Posts Tagged ‘design’

Mead Boy: Game Feel and Level Design

Posted by (twitter: @blubberquark)
Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 8:08 am


play Mead Boy or read on:

This is not a post-mortem of the development process, but an explanation of the game design and what makes it tick.

Game Design

Mead Boy is a small platformer where your goal is to drink all the mead. The more mead you drink, the more laggy your controls get. Alcohol wears off slowly and linearly, just like real life. Also like in real life, a single drink impacts your reflexes enough to make many tasks perceivably more difficult. A tenth of a second of lag is already noticeable. In order to make players not just wait out the effects of the alcohol, and progress slowly, there is hunger clock and a time-based scoring system. Food pickups set back the hunger clock, and Gold pickups increase the score. One per mille of BAC creates a lag of one second and takes ten seconds to wear off. This should incentivise players to look for food while stillslightly drunk. Levels are small and take under a minute to complete. Levels should pose little challenge “sober”.

Each level represents a real city from the Viking age. There is an overworld map that shows you where the city is, and how a river connects it to the sea. There is some looting and pillaging, but no combat or violence against people shown.





Game Feel

Speed and Momentum


Mead boy is a game about going right, going fast, picking up speed, and jumping far. (At least when you’re sober. When you are drunk, you pick up speed and go too fast. Your first instinct if the character is not responding right away is to hit the buttons harder.) There are only three buttons needed to control Mead Boy: Left, Right, Jump.

Mead Boy responds to button presses instantly, but he keeps accelerating until he reaches a top speed of 5.5 pixels per frame. When you stop pressing the button, he decelerates exponentially. At speeds below 1 px/frame he stops completely (like stiction compared friction). This way there is no “long tail” of slow sliding after landing a jump, which feels weird and floaty and may make you fall off a cliff when you don’t expect it. The following diagram shows a plot of speed and button presses, where you can see a long attack and a quick release phase:




Jumps are always the same height, and there is no way to increase or reduce the jump height. Like Mario or Sonic, Mead boy goes right fast. Mead Boy is not Luigi or Mega Man. The Camera only scrolls on the left-right axis, in order to de-emphasise going up or down.

No Turning on a Dime

Mead Boy can come to a standstill relatively fast, but turning around is harder: When he is still moving into the opposite direction, the slow acceleration takes longer than simply stopping first and then accelerating into the other direction. This makes the momentum feel “weightier”, but it is also kind of frustrating. Mead Boy is running really fast; you can’t just turn around. Well, now you know and can exploit the behaviour for speed running!





Level Design

play Mead Boy before you get spoiled!


haithabu level

Haithabu Level – Click to see at full resolution

This is a kind of tutorial and sandbox level. There are only three units of alcohol and enough food. You have to jump out of some pits, but there is no way to drown or to get stuck. You spawn on the left and have to go right. You can also go back left. You have to use both running and jumping controls, so I know you can use them when you advance to the next level.

How the level fits with the theme: This level is inspired by the Viking city of Haithabu. The destruction of Haithabu marked the end of the Viking age. Haithabu is your home base and a safe place. That’s why there is no longship. You arrived on foot. Haithabu is your home.


lindisfarne level

Lindisfarne – Click to see at full resolution

The second level is much bigger. There is only water on the left and land on the right. After the first mead pickup, there are two food items that should reset your hunger clock. The only “dangerous” jump comes right after: You can fall and drown, and you might still be slightly drunk at this point. You have to make a leap of faith. After the next jump, you are free to take all the gold and set the buildings on fire. Jumping to get the gold or over the small bump after the cathedral may be tricky due to alcohol, but you can safely retry: No real challenge.

How it fits the historical theme: The Viking raid of the Lindisfarne monastery marked the beginning of the Viking age. There are stone buildings and churches that kind of look like an English monastery of the era.


london level

London – Click to see at full resolution

This was the first level I had designed. There is more alcohol, the same amount of food, and you have to jump over a gap to get food. The last bit on the right requires you to jump onto a small platform after two units of alcohol. Definitely harder than Lindisfarne, but not much.

Historical Inspiration: The building on the right is a mash-up between the tower bridge and the tower of London. London was raided by Vikings multiple times. The tower bridge was not there during the Viking age, please forgive my anachronism.


paris level

Paris – Click to see full resolution

Paris is a step up in challenge. There are two deadly jumps in the beginning, lots of going up and down and the buildings you torch are relatively small. You have to go back and forth to collect all the food or gold.

The Lore: Paris was attacked by Vikings a couple of times under Charlemagne. Once they paid ransom, once they didn’t. Guess how that turned out. Also red wine and the Eiffel tower (super anachronism) to make sure you get that it’s Paris.


hamburg level

Hamburg – Click to see full resolution

Hamburg is the last and hardest level. It has the most alcohol, lots of water to drown in, and gaps where you have to jump right and up or down. I expect you to lose this on the first try. Nonetheless you can make many jumps drunk. Losing is fun!

History: Hamburg is a port city and a member of the Hanse. It has trading post houses right in the harbor. Also a dike. Also vikings.

play Mead Boy and comment please


Menu &MVP building

Posted by
Sunday, April 17th, 2016 1:50 am

The otomata and the tone-Matrix is so fun and cool.

but music/sound effect still a big problem…..٩̋(๑˃́ꇴ˂̀๑)

hope i could solve these problem before the deadline.


btw, share some cool music:


Main &&MVP biulding

Progress so far on LD35

Posted by (twitter: @agilejoshua)
Saturday, April 16th, 2016 3:47 am

Just got started an hour or so ago. Kinda like the theme.

Brainstormed a bunch of ideas and we found something with a core essence of fun embedded in it somewhere – so now we just have to get working on extracting and refining it!

Brainstorming on paper

Brainstorming on paper

More paper-based concepts

More paper-based concepts

You protect your core from attacking things by deflecting them using your shape. As your core gets broken down the shape you use changes and gets less stable, rotating and spinning making it more difficult to deflect the attackers. Have a bunch of ideas on power-ups and having the core regenerate but gotta start on getting a first playable concept up and running to test if it actually has any hope of working…

Wild Flirting: the post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @calendulagame)
Saturday, August 29th, 2015 12:35 pm

Hi all!

Blooming Buds here with the post mortem of our first Ludum Dare entry as a team. Some things went right while others went wrong, but in the end we came up with a quite positive balance.

The game

In Wild Flirting you take the role of a monster trying to find love using a dating app. The problem is that you have the social skills of… well, a monster. You’ll have to check user profiles and learn about their personalities while you chat, so you are not uncovered and banned from the app.



The process

We have to admit that we had a hard time finding the game idea. We started with a point and click game about being a disguised alien in a spaceship. You had to eat people without getting exposed. We had some more mechanics and contents planned, but we decided to go to sleep and keep thinking before committing to that idea.

The next morning we were not fully convinced with the idea, so we started from scratch! We discussed the idea for like three hours, and then the “Dating app simulator” thing crossed our minds. We switched to the new idea pretty fast, since it was more affordable and heavily focused on design, which is the part we enjoy the most!

We splitted the work into four groups: design, code, art and music.

The design focused on building a huge dialogue database. We had to create a narrative big enough for 10 different characters, each one with its own personality and its own set of questions and answers. We ended up with about 12 pages of script. At first we thought that it was going to be easy, but then we realized that coming up with this amount of meaningful content was really hard and time consuming.

Before the magic


After the magic

On the programming side, we started from scratch. First, we coded a parser to store and link every conversation with each character. After that, we implemented a simple conversation scheme (question-answer-question-reply), trying to mimic the flow and aesthetics of apps like Whatsapp or Tinder.

With the aforementioned coding finished, it looked like we were close to be done. But nothing further from reality. The main scene transitions (between character selection screen and conversation screen), the intro screen, the art positioning in a pretty and usable way… All these “details” took about 60%-70% percent of the development time.


Let me see your guts, Unity

The art team had to build a good environment for the game (the monster’s chamber) with a few animated details. Besides from that, any dating app would need profile pictures, so we had to draw a portrait according to every character designed, which somehow represented its personality.

For the music we had the chance to use a Farfisa Professional 88 organ of a friend of us. That brought exactly the kind of sound that we were looking for. A perfect mix of the 60’s seductive songs and dark humor.

The real MONSTER

What went wrong

  • Distance: lesson learned. The problems in the development of a game are directly proportional to the sum of the distances between all the members of the team, or something like that. We made the whole game separated.
  • Not very modular: our game basically occurs in a single scene, which usually means problems when dealing with Unity + Git.
  • Testing (minimal): we had no testing. Ah no, wait… two people.
  • Last hour bugs: The two testers found some bugs just before the deadline. So we were in a hurry!

What went right

  • Scope!: we are proud to say that it was, surprisingly, highly accurate. If we had decided to put some other mechanics or content we probably wouldn’t have finished on time.
  • Organization was key: knowing what each of us had to do at every moment kept us busy and focused.
  • Team work: we had constant communication, allowing us to help each other and providing feedback when needed.

What we used

  • Code: Unity, C#
  • Art: Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Music: Farfisa Professional 88, Cubase, Audacity
  • Collaboration tools: Google drive, Gtalk and bitBucket

Thanks for reading and feel free to try Wild Flirting!

Try it out:


“game” finished!

Posted by (twitter: @sirGustav)
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 8:21 pm

Ok, so I finally made a game in typescript, yay me!

Play it here.

It would probably be more of a game if I didn’t binge watched 8 or so episodes of big bang theory and a few movies, but that’s life. At least I learned some typescript and phaser and I’m definitely hungry for more :) As a C++ guy making the transformation to rust I find that the lack of error handling is horrible. Typescript is far better than javascript but some part of js shines through. Maybe next time I will use rust and emscripten as playing in a browser is a undeniable satisfaction.

some food

some food


design document

The original design document

Physical Prototyping to Improve the Design of Deserializer

Posted by (twitter: @AndyGainey)
Friday, May 8th, 2015 1:00 pm

Originally posted on my blog at

Reviews of my Ludum Dare 32 game Deserializer are going well! Feedback has been very positive, but has also provided some useful critiques. I’m looking forward to the rankings being finalized and published Monday evening.

But I haven’t been sitting still. Although I’m proud of what I accomplished in three days, I know that the game is far from perfect. I believe that the core mechanic of a Frogger-style play field and movement plus pattern-matching is solid, but the specific type of pattern matching and its associated mechanics are definitely not ideal. So yesterday I spent some time away from the computer doing some paper prototyping. After a few iterations of conjuring up and tweaking new rules, I believe I’ve found a game objective that will work better. Allow me to describe a bit of the process I went through. (more…)

Gradience – Update #2

Posted by (twitter: @thegrieve)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 6:08 pm

The first day draws late, the clock has struck midnight and there are still a boat load of creatures stirring. Pizzas have been ordered. Beers have been drunk. Sine waves have been coerced into staying within their immutable boundaries, like good little functions.

On top of that, our Doodler of Fortune has returned from building real things out of wood and watching horsies to present us with a style guide!

Now to get this into the game and see if we can’t have something playable before the Sandman claims what remains of our sanity.




Posted by
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 5:09 pm


Our desginers TimeLapse is ready!

Posted by
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 11:50 pm

Awake, coffeed up and already too many ideas

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 1:40 am

Woke up over here in Holland, drove over to my buddy Jorror and brought some breakfast. I am so in!

Love the theme (all the themes, really!) this time around and got rather inspired. Worked out several theme ideas and tried writing them down and now I have to decide!

Here’s how I organize my thoughts.

Don't want to think what it looks like when it's unorganized.


Right, back to work!

Oh, I’ll be working with Ren’py,, FL Studio, Inkscape, Notepad and the camera on my new S4.

I hope everyone has a great time and enjoys the thrills of Ludum Dare!



Free exclusive music and sound design!

Posted by
Saturday, January 4th, 2014 4:18 pm

Hey, guys!

I just wanted to say, if you need a music for your game project or some other sound-like stuff, feel free to contact me via e-mail ( I will see what can I do for you. For free!!!


Seriously! I just love making soundtracks and sound design and I love Ludum Dare community! :) I want to improve my skills doing this great work for you, freely! ^_^

Here’re my portfolios:

Ludum Dare 28 is coming to its end! Good luck to all developers and thank you for making our world full of great games!

P.S. Well… That’s my game:

Dropout time! (&a guide for plot-heavy designers)

Posted by
Monday, December 16th, 2013 4:57 pm

Yay! That was so much fun, though. Unlike LD25 with the team, I felt so little stress I thought I was dreaming!

NOT MY ENTRY. NOT MY ENTRY. NOT MY ENTRY. Lifted from because it was (1) relevant and (2) Ludum Dare related. ^_^


I don’t currently intend to become the best game jam dev evar, hehe, I just had fun making something, even if I didn’t get all the way with it in the time limit, I will always have the ability to return to it and flesh it out. I love LD because of what people end up doing with the always loved-and-hated theme both during and after! :)

Postmortem and top-down, plot/world-focused game design heuristic (for those of us who ain’t so good at starting bottom-up from a gameplay mechanic) after the jump:


2 hours in – design step finished

Posted by
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 4:09 am

Two hours in and I haven’t touched started Ren’Py yet. This is a good thing, I think. I’ve planned things out, how I want them to work. Assigned priority to the different things I want to do. Still not feeling a 100% in control, but I will quote Mario Andretti on this one:

If you’re feeling in control, you’re not going fast enough.

The game is pretty much going to be set in a GrimDark future where the player is an assassin dropped deep behind enemy lines, sent to take out the most vital part of the enemy’s command structure: the Emperor General. The catch? It’s so hard to get behind enemy lines, you only get one piece of equipment to bring with you. The rest you will have to acquire on site.

I will leave you with a screenshot of my beautiful Trello board and a youtube link to the music that’s helping me create.





LD27 Logo?

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 1:11 pm

Not sure if anyone has tried this, but here’s my attempt:

Let me know what you guys think.

Strat Souls: Internal Brainstorming 1: Play Modes

Posted by (twitter: @AnomalusUndrdog)
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 6:01 am


So I’m at a point where I’m wondering how the whole game will work. Will it have harvester units? Worker units? Are units upgradeable?

Here are multiple ideas that I’ve come up with:


Traditional RTS Type

  1. You have harvester units who gather souls from corpses in the map. (like Tiberium fields in C&C)
  2. You have a nexus which is your base. If it gets destroyed, you lose.
  3. You create units by summoning them into the map, costs souls.
  4. Summoning takes a long time to complete, and the enemy can attack the summoning point to prevent that unit from appearing.
  5. You can only summon near your nexus, near other units, or at summoning fields that you can construct. Summoning fields can be destroyed by the enemy.
  6. When your units kill enemies, they level up automatically (i.e. veterancy in C&C).
  7. You upgrade your nexus to gain access to better units. You can purchase upgrades also in your nexus.


Tactics Type

  1. There is no base-building, no resource-gathering.
  2. Instead of an army, you have a party of heroes. Your enemy has likewise.
  3. Tries to capture the Dark Souls vibe, just that instead of controlling one character only, you control maybe 2-5.
  4. Controls are much more micromanage-intensive.
  5. May be more suited for a single-player experience.


Epic Battle Type

  1. Inspired from the multiplayer mode in Total War games.
  2. There is no base-building.
  3. Each player has fixed number of souls at the start to purchase units.
  4. When you kill enemy units, you gain souls equivalent to half its cost (i.e. dwindling economy).
  5. You can summon reinforcements in the middle of battle. Summonings are almost instantaneous.
  6. If you don’t want more units, you can use souls to upgrade your units instead.
  7. When your unit dies, all the rest of your remaining units gain size, until you are left with one unit who is a giant boss that you control.
  8. This ensures that an “epic battle” at the end of a match always happens: between the winning side who has so many units, and the losing side who has a giant boss.
  9. It’s also possible that both sides end up with giant bosses too.


I could eventually try implementing all of them but I have to consider which I will make first.

I’m also wondering whether I devote my efforts into creating a single-player mode first, or a multiplayer mode first. Of course I want to add both but I’m wondering what I prioritize for the 7 days.

Single-player means I make AI, multiplayer means I do networking code.

Feel free to give suggestions!

Web demo WIP

Hello everyone, Sebastian here.

Day 0 was a day of immense preparation for our debut in #7DRTS, as we had many things to get ready for the challenge that will be not *entirely* failing at this. I think we did well…? At least, we managed to not break anything so far.

To reiterate for the fifty-thousanth time, the game we are making will be called Defence Paradigm. Basically the concept is a MOBA/ARTS- with potential macro elements and controllable units other than the main hero.

What I did on Day 0 [7/21]-

-I tried and managed to actually succeed at making the stream work with semi-decent quality

-We (me and Xeon over at created the GDD

– I set up all the VSTs that I’ll be using to make the music and sound

– I made my already ghetto setup more ghetto by trying to make the second monitor for streaming not be crunched into the wall

-I designed the HUD concept




Go to my stream at for my side of the development

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