Archive for the ‘LD #32’ Category

Fine. I’m In, Too

Posted by
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 9:34 pm

What am I getting myself into?  This will be my first LD, and I don’t really know what to expect.

My tools…

Language: Haxe + Openfl

Editor: Sublime Text

Art: Photoshop CC or aseprite

Sound: bfxr, Bosca Ceoil, Audacity

I’m In!

Posted by
Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 10:32 am

This is the first time i participate in LD! My C# skills is very limited but i hope i will learn some new stuff!

I hope i won’t fail misserably…

Tools:

Language: C#

Engine: Unity-5

Art: Paint.NET

Music: (Not decided yet ;C) Free to leave suggestions C:

Foods: Triple sandwiches…

LD32 Postmortem for Colour Rocket

Posted by
Thursday, August 6th, 2015 3:59 pm

Note: this is a cross post from http://williamhart.info/ludum-dare-32-postmortem-colour-rocket/

Game Jamming for LD32

A couple of weekends ago I participated in my first Ludum Dare, “an unconventional weapon”. My game was called Colour Rocket and the concept was an “infinite runner” inspired asteroid dodger, where you aim was to guide a rocket to an enemy planet through flying asteroids, and use it to return colour to a darkened universe.

At about 5pm on the final day of Ludum Dare, I decided I’d had enough. I put down my keyboard and picked up my baby daughter for a cuddle. She has since forgiven me for ignoring her for the best part of a day. This left me with a fully functional, complete but very minimal game with only three levels. I’m pretty happy that I was able to get that far.

Toolset
I picked a fairly standard free toolset early on:

– Unity to make the game,
– Blender for artwork, and
– Sunvox for music

What worked

Music

With the exception of one or two minor volume issues, I’m pretty happy with the music I made. There is a different song for each menu screen or level, and although they aren’t going to win any prizes, given its the first time I’ve tried to make music I don’t think the songs are too horrendous.

Artwork

The artwork was very basic low poly stuff and I quite like the look of the black and white planets before colour is returned to the universe. Its very basic as a few comments have noted, but yeah “programmer art”.

Controller

I tried something a bit different with the player controller. The player’s rocket is always at `(0,0,0)`, and the asteroids move around the player. I can’t really say I have a logical reason for doing it this way other than it meant I didn’t have to think about the camera or moving cleanup/spawn regions. In the end I think this worked ok.

What didn’t work

There were a couple of areas where the game clearly fell short. Although its promising to think that most of these would have been easily solved if I’d spent more time on them! In no particular order…
Obstacles

My method for slinging asteroids towards the player was to spawn a whole lot at the back of the screen. However this lead to disconcerting “pop in” in the background as asteroids were recycled. As the asteroids were rigid bodies with collisions, it also meant that the target planet effectively carved a tunnel in to the asteroid field that would sometimes let the player travel through the whole level without touching the controls… oops!

I fixed the pop in issue by running a coroutine to gradually scale asteroids up from 0 to 1 as they were spawned in, but the difficulty and asteroid placement proved to be a bit more difficult. I tried adding some pre-existing asteroids which improved things a bit, but I think if I’d had more time I should have:

  • created some more larger static obstacles,
  • created more asteroid spawn points to the sides, shooting asteroids across the player’s path
  • had the target planets move around instead of sitting still

 

User Feedback and UI

Many of the comments so far have been along the lines of “the controls stopped working”. At first I thought this was a weird bug I hadn’t seen, then I realised that it was probably related to one of the game mechanics I’d implemented.

So that players can’t just mash the controls non-stop, the rocket has a limited amount of fuel. The idea was to make the player chose between getting hit by an asteroid and running out of fuel by moving too much. (Move around too much and you lose the ability to manoeuvre).

On realising that players were thinking of a game mechanic as a big, my first reaction was in truth a bit defensive…

well, it mentions fuel on the first screen and there is a fuel bar on the GUI, so it should be obvious, right? RIGHT?!?!?!!?!”.

Then I realised that the comments were actually letting me know that the game mechanic was a bit too obscure. To be “intuitive”, every important player action in the game needs to have visual or audio feedback.

It wasn’t enough to hope the player read three paragraphs of text, or noticed a small fuel bar in one corner of the screen – I needed flashing text, colour or sounds to notify the user they were about to run afoul of a crucial game mechanic.

This is even more important in something like Ludum Dare where players may only spend a minute or two with your game.

 

 

What I learned

To summarise, there were two main lessons for me from this Ludum Dare entry:

  1. Don’t get defensive about feedback – listen to what the players are saying, and try to work out why they are saying it.
  2. Audio and visual cues are critical for communicating game mechanics.

I enjoyed the weekend a lot, and I’ve been playing and enjoying some of the other entries. Bring on the next Ludum Dare!

Postmortem: ChromaGun

Posted by (twitter: @pixel_maniacs)
Friday, July 24th, 2015 7:48 am

ChromaGun preview

ChromaGun was our entry to Ludum Dare #32. The concept’s inception came late at night after a few (ahem) beers. The theme was “an unconventional weapon”, and we decided to go with color. The player’s objective is to paint walls and enemies with the “ChromaGun”. Enemies are attracted to walls of the same color and float towards them. This core mechanic, paired with elements such as button-triggered doors, deadly electrified tiles and particle grids which only allow bullets to pass through, created some seriously entertaining gameplay, even in the early stages of development.

Get it on the AppStore

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Get ready for Ludum Dare 33

Posted by
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 6:44 pm

Get ready for Ludum Dare 33 !!

 

When is LD 33 Theme suggestions coming ?

Posted by
Thursday, July 16th, 2015 6:04 pm

When is LD 33 Theme suggestions coming ? Its going to be LD in about 5 weeks and the Theme suggestions aren’t up yet…

Free Game Jam Menu Template in Unity 5

Posted by
Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 2:53 pm

After my participation in LD32 (my first!) I experienced the pain of having limited time to work on making some cool mechanics, art and audio, only to realize at the last minute that I didn’t have time for basic functionality like a menu, pause screen and music and sound options.  Since I would like to be able to use these things myself in the next jam I decided to make a template package that’s publicly available for everyone to use, and since in between making jam games I work at Unity as part of the online content team (we make the tutorials for the Unity learn site)  we decided to publish it as an Official Unity Thing™.

See below for a download link and a list of functionality built in. The package has a read me file inside with setup instructions and I’ve done a live training for our live training series which walks through setup and also how the scripts work.

gameJamTemplate

You can download it from the Unity Asset Store here, for free

Functionality:

Main Menu
-Placeholder title image and title text
-Start Button
– Options Button
– Quit Button
– Fade to black (or any color assigned to FadeImage) when transitioning out of main menu to main scene

Options Panel
-Music Volume
-Sound Effects Volume
-Back Button

Pause Panel
-Music Volume
-Sound Effects Volume
– Resume Button
– Quit Button

Music
– Change or loop music clips when starting game
-Music pre-routed to Audio Mixer, connected to UI

Other functionality:

-Can be used either with single scene or multi-scene games.

Bomb Your House – Post LD32 update 3

Posted by
Saturday, June 27th, 2015 6:10 pm

A new update for my LD32 jam has been released! Get your download here!

My previous entries

Posted by
Saturday, June 20th, 2015 11:34 am

This is a post to link to my previous entries for Ludum Dare, not much else to say:

LD32: IFF

MiniLD54: Wall of Text

LD30: Into Hyperspace!

To be a bit more specific, I think that wordpress searches for users by their posts and not having posted anything yet, resulted in me not showing up in a search.

When is the next Mini LD

Posted by
Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 8:51 pm

Its been so long ! When is the next mini LD ? There hasn’t been anything notices from the LD organiztion in weeks . Its really starting to feel blank …

Late LD-32 Postmortem

Posted by
Monday, June 8th, 2015 5:49 pm

For LD-32 I made a game called “Fun with Vacuums”. I entered the Jam with no expectations and I am satisfied with the game I was able to produce. This is what I submitted.

What went well

Choosing an idea that I could reasonably program: The idea I chose for the game was easy to program. I am glad that I chose this idea over every other idea that I had because every other idea would have either taken too long to program, or was too complex, and involved me having to do research to learn how to implement some algorithm necessary for the game. I am glad that I was able to find an idea which I could complete, rather than a really complex idea which I wouldn’t have been able to finish in time.

– Audio: My highest score was in the audio category, which really surprised me because I had spent the least amount of time on the audio. I am really glad that I did add sounds into the game, because it makes the game feel so much more polished. In previous games I made, I never added any sound because I didn’t realize that audio improves the game. I thought that it was just a “nice to have” feature rather than a fundamental part of the game. After seeing how much of an effect audio had on improving my game, I definitely see the importance of it, and I will put extra focus on making it in future games that I make.

– Programming: I didn’t run into many technical challenges, and because I programmed the game in the language I had the most experience with (java), I didn’t have to waste much time looking at reference documentation (the only thing which I had to look up was how to play audio, but I didn’t waste too much time doing so). I had been considering programming the game using a language I had less experience with, but I decided against it because I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to finish the game in time if I did so.

What didn’t go well

Thinking of an idea quickly: I spent an entire day deciding what I was going to make. By the time I figured out what to make, I only had 10 hours to program it. This was bad time management, I probably should have limited brainstorming to a maximum of 4 hours, which would have given me much more time to program the game.

Testing outside of the IDE: I didn’t test my game outside of my IDE until just before the deadline. As a result, I accidentally omitted all the images from my game in the file I submitted, rendering my game unplayable. Next time I will allocate more time to test my game outside of the IDE I used to develop it, in order to avoid having problems like this happen again.

Balancing and Bug Fixing: I didn’t spend much time balancing my game,  and fixing bugs. As a result, the game contains many bugs, and is really hard.

 

Overall, creating the game was a great experience for me, and I appreciate all of the helpful comments that I got on my game. I definitely plan on creating entries for future LDs 😀

Bomb Your House – Update 2 (LD32)

Posted by
Sunday, May 31st, 2015 9:56 am

title

I have updated my post version of my LD32 jam. Download links and details

RJD is Happy Burrito Action

Posted by (twitter: @PlaySilhouette)
Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 3:11 am

Still workin’ on my LD32 game! Got some new effects in this weekend.

I think it’s time for a last post over “Just A dream”.

Posted by (twitter: @@ajopart)
Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 6:45 am

First of all, congratulation to every one. Managing to create an entire game in 48-72 hours is a huge achievement, be proud. The work provided by the winners of this LD 32 is just amazing.

One week has past since the results and I think it’s time for a last post over “Just A dream”. An almost not submitted entry turned out to be my best experience on Ludum Dare so far .

It still lacks of everything : decent graphics, sound, music, solid gameplay and content.

First time I score below #200, quite happy. 

First time I score below #200 in one category, happy.

But it brings some mood and innovation.

Knowing that the game itself would not bring me glory, I turned the marketing engine on.

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LDJAM analytics

Posted by
Saturday, May 16th, 2015 5:21 pm

So this time I decided to collect some analytics to try to find out more about the way LDJAM voters played my game.

Number of sessions: 41

I had 34 votes at the time I did the analysis. These 41 sessions came from 34 different IP addresses.

Number of plays per session:
min: 1
avg: 1.24
max: 9

The histogram shows the frequency of the number of plays. More that 30 visitors played the game a single time.

Plays per session

Well, 4 users didn’t event start a game (the only recorded event is “quit”, that is fired when the visitor leaves the page).

All this means that most players just play once, vote, and go to the next game.

Game length (time)
min: 15 secs
avg: 1min 52secs
max: 3min 58sec

Well, my game was designed to be played in quick sessions, so this feels about right. I didn’t want to bore people too much

Session length (time)

Avg: 5min 46
Min: 15sec
Max: 46min 23

(OK, someone had the game tab open for more than 1 hour, but they played for 10 minutes and probably left the tab open while they did something else, and only closed it much later.)

The 46min session included 9 plays spaced throughout the full timespan. One visitor played for 15secs and gave up. I guess you can’t please everyone.

Scores:
High: 14290,
Avg: 6095
Low: 200(*)

Only 17 visitors played until they lost all the energy – others quit mid-play – so I only have recorded scores for those.

(*) – The lowest score was, in fact 0, but I decided to ignore because it might not have been a real try.

Conclusion:

My interpretation is that LD participants are focused in their mission to rate as many games as possible in order to get their own games rated, and don’t spend much time in each game. They optimize their time by playing once, voting, and moving on to the next one. This was more or less what I expected, and I even tried to design the gameplay around that: something easy to understand and start playing and that wouldn’t require a long play session to enjoy.

Still I was hoping to get at least a second try from most players (I think I almost never rate a game before playing twice, to avoid scoring on a first impression). I’d say it’s my game’s fault for not looking too pretty or just not being interesting, except I don’t think my results were that bad. In fact I’m fairly happy with them. I got:

#333 Overall 3.41
#59 Fun 3.87

It was my best overall result ever. Same goes for the fun category. So I guess that’s just the way it is: you typically get a “Jupi Plays”-like run through your game (great videos, btw) and probably only the top games overall are able to grab player’s attention for a longer time. So many games to play, and so little time :)

Big thanks to all those who played, and especially to whoever played 9 times! :)

Next time I’ll try to record my own playing/judging habits as well.

Anyone else with analytics data to share and compare?

My game: Kick it hard!

The Ludum Dare 32 rating analysis

Posted by (twitter: @OmiyaGames)
Friday, May 15th, 2015 7:00 pm

[Cross-posted from Omiya Games]

So with Ludum Dare 32 judging results released, let’s take a look at our game’s ratings!

First, how did Star Driller Ultra, a project I worked on solo for 48-hours, do?

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 2.10.28 AM

2 categories that made it to the top 100, and 1 that made it to top 25? I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t good. Still, to be honest, I was a little disheartened by these ratings for a day or two. I should be a little more careful about my expectations next time.

Given these ratings, it’s clear that I delivered with the overall presentation of the game, with graphics being the main highlight. As I have initially suspected in the post-mortem, the fun factor was weaker than the presentation, a big problem for a space-combat action game. And I did pretty badly with innovation and theme, despite proudly proclaiming to be an experimental indie developer. It seems those need a little help.
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