Posts Tagged ‘retrospective’

Some retrospective (LD36)

Thursday, September 8th, 2016 5:10 pm

Glad to see so many timelapse videos and backstage stories.

We’ve created a special logbook page to share our process timeline.

DAY 1 – 2:00 PM
Ancient Contact Game
Looks promising, right?

I think it starts always the same — just a canvas where you can draw some shapes without actual sprites and animations.

DAY 1 – 4:00 PM
Ancient Contact Game
Pure happiness — when you can move your rectangle with a keyboard

Game supports both mouse and keyboard control — it wasn’t planned initially and we spent some extra time on this. I didn’t realize that input method is an important part of planning and game design.

DAY 1 – 8:00 PM
Ancient Contact Game
Magnetic beam still requires some tuning

At this point we came to the conclusion that the surface must be flat. These small hills require some additional tweaks in the AI and movement code — not so easy for 72 hours.

DAY 2 – 1:00 AM
Ancient Contact Game
And you call this a GAME?!

Polishing, balancing and testing — good ol’ time-consuming friends.

Submission Time:
Ancient Contact Game
Finally.

Share more stories about the process, guys!

Railroad Shifter Retrospective

Posted by (twitter: @dollarone)
Saturday, May 7th, 2016 9:33 pm

Play my LD35 game, “Railroad Shifter”, if you want!
Railroad Shifter

I made a game in 48 hours! It’s easy to forget the remarkable achievement this is in itself!

My goal was to try to make an original game that is not the first idea you get when you see the theme. I initially came up with two ideas to choose from: an anti tower defense game with shapeshifting creeps or a platformer where you can “shift” the level layout as if it was one side of a Rubik’s cube. I wanted to avoid platformers as I’ve made them for the last two LDs. I realised I could take the concept of “shifting the level” and make a pipe-dream/sliding puzzle style game instead.

The anti-tower defense game would need a lot of graphics, so I deliberately chose the “more comfortable” idea to try to keep it simple and get the game completely finished and even polished. And then I added an “extension goal” which was to have a character talk to you while you are playing. Of course, it turned out this “extension goal” took a lot of time that could have been spent on other things – but still, I think it makes the game better in some ways.

So, what went well? I think the brainstorming session I had initially was a good idea – get some options, weigh the pros and cons, before going all in on one idea. I did make the game I set out to make – and I even added the “extension goal”. I did some pixel art, and I’m quite happy with the result. I made music and I actually recorded a single take on my guitar (normally I make mistakes and have to cut and paste bits). I managed to record sounds and get the character act and respond in the way I imagined. I made a couple of good levels (4 & 5) – good in the sense that they can be solved but are not obvious – and I also made two decent introductory levels (1 & 2) to make the user understand the gameplay. And to boot, I think I fulfilled my main ambition of a non-obvious theme interpretation – I haven’t seen (so far) any games with the same mechanic. All good stuff!

But what about less good stuff? Now that I’m critically evaluating my game, and also getting feedback from the community, it’s easy to point out more and more flaws. But this is good – feedback is not just for this game, but for future games as well. For example someone pointed out that its unintuitive that the trains wait if there is no tile – you might in fact expect them to crash and fail the level. I agree – and I was arguing for and against this during the development. Also I wasn’t sure if I should allow tiles to be moved once they had been driven on – in the I did allow, and even made it compulsory in order to solve a certain level.

My main gripe, I think, is level 3. I included it as an introduction to re-using tracks and working with a larger level. However, because it’s so big, it’s really time consuming and because I didn’t explain that the trains can wait, one user was massively frustrated with this level. Level 3 should have been a nice transition from the intro levels to more advanced levels, and it’s not.

Some stuff I didn’t have time to implement – like collisions (now added to the post-compo version). The music was going to have more layers. The character was supposed to include hints and tips to the player, but that was kinda forgotten about when writing the script. More advanced tiles like tunnels, bridges, mid-stations and road-crossing were left out – I guess that’s expected. Some users reported a bug with trains driving off the map – I could have implemented that better. But what’s LD without bugs? :)

The reason for writing a retrospective is to learn for future jams, so what can I learn from this? Well, I already knew that designing levels is time consuming, but I’ll remember that a few well designed levels is fine – but do them early. Perhaps later in the day on Saturday, when the head is too hot for coding. Get enough sleep a few days before LD – it’s really worth it. I struggled mid-Saturday, and I think it was due to tiredness. As the deadline looms closer, I get hyper active and hyper-effective – next time I will try to get into the groove earlier by being well rested.

And the best thing with LD? At the end of it, you will have made another game! See you next time!

Spockey – Retrospective

Posted by
Monday, December 8th, 2014 1:02 pm

So I’ve now had time to reflect on the my LD31 and my development of Spokey – Hockey in space (http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=26938) and would like to share a few things with everyone.

When doing retrospectives I like to stick to a simple tried and tested formula that should make this quick and painless for everyone involved.

I’ll structure it into 3 main areas:

  • 3 things that went well
  • 3 things that didn’t
  • 3 things I’ve learnt

Yes I love them 3’s….

3 things that went well. 

1. I completed something – This is a big win for me as every previous LD that I’ve attempted to this point I’d failed to produce anything I felt happy sharing with the world let alone entering the Compo with. I take a real sense of satisfaction from this and helped my self-confidence no end.

2. I tried to do two new things and succeeded in both – I’ve always attempt to try new things at Jams and sometimes they come off and sometimes they don’t. This time they both did and it’s two things I’ve always wanted to get my head around for absolutely ages (physics and Game Pad support). I feel my game needed them and after some stuttering around I got both working exactly how I wanted.

3. Going to a hosted meet up – Previous LD attempts I had attempted to complete them at home and as pretty much bombed (due to distractions and life stuff). This time I signed up to attend the Google Campus meet up in London and it was an amazing experience.

For 3 reasons I recommend trying to find real world meet up (yes more threes):

  1.  Being around fellow people was truly inspirational
  2. Getting feedback about my game early helped me improve the experience no end
  3. Less distractions was vital, just being able to sit and focus in a place that wasn’t home was brilliant.

 

3 Things That Didn’t Go Well. 

1. Took me longer than needed to come up with idea – The idea I ended up developing was the second idea I had, I then spent 6 hours trying to think of alternatives none of which were any good. I know you have to assess all the angles but really I spent to long and was too indecisive.

2. focused on Art too much – I’ve spent a lot of time this year trying to improve the graphics in my games, this has been a real valuable thing to learn yet I felt it hurt me here. I spent too much time trying to find the right art balance instead of working on mechanics and features, my end product suffers from this.

3. Still need to learn sound – I hate doing sound, so I avoid it like the plague. ***Spoiler*** my game has a single sound effect…. Seriously need to improve in this area.

 

3 Things That I Have Learnt.

1. Trust my Instinct – If I know my idea is the one I should just start and fail fast, rather than mess about procrastinating for 5 more hours

2. Real World Meet Ups are Amazing – I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without the help and inspiration at the meet up so thank you everyone who attended the Google Campus meet up in London (you know who you are)

3. Focus on Features First – Do art at the end not at the beginning, simple rule need to learn to obey it.

 

Anyway, if you’ve gotten this far thanks for reading and hope you’ve picked some things up….

I’m now working on what to do with Spokey next as I really like the idea.

I hope you get to enjoy the game and on wards to #LD32

Ludum Dare Virgin – Retrospective

Posted by
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 11:02 am

As the title says, this was my first LD, and I’m proud to say that I actually “finished” a game.
I was streaming for almost 30 hours, here’s a 5 minute timelapse video of the weekend:

The game I created, HexConquest, is a turn based strategy game, made with Unity.
Here it is

When I woke up on saturday, the competition was already 7 hours in, and I tried to come up with an idea as fast as possible. The first idea was a strange tower defense game, but I tossed it pretty fast. I could reuse the tile generation code I created for the tower defense game for my second project. The second idea was to create a playing field controlled by different fractions, and the player should use his units to conquest the enemies’ zone to connect his main world to others. As you see in the list below, I didn’t get to actually implement the “zone”-thingy, that’s why the theme may not appear obvious…

I didn’t make a plan (one of the things I want to do different next time), so it was pretty chaotic. I spent a lot of time with the pathfinding, so I had to do the A.I. (a topic on which I don’t have any experience with at all) and game objective in a rush and couldn’t even start creating sound/music anymore.

Saturday:

  • Grid
  • Units
  • Action Menu
  • Textures
  • Move
  • Particle Effects

Sunday:

  • Pathfinding
  • Planets & Conquest
  • Build/Repair-Actions
  • Round Manager
  • A.I.
  • HUD

The game has some serious usability problems, few bugs and calls for an overhaul. Until the next LD, I will spend time to improve everything and implement all the features I wanted in the beginning.

As I’m only a hobbyist developer, I learned more over a single weekend than I learned in all the months I was using Unity before, most likely because I never finished a game and never had to deal with every subject of development.
This was the first, but definitely not the last LD for me!

PS: Thanks for all the feedback on my game, it helps a lot.

[cache: storing page]