Posts Tagged ‘compo’

Syrian Makes Syrian Game! More After 11!

Posted by (twitter: @@_AlexanderClay)
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 7:13 am
I’m Alex Clay (Not my real name), I made a game about Syria! It’s a semi-biographical!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it because I want to expand it! Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Ludum Page https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/38/my-name-is-bunny

My Name Is Bunny - web game about Syria

 

Adding Animation and A Player

Posted by
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 9:24 am

So I have now been creating this small character and his animations!

Also, I have added An overly so simulate lighting!

CurrImg

Please give me some feedback in the Comments.

Good Luck!

I’m in

Posted by
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 4:23 am

It my first Ludum Dare experience

wish me luck!

Running solo for the 48 hours creating all the art, audio and code myself.

I am a full time 3D Graphic Artist for a games studio in Australia but recently in the last two months I have picked up teaching myself C# and Java for Unity.

The lead up for the game Jam has given me a goal to learn code fast in my spare hours , just in time for Ludum Dare 38

Art Software available:

Maya

3Ds Max

Zbrush

Substance Painter

Substance Designer

Photoshop CC

Procreate (Ipad Pro)

Game Engine: Unity 5

Language: C#

Editor: Visual Studio 2015

Music: GarageBand

 

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post something like this, but here goes.
I hope the moderation team will allow me to share some words of encouragement.

Hi Ludum Dare community!
I’ve only heard and read about Ludum Dare, and as a gamer, I think it’s fantastic there are communities like this.

I’m Hyun from Qminder, a startup based in Estonia…
This is a bit of a meta post, but I hope I can encourage all of you out there.

I wanted to talk to all the creators, developers, writers, artists, musicians, and even lurkers:
What do you want out of these events?
If there is some financial motivation involved…

Just know that people on the lookout do drop by here.

Looking to work on your own things? Looking to get hired? Partnered up? Network?

Right now, we’re in that situation. I’m looking for a producer to make a ringtone for our queue management system.

It’s hard to imagine, but seeing how many talents are around here, I’m sure we’ll be able to find some people who can work with us!

So those who are working hard, grinding and hustling – keep at it!
You will be seen and you will be recognized :).

(Yeah, we’re not a Game Development company or anything, but just know that your talents can be used in more than just the gaming community!)

Good luck to all the participants!

If you have low scores, read this.

Posted by (twitter: @TheFish523)
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 10:22 pm

Allo, Im Fishy.

Im gonna talk about a problem with our site here. (I’m not a mod, just using our as a community thingy) A-lot of people have been really bummed lately, due to seeing plenty of triple digits in there scores. Now, I can see this as concerning, and especially unfair. But check this out, you made a Video Game! And actually had the balls to submit it to the public! I’d be pretty proud If I were you. Yeah, so what if you got < 100 on all your ranks. YOU still had fun making it didn’t you? You learned from making it didn’t you? If you said yes to either of those, congrats! You’re a winner! You don’t need to tell people you got >10/200.

What I’m trying to say here, its fantastic job to all of you. You went through the effort, and if you hit the submit button, it was worth it. You now get feedback, and can say confidently that you didn’t wuss out like many other developers who somehow don’t think that they could even compete in this!

I’m proud of all of you! I hope you stick around for next jam! New site, new judging system, it should all be well and good! Have a fantastic morning/afternoon/evening where ever you are!

 

Cheers,

FisherG

Thank you!

Posted by
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 9:34 am

Thank you all for such a great Ludum Dare!

Posted by (twitter: @TheFish523)
Monday, January 2nd, 2017 3:10 pm

I gotta say this Ludum has been one of the best so far for me. (Even though it’s only my second one) Alot of people played my game compared to my last game (Seriously like 6 times as many people). I’ve learned alot from this jam. And I appreciate the mountain of feedback you guys have given me.  I’ve had 3 YouTubers play my game and even some streamers.

Two things really stood out.

1: How motivated you can get when there’s 3 hours left in the jam (Seriously I got more content in those 3 hours than I did the first day).

2: The community.

What do I mean by community? Well, what do ya think? The out-pour of feedback, and the downloads and ratings adding up everyday, I even got a guy on twitter who said I inspired him to participate in the next jam! it’s just a fantastic feeling.

Overall, I think 2017 is gonna be a great year for game development. You all ignited a fire of passion inside me, and Intend to use it. Again, thank you all so much, and I hope to see you in the next JAM!

 

Cheers,

FisherG.

 

Cute

 

PS: IF you want to play my game, you can find it here

Streaming Game Dev for Beyond Infinity!

Posted by
Monday, January 2nd, 2017 12:18 am

Hey guys i’m streaming development for the game i’m working on Beyond Infinity. If anyone’s up for some David Bowie and Unity dev  you can watch here:

sPACEMANsadasd

Stream Link

 

Cardboard Drift timelapse

Posted by
Saturday, December 31st, 2016 2:56 pm

When an entry becomes much more

Friday, December 30th, 2016 9:26 am

Hi everyone!

Last summer I made my first Ludum Dare entry, it was in the #36 and the Compo section indeed. It was a great experience and I was amazed by all the feedback I got. And I didn’t want to waste it.

These months I’ve been dedicating some free time to adapt and improve the game and I’ve just proudly pubished it today for Google Play.

I’ll leave you the link to the game and some related stuff.

Game: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…
Music: https://senseitorguet.bandcamp.com/track/high-above
Entry: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-36/…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DiegoCTorguet

Thanks for the support and happy holidays :)

Ayup, Cute

 

I made A lil’ Christmas Update for my game. (4 days late to say this)

Its really cute and gives the game a BIG BUTTLOAD OF NEW FEATURES!!!

Including: – A REALLY SUPER RAD SNOW EFFECT. – A REALLY RAD SUPER SANTA HAT;

 

OH MY JEE WIZ THATS ALOT OF STUFF!!! With all this content, you’ll be playing for hours! Why not check it out here!

 

 

 

sarcasm is best.. uh.. ism.

Cardboard Drift – WebGL Build

Posted by
Monday, December 26th, 2016 5:33 pm


Cardboard Drift

WebGL build is now available. Try it out.


Cardboard Drift WebGL

Added Linux Build!

Posted by
Monday, December 26th, 2016 9:08 am

Postmortem Time!

Posted by
Friday, December 23rd, 2016 1:40 pm

title

Postmortem

DONE

Here is the (likely incredibly dull) story of how I made my Compo entry, One Room HotelAs a bonus I also did some stuff with the CSS of the post, hopefully that works out when it gets to the front page.

theme announcement

When I heard the theme, I was not happy. I felt like I had no ideas for the theme, and that it was far too limiting.

Then I realized I had voted for it 😛

My brainstorming process is simple: come up with ideas for the given theme, then come up with themes related to the given theme, then brainstorm based on those. I find doing this is very helpful, as it forces you to look at the theme in different ways, rather than mentally getting stuck on a few ideas. I ended up writing down the idea I was going to use in the section headed “One Room at A Time.”

The idea, as written, was very unclear:

Action Hotel Management Rhythm Game

I  worked up the design of my game based on this, and it went through a few iterations.

  • In the first iteration, you controlled a room in a two story hotel, and needed to pick people up as they walked through to bring them to another side. The idea didn’t really make much sense, so I scrapped it.
  • The second idea was not related to the theme very much at all (it was closer to the “One Room at A Time” the original concept was written under.) You needed to place and remove rooms to optimize your hotel. I realized this did not fit the theme, and would not be very fun, and scrapped it.
  • The third iteration was the one I kept, where you need to carry people around in order to get them where they want to go quickly.

The inspiration for the game actually came from Hot Wheels Drive Through Dilemma, a time management flash game I played a long time ago. I was also thinking about the game SimTower, an inspiration which a couple of people seem to have picked up on.

After I had my full idea, it was time to start work.


starting work

One issue that has been common to every Ludum Dare I’ve competed in is a lack of initial confidence in my idea. I always second-guess myself and this compo was no exception.

I especially felt that the sprites I was drawing would not work. I nearly scrapped the idea right there, but my bad experience a year ago with wasting time on a second idea when working on Disphere led me to stick with my original plan.

One Room Hotel Early Development The basic mechanisms in place.  At this point I was still thinking about changing game ideas.

This uncertainty continued throughout the night, and into the next day.

I finished the day with a post showing people entering the hotel.

One Room Hotel With Guests The game started to have some form, but I was still unhappy with it.

the first day

When I woke up to start work the first full day, I saw that this was the most “hearted” post I had ever made, with 17 hearts. This is what finally convinced me that this was the idea to work on. If people were responding this well to such a basic illustration of the mechanics, I must have been on to something.

Getting the people to look good was a struggle, and took the better part of an hour and a half. For a while I was worried that I would need to pursue a different graphical style, but I ended up managing it.

When I finished the amenities, the game really started to come together. It started to fell like a real game, and I felt it was time to share what the gameplay was really like. I came up with a simple backstory for the game, and made a post. In a couple hours, this post had 27 hearts.

One Room Hotel With Three Amenities The most hearted image I have ever posted.

This post is by far the best received progress update I have ever had, and helped motivate me as I began to add more fleshed-out gameplay.

The next major change to the game was the addition of the day-night cycle. I needed a way to make it clear when a round was going to end and to create a feeling of progression during a stage, and this was the perfect way to do so.

Unfortunately, this somehow managed to be the most time consuming process of the entire project. I struggled with calculating how to blend colors, and with the scripts for doing so in GameMaker Studio. I eventually resorted to trial and error for getting the sky’s brightness right, and used an overlay rather than blending the color.

The ordeal was worth it, though, as it made the world feel more alive and gave the game a much better progression. The progression still wasn’t perfect, however, so I started to brainstorm ways around this.

One Room Hotel Timelapse The day night cycle took far too long to implement, but it was worth it.

After the day night cycle, there were still a few issues with the progression of the game. People came and went at any time of day, and rounds had nothing substantial separating them. I fixed this through two changes:

The first was a three part structure to days.

  • In the morning, people enter the hotel, and the player is calm.
  • In the afternoon, the hotel is full and hectic, making the player stressed.
  • At night, people leave the hotel, releasing the stress from the afternoon.

This change in the intensity of the day over time is critical to the feeling of the game. The stress I wanted would have tired the player if it was constant, or even if it was random. Because it happened at a specific time during the day, it created anticipation and gave the player a chance to prepare. This wasn’t perfect, however, as the RNG could throw incredibly difficult situations at the player. This is an issue with all of my games, and it is the main complaint people have with One Room Hotel in particular.

The next feature I added to improve the flow was hotel construction. The time between rounds felt rushed, and I needed another step in order to ease the transition to the next stage.

I thought about what I could add that would fit with the progression of the game, and I realized that adding a screen where you must construct your tower would accomplish three things:

  • Break up the time in between stages
  • Give a sense of progression as the tower grows higher
  • Add a layer (or maybe the illusion of a layer) of strategy

The building screen accomplished all of these things in my mind, and I personally think the blueprint aesthetic during construction looks really cool.

Construction of the One Room Hotel Construction helped the rhythm of the game, helping to better delineate stages.

After construction was finished, I squashed bugs and implemented small features for a while before going to sleep, with a near feature complete game ready for polishing on the second full day.

the second day

PANIC PANIC PANIC PANIC

At the start of the second day, I had around 20-30 items on my to-do list, which was just a little bit nerve wracking. I legitimately thought I wouldn’t finish, but I pushed through and just started working despite this worry. Worries like that have hurt my performance in previous events, and I was NOT going to let that happen again.

After all of the panicking, I decided that the most important thing to get done was the user interface. I’ve neglected this somewhat in the past and it has hurt the quality of my games. I spent a few hours on the interface, and tried a few different styles before I settled on what I used in game (and in the styling of this post.)

One Room Hotel UI and Reviews I chose a UI matching the color palette of the hotel.

I also worked on the in-game UI, and got that looking good with a color changing satisfaction meter and an icon for your money (score.)

I wish I had taken the time to make a separate icon for satisfaction, but I was forced to focus on others things.

One Room Hotel User Interface The basic in-game interface: the satisfaction meter and score.

Something I added that not many people seem to have noticed is the randomly generated hotel and newspaper names. There are thousands of potential hotel names, each generated from an adjective, a noun, and then a type of establishment (Inn, resort, hotel, ETC.)

  • remote smile resort
  • summer arc retreat
  • summer cliff hotel
  • spring shark resort
  • enchanting gulf retreat
  • winter pond tower
  • regal delight hotel
  • enchanting tornado resort
  • winter mountain resort
  • pleasant delight tower
  • globetrotter mountain resort
  • regal park tower
  • pleasant arc tower

The newspaper names were a little simpler. They also consisted of three parts, but the first was simply a choice between have “The ” or “” at the start of the name. The next part was a noun, and the third was a type of publication.

  • The Remote Week
  • The Silver Herald
  • Hotel Times
  • Fascinating Week
  • Inn Enquirer
  • Terracotta Times
  • Hotel Journal
  • The Pleasant Week
  • Royal Tribune
  • Summer Chronicle
  • Happy Gazette

I love adding details like this to the game, whether or not anyone notices 😛

Since near the beginning I had ideas for the music of the game. I wanted some medium tempo jazz for the menus, and a really fast tune for in-game. I only had time to implement the menu music, unfortunately. I was disappointed at first, but when I changed the music to play in-game I realized it worked pretty well.

The music was originally intended to be for the menus only.

I made the music using Mixcraft 6 (NOT recommended, very buggy) and midi instruments, along with a (musical) keyboard. To come up with the tune I hummed along with the game when I was testing and recorded it. Once I sang something that I liked I just needed to figure out the notes to actually play it.

I would highly recommend this method to anyone who doesn’t typically write music, as it really saves time and does a lot for quality if you don’t know how to write music. It’s a lot easier to improvise melodies when singing then to mess around with a keyboard until something sounds good.

final hours

For me, the final hours of any event are some of the most important. This is where I add a final layer of polish, and elevate the game to the next level of quality. Strangely, what I feel is the most important single change I made on the final day was making the sun better:

One Room Hotel New and Old Sun The old sun is on the left.

The yellow of the sun brings the game’s visual style together, and I think it turned out really well. I don’t know why, but that’s when I really felt like I had made something good. Maybe that’s weird but that’s how I work.

reception

One Room Hotel is the best received game I have ever made. I’m really happy with it, and I’m ecstatic reading people’s reviews.

A few people have called it one of the best games of the event. I never thought I would get to this point in my game development, and I am so happy that people feel this way about my game.

I’m incredibly excited to see how the game places, and I hope to finally break into the top 50 for fun, and maybe even for overall.

post compo plans

I may release a post jam version of the game, fixing some of the issues with it, and it may be coming to Android. I’m not sure at this point, but it is a possibility. I’m more likely to focus on a long-term project I’m going to be working on for FFSJama manic shooter.

Thank you so much for reading!

play now

 

“Ludum Dare: The Game” Post-Mortem!

Posted by (twitter: @ddrkirbyisq)
Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 4:14 pm

If you haven’t already, go play and rate my entry, Ludum Dare: The Game!

postmortemtitle
This time around I entered the compo division and decided to spend my 48-hour LD making a game about…making a game in 48 hours for LD. So meta! xD It’s lightly inspired by Game Dev Story, but certainly has its own unique spin on things.

postmortem1

I came up with a couple of other ideas for the “One Room” theme, including some sort of game where you need to tetris-pack furniture pieces into a gridded room, but the LD game seemed particularly exciting to me and I was already coming up with a bunch of ideas that I wanted to implement for it, so it was a no-brainer that I should run with it. It was a relatively obvious play on the theme — I mean, there I was in my room thinking “Hmm…if there’s only one room, what kind of room could it be? …oh, what about the one I’m literally in right now?“…but even so, I decided that I should just go with it and not overthink things too much.

Overall I’m really happy with how the game turned out! It’s a completely new style of game for me and is heavily UI-focused — you play the game using your mouse only, which I’ve never done for LD before! Getting to branch out and try something new was pretty fun, and although I definitely ran into some troubles and rough spots (more on that later), everything turned out alright in the end. I also managed to achieve my goals for this LD, which were pretty simple — to take care of myself, do a good job, and have fun!

As always, let’s take a look over what went well and what didn’t go as well.

 

What went well:

Game idea

The “LD game” game idea was one of the first main ones that I came up with and even before I had settled on it my mind was already buzzing with different interesting ideas that I wanted to incorporate. Sometimes you get a good idea and you just feel great about it! There are actually a ton of unused ideas that I would have loved to include but didn’t have time to implement, including:

– An entire “pre-compo” phase where you get to choose what to prioritize: purchasing supplies, getting rest, watching the keynote, making an I’m In post, writing starter code, etc.
– Having to select between multiple coding frameworks, e.g. Unity vs C++ SDL vs GameMaker, each with its own pros/cons
– A pet cat that you can feed, play with, and pet to improve your happiness
– Animations for each of the actions, like coding, making music, etc. that would change in intensity during high productivity (a la going Super Saiyan)
– Random events, like power outages, bluescreens, getting sick, kitchen fires, telemarketing calls, noisy leafblowers waking you up from sleep, etc.
– Option to “phone a friend” for help, either with debugging, remotivating yourself, playtesting, etc.
– Different “moods” for the character portrait (right now it’s always just the same smiling face)
– Very simple minigames that you play for the different actions instead of just waiting for time to pass. Different coding frameworks and game genres/design ideas could correlate with different minigames
– More choices for what to work on when designing/doing artwork/etc.
– More choices for what direction to take the game, e.g. focus on speed but sacrifice quality
– A “brainstorming” phase where you get random ideas and have to decide which one to stick with — affects starting points and other bonuses

As a result of me being so hyped about the game idea, I actually did a record-breaking amount of work on Friday night. Usually I spend Friday night purely on brainstorming as well as setting up a basic project and then going to bed, but this time around I kept chugging along until pretty late in the night doing artwork and implementing things. Here’s what I had at the end of Friday night already:

progress_1

While none of the actual gameplay is there, the basic room is already fully drawn, the dialogs are working, and all of the basic tech is in place! That’s pretty good for Friday night!

 

Unity (specifically, coroutines and UI implementation)

Holy cow, I would NOT have been able to pull off this game using my old Haxe toolchain. This was my first time using Unity for a solo compo entry, and it overperformed again! For this game I needed to create a whole bunch of different UI dialogs, complete with word-wrapping, 9-slice background images, etc. and doing all of that programatically would have been a legitimate nightmare — having to deal with a full compile cycle every time I wanted to tweak the positioning of a UI element would just take way too long. Thankfully the Unity 5 UI system worked out really nicely and I was able to just place everything using my visual editor. Whee!

Screenshot 2016-12-22 13.06.01

I also made =extensive= use of coroutines, which are basically a way for you to have a function yield and execute across multiple frames. A lot of the flows in my game were time-based, so it made much more sense to write something like:

// Displays a dialog box, then waits until it closes.
yield return DialogBox.Show("Starting a new atcion!");
// Start playing sounds, etc.
...
// Wait for 5 seconds until action completes.
yield return new WaitForSeconds(5.0f);
// Show results, then wait until results display is closed.
yield return ResultsBox.Show(
 "I finished!",
 new[] { string.Format("+{0} Art", art) },
 new[] { "icon_art" }
);
// Cleanup, stop playing sounds, etc.
...

There was a little bit of trickiness around making sure that there were no messy interactions between different flows (I used simple locks to guarantee that only one dialog sequence could be showing at a time), and making sure that you could interrupt a flow if you decided to start a different action (in that case, I needed to ensure that we still did the appropriate cleanup for the old action, stopped playing any action-related sounds, etc.).

postmortem2

One thing I did miss slightly was the ability to get return values from coroutines. I had a common case in my game where I needed to show some sort of selection UI, such as picking between two choices, or selecting a new action to do, and it would have been nice to write:

// Yield on a coroutine that returns an int value.
var myCoroutine = StartCoroutine<int>(ChoiceBox.Show("Which thing should I do?", "Do this thing", "Do that other thing"));
yield return myCoroutine.coroutine;
// Use the int value for something.
int selectedChoice = myCoroutine.returnValue;

While you can’t do this out-of-the-box with Unity, you can write your own coroutine extension methods that will allow you to achieve the same thing. There are several different proposed extensions, and I’ve actually used this particular one before to achieve exactly what I described above, but unfortunately I just didn’t have that tech set up and I couldn’t be bothered to re-implement it again during the compo. Instead I had a rather janky approach where I passed in an anonymous lambda method into the coroutine which it would invoke with the return value:

// Pass anonymous method to set selectedChoice to either 0 or 1.
int selectedChoice = -1;
yield return ChoiceBox.Show("What thing should I do?", "Do this thing", "Do that other thing", {val => selectedChoice = val; });
// Use the int value for something.
...

This is a bit uglier, but works just fine in practice.

 

Overall gameplay

While there are a bunch of things I’m not quite as happy with about the gameplay (more on that later) and a bunch of things that I didn’t have time to implement, the gameplay and content of the game turned out to be pretty fun overall despite its rough edges, and the feedback that I’ve received so far indicates that people are having a good time with it. I think the main thing is that it’s just FUN to think about trying to manage your time by doing these different things and seeing the results that happen. When you first start playing the game you don’t really know in advance what kinds of benefits or disadvantages each action has, but I think that’s sort of the fun itself in that you’re sort of exploring the different options available to you. This also gives the game a bit more replay value as when you play it a second time you’ve got a better handle on what needs to be done and what options are important.

I also learned my lesson from Grow Your Love (which was way too punishing with its grading) and ended up with a completion/grading scale that I think people will have an easier time with. It’s always hard to balance your own games because you’re always the foremost expert on them and as such have such a huge leg up on everybody else, but I came up with the “requirements” system that would serve as a rough difficulty adjuster, and then made it so that you could aim for a higher overall score on subsequent playthroughs.

postmortem7

In the beginning I had this hastily-thrown-together algorithm that would calculate your final overall score and just spit out a number with absolutely no explanation, and one of the features I decided to spend my last precious hours working on was the detailed scoring breakdown, along with revamping the scoring system itself. This was WELL worth it, as being transparent about how you’re actually graded means the player actually understands why they received the rating they did and allows them to know what to change during their next playthrough. Plus it’s just fun to be given a detailed report on your actions :). A lot of key changes like this happened during the later part of the compo and I’m really glad they made it in.

 

Artwork

While pretty much all of the artwork for the game was static (I had noooo time to put in fancy animations), I’m actually pretty happy with how the room came out, and had quite a bit of fun drawing it as well. This is probably the most intense pixeling I’ve done for LD (art is definitely my weakest area), and I’m happy with how the game came together stylistically. I used a few different references for the room graphics, including random pixel art rooms that I found via google, as well as Earthbound / Undertale graphics. The dialog box visuals also fit very well, as did the font that I chose.

 

Random names, comments, and the “refresh page” joke

One of the funnest parts of the entire creation process was developing the random game name generator, which can come up with hilarious titles such as “Tabla Hero”, “Retroidvania Maker”, and “Bullet Hell: Championship Edition”. The generator isn’t actually that complicated, as I didn’t have time to make anything fancy — it just selects from a random bank of prefixes and a random bank of suffixes and puts the two together.

Here are the prefix/suffix lists for the Rhythm Game genre, for example:

prefixes = new[] { "Bongo", "Tabla", "Dubstep", "Chiptune", "Bagpipe" };
suffixes = new[] { " Hero", " Band", " Karaoke", " Idol", " Raver" };

So you can have “Bongo Band”, “Dubstep Idol”, “Bagpipe Hero”, and so on and so forth.

The random theme selection is a little more simple, as I just put in a list of all of the themes from the theme voting rounds for LD37 and have it randomly pick one.

The randomized comments were also fun to make, and I think add a nice touch to the final scoring. All of the comments are pre-written, but the game selects different ones to give you based on your ratings in each of the categories. Also, you get more comments if you have a better community rating (mostly from posting to the LD blog).

progress_3

Finally, the “refresh page” theme announcement joke at the beginning of the game is something I just knew I wanted to have, as it’s (funnily enough) such a consistent and iconic part of LD. So that made it into the game pretty early on.

 

Posting animated GIFs

Lastly, this is a minor point, but I have to say that posting progress updates got a lot more fun now that I can capture animated GIFs and post those as well. I’m using ScreenToGif for this at the moment and it’s been working well!

 

What didn’t go as well:

Gameplay balancing

Thankfully, I managed to do an initial rework of the gameplay balance and tweaked a lot of the numbers during that pass. Some changes I made that got into the final game:

– In the beginning productivity affected the speed at which you completed actions! I changed that so that it instead affects the amount of “points” that you earn for each action.
– Point values used to be much lower. For example, a single coding action would get you between 2-3 points. I restructured all of the point values so that your overall ratings would be on a ~rough scale between 0 and 100 (though you can go higher of course), and I think that worked out better.
– As mentioned earlier, the overall rating system went through a big rework. It used to be much more nebulous and also penalized you very heavily for your weakest category by weighting it more heavily in the final average, to encourage you to diversify your efforts.
– A lot of minor tweaks to numbers, including the rate at which each “need” counter goes down.
– For most of the project’s lifecycle there were only the “standard” variants of actions — for example when you coded a new feature, it would always take 4 seconds and you’d get ~20 points (and sometimes a bug). Now, there’s a 25% chance that you get an “I’m stuck feature” that takes 6 seconds, for which you can chose “Read the Manual” or “Search StackOverflow”. One of these choices gives you ~20 points and the other gives you ~30 points, so depending on your choice you could actually be less efficient than normal. There’s also a 25% chance that you get a “long feature”, where you can choose to “Finish it ASAP”, or “Take your time”. Both result in ~40 points, but the “Finish it ASAP” option is 3 seconds faster at the expense of creating a random amount of bugs. There are similar variants for the other actions as well.

postmortem3

These changes did a lot to clean up the overall gameplay. However, even after all of these changes, the game could probably still use some rebalancing. Some issues off the top of my head:

– Having only two food options is pretty limiting, especially since both have their drawbacks (homecooked meal takes a long time, frozen pizza isn’t consistent in providing enough substance). That’s not the worst, as it creates and interesting decision, but I think more choices would have been better.
– Some of the actions are just not beneficial on average right now. I think that’s fine to some extent, but it should probably be a little closer.
– The relative timescales work out really weirdly, as microwaving a pizza takes 30+ minutes for some reason (!). This works out just fine in terms of gameplay, but makes no real-world sense.
– The medidate and bounce on bed actions aren’t too great in terms of their outcomes. They have a 50% chance of a negative/nothing effect and 50% chance of a positive effect, but the positive effect isn’t really enough to outweigh the cost.
– Browsing other people’s posts is pretty cost-inefficient as it gets you the same amount of motivation as posting to the blog, but gets you much less progress points.
– It’s a little too easy to meet the requirements of the harder genres. I DO think that it’s correct to allow people to be able to hit the MMORTSRPG requirements, and I think it’s better that I erred on the side of too easy rather than too hard, but right now it’s a bit =too= easy.
– I did a good job of raising dialogue notifications when your need levels fall below a certain point, but it can be jarring when two or three of these happen at the same time, especially if you’re in the middle of a task.

 

Gameplay format (?)

This one is a bit more nebulous, but at the end of Saturday I was really concerned about the direction that I had taken with the gameplay, as it didn’t really seem very interesting at all. You just chose the actions that corresponded to your requirements, consistently got points (remember, there were no variations yet), and did the corresponding “need” action whenever your need levels were low. There wasn’t a lot of strategy, nor was there a lot of real decision-making. More importantly, there just wasn’t much zany action going on!

In the end I managed to salvage things by at least adding some interesting choices such as the variants mentioned above (which I added for coding, art, music, and design), as well as adding some more “fun” actions such as bouncing on the bed and meditating. But I wonder if it would have been better to focus more on the “storytelling” aspect of the game rather than on the strategy / time-management aspect, especially given that the time-management aspect didn’t involve that many decisions (maybe it would be different if you had to play minigames for the different actions??).

postmortem4

So I wonder if it would have been a better call if I had come up with an experience that was a little more scripted instead. Something akin to a visual novel, perhaps, with randomized events pulled from a large set. Each choice you made would still affect your games’ stats, but instead of becoming a game about looking at numbers it would be more of an interesting story with zany things happening. You’d have less control as the player, but as the creator of the game I’d be able to ensure that you experienced many more different events. It would play out similar to a choose-your-own-adventure story, I guess. Again, I’m not entirely sure that would have worked out better and by the time I was considering this option seriously I decided that it was unfortunately too late to really make that design chance.

 

Minor Unity audio issues

This is a really small silly one that I already knew about, but still annoys me so I’m still writing it here.

The current build of Unity has an issue with WebGL builds such that the beginning part of every sound is cut off when played back. The result is that the start of each sound sounds a little different (noticeable especially for the kick drums in the intro sequence, and the text dialog sounds), and more importantly, seamless music looping doesn’t work because there’s a gap. I haven’t tried every possible compression type, but I DO know that making your build with an OSX machine instead of Unity on Windows does fix the issue. So it’s just a platform-specific bug with the Unity build process that hasn’t gotten fixed yet. Luckily I have an OSX laptop so I was able to replace the build after the fact, but this still annoys me. I’ll have to file a bug report for this at some point to make sure it gets fixed.

There was also a minor issue with a small pop/crackle effect that occurred at the end of sample playback, which was especially noticable with the text dialog sounds since I was playing so many of them each second (resulting in a buzzing noise when they all ended). Again, minor stupid things, but just annoying.

 

Overall this entry was a blast to make and I hope you guys enjoy it too!  I don’t have plans for a post-compo version, as I think I like the game enough as it stands.  But thanks for reading through my detailed post-mortem!

One last note: the soundtrack for the game is also available to download for free on my Bandcamp site at https://ddrkirbyisq.bandcamp.com/album/ludum-dare-the-game-original-soundtrack.  Go grab it now! 😀

 

Post-mortem: My first game!

Posted by
Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 5:38 pm

How was it

Really enjoyed my first jam. I was able to come up with several ideas within couple hours, and settled on one shortly after. Mechanic didn’t take too long, spent significant time on graphics and audio (not that they turned out well).

What did I learn

That I can make and publish a game! This is a big one for me, as I have been writing code for a while, but I never really made anything. I used LMMS and sfxr for the first time, and learned a ton about Unity3D. Feedback on my game is also great.

What will I do next time

I will aim for a game that can be completed withing 5 minutes. My submission doesn’t have a satisfying win state, which makes it a lot less fun. I’ll also be improving my audio and graphics skills, so my next submission will be better polished. While rating, I noticed that many games do not have main menus. I will remember this and not worry about it for my next submission :)

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