Posts Tagged ‘ld33 postmortem’

Favorite Entries + Sick Sick Solitaire Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @Wertle)
Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 12:25 am

Ludum Dare 33 was a little rough for me, as I had to stop my game early for illness. However, I did a fair amount of streaming and played some great games! Here were my favorites, followed by a postmortem for my own entry at the end. (more…)

Save Yourself! – Post Mortem:

Posted by (twitter: @openskiesgames)
Monday, September 7th, 2015 10:50 am

Hey all!

So we had a blast finally taking part in the Ludum Dare for the first time. I figured I should probably make a post-mortem, but since this is my first LD, that makes this my first one of these too. Sorry in advance. XD


What Went Right:

 

Keeping Resources in House:

Everything you see in the game, be it the pixelated alien that was initially developed for a 16-bit game or the villagers/tents clearly made in MS Paint, were made by us. The music (that is to say, the same chord progression over and over and over…) was made by us. The only thing we didn’t make was the engine itself.

 

Keeping the Game Simple:

You are an alien trying to get home after an electrical failure causes your spaceship to crash. To the villagers, you are a monster that attacked them with a giant fireball (your ship). You’re goal is to get your communicator, call for help, and try not to kill any villagers.

 

Whiteboard:

Thank. God. They. Exist. This tool, while it sounds trivial, was SOOOO useful during the whole process and helped us move along easily. We would have been lost without it.

 

Pow-Wows:

About every 3 hours, our group stopped working for 5 minutes to discuss what had been accomplished, what was needed, bugs that were discovered, and ideas to be pitched. It helped streamline the development process.


What Went Wrong:

 

Scratch:

While a really cool resource to use for some things (including game-jams), it did not help our team get this done as we thought it would. I (@Saphirako) made the mistake of not introducing my team to Unity soon enough. They weren’t comfortable with using something they did not know well. That being said, Scratch was discovered by one of our team members the night of the theme revelation and we scrambled to find ways to do things as we had no idea how to use it at first.

While it is rather simple to use and we got the hang of it, the nagging feeling of “what the heck is this thing I’m using?!” got to me multiple times during the Jam. It also did not have a way for us to simultaneously work on the same build. Each pow-wow inevitably included the process of attempting to sync up 3 different versions of the game. In at least 2 instances, there were implementations of game objects that were created with out-dated data. (ie. Old character movement scripts) And, though I can’t reference any pow-wow in particular, I know we definitely solved the same problem twice on at least one occasion.

 

Time:

For those of you that reached Level 2, you may have noted the Orange villagers had bows and arrows and yet, they did not fire at you. We made a decision to cut that feature so that we could release on time.

For those of you that noticed that the Alien had a walk cycle but none of the villagers had any type of animation. We made a decision to cut that feature so that we could release on time.

Noticing a pattern? The game had another level planned, 2 more enemy types, an HP bar, recharge for your attack, a fireball animation instead of a black ball. All of these things were cut when we realized we overextended ourselves. Even by the end of the jam, we realized after all the cutting, we weren’t merciless enough with the concepts that we came up with. But again, as it was our first time, we expected this to happen.

 

Venue:

I love my school. It excels at a lot of things. These things include fantastic internet speeds during the Summer. However, I made the mistake of not reserving a room until Wednesday evening. That was NOT enough time to get all the kinks out of the process. Let me clarify:

My plan – Reserve a room at the college with a whiteboard, internet access, and climate control. It wasn’t going to be too large, but it would be able to fit a team of 3 or 4 people plus some filming equipment.

What actually was the case – I reserved a room that required key access. I did not have the credentials to access said key access and had to call campus police each morning to get into the area I reserved. The room itself was a pretty comfortable for our team of 3 with some equipment, but it wouldn’t have done so with a team of 4. I also did not contact our network admin and, as such, the ethernet port for the room was switched off. We had to resort to Wi-Fi the whole time. Which would have been fine but it ended up pretty bad for streaming. Which brings me to my next point…

 

Streaming:

Multiple times the stream went dead and after 3 attempts, we had to give up the streaming video of the white-board. (The bandwidth just couldn’t handle it…) I would say a good hour of my development time was troubleshooting the stream.


 Conclusion:

 

Ultimately, we at Open Skies Games Studio are pretty pleased with our first-ever game jam product. It gave us a good idea for what to do next time around and brought us to meet a whole bunch of cool people. We had a blast and look forward to our next game jam, but first we look forward to seeing all you budding Indie Devs in MA at Boston Festival of Independent Games this Saturday, September 12. It’s gonna be a blast!

 

Special Thanks to:

Scratch, by MIT  –  Our Game Engine

Stonehill College  –  Our Venue

The team at OSGS which happened to be my family for this Jam. You guys rock!

 

Game Over Screen

Feel free to give our game a try. We’d love to play yours too! Just comment your game on this post with a link and we’ll play and vote! Want to ask us a question? Either post a comment and we’ll reply OR send us a tweet at @OpenSkiesGames.

Corruption-5 Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @charlottegore)
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 9:06 am

What was I trying to do?

I wanted to make a fancy, pretty and awesome little platform adventure game with a story. It was going to be full of mechanics and puzzles, there was going to be loads of art and content. Last Ludum Dare I made < 2 minutes of content and so I wanted to do… more.

In terms of gameplay, each time the character goes through a teleporter, they become slightly more messed up and lose abilities. Shooting, jumping… they become slower and eventually begin being obviously very ill indeed. This was going to make solving each level harder.


Screenshot 2015-08-29 23.36.10

And did you succeed?

Sort of. I implemented all the mechanics: I had an NPC, a whole bunch of interactions for the player and NPC, a monster, buttons, lifts/elevators, doors, teleporters and I’d managed to do over 100 individual frames of animation for all the different versions of the player and the entity. That consumed a day and a half. Technically there is loads of stuff here.

But.

The audio was a rush. I struggled to compose decent music for this, so what I ended up with was one short little ambient thing instead of the specific music for each level I originally planned. I think it works… just.

I also had no time at all for background tiles. I ended up doing crude, basic tiles that I hoped would at least look consistent in terms of style but I’m unbelievably disappointed by how simplistic the levels look. Even the fancy post-processing shaders and lighting weren’t enough to compensate.

Finally… I didn’t have enough time to do the levels that I wanted. There was always going to be 5 levels, one for each part of the story, but with time running out I was forced to make levels 2 to 5 really just about the important story beat for that particular stage of the character’s journey without any of the additional puzzles I’d hoped to put in.

There must be some good, yeah?

Totally. Corruption-5 was made with my own “Hexr” game engine especially for WebGL and my own level editor. Making this game made me realise how inadequate my tools really were for creating content quickly and so since then I’ve done major work on them which is priceless as far as I’m concerned.

I’m also really pleased with the animation and sprite work which was a massive improvement on my last game.

rudolph

I also think that while the game is short (it takes about 5 minutes to play) it feels complete. I was able to tell a story just using the simple mechanics I had in place and all in all I think the result is a pretty enjoyable and fun little experience perfectly suited to Ludum Dare.

What about a post-compo version?

Screenshot 2015-09-02 14.53.36

Yeah I sort of started working on it but I think actually there’s not much point now. This is more like what I hoped the compo version would be but perhaps it’s better just to chalk it up to experience and leave it at that.

Next time then?

I don’t know what the verdict is going to be for this game but I suspect it’ll be difficult to do better than my last game… but that’s okay. I’m moving on.

Next time though the important lesson is this: Fewer mechanics, more content. Making a bunch of mechanics which you then don’t have time to use in levels is a stupid waste. Also: Fewer sprites, more background art.

I wish now to play this “game” so that I may judge it.

Gulp.

 

R-ADIUS AI: A Not-A-Post-Mortem Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @battlecoder)
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 6:15 am

I want to start with a big thanks to every person who’ve played my entry so far. You are the best!

After each LD, I like to write about what went right and what went wrong (which is normally an extensive list of hilarious fails and the occasional random good decision), but this time I’m doing something a bit different. I’ll be focusing on something that a lot of people seem to be intrigued about: The AI for the enemy spaceship in my entry; R-ADIUS:

R-ADIUS AI: It can be a bit frustrating, I know.

R-ADIUS AI: It can be a bit frustrating, I know.

I didn’t think it was something worth writing about, but surprisingly a lot of people seem to think it is and have shown interest on a full write-up on how it works,  so I guess I’ll do exactly that, hoping that it would help someone out there… somehow…. I don’t know.

If you are one of those who wanted to know the magic behind the “clever” ship, you’ll be incredibly disappointed, though.

(more…)

Team S.T.E.A.L.T.H. – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @IamJacic)
Sunday, August 30th, 2015 4:17 pm

Hi. I wrote a postmortem about my game here on my blog. Check it out to see how much my game changed over the weekend!

Also, you can play and rate my game right here!

drackgif^click the image to play the gif as ludum dare hates me^

This a “short” little post for my LD33 entry – Drack’s Mansion or more accurately what I learned about the competition by making it. I did do a post-mortem about it but I felt the need to make this type of post as well, not only for myself but also for others that maybe thinking of entering the jam in the future. I am quite happy with how the game turned out and feedback has been very positive but the self-critic in me will simply not let the flaws with it slide without analyzing them. So without further a due, let’s begin.

The number one thing I learned about Ludum Dare is: Freaking plan like crazy.

It may sound simple enough but trust me, not following this rule is the main reason for the my game’s flaws. I simply did not brainstorm nearly enough which lead to a failed idea I scrapped down the road. Let me elaborate so you’re not kept in the dark. When I heard the theme I started brainstorming as you would do. I quite quickly came up with the idea of being a scary monster in a randomly generated cabin where new tourists came along every week and you had to kill them. You had to use cool abilities to accomplish this and all of them were powered by your fear bar. You used some of it every time you did something cool or killed someone. To recharge it you did typical horror type stuff like banging doors, making stuff levitate, shutting off lights etc. If you lost all your fear bar, the game was over. It was a simple stealth game idea that had an ok horror spin to it. It seemed fine in my mind at the time so I did no further brainstorming and jumped straight into making it. It was around the end of the compo’s first day that I realized I had not put nearly enough thought into how things worked. I had the game mechanics down in my head, as in what I wanted to do, but I did not have any clue about how exactly I wanted to do it. This simple mistake and rushing straight into making a game rather than knowing what I wanted to make cost me pretty much most of my first day and made the game much worse than it could have been (eg. no music, some unpolished areas). So to recap: Until you have every main mechanic for your game figured out 100%, DO NOT stop brainstorming. Main mechanics are the ones that make a game functional and playable. Secondary ones are the polish (eg. Mario’s running around in levels and jumping on bad guys are main mechanics. The different enemies and level obstacles are secondary). Speaking on mechanics…

screen 2

Second lesson I learnt mostly through playing other entries is: The simplest entries are usually the most fun and well made.

Often these games have one or two mechanics at most. But they are taken as far as they can go without getting stale. What I mean is, the game is essentially just one or two mechanics, but the player is presented with variations on them that function similarly to one another but are different enough to be interesting. Most great Ludum Dare entries follow this principal and I wished I did as well. Games that do this (or similar things) that I have seen are: Bunny Inferno, Grave, Takodemon and Super Chop. Now in terms of how those mechanics are made, we move to the next point…

Think about the depth of your mechanics first, and not their presentation.

With well-made mechanics even the most mundane things (such as chopping a tree, getting bunnies across a pit etc.) can be made fun. So focus mostly on making good mechanics fist, and presenting them later. That does not mean: Don’t think of a clever idea or take on the theme as soon as possible. It simply means, think about cool gameplay concepts first before adding polish. You might have noticed I mentioned depth. Basically, the more of the aforementioned in the above paragraph variations your mechanic can have, the deeper it is. So don’t only think of how your mechanic stands on its own while making it but also how you can expand it later. And also, think outside of the box as much as possible. It makes for more memorable games that are better in people’s eyes even if they are not as polished.

That said, hopefully my little ramble was useful to y’all and to me for my next jam as well. If you feel the need to see my entry and get some more context about the personal stuff I tackled here, you can always give it a go over here. Happy deving!

Late for the Show Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @gamepopper)
Saturday, August 29th, 2015 12:37 pm

Late for the Show is what I consider an unusual achievement for me, I have now taken part in six Ludum Dares, as well as other game jams that take place in 48 hours and some that last a week. However in this case, I wasn’t sure if I could manage to make something in time because of other plans, not to mention already finishing a game for #gbjam a week prior.

However, from around 9PM on 22nd August to around 10PM on the 23rd, I managed to complete Late for the Show and submit it to Newgrounds and Ludum Dare. While I’ve had a few comments with criticisms about the game’s controls and difficulty, I’ve had several comment praising the graphics, audio, the intro and other aesthetics. Plus it’s currently sitting at 3.32 stars on Newgrounds.

There was some slight inspiration to this, since I have woken up on occasions to the realisation that I need to leave as soon as possible to travel somewhere, so I have to quickly grab all the things I need and would sometimes forget something. To fit with the theme, I also decided to include the story of the player being an costume actor, so you need to collect your costume to go to the theatre.

Gameplay of Late for the Show

First off, some of the appraisals, to those who said they really like the graphics, thank you. All the pixel art was done with the aide of Piskel, the online pixel art and animation tool. I’ve been using it since GBJAM 4 and it’s been great to use. I like how you can manage your palette, compare frame by frame, mirror draw and do it all online and offline by saving via browser. I do wish it had more options when selecting sections, since you cannot select and area and drag it by hand. I hope people liked the designs of costumes, I’ve already drawn a few more that I can add in future updates.

More costumes!

For those who like the music and sound effects, please send your appraisals to my best friend Lyserdigi, who accepted when I asked him for some retro music for the game on Sunday afternoon. He’s a professional and went through a lot of effort for the track, I think he even bought some sound packs for Elastik in order to achieve the 80’s retro effects of the track. The effects were done with the good old BFXR, a brilliant asset for temporary sound effects.

Also, thanks to those who like the intro. I wanted something that is simple and clearly describes the in-game plot, and some humour. It was really satisfying hearing some comments from Ludum Dare and Reddit saying they loved the intro and found it funny.

One of the criticisms made for the game was really short and only took place in one small room, while it would be easy for me to blame that on time, it was also my intention to set the “find the costume” part of the gameplay in a small room, because I wanted to give the setting that the player recently woke up and left everything in his/her bedroom. However I do really like one Twitch user’s recommendation of expanding the levels into several rooms and extending the time, giving more room to explore and possible hiding spots.

Early development build of the empty room

I’ve also had a some issues in early playthroughs of the game, there was an issue with how you check items. Originally, due to how collisions work in HaxeFlixel, you had to be walking into items while pressing the check buttons. This was really difficult to make clear so before the jam deadline was up, I quickly made a build that included a box collision function that allowed the game to handle the collision between the player and objects, and check if the player is still nearby. It’s not perfect since I had to reposition some objects to avoid some conflicts, but at least you were able to check an object without going through it.

If I had some time I’d like to expand on this game with some of the comments made, it would be great to make a larger game with the idea of being late and having to rush to your destination.

What went right:

  • Completed a game nearly 24 hours
  • Intro and storyline
  • Graphics
  • Music (thanks Lyserdigi)

What went wrong:

  • Scale of game too small
  • Mechanics that had to be fixed after initial release
  • Didn’t plan my events in order to get more time for Ludum Dare

Play the Game

Post-Mortem on Minotaur

Posted by
Friday, August 28th, 2015 1:35 pm

Part of the preparation for the next Ludum Dare (because, hey, it’ll be here rather sooner than later) is looking into the past at how the previous entries worked and how they didn’t. First, let’s recap how our time was roughly spent during the three days of the jam, while working on Minotaur:

 

Saturday:

We met at 9 o’clock, six hours after the theme was announced. I don’t think there is any way to improve this, since a good night’s sleep is crucial for doing anything. After an hour or so of smalltalk, setting up the project/workstations and deciding which engine we were using (Phaser), we were ready for brainstorming.

We had a few ideas what kind of game we wanted to do. Some ideas were really just other themes or settings, but in the end we had two ideas in competition. The one that didn’t make the cut was “You are the (Flying Spaghetti) Monster, converting people with your noodly appendages and meatballs, while Zeus throws lightning at you”. Hey, we can’t all be genious writers. As far as time goes, the brainstorming was done reasonably quick, without rushing things.

After we settled on the Minotaur theme, we split into three groups doing stuff. I can’t comment much on how my coworkers faired, since I was doing the graphics. I’m really a programmer, but Ludum Dare is perfect for dabbling here and there and I know how to use gimp somewhat effectively. The others were working on extending the game skeleton with the actual game logic, some basic AI and implementing procedural level generation. Unfortunately, we had to scrap that last one.

Graphics-wise I should probably look up how to improve the workflow. A lot of the time was spent creating mirrored and rotated versions of tiles. Since I was doing a bit of shadows and working exclusively with bitmaps, I had to fix the highlighting after mirroring/rotating the tiles. Maybe I can improve that aspect. I also would love to work more with higher levels of abstractions than pure bitmaps. I kinda did so with using copious amounts of layers (Achievement unlocked – “Layer Madness: Create a meaningful gimp file with more than 200 layers”), but there has to be a better way to work, possibly using vector graphics, texture editors/generators and specific programms for working with spritesheets/tilesets. Other than that, I think doing graphics simply takes a lot practice. Doubly so, creating them efficiently.

The big I-wish-we-could-have-done-this thing was animation. With my crappy workflow, animation would have required drawing each frame manually. The horror! It’s certainly possible and how a lot of people do it, but a programmer doing animation during LD? You gotta “cheat”. Again, with vector graphics you can draw key frames and let the computer interpolate the frames in between, but that is hardly possible with bitmaps. Something to research for next time.

My coworkers made better progress, but hit a bump in the road with pathfinding. Sure, everyone and their mother knows of A*, but it’s not like a language construct you can write down with a few keystrokes. First, you need a data structure, that actually supports the algorithm. Second, you have to implement and use it. Third, your actors need to decide where they want to go before they can calculate a path. In the end, the game didn’t end up using A* pathfinding, but a simple state-based movement, that worked well in the purely orthogonal maze, by cleverly choosing angles to deflect when hitting a wall.

We have plans to vastly improve working with simple state machines and pathfinding for the next LD, should we decide to use Phaser again. Now we know.

 

Sunday:

The second day is the day for the actual game logic. Having the mobs and the player move around is nice, but not exactly a game. Again I can’t say where the chokepoints for the programming side were, but I gathered, that a more systematic approach using OOP patterns (even if javascript is often called a functional programming language) right from the start would have saved a lot of time. Evil, global vars! Fight the monolithic functions! Say no to god objects! And for the love of Elune, don’t repeat yourself!

On the graphics side, I was busy doing some decoration objects, that later were reused as different sprites for the same game object to provide some variety. The only decorative thing in the level were some fountains, and those were the worst sprites I made. Oh well.

A big time waster was doing a big spritesheet for the mob groups. We decided that mobs could band together to form a group. Since collective behaviour and movement was basically impossible with the crude AI and movement we had, two or more mobs would simply fuse to one object with the sprite of a group. This time I had no shadows to worry about, so could copy+paste and rotate to my heart’s content, but it still took some time to create the spritesheet. If we have our better AI for the next game, I’ll be able to save on that side, since grouping can be done a more abstract level and the mobs simply stand close together (if we even need grouping).

At the end of the day, we had our game almost complete. However, from my previous entries I knew that instructions and tutorials are absolutely crucial for LD. People just don’t have time to figure out the game. So I decided to do a tutorial. For that I created a very small level and added a page-through collections of short texts, like “Strange creatures have invaded your labyrinth […] and if they band together, they get stronger.” They don’t outright tell you what to do in meta terms like mobs and highscore, but should still provide a quick introduction to the game. I really hope this solves the problem. Ludum Dare is not the time to create elaborate tutorials, that are longer than the main game.

At that point I also discovered a really annoying engine limitation: Reseting the game is not as easy as it should. The solution was to reload the page to reset the game. Ugh!

 

Monday:

We all had to work on Monday, so not much development was done on the game. In the evening, I extended the main level for some additional gameplay (still short though) and fixed a bug. After that, an unfortunately very short round of playtesting to check the winning/losing conditions and browser support, then it was already submission time (actually sleepy time). Even though the jam has a day more, the third day is not the day to do any heavy work, since most people have to work on mondays.

 

Conclusion:

Better preparation for common patterns in game development goes a loooong way. It’s not just that you can do stuff faster, but also more is possible because a reasonably well constructed program enables more features with a few lines of code than a horrible mess of spaghetti madness. Also, for graphics proper workflow and tooling is crucial. I don’t know much about audio, but maybe it’s the same. We chose external music and sound effects, because programmers make for horrible musicians (for us anyway).

 

Earthpocalypse – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @AEFXFreedom)
Friday, August 28th, 2015 5:51 am

With less than 24 hours to make my game due to school exams, I decided to lower my aim from making top 100 compo again  (My LD 32 game) to just trying something new. So I decided to try and make my first simple “strategy / management” game. My idea was simple, keep the Earth alive mine up all its resources to build a rocket and escape before everything goes ka-poot. Although I wanted to add a few more thing into my game, I am very happy with how it turned out despite my time limitations.

Gif 1 Earthpocalypse

.

What Went Well

Time management

This Ludum Dare started on a Saturday and I stated working on Sunday.

Surprisingly enough though I was able to juggle working on this game with studying  for my exam on Monday…

.

Graphics

For a game not too centered on graphics, I think everything looks nice, its a fair note to say that the moon was a bit blurry due to being rushed last minute. The colour pallet was a retro gameboy as I wanted to get graphics as fast as possible and not have to worry about colour presentation.

The little man in the bottom corner had about an 40 mins spent on him, I know nothing about pixel art and coincidentally he just happens to look like one of my best friends.

.

What Went Bad

Planning

I have about half a page of ideas for towers and what they do. I didnt really think of how each tower would affect the gameplay and just ended up putting as much into the game without a second thought. The game turned out to be a bit easier than I imagined with everyone who won going for the exact same strategy.

.

Graphics Aren’t In Sync With Music :(

I tried so very hard to get this part right, It works for a wee bit then goes out of time. The song turns out to have one or two parts just less than a second shorter than the rest of the song, thus making it near impossible for me to figure out a pattern to sync the graphics to.

.

What I Wanted To Add

Unlockables

I wanted to make it so you would have to reach a certain number of research to unlock a new tower. This idea was dropped due to time restraints and lack of different towers.

The Moooooooooooon!

My plan for the moon was to have it so you could build ONE building on it, it would not effect the Earths health and would function 2 beats slower. However, the moon would rotate around the Earth positioned over a tower during X number of beats. This allowed for any building on the moon to directly affect a specific tower for a certain amount of beats.

The moon would be unlocked after getting halfway to your research goal.

.

Here Is A Simple Gif And A Link

(You can play Earthpocalypse here)

gif 2 Earthpocalypse

Unfinished LD#33 game progress shots

Posted by (twitter: @jtsiomb)
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 9:16 pm

I didn’t find the time to finish my entry for LD33, so I thought I’d post my progress shots here for posterity, showing how far I’ve managed to take it:

shot02

shot03

shot04

Maybe I’ll manage to finish something next time.

Hero’s Quest Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @SirGFM)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 6:15 pm

Click to go to the entry's pageTools

  • Language: C
  • Library: SDL2 + GFraMe (on version 2.0.0-rc3, when the jam ended)
  • MusicVMML
  • SFX: sfxr bfxr
  • Editor: Vim
  • Tilemap editor: Tiled
  • Timelapse: Chronolapse
  • Image editor: GIMP
  • Palette: DawnBringer’s 32 Col Palette V1.0
  • OS: Ubuntu 14.04
  • Streaming: Open Broadcaster Software

My current setup was pretty much the same as I had planned. The only major difference is that I actually streamed during most of the jam, while I had thought I wasn’t going to do so…

Since I’ve done some majors modifications on my library, I was worried with random bugs that I could stumble upon. I did take part of a small jam before the LD to be sure that everything worked, but when it’s only the second time you are actually using something to make a game, you can never be too sure that it will work, right?

There were actually lots of small bugs (I think I did 10 commits to the lib, during the jam), but I was able to tackle’em… There was one that was specially hard to track. After I finished the jam and booted to Windows to “port” my game, it was breaking when parsing the objects… Well, turns out Windows can’t fsetpos on text file… or, at least, on unix-styled text files…

What went right

  • Graphics: Sorry, I must say it like this… They came out so damn good! I’ve been trying for a while to make a game with 32×32 or 24×32 sprite, but I had always failed… until now! Also, I finally felt like I was able to properly use a palette (specially on the rock).
  • Audio: It’s been so long since I was happy with a song I’d written… It isn’t even quite that long, but at least it’s not an 4 seconds loop like last LD.
  • Genre: Finally something that isn’t a platformer (nor a shooter) and is still (kinda) playable. It’s also a beat-em-up, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long while…
  • (Lack of) Time management: Instead of worrying about having an initial plan and trying to achieve that, I tried to do everything that I would need to implement an idea, without actually making the game itself, but making what I had the most polished I could. By the end, I was able to add some story and build a simple level using everything I had prepared, but I didn’t lose any time to ideas that couldn’t be implemented…
  • GIFs: I can finally export GIFs on linux!! And from the game itself!! _o\ \o\ \o/ /o/ /o_

What went wrong

  • Graphics: Yeah, I’m really effing proud of my graphics, but… It took too much of my time, the player only really have two animations (the others were hacked together from those), I reused the enemy like there was no tomorrow to simply have some variety…. There’s a lot to still working on this one…
  • Audio: Once again, even though I’m proud of the song, the SFX are quite bad. It’s missing a lot of small details that I like (the steps when walking, the sword’s ‘swoosh’ [Yeah, it’s a sword… XD])… But, with 25 minutes left, I had to choose what I was going to do…
  • Gameplay: I knew it would be quite a “developer’s difficulty” game, still there was no time to do this properly, so… Yeah, I just didn’t really care about it. This is what I must get better before/at next LD!
  • Lack of Time Management: Even with all the advantages I listed, it was quite a gamble… It could had gone pretty bad…
  • System’s RAM: There was something eating up on my PC’s RAM… I think it was Chronolapse, since everything calmed down after I closed it on Sunday (after restarting my computer twice)… I really should either check it out before next LD or completely give up on it and start streaming only… If I can make the stream’s video into a timelapse kind of thing… it may be worth it….

All in all, I really enjoy LD! It had been quite a while since I last felt like I tried so hard during a game jam (even if I focused mostly on polished instead of on gameplay…).

Read on for a all of text (and some GIFs)…

(more…)

LD33 Post Mortem – Themes, Feedback And My First Jam

Posted by (twitter: @cynicalmonkey)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 5:24 pm

I almost didn’t take part.

I had stayed up until 2am to see the Theme announcement and then I went to bed. No early morning notes or ideas, no, no thinking about format just sleep.

The truth is the Theme left me pretty cold, it still does. I am new to LD I only heard of it 3 months ago due to following @Ploogle on twitter and having casually started up Game Design as a Hobby I spent a weekend reading some blogs, playing some games and even offering a name to someone on twitter when they asked for ideas (if you played Flail Rider at LD32 and thought great game, terrible name that one was on me). I had never been involved in any Game Jams I kind of figured they were not for me. I have 2 kids, a job and a mountain of housework, my days of staying up till 3am playing video games is well behind let alone building them in 48hrs.

 

A little over 2 weeks ago I thought about LD and checked out the website and I saw the countdown timer and I thought about taking part,then I quickly dismissed it as a foolish notion that I would not be able to find the time for. I then started to help with the theme slaughter, almost a game within itself good, bad, slaughter like a tiny bit of power in my hands. I was a roman emperor deciding which themes would be fed to the lions, and boy did I throw a lot to the lions. I mean there were some really bad Themes in there. There were also some really cool sounding themes, I personally enjoy the open 1 word themes that could go in any direction. Then came the voting, where I was starting to convince myself I would take part. I had a system for how I voted, down voting the ones I thought dictated mechanics, upvoting the ones that offered creative possibilities, ignoring the ones that just didn’t inspire me. and then it was Friday, it was 2am. I had waited out the storm and the Theme and I even had an idea half formed if it was World in the Skies (a theme that did remarkably well in the voting).

Then I read the 4 words at the top of the page

YOU ARE THE MONSTER

“Well fuck!”

If there had been one theme I had been rooting against it was that one.

I just thought it was dull and uninteresting and would end up with a lot of very similar games (it was no Unconventional Weapon!) and it did the opposite of inspire me. It sent me to bed.

The next morning I woke up, still thinking I probably wouldn’t make a game, if I was going to spend a weekend almost ignoring my family to Jam did I want to do it making a game that didn’t inspire me? While my kids watched Cbeebies I turned on my Laptop and slowly changed my mind. I would keep it simple, not try to do too much and just have a go to see if I could. my focus not on the art but the functionality. I knew how to make card games so decided I would go in that direction, I could already see from the blog that my prediction of a lot of reverse dungeon games was coming true so purposely took it out the dungeon, There was also a lot of blood splattered pictures and dark interpretations of the Theme so I wanted to go in a different direction (anyone else having a Cuddling mechanic in their game?). So I hashed out what I could and I made a game and submitted it for the Compo.

Then people started playing it.

At time of writing 27 people have played my game which may not be a lot but its 27 more people than have played any game I have made upto this point and the feedback has been……fair for the most part.

A number of people have liked my idea but felt that the game was a little phoned in, needed more polish, needed audio, needed a better guide. They aren’t wrong and I started to feel like I short changed myself and the 27 people that played it a little by not trying. It turns out Audio isn’t as hard to muster up as I thought it was and just because I instinctively know how my game plays it doesn’t mean others will.

So I took all the feedback on board and made the time today to polish it up, now this doesn’t replace my Compo entry, that can stand on its own 2 feet and take the punches it deserves and if you want to give it a try and rate it on its own merits you can find it here.

Monster Of All Trades

But this is the polished version, and it is not meant to be rated on or improve that rating of the compo entry but its for the 27 people that played my game that I could of done better with. I borrowed a little open source Art, I made some sound effects and music like I should of done 2 days ago and I wrote a guide on how to play the game. So hopefully some of the guys who played my game will see this and try the polished version which I wouldn’t have made had it not been for their mostly positive feedback. Here’s the Dropbox link

Monster Of All Trades V2.0

For those who won’t play either but might want to see the comparison

Before

Screenshot2Screenshot1

After

 

Screenshot4 Screenshot5

Tomb Soldiers – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@MechanicMoon)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 4:18 pm


Hello friends, my name is Javier (javifugitivo) and I am the Game Designer and Programmer of our game for Ld33. This time I wanted to transform the theme of this edition in a lemmings-type game, but with classic monsters of the Paramount.

The challenge was hard. I wanted a familiar game… but you are a monster, well, you are the Lord of monsters and your job is harvesting souls in the town. Our main artist was off these days, then I tried to do a pixel art character to be animated using Spriter. This tool was really useful when is combined with a 400% resize: The animations were very good without dirty pixels. We had the first thing, the next step was clear: Design the game with some puzles.

We used Game Maker Studio to design the game. This was a crazy test with hundreds of instances. The perfomance was good in Windows, but in html5 the game needed less characters. Then I thought in some things like stairs, skills and enemies.

trabajando

Finally, I received some help on Monday: The musicians (Felix and Inma) recorded the fx sounds and composed the music and our artist (Edu Perez) helped me with some pieces of the background. I worked hard all the weekend, but the game was getting bigger: The enemies can be transformed in monsters to help you in your side: Oh no.. more characters, it means more animations to create and import in the game. Hours later, it was one o’clock and we had three levels done to test and a lot of sounds and graphics to add…

Fortunately, all the interface and tutorial were made at morning and a lot of small details that it is better not to do at last minute. Everything was ok, the game is in, now we  need your feedback. Try Tomb Soldier, tell us what can we improve. Then, we will improve it: more levels, more quality, more fun 😉   http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=40539

“Vendetta!” Post-mortem.

Posted by
Monday, August 24th, 2015 5:15 pm

The game “Vendetta!” was developed by kuchenkruste and me during Ludum Dare 33 (which was the third ludum dare we participated).

Find it here.

The idea:
Actually we didn’t want to participate in this ludum dare, because we didn’t “feel the theme”, but than I had a (as we think) brilliant idea:
A pacman clone, where you can play as the ghosts and take revenge for your fallen brothers and sisters.

 

screen1

 

Tools we used:
– eclipse
– GIMP
– jsfml (java binding for sfml)
– our own game library that handles basic stuff

What went good:
– All planned features were implemented!
– We made a level-designer to do more than one level (which turned out to be super handy, even if the render-code of the level-designer isn’t that performant).
– The game feels more complete and finished than the last two ones!
– There is sound! (the first game were we have sound)
– Scala (programming language) turned out to be our friend, because it allowed us to program on a more semantic level as java would.
– AI. The first game where we implemented a simple artificial intelligence. It works great, even if it could path-find faster.
– The game is hard, but somewhat fun

What went badly:
– Even though there is sound, the sounds and songs are not made by us. (You can find them here)
– We didn’t make a own font (Find it here)
– There are still one or two bugs in the game, which were not reproducible (sometimes pacman cheats and walks diagonal)
– I wasn’t at home the whole weekend and forgot to bring my timelapse-program, because of this, there is no timelapse this time!
– Although I promised that the game was playable on all platforms, it didn’t run on OSX and Linux. Note to myself: Don’t forget to test it on multiple platforms.

Overall:
We had a nice weekend, because Ludum Dare is always fun!

cheers ~ kuchenkruste & keddelzz

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