I’ve been putting off writing a post-mortem for a while now, so I thought I should really write it before voting closes tomorrow and interest in LD #23 dwindles. So without further ado, I present:
trapped.: A Post-mortem
What went right:
- First and foremost, I actually finished a completely playable game. This was one of my main goals, and I’m delighted to have achieved it. The game was not at all deep or involving, but it was simple and it was fairly well polished. As I’ve mentioned before, I was pressed for time over the weekend, and only had at most 24 hours (including sleeping, eating, etc.) to work on the game, so my aim wasn’t set unreasonably high.
- I stuck to what I knew – no testing out new frameworks, languages or programs in a high-pressure situation! – and so I was able to devote the entire time to creating the code and assets.
- Luck! Somehow my collision detection code, something I have normally struggled with throughout my limited game development history, worked almost perfectly first time. Not only that, but my music sounded pretty good, pretty quickly, and even my art assets, as simple as they were, looked half-decent after spending only a few minutes work on them.
What went wrong:
- Building an engine from scratch – the epitome of reinventing the wheel. Learning to use a framework like LWJGL before LD #24 will be a focus for me, as it will greatly reduce the amount of time necessary to get a game going, allowing me to focus more on the gameplay than just being able to play the game.
- Having no ideas prior to the start of the competition. I had my first idea 9 hours into LD #23 (although the first 9 hours I was spending on another competition anyway), and it ended up being the idea I stuck with just so I could get it a game done in time. The lack of ideas also demotivated me somewhat, so a bit of preparation in this respect before the weekend will allow me to make better use of the limited time next time. One of the best ideas I read was to come up with an idea or two for every one of the potential themes in the final round of voting, so that when the theme is finally announced, you have a bit of a head start.
- Not working around my weaknesses. I mentioned before about how my art assets looked pretty good after spending only a few minutes on them; however, that was true only for the third iteration of the art. My first attempt at the art had me redrawing moderately complex figures and scenery numerous times, before I eventually decided that I would have to go with abstract shapes to overcome my lack of artistic ability. In the end, it ended up looking good, and had I had more time, I would have loved to have tied the story and gameplay into the abstract aesthetics more – for example, the reason the player is red and the enemies white is because I had toyed with the idea of the story tackling the themes of racism and prejudice.
All in all, I felt it was a successful first attempt at a Ludum Dare compo entry, and I can’t wait for LD #24 – I’ll be looking to make a much deeper game next time, with the story, graphics, music and gameplay creating a cohesive experience. That’s the aim, anyway!
(N.B. I’m aiming to rate 40 games for this compo, and I’ll be making a post of my favourites later tonight – look out for it if you want some ideas on what to play!)