Some progress with my twin-stick one screen shooter:
– NES palette
– roughly NES resolution, upscaling with scanlines and vignetting.
Soo little time left
Hey everyone! It’s my first Ludum Dare (thought not my first jam at all…) and it’s proving to be hard, and a bit lonely… that’s why I’m posting to get some human interaction
I’m taking the theme quite literally, and I’m
putting the entire game on one screen, including title screen, score, credits, pause menu, etc. (not everything is in there yet!) It’s just a small little shooter for now, let’s see how it evolves in these last critical hours!
And yes, the pixel style is inspired by Vlambeer! Though I ditched the initial placeholder character (too similar the the base SCB guy) in favour of a more anonymous robot! No time for concept art, arghhh!!
We’ve been at since a little after 11 this morning. A vet appointment (which happened last LDjam, but at the tail end) bumped our start time till we got home.
The first thing we did is eat donuts. Special occasion and all. While we fueled on delicious sugar and coffee, we discussed what we wanted in a game with such an open theme (our interpretation). We wanted something peaceful, something where we weren’t killing enemies. We played around with ideas of growing items, collecting items, much like some games we’ve prototyped in the past. The Pim character, which is a recurring staple to our lives, came up as our main character. Then we weren’t going to have a main character. Then we were going to collect hamburgers. Then we were going to give the burgers to a ghost. Then then then…
“Keep it simple, stupid.” Or silly, if you don’t want to offend. We can get so carried away with what we think we can do and how grandiose to make this game. We stopped, simplified, and came up with some simple game play. The premise will be to clear a game board each round. Ghosts will be floating around the place, each of a different colour. Direct it to a skull, and it will reanimate to a zombie. That zombie will need some magic (that needs to match the color of the soul) to fully bond the body and the soul (which was the ghost.) Once alive and fully aware, the Pim will make it’s way to it’s colour portal and transport away. That clears a board, and a new round with more ghosts will start.
2. Pixel Pim
Ever the fan of pixel art but never the master of such, we thought we weren’t giving ourselves enough of a challenge by creating a game in (hopefully) 48 hours (72 is the back-up). We’re working hard on the pixel versions of Pims, their ghosts, their skulls, and their magical balls (haha). And we’re animating them. Because it’s fun! So MUCH FUN. ::throws mouse across room::
Originally it was going to be just me with the graphics, but we both wanted in on this. This is great, because life happens, and already I’m freaking out about not finishing. To have another person just to bounce ideas off is fantastic, and to have the ability to rely on them is… even more fantastic? It’s great. I’m not alone in making graphics right now, and this is great!
As a note, when thinking about the game play, we were concerned about the use of color. Using color as an important attribute for the game can mean that some people won’t be able to play well. Right now, it’s a concern, and we want to make it so that there is some way colour-blind people could play. We haven’t tested the colours we’re using yet, but we’re still concerned. For the time limit, we’ll see how far we get and if we can address this issue.
3. Next Steps
We’ll be finishing the spritesheets we’ve been working on, and move on to our respective other tasks. We listen to SoundCloud a lot to get inspiration for the music. I’ll start the coding by not coding at all; I like to plan out as much logic and organisation on paper as possible.
It’s awesome to see what other people have accomplished, and we are twitter-stalking as many of you as possible. Keep it up, everyone!
Trappy Tomb was conceived as a response to the poor score for ‘innovation’ I received from my previous LD entry ‘Midnight Minigun’. Mulling how I could do something innovative I decided that client-server would be a fun way to interact with the LD community, and since I’d have very limited time I’d also attempt to integrate User Generated Content. I didn’t want to overly burden the player with creating things so I figured that playing with or against the recordings of previous plays would be a fun way to generate content and promote interaction. The death messages idea was influenced by the LD28 entry Rude Bear Resurrection and the mega-replay idea was an homage to Super Meat Boy. My own interest in collective insect behaviours also came into the design though my original ideas of collective problem solving ended up on the cutting room floor.
Trappy Tomb is set in an Indiana Jones / Tomb Raider style environment viewed from a top-down perspective. The player can move and jump. Jumping results in flying kicks which kill the bats that populate the tomb. Pretty much everything in there is lethal – spikes (timed, triggered and fixed), boulders (always triggered), pits, lava pits, bats and arrow launchers. There is also optional loot to collect. The game is split into two parts – a sizeable onboarding level in which you cannot die and your replays are not recorded, and the main Trappy arena.
The onboarding area has an important additional function beyond simply teaching controls – it shows what you get if you win, which is a statue personalised with your message and score for all to see. These show the game is beatable as well as providing motivation.
Without further ado here are two composite images of the main tomb complete with the death location of the first 2000 plays (left) and the breadcrumb trails left by those players (right). Click for larger views.
You can clearly see that the vast majority of players die in the first couple of hazards – some static pits. I’ll come back to this below. It’s also perhaps apparent that the climax of the level is a bit lacking- again see below!
You have 2 minutes to complete the level (ample time). If you timeout or die a dialog pops up asking for your “message to eternity” and you can see these being quoted as ghosts die while you play – I can honestly say it has been utterly hilarious seeing what everyone has put and I’m thrilled with this feature. However it was exploited badly at one point by trolls – more below. If you win you enter an inscription for your statue and are returned to the onboarding area where you get a special ending sequence and can see your statue in all it’s glory.
What went right
* The client-server system. I chose FatFractal for the server backend and it worked really well. It doesn’t require much setup at all and there is no server side code needed. You simply log-in a user and push your objects to the server. You can then pull them back with a rich query language. The player position is sampled every 0.2s and frames are interpolated on replay. When a ‘died’ state is encountered the death message is displayed – these are usually hilarious, so thank you for those! I’ve included a few choice quotes below
* Artwork. This LD I decided to leave all the art until day 2 and this decision paid off as I got less bogged down in pixelling than previously and hence have more gameplay in there. The hardest part for me was selecting a colour palette – I needed everything to be readable and to separate sprites from the background and I’m pleased with how this turned out. I borrowed a few colours from other games and built up from there. Tools were Pixen and Zwoptex
* Onboarding and level flow. In my last LD entry I had many people rage-quitting because they died within the first few seconds before they’d even mastered the controls so I was determined to pace the start out and give the player a chance to get into the game. I’m really pleased that I managed to do this in the time and I think it meant people were ready when the real challenges came. I was generally happy with the building series of peaks and troughs of intensity in the level itself though I ran out of time so it ended a little abruptly. The first obstacle was probably a bit too hard as well as it claims about 60% of all attempts
What went wrong
* Controls and physics. Disappointingly I failed to iterate enough on the player controls. I partly put this down to using a new framework (phaser) for the Jam so I had to find out about how the physics system worked as I went along which was not ideal. It turned out that with some really simple tweaks the experience could be much improved but the damage was done and no doubt people’s enjoyment suffered due to the over-large hit-box and slippery movement. Essentially people feel a bit cheated when they don’t think they touched spikes etc but die anyway and I can sympathise with this! The post-compo version (with about 10 characters of code changes) is loads better
* Open to abuse. I really should have seen this coming, I really should, but I figured it was unlikely that the game would make it outside the LD community and so everyone would ‘play nice’ with their comments. Alas it was not to be and on one occasion I was confronted with some extremely offensive language that caused me to take the game offline immediately. It took a few days to work out a solution and thanks go to Gary at FatFractal for his support (t: @gkc). I settled on a system whereby all comments are immediately added to the local game, but will not appear in anyone else’s game until I’ve moderated them via a holding area. This actually has the side benefit that I can read all the comments as they are added
* Ran out of time. I had to ruthlessly cut features, for example I really wanted the ghosts to be more than just eye-candy, I wanted to have collective triggers that required ghosts to coordinate in order to open secret doors or get the ‘big prize’ etc. The idea being a community that self-organises to achieve a collective goal much like a colony of ants might… Was a shame to let that one drop! Similarly I underestimated how long it would take to create the traps and layout the environment. The game stands and falls on its level design and although I’m reasonably happy with it, the ending is weak and it kind of fizzles out a bit. I wanted to have a final large room with all sorts going on and some more timing based flame and spike puzzles but there simply wasn’t time. Still – by the time the make it to the end the few who’ve got that far were probably glad there was no more
This Ludum Dare was easily the most challenging and yet satisfying I’ve so far undertaken. Tapping into the creativity of the community for my content turned out great as I knew it would because YOU ROCK!. The amazing comments I’ve had have lifted me beyond words (especially around the trolling incident) and being featured in a selection of YouTube videos has been a total blast too. Here’s my favourite of those along with the truly final words – courtesy of you, from the selection of 3100 messages…
* jump. Jump. JUST JUMP, YOU FOOL!!!!
* i’m not laaavint
* the lava is not nearly as hot as my rage
* I see dead people
* i love fat eggs
* fat eggs are gross
* DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME
* I SUICIDED FOR THIS: JUST GO LEFT
* DAMN i got nervous… must be close…
* Wonder how many of these are me?
* This particular bat is a win cheat
I could go on all day, but why not just play for yourself and see?!
This guy did and just about kept his cool:
Hello! Designer/programmer/artist here. Here’s a little write-up on my Ludum Dare Jam entry, Honko’s Worlds.
It is a dungeon crawling game where you shoot enemies with beams, collect gold, potions, special weapons and keys.
It plays a lot like one of those top-down zelda games.
You can try the game here:
I started making the game planning it to be a competition entry, but decided to make it a jam entry halfway through the second day when it became clear the game wouldn’t have enough content by the 48 hour deadline. On the third day, now that it was a Jam game, CBoyardee offered to make music for it, and made three great tracks.
I am very happy with how the game looks, and with many of the game’s enemy encounters. Those I think are its strongest points, it turned out really good.
But many, many issues came from a lack of foresight and planning in general while I was doing this. I only had the vaguest idea of what the game should be during the first day, I was like on autopilot. I knew I wanted to make some sort of top down dungeon crawler, but that was it. Most of the ideas came together through pixel art: I was just drawing game-ey things (monsters, tiles, keys…) and imagined how they could fit together as I did em. I should have stopped and should have taken a walk or something, to get those thoughts straight and order up some more solid idea.
The biggest mistake, a consequence of this improvisation thing, was planning a much bigger maze than what I had time to finish and polish. Once I was done making a basic shell of a game, I started sketching up a plan for the dungeon’s maze, and made it really huge. I always underestimate how much time it takes to actually put those rooms together, even when the rooms are simple.
Here’s a map of the game I was planning:
That maze I drew up and then proceeded to implement is about three times bigger than the final entry’s size (which is already pretty big!!)
Most of that larger maze actually works gameplay-wise and is filled with enemies and items, but I didn’t have time to give it any tiles/graphics! When there were just a handful of hours left, I blocked off the unfinished 2/3rds of the game and focused on adding to that first third instead.
As I mentioned in the original post though, you can actually visit that huge unfinished section of the game by exploring the finished section completely and finding two gold keys (their locations are marked with two Xs in the map above)
The unfinished area starts just north of the two consecutive gold gates. Of course, without tiles to see where the walls are, that area is more or less impossible to explore. If you reach that unfinished area at all, you can consider the game beaten!
One of the biggest consequences of all those cuts to the game’s maze is in relation to the theme (the theme of the Ludum Dare competition was “Connected Worlds”). The gold keys you can find in the current maze were supposed to be hidden in “side worlds” with their own enemies and visual styles, but I had to cut all of that. The idea was to have this castle be a “hub level” of sorts, from which different worlds were accessible.
To access a new world, you have to find silver keys within the hub level, which opened the way to one of the side-worlds.
To make progress in the overall game at a higher level, you need to collect gold keys in those side-worlds. This would let you access a larger portion of the castle. Those gold keys mark your overall progress in the game.
Its quite frustrating to see how many hours I spent laying down walls and enemies for those unfinished sections. If I had kept the maze small, the game would have had a lot more content, could have been a lot more complete!
One good consequence of cutting off so much of the big maze however: I could take the unique enemies I designed for the cut-off areas and place them all in the smaller game, making the enemy encounters feel very diverse. My original design, by comparison, was probably way too repetitive with its enemies.
Some other regrets with the result:
-The subweapons. They are pretty generic, they don’t have much diversity, just extra damage, some spread shots and some projectiles that fly a bit further. I thought of the subweapon thing on the second day of the jam, but only started to implement them in the final few hours, so they’re not really elaborate. Ideally, I would work on them further, to make them feel more like magic spells. Something that is exciting to find, where collecting a lot of them feels like you are really expanding your inventory of actions. Some weapons could have non-combat applications, like freezing a lake to allow passage or breaking through a weak wall. Some could have special effects over the enemies hit, or have defensive applications. But this would also mean I would need to add some means of managing your subweapons inventory. Perhaps you could only hold 10 of those weapons at any given time, and could store them in some storage space accessible at save points. Speaking of which…
-Save points. The game has no saving or checkpoints, and that’s a huge bummer. I just didn’t have time to implement those. I was already cutting off so much from the idea and had so much more to fit in, saving was just never on my radar throughout the jam. I need to make saving a higher priority in my jams in the future, it really sucks to lose 20 minutes of exploration all of a sudden!
-Gold. There is absolutely no use for it in the game right now, its just some sort of score. Of course I thought it would have some use at some point, but it never coalesced during the jam. I would definitely add a shop that sold unique subweapons and potions, or could maybe upgrade your main weapon, or raise your maximum life.
All in all, I am pretty happy with this game despite all the flaws, and with some more work, it could turn into a solid little indie title. I have a lot on my plate right now, but I might revisit and spruce this up a bit sometime in the future.
I also put up a time lapse of the entire process of making the game: The pixel art, the design, the programming and even the last-minute sound effects.
You can watch it below:
My game is about connection between the player, the cellular automaton (Conway’s Game of Life) and a world of a simple bacteria.
This is a zero-player game. This is not a causal game for kids, it’s casual game for geeks
Ok, I was about to hit the sack when I remembered that I should post here! I just want to share what I’ve done so far and this is a great place to do it. Ok, so my game is about a evil king dude (Story subject to change ;P) who chains planets together (chain not implemented yet) and makes their inhabitants fight to the death (death not implemented yet.) using large objects and gravity as their weapons. Don’t ask me where that idea came from, because I have no idea.
As you can see, players will be trying to kill each other by throwing crates at each other. The game will be kinda like Towerfall in which 1 hit kills you and the game consists of multiple switching maps. Overall, I’m happy with where I am and I see myself as past the halfway mark. All I need to do is finish a few sprites, make a title and a few maps, implement death and a scoring system, and make sound effects and music. The only problem I foresee is making the music for this game. (I’m 100% not a musician and I suck at everything music.) Anyway, that’s really it.
This Ludum dare would be different than any of my past jams because I will be collaborating with another dude I will now be focusing as a game artist and my companion as the game programmer.
Here is a compilation of my pixel art warm up:
Goodluck everyone! Lets do this~! >:D
Hello people. My small game for this ludum dare is done.
Greedy explorer is a puzzle/sokoban game with 10 levels where you play as an explorer who want’s to get all the gold nuggets around the caves. Beware the enemies and avoid being trapped.
You can play the game here: graphiconic.com/greedy_explorer/
I did this game just for fun with puzzlescript and with the help of some friends (because pixel art in 5×5 is damn hard). Enjoy the game and any other thing you can catch me on twitter to talk about game dev in general.
Cheers and see you in the next ludum dare
So this weekend is somewhat busy for me, I have other work I have to finish but in between when I have free time, I’m attempting to work on my jam entry. Not even sure if I’ll finish, but I’ll most likely submit what I have at the end of it. I only began an hour ago, 9 hours after the jam began.
I did some pixel art (I use that loosely), since it’s my first attempt at art, completely going in blind, I haven’t even read on any pixel art techniques, just attempting from an image in my head to pixels. The approach I’m taking to the game however, is that of a JRPG, mostly including the turn-based order of actions in the vein of Final Fantasy IV for example, with a simple Active Time Battle-esque approach common in the series. The simple premise is that you’re in a nuclear shelter beneath the surface, which I am going to expand upon and saving the details as a surprise for when people can hopefully play it and how the gameplay relates to being under the “surface”.
Here’s a basic character and punch animation, first pass.
Here’s the character placed in a quick concept of a wall/corridor, testing the palettes.
And here’s a piece of the wall in-engine using dynamic lighting for the pixel art, I haven’t created the normal/light maps for the rest of it, so it only shows the wall canvas as a test. First pass and still requires a lot of tweaking.
Action menu for a battle sequence, still using an old palette I haven’t changed yet. An in-engine concept, supports both keyboard and mouse control.