[LD27] Dissociation post-mortem

It is a few days after the competition now, so I’ve had some time to rest and reflect about my performance over the weekend. Although I am not entirely happy with the outcome of my game, I am very proud that I managed to string together a functioning game with an actual goal. I would have loved to have more time to implement all the features I wanted, but I guess every LDer runs into that issue.

javaw 2013-08-28 04-16-26-89

Play the gameLudum Dare

I managed to render my ridiculous timelapse video after having a lot of trouble. The biggest lesson I have learnt this weekend is not to record a time-lapse in fraps because 10 hours of footage is about 500 GB of data. Sadly, this meant I only managed to record about half of my work over the weekend, but it is symbolic enough none the less. I’ve compressed about 12 hours of footage into a few minutes, but I had to render multiple times so it really screwed up the video quality. Oh well, I have learnt from my mistake. In the future, I will use fraps to automatically take a screenshot every 10 seconds or so, and instead use the image files to compile the time-lapse.

What went wrong:

Time

I spent way too long fussing over how neat and reusable my code was, that in the end I was very short on time. I managed to program all these brilliant tools for making maps, characters, and weapons, but because of the lack in time, I couldn’t make the assets to actually use the tools. I ended up with only a few building variations, 3 characters, and 2 weapons. It really doesn’t take long to add variety to the game because of all the infrastructure I coded, but because I didn’t have time to make any art assets for them, the tools proved to be useless. I really should have just hard coded everything. That way I would have been able to focus more on the art, and actually make some sound effects and music. Next time, I will definitely try to manage my time better.

Theme

The theme was actually another reason I ran out of time. I decided to do a more ambitious project in hopes of using the theme in a more interesting and unique way. I originally planned for you to play as the good personality, trying to keep your other personality out of trouble by hiding weapons from him, or taking pills to try to suppress the amount of control he has over you. Unfortunately, I realised I was running short on time and had to change the rules so that you play the psychopathic personality that is obsessed with murder. In the end, the theme felt very tacked on, and not an essential part of the game even though the whole game was planned around it.

Art

Because of the lack in time, I really skimped out on the art. I didn’t have time to texture the buildings, floor and doors. And I had to design the characters as just emoticons so that it would be faster to make. I really want to focus on this more next time.

Music and sound

As I said before,  I didn’t have any time to make the music or sound due to the lack in time. To be honest, even if I did have a few hours, I’m not entirely certain I would have been able to make any. I have absolutely no experience in any sound software, and was very unprepared.

Mental stamina

On the first day, I should have gone to sleep much earlier. I spent a good amount of the day doing proper work, but I started to slow down near the end. I started day dreaming, getting distracted and making bad decisions due to being tired and having worked on the game for so long. I would have been much more productive if I went to bed a few hours earlier and woke a few hours earlier the next day.

What went right:

Code

I personally felt that I had done some very solid coding. The game is relatively bug free, works as intended, and has some very reusable classes. I spent too much time on coding properly, but that did mean it came out quite nicely. I might pull out some of the stuff made in here to keep for later as some basecode.

Blog posts

I think constantly forcing myself to step away from the coding to write a development log about my progress really helped me. It gave me a good break, and allowed me to take a step back and evaluate the choices I was making. This helped me slow down, think more about what I was going to do without just rushing into a decision that would have turned out badly.

Testing

I managed to get a few people to play the game and give me feedback. This helped me find a game breaking bug that I could not replicate on my own computer, but I managed to fix that. I got a lot of great suggestions, and I wish I had time to actually use them, but I didn’t even have enough time to fill in my own stuff.

General

In general, I thought development went well. I spent a total of about 25 hours of pure development (taking out breaks, etc), which is quite a lot in 48 hours. I also felt quite productive in that time, even though I might not have been producing the right things.

Conclusion:

Overall, while I wish the game could have come out so much better with all the features that I planned, I am still very pleased that I managed to make a functioning game. I think it can actually be quite fun once you understand all the rules and controls. The competition has definitely given me a kick of inspiration to continue with game development once again, so I hope to use this to be a bit more productive. My next project will likely be the October challenge, where you have to try to make at least $1 by making a game. I think completing a challenge like that will be absolutely crucial to moving up a level in terms of game development.

The Well (Day 4 devlog)

Nearly done now! Today wasn’t as productive as it could have been, I spent way too much time looking around for royalty free songs and sound effects, and didn’t really come out with anything good. What I did accomplish today was adding some new textures such as the spikes, though I had to do it myself since the person who offered to help dropped out. I also added sounds into the game, and a menu screen to pop up before and after the game. I am quite happy with how the game has turned out, though I will have to do a lot of level design and art tomorrow to release this game in a reasonable state.

The way I did sounds was to have a central sound manager with a hashmap of all the sounds I need. When I want to play a sound like the player running, I set the player’s sound to the sound I want, and call this sound manager to play it in a loop. The other method I use for one time sounds such as the thud from falling or the sound effect when you die is to simple directly ask the sound manager to play the sound once.

the well menu screen

Starting splash screen

The spikes I did for today don’t really match the overall style of the game, however, I don’t really have time or skill to improve them at this point. From now, I need to focus my time into level development, and other high priority tasks such as the game over screen. I also did the art for my menu screen which isn’t amazing, but I am happy with it. I realise I won’t have a lot of time tomorrow, but it will be my absolute last chance to release this game within the next few weeks so I have to power through, and if it isn’t as complete as I would like it to be, then so be it. I am optimistic about it though, as I coded it quite flexibly, which means if I want to make a better game at a later time, I really only need to do the assets and level and not too much coding.

The challenge I faced today was using my time wisely. I spent far too long looking up sounds, and didn’t end up with many at all. I am not fully happy with the sounds I have right now, but I doubt I will have time to change it.