Check out the game here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=32989
I almost didn’t make it this time, but in the end everything went well. My first participation in Ludum Dare was in the previous edition. I remember that time I was scared because it was a new experience. I had little time developing. My skills as a fast developer hadn’t yet been tested. My last game had taken six months to get ready, so thinking about creating something moderately decent at 48 hours was a real challenge. However, I survived that experience and I was very happy with the result.
This time, things were a little different. The date of Ludum Dare 30 coincided with my vacation, so there was some family activities planned that I shouldn’t or wanted to avoid. That made it nearly imposible to enter the Compo and had me settle with the Jam, even following all the rules of the frenetic 48 hours edition. But my first Ludum Dare had been so rewarding in terms of fun and learning, that I was determined to enter again. When the complex and interesting theme Connected World was announced, it was clear that I would not let it escape.
In my time zone, the theme is announced at 8 pm on Friday, so from that moment I began to think of an idea. Nothing occurred to me, the theme seems terribly difficult so I went to my sisters for aid. We were brain storming for a while until the idea of a frantic RPG where worlds were constantly changing and you have to switch weapon even faster to stay alive came and we found it great. It had that mixture of madness with an air of “it might work”.
When it comes to themes for Ludum Dare I like to stay with the first complete idea that comes to mind. I know that if I think too much I begin to look for detail and I’ll end up finding enough cons to not choose it. So I prefer to begin work immediately on the idea, with a competition like this there is no time to be too insecure with your ideas. Take one and go forward. It is the only way to do it in time.
What went right?
Though it seemed crazy at first, the idea began to take shape as it went. Unlike last time, I decided to start with the mechanics and leave the graphics for last. That way I could feel that I had a game ready before making it pretty. The goal was to have the main mechanic ready at the end of day one (Saturday). I was going to the beach on Sunday so I could not participate. I will be back on Monday to tacke tha art and hopefully finish before delivering time at 8 pm. This was fulfilled so well it’s scary. At 6 pm on Monday, I had the game ready and it was time to play test. Watching my sisters getting angry and hitting the retry button again and again with a smile was gratifying. It was proof that the game was just what I wanted: hard and addictive. Happy with the result, but without being able to believe it was done so fast I used the last few hours to create assets, prepare gamejolt page and take some screenshots. I managed to finish everything on time and by 7:50 I was sumitting the game.
What went wrong?
Although I was happy with the result, as the comments started to appear it was clear that the game was too difficult. I’ve always had a soft spot for hard games, I am a fan of Super Meat Boy (and Edmund McMillen, actually, as you can tell by the similarities of “I Think I Broke Something” with The Binding of Isaac) I also enjoyed the simple difficulty of the infamous Dong Nguyen bird, before all the cloning chaos ruined the experience. I wanted “I Think I Broke Something” to have that: Play, die, be upset and play again thing. I think in a way I did it, but also think I overdid it, many players have said that the difficulty doesn’t let them appreciate other aspects of the game like art and sounds. And that’s something I’d like to correct
Because of this, I thought of creating a post compo version with some adjustments, but when I started thinking about it I realized I had enough material for something else. Something more elaborate, more complex and more fun. So, I decided to take the next step and make “I think I broke something” a fully fleshed out game. You have no idea all the thing I want to add to it and that wasn’t possible with the limited time. So you can be sure that the final version will have enough material to keep you glued for a while. I want to keep the simplicity of design while adding additional content, along with all the feed back I have received from the community, I’m sure I have enough to enhance the experience. First I will finish my current project Taita: Rise of the Half-breed, and them, thanks to Ludum Dare, and have a worthy successor.
Ludum Dare 30 was as frantic as before, but even more satisfying. The community response has been overwhelming, beside the weak points, “I think I broke something” has received many positive comments and that’s rewarding. I’m glad I participated, for sure this new edition was as rewarding as the first. I feel that with every Ludum Dare I become a better developer and although I’m still a long way from the top, there is no doubt that the Jam is the right place to having fun and to learn.
Stay tuned for more progress and expect great things from “I think I broke something” in the near future. Meanwhile enjoy the current version, and remember Play, die, be upset and play again!