So I haven’t posted much about my LDJAM entry, but it’s been getting some votes so I figured it would be a good idea to post about it here. Simply put, my game is a poor Super Crate Box clone.
Sadly, the game didn’t get balanced, or even really finished. The menus were slapped together in a hurry and a bunch of artwork didn’t get completed. Me and my artist were not really well prepared to enter the jam, which is why I didn’t make a post announcing that we were going to enter. We weren’t sure if we could get anything done in the time allotted.
We had opposite sleeping schedules. He’s from South Africa, and I’m in the United States. Working with different timezones probably hurt us more than anything. While I was waiting on HUD, he ended up making more weapons. When I needed enemy artwork, he was busy with sleep, or rolling blackouts – as South Africa has some kind of power issues at the moment.
So needless to say, this game isn’t complete. But it’s still sorta fun, and the graphics look pretty sweet if I do say so myself. (Thanks Unity Pro Trial!)
So check it out if you want. I enjoy feedback – but believe me, I already know the game isn’t great.
We faced several problems right off the bat. My original intentions was to program it in Game Maker: Studio completely by myself and submit for the compo rather than the jam.
A friend of mine offered to team up with me about 5 hours before the jam. I wouldn’t be able to help with the programming due to the language he was using, but I agreed anyways. It was decided I’d work on audio on concepts.
Fast forward towards the beginning of the competition, and I was running off of 2 or 3 hours of sleep. I’d tried previously, but couldn’t get to sleep, so I just opted to stay awake until we at least had a concept done. ‘We’ included me, the friend from earlier, and one of his friends(an artist).
Then we get to the theme being announced. We all dabbled with some ideas for about 10 to 20 minutes before the programmer decided to opt out and leave me and the artist to our devices. I prepared to program while we continued to concept.
Our initial plan was a top down twitch reflex maze. The walls would be moving at you at an accelerated rate and you’d have to us WASD to navigate without hitting a wall or falling behind. We in a way kept this concept, but just changed it around to being an endless runner.
He began on the art, I began importing it. About an hour in, he went to sleep, and I followed shortly after. Luckily realizing I had forgotten to start the time lapse. I started it, and ended up getting some sleep.
A couple hours later, I woke up, and started on the main game. I faced quite a bit of problems. The floor was initially tiled, and I was hoping I could make it sync to the obstacles. I eventually gave up and just made the floor one seamless line and added in some obstacles. After that, I had my initial concept of how I was gonna do anything, and added in some more obstacles. A short bit later, Brad(the artist) woke up and I sent him a build. We ended up getting a bit addicted to it, and didn’t get much work done for about an hour.
From then on out, it was pretty much just him doing art, me hacking away at the programming, occasionally sending builds to him and some friends, occasionally us finding ourselfs in a skype call, and a lot of the time us joking around about things.
We ended up finishing about the time the regular compo was ending, and submitted for the jam(albeit with some undiscovered bugs) and the rest is history.
Fast forward to a week later, I just released a bug fixed version of it, and Brad and I have decided to carry on development from scratch on an entirely new version of Duck, Jump, Die for mobile!
We ended up with a final product! That broke a 6 competition long quitting streak for me, with my last completed Ludum Dare being LD25.
We ended up making a pretty fun game! Even after the horrors of the battlefield, I still find myself playing it when I get bored(on occasion).
We ended up meeting each other! We actually work out pretty well as a partnership, and if it hadn’t of been for this Ludum Dare, we never would’ve met.
We didn’t use the remaining time we had on polish and bug fixing, when it really could have used it.
The game is highly unoptimized, and tends to slow down for some people.
The music is incredibly loud, and ends up hurting peoples ears first time around.
Finnaly got to converting screenshots in to a TimeLapse of my part of coding.
You can see there that we use Pahser.js and Invaders as template to start from. There were 2 other programmers also working on it trough bitbucket repository.
We also did it during Garage48 GameDev Riga so at some point for example you can see me writing/preparing a 1:30 seconds pitch before the judges panel there
Here’s a little timelapse I did of my Ludum Dare 31 progress. It shows you how I built our game The Agency. At least the first two days of it. Unfortunately I forgot to record the third day. Regardless, I think it’s a fun look at game development. I hope you enjoy it.
As for the game: We came up with a pretty interesting twist on the “Entire Game On One Screen” Theme and I’m mostly happy with the result. A few things could have gone better, as always. For example: I think it takes too long until the player reaches the first really interesting point in the game.
Phew, what a Ludum Dare adventure that was (and boy am I tired!). We got nearly the entire Tech Valley Game Space crew to make a satire of free-to-play social games called Laundry Day. And we all learned how to use Construct 2 together! If you can, please rate the game, and let us know what you think!
The jam started off for us pretty slow. At first, we had no idea what to make, but I saw a video of a man helping a dead shark give birth to its three babies. I instantly knew that our game should be underwater, and I continued thinking about it. The original idea Cameron and I brainstormed together was to make a game revolving around a similar mechanic to Lost Woods in the original Zelda, minus the screen transition. So you’d wrap around the screen and the rooms would morph slightly and new enemies would spawn. We wanted enemies, bosses, and puzzles. We ended up only being able to fit in enemies and bosses.
Cameron and I continued trying to come up with ideas for enemies, and what the game was even going to be. Cameron worked on the background and character art while I tried getting character movement in. It took me a few hours to get all the math right, and that was about all we got done the first night. However, it already felt smooth and polished. I tried making the code easy to expand and overused the glorious coroutines that are available in the Otter engine.
I didn’t get a chance to start on Saturday until 3:30 PM, so we were already out a bunch of hours. I had interviewed Florian Himsl (Binding of Isaac) on indie(Radio); Broadcast #50 and that took up a majority of my morning. So we were already pretty far behind, since the jam was nearly 1/3 over at that time and all we had was this jellyfish moving around. The rest of the night consisted of me programming the start of the squid enemy, getting lighting effects working, and learning how surfaces in Otter work. This was one of our major downfalls, that we tried to do a lot of things we didn’t know how to do. Cameron had never done this art style before, and he isn’t experienced with animating (more about this later). I had only tried doing lighting once, and it was awful. The way I was doing certain physics were also different than I had done before, and ended up giving me a lot of trouble at first until I completely wrapped my head around what I was trying to do. Another huge time waster for me was all the special features I added to the lights; you can (in code) specify a series of colors, intensities, and sizes, as well as timespans for each, and the light will loop through these. It is used a little bit, but there were features that weren’t used that could have saved me programming time had I not gotten carried away. We had a lot more effects we had originally planned on putting in the game, but ended up not adding them because everything little thing takes a lot of time when you put it all together. I also should have brushed up on vector maths before the jam, because I’m a bit rusty with them. Before I went to sleep, I hit a friend of mine, Mike LeRoy, and left him a build, asking if he’d be interested in making some tunes for us.