Posts Tagged ‘MiniLD #53’

MiniLD 53 – A Cruel World’s Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @TheOccasionalK)
Thursday, July 24th, 2014 3:49 pm

So the Mini Ludum Dare #53 was my first ever LD, and all I can say is that it was fantastic! Great people, game development, and an excuse to geek out and rapidly destroy my health over the period of 48 hours. I entered the jam as a solo participant (because I don’t have any game developer friends in real life) and spent the weekend in the solitude of my study. It was an experience that definitely opened my eyes to quite a few things.

 

The Game

A Cruel World was my attempt to express my artistic side a bit. I don’t have time to do art anymore, and even though I’m terrible at digital art (I’m more comfortable with a good ol’ pencil and paper) it was a great learning experience for me. Although the atmosphere may have been a little wishy-washy, it was meant to be a depressing exploration game covering the topics of corruption and greed, self-image issues, deforestation, animal cruelty, and over-reliance on religion. This was my take on ‘The Future Is Now’ theme – because these are problems that we face today, that will only worsen as time goes by.

The atmosphere I aimed for was heavy, with anthropomorphic character designs that matched each NPCs character (such as the wolf being the greedy salesman, and the sheep being the religious figure). I would have loved to have had more time to build a more complete world and to iron out many of the bugs, but alas it didn’t work out this way.

The first level of the game, where a poor man tells the player about the world.

The first level of the game, where a poor man tells the player about the world.

 

The Development Process

With only 48 hours to complete the game, I used my own libGDX-based framework (with already implemented input, render, debugging, and audio controller classes). From here, it was a simple matter of creating the world-space, drawing the art, coding the logic, and slapping in some audio for good measure. I started with a notebook and pencil for all my designs (all concepts, artwork, algorithms, and level layouts) and subsequently implemented my designs as I went.

Although I have developed a few small games, I have explored quite a lot of new territory this time around. For instance, I have never written a free-roaming game with separate levels, so this was an interesting endeavor to implement dedicated classes, each with their own self-contained logic, for each world-space. An inventory system (although extremely basic) was another thing that I had never touched on.

The fact that I had an extremely tight schedule and clear deadline definitely helped me set aside my uncertainty and simply slap together code to make it all work. I tend to be overly pedantic when it comes to programming, always considering optimal memory/CPU usage, neatness, code commenting, and so on. There is no time for this in LD however, and this really helped me overcome my care and simply MAKE THINGS WORK (albeit only adopting this strategy nearly half-way through the compo).

Exerts from my MLD#53 design book.

Exerts from my MLD#53 design book.

What I Took Away

All in all, I was quite happy with the result. It may be slightly buggy, and perhaps I could have been clearer about where to go and what to do, but then again it is an exploration game. I would have changed a few things if I could however, but as I said I had run out of time.

First things first, I realize now that programming is my absolute favorite part of the game development process. The labyrinth of flowing code is an intoxicating mind-game to me – a way to lose myself in complicated algorithms and hierarchical visibility. I loved the art side of things as well, but I found it became somewhat tedious (and anyone who has played my game may see how the quality of art declines the further you get.) This may have been the problem of hand-drawn art taking so damn long to make, and this coupled with the deadline put me off. Who knows?

Secondly, I learned that an exploration game is not the best approach to compo with such a short deadline. It has almost zero replay-ability, the slightest bugs come out glaring like a car’s headlights in the dead of night and utterly ruin the experience, and you simply do not have enough time to create an expansive and interesting world that will offer a lengthily play-through.

On the game front, I definitely would have approached some problems differently. I relied too heavily on boolean control variables for inter-class communication, which could have been replaced by a much more, much simpler system if I simply based actions on player position, instead of an activation button while the player stands at a specific position. It’s a minor thing, but this simply change would have saved me an hour or two of debugging which could have been used far more productively. Good knowledge for next time then.

 

All in all however (as I said), I am pleased with what I accomplished. The purpose of these jams is to extend your knowledge and experience, and this is exactly what I managed to do. I explored new territory with A Cruel World, and enjoyed every sleep-deprived second of it. I’ll definitely be more confident, prepared, and efficient at the next Ludum Dare. I will also take what I have learnt in the mere 48 hours of development and funnel it into my current Android game – a project I hope to complete soon and release on the Play Store.

To end off this post, I have uploaded the time-lapse video of the development process for anyone who likes to stare at low-framerate, illegible windows:

 

Just another note: I haven’t had the chance to play through any other games as of yet. I’ve been out of town, and operating only by smartphone for the last couple of days. Last night I returned, and I’m off again tomorrow morning. Perhaps next week I will have a gap in order to melt my mind with some of your guy’s lovely creativity. Until then, have good one!

 

 

Future Summer

Posted by
Monday, July 21st, 2014 12:03 am

I made a game over the weekend for Mini Ludum Dare 53rd. The theme was – The Future Is Now.

The name of my game is ‘Future Summer’.  It is a combo of first person platformer, 3rd person mouse click to move, and cinematic scenes of the camera moving.

The game was made with my usual process – digital painting, 3d modeling, texture painting, and finally game design with Unity3d.

Go play it at GameJolt – Future Summer, and get more details/process at BroBeurKids – Future Summer

snapshot16 snapshot15 snapshot13

Time Constraints and Coding Complaints

Posted by (twitter: @TheOccasionalK)
Sunday, July 20th, 2014 7:20 am

Hi all. So we are approaching the end of our allotted time – midnight. Correct me if I am wrong though, but we can finish up later than the 21st at 00:00, right? I have about 10 hours of my 48 left, and I would love to ACTUALLY use all of them.

My game (which still has no name) is coming along though. Lots of dark elements, world exploration, and deep(ish) quotes. The basic framework is solid – it’s basically down to hardcoding each worldspace and its logic. Oh, and some final pieces of art; all this hand-painting is taking its toll on time though. My approach to the theme may not be to everyone’s taste, but then again it’s my game so you can all shove it . 😛

Coming Along

A strange version of our world, where you play as a small bird on a quest.

Because this is my first LD experience, I have come to a a few realisations – the main one being that I am far too pedantic about performance-oriented and neat code. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted  code blocks because they are simply unneat, or wasting time of non-gameplay breaking bugs/control issues. If it doesn’t feel perfect, it bugs the hell out of me. But I’m learning to ignore it in this case – there’s no time for OCD-esque behavior here.

 

Happy coding everyone. See you on the other side.

Calling It A Night

Posted by (twitter: @TheOccasionalK)
Friday, July 18th, 2014 7:56 pm

So I’ve spent the last 09hrs: 28min: 12sec at work on my MiniLD entry.

So far, so good – but it definitely needs a lot of work. I have some artwork done, a reasonable control scheme, and a number of reusable world-object classes for map creation. I still haven’t implemented all the textures that I have drawn, so please forgive the giant coloured-boxes that are meant to be trees, as well as the paper-white ground and no backdrop. These things are in the works. Oh, and there are some texture-splicing logic errors here and there – so things aren’t lining up all too well at the moment. Minor issues though.

Capture

After this, I next I need to focus on getting player/NPC interaction in place so that I can start implementing quests. Shouldn’t be too difficult – some simple x/y coordinate checks (to ensure the player is in range of the character), and some booleans to track quest progress. Hell, the code doesn’t have to be efficient after all! As long as it works I’m happy.

But that is a worry for later today. The sun is rearing its head, and my mind is numb. According to my trusty stop-watching-o-meter, I have a further 38.5 hours of time to work on my no-name-game. I just hope that I don’t waste too much time on sleep – I don’t want to hit the deadline with time to spare.

Off to bed with me. Happy coding everyone!

Mini Ludum Dare 53 Preparation

Posted by (twitter: @TheOccasionalK)
Friday, July 18th, 2014 5:37 am

So I’ve set myself up for a weekend of mind-numbing code, art, and audio production – and things couldn’t be better.

Pictured here is my trusty workstation – headphones, dual-monitors, graphics tablet, keyboard/mouse, and a notebook for art designs, algorithm outlines, and other note-taking none-sense.

DSC_34412

I’ll be using my own custom libGDX framework as a starting point for my game. As it is, it consists of a simple project with separate Android and Desktop launchers, and basic input, audio, text, graphics, and logic processing, as well as useful debugging modes for memory, collision, and state inspection in real-time. Simple as can be!

I’ve also taken the time to set up a Chronolapse so that I can compile a sped-up movie of my development experience, and a handy Windows Gadget by the name of SphereTimer so that I can track my overall time (and pause when taking breaks).

Capture

And I’m good to go! Just need to grab some good ol’ RedBull or similar Jack-rabbit fuel and I’ll be good to go. Oh, and I’ll be using # for future MLD53 posts.

Best of luck to all those dev’ers out there!

MiniLD – The 53rd Edition

Posted by (twitter: @_pretzelhands)
Sunday, July 6th, 2014 2:40 pm

It’s over! 61 entries!

Thanks everyone for coming out and making games! Now go play and give feedback to each other! It’ll be fun and games! (Literally)

(more…)

[cache: storing page]