Ludum Dare 34
Coming December 11th-14th Weekend

October Challenge ends
Make a game – Take it to Market – Earn $1

Posts Tagged ‘3D’

The Monster Inside – Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @tylerowen)
Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 10:11 am


Click here to visit the Ludum Dare entry page

This is the most fun I’ve had working on a game jam entry in a very long time. And the key to that was the scope of the project. This was my 6th game jam I’ve done, and I feel like I’m finally starting to understand what kinds of games can be accomplished in a short weekend. With The Monster Inside, we kept it simple and small, and the result is one of my favorite games I’ve ever created.



In my full time project, Lacuna Passage, I’ve been doing a lot of programming work that hasn’t felt very creative. For Ludum Dare 33 I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take a short break from that and build something almost purely narrative with a distinct, simple art style. After the reveal of the theme “You Are The Monster” I started brainstorming ways to limit the scope of the project that would allow me to focus primarily on the story writing.

The first aspect of this was to use very simple art. I decided that I did want the game to be 3D, but I didn’t want to have to spend time animating characters, doing physics collisions, navigating obstacles, or managing an inventory or items. That quickly led me to consider doing an interactive visual novel. We could use simple static 3D renders in the background and just have text and dialogue in the foreground.

I was inspired by the memory of simple chapter art that would sometimes accompany young adult novels like Harry Potter. In the example below you see a small black and white image that appears at the beginning of a chapter and gives you a small taste of what you will encounter in the following text.



I always loved these images as a child and I’ve always wondered why more adult novels don’t incorporate establishing art in a similar way. Some fantasy books include illustrated maps in the back cover, but why not full illustrations to really put you in the world?

Well, with our game we could do whatever we wanted. So I took the idea of simple “chapter” art and combined it with an isometric style that I am fond of. A reference image we used can be seen below.



Artist on DeviantArt

But we needed to go even simpler for our scope. With a film noir style we could go pure grayscale and avoid the complication of color. The result fit our needs perfectly.



Our artist, Doug Auerbach, did an amazing job with this style. It gave me exactly the context I was looking for with the narrative, but without being overly complicated and time consuming.

After working more on the script I realized that visual novels have some interesting advantages over writing a book or traditional short story.

For example, I could control the pacing of the story completely. The player has an interactive button to progress the text, but I could fully control when that next line of text was revealed after a delay. I could make the player hang waiting for the next suspenseful line to appear. It also prevented the player from reading or glancing ahead to spoil the timing of a reveal. Obviously I’m not the first to discover this, but it was something I found very powerful while writing the script.

We were also able to leverage the benefit of sound and music. Clark Aboud, my long time partner for all things musical, did an incredible job on the soundtrack with a unique theme for almost every chapter. This really helped bring the static scenes to life and engross the player in the mood of the story.

As for the story, I was mostly inspired by having recently finished the first book of The Dark Tower series. SPOILERS for both The Dark Tower and The Monster Inside… there is a Succubus in that first book that stuck with me and largely led to the plot you see now in The Monster Inside.

I wanted to include some limited dialogue trees in the game that would make the player feel more like they were role playing the character of Jack, but I knew that I probably couldn’t make them extremely branched or it would make our scope too large. So I stuck with very few dialogue trees that had very short branches. It was a small touch that helped you feel more a part of the story rather than an outside observer.

I managed writing these dialogue trees with a program called Chat Mapper. I highly recommend it. I didn’t actually have time to create an xml parser that used the exports from Chat Mapper, but it was still very useful to keep the dialogue trees organized while writing. I ended up just copy-pasting the story text from Chat Mapper into .txt files with my own parsing logic. It was lightweight and simple for our purposes, but it did have a high probability for error (thankfully I don’t think there are any).

The only real point of “gameplay” that I included was a simplified investigation mechanic where you are able to search crime scenes for clues, but it is very minimalist and again only really serves to put you more in the role of Jack by clicking on scene objects rather than just the NEXT button over and over.

The only thing that I did not have time for was to incorporate some simple motion elements into the art. I wanted to have a rain particle effect overlaid on the dock scene, and I wanted steam coming from the sewer grate in the alley scene, but we simply ran out of time. Thankfully these were just set dressing ideas and didn’t affect the overall game. We are extremely proud of the end result and hope you enjoy playing it!


I DID IT! IT’S DONE! Tale of a Mad Mage

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 4:33 pm


It did it! It’s done!!!!

Preview Entrty:

Sneak peak at boss fight:

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[Bringing Back The 80s] Absolutely Radical Title Screen

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 2:49 pm


160 x 90 pixels!

212 colours!

Could it get any more radical?!



[Bringing Back The ’80s] The Boss is Crazy!

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 11:59 am

[Bringing Back The ’80s] UI Testing

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 6:12 am

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I’ve just got back to work and I am now testing the UI. It seems pretty good. Just a bit of an alpha blending problem though.

This just looks wrong…

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 4:55 pm

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This gives “fire crotch” a whole ‘nother meaning.

[Bringing Back The ’80s] The Magi Are After Me!

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 3:54 pm

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I’ve finally got basic AI and collision detection.
I’ve 2 spent hours trying figure what was wrong with my code and it turned out that my rects were ints not floats.

I think I might finish with that today. The engine is virtually done so the game should not take that long now.

Status Report – End of Day 1

Posted by (twitter: @keyle)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 8:43 am

Status report end of day 1… I am stuffed  😀

13 hours straight!… But I think I’ve made great progress.

Follow me on twitch if you want the latest, I will be on later.  Or follow on twitter.

ld337 ld336 ld333 ld36

The Test Sprite of Doom is Back With Level Walls

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 7:18 am



It can now render walls from a level position.

Bitmap Based Text Rendering!

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 5:33 am



No need for “amazing” handwriting skills anymore!

The Idea

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 2:15 am

After some thinking and a little playing around with a quick build, I’ve mostly solidified the game idea.

You play as the ghost of a dead crew member aboard a spaceship who has come back to haunt the living and destroy the ship, for reasons unknown (to you guys, anyway). It’s a fast FPS with things like bouncing bullets and multishot, might throw in some grenades or something too. The only problem so far is I’m not sure how to make it mean much. I mean, the premise is cool, but it doesn’t seem to affect the gameplay much. But I do have a few ideas…

I’m thinking perhaps your goal is to revive yourself and leave the ship while blowing it up. To this end there would be 3 things to do and the order would be somewhat up to you:

  1. Set the ship to self-destruct
  2. Revive yourself and become human
  3. Escape the ship

Obviously if you escape the ship before the others, you get a pretty bad ending because you didn’t kill everyone and you’re still a ghost. I’m thinking that as a ghost you can see/interact with certain things like platforms, powerups, and areas that you normally can’t, but perhaps as a human there are things you can do that you can’t as a ghost, like activate objects and open doors. When you sabotage the ship, it will start a countdown and if you don’t escape within that time you die, and the game ends (but you don’t necessarily fail!). So, you have two main paths; Revive yourself and then set the ship to destruct, or set it to destruct and then revive yourself. The first is risky because you can’t use as many safe options and can’t get as much combat advantage when you’re alive, the second is risky because you have to both revive AND escape in the time limit, instead of just escaping.

OK, I’ve sorted out my issues. I like where this has gone, and it’s what I’m sticking with. Thank you for reading, and good luck in the competition!

Status report!

Posted by (twitter: @keyle)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 12:39 am

Using UE4 is as usual, a pleasure.

I am on Twitch, drop by say hi… Live Stream


LudumDare #33 !?

Posted by (twitter: @jenninexus)
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 6:58 am

My 1st LudumDare challenge was #32 and it was so much fun!  I’ve been practicing 3D modeling, Unity, voice acting & 2D art since the last one.  Though I’m on schedule to work this weekend, when the theme is announced I will make a decision as to whether or not to participate.  If I don’t try to dev a game of some sort, I’ll definitely be playing submissions like I did last time – what a blast!

For LD32, I modeled the cow for Soccer Cows, made a new YouTube channel JenniNexusPlaysGames & compiled my Let’s Play Twitch stream videos, in this playlist → Let’s Play: LudumDare #32

One of my favorite features of game jams is the social aspect and making new friends / connections from around the world, with complimentary interests in game art, play and development.

Looking forward to seeing ya all around this weekend!

strange girl

Postmortem: ChromaGun

Posted by (twitter: @lochmannapps)
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


Ex-Sword-Stential Crisis — Day Zero Development

Posted by
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 6:54 am

When the theme was announced on Friday evening, Team Infection’s Daniel Snd and Thiago Adamo (PXLDJ) hurriedly sat down with Rachel Rios and I (Taunia Sabanski) and we immediately had troubles coming up with a simplistic concept that people likely would not have thought of yet. After ditching an overly-ambitious idea about WW2 and bird poop, we ultimately resorted back to one of the first concepts that were pitched: “You are the weapon.”

At this point, I expressed extreme frustration at how most people seemed to be falling into the trap of handling the concept of “An Unconventional Weapon”. With this sort of theme, most people were focusing on what their weapon was going to be, rather than how the weapon would function in terms of play and fun-factor. Instead of going from game play concept to weapon, people were going from weapon to game play — I wanted to be extremely adamant about not falling into that trap. Game play and fun-factor would always come first — the weapon design would then follow.

As we began pondering exactly how to implement the sort of game play we wanted, Daniel started messing around with Unity. It was then that he made a simple sword shape, enabled movement on the sword shape, and began laughing.

He then sent us this.

The collective shouting of “THIS IS PERFECT!!”, “OH MY GOD YES!” and “LET’S DO THIS.” could likely be heard from orbit.

The concept of the game simply fell into place after this. Naturally, it was decided that the sword should cut grass. Now, not wanting this to be “Lawn Maintenance Simulator 2015”, we decided that this would be an unconventional sword — an enchanted sword, with a face, a name and a personality. A pacifist sword, that disliked killing things.

Our sword was then named Rusty, and given real googly eyes.

Why googly eyes? Because we could.

At this point, we were pretty pleased with ourselves, but we couldn’t start work on the game yet. Unbeknownst to most, there was another game that needed to be finished and submitted to another contest (Daniel Snd’s “Rocket Fist”) on Saturday evening that was monopolizing Daniel’s (and Thiago’s) time. I helped where I could, but our Ludum Dare development was tied up until the submission deadline for “Rocket Fist” wooshed past.

In the meantime, I worked on some concept art, as I knew Rachel Rios needed solid references to assist in creating 3D models. I also decided this would be the best way to solidify our color palette, stylize the graphics and map out exactly what we needed in terms of “loose” assets.

Here’s Rusty.

I had initially wanted to give Rusty hand-drawn/animated eyes, a mouth and eyebrows. I’d also wanted to position them on the blade of the sword. I realize now that you likely would not have been able to see the eyes. I wanted the hilt to look like the collar of a shirt, and be representative of his body, but with how the googly eyes got placed, the hilt still looks like the collar of a shirt — but the blue jewel and blade look like a giant tie. So, you end up cutting grass with his tie. Which is awesome.


Here is the concept art/3D reference and color palette for the animals.

As you can see, we also planned on having chickens, but simply ran out of time. The method behind the madness of having goats and sheep is that we could use one rig and one set of animations for both, as well as use a modified goat mesh for a sheep mesh. With minimal alteration, we could have two animal types meandering around instead of just one. I’m fairly sure that if we had chickens, they’d also ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO lay eggs. There is simply no working around that.


Environment concept art/3D reference and color palette.

As you can see, the trees also didn’t make it past the cut. Simply not enough time. Also, we had planned to have a “sword in the stone”-esque platform to act as a “start and/or end level” — this also didn’t make the cut, though it was simply superfluous to have it in the first place. We wanted everything realistically destructible to be destructible. We wanted sign posts to become chopped up, and trees to leave stumps when hit multiple times. We had also planned destructible fences. Again, all superfluous.

I’m starting to really realize that all my years experience scaling down and scaling down and scaling down projects has really been worth its weight in time and effort. It really is something you need to learn to do — simply, how to strip projects down, realize what you don’t need, get rid of it as quick as you can and implement what you do have to its utmost potential. Figure out what can be re-used, reconfigured or most easily created, and prioritize accordingly.

More on that in my next post. :)


Soccer Cow!

Posted by (twitter: @MartianGames)
Monday, April 20th, 2015 3:57 am

Just a highlight video of progress from yesterday.. less than a day left until completion: 

I’m still programming, so Jenni is checking out the Ludum Dare streams on Twitch & saying hi .. she made the cow & found the moo fx for our submission! |

We got out mic & live-streaming channels up recently so hope to see ya all around more soon!

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