LD #30 was not only my first participation in Ludum Dare, but also a first time when I published a game to a wide audience. I learned very much when I was making new game and when I was getting ffedback after I submitted it. If you would like to play my game, it can be found here: Constellation – the game about restoring and destroying connections between worlds.
I’m not an experienced game developer and don’t have much programming bachground, and making games is just a hobby for me. About an year ago I started to explore this area, at first – for practical purposes (I need to make several simple games for a website of educational organisation, where I work), and then I saw, that I can use it to express my own ideas. Mostly I work using Stencyl 3.1 with its visual programming, but work on developing my programming skills beyond this level.
Paint and Inkscape on PC and InfinitePainter on tablet
– I made a finished game, that has a plot with the beginning, the end (actually, two endings, although with only small difference) and something inbetween. I also added some interesting details, like two wearpons, that differently affects on different enemies.
– I managed to make instructions and explanations part of the game (so people can understand, what is happening, even if they don’t read the description)
– I am confident with graphics I made in short time (I expected that it woud be more difficult and will take much time)
– Using Stencyl 3.1 really saved me much time at initial stage of making a game. The only problem with it is that compiling a project takes long (several minutes). But it turns into a nice working rhythm: while it compiles, I draw sprites or backgrounds, then check the result of compilation… than add what I’ve drawn… etc. So it was nice for working solo.
– I choose the idea, that cannot be fully realized in 1 or 2 levels. To clearly show the idea of restoring right connections between worlds to form a constellation, I need more levels: initially I planned to made 5-6 words with two levels in each, but this was unrealistic. So I finished 3 worlds (one of them presented with 2 levels, others – with 1)
– I didn’t have enough time to make sounds and music. I see, that music can add much to the mood of the game, and have a tool to make it (Music Maker Jam), but just didn’t have time. So I managed only to add two sounds generated with sfxr – one in the intro and one when the player loses life.
– I also didn’t have time to draw animated sprites.
– Some people reported in comments, that the controls in my game aren’t very good. I think I need to read some documentation about Stencyl and Box2D to find, what is the problem. (As for me, controls aren’t ideal, but they don’t make game too hard or boring or unplayable)
– Two-wearpon system was good idea in general, but some players commented, that they finished the game using only one gun. Now I see, how to made the system more balanced, and maybe use this idea later.
What to do next?
I don’t know now, if I will make improved version of my game Constellation or not. I made a version where I fixed some bugs and typos, mentioned in the comments, but I don’t know, if I want to spend time on polishing it (adding music, more levels, better graphics. improving controls etc.) Probably, yes (at least, music and animations), because it is always sad for me to leave ideas in such half-embodied state. Probably, not now, because I have some other projects to work on. In any case, I hope I will have time to took part in next LD, because this was a great experience for me, and I found several other creative ideas for later use, when I was working on this game. I also had wonderful experience playing and rating games made by others. Thanks to all, see you at next LD!
Post-LD-version (no new features, just several small fixes) (direct link)
My blog (it is in Russian, but maybe somebody here will be interested :))