we have been keeping you updated on new features for our game Of Carrots And Blood, which we started working on at LD31. Now PewDiePie played our game and we wrote a post on our blog about the impact on our emotions, downloads and sales.
Usually I am quite early with writing my post mortems, but between work, deadlines, and of course more game development, I didn’t really have the time to write one. Frankly, I don’t really have time either way, but writing these is always so much fun. So here we go! (more…)
[Cross-posted from Tech Valley Game Space]
So this one is an important question: why would we have a real-world meeting for a game jam that prides itself in being online? The short answer is that a real-world gathering provides a number of distinct advantages, both for jammers and Compo participants, that wouldn’t be possible if one were to work from their own home. To explain these advantages, however, let’s start by discussing some spiritual differences between Ludum Dare and Global Game Jam.
So, seems like the best (music-wise) Ludum Dare game I made music for scored #84 out of 1468 (in Jam). Not bad, glad I focused on just audio this time. Looking forward to beat the record next time!
This is the first time I have entered Ludum Dare competition. The game is a multiplayer missile battle on a small planet.
although we haven’t been able to participate in Ludum Dare this time we still would like to show you our last game, which would have been quite fitting for this theme…you are a bunny defending a giant carrot and killing mutants with, well, CARROTS! 😀 We have been working on our last LD31 Jam entry “Of Carrots And Blood” and we have released it on itch.io for free for Windows and Mac and it is also coming out on Desura soon. We have added powerups, different enemy types, a global highscore for the single player and we have also added a local 2 player Co-op mode (which is the most fun) with a big boss fight surprise in the end! So please check it out
And for those of you who already know the Jam version, it would be really cool, if you could compare the two versions and tell us here in the comments, if we applied your feedback for the better or worse 😉 More feedback much appreciated!
Thanks, have fun playing
Chris and Sebastian
Sorry for the alliteration!
My text adventure has had some great feedback but I would still love for more people to play it:
Anyway, thanks for everything, and PLAY MY GAME PLEASE!!
Originally posted on my blog at experilous.com.
Reviews of my Ludum Dare 32 game Deserializer are going well! Feedback has been very positive, but has also provided some useful critiques. I’m looking forward to the rankings being finalized and published Monday evening.
But I haven’t been sitting still. Although I’m proud of what I accomplished in three days, I know that the game is far from perfect. I believe that the core mechanic of a Frogger-style play field and movement plus pattern-matching is solid, but the specific type of pattern matching and its associated mechanics are definitely not ideal. So yesterday I spent some time away from the computer doing some paper prototyping. After a few iterations of conjuring up and tweaking new rules, I believe I’ve found a game objective that will work better. Allow me to describe a bit of the process I went through. (more…)
Hello there my fellow indie developers, today I want to announce that the game I’ve been working on for the past months has been released. This project started back in “Ludum Dare 30” (Connected Worlds). We saw potential on it so we decided to focus and develop a good game on that topic. Our entry BERTA was the starter point, then it went through many changes and almost 9 months later we finally finished!
(It’s not Berta but it is a ball).
This game is about a Spunky little ball that has the ability to switch between colors in order to interact with the environment of the level. Everything that matches the ball’s color becomes solid, therefore you have to choose wisely what color to use. For example, you’ll want to be the same color as the coins but not the same as the spikes! Or maybe you need that a certain platform matches your color in order to roll over it without falling.
So be prepared for a fun and innovative gameplay on your device… Also prepare to die a countless amount of times…
I hope you enjoy this game as much as I did when I created it! Also don’t forget to leave a review on the Store page if you actually had a great time playing it.
Our ludum dare 32 entry, Weathermage, was the rockiest submission I’ve ever done. It was incredibly ambitious, aiming to combine the gameplay of Divinity: Original Sin, one of my favorite turn-based RPGs, with a vast world inspired by The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In short, we succeeded in this goal, but the journey was rocky and the final implementation clunky.
The theme was “An Unconventional Weapon,” and our idea was to use weather effects as a combat system. This means the player character has no “auto-attacks” – to damage enemies the player must use weather-based skills to trap enemies in hazardous situations. This means in addition to an outdoor environment, we needed a believable weather system.
You don’t create a massive, content-populated world in one weekend, at least not with existing tools. However, we’re getting closer to being able to do so: The level designer we brought on to start on during the warm-up weekend who would work for the entirety of the week up to the jam had been working on a procedural world creation system that could create AAA-quality worlds (with content!) in hours. For us, this jam was a chance to test out what he already had in place, and for him, this was an opportunity to put his system to the test and see how it might be improved moving forward.
We’re quite proud of the level he created, although he had to place a lot of the content manually anyway. I gave the designer a lot of artistic freedom in how the level should look. These were my basic requirements:
We ran into some issues with the atmosphere, but eventually settled on a wonderful sky and weather combination asset called Tenkoku. It was actually not released on the asset store in time for the jam, but we were so eager to test it based on previews that we purchased it directly from the creator. It fulfilled all of our needs, but had a few issues in practice that were mostly resolved over the weekend by notifying the developer.
Our team was composed of four people assigned to different roles:
This split of tasks was combined with split repositories in source control, meaning the level designer could work on the level without ever needing to do merges with what the programmers were doing. This was great because it allowed us to do a small number of combines instead of constantly merging in a single repo.
The majority of the gameplay was coded and tested in a small prototype scene nowhere on the same scale as our actual level. The minimap was tested with a mocked up terrain we created. Our theory was to integrate everything together within the last 24 hours and then make adjustments where necessary. This didn’t work out as we had hoped, and we learned a hard lesson in scale – what works for a small case may not work for something massive. Our major problems:
The last three issues were not difficult to resolve, but the first one delayed our ‘actual’ submission by two weeks. I ended up submitting a placeholder during the deadline so we wouldn’t miss it entirely. I don’t consider it cheating because our game was playable by the deadline, but it was complete-able due to pathfinding bugs.
There are a number of pathfinding solutions on the Unity Asset Store, but there seemed to be next to little discussion on the Unity forums about pathfinding over large terrains. This is because most Unity games that use pathfinding take place on either square grids (where movement is intentionally restricted by level design) or within special ‘battle’ areas, most of which have a grid layout or do not take place outside. It was only when I realized we might be breaking some new ground with Unity pathfinding on terrain did I realize we might have set the scope of our project too high due to the assumption that ‘pathfinding will just work’.
By the end of the first week after the deadline, we had exhausted the A* Pathfinding Project and started looking for other options. I was very worried at this stage because reimplementing pathfinding would involve setting up new grids and rewriting a lot of code, so it was important that we find a solution that would work so we did not completely miss the judging period. After reading many reviews, I settled on the combination of Apex Path (for pathfinding) and Apex Steer (for local avoidance). We spent a few days setting up the two in a test scene and were very impressed with the speed it calculated paths and local objects. We spent the rest of the second week getting it to work with our massive level, which involved a multiple-grid setup and moving characters from one pathfinding grid to another.
This is the first time I submitted a complete-able entry within the last week. I quickly spend an entire day playing and rating other games so we would show up in the judging area. I rated somewhere around 107 games that day, and I was very exhausted by the end of it. However, I was able to accomplish my goal of getting Weathermage on the radar for those still rating games in the last week, and we got a mix of positive and critical feedback:
Nice, solid composition of the assets to maintain a cohesive style! It took quite a while to understand that the green thing in the top left was pointing me to an enemy, but it was fun exploring in the mean time. The actual battle seemed kind of buggy, it worked but some kind of tutorial or description of how it worked would have been nice since I didn’t get the turn-based-ness of it. But overall it’s a fantastic idea, and I love the idea of using weather as a weapon.
Some people mentioned they had issues running it, which made me realize this may be the first entry out of all ludum dare entries where system requirements should have been specified.
It was unplayable for me due to slow framerate, even on Fastest graphics.
This is a general indicator that our scope was probably too big for a weekend jam, but given my previous track record of ambitious submissions, we’ve always pushed the bounds of what we thought we could do in a single weekend and I didn’t intend to stop with this one.
We got a few comments that every game jam team wants to hear:
I would totally buy this if it were fleshed out and polished! Great work
Overall, I consider our entry a success even if it does not place high in the ratings due to the low amount of exposure.
We had two team members I had never worked before prior to this event, and both impressed me in their dedication to quality. Moving forward, I would love to work with them in the future, and I’m currently talking to members of the Zems project on how we might bring on the gameplay programmer. However, I would prefer not to ditch Weathermage entirely and to continue working on it (slowly) over time. Things I want to do include:
Multiple people have commented that this concept of worthy turning into its own game. I’m not ready to commit to that yet, but I think we have built a solid basis to be explored and iterated upon further.
Instead of a written post, I thought it would be a good idea if Alan and I recorded our thoughts on the jam, what went right, what went wrong, what we liked and what we’d improve for a podcast! The result is linked below. Enjoy!
Finally, Nightfall post-mortem After some problems, got the game submitted on time. First time on LudumDare!
What is the game about
You control Doctor Sheerin, a brilliant researcher who finds a new and amazing thing: The Darkness. But his new discover didn’t got the attention of the population the way he desire: they want to destroy it. People are afraid of The Darkness, since the planet they live is surrounded by light all the time at each single point of its surface. So Doc. Sheerin must protect the reactor, a huge machine that generate and nurture a practical gun that fire shots of darkness at things, reacting extremely weird at living beings.
How the hell you got this??
Since the theme was announced at 10 P.M. where I live (Brazil, hu3 hu3 I REPORT U), and I was at a friend’s birthday party, I decided to do a beerstorm there. So I did. Got some theme ideas, listed below, with a short description of each one (used Trello to list them):
Ideas and development tracking
Hello all, I go by Boateye on the internet, but you can call me boateye, since we’re instant best friends!
This was my very first Ludum Dare, but second Game Jam (I did the most recent miniLD #58). And I learned quite a bit. As such, I’ll hold up game dev tradition and make my first ever Post-Mortem!
Overall, I feel that Score Attack was a success for my first proper LD game. More things went well than wrong, and even the things that went wrong were easily fixable post-jam. I’m really proud of Score attack, and I encourage you to check it out if you like Shmups!
If you haven’t already you can now try Ultra Hat Dimension — the premier hat-based puzzle game — more easily than ever. I’ve updated the latest build to automatically work around two crash-on-startup issues the game had. I’ll explain the problems and the solutions in more detail below if you’re interested in learning from my mistakes.
LD32 has been an amazing experience, we set high goals for ourselves and managed to make something decently playable.
Yes, you read correctly. Banana Nana is an actual NES game. We tested it on the real console and it works perfectly. I had plenty of experience coding basic top-down adventure/RPG engines from scratch in 6502 assembly due to some experimenting last year, so I was confident I could do it. My friend Nicolas exceeded all expectations with the awesome graphics he made, though!
The weekend before, we met to brush up our skills. Without this, we couldn’t have pulled off a game of this scope.
Twitch.tv dev stream
We were on the Ludum Dare front page for most of the time and got a substantial amount of interested people watching. That sure kept us motivated to make something great. Thank you so much, everyone!
The game might be playable, but we didn’t manage to add some of the things we had in mind.
There were supposed to be three gorilla boss fights and more extensive dungeons, but all of this simply wasn’t possible within 72 hours. So we decided to keep the gorilla sprite and reduced the dungeon size to one room each where you just collect a powerup for your weapon, the Bananarang, which allows you to access new areas and advance. We also had to give up the idea of implementing a player status bar.
There were also some bugs, most noticably the Bananarang wrapping around screen edges, allowing speedrunners to reach places that should not be accessible early and finishing the game in less than a minute.
Even if it was hard, it’s certainly possible to make an NES Game in 72 hours.
You can watch the development in this time lapse video.
If you like what you’re seeing, why not…
Hope you’ll enjoy.
We decided to continue working on this game after LD. I might stream future development at http://twitch.tv/morphcat
Thanks for reading
Hi everyone! The jam is over, and we’d like to share some of our experiences making our entry: “The Rock the Paper and the Scissors”.
This is the first Ludum Dare for Bogdan, Igor and Megan. Zi participated in LD31, and came in 2nd place in the jam with Escape Character.
We invested quite a bit of time (3 hours) to brainstorming, and we think it was well worth it. When the theme was announced, we separately thought up our own ideas. We then presented every idea, chose our favourites, and started analyzing and elaborating those. For each idea, we asked questions like:
If an idea did not meet certain criteria, we tried to modify it to do so. By the end of the first 3 hours, we had an idea that we all believed had great potential — a Western-themed rock-paper-scissors dueling game on top of a moving train.
The characters were quite challenging to create. Each enemy has two hands, each of which could be facing in any of three different directions, and could be held in any of three configurations (rock, paper, or scissors). This meant a total of 18 different hand sprites for the enemies.
Each hand is programmatically controlled, and is attached to an arm that is also programmatically controlled to be in one of three poses. The arms are attached to a torso which bounces up and down on the legs, and the character itself is standing on a train that also bounces up and down. To make this complicated animation system work, we had to embed special “anchor pixels” inside of the sprites.
Bogdan was delegated to music instead of programming. This decision was made on the assumption that our game would greatly benefit from an original Western-y soundtrack, and we were right! Having the music ready early actually informed the decision to turn our game into a rhythm game. This was lucky, since the rhythm dueling mechanic became one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. You can listen to our music on SoundCloud.
Sometimes, we realized that a particular feature we originally wanted was probably not going to happen (due to time constraints). We turned losses into gains by accepting what we cannot do, and figuring out how to make what we can do even better in the remaining time.
For example, when we realized that it was not feasible to create complex A.I.-driven behaviours for each enemy, we changed the game into a rhythm game where the A.I. uses repeating hand patterns that follow the rhythm of the music. This decision was actually made in the last day of the jam!
We were, for the most part, well-fed and well-rested. We were never burned out during development, and this was definitely a good thing!
We were not as aware of the big picture as we could have been. Ideally, we should predict inevitable changes well in advance, and reprioritize accordingly. It’s very difficult to completely avoid cutting features due to time constraints. However, with better time management, we can make these cuts earlier. That way, we would have more time to adapt, instead of realizing on the last day that our game will be half as big as it was originally intended.
We are planning to expand our game into a full commercial product. We hope to expand on the mechanics, and add lots more content!
In the meantime, we’ve uploaded a post-jam version of the game to itch.io with some fixes and slight improvements over the original.
This has been a very fun jam for us. We learned a lot, and consider it a success, especially given that this is our first time working as a team.
If you haven’t yet, please consider playing and rating our game. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 😀