Monday, December 19, 2011

post ludum dare post

Well, I didn't quite finish whatever it was that I was working on for Ludum Dare 22. To tell the truth I had some trouble with my idea. A couple of specific things come to mind:

1) 48 hours to do the /entire/ game, from concept to ship, is a very tight schedule, so the idea itself needs to come to form and solidify *very* quickly. I think Notch had his "Harvest Moon" idea within the first hour or two, like right after he had a blank window up and running in his code.

2) It might have been easier to do a 2D game, even using Unity3D, simply because it's a lot faster to draw low-res sprites than it is to do even the simplest 3D modeling. At least, with my current level of skill with MAX, which may very well improve with more use over the next few months.

3) As they always say, it is best to start the competition fully prepared. Usually this is meant in terms of tools, but I found myself adapting my work tactics as I went along, taking some really long breaks to sleep, nap, walk the dog, etc, and had to make a run to the store at one point to get some energy drinks and snacks. I could have arranged beforehand to have all of these things taken care of for the compo and minimized my time away from the keyboard.

4) Did not pick up on the music thing until maybe halfway through. My collection is a little thinned out right now, as I'm switching off of DRM music and am in the process of deleting a lot of what I had before - the proverbial pulling of the needle out of the arm. I made up for this lack of music on my computer with some internet radio. That really helped, and is something I'll continue to use in my daily work, but only came into play maybe halfway through.

So, to sum up, this was a really great learning experience, even though I didn't even get close to where I wanted to have been by the end. Having to work within a 48 hour window forced me to figure out ways of working quicker, much of which is applicable outside the competition. Obviously, this will all come in handy for the next Ludum Dare, which I definitely plan on doing when it comes around in April.

And also, there's like 600+ games submitted, which I intend to play as much of as I can, even though I'm not able to rate any of them because I didn't submit a game of my own. I'll probably follow up with another post once I've gotten through those with my thoughts on the other entries, some of which, just from the titles/screenshots look very interesting indeed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

LD22: live blog

Fri - 11:27 - scrapping the island thing. realized that it relies a bit on "Standard Assets" from Unity, which I'm pretty sure would be breaking the rules of the compo. starting over with a clean slate and no standard assets.

Sat - 12:42am - i've got a lonely dude on a platform. maybe some kind of crapsaccharine purgatory that you have to escape from somehow?

Sat - 12:46am - added shadows. doesn't look right without shadows. and why not, since the web player supports nice, dynamic real-time shadows.

Sat - 1:30am - very crude platformer controls going. they need work. still thinking about what to actually have done in this world. i kind of like the general look of it so far - the isometric crude-3D-ishness of it, anyway. maybe some kind of introspective action puzzler...

Sat - 2:06am - made the jumping less shitty. added a respawn mechanic. it has a little bit of an indie platformerness to it now.

Sat - 2:54am - i have this monolith-looking exit thing going.. you just can't quite go /through/ it yet.. i do kind of like the look of it, though. reminds me somewhat of voxatron. starting to think more along the lines of "escape from purgatory within XX time", maybe add in things that would be especially tortuous and taunting and meaningless to someone with absolutely no social life.

Sat - 3:14am - ok, well you can go through it - that part is easy enough. it's just um.. supposed to go somewhere.. i.e. "exit" to some other dimension..

Sat - 11:09am - slept. up. ate. back to it..

Sat - 1:42pm - fixed up the movement so that it follows an 8 direction D-pad style with the isometric view. and the camera follows you, even as you fall down, and fall back to where you started. tried adding auto-step-up for the platforms to maybe be able to get rid of the jumping. that didn't work out so well. i need to get the exit portal working somehow so i can get to making some proper levels.

Sat - 3:39pm - added a way of teleporting from one part of the world to the other. i decided not to do it as separate levels because Unity resets the input axes whenever it loads a new level, which leads to a bit of a cognitive break since you have to re-press the movement button you were holding down when you walked through the door in order to keep moving.

so now it's got this ability to be a sort of exploratory world. i'm thinking of keeping to the theme of "alone" by simply keeping it devoid of other life forms; that you're supposed to find your way out. like a maze, i guess. although mazes can be pretty cliched, so i'm going to keep thinking about how i want to approach that.

Sat - 3:47pm - time for some sound effects..

Sat - 8:03pm - took a nap after adding some bits of another room/level, then had dinner and walked the dog. back at my desk with a full cup of coffee.

Sat - 9:20pm - working on a walk cycle in Unity's animation editor

Sat - 10:34pm - i added some shoulders and hips to the model to support movement animations, and made a simple walk cycle consisting of just the legs moving back and forth. now i just have to write the code to play it at the right times..

Sun - 1:13am - had a bit of a snafu with unity and lost a bunch of work and had to redo it. fixed that and got the walk cycle code in (easier than i thought it would be). also put some tunes on, which seems to be helping quite a bit.

Sun - 1:29am - looks like the basics are pretty much there. now comes the real work!

Sun - 11:12am - that was a nice little nap. fooded up. tunes going. day 2!

Sun - 11:40am -

Sun - 11:57am -

Sun - 12:37pm -

Sun - 12:54pm -

Sun - 1:21pm -

Sun - 1:37pm -
some more fiddling about with the key/lock mechanic. should probably get to a jump mechanic. starting to think the way i'm doing respawns could be exploitable in not-so-good ways, so i might change it.

Sun - 2:19pm -
trying to get back onto the theme of "Alone"..

Sun - 3:13pm -
screw it - i'm making an enemy.

Sun - 3:32pm -
meh - i cant be bothered to attempt the AI for this right now. going to find some other form of conflict/obstacle to overcome for this next part.

Sun - 5:39pm -
ok working on something totally different that definitely has a lot more to do with the theme. hopefully will be able to get it working in time..

Sun - 5:39pm -
this is some rather silly code that i'm writing..

Sun - 8:03pm -
this is like the core element of this thing.. less than 1 hour to go!

Sun - 9:14pm - meh. didn't finish in time. oh well. back to that other game i was working on! will definitely try this again in april!

it is on like the donkey kong

LD22 theme is "Alone"

Trying something to do with an island, or islands, or something. For now, anyway. Don't really have a specific gameplay in mind yet aside from just wandering around this deserted archipelago. Might still think of something completely different and go with that, or think of something that does go with this. For now, I'm messing around with islands.

WebPlayer is over in Test Arcade. I'll be updating it with builds.

LD22: I'm in!

This weekend, I'll be taking a break from the super-duper-top-secret project I have been working on to give this Ludum Dare thing a whirl. For no other reason than to possibly come up with something new and different and cool, which as good enough a reason to me as any. Hopefully there is no rule against declaring oneself "in" just 15 minutes before the official start of the compo.. :) Even so, it'll be fun to give this "make a game in 48 hours" thing a try and see what happens.

Tools I will most likely be using to at least some extent, because I use them for my other stuff:
* Unity3D
* 3DSMax
* Audacity
* Bfxr
* Perl
* MonoDevelop
* Unityscript (JS, maybe a little bit of C#)

The game will be about..whatever the theme voting says it will be about, which I'll find out shortly and probably post a bit about in a bit.

Thanks for stopping by, and to everyone in the competition, good luck!