Blooming Buds here with the post mortem of our first Ludum Dare entry as a team. Some things went right while others went wrong, but in the end we came up with a quite positive balance.
In Wild Flirting you take the role of a monster trying to find love using a dating app. The problem is that you have the social skills of… well, a monster. You’ll have to check user profiles and learn about their personalities while you chat, so you are not uncovered and banned from the app.
We have to admit that we had a hard time finding the game idea. We started with a point and click game about being a disguised alien in a spaceship. You had to eat people without getting exposed. We had some more mechanics and contents planned, but we decided to go to sleep and keep thinking before committing to that idea.
The next morning we were not fully convinced with the idea, so we started from scratch! We discussed the idea for like three hours, and then the “Dating app simulator” thing crossed our minds. We switched to the new idea pretty fast, since it was more affordable and heavily focused on design, which is the part we enjoy the most!
We splitted the work into four groups: design, code, art and music.
The design focused on building a huge dialogue database. We had to create a narrative big enough for 10 different characters, each one with its own personality and its own set of questions and answers. We ended up with about 12 pages of script. At first we thought that it was going to be easy, but then we realized that coming up with this amount of meaningful content was really hard and time consuming.
Before the magic
After the magic
On the programming side, we started from scratch. First, we coded a parser to store and link every conversation with each character. After that, we implemented a simple conversation scheme (question-answer-question-reply), trying to mimic the flow and aesthetics of apps like Whatsapp or Tinder.
With the aforementioned coding finished, it looked like we were close to be done. But nothing further from reality. The main scene transitions (between character selection screen and conversation screen), the intro screen, the art positioning in a pretty and usable way… All these “details” took about 60%-70% percent of the development time.
Let me see your guts, Unity
The art team had to build a good environment for the game (the monster’s chamber) with a few animated details. Besides from that, any dating app would need profile pictures, so we had to draw a portrait according to every character designed, which somehow represented its personality.
For the music we had the chance to use a Farfisa Professional 88 organ of a friend of us. That brought exactly the kind of sound that we were looking for. A perfect mix of the 60’s seductive songs and dark humor.
The real MONSTER
What went wrong
- Distance: lesson learned. The problems in the development of a game are directly proportional to the sum of the distances between all the members of the team, or something like that. We made the whole game separated.
- Not very modular: our game basically occurs in a single scene, which usually means problems when dealing with Unity + Git.
- Testing (minimal): we had no testing. Ah no, wait… two people.
- Last hour bugs: The two testers found some bugs just before the deadline. So we were in a hurry!
What went right
- Scope!: we are proud to say that it was, surprisingly, highly accurate. If we had decided to put some other mechanics or content we probably wouldn’t have finished on time.
- Organization was key: knowing what each of us had to do at every moment kept us busy and focused.
- Team work: we had constant communication, allowing us to help each other and providing feedback when needed.
What we used
- Code: Unity, C#
- Art: Photoshop, Illustrator
- Music: Farfisa Professional 88, Cubase, Audacity
- Collaboration tools: Google drive, Gtalk and bitBucket
Thanks for reading and feel free to try Wild Flirting!
Try it out: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=56152