Posts Tagged ‘ld35 post mortem’

Post Mortem – Amelie the Amazing Amazon

Posted by
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 5:32 am

Post Mortem

LD35_7

Try the game here

This was my second LD and this time I was alone. I could have participated in the compo, but in the end I decided to carry out an experiment with stock assets. Sadly this leads to that my game can only be rated in three categories, but that is fine. When I started collecting assets I had no idea what will I find, how will they fit together etc. In the end I kept myself to the best I could find, and discarded any not so good ones, but the style is not coherent. Also it’s quite hard to synchronize assets, and they are quite limiting. I had no jump animation in my assets, guess what, player can’t jump. I have no hit-while-run animation, so no moving arond while attacking. And yet I still spent a lot of time to use the assets, place them, and write scripts or change animations. The theme was another hard part, none of the assets were created for changing shape. I could not even find a proper werewolf model or anything. Luckily the two main charater mesh used the same skeleton and one of them was animated, they can share animation so they can shift into each other. A bit of a strech, but seen worse. :)

What went well:

  • Unity asset store was helpful. For me it was the key now. Hunting down models from other stock sites might have been more difficult. Much more. Considerint that I did not use unity other thant these two LD entries I made, it is a nice thing.
  • The “AI” was something good from start. Obviously the environment is dead simple, and the enemies are dumb as rocks, but a single rule managed to do all I wanted. The rule is that no enemy comes closer than 10 meters if there is at least 3 enemies within 10 meters already, this does not effect the ones that are already closer than that. This does not only solved the problem of swarming the player constantly, but opened up something nice. In this case if the player approaches an enemy within 10 meters they will come. But collecting souls can only be done by moving, and moving results in getting more enemies because of this, so it turns into balancing when to move. All in all I kind of happy with this, simple but effective.
  • Corpse piles. The armored enemy asset contains some collision capsules to suppor physics in a game. First I wanted to delete them as I used my simplified collision, but it turned out to add a nice feature of piles. When they die, the base capsule is turned off, but these small ones are not. They are small enough to climbe on, so enemies and the player will climb on them. Resulting in a nifty pile of corpes. Couldn’t have planned better if I wanted to.

What went wrong:

  • Morale. I tried to convince people to form a team but I couldn’t. I decided to experiment, but it was not coming together nicely. I barely had any ideas to start with, so at some points I almost gave up. If it was not for my girlfriend I might have had given up.
  • Map building. I made a whole city block on Saturday, hoping that if will inspire something about the game. In the end I spent 12 hours placing objects and turns out that the game gives the player no reason to move around more than a few meters. Also it gives no time to notice the background. Good job, shot myself in the foot with this one.
  • Missing sounds. I am not a musical person, I can play games without music, and sometimes even without sounds. I just don’t care about them. So I have hard time figuring out what sounds nice and what doesn’t. My girlfriend was kind enough to find a proper music track, but we had no time to find proper sounds. Same thing with other hit effects, like blood. Turns out that missing SFX bugged players the most, even that the games is not rated on audio.

What I learned:

  • Trust my desing instincts. After years in the game industry (as a coder) taught me a thing or two about desing.
  • Simplicity is nice. The game literally uses 4 keys, and a single picture is enough to convey that to the player. No tutorial needed, no one plays beyond 5 minutes anyway.
  • Polish is important. I probably could got better ratings with a tiny map and some SFX/VFX added.

The moral of the story? Dunno. :)

Post Mortem: Potion Shift

Posted by (twitter: @ekkiiiii)
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 8:55 am

PotionShiftTitle

Our personal goal for this jam was to focus on polish more than anything else because that is something we had the most trouble with in earlier jams. By the way, this was our third Ludum Dare of the past four, which also made it our first Ludum Dareversary. This post mortem is mostly focused on the design and production aspects of development, we might talk about programming, visuals and music in another one.

How it looked on Day 1...

How it looked on Day 1…

... and the result!

… and the result!

The idea for the game came rather quickly, and due to the amount of resources about the genre it did not take longer than a few hours to come up with a playable prototype. Creating a match-three-game was something we discussed before, as part of some “make all the genres but start with the casual stuff”-masterplan. After we had come up with our initial idea and set up a first gameplay prototype we ran into some motivational problems. It might have been the different way we approached the jam this time but after the basics were done work pretty much stopped for the rest of day one. Luckily George came over to help us out with sounds and music on the second day, which forced us to continue working and ultimately lead to us becoming motivated enough to keep working through the rest of Day 2 and 3.

We did not see the full potential of our shapeshifting idea until Day 2, which might have also played a role in us losing motivation at first but then regaining it. The shapeshifting had to be incorporated into the game in a understandable way. That is why we came up with the idea to let people play a match-three-game as usual and then shift a creature with the data we get out of that. It took us a full day to see that what was initially planned as nothing but a visual gimmick would have an effect on the gameplay as well. When we put the monster in and added the mechanic to change shapes when crushing potions the playtesting opened our eyes and we saw that our gimmick was actually a mechanic. We unintentionally ended up with a meta-game to be played while playing the core game If you have not played the game: Certain amounts of certain potions will change the shape of a body part of the monster, and to achieve a full shapeshift it is neccessary to crush a lot of one color while avoiding all the others as much as possible. That is one of the two tactics we found so far, the other being very good at creating large chain reactions and having a bunch of luck that enough of the right potions are destroyed. It was nice to see that we don’t have to try and build up a complex idea beforehand and can just go for it and come up with something interesting.
(more…)

OBfu – a (tough?) puzzler post-mortem

Posted by
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 5:17 am

tldr: probably my best LD so far, but I still have tons to learn, see you in August folks! oh and feel free to give up!

Almost 4 days after the end of the compo, I think it’s time for a (small) post-mortem on my week-end coming up with OBfu.
OBfu logo

What went good

  • The art style, it’s my first game where I actually feel like there is some kind of beauty in it. It’s still super minimalist, and the colors don’t feel right, but I am actually proud … I think?
  • The game ended up with 11 levels, which is 6 more than what I originally planned Saturday morning.
  • It’s my first puzzler, and I loved making it!

What went wrong

  • Again, the lack of time. I was happy to finish the main mechanics super early Saturday. But then, the level creation process hit hard: coming up with ideas is simple, coding them, testing them, tweaking them, replaying them, …. is incredibly time consuming for a puzzler like this.
  • Re-iterating some of the mistakes I made in previous LDs (not using a game engine, not even a rendering library, I directly played with the Web Canvas API which is still quite low-level). Next one, I will probably play with Pixi.js

The stoopid stats section

  • Total time: 14:12:38
  • Line of Code: 1365
  • LoC / min: 1.6

If after reading this blurb you still want to test OBfu, you can go over here. You can also follow me on Twitter: @zowesiouff. I will publish a new version with more levels (and some subtle new mechanics) this week-end.

Mimic – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @chaseplays_)
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 12:15 am

If you haven’t played my game yet, go check it out: Mimic

This was my second Ludum Dare, and I had a good time, for the most part. As of about halfway through, I was excited to have a game, but was in constant stress. I wasn’t sure if I could make it in time, and I was right… I didn’t quite make it.

I had been excited for Ludum Dare for a long time, and was attempting to enter the compo. I had a rough engine designed, but there were some problems – it hadn’t been tested yet.

At the start of Ludum Dare 35, I had an idea with the theme (which, by the way, I thought was really good!). You see, I knew about an octopus that existed in real life that mimicked the look of other sea creatures. I then sketched out a basic idea, and got to work!

I started off with some basic texturing. I feel like it went decently well – there hadn’t been many problems there. There was a funny moment where I had googled a picture of a cat, and my baby brother pointed at it and said, “Cat!”, excitedly. Then, he pointed at my pixel-arted kitten and exclaimed, “What’s That?”… I took that as a sign that I had some reworking to do.

Following pixel art, I started development, which was kind of slow, but I got a basic game. About 24 hours in, I decided to add a story. Was that a good idea? No.

It took a good amount of more time, and I was also overambitious with levels. I hoped to add 24 unique levels, which all took some time.

At the end of the time, I was rushing to finish the levels, and about half-an-hour before, I tried to export.

That’s where problems really began.

I had never tried exporting with this game engine, and while it was possible, I didn’t do it very well. I also hadn’t tested the level, and had some bugs in it. I posted the game, but later took it down. I decided to enter the Jam.

I spent some time the next day doing some playtesting, adding a few sounds, improving the download, and fixing bugs. Now it’s up, and I’m proud of it.

What Went Right?:

  • Graphics. They were simple and functional. I don’t consider myself an artist, but it looked aesthetically acceptable.
  • Concept. The concept, I feel, was good. It incorporated shapeshifting into a platformer that I feel blended nicely.
  • Music. I am, however, a musician, and was able to improvise 32 songs, and I ended up using 11 in the end. I also feel like the music fit the game.

What Went Wrong?:

  • Time. I ran out of time for the Compo, but was able to submit in the Jam.
  • Difficulty. So far, this was my biggest problem. From a developer standpoint, it wasn’t too difficult, but I’m pretty sure that most people consider my game, as one of my friends put it, “harder than old boots made out of titanium”.
  • Music. Yes, I know, I put it in the “What Went Right” category, but I feel like mentioning that I did make plenty of mistakes in the pieces.
  • Space. My original game was 300 megabytes, but I reduced it down to 35. I did, however, have to cut about 60% of the songs, and reduce the quality of them.

This Dungeon Is Alive – Post Mortem

Posted by
Monday, April 18th, 2016 1:21 pm
In “This Dungeon Is Alive” you are an occultist in a quest to get the coveted Necronomicon from the heart of a labyrinthine dungeon… a dungeon that is alive. The corridors breathe, the rooms move… the dungeon shapeshifts while you explore its most deep secrets.
logo
 What went right?
  • Setting on a simple, focused idea from the very beginning, and forcing me to stick to it and don’t go big (as I always tend to do) allowed me to have time to polish the map and carefully design the room-shifting behaviour. “Simple” was the best strategy.
  • The room shapeshifts are well communicated to the player using visual and audio clues. In the initial prototype (day 1), all rooms in the dungeon were very similar (only sizes and shapes differed from one another), and it wasn’t obvious if rooms had switched places unless you payed very careful attention. Using audio, lightning, objects and different textures on the walls and floor to make rooms more unique allowed the player to easily recognize them and notice whether they had moved. Additionally, I made sure to make some of the room shapeshifts while the player is looking directly at them. I wanted it to be obvious from the very beginning.
  • The mood. The art style and music both work together to get that creepy-cute atmosphere that I was going for. I like how the gameplay can get tense sometimes, as if you are being watched (you are, actually, by the dungeon) but keeps being playful and cute at the same time.
  • The lipstick mechanic was pretty cool. It helped them (or it made them think it helped them) to avoid getting lost inside the dungeon and proved to be quite useful when, after finding the book, they had to run and find the exit.
screenshot2
What went wrong?
  • There is no sense of progress towards the final goal until you actually complete it. Hence, the player may eventually get bored. I should have seen this earlier. There should be secondary tiny tasks/quests that bring you closer to the ultimate goal – finding the book. The player needs to know if he is doing OK. He needs small achievements that give him some sense of progress, and that also feel rewarding. Players won’t wait until the end to feel accomplished.
  • I (unintentionally) biased the few playtesting sessions that I was able to perform with family/friends. If I’d been a little bit more aware and a little bit more experienced, I would have probably been able to catch the above point and fix it before submitting the game. Maybe I was too participatory on their playtesting sessions. If I had left them all by themselves, I would have probably been able to observe that the game was not being rewarding until the very end.
Things I’ll work on for my post-LD version
  • Introduce mini quests/secondary tasks that help to build towards the main goal.
    Some ideas from the top of my head:

    • using child’s game hot & cold mechanics to communicate to the player if he is close/far from the book, and encourage him to keep moving while getting closer and closer;
    • introducing some kind of resource management (maybe the lipstick?) so that the player has to stay focused on optimizing his resources while looking for the book;
    • allow the player to find and use some of the scattered Necronomicon’s pages to his advantage, by executing the rituals written on them?
  • Introduce some kind of interactivity between the player and the rooms themselves (or objects inside them). Maybe introduce more story elements, besides the short dialogue that the player and the dungeon have, such as notes/scattered book pages or even other characters/creatures. It could be interesting to let the player dig into why this dungeon is alive. I’ll have to explore this.
I’d be more than happy to read any thoughts or comments you may have about this post-mortem or the game itself.
And I’d be extremely happy if you can give it a go and rate it!
Thanks for reading!! :)
GL & HF!

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