First LD done – game submitted. Well of course I haven’t implemented lot of ideas but the main idea is there. Endless waves of soldiers and player can possess one of them to help others. It’s more of a simulation than an actual game but we will get there
LD is great thing. First: you can try ideas you hadn’t time for. Second: I don’t feel pressure to do everything tip top as when I’m doing normal games(mostly ones that end up in limbo). There’s not much “ok now let’s rewrite it again adding bazzilion new features/cleaning” or “it sucks because is laggy/buggy”. It works == it’s good. Next please. So this is really about being creative and work fast which is great test of skills.
Things I “learned” / went good:
Time is of the essence. (always wanted to say this) This weekend I was kind of busy with some social activities – thus didn’t fit into 48h (btw it came out that suspiciously lot of my friends are taking lessons in sword/katana fighting – incoming zombie apocalypse or what?). Next time I will go off the grid for two days. But no regrets there because…
I submit == I win. I don’t see LD much as a competition with others. It’s all about fighting with clock/skills/monsters/ideas. Lots of people say “the failed” because their game is incomplete or drifted away from original idea. I’ve tried, I’ve learned. Those are things earned. No loss there.(oh yeah I like some preaching from time to time)
I love to code. Don’t know if I should share this but there were moments, rushes of code compiling into new features, that almost gave me a boner. Let’s hope my girlfriend won’t consider this as cheating(I know she won’t – she’s great). There is something about writing games that makes my soul smile. It’s like this feeling when you were kid and was unpacking new box of LEGOs but here you have unlimited amount of bricks and shapes. It gives wings. Also in narcissistic spirit I must admit that I was implementing things pretty smooth. Particles arrived in no time from scratch(they are total mess though) same with shooting and obstacles. But next time I will come with more ready blocks and focus on gameplay/logic.
Game development is about making lies. You don’t have to code things as there really are. They only need to ACT like they are “real thing”. Applies to physics, AI, general game logic. I remember in “Game programming gems” book there was a part about pathfinding in Total Annihilation. It was in old days, not so powerful computers. So while unit was computing path to given destination it was performing tricks: blinking lights, rotating turrets/body, releasing smoke etc. It looked great, making units seems to be more alive when in fact they were dead stupid and lying about it(like some Miss World candidates).
In my game there is obstacle avoidance. At first I was thinking about some A* pathfinding or sth like this. But then added simple “If(obstacle before you) go up/down for few seconds then check again”. It’s not perfect and would break with rotated buildings but who cares, right?
Details matter. Visually at least. Added particles and it was more alive. Blood, dirt from explosions, guns urinating, I mean shooting. The last one actually hides fact that soldiers are not really shooting bullets. Each few seconds they look for enemy and do simple luck test:
if (this.doYouFeelLuckyPunk()+0.3 >= enemy.doYouFeelLuckyPunk())
which compares sums of random roll, experience, cover, hits taken etc. Works right?
Artist is of the HUGE FUCKING essence. I don’t have fellow artist able to do decent game graphics. It shows especially with cars – yep those small obstacles are cars. But… but I was focusing on the code 😉 Anyway even small games/experiments with good graphics have better experience. I know that with great gameplay it doesn’t matter(old S.T.A.R.S. player here) but it adds a lot.
What went not so good and should be corrected next time:
Gameplay. There is none. There is no goal, no level end. I’d like to say I didn’t have time but it was more lack of idea what is should be. Ofc I’m still working on the game and have few concepts. So there is hope to end that battle 😉 With next LD I should have more solid/complete idea of gameplay before I start to code.
Graphics. They are programmer art and it shows. Next time I should go for some minimalistic/artsy style or team up with somebody. Or hire or bribe or kidnap one… but maybe I talk too much.
Sound. There is none. Haven’t time to sfxrize them 😉
Anyway I had great time. It was very refreshing and energizing. Came up with few good ideas that I hope will be implemented soon and maybe released as a full game. Saw lot of great games that were very inspirational. Definitely will participate in next LD. So… sex, coffee and CODE ON!
PS: If you are an artist/pixelator and would like to work on this game please give me a note! [dx0ne monkeygoeshere laislacorporation dottery com]