Ludum Dare 35
The Theme is:
Shapeshift

Judging ends in
Click here to start

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Thanks everyone for coming out! For the next 3 weeks, we’ll be Playing and Rating the games you created.
You NEED ratings to get a score at the end. Play and Rate games to help others find your game.
We’ll be announcing Ludum Dare 36’s August date alongside the results.

Posts Tagged ‘postmortem’

SHAPE☆SHIFT: What I learned from Ludum Dare 35 is…

Posted by (twitter: @KaiClavier)
Thursday, April 28th, 2016 4:52 pm

Play SHAPE☆SHIFT here!

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 8.07.12 PM

Ludum Dare 35 was a huge learning experience for me, so I thought I’d write up a postmortem or whatever!

 

1. Making a puzzle-platformer for a game jam, and you

The first thing I did was write down a bunch of ideas that came to mind with the theme, and settled on this one. I immediately came up with a few good ideas for puzzles I could do with the gimmick, but I wish I came up with more as the last puzzle in the game is embarrassingly easy! I had this big puzzle involving moving from the one side of the screen to the other planned out, but ran out of time and submitted it as-is.

Using polymorphism for the blocks saved me a TON of time. The player and the blocks all inherit from the same class, and the “floaty thing” object has a variable for which one it’s currently controlling. I’m very glad I happened to brush up on this before the jam.

By the last day of the jam, I more or less had everything implemented coding-wise, and ran into a level design panic. Many things that I wrote down on paper didn’t get put in the game, despite the code being there. One puzzle desperately needed a ceiling, another needed a door that closes behind you, a conveyer belt needed to be just a bit longer, a certain flagpole didn’t have to be there. The “unpossessable” enemies also needed some kind of indicator on the overworld that they couldn’t be possessed, besides not having a “core” when you try to take control. All of these things I actually had written down, but just never got around to doing them!

At first I thought that the solution to this would be coming up with 100% of the game within the first 8 hours and spending the rest of the jam making that game. I soon realized that this would make the game just feel… stale, and drew connections between this and the lesson on keyframing in “The Animator’s Survival Kit”. What I just described is similar to the “pose-to-pose” method of animating, drawing out each keyframe, and then adding inbetweens until it’s smooth enough. This gets an animation done on time, but where’s the fun in it? Another method of animating is the “straight-ahead” method, which is the way that you would animate in a flipbook. The problem with this animation method is that it might not stay consistent throughout, so you might not end up with something nice at the end. Finally, the “combination of pose-to-pose and straight ahead” method is usually the best way to animate. You draw out your keyframes, then animate straight-ahead between them. You know what needs to go between these keyframes, but have the freedom to do them however you want.

The same lesson can be applied to making jam games, just replace “keyframes” with “game systems”! That said, any method is fine for doing a game jam, just know what you’re getting into with each one. I mostly planned out my systems, but just wasn’t very good at coming up with additional puzzles under pressure, tbh.

 

2. Take 5 minutes to give yourself cheat codes

Honestly I must have lost hours to this. Every time I wanted to test out a later puzzle, I’d have to manually drag the player character there, collecting the “floaty thing” along the way. It would have taken me 5 minutes to write code that disables collision, lets me fly, and increases my speed by 10. So… do this, especially if you’re making a puzzle game where everything is in one scene!

On this note, I soon after found a plugin for unity that keeps objects locked to the grid, without holding down command. This would have saved me a lot of time if I had it. Editor cheat codes!

 

3. Polish is important, but playability is more important.

Some polish can be needed to make a game playable, as I cover below when I talk about floaty controls. What I’m talking about here is that if you’re running out of time and you still need levels designed and tested, mayyybe you shouldn’t spend 2 hours trying to get particles working?

I desperately wanted the player to have dust particles when they walked and landed, but ran into some problems with shuriken, Unity’s particle system, that I’ve never had before. I’m not sure what caused it, but hopefully I can get that working in a post-jam version.

This was my first time using Unity’s surface effectors, and they’re really weird! I lost an hour or two trying to get those conveyor belts feeling good, and discovered it’s /kinda/ impossible.

 

4. What makes controls, “floaty”?

This was something I spent a lot of time after the jam thinking about, and asked some friends for their opinions on this. (Thanks, Managore!) It’s sort of a weird topic, since even in the post-jam build I’m working on right now, I /still/ haven’t gotten the player feeling exactly like I want, but the problem seems to be more about horizontal movement, rather than vertical.

Increasing the gravity actually didn’t do too much, just shortened the amount of time the player stays in the air. Having a jump last from 0.3s to 1s seems to be a good range, but in my game, the jump already lasted 0.8s!

Faster acceleration and higher max speed so far seem to be the biggest contribution factor to removing that “floaty” feeling. Acceleration especially helped, making the player come to a quick stop after walking made it feel much snappier. That said, I think giving the player /less/ control of their velocity midair might also help! In Super Mario Bros, if you make a jump at full speed, then try to reverse that mid-air, it’s possible but takes a lot to do it! In my game you could just glide wherever, and it feels bad.

Another big contributor are things that one might consider polish, but turned out to be essential for making a jump be more satisfying:

Jump cancelling. At first, I had this implemented, but removed it due to a bug with the “jump on enemy multiple times” puzzle. After the jam, I was able to fix this in about 10 minutes, and it made the jumping feel much snappier.

Dust upon landing. As I mentioned above, I just couldn’t get shuriken working in time for the jam. But adding a small effect like this to a jump can make it feel way better! You want it to feel like the player slammed into the ground, not like they decided to stop falling for some reason.

Audio! Adding walking sounds would have made the character feel more like they were really there, and absolutely not gliding. The player also had a jump sound, but no landing sound. This stacks with what I said with dust upon landing.

Different jump sprite for going up & coming down. This could have been as little as moving the character’s pupils, but it would have “sold” the jump more if the player looked up while jumping up, and looked down only when falling.

Toss in some cheap sprite scaling. I could go on even more about animation, but pretty much just look up “squash & stretch” and “anticipation”. (Those are just the first two principles of animation, but brushing up on all of them will be helpful!) You can mess around with sprite scaling during jump animations, which can usually get the job done in selling a jump.

 

5. Be nice to your artists

Without Rev, my game wouldn’t look anything like it currently does, and I would have surely ran out of time. My main character was still just a hexagon at the start of day 3! I’d like to take this time to promo him:

https://twitter.com/IMPLODINGORACLE

https://twitter.com/IMPLODINGORACLE

https://twitter.com/IMPLODINGORACLE

When you’re getting assets from an artist, come up with a list of exactly what you need to be done, and what kind of feeling you’re going for. And let them know early! And be nice to them!! Jeez!!! Also, the conveyor belt graphic in the game was still my temp-art, and we ran out of time to swap it out with something better.

 

Conclusion

Making games is cool, you learn a lot!! Make sure to write down what you learn, so you can… learn from it.

The game needed more ways to explore the main mechanic, and better ways to introduce it to the player.

I’ll probably post an updated version of the game after judging. I’ve already done some control tweaks, mechanics tweaks, fixed problems with puzzles, and worked on fixing the floatiness mentioned above. Updating that right now wouldn’t be fair, so I’ll be waiting til after to consider posting that.

Thanks for reading!

 

Play SHAPE☆SHIFT here!

Robot Escape – Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @rjhelms)
Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 4:47 pm

We did it again, folks! I’m buried in a mountain of great games, and figured I’d take a few minutes from trying to dig my way out to write up a post-mortem for my Ludum Dare 35 entry, Robot Escape.

title screen fullsize

This was my 5th Ludum Dare, and all-in-all I think things went pretty well. After finishing in time for the compo in LD34, I really wanted to do so again, but circumstances conspired against me this time around – oh well. I’ll explain in the “What went poorly” section.

What went well

  • First and foremost, I had fun, and made something I’m pretty proud of.
  • The core mechanics of the game – restricted lines of sight, and reconfiguring yourself to get around different obstacles – worked out really well, both on their own and together.
  • I’m getting really comfortable with my Ludum Dare tool-chain. In the past I’ve always lost some time farting about with Unity’s quirks, but this time everything went pretty darn smoothly.
  • In the same vein, a lot of what I spent time on in LD34 served me well as techniques I was able to reuse this time – in particular, I was able to just drop in the two-camera setup for an “authentic” retro feel I developed that time, and (as predicted) my level loader from that time around was clean enough to reuse – although my level-loading needs were a lot simpler this time around.
  • I experimented with keeping my code a bit cleaner by having a lot of my entities be pure C#, with only a handful of MonoBehaviours responsible for interacting with Unity. I’m not sure I did it well enough to be a reusable approach, but for a game like this it worked really well.

What went poorly

  • I started really late. I have the nasty flaw of being a gigging musician, and the band always seems to find ways to need my time during Ludum Dare. This time around, we were playing a gig out of town on Friday, so I completely missed the theme reveal and didn’t make it home until about 4am. I took a look at the theme as soon as I got home, but didn’t seriously start the clock, so to speak, until around 11am on Saturday. (The gig went really well – it’s only a “went poorly” item from a Ludum Dare perspective.)
  • I lost another two hours to a power outage on Saturday evening. Thankfully, I didn’t lose any work as I’ve got a UPS for my computer. It wasn’t a total loss, however, as I took some time to do a bit of planning on pen and paper by candlelight.
  • I didn’t get the controls right. This seems to be the biggest pain point people raise in the comments on the game, and I agree – I had planned to take some time to tweak them, at minimum, and ideally make them configurable, but I didn’t make it there before the deadline.
  • I wanted more/tougher enemy types, but only had time for two. Similarly, it would have been nice to have a bit clearer feedback about when the enemies were firing on/hit the player.
  • It took a concerning about of time for this game to actually be fun – any beginner’s guide to Ludum Dare tells you to make sure your core idea is fun as quickly as possible, but mine didn’t really get there until pretty late on Sunday.

A more detailed run down of the jam follows below the break – but if you don’t want to read that, why, you could always give the game a try and let me know what you think!

(more…)

Soulshifter Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @ToastedGames)
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 11:44 am

(I had to look up what “Post-Mortem” meant because I was so confused at all the blog posts with it in the title. You better be grateful!)

Soulshifter is a game about killing enemies and stealing their forms (sounds morbid, I know). The enemies come in waves out of portals, and you must survive a set amount of waves (based on difficulty) to win. But that’s not all Soulshifter is. Soulshifter is a game about competition, about teamwork, about challenges, and about new experiences.

Me, Erik and Justin worked harder on Soulshifter than on any other game we’ve ever made. I programmed things that I had no clue how to program before we started. Justin made fantastic art in a style he had never tried before we started. Erik learned he was a way better musician than he ever thought he was before we started. We learned that we were a better team than we thought we would be before we started. Soulshifter, and by extension, Ludum Dare did and meant so much more to us than we ever thought it would.

Of course, we didn’t get everything we wanted into the game, but when has anyone ever began a Ludum Dare and finished with everything he wanted originally plus all the things he thought up along the way? We got a game we were happy with in the end, a solid base that could, and will be easily expanded in the future. We got a game that we were proud of, too.

The feedback we’ve gotten has been so wonderful, and everyone  has been so nice. We honestly can’t thank you all enough. Even if you left us a bad score, you will have shown us what we need to improve on next time, and we’re just as grateful to you too. We’ve had so much fun playing other people’s games, also, and it’s just made us feel even stronger that Ludum Dare is a great community of people that we want to meet and compete with every single time it runs.

TL;DR: (What a nasty word, how about this:) To summarize, our time last weekend and the following days after was amazing, we all enjoyed the competition, and all of you, the community. We’re happy with what our game became, and you’ll definitely see us next year. Happy game design,

– Ben, and everyone else at Toasted Games.

Spirits of the Forest – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @DivitosGD)
Monday, April 25th, 2016 1:12 pm

Over last weekend I worked with Wesley Devore and Hisan Iwo to create Spirits of The Forest, a precision platforming game where you must deliver an urgent message for the spirits, and in return they grant you the ability to shape-shift into different animal forms giving you different abilities to conquer the 25+ levels.

Play and Rate The Game Here

Post Mortem

I knew since last December that I was going to be making a game for Ludum Dare 35, but up until a few days before the start, I thought I was going to be doing it alone. I was approached by Wesley Devore asking if I needed music and sound for Ludum Dare. Always eager to gain new friends and have new experiences, I said yes. We both decided that since we had to do the jam anyways, we might as well find an artist. After a bit of searching, we ended up finding Hisan Iwo (couldn’t of found anyone better suited in my opinion), and just like that I had gone from believing I was going to do it alone to working in a three person team.
We started off the weekend without any real idea of what kind of game we were going to be making, other than we knew it was going to be 2D.  After a fairly short brainstorming session we decided on making a platformer (although originally we had planned on making it a puzzle platformer instead of a precision platformer). Without all of the particulars in place we began working. While Hisan worked on the character art and Wesley worked on the music, I programmed the base platforming system and worked out the rest of the design and story for the game.

Early Mockup

While day one didn’t yield much material progress, day two saw the game shift from an idea to a tangible, although rough, game. By the end of it all of the character and world art was done, the music was finished and ready to be implemented, and all of the levels, tiling, and dialogue was done (although dialogue would later have to be rewritten the next day). At the end of the day I could tell the game was going to be brutally hard and tried all I could to lessen the cruelty, but I couldn’t afford the time to redesign the entire world again (especially since I already had to once). I could also tell that the game was going to have an amazing atmosphere to it and that this was going to be the strongest point of the game.

Day three was spent finishing and adding in sound, music, and the remaining art to complete the feel of the game. I didn’t get all of my goals I had written from the previous day done because while I had intended to spend the majority of day three polishing the game, implementing the remaining assets ended up taking the vast majority of the day leaving me little time to polish. This definitely took a lot away from the game since it left rough hitboxes and some parts that could be considered brutal in an already brutal game world, but overall I was still happy with the game.

Screenshot of Finished Game

I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure how working with a new team was going to be, but they both did amazing and it was a fun experience. The only areas that I felt were lacking in the game were things I was responsible for. It’s apparent I’m still not the best at level design, for instance, but if you compare this game to my previous game, you can tell instantly it’s a big step up. The game in its current state is somewhat incomplete, which is why I’m working on a post-compo version that fixes many of the glaring issues before uploading it to Gamejolt and Itch.io.

The Good

  • The art of the game turned out amazing. Individually the assets looked a little bit odd, but they came together to form a really charming look. Combine that with the amazing music and sound design, and you get what I think is by far the best game I’ve ever worked on in terms of atmosphere.
  • I ended up spending about half of the time on level design, so the game ended up pretty long (25-30+ levels depending on how you count them).
  • I learned a LOT about level design. I consider the levels of Akashic Records (a platforming game I did for a game jam last month) to be absolutely horrendous. While they were still really hard here, they’re definitely a big step up.
  • I liked the story we came up with, and considering this was my first time trying to implement dialogue into a platformer, I think it went well.
  • As always I learned a lot more about the engine I was working with, particularly I discovered the cause of a lag that has plagued most of my previous games with a scrolling view (though it was never nearly as bad as it got here, I simply had no choice but to pinpoint the cause of the lag and fix it, and my future games are going to be much better for it).
  • This marks 4 months down so far for 1 Game A Month! 😀

The Bad

  • It ended up being HARD. It wasn’t just casual occasional road bump hard, it was teeth grinding fight for every inch you advanced hard. This isn’t always a bad thing if you apply it right in the game, but I was going for a bit more casual feeling platformer and had to rush through meaning I didn’t have time to conceptualize all the easier challenges I could have done with the mechanics. This makes the game feel a bit disjointed at times (particularly in the not so tight controls that would work fine in a casual platformer, but leaves you a bit frustrated at times here).
  • I didn’t have time left to do as much polish as I would have liked to, so some things (the hitboxes being the most obvious and unfortunate example) are left rough. I also would have liked to get some particles and other VFX in there to really complete the feel of the game.
  • There was a few strange bugs left in the game that I had absolutely no idea why they were happening and didn’t have the time left to look investigate them. These bugs and the lack of polish and VFX are the biggest drawback by far, which is why I’m fixing them all and adding in the polish I wanted to from the start in a post-compo version for Gamejolt and Itch.io.
  • There was still a few times when you’d experience an abrupt lag spike, but it never seemed to last for more than a split second.
  • The ending was a bit dissatisfying, but it did end on a good cliff-hanger that allows us room to expand it into a full confrontation, or possibly even make a sequel (of sorts) so we can do the story the justice it deserves.

Final Thoughts

Though I could have done my part quite a bit better, I learned a lot and came out with a game to show for it. Like every other game you do (especially games that are made for game jams), it’s not always the final game, but rather the experience you gain from it that really matters. While you and everyone else are likely to forget about your game jam game, the experience you have and the lessons you learn ripple throughout time and creep into every one of your future endeavors, and that’s what truly matters.

Aether Crypt – postmortem coming soon

Posted by (twitter: @tselmek)
Monday, April 25th, 2016 10:39 am

Howdy fellow jammers,

While I’m at work on cooking up a postmortem post for you to feast upon, you can check out and rate Aether Crypt if you haven’t already. If you’re fond of ambient stuff, a big fan of metroivania style games, a platformer addict or a chemistry nerd, you might enjoy giving it a try. Here’s a couple of screenshots to give you a taste of what you’re in for.

Menu goodness
Feel the Carbon
Neon enlightens my nights

Have a good one!

Tselmek out.

SHAPE.SHIFT() Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @xanjos)
Monday, April 25th, 2016 10:05 am

I’ve just written up the post-mortem for my LD35 game SHAPE.SHIFT() which you can view by heading straight to my blog.

ld35gameplay

To see my previous post on how to get a good score in my game (because apparently it’s ridiculously hard), click here and if you haven’t tried the game yet, give it a play/rate by clicking here.

Also, I’m looking for more games to play/rate so click here to submit your entry and I’ll get to it as soon as possible.

Devil’s Hand – Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @kuupudev)
Sunday, April 24th, 2016 3:51 pm

thumb

I’m gonna list here the same categories as in the Ludum Dare rating system.

0 – Overall
It was my first attempt at going solo on a jam (and first post-mortem as well).
First of all, I didn’t go for what I had planned.
I intended to submit it at the jam category, so I made everything on my own, including music which is something I never tried before.

But due to complications with performance and level design I decided to spend one more day (actually half of a day) to solve some of its issues.

On this extra time I remade the logo, made a end game screen, solved some performance issues (split the 3 levels in 5 to reduce the amount of objects in the scene and attached some wall and floor pieces) and redone some of the level design, fortunately I think the best parts of the levels were done in this extra time.

logo   Old Logo

devillogo  Rework

 

for a while I was willing to make a fast paced FPS/ Doom like game, my idea was something with a Quake or Hexen graphics, something about demons/devils/aliens/sci-fi, really fast, focused on shooting and dodging.
Some time ago I discovered Devil’s Dagger and I thought: “well, this kind of graphics and pace still works nowadays” :)

A few days before the jam I asked Kaol (who usually participate on ludum dare with me) and she said she had a lot of work to do and could not participate this time, so I decided to make this little game I was willing to make, but I didn’t had any idea of what to do next.

jh5s6b2gzopmr7jzvve8

 

This game was made using:

  • Unity 3D (C#)
    • The enemies move around using NavMesh
    • Shuriken for particles
    • Custom FPS controller (Made during the jam)
    • Character collision with CharacterController
  • Aseprite
    • For 3D model textures and for enemy sprites
  • Blender
    • All the models and animations
    • The “shatter” effect of the enemy’s death is actually a mesh made in blender
  • AudioSauna
    • It was the best audio web application I found and it’s free for now

1 – Innovation
Well, while brainstorming for the game none of my ideas included innovation. It’s not like I don’t think it’s a necessary or important thing in games, just this was not the case, not with this game.
Here I really tried to “emulate” an old experience, some kind of nostalgic trip.

I think the only “innovation” was in the matter of HUD, I condensed everything around the hand, which in the end was kind of bad, I saw a lot of people only noticing the health and ammo bars at level 3 (of 5), even though this information appeared in the instruction Screen.

Capture   Instruction Screen

destto´p   In-game HUD

2 – Fun

Even fun being a subjective matter, I believe I get the half of the way of delivering a really fun experience.

The reason are mainly the level design and enemy AI.
– Fror the level design’s perspective the levels did not explore all the possibilities that it should. Considering weapons, movement and enemies.

-Now for the AI, even though there are 4 types of enemies(with distinct behaviours), in the end they all looked the same(probably due to a Level Design + AI flaw): the enemies almost always ended up trapped in a corridor type area forming a queue. Not cool.

ENIS1   Enemies

3 – Theme
Gosh…
the Idea I get in the brainstorm was, “this person will have a demon hand and it’ll change its shape accordingly with the kind of shots”, something like Resident Evil Birk kind of thing…
It turned out I could not animate a convincing transition between the hands and ended adding the “rune” kind of weapon indicator :(
I don’t think that this was the best way to approach a theme and there are a thousand ways to include shapeshifting as an actual gameplay feature. I should have spent more time on this matter.

re2-g3

4 – Graphic

  • Enemies
    I’m really happy with the enemies graphics, they look just in the way I intended, kind of gross, alien and demon. It was a really fast and straightforward process, I had the behaviours and I drew a sprite for each of them.
  • Level
    Some stuff worked well, some did not.
    I took too long to achieve something nice for the wall, but in the end it’s awfully repetitive.
    Even without much time left to spend on more level assets I still managed to make the “green tubes”, If it wasn’t for it the level would have been even blander.
    tube
  • Light
    on my first attempt each wall piece had 2 independent lights, the lights could be powered, blinking or off. Of course it screwed the performance ‘-‘
    I made the ambient base light a little brighter and distributed some random light points along the levels.
    I’m not happy with the results and with more time I would bake a carefully planned set of lights.
  • The Hand
    As it is the main feature of the game, I spent something around 3 hours testing around the hand, size, shape, colors.
    Some of the inspirations for the hand came from Hellboy and Devil May Cry.
    I’m happy with the results except for 2 issues.

    • 1 – I wanted it to look more gross almost disgusting and a little more slender.
    • 2 – I spent a lot of time making the “veins” to fit to the symbol on the palm and it’s not even visible in the game.

1 2 3 4

5 – Audio

I’m really proud of it, not because I think it’s good, but because it was my first attempt at making music.
Some people hated it, some people think it’s repetitive, but I really liked and I saw a guy on youtube really getting into the beat, so I’m happy :)

I just would add a little darker tone to the main phrase if I had more time.

GameJolt

I had the luck to be featured by GameJolt, in 3 days the game jumped from 20 to 2.2k plays.

13083278_640257686115350_5323931969119232398_n

A lot of people is giving very useful feedbacks there and some people are making youtube videos of the game, it’s awesome because I can find exactly where each person is getting stuck, how many time it took to discover the game mechanics, which room is overpowered, etc.

For this reason I recommend everyone to put your games on GameJolt :)

g3

 

 

 

Thanks everyone for the support, I hope this will help in any way and if you want to know or want to suggest ANYTHING, just say it :)

—————————————————————————

PLAY AND RATE HERE!

Super Shapeshift Bros – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @comanche_ak)
Friday, April 22nd, 2016 5:24 pm

I’m thinking about adding the game to the Steam Greenlight program. So that’s the features that will be in final version:
1) Changing the engine (It will be Godot Engine);
2) AI for single player campaign;
3) Network Multiplayer;
4) More customizeable stuff (Faces, hats, textures, etc);
5) Add other figures;
6) Level editor for community;
7) 4-8 player mode;
8) Dynamic camera;
9) Larger arenas;
10) Add jump button;
11) More arenas;
12) You will contol your figure while flying.

Ok, 72 hours were hard for me but I’ve finished my game. It’s not exactly what I wanted to do, the first idea was to make a platformer with controls like in Super Shapeshift Bros. The plot was about 3 different types of tribes: right -angled triangles, squares, and pentagon people; The new type of shapeshifting virus attacked these tribes and they have started to lose their shapes and angles. The main concept was like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – the player can transform from one type to another (from triangle to square, for example), so the main character (The Triangle) like Link – the chosen one, who can fix the problem by finding the Mighty Circle.


Prototype

When I’ve started makimg a prototype I added the second triangle and tried to play with it. Few weeks ago my wife gave me a present for my birthday: it was Nintendo WiiU with two games – Super Smash Bros and Splatoon. I’ve played Splatoon a lot, but SSB was only for parties. So I thought that it would be cool to make this type of video game. Competitive game for parties.

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Running on TV

I thought about differences between a triangle and a square. The mass was the first. Triangle can simply rotate at high speed and it can be rotated by player. Square can be rotated only by a physical impulse. That was great to use this feature because you can use shapeshifting to stop at any horizontal point you need. Square can also push the triangle, and after that, the other player can lose the match.

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Two players one one gamepad

The big problem was Unity Engine and its Input System. All three modes for two players should not be a part of one mode but Unity Input System is awful so when I’ve added new mode, the old one didn’t work. I’ve decided to make all-in-one. I’ve also cut 4 player mode because of time.


Standard GIF

The art style was chosen to be cute and funny, the primitives do the job very well. Faces and most of art were made by hope42morrow for the first concept but his work fits well for now. Music was written by me on Nintendo 3ds system. Levels are not really good for now. But people liked TRIANGLE OF DEATH arena which is not quite triangle.

Скриншот 2016-04-23 01.14.48

Thank you for playing the game! It’s great that one of my dreams come true!

Here is the video showing how to play the game. It’s in Russian, but you can understand the basics without words.

You can play and rate the game here.

StealthShifter Postmortem

Posted by
Friday, April 22nd, 2016 5:10 am

This LudumDare, I thought it’s the perfect opportunity for me to explore C++ for the first time. So, to ease things up, I decided to only use a text console as output in input for the game and I knew the game/core mechanic had to be simple in order to finish it before the 48 hours deadline. My idea was to create a turn-based game, where the player simply had to move to a goal, while avoiding enemies by changing your appearance, which is simple and can easily be implemented in a text console.

Time went by quickly and I am glad, that I have produced something, that can be considered as a game in these 48 hours. Due to lack of content the game turned out as a puzzle game, but if I had had more time, I would have tried to make a rogue-like game by adding:

  • More content (enemies, items)
  • Limited vision, so the player cannot see the whole level. This prevents, that the player can carefully plan for the whole level, leading to more spontaneous decisions
  • Procedurally generated dungeons/caves

Also I didn’t have enough time to implement a terminal library, so the player ends up typing commands instead of just pressing keys.

What the LudumDare showed me (again), which is pretty obvious, is to keep the idea simple and implement the core mechanic(s) quickly (don’t waste too much time on unnecessary things, like too much optimization) and I am looking forward to hear possible improvements and critique from you.

PLAY IT HERE

Transformagician – Postmortem

Posted by
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 11:32 pm

JUST A GIF! A small one this, tiny!

Play it here!

or read on.

Many earth shattering revelations await you.
(Hyperbole is the best medicine after a long jam)

Team

LD is usually my solo jam, but this time I didn’t work alone. Ranquil created the graphics (you can read more about that here) and I, of course, programmed the lot. My last team LD was a disaster (my bad on many levels!) so I’m glad this one turned out well, really well in fact.

Design

A few Ludums back I had an idea about shapeshifting. Stealing a top secret prototype from a well guarded research lab, avoiding detection by masquerading as objects in the level. The AI would react believably to anomalies in the world, including walking furniture. A bit too ambitions you could say.

We went though a few other ideas and in the end cut the above design down to manageable size: non-human enemies, a set amount of items and clear AI behavior rules.

Development

As a programmer I’m a fan of not reinventing the wheel, i.e reusing code (i.e. being lazy!). The level generation system is from this past LD gem (look who’s saying) and it was originally created for this project. In essence, twice recycled code. What can I say, it works.

Everything else is custom though. Nothing too difficult or out or the ordinary so in the end we even managed to pump out a build at the 48 hour mark. The final 78 hour version includes improved graphics, a fancy ending cinematic and some gameplay balancing.

Audio

The lax jam rules allowed us to utilize royalty free sound effects and music. Fortunately Ranquil knew a few (rather interesting) web-zones full of the stuff. Links in the description.

Music really does elevate the mood to new heights.

Issues?

None! I don’t believe it myself, but it’s true. Working in a team for 72 hours does help, I guess.

 

Intrigued?

Try it now!

Neon Level Switcher – Post Mortem – What went well

Posted by
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 5:26 pm

Ludum Dare 35 was the second one for me, as a ludum and as a game jam. The last time I joined forces as a part of DarkLight Team, but this time half of the team had a real-life problem and we were only two coders on the team. Then we decide to join the compo and try what can we do all alone. Neon Level Switcher was child.

What went well

 

The game is finished

From the first hour I decided to go to a simpler project that I could potentially finish in time. And it was a good idea, because I needed to switch to the jam competition to have 24 hours more to have a nicer game. But in the end, the game was completed, maybe not the best gameplay (see more later), but is playable, graphics and sound complete. I had a lot of ideas, lets take a look:

  • Rhythm game with shape change mechanic
  • Local Multiplayer game with shape change mechanic (rock, paper scissors maybe?)
  • Plattformer with a “shape” protagonist that needs to change to beat situations
  • Pong like game where you can change your shape to change the ball direction
  • Turn based game, every turn you can change your shape to define speed, like Formula D, the more sides, the more speed
  • The enemies change shape every time you shoot them
  • The side count matters
  • Physics based mechanics, playing with the shape you “shoot”
  • You can change your shape to hide from enemies
  • Worms like game where the player can “paint” their bullet to adapt to the terrain
  • Wall of death game, you need to change your shape to fit in the wall that’s coming
  • The shape of the scenario changes, move wisely to not die
  • Finding the most relaxing “shape” in the sofa

I wrote down every idea I had, no matter how hard or crazy it seemed to me, because some times an impossible idea leads to another one and luckily, it could be THE IDEA. I would love to do a rhythm game (I was very involved in the machine dance scene in Spain), but it will be very hard to do when you don’t have any idea of sound programming. Others involved too many mechanics to code them all alone and in the end, the winner was due to the fact the last game in the ludum dare used Tiled levels and it would be easier to me to develop something. I loved to see some of the ideas appeared as submissions :D.

I did the graphics

I love to draw, but loving something does not means that you will be able to do it correctly. The major fear I had when we decided to go solo were the graphics. They may seem simple, but it was a nightmare for me to generate such a simple tileset. In the end, going simple was the best option, sacrificing a “theme” behind the game and hoping you will not need to know why you are a rotating rhombus that moves through blue levels.

My main inspiration was Hexagon, I think it’s a great title graphic wise. But something I learned is that making something look simple implies a lot of work.

It was relaxing

Too many people tie a game jam to an stressful situation. I think is a great error. You are here to learn, to have fun, to go creating with boundaries. But you don’t really need to crunch in a game jam. I want to highlight the “need” verb I’ve used, it’s OK to stress yourself if you want, maybe you want to test how much you can do in 48/72h. In my case, I wanted to finish without wasting resting time, and it was a success. Saturday night I decided to go to play the Doom beta and leaving the Compo even when I had 3 more hours to finish the game. As a result, it was very fun to me, even when the engine failed to deploy the game with 1 hour left to do it.

Postmortem – Space Dock

Posted by
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 5:38 am

I’ve had such a good time reading other first-timers’ (and veterans’) experiences, I will put nervousness aside and share my own as well :)

Planning:

Ohhh…that is a thing we’re supposed to do, isn’t it?

Yeah, I didn’t actually plan to participate at all.

I’ve been an LD lurker for a little while. The plan for this past weekend was to settle in watching my two favorite GameMaker tutorial makers stream the creation of their games. Was really quite looking forward to it.

Then, while looking over pre-LD footage they had up during their pre-dev sleep breaks, I had an idea. A very small-scope idea that I thus thought I could reasonably do in time. Before I could let anxiety get the better of me, I created an LD account (the name accurately reflecting my feelings ;)) and started work…6 or 7 hours into the thing.

It was completely worth it.

What went right:

Since the idea was so simple, my minimum viable prototype came together very quickly.

I playtested extensively throughout the dev process and afterward as a final check-up. When I used testing shortcuts such as winning the game at level 1, I made sure to do later testing passes once the shortcuts were removed, just to be sure everything still worked. This extra pass caught a drawing bug on level 5’s win state.

I made sure to stand up and walk around and stretch occasionally. I also got up and cooked when I was hungry which, rather than being a distraction, helped me clear my head and re-focus.

It was so much fun making my craptacular explosion animation. I also rather enjoyed designing the stitched-together abomination of a ship which I have lovingly christened Frankenship.

frankenship

I feel a ton more comfortable with GameMaker’s draw functions now, just, a ton.

What went wrong:

I didn’t sleep. While I’m new to game dev, I am not new to programming (though rusty) and this is something which happens a lot when I really get into programming. I avoid caffeine, but even if I go to bed, I just lay there programming/designing in my head, unable to let go of something until it’s solved. I was so amped that I didn’t sleep for a while after finishing, either – and I was exhausted. Should have gone to bed just a few hours after I started, instead I worked on the game for 16-18 hours.

It had working music at one point, made at Otomata. But the game is so short that even with it only starting over on game restart it still got seriously obnoxious during my own playtesting – there were good odds it was going to annoy others, and it seemed extraneous. So I removed it, a decision I am comfortable with for this particular game.

I originally planned to put a little more detail into the station, windows on the rings and simple shading and such. But my art tools were such a pain to use (more on this later) that I chose to leave them simple, only adding a little detail to the center ring to draw attention to the goal. At least they aren’t distracting? 😉

Not entirely happy with the first expansion level for the ship, even if it does form the basis for all the other levels. It just doesn’t seem like a big enough change from the first level, serving as more introduction to the idea that the ship changes than any real increase in challenge.

I struggled with getting some characters such as apostrophes to work in my text, even after making sure I had included them in my font and font ranges. I couldn’t seem to get concatenation to work, and that annoyed me.

OMFG did I really put a grey moon behind my grey station that my mostly grey ship navigates?

What I hope to do better:

Uh, planning, mostly. If I’d known I was going to participate, my artwork probably wouldn’t have all been done in Microsoft Paint and GameMaker’s own Sprite and BG editors. Making the rings was far more obnoxious than it had any right to be. Definitely need to pick up some tools.

Sleep more, hopefully? If I do a larger game which will take more time, this may end up a moot point.

Hopefully next time I’ll make something which isn’t so dependent on Precise Collision detection in GameMaker. Although it was appropriate here, and the game is small, it seriously felt WEIRD for my first game to use that.


I had so much fun guys! Both developing my own game and playing others’. And I’ve been floored by the comments. My thought on making it was “Yes, this is technically a game, I am learning” but so many of you have said you had fun with it and that means a lot.

To any timid or nervous fellow lurkers out there, next time this comes around, dive in! It’s worth it :)

Space Dock can be found here.

Shapeshift for cheese – A mouse was born !

Posted by
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 2:04 am

A mouse was born !

mouse

DIRECT LINK TO DOWNLOAD THE POSTMORTEM VERSION OF THE GAME :

DOWNLOAD THE GAME SHAPESHIFT FOT CHEESE

Play and rate my game at : http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-35/?action=preview&uid=22158

A Simple Tale – Post Mortem + timelapse (Part I)

Posted by (twitter: @SirGFM)
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 9:27 pm

Hello LDers!

This LD was quite different from what I’m used. I had a few short slices of time in which I could work on my entry through the weekend, until I was finally able to work almost 10 hours straight on Sunday’s afternoon (the only part of the jam that I did timelapse).

Here’s briefly what went right/wrong:

What went right

  • I finished something
  • I used the theme on the narrative (in a way that I rarely do)
  • Even though running out of time, I was able to explain the theme in-game
  • Graphics were done quickly and (mostly) smoothly
    • Also, the flapping of the evil fairy!
  • I was able to do three (pretty simple) variations for the game’s theme song

What went wrong

  • The idea was too big for the time I had (less than 24 hours)
  • Everything is as rough and unpolished as possible
  • Gameplay is really dumb
  • I was away from my battle station until mid-day, on Sunday

And here’s the timelapse, taken for around half the time I worked on the game.

Later, I’ll write a proper post mortem. I’d like to explain why I didn’t have much time, how I got the game idea, how I quickly done the graphics… etc.

Until then!

Getting schwi…eeer…shifty – Postmortem

Posted by
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 7:31 pm

ld35_03

Play it and rate it here! :)

This was a peculiar weekend and, as always, very fun and rewarding. After spending most of Friday on a train which arrived with an hour and a half delay due to most unfortunate reasons, I overslept and had a late start on Saturday. Then, even if I had a clear idea of what I wanted, I ran into some early problems because I’d forgotten about some really basic stuff related to the way Flixel handles positions. Luckily I managed to overcome all that and the end result this time has been more than satisfactory.

The idea came relatively easily. My first inspiration was Altered Beast, but that would have probably been overkill in terms of asset creation, so I discarded that and went for another classical genre with very clear references. Back on LD30 I had wanted to make a shoot-em-up where the “ship” actions in one world would affect interconnected ones, but unfortunately I run into some technical problems and couldn’t participate in the end. Ever since I’ve been wanting to resurrect that project or implement something similar, and the opportunity presented itself this time.

 

(From left to right, Ikaruga, Waves and Geometry Wars)

My references were immediate, too: the main one would be Ikaruga and its colour switching mechanic as key, but I also checked other two shmups I’ve always liked: Geometry wars and Waves. The connection to the theme is obvious (switch shapes for fun, profit and devastation), and decided to go full abstract/geometric instead of my original approach, where you would be some kind of a microscopic drone with Transformer-like abilities and your task would be to defeat viruses and bacteria. It’s a good way to achieve some pleasant visuals without having to spend a lot drawing.

What went well:

  • Controls. Having gameplay just feel right were a must, and this time I think I more or less made it :) I would have liked to add some acceleration to motion and so on, but making that feel right could have been tricky and time consuming, so I aimed for the basics first (orientating the sprites and aiming in particular).
  • Scope: By resorting to a well known genre with simple yet effective mechanics I managed to keep the game scope under control. Of course there are lots of things that didn’t make it, but the current result feels complete.
  • Development speed: As a consequence of the previous bullet point, having a restricted and clear scope and feature set I managed to keep a constant and fast development pace. That’s a huge bonus for motivation.
  • Visuals and effects: At the moment the game is getting some nice comments (thanks!) about the graphic style. They can still be improved, but it is true that they can make a huge impact on the perception of the game.

Now, the ugly:

  • Slightly chaotic process: I wanted to make up for the late start, so I just started coding as soon as I pinned down the basics of the game and completely forgot about planning for several hours on Saturday evening, when I finally decided to create my usual Trello board to keep the tasks and my progress controlled. This wasn’t bad per se, but I also made a risky gamble with version control, and I completely neglected it until it was actually time to submit. Then I created and pushed the sources to Github. I was very lucky, as I didn’t run into any problems or had to roll any feature back, but the next time I should at least be more careful with that just in case.
  • Not directly related to the competition or the game, but…THAT ARTICLE (you probably know what I’m talking about, I’m not going to give it any more publicity). I read it while on the supper break and got incredibly angry.

…and what went wrong:

  • Music and unbalanced volume, and glitchy mute option. The thing I regret the most on this edition is, no doubt, the music. I wanted to make some fast-paced tune with a psychedelic vibe, but I got stuck and, when I realised that there was only one or two hours left before the deadline, I chose to leave music as I had it and moved to UI coding. I need to practice a lot more on composing the game music. Besides, the effects volume was irregular, and muting them was glitchy.
  • Difficulty progression (or lack thereof): The game can feel very hard to some people, but for those who do master it, it gets monotonous. The truth is there was no difficulty balance at all. I managed to hack a “hard mode” in the last ten minutes before the deadline for those who managed to play for more than three minutes, but that’s still not enough. Another option would have been to have more things to do, but of course that would have been more time consuming. At the moment this is probably my main goal for the post-compo version.
  • Remembering Flixel: I hadn’t touched Haxe+Flixel since the last LD, and I regretted that this week. First I had decided to upgrade the pipeline to the last version. This wasn’t particularly problematic during the Ludum itself, but I had some old projects I wanted to check for references and they broke. Additionally, I always forget how anchors, pivots and positioning work on Flixel until I’ve spent a while re-checking it.
  • Performance, esp. HTML5: I wanted to release the main build as HTML5, but it wasn’t consistently performant. At the moment you can experience hiccups on any platformer when you shoot many ships or use the blaster, but playing on Firefox or Edge was veeery slow most of the time compared to Chrome, for instance. Interestingly enough, on another project I’m currently working on on Unity, the WebGL build runs into memory issues on Chrome but not on Firefox or Edge.

Next steps:

I’ve already made some changes to a Post-Compo version (you can also find it on the submission page), but I want to add many other features that couldn’t make it into the main submission. This is a list with some of the most important ones.

  • Different control schemes and gamepad support – DONE
  • Difficulty and player progression – STARTED, still a lot left to do.
  • Decent music, and fix that darned mute.
  • More content: Bullet patterns, enemy types and behaviours, pick ups,…
  • Better movement.
  • Better visual feedback: Put the previous/next hints right on the ship, clearer indications of when you increase your score multiplier or when the blaster becomes available.
  • Better graphics: This fits more as polish, but I would like to change the graphics for almost all elements of the game, make the lines of the ships clearer, replace some UI texts with icons or bars and perhaps add some nice and trippy background effects (like in the video below, but waaay more subtle). And many more particles! ;P
  • Better performance. Of course, to support all that and not burn people’s computers I need to optimize a lot, starting as soon as possible, as I already had some problems in certain moments of gameplay.
  • Tracking scores/times locally on a save file or, even better, keep an online leaderboard system somewhere.

Puzzle Party Post Mortem

Posted by
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 8:12 am

This was the first LudumDare where I did pretty much all of the work alone. That being said I had to take a serious look at the scope of my project to ensure that I would make something that I could finish in time.

If you haven’t done so already I would really love some feedback on my entry.
Even if it’s not your cup of tea, feedback always helps us developers improve and that’s what we are all here for right?

Play Puzzle Party Now

menu

For those that are interested I have tried to detail some of to progress that went into making this game down below.

(more…)

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