we’re running late from work from staying up all night. Hmm.)
We would love the comments, suggestions, and any ratings you all might have. It’s our first Ludum Dare, so we’re not really sure what we did right and what we did wrong. We’ve played the game so many times we can’t really tell anymore.
Hey all, while we’re trying to get our second build out Cake thought it’d be a good idea to design something for you all to get more acquainted and (maybe?!) more excited for the final version of Pow! Pow! Pow!
* not picture is the evil final boss. he decided not to participate in foolish activities.
You can test out our first and (very) early build of the game. There’s no goal yet, other than to shoot down killer-T.
Z to punch
X to shoot
Arrow keys to move
Hint: Trees are your first target.
Ludum Jamming to: Moulin Rouge soundtrack (sorry Zeik!)
Good luck to everyone submitting their stuff and getting it up on time! We’re still working like mad, this time with designing the level and making it into a more full-length mini-game of sorts. We’re aiming to get 2 levels done by tonight, with the possibility of going further to other levels.
Here’s a sneak peek at our first level, mock-up’d by Cake.
Ludum Jamming to: The Shins – A Simple Song
To all the folks in the Compo: Good luck finishing and getting your entries in!
Love, Cake & Code
Yay, our first playable build!
Z to Punch
X to Shoot
Arrow keys to move
Ok, so it’s really not THAT bad. Zeik is busy hurriedly trying to get some sort of build out for people to demo. Until then, have a nice shot of my (Cake) workspace.
Frantically working through some storyboard art for an intro and ending. Not to mention I have some sound editing to do later.
Ludum Jamming to: Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
We finally got a name for our game! (The beta name was Tiny Takeover, but we decided to move on from that.) It’s officially titled Pow! Pow! Pow! aka; The Game About a 16mm Hero Who Fights Off Invading Aliens From Supersizing His Home Planet.
Cake got some music edited and ready for implementation thanks to Otomata, and she’s going to eventually figure out sound effects later. She also got a Pause menu and a Main Menu designed, and Zeik has most of the game logic programmed. Our next major step is to 1.) Get Dinner, 2.) Get some music and sound effects figured out, and 3.) Build out some level designs.
Cake’s screenshot of the main menu….
and Zeik’s screenshot of his work with the game and the additional texture overlay we have going on.
Ludum Jamming to: Mazzy Star – Flowers in December
Cake’s update! I’ve got a screenshot of what I have as of right now. I just woke up about an hour and a half ago, and started working an hour ago so I think I’ve made good progress on enemy design.
Here’s a shot straight from my Illustrator workspace. I decided to zoom in a little and give you guys a clearer shot on the details. (It’s at 150% right now.) I still have lots to do, but I’m pretty pleased with the enemy design as of right now.
Ludum Jamming to: Hot Chip – Made in the Dark (album)
Another art update from Cake here.
I don’t really feel like I got much done. Maybe I did? I don’t know, but I had wanted to get most elements of the world completed by tonight and it’s currently 2:30am. I either don’t sleep or I go to bed defeated. From 11pm to 2:30am I basically got a death-gap designed, some rocks, platforms, a real floor, and some action sprites for the attacking motion.
Ludum Jamming to : MGMT – Kids (At the request of Zeik. I’m pretty much going to change this in favor of something that hasn’t been played to death.)
Progress! After about an hour of brainstorming, and an hour of Cake going to a company happy hour (Sorry Zeik!), here is a screen of our first 5 hours of progress.
So far this is Cake’s screen. Lots of Illustrator-ing going on. It took her a good 20-30 minutes to art direct the mood and theme for the game, but so far she’s got character design completed, a few obstacles, and the background. Before the end of the night is over (+ a large cup of coffee) she plans on having most of the world created and brainstorm a few level ideas with Zeik. But the main goal for now is to have most assets created and dive in to the main screen.
Zeik is trying to keep up with the art, since Cake is “pumping out more art than [he] can keep up with”. Despite that, the game is somewhat playable. Still trying to integrate a flux capacitor (har). No, but seriously, we have some game mechanics to hammer out. That’s the goal for tonight….sort of? He’s just trying to do work.
Our current work station and dinner. Not pictured is the giant Starbucks cup that Cake is gulping like water with blearly eyes and the moleskin she relies on like a life-jacket. Ya, we both really enjoy hot wings.
So that’s our progress so far! We’ve set pretty good goals for ourselves for tonight and tomorrow. Neither of us really plan on sleeping before 3am.
Ludum Jamming To: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below, possibly going to switch to Cake’s fabulously 80’s mix.