Ludum Dare Compo is 48h global game developing marathon.

Rules:

  • Create Fully Functional Game in less than 48h
  • 1 person only
  • All code, graphic and sound assets must be done by the maker
  • Open Source

 

  • Theme of Ludum Dare #34: 2 Button Control + Growing
  • Announced: 3 AM CET, Saturday 12.12.2015
  • Deadline: 3 AM CET, Monday 14.12.20115
  • Initial Commit: Around 9 AM Saturday
  • Final Commit: Around 2:30 AM Monday

Tech used:

  • Unity 5.3,
  • Gimp,
  • HG Source Control + BitBucket online repository,
  • Google Docs
  • ChronoLapse recording,
  • Stay Focus Chrome plugin

Status: Successful (game is completed and working)

Links:

What was ok:

  1. Preparation
  2. Execution (except the last 4h)
  3. Scope
  4. I had enough sleep
  5. Motivation & Productivity

What was not ok

  1. Planning could be better (I did not assume any time buffer)
  2. I had to cut features and have not implemented any sounds
  3. Quality needs to improve
  4. Low coding skills in Unity

Preparation:

This was my 4th GameDev Marathon so I already knew what to avoid. I knew it will be tough. Additional challenge was that this time I was doing it solo and online.

I have read Post Mortem of another fellow game developer to learn from his mistakes: http://ludumdare.com/compo/2012/04/25/bill-in-bsodia-post-mortem/

I had to stay productive, focused and motivated and before participating I had done some steps in order to keep it that way:

  • I spammed online about Game Jam and my participation (More Fame = More Shame if Failed). Annoying to others but gave me good negative motivation (sort of potential kick in the ass if I fail)
  • I gave upfront warning to my girlfriend and coworkers that I will not be available for them. Sort of “Do not disturb” sign.
  • I have blocked facebook and twitter on my desktop (used Stay Focus chrome plugin) and put my mobile phone away. I went to social networks only during my breaks.
  • I have decided to record my work as a Time Lapse (used Chronolapse application). The compo was online with no one else watching. The fact I was recording myself gave me that missing factor. (Sauron voice: I see you) (Link to timelapse: https://youtu.be/BsY0PtGg_hE )
  • I have prepared and tested source control and all tools upfront before the Compo started.
  • I have rested enough and had proper sleep before the coding

Execution

I turned the alarm clock for 3 am and went to sleep.

After waking up just to learn what the topic is I have went back to bed to decrunch the idea in the sleep and started coding and design first thing in the morning.

Before coding I have decided to focus on idea that I could deliver alone with my limited skills and which would give as much gameplay as possible with as little additional design as I could.

I went for arcade feeling. Wanted to get quick pace, lot of action and procedural generated levels (to save time on level design).
Choice was old school side scrolling shoot’em up with autofire since I could quickly implement limited by theme controls.

Another challenge was my limited painting skills. I don’t know how to draw but this compo required me to do everything so I had no choice. I went for simple Pixel Art with grotesque and exaggerated feeling. Since I don’t know how to draw I made it look like it was meant to be so ugly.

I left the sound creation for the last moment. That was a mistake since I have not managed to implement them at all.
I have quickly created a short list of features, sort of concept doc or features list so I could get a hold of the scope and track progress.

You can track my coding progress via BitBucket commits list https://bitbucket.org/roundrockstudio/ludumdare/

I did not have any major blockers during the coding process since I chose pretty safe and easy mechanic. I wanted to focus on get things done working and just then innovate.

During the monster wave creation I have encountered some funny bugs which I have  decided to leave in code as I liked them ( sprites getting in collision with rigid bodies of other monsters which made them spin during the flight)

The major issue was with the Boss Fight which I failed to deliver with effect I wanted to achieve. It is bugged and it is still not working as I want it to work. Moreover I spent way too much time trying to fix it.

This caused major frustration in the end which resulted in me getting even more blocked with the creative process. Due to delay with the boss fight I had to cut features such as power ups and adding juice. Also I failed to make any SFX and Music.
I could avoid that if I decided to simplify the boss fight instead of going deeper into the dead end of “creating something epic”

Summary

Overall I am happy I made the game alone which assured me that with enough preparation and better planning I am capable of delivering something tangible. I liked the idea of being in full control and knowing that I can depend only on myself.

Lessons took:

  1. Simple is Better
  2. Self Discipline and Focus is the key
  3. I can do it alone.