Join us on Twitter and IRC (#ludumdare on Afternet.org) for the Theme Announcement!
Thanks everyone for coming out! For the next 3 weeks, we’ll be Playing and Rating the games you created. Be sure to Play and Rate games if you want a score at the end (we recommend 25 games). And with the holidays coming up, we encourage you to do it sooner than later. We’ll be back in the new year with the results, and the date for Ludum Dare 35.
It seems that years have passed, but it was about one month ago that we developed the first prototype of Deep Hunt for Ludum Dare 34. We were four guys with one dream: develop our first video game even having little or no knowledge in game design, software development, graphic design, project management or marketing.
Yay! Our first game!
We had 72 hours to start studying these topics, come up with an idea and make it playable:
After this crazy weekend filled by online tutorials and coffee, you can imagine how motivated we got when the game was submitted and the positive feedback came. It was the kick-start we needed to start the Red Pill Gamedev. Our mission? Not only become professional game developers, but also share our learning with those who have the same passion for game design. I’ll make sure to post in my blog every single new information we discover during this journey and make it an useful tool for those who wish to develop new skills with us. I’ll try to make your path easier than it was for me and assure we evolve together.
Our first goal? Polish Deep Hunt, our first project, to a publishing-level.
Our progress so far? After one month dealing with our jobs and social lives, we found enough time to finish the Alpha version. Now, depending on the feedback, we will put some improvements in practice: skill-tree upgrades, new enemies, new behaviors, improved graphics, conversion to Unity, better mobile version and more.
I just updated the server part of Birds of Borg – it now shows more prominently, whether there is a chance of having a multiplayer game with a real opponent. I hope more players will have the chance of trying the internet multiplayer variant, because it’s way more fascinating to play against human enemies!
The game itself didn’t change at all, so I consider this to be within the compo rules.
I visited the Ludum Dare site quite a number of times in the last years, and I learned most from various Post Mortems I read; now, after my first own Ludum Dare experience I will share my thoughts, and hope you will find some helpful thoughts.
It was a fun ride, for a first entry to Ludum Dare I would say everything went extremely smooth, I even slept for 6 hours straight and had time to meet some friends. Way more that I thought would be possible.
First I thought going directly for Compo is way over my league, but on the other hand I wouldn’t have had the time on Monday to finish the job reasonably anyway.
What went well?
Way more than anticipated
phaser is pretty awesome now. Docs are good, examples well done.
I like SFXR for quickly creating sound effects without too much experience with synthesizers.
Game Design can be time consuming, but I realized in time that I had to stop working on it and spend more time on code and media.
I DID finish, I HAVE a running game, and it ALMOST is actually really fun!
The multiplayer code is actually working extremely well. If you find any other players to play with, that is…
What went wrong?
Not much, really…
Except for there was too little time to do everything I wanted
No time for background music (tools, see below).
No time to change (and playtest) game design to incorporate the ‘growing’ theme.
The artificial intelligence is still not … really intelligent.
What best practises would I suppose (and did TOTALLY not adhere to myself)?
Try to get life out of the way, sleep enough beforehand, don’t get ill.
Never, ever start without knowing your tools, your libraries, your development environment.
As a coder, never underestimate the time it takes to create media.
Don’t underestimate the time for final deploying.
Never, ever underestimate the time it takes to debug multiplayer network code.
Have a good game design ready before starting to code.
Be satisfied. You will NEVER be satisfied with what you created. It could have been SO MUCH better.
The theme was announced at 3am in Germany. I was sound asleep, because I only had 4 hours of sleep the day before (try to get life out of the way…), and I was getting a cold. At around 5am I read the theme, slept a bit over it, and at 7am I had an Idea and even the title for my game.
At first, I started with a trivial HTTP server written in node/express (basically as a warmup), noticed that my editor didn’t work like I wanted it to, and needed half an hour to correct this. The first game related stuff was choosing a font for the Borg theme; it’s not really reasonable to start this way, but I needed a distraction from my issues with the text editor. A (very) short landing page was created, and I included a trivial phaser example.
I hadn’t worked with phaser myself before, so it was learning on the go (never, ever start without knowing your tools…). It went pretty smooth, though, I added first sprites, got some placeholder graphics, and worked on the obstacle field. At about 10am I had a reasonably distributed field.
I started to learn phaser physics, got some more issues with my text editor (the linter), added multiple player sprites (at the beginning this should be temporary, but it turned out to stick to the end), and added collisions. Those collisions turned out to be tricky, as I didn’t want the blocks to move, and the players should really stop at the blocks and slide partially at the edges; in effect, I changed the collision scheme several times on both days. The birds also had to flock, so I let them accelerate if they were a bit behind the center of gravity of the flock. A first version was ready at about 12pm, but I worked 2 more hours on the collision scheme. For a break I read what others were doing and posting.
Next was a (trivial) artificial intelligence for additional sprites. I had it running short before 3pm. After lunch I added the life counters; a bit tricky, because they shouldn’t be rotated like the player sprites. At 5pm that was done. Then came the time counter, and the game logic. I also had to read quite some docs in order to get rendering order right (READY/SET/GO should be in front) and scaling right – in case you changed the window size. At 6:30 that was done and I was off for diner. Didn’t actually get home before half past 10 😉
After some cleanup, getting the number of enemies from the URL and having the possibility to display an error message, getting the font used in the game itself turned out to be tricky (docs are a bit wrong here).
At about 12am I had a working game, I finally created the real landing page with the borg theme. I created the background image from scratch in gimp using inspirations from openclipart; as I’m not used too much to gimp, it took me over half an hour to do so…
At 3am I created the first post about my current state, then worked on the AJAX code to display server statistics (like active players). Including socket.io for the game data was the next step. At half past 4 I finally went to bed.
At 11am the next day I started including network code in the game. First for waiting for other players, joining game rooms and waiting for the start of the game. I had to rework the sprite code quite a bit, because there was no room for remote controlled sprites. Getting that right took until lunch at 3pm. Afterwards I had to create the other players, create functions for sending and receiving sprite data (position,angle,health,etc.). That worked at about 5:30pm.
I changed a number of things at this point, scaling code was completely removed, now using standard phaser calls for that, collision code was changed again, etc. I also did some playtesting and fixed the network code – it was still very rough then. I noticed that I forgot to synchronize the background blocks position, that lead to all sorts of strangeness…
At 8pm I started to optimize the network code, rounding floating point data, only sending changed data, reducing name lengths. That was working fine at 9:30. At 10:30 I started working on the graphics (the birds and their animation). It took a while until animation really worked, the phaser calls had been changed from what I read in some examples. After midnight I created the sound samples with SFXR, and incorporated them in the game. At about 12:30 I started to work on a *real* artificial intelligence, which took until 2am, where I actually just stopped myself from continuing on that … semi-intelligent thingy.
Then it was cleaning up, zipping, deploying on my server, creating screenshots and the game entry on the Ludum Dare site, and it was 2:58am. Well, I didn’t touch the extra hour, but it was close. 😛
After voting was open I played a few games for calming down, and went straight to bed
Hope you enjoyed the read; I guess you get a feeling how much time you can actually waste on network code… I hope you will be able to find playing partners, because that always seems to be the major issue. And playing against real world enemies is *definitely* way harder and more rewarding than against the AI…
There is a timelapse video for those who like to read less and get flashed more 😉
Thanks for all your games, and – ah – in case you didn’t do that yet – please
Finally, find my (silent) development timelapse of my Compo entry Birds of Borg – it took a while, because I had to clean up the mess that happened from 3 Xserver crashes during the development :-X
“Birds of Borg” is a single- and multiplayer action game done as a HTML5 Web game with phaser and node.js/express/socket.io.
The breaks in the video have been shortened to 3 seconds video time, regardless of their real length. In case you wonder how long I actually slept, there’s a clock in the lower right corner…
A Post Mortem analysis of the development process will be published later. Probably tomorrow.
Have fun, and try to watch in slomo if the rapid screen changes make you sick 😉
I actually managed to finish and submit my game Birds of Borg 2 minutes BEFORE the deadline!
I think I went a bit over the top by creating a networked multiplayer game, even with (simple) match making. Game mechanics could have been more sophisticated, and originally I wanted to support the growing theme as well (growing a flock of birds), but that would have needed quite a few more hours. I hope you like the StarTrek related theme 😉
There will be a timelapse video, but first I have to clean it up a little – my Xserver crashed 3 times during development.
I’m really happy with the result nevertheless, given that it has been my first Ludum Dare, and that I personally never did anything with phaser before.
And NOW I’m exited to play all those games YOU guys have created =-D
We finished the game, and I think every member of the team thought we couldn’t do it
We were a team of five, and for four of us it was our first game and first Ludum dare. We never worked together before and I think we did a good job.
A friend of us was supposed to make the music, but he had a problem with his computer and we never received his contribution. But one hour before the end of the jam we’ve done some music very quickly, and some people seems to like it.
We all learned how to use new tools (phaser, graphics gale, tiled, git), and that’s some time we’ve gained for next jams.
We have a complete game, with a start screen, tutorial, dialogues and 6 levels. That’s a lot more than what we thought we could do.
My computer didn’t crash! It crashes 2 or 3 times a day when I’m at home, and for the jam it worked like a charm.
WHAT WENT WRONG
We had two very little laptops, one old laptop, and one desktop computer. It’s very hard to work on a small laptop, both for coding or doing graphics, and we had to switch from computers to computers to work.
We used Git for the first time, and it worked fine until a member of our team had a problem and lost some work at the middle of the jam. We didn’t know how it happened and because we didn’t want to see the same thing happenning again, we simply stopped using Git. At the very end of the jam, we were transfering files with usb disks from computers to computers. It took a lot of time and was very stressful. Next time, we’ll stick with Git.
Our first prototype came very lately. So we didn’t test and play it enough, and we could have make better commands.
We didn’t prepare ourselves. We learned a few tools, but we could have take that time a week or two before.
WHAT’S NEXT ?
We’re working on a post mortel version of The Grand Carpet Hotel, with a better gameplay and a many many levels. Stay tuned !
Post compo version is coming along pretty nice. Since last weekend I’ve added a new background and some tunes. Now it was time to tweaks the controls a bit and put some emphasis on characters animations. Check out the game in motion with this gif and give it a try if you haven’t.
Hey guys, I’ve been working on a game for the team Jam with my friend James and it seems to be progressing quite nicely.
After are first day working hard. James and I have managed to get the game to a playable state with the kind of combat we’d like and I’ve been brainstorming how to make the best of only having so much screen space.
I’ve mostly been creating the art assets and particle systems so it’s hard for me to comment on how scripting has been but the art has been going very well so far and all in game and working. I’ve been using Spriter to animate the characters and enemies which can been seen below
Unity animator has been used for the players melee attack, which is shown below by a GIF James created earlier. You can also see one of the smoke particle effects I’ve created along side a nice subtle red colour grading effect James decided to implement on hit.
Let me know what you guys think of art so far and thanks for reading,
Hi Everyone, our take on the theme was an action/arcade game based on a randomly generated grid that was filled with colors and mines. The player could select one color to reveal at a time, thus showing the safe cells. This game came out much harder than we expected since there was little skilled involved. We ended up creating special abilities to balance it out: such as armor, reveal, jump, etc. Also, we tied each ability/color to a positive character traits: courage, perseverance, resilience, and forgiveness. Here’s a run down of the good and the bad:
What went right:
Polish. The game had logo, sound, artwork, and there were no bugs.
Although difficult, the game was generally fun.
The visual design was minimalistic, colorful, and most importantly, something we produced within our skill and time limitations.
We experimented with a new creative process and the result was not too shabby. We plan to keep refining our approach.
Easily published for Web, Windows, and OSX using Unity. We wanted the game available to as many people as possible.
What went wrong:
The game was really challenging because we didn’t have enough gameplay elements to empower the player. We could have identified this sooner and planned accordingly.
It was more based on luck than skill. It didn’t feel like you can improve skill and overcome the challenge.
We aimed for 5 minute game session, it averaged 30-45 seconds.
The introduction story was conceptualized after the core mechanics. It was trying to provide purpose via a “spiritual elements” concept, which was too abstract for such a literal game.
There was no tutorial or instructions. We just tossed the player into deep waters without teaching them how to swim.
Even though our creation is essentially a “glorified minesweeper variant’, we are very happy with the game. We are continuing to work on it and making it the best it can be.
Kmembert (Camembert: A delicious french cheese) is a puzzle/infiltration/action game . The gameplay is quite simple: You are a cheese and you have to kill all nazi mice in one shoot. Get the cannon bullet and trick the mice in order to kill them all in a single shoot. 9 levels are playable. HAVE FUN ^^!
It was my first Ludum Dare compo. I just be informed of the event 4 days ago. My weekend was busy but I was motivated to create a simple game saturday morning with the theme “You only get one”. I already participed to the “Global Game Jam” twice, but the Ludum Dare is a different challenge.
I cumulate 17 hours of work for this game.
I found the idea in the first minutes: Get the only one bullet, trick the enemies to manage to kill them all in a single shoot.
The controls are simple and the top view allows to create less graphic assets and less code. I’m a big fan of “Metal gear solid” and I recently played “Hotline Miami”. So I unconsciously designed game mechanics with this game in my mind. I always wanted to design a game like Metal Gear Solid :). Therefore mice can run after you if they see you and you can play with the doors.
Level Design I modified the mouse behaviours 2 hours before the deadline. So I redesigned the levels accoring the modifications.
I tried to design 9 levels with interesting challenge. I think the levels are fun and you also can understand all puzzles quickly. But I had no time to playtest the levels to another players. That’s why the game needs different mice with different behaviours and more balance.
Graphics I didn’t want to use human characters, zombies, aliens or monsters. So I decided to imagine a coherent situation with uncomon characters according to the game mechanics. A humanoid cheese against nazi mice ? Why not :). I’m not a 2d artist but I tried to design simple characters and animations quickly. A pen tablet is a good tool :).
Sounds Unfortunatly I didn’t have the time to play on my guitar some cool riffs for the background music. The sound fx are just simple homemade sounds of my mouth :).
Tools I’m a Flash game developer since 2004 so I create all assets, animations and code with Flash. I used the World Construction Kit library. It’s the Box2D physic engine with a WYSIWYG layout, very usefull to design levels. I also used simple libs : TweenMax, Flint. I used “Flash Develop” and I created some assets with Photoshop and Audition.
It was a great experience! Sometimes I watched streams of few developers around the world. I also earn some skills in code with box2d and in graphic design. I found my game interesting but it needs improvements :).