Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ludum Dare 23: Post-Mortem

Today seems to be one for productivity; two of the blogs that I follow finally have updates (Rylod and Cult) so I feel rather compelled to do the same. Before I can tell you what I've been busy with however, I think it wise to bring some closure to my Ludum game and what better way to do that, than to write up a post-mortem.

The weeks leading up to LD
About two weeks before LD started, I created a modified version of my Voxel Editor capable of creating 2D sprites. I limited sprite resolution to 8x8 due to my lack of artistic skill but the decision led to some other problems (more on that later).

The editor caters for different frames (standing, walking and attacking).

After I was happy with the editor, I created another modified version of it that could be used for creating maps. I kept the file format for both very simple, only serializing the color data into huge char arrays which in effect, actually just makes these editors paint tools.

The first level of my LD game. Note the frowney face near the top as well as the artistic manner in which the unibrow  forms a part of a much friendlier happy face at the top.

The advent of LD23
A good friend of mine (also a fellow indie dev) slept over at my house for the duration of the competition. We did the same last year and I found it quite motivating to have someone sitting beside me, partaking in the same hardships, penury and strife as me.

I got up at around 05:30 (Due to our time zone, LD started at 03:00) and jumped straight into producing some content. Last year, my entry lacked quite a lot of variety so I decided to start on that this time around. I spent around 3 hours creating sprites (82 frames of them I believe - since an actor consists of 6 frames).

What went wrong
I'll try to keep the lists short so it can be easily read (and perhaps applied to your own entry next time).
  • I didn't sort out all my errands before the weekend.
  • I found it hard to create unique sprites with only 8x8 pixels (Think Realm of the Mad god).
  • I spent too much time on content and not enough on a proper combat system.
  • Didn't set aside enough time for sound effects and music.

What went right
  • I slept less than last time. I was so focussed on my code that I could hardly fall asleep when I finally got into bed. Not extremely healthy, but it worked.
  • I knew my tools very well and was comfortable with my environment.
  • Working 'with' someone was a great motivator. Even though we were each working on our own games; when you get the feeling that you want to stop, think about what that would do to the other person's motivation.

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun doing LD. Unlike last time, I started looking forward to the next one almost the next day. If you didn't take part I can strongly recommend that you do so next time. This was only my second time but I don't see myself ever breaking this particular habit.

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for a post on what I've been working on these last few weeks.


  1. Hey, do you know of any good 2d game engines? I'm looking a bunch up, but I don't want to download them all and then test them out. :)

    1. Sorry no, I always write my own so my knowledge on this topic is -4.

    2. *Twitches*

      YOU WRITE YOUR OWN? GAH! WHAT ARE YOU? *Attempts to poke you with a stick*

  2. Hey, where ya been? I've been waiting for two months now for an update . . . :)

    Check out what I've been working on for the past four days (After three weeks of learning):

  3. Hey man. I've been on vacation :) I'm back now though and will update this week.

    Nice work on your game, I'll read through your posts tomorrow and comment there.

  4. Awesome, looking forward to it.

    Thanks. I'm glad I've actually started to get things done. Originally, I kept on starting projects that were way to big for me, and then I just stopped, frustrated, to pick up another one a few days later.

    Finally, though, I said, "I'm not getting ANYthing done." So I just reverted to the good old cubes-and-code style that I can actually work with. :)