Posts Tagged ‘rant’

The theme is awful! Everything is ruined forever!

Posted by (twitter: @tolicious)
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 4:39 pm

Is that you, each time you remember what the results of the past voting rounds were?

Why are you doing this to meeeee ;__;

If so, here is a surprise for you: Your attitude is┬áseverely limiting your ability to come up with good ideas. It is much easier to have ideas when you are positive, motivated and actually give the theme a shot. If the theme is already hard for you and all you think about is “this is awful, people are stupid for voting on this” you sure aren’t making your life easier.

“But Tobias”, you say, “the theme is too limiting. Everyone will come up with the same game.” Yeah, and you probably said that everyone will do a WarioWare type of game for “10 seconds”. And how many of those did we have again? I played a hundred games and I only remember 2 of those – and a LOT of other really creative, fun and diverse games.

“But the theme is simply AWFUL. Nobody can come up with anything good for this!” Sure, except all the hundreds of people who didn’t chicken out when their favourite theme wasn’t chosen.

This is you, not even trying to jump into the water of new experiences.

So maybe this time, instead of dropping out immediately or thinking half-heartedly about the theme for half an hour to prove to yourself that you can’t come up with anything – try to keep an open mind. Maybe it won’t help, but at least this time you actually tried. And who knows, maybe you’ll come up with your best game idea yet by leaving your comfort zone! Of one thing I am sure though: You’ll become a better game designer in the process.

P.S.: And please, stop making posts complaining that people are stupid for voting in a way you don’t like. You are not a victim, so stop behaving like one.

P.P.S.: Yeah, there are themes I don’t like either. Lots of them. And I am awful at coming up with ideas. But I am trying to improve. How about you?

A good idea is not necessarily a good theme

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 6:53 pm

Let me put my rant hat on:

Death is useful +426

“Death is useful” is a really cool idea. I’m pretty sure that a game made around this idea would be really unique and interesting.

But I don’t think it is a good theme for Ludum Dare. The reason is quite simple: It directs too much. It points very clearly to a direction, and removes a bit of surprise, a bit of creativity.

Ludum Dare nowadays has upwards of 1500 submissions. With this many games, I think a good theme has to be as open ended as possible. In short, not a “sentence” term (“death is useful”, “you are the companion”, “protect your enemy”), but rather a “noun” theme (“Glitch”, “Illusions”, “Colours”, “Castles”).

A noun theme allow first time LD’ers to make simple games with simple interpretations of the game (A 2D platformer in a castle), while veteran LD’ers can spend their creative juices trying to surprise us out of our socks (A dialogue-adventure game where the end goal is to convince feuding families to collaborate in the construction of a castle to defend against foreign invaders).

This LD, let’s try to choose an Open Ended theme, even if it doesn’t sound cool at a first glance (or because it doesn’t sound cool at a first glance!). You can always use the cool candidates that didn’t make it to further define the open-ended game (A castle-building game where progress must be paid for with the deaths of your workforce!)

Off with the rant hat

Evolution Curmudgeon

Posted by (twitter: @caranha)
Friday, August 31st, 2012 9:37 pm

Well, while still in my work trip, I managed to set aside sometime to rate some games.

Given that I’m currently on a linux netbook with a tiny screen, the amount of games that I can try out is rather limited, even if you don’t account for work and things like that.

Nevertheless, I managed to rate about 10 games today, and I want to highlight this one:

Social Evolution

Social evolution is a “pick up the right items” kind of game, where bad and good upgrades fall from the right side of the screen, and you must pick up the good ones. The gameplay and mechanics are rather simplistic, but the art style of the game was very remarkable. I recommend playing this game to realize what kind of cool graphics you can make over a simple pixel base.

If you want me to rate your game (a comment is always attached!) feel free to comment below! If your game is windows only, it will take about 10 days before I can rate (when I get back from my trip), but I promise I will!

Cheers, and thanks for all the games.

What makes a good theme?

Posted by
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 2:46 pm

How do you expect democracy to work when everyone’s opinions are so much worse than mine? I mean, it’s like you guys don’t even realize it. Let me just tell you how to vote.


First of all, you should be able to derive a game mechanic from a theme. The point of a theme is to inspire participants as to what kind of a game they should make, as well as narrow down the game mechanics so that games can actually be compared in the voting process. “Escape” as a theme was very vague last time, a lot of people just seemed to make random games and then lazily explain what the player was escaping from.

And themes like “moon”, “dinosaurs” or “beards” describe art styles more than mechanics. Is a moon a game mechanic? Not on my watch. Participants are informed there’s something going on on a moon, but they still don’t get any ideas for the actual gameplay, so there’s not much point in having such a theme in the first place.

How about doing it the other way around, giving participants the core concept of the game, and letting them decide what context they’re applying it to?

I agree, let’s do that.

But there’s a fine line to walk between guidance and freedom. “Self-replication” describes a mechanic alright, but it’s restrictive rather than inspirational. You’re basically going to see the same game over and over again: that puzzle game where the player clones themselves to clear obstacles.

For the record, “kittens”, “evolution” and “territory” are some of my favorites out of the current ones. They help the creative process instead of leaving you unsure. I can come up with many games utilizing those themes creatively, interestingly, even unexpectedly.



(So, to sum it up, vote for Ron Paul.)

Throwing in the Towel

Posted by (twitter: @frimkron)
Sunday, April 25th, 2010 12:19 pm

Well, I’m going to have to give up, I’m afraid. Here’s a screenshot of the latest version:


I’m not going to submit it because there’s nothing even resembling a game in there.

Hear me rant more!

Tales from a Cavern

Posted by
Monday, May 19th, 2008 2:11 am

Maybe this is what I should have been doing for the last LD… It took me two days to make and it’s based on the code of my LD11 entry (I didn’t even miss Felicity!)

Download over herely

Making “just a game” was kind of enlightening, since I didn’t have any real technical challenges to overcome and could just get on with content and putting in simple control logic to make it all come together. It’s pretty much an unthinkable project viewed in terms of what I’ve been doing the last few years, but since both development and result were enjoyable it’s a pretty clear hint that I should be doing it more often.

However, I ruin that immediately by having a natural impulse to make some kind of convenient editor/engine which would reduce the need to write copious amounts of replicated-but-slightly-modified code for instance when I want new enemy types etc. I have made these before, and each time I end up spending weeks or months working on it and then never really use it because I get increasingly unhappy with how it’s built. Still, I couldn’t possibly make a game of say 10x the complexity/scope of this one without using more structured code at the very least. And defining animations, scripted events, enemy patterns etc would quickly get tiresome and repetitive to do in code+Photoshop if you have more than one or two types to deal with. The grunt of this game (discounting image loading and input code) is a 1500-line C file, where almost all logic is directly in the main loop – wonderfully spontaneous way to work but of course breaks down with increased program size due to convoluted value/flow dependencies, loss of overview and the need to repeat code.

The fact that I did manage to create this in just two days though, and that I didn’t run into any major hickups along the way, probably says something about suitable code vs application complexity. If I had gone and made “a perfect design” with fancy classes and streamlined algorithms for everything, I would most likely not be done yet. More importantly, I probably wouldn’t even have started since such a small project doesn’t really justify that kind of work. Not without the prospect of a larger product coming out of it, and if there was one I would probably be too intimidated by the thought of that and keep trying to out-think myself in terms of what stuff I’d need to make that “great big thing” work eventually.

I think Derek Yu recently said something about coders being able to “doodle” games like artists sketch with pencil and paper, and that’s probably an important thing. A sketch is never meant to be used for anything substantial, it’s just playing around with the tools of your trade to make something spontaneous and fun. If it turns out nice then you could potentially do it again from scratch but “do it right” and expand on it if you wish – but you should definitely not be doing it the roundabout way to begin with since that would destroy the spontaneity and make it a laborious task instead of a free-minded sketch. When sketching you can only use whatever skills and processes that come natural to you, without considerable planning or conscious mental effort. Of course, with increased experience this set grows larger and some people could probably do advanced class hierarchies without thinking too much about it. All the more power to them.

Since I made this thing in such a short timespan, I have a pretty good overview of all the techniques I used and the bare-bones code needed to make them work. This could provide some extra value when designing larger game systems as I might be able to target my efforts more carefully, and not get overly general or implement pointless things. For trying out pure game ideas though, I still feel that it would be sensible for me to “sketch” in a more streamlined tool… a kind of game maker for sure, but definitely not Game Maker (for the simple reason that I’m incapable of using any tool that is close enough to what I could potentially build myself, which is a most unfortunate condition in terms of productivity… but creating a tool to fill some (possibly imagined) need of my own is just so very rewarding)

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