A bit of context
This was my fourth Ludum Dare and the first time (ever, even outside LD) that I made a game that I actually like. When I say “a game that I actually like”, I mean a game that I would like to play if someone else had made it. Sure, in the past I made some games that I love, but I always had to go around their flaws, disregard game-breaking bugs and just close my eyes on my own mistakes to really enjoy them. In other words, they were my ugly childs.
With 0000, I can finally say that I managed to make a game that I’m proud of, even though it’s far from being perfect or even that great of a game. I think it’s fun (which is the most important part), pretty engaging and people seem to like it, which is a plus. It’s a small first step into actually making decent games.
I pretty much failed during LD30. Here’s what I wrote just before it started :
Pretty excited, once again. To me, Ludum Dare is a way to see and compare what I’ve learned and how much I’ve improved since the last time. I started pretty small, with a funny, but subpar game (Don One). Then, made another game, a lemming-like that was buggy as hell, but cute and people seemed to enjoy the art-style (Daisy’s dog is dead). I think I will stay true to myself : simple, primitive graphics + game mechanics that will allow me to grow and learn as a game developer. I have no other ambitions than having fun and learning, and Ludum Dare has been a great opportunity to do so the last two times I participated.
Hey, past self. This is still true. I mean, this Ludum Dare, I went in with the same mentality. Use my already acquired but limited skillset (in game design, art and sound) and try to make the best out of it. 0000 PRESS Z is what came out of that desire. And it was fun to make!
AKA what my last 3 LDs taught me
- Level design has been a big challenge for me since I started game development over a year ago. With limited sprites and simple mechanics, I succeeded at combining them to create interesting gameplay and difficult, yet rewarding levels.
- The game style seems to be a big hit with people. I also love it, even though it’s simple as can be. I went with I am capable of doing, and it seems to have worked out.
- The game feels good. Adding particles here and there and a lot of feedback to the player’s actions really payed off.
AKA What I didn’t learn yet
- The movement seems to be a big issue for players. I thought it was on point, but it seems like it might need some more work (more on that later)
- I didn’t manage to teach the player about the double jump mechanic early enough. Most people seem to discover it by mistake.
- The sound, while fonctional, is not very expressive and could be improved a lot. Maybe a soundtrack, even, could make the action feel even more frantic. If I had any music skills, I would have added music.
- The random teleportation, even though it’s the core mechanic to my game, seems to be confusing players. That leaves me with a game design question : Should I give all the answers right out, or let the player figure out the game as he loops through levels? Tough call.
What I learned
AKA things I think I understood but maybe not
- Making the most with very little can be very rewarding and push your creativity.
- Planning (just enough) is essential. It took me two hours of planning before I even started making the game. I figured out what game I wanted and went with it. It could have failed horribly, but I got lucky this time.
- Juice matters. Details matter. If you’re making a game that feels fun to you, you’re doing something right.
- The LD community is a GREAT resource for feedback. You have doubts about your game? I’m pretty sure someone on IRC will be down to talk it out with you.
What’s to come and conclusion
With all the positive feedback and encouragement I’ve been getting from the community, I’m considering making an improved version of the game. Bug fixes, more levels, speedrun mode, highscores, new mechanics and all that good stuff are amongst the things that are going through my head at the moment(Did anyone say level editor?). It’s still just an idea, but it’s very tempting to make some more evil levels to get the best out of you guys.
In the end, this was a very interesting ludum dare. I learned a lot and gained confidence in myself in the process. I still have so much to learn, but to me, making a game that I actually like is a big milestone.