So I’ve decided to write a post mortem for my first ever ludum dare entry Turn Fighter Foo. I’m really proud of what I had achieved in such a short amount of time and I just wanted the opportunity to share the story and the thought processes behind it.
The first day
When the theme “10 seconds “was revealed on the ludum site at 10:30 am local time, the first thing I did was to brainstorm and write down every idea I could come up with related to the theme. Ideas for mechanics like 10 second power ups, 10 second lives and 10 second timers floated around mixed in with game ideas like escaping from a monster with only 10 second of stare time (yeah I ripped it off amnesia), a 10 second hundred meter dash and even a …ahem “reproductive” game with the control system of dance dance revolution to try and get a 10 second climax result.
My initial attempt was to build the monster game with a flashlight with a 10 second battery life that you could use to scare away the monster using Construct 2. Eventually, I got bored with the idea and ditched the monster game and was back at square one. I had a look at my list of brainstorms again and fell upon number 10 on the list which read “10 second to decide what to do in a situation – Each turn is a second”. I then started to think about creating a turn based game where you had a limited amount of time (10 seconds) to make a decision like timed chess. I remembered a previous game that I had stumbled on from a previous ludum dare called RockPaperRPG which was a game where players took simultaneous turns to select from melee, block and magic to defeat an opponent. I was going to extend upon that idea but with timed limited turns. This meant that I needed a greater range of actions to choose from so that time became a precious resource for the player. It so happened that I had just bought Mortal Kombat on steam that morning too and I thought about whether anyone has built a turn based fighting game before. And so the basic idea behind what would become Turn Fighter Foo was born. I tried to create the initial prototype in Construct 2. Below is a picture of that early prototype.
By late Saturday afternoon I was beginning to become frustrated with Construct 2 and I was ready to throw away this prototype too. However, I really liked the concept, I just didn’t like the way I had to manipulate arrays in the editor. I made the hard decision to give up on Construct 2 and fall back to coding the game on flash via the flixel library. The other problem was I had agreed to go to my friend’s birthday gathering and so I was going to lose my whole Saturday evening. I decided to make a quick appearance and get back home in time to do more development. The quick appearance saw me coming home at 12:00 am and slightly intoxicated. I started quickly banging away on the keyboard and within a couple of hours I had a white square moving within a grid which was more progress than I had made with my first prototype.
The second day
After six hours of sleep, I got up at eight and proceeded to start hammering away code. Most of what you can see was made on Sunday. Progress was slow but steady. By around lunch time I had the basic input and battle replay system up with a white square moving around. By late afternoon, I had two squares duking it out on a grid. I spent most of Sunday night actually programming the structure of the game, I had a battle engine but I still needed a game structure to handle the flow of the game from beginning to end plus reset conditions. I also needed all the other UI stuff that showed status (like healthbars). I also spent a bit of time doing the sprite graphics on Sunday night.
Most of the early morning of the Monday was spent fixing up issues and making sure that there wasn’t any major problems with the code flow. I also took some time to create sounds using bfxr and that Sakura tree in the background. By about 4 or 5 am on a Monday morning I probably had the final build and spent the next hour working out hosting on google drive, writing the readme and going through the process of submission. The title “Turn Fighter Foo” was selected when I had to fill in the name box in the submission process. I wanted something that was a parody of Street Fighter 2. Originally, it was going to be “Turn Fighter Too” but I took a play on the term Foo Fighter (I originally had in mind the band Foo Fighters) and with the word “Foo” in a programming context.
- I like the basic concept of the turn based fighting game and I can see areas where I can iterate upon it.
- I made a playable game! It’s a bit bare bones but it does have all the elements of a game’s structure.
- I really enjoyed the experience and the 48 hour time limit really stopped my procrastination habit in getting the game out.
- No AI player. That means no single player mode in the version I handed up.
- The moves aren’t really balanced. The play matrix code is pretty horrible and copy and pasted at various sections.
- No music … I didn’t really plan this part at all.
- There was a lot of time wasted.
- I only had two hours of sleep on Monday morning before I went to work.
- Know your tools well. I was never really comfortable with Construct 2.
- Don’t try to fit in too many other things on a ludum dare weekend.
Going to go play and rate some of the other games now. Hope you enjoyed reading what I went through. You may find my ludum entry here