Posts Tagged ‘pre-mortem’

Pre-Post-Mortem – MiniLD57

Posted by
Friday, February 20th, 2015 4:43 am

This MiniLD was a lot of fun. I managed to finish a small fun game that is not the worst thing I’ve ever made.

I challenged myself to reverse my game development process, meaning

  1. I started by creating music,
  2. made a design document,
  3. pumped some sound effects out of bfxr,
  4. created all the art for the game,
  5. wrote a TO-DO list
  6. and finally started programming the game.

Good things that happened:

– No silence: By making the music first, my game finally wasn’t silent because I usually drag this out to the end and then I totally forget/scrap it.

– Small but finished: The game is actually finished, because I decided to not take the first thing that came to my mind and think about all the cool things I could do, but instead kept the scope small and concentrated on one single core mechanic.

– emehT: This is probably the first time I made something that fit the theme, instead of ignoring it or just tangentially relating to it.

Bad things that happened:

– Bad Art: The art is really bad, as always when I do the art myself.

– Bad Music: The same goes for the music, but at least it’s better than silence… right?

– Rather shallow: The game is only fun for a short time, the novelty wears off quickly and then it’s rather bland.


The zeppelin arrives

Posted by (twitter: @ZepCap)
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 7:34 am

The (air)ship is loaded with:

  • Game Maker: Studio Pro (with HTML5 export)
  • Photoshop
  • A microphone I bought for a single British pound in Scotland
  • Audacity
  • Toblerone and tap water

One of my goals for this time is simply to do better than my first LD rating-wise. I was satisfied with my last game, but this time I’m using a tool I’m much more confident in using, and I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at making games since last August. Otherwise <brag> making 31 games in 31 days </brag> would have been a waste.

Another goal of mine is to make a game that feels like it’s not a waste of time. I feel like I succeeded at that last time, since people found it unique, which is important to me.

I will probably try to explore the relations between mechanics and narrative, like I did last time, and try to make the mechanics feel in sync with the mood and story of the game (extremely hard to do! 😀 ).

I’ll also try to add some sound to the game this time, although I haven’t made the mike work with Audacity yet. And maybe even some graphics that aren’t just colorful squares and half-circles!

Most of all, however, my goal is to have fun ! Even though I’ve only been able to participate once, I love Ludum Dare, and all you people who’ll be making games this weekend. Soar high and enjoy the ride!


Less is More: A Pre & Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @McDaan)
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 12:03 pm


My second Ludum Dare, and a more planned try this time around! So what was different, what went deliciously right, what went distastfully wrong and what would I do different? Lets look at it chronologically. And then by pro and con-points.

The Pre Mortem


The Theme

“Minimalism” – Jod texted this to me on Saturday morning, and as the first thing I say upon awakening, I was not immediately enthused. Quite the opposite… my first reaction was “Really? Isn’t that Ludum Dare by definition? You numbskulls!”.
The next hour and a half I mulled it over in my head a while, and tried to dig into that feeling it was giving me: “Minimalism is bleh, you should try for rich things and worlds!”… and in the end I decided to give that feeling shape in a game. Inspiration through opposition!

The Planning

My last Ludum Dare was marred by the fact that I didn’t finish it. A sound theme, an interesting concept, and enthusiasm does not necessarily a completed game make in 48 hours. So this time around I decided to take one day to build the game, and one day to polish it. (That is as far as my planning goes. Two items, two days. I was quite proud – progress!)

Day 0.5

Concept Muffin

(A programmer wants to think in binary, and perhaps, if pushed, in decimal. Hours? Silly things.)

So after half a day, I had my concept written down. “Reducing to X”, was a game where you start in a Rich, Lush world and then supposedly reduced a game to one concept, which was given at the beginning. “Death”, “Fear”, “Glory”, “Fun”. You know, dem feels. At the end you would make a screenshot and let it be judged by others.
A bit lofty, unspecific, and rather non-traditional-gamey, indeed. But it was the only idea I had. And it let me play with procedural stuff, which I like.

Day 1.0

Weird Terrains

Halfway… and halfway the halfway (0.75 day, if you’re keeping track), I was thoroughly displeased with my progress, and the concept in total. “Jod”, I said to Jod, “I think it might be best just to scrap this entire idea.”, quite misanthropically. “Well what is it you are stuck on?”. “Everything.” “Ok, lets get some groceries then.”
We went out to get the necessities of life, and got some noms. “I’m going to see what I have one more time.”, I declared after dinner. Sullenly I poked and prodded my achievements so far, trying to get that ‘Rich world’ going. After a but I got my ‘skybox’ going, I finally had some movement, and color, in my world which I was satisfied with. And a new concept!
Reduction not to a one ‘word’, but just reduction on itself, as something bad. My renouncement of minimalism. Gleefully I added a black floating Monolith to the center of my world, representing that Evil. Ha! I saw an opponent to the Monolith too… The Wisp, a glowing ball of ‘Creativity’, light, color! Happy with my concept and quite optimistic on my chances to finish it, I went to bed.

Day 1.5

CommandArise and shine! Jod, my co-ludum-dare-patriot, prepared some delicious breakfast, and I set of programming fanatically! I experimented with the behavior of my worlds critters, and how they would behave when ‘resisting’ the player. Progress was being made, but but quite fast. So I looked at my concept one more time and said “What could go, if really need be?” Well I need an ‘end’ so I need to reduce. The player was supposed to have a choice in the middle of the game: Go Minimalist and fully join the Monolith, or go Creative and join the Wisp? Ok, maybe I just do the Monolith part, but I probably will be able to do both! (yeah…)

Day 2.0

sandboxI just made a nice “Close encounters of the third-kind gone evil” sound for my Monolith. I look at the clock. Ohhh damn 1.75 day o-clock already?? Ok, so maybe creating ‘two sides’ of everything might take a little bit too much time. Actually, I might not be able to add music. Or get an ending? Or handle all what the player does? PANIC!?
First things first – Reduce! I add walls to the world. I make sure something happens when the player jumps off the edge. I strike all really fancy terrain height-decreasing. Scrap behavior for the Wisp, and for the Big Cube.
Then Playtest Playtest Playtest. I like my white text-in-the-sky, but it might be unreadable at times… with a great sigh I make it black. Not as pretty, but, you know, always readable. Oh, just 2 hours left? I need to balance the player progression real quick! And compile this stuff? Oh yeah that too. A menu? No time. A name, err ok. A title screen? Two lines will do. In short, I needed all the minutes of the night. But it looks nice. Ending on a rush, I look at the clock… 5 AM? Great. Work in 3 hours. Lets take a “nap”, and engage zombie mode…


The Post Mortem


 What went right?

  • The engine – Unity3D gave me a lot less hassle than my previous engine, used for LD24, Moai. Ok it is not perfect or non-crashable, but it has docs and heaps of player usage. And a terrain engine I could really abuse for this game.
  • The concept – Ok, not exactly what I envisioned, but it does generate a ‘feel’ that minimalism is not a ‘good’ thing. And that was the goal.
  • The behaviors – I was really satisfied with how all the critters in the world moved. Powered by the Unity3D physics engine and some creative restricting thereof, they feel wild and random, but structured too.
  • The colors – I dig procedurally generated stuff, and picking the right things to make that way, and the right things not to, paid off. No-one will notice the purple trees are always in the same space if the terrain height varies. Giving all critters one color gives consistent identity.

What went wrong?

  • The planning – Ok, not as badly as last Ludum Dare, but I really should have started cutting earlier, and place some priorities.
  • The music – What music, you ask? And I say indeed. A golden opportunity to give a rich world more ‘body’, pushed to the end and then struck.
  • The progression – I did not play the game often enough to have a balanced feel of how long each ‘part’ of the game would last for an average player. Due to last minute changes there I even broke the game by ‘skipping’ a quarter of it, I did fix that in one subsequent update.
  • The controls – This is a bit of a dubious one, since I had no problems with them. It was a physics based FPS-like feel. But I see enough people complain to understand that it is not ‘natural’ enough. Maybe I should have added a ‘jump’ option to give the novice player more possibilities to maneuver.
  • The name – Seriously, think two seconds more. I did not. It doesn’t fit as nicely as a million other names. And hardly unique.

The verdict?

I am satisfied enough by the end-product, from a realists’ viewpoint. But in the end the players will decide. Will you?


Play : Less is More!



Let’s talk about 6

Posted by
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 7:11 am

The 6th time, the arrival of Ludum Dare came from the behind. But it seems it’s really that time again.


Last LD, I created a perfect game, and it would’ve revolutionized arcade gaming if it wasn’t for you meddling kids. Now that there’s nothing left for me to conquer on that horizon, I feel like making something more abstract this time, like an interactive toy/simulation/”art game”. I suppose my code structure and such will reflect this too (I wouldn’t want to write the same pseudo-engine for the nth time).

Either way, now I want to do something different and just get into that improvisational creative outburst mode, because that’s the best way to get something out of LD.


(I secretly hate making games and only do it for these blog posts)

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