Ludum Dare, all over bar the shouting

It’s now a few hours post submission cutoff, and I’ve had a chance to play several of the other submissions and see the quality of people’s work. Now (as I was before we started) I was impressed by the number of people willing to try weird and outlandish combinations of technology (I’ve seen several games deployed solely to Linux, at least initially). My favourite would have to be one of the afternet#ludumdare halfops who made some kind of simple platformer in assembly, I think it was for a TRS Arm.

As of writing, there are over 1700 entries so I couldn’t possibly hope to sample more than a tiny selection, but of the ones I have I was quite impressed by Undercolor Agents (pick up weapons, shoot colour blocks to return the world to monochromey goodness, check it out here) and one I think was called Minima, where you had to flip perspective and move a cube around (can’t find a link).

My own humble submission can be found here, and although the end result is not something I’m 100% happy with, I don’t think it’s possible to do a game like that in 48 hours. Following a few desperate hours testing before submission cutoffs, I managed to get some valuable feedback – the gist of it was that my game was simply too confusing. My “interpretation” of the theme was that I would minimise player teaching, and attempt to get them to teach themselves. I definitely overestimated my ability to convey that, but of my testers who stuck with the game long enough they figured out how to get far enough to win. Of note I think, was stumbling across http://www.bfxr.net/ (before I found out about the list of tools suggestions, where it featured prominently). BFXR speedily gave me some neat retro sound effects which I could slot into my game, and coupled with additional HUD feedback and the two tooltips, I was able to overcome some of the drawbacks.

I think the main thing LD48 did for me was opening my eyes to the wider world of indie gamedev. I wasn’t expecting so many people, so many wild ideas and crazy technology. It was inspiring to hear people talk about using OpenGL/DirectX/LWJGL/SFML/Low level Graphics Library #279, so I think for the next compo I’m definitely going to attempt C++, most likely with SFML and one or two other libs (game enough to try Chipmunk again? maybe). Judging is on for the next three weeks, so I’m definitely going to be exploring more of the submissions over that time.

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Ludum Dare 3/4 done!

This post is actually a few hours late, but I got sidetracked by various things. Progress hasn’t been as good as I’d like, but I’m still fairly happy with where the game is at. Gameplay has been refined further, GUI/menu/level handling have been improved and some new (less horrible) textures have been put in.

My plan from here is to grab a few hours sleep, then come back and really hammer out level generation/difficulty. At this rate I’m not going to have any audio, unless it’s something I can track down from the internet in 5-10 minutes (is that allowed? have to check the rules).

Build 3 is available from dropbox here, and there’s an embedded web player available here. My plan from here is to grab a nap, then spend the last few hours trying to work in some feedback from testers – my next post will be after I’ve submitted I guess.

Ludum Dare 50%

It’s now over halfway through, and I’m finding myself not only well rested and unstressed, but also reasonably confident about the game (it’s even kinda fun!). I uploaded the source to Github last night, and test build 2 is available from dropbox here.

Most of my progress has been ideasmanning it up as well as tweaking and polishing before I get down to the serious business of level generation and UI. I’ve come up with and discarded a bunch of minor feature ideas, and slowly the game has morphed into something much more playable than what I had last night. Main things I’ve been tweaking include the goo interaction (with other goo). The current state is that it slowly moves off other goo, and periodically merges with them to form bigger goo. They also cancel out enemy goo (like matter/antimatter). Also of note is that there is a basic menu screen, a spartan (but functional) UI and a “Win” condition (but no lose condition).

There’s been some ripper gameplay bugs, but thankfully I cleared them out without too much trouble. Unity’s convenience of allowing me to focus almost solely on gameplay coding is really coming out, but I miss working in C++.

Ludum Dare 25% mark

I’m in, and a quarter of the way through! This is both my first Ludum Dare and my first 48 hour Game Jam, so I’m taking things a mix of lightning fast and slow + steady. The theme is Minimalism, and despite a bit of grumbling I thought I could do some neat stuff with it. My first playable build is complete (nothing fancy like menus/start buttons/win messages, that’s planned for the last few frantic hours).

Build 1 screenshot

Download from dropbox here.