About schnerble

I'm a professional programmer, and have worked on a variety of bits and pieces in the past, including games. It's nice to get a chance to try making a whole one myself, though :)


Ludum Dare 33
Ludum Dare 31
Ludum Dare 27
Ludum Dare 25
Ludum Dare 24
Ludum Dare 23

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Archive for the ‘LD #23’ Category


Posted by
Sunday, April 29th, 2012 9:26 am

Hey people! Hope you’re all enjoying playing the LD game entries.

Here are a few notes from me about the ups and downs of the making of my game.  First, here’s a screen shot of the dev process: (the same one I posted before, but many won’t have seen it)

Space Rescue in development

The game didn’t actually change much from that semi-complete version, as at that stage I hadn’t put the collisions in – and those are pretty important (;

What Went Right:

  • Generally the shooty style seemed to work pretty well, and seemed a good choice for something to get done very quickly from scratch with no framework code.
  • The asteroid turned out pretty well.  The maths to work with it weren’t too bad – mostly just basic trig – and the fading was an interesting addition.
  • Art: actually went OK given that I’m very much a programmer (:  Maybe I should’ve called the asteroid a “moon”, though, as it does look more like one.
  • SFX & music: BFXR and Autotracker-bu are awesome.  Thank you again, increpare and GreaseMonkey.  Music-wise, I would’ve written my own given time, but had nowhere near enough.
  • Stuff that I crammed in using only about three hours in total: the menu, music, sound effects, spaceman rescuing, and level progression.  It wasn’t revolutionary, but all together added a lot to the experience, I reckon – particularly given that without spaceman rescuing I would’ve had to rename the game (;

What Went Wrong:

  • Frame rate jerkiness.  Holy cow.  I lost seven hours to fixing that up, as I took ages to figure out which of loads of potential issues was causing it.  Trust me when I say you would’ve found it pretty annoying had I not fixed it, but if I’d sorted it straight away, I would’ve got a lot more gameplay in.
  • Linux bundling.  Pyinstaller is very good, but it didn’t need to put in libasound.so.2, and the oddities with this library (it has a dependency with a hardcoded path that varies between distributions!) meant that most (if not all) Linux users couldn’t run it first go.  I should’ve tested this on other machines, but was too tired, and foolishly just crossed my fingers rather than checking.  (Note for anyone interested: removing that library fixes the problem)

What I Really Wanted To Add But Didn’t Have Time:

  • Zooming out for when the player went off screen, or adding arrows to point back (a lot of people mentioned this when reviewing)
  • Multiple asteroids; more enemy types; destroying the asteroids; power ups; etc (had loads of ideas here)

Other Points:

  • The control scheme could’ve used a bit of tweaking, but I was reasonably happy with it.  Reviews varied – everyone’s preferences are different – but to me it was at least pretty playable.

Check it out here if you get a chance:


Thanks to everyone for the feedback, good and bad – anything constructive is useful.

Cheers all.  I’m looking forward to the next one already! (:


Posted by
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 5:56 pm

I got it done.  Of course, there’s nowhere near as much in there as I would’ve liked to put in, but everything always takes longer than expected – that’s the nature of software development, right? (:

The game doesn’t actually look much different to about this time last night, but it actually plays properly now.  Also it helps, when calling a game “Space Rescue!”, to actually have something to rescue (:  I snuck them in at about 10pm, so two hours before my own cut-off, leaving myself two hours for tidying.

It feels like a major achievement (:  Shooting at turrets, dodging bullets, and rescuing spacemen actually turned out to be pretty fun.  Hope some of you get a chance to have a look and enjoy it.

Nice work to all who submitted!  Now it’s time for sleep (;

The Final Stretch

Posted by
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 1:57 pm

(Of course, I now have “The Final Countdown” running through my head, but that title is just a bit too obvious)

It’s getting there… getting there… I’ve got more of some things in than I expected, thanks to the very handy Bfxr and Autotracker-bu.  The only thing is that my game is called “Space Rescue”, and there’s currently nothing to rescue… (:

Two hours left until my target finish time.  I won’t get in anywhere near as much gameplay as I wanted to, but at least it’s looking fairly playable.  Not much new screen shot wise, but hopefully soon.

Incidentally, my microwave died earlier today.  Lucky it wasn’t my PC!

Anyway, keep it up everyone, and good luck (:

Here I Go Again On My Own

Posted by
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 2:34 am

I guess it was inevitable that I’d get a song like that stuck in my head when restarting today. Heh (:

Anyway, back into it again, after about 6 1/2 hours of sleeping, showering, and such.  Here’s an image to give you an idea of what I’m up to:

So nothing revolutionary, and that asteroid doesn’t look very asteroidy yet – but who knows what I’ll be able to coax out of Gimp if I get the time… (:

Can’t remember if I specified it all earlier, but as you can see from the above, I’m on Kubuntu (11.10), and spending most of my time running Kate, Gimp, and terminals, and relying on Pygame to do a lot of the work for me.

Positive finish to the day

Posted by
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 7:23 pm

After a quite discouraging afternoon and early evening, the late evening and early morning (It’s 3:20am here) went a lot better.  It’s actually starting to look a bit like the game I was envisioning!  I’ll be crashing out in a minute and catching a short-ish sleep before back into it.

It’s spaceship shootyness for me – flying around asteroids and things.  I have a ship flying around and shooting stuff at stationary turrets on an asteroid now, and maybe will post some screen shots in the morning if I get keen.

The main thing is that it’s impressive to see so many different types of games on here!  Nice work everyone, and keep it up.

Finally moving

Posted by
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 3:18 pm

It hasn’t been exactly my best first day on a project.  Although I came up with an idea I like, I spent several hours messing around with sprite flickering problems – nothing like a bit of jerkiness to ruin the experience.  As always with the tricky ones there were lots of permutations – vsync, double buffering, graphics drivers, Linux vs Windows, two graphics cards in my machine, float to int rounding in my code, float to int rounding in library code, subpixel rendering, etc.  I even rewrote almost the whole thing in pyglet at one stage, after originally starting with pygame, but it didn’t seem to make that much difference, though for a while it looked like it would.

Anyway, I finally feel like the rendering is reasonably smooth for the movement now, so I can finally get on to getting some content and gameplay in there.  There’s a very long way to go yet, but fingers crossed I’ll get something interesting done (:

Up and at ’em

Posted by
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 1:14 am

I went to bed at 11pm, woke up at 2:05am (British time) to check the theme, and went back to sleep.  No dreams of inspiration about Tiny Worlds unfortunately – but now, at least, having a relatively good night’s sleep, I can get started on some brainstorming and tapping away at some code.

Looks like many of you are well on your way.  Keep up the good work! (:

Hey Ho! (I’m In)

Posted by
Friday, April 20th, 2012 9:49 am

Hey people!

This is my first go at any sort of competition like this.  I used to work on games, back in the day, but have been out of it for a while.  Let’s see how it goes when it’s all down to me (;

My intended tools are:

  • Pygame (+ pyinstaller; can build on Windows and Linux)
  • Gimp
  • Bsfxr

For everything else, I guess I’ll have to figure it out as I go along.

Best of luck to everyone! Let’s all hope our Internet connections don’t die, eh (;

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