2013-05-01 - Tinytouchtales
Welcome to my Ludum Dare Postmortem. After completing my second Ludum Dare, i try to reflect on what happened in those two amazing days. If you haven’t played my game yet, take 5 minutes, play and then please rate my Game, leave a Comment and give me some Feedback!
Day 1 started pretty late into the competition. Due to the Time difference i had already missed out 5 hours of the fun. Here in Berlin was a pretty awesome Indie Meetup, the Indie-Connect AMAZE. There i met some friends to join the Ludum Dare. I was pretty bummed about the theme in the first place, because i just recently finished a super minimalistic Puzzle Game DELETR for the iPhones. Therefor i was kind of exhausted on the minimalism theme. I had the wish to work on some fantasy/hack&slash theme like ancient or fortress. But its not always like you want to, i guess. I decided, instead of making an uber cool new idea, to mash two minimal Game concept together. I pretty quickly came up with the idea of pong combined with sword fighting. I started to work on something but after 5 hours i completely gave up on the idea. Pretty sad i left the AMAZE Location and headed home.
After some food i sat down and tryed to tackle the whole theme again. Maybe instead of mashing two minimalistc concepts why not minimizing one minimalistic concept? I sticked to Pong. What could i do? Make Pong single player, so you would play arcanoid style against a wall. What next? Reduce the control mechanism, which could mean that the paddle would only move into one direction and would have a screenwrap, but that would be pretty boring to play… At this point something pretty interesting happened. I have a notebook (actually a lot of them) in which i write down ideas pretty regularly.
Once i (round about 2009) had the idea of making a Game about a Character swimming around in an ocean eating other creatures and while consuming those creatures, the character would become the same specie. I magically remembered this concept and came up with the Rock Paper Scissor idea. You would need to destroy the weaker enemies, avoid the stronger ones and ignore the equal ones. But when you would destroy one of the weaker once you became this enemy and the whole enemy/prey relation changes.
Once i had the basic idea implemented it was clear to me that this was a pretty minimalistic and also fun concept to make. I decided to try to make the game feel like a Vlambeer Game and play as fast as a Terry Canavagh one. I spend only a short amount of time on the Graphics and blandly ripped of my own style for DELETR. It was 3pm already when i looked up.
Started pretty early. A lot of Gameplay polish and also Menu transitions were made on Day 2. A internal Highscore system was made which is based on three stats and should encourage the fast gameplay.
1. The Amount of Tokens you destroy
2. The Level you reach
3. The time it takes you to get there
So when you had a draw in level and amount of tokens destroyed, the player with the best/fastest time would get the better score. When i had the local Highscores implemented, i was in a rush and created a small php/mysql backend to provide Global Highscores (remember i’m no programmer). That worked pretty well and i still had some time left. Again i worked a little bit on the polish of the Game.
The last thing i created was the Music. Music is always a problem for me because i’m hilariously bad a making Music. In Garageband i slapped together some of the Techno loops and uploaded my final Build. With 8 hours left my second Ludum dare ended.
In the end i was super happy that i overcame the motivation hole at the end of Day 1 and without my notebooks, that i can take and look through, scouting for ideas i think i wouldn’t had made it this time. I highly encourage you to get yourself a small notebook and write down ideas every day, those things can pay off years later.
What went well?
Idea: Small idea plenty of time, constrain yourself, don’t make huge things
Gamplay: Polish was pretty good this time, controls felt right and the flow of the Game is pretty good
Graphics: Good artists copy, great artists steal, if you can steal you own stuff – even better
Tool: Stencyl is one hell of a Gamemaking Tool, 3.0 gets better and better
Learnings: Learned how to setup a Global Highscore and how to build customizable Facebook links
What could have been better?
Theme: WHY U NO ANCIENT????
Music: Need to improve my music skills big time.
Motivation: Theme was unlucky for me personal, but i could have approached the whole thing a lot more positive. In the end you can build great games with every theme.
Location: The first 6 hours i spend at the AMAZE Location where it was way to cold. My motivation was improving when i went home, which i should have done earlier.
Risk: Next Ludum Dare i should try to get me out of the comfort Zone, it went a little bit to smooth this time.
Documentation: I had set up a Screenshot Tool to take a Screenshot every 10 minutes. When i started to work on stuff i forgot to turn it on …
Ludum Dare is awesome, Gamemaking is awesome! If i can continue to make games in the future, this would be the best thing that could happen. Keep on making Games and don’t let a stupid theme stop you! I can’t wait for the next Ludum Dare!
See you next time!