That was my second attempt at Ludum Dare and my first success.
For my first participation in ludum dare I tried to do a web based game. I gave up halfway because my game was not really fun and there was huge performance problems.
For my second performance, I decided to use XNA because it seems simple to use and I would avoid these problems and also to not have to support any strange bug that web browser give us everydays.
This time I chose to do a shoot them up game as it appears to me that it was simple to code and to manage.
The theme was really good for shoot them up as they often relies on space and sci-fi thingies that goes well with “tiny world”. Ludum Dare is a competition where your aim is to do a good game but also to make it enjoyable and innovating. Hard to find an idea that would make a shoot them up innovating. A lot of good concepts exists in this genre and so I tried to think outside of the box.
I tried to search about tiny in dictionnary in case there was a sense that I didn’t that I could use for that but didn’t find much.
Finally I got my ideas by thinking “what if our world was very tiny, what would change?”. One of the first answer I got in my mind was : the floor wouldn’t be flat anymore but a curb.
That here that I got my idea : you play a shooter in a world so tiny that straight path are now curbs and you will go around the same tiny planet a lot.
What went well this time :
- I was prepared : In Paris gathering we did a warmup before the start of the compo and it was really a great way to train myself to XNA.
- I thought small then add things after : The first thing I tried was a simple ship rotating around a planet. From that I tried to add some fun stuff. If your core gameplay is solid, people will tends to like your game. And if you know that a small thing works good, you will end up adding features without having to worry much about introducing bugs in previous parts.
- I made very public my commitment to ludum dare this time : I told my twitter timeline several times that I was participating, I told my colleagues and friends too so that I would have to be in shame on Tuesday if I didn’t do something good.
- I played my game a lot : I spent most of my time playing my game : doing some fun stuff with everything I coded for these game. Whenever I made some improvements I tested it a lot just to get some new motivation and grab some new gameplay mechanics ideas.
What went wrong :
- Almost Nothing ! This time it was almost a bliss to participate and it was enjoyable from start to end. I did lose some motivation by the end when all I could do was tweaking and adding some new enemies and I end up not doing much of these and posting it earlier than planned.
- I failed when configuring my chronolapse and I found out after 20 hours in that it wasn’t working. No timelapse for me this time.
What I will do better next time :
- The last 10%. I will try to do it well. I will add more variety to my next game and I will try to balance it much more.
- Graphics. I seriously need to improve my graphics. Grabbing a pen in paint.net and draw almost randomly rarely get you good results.
- Music. I didn’t knew much about generating music before this ludum dare and I end up without any music because I couldn’t manage to create one that didn’t sound annoying.
- Reporting. I didn’t post much here about my game and I think it was a mistake. I could have get some more opinion about my core gameplay mechanics earlier and I may have add some nice features to my game.
Play My game !
Here is a link to my compo page so you can test it.
It’s done with XNA4.0 and is playable with keyboard and xbox360 pad.