Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ludum Dare #27 Results & Response

As of yesterday the results for Ludum Dare #27 were released after a month long public judging session. Here's how my entry "The Saddest Landscape" placed overall out of all the entries submitted:



I was able to place in the top 25 for 3 out of possible 7 categories in a total of 2,213 games submitted:

I am very happy with this result as I feel I have gone above and beyond my previous Ludum Dare #26 result significantly which tells me that I have improved as a designer. I hope to further exceed or par with these results in the next Ludum Dare event in December. I will continue to enter these competitions in the ability to further my game making skills and to hopefully one day be placed in the top 100 games submitted as a long term goal.

I have had some minor online response to the game without sending it out or asking people to play which has been quite reassuring. Someone did a really nice blog post about the game, unfortunately it is in German so using an online translator is required.

Someone also featured the game in a Youtube compilation video of his top 21 Ludum Dare games.

Ludum Dare Result Comparisons:

Friday, 13 September 2013

Indie Speed Run 2013

All set up and ready to go
As of later today myself and Joe Kinglake will be competing in the Indie Speed Run 2013 48 hour game making competition.

Supplies for the weekend are in, laptop is all setup, drawing pads and paper are out, the entry fee of $25 has been processed and I have my credit ready to hit the 'Go!' button to randomly generate a theme. This should be an awesome weekend ahead!

The main reason I was initially drawn to this jam was because of the awesome lineup of judges that get to play the game that you make. One of my favourite designers judging is Jason Rohrer of the game PASSAGE. As well as many other known industry professionals. Also, if you haven't played PASSAGE, I recommend it highly, his approach to design I find highly influential. 

I'll postmortem analysis the game soon, however it's against the rules to publish the game online until judging starts in October. I'll check to see if writing about it in full detail is allowed, if so expect a post early next week if not sometime early October for a postmortem.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Super Meat Boy Editor - Miscellanous Experiementation

As of recently I've been messing around with Super Meat Boy Editor just to try something new and to keep my design skills up to scratch.

You can watch a video of what I made here: link
I’m quickly going to discuss the functionality of the editor and why I think it is a good design exercise for any beginner designer to take advantage of.

What's good about it 
Testing capabilities
The editor is really nice at prototyping any ideas for a cool level that you may have. Pressing ‘F1’ jumps back and forth into play mode and dev mode. You can also move the spawn point of Meat Boy by pressing ‘B’ which proves extremely handy in skipping areas to test a specific section of the level.
As a designer the limitations that the editor features prove an excellent design exercise in further developing one’s ability to make a fun and solid playable level.

What's bad about it
Saving levels seems a bit shady, I’ve only been using it for a couple of days now and I haven’t been able to load any of my existing levels which I’ve saved before. They probably still exist somewhere on my pc in the editor file location, but as of yet I haven’t been able to locate these files. I’ll spend some time looking into this and hopefully resolve this issue.
Unfortunately you can upload your levels to the Super Meat Boy world due to it being hacked shortly after its release.
All the bad points aside, the editor is only a beta. However I do think it allows for some really awesome design practises for those who are just starting out in level design who haven’t yet written their own editors. In addition to presenting a nice framework to build upon and improve for those who are writing their own level editors.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Saddest Landscape - Postmortem

So under the theme "10 Seconds" for Ludum Dare #27 you can view and play my entry here: "The Saddest Landscape".

What went well 
Established an interesting link to the theme fairly quickly: 10 Seconds” made me think of old school films in which have a countdown such as: link. This then led me to think about old film projectors more specifically a film reel or film negative strip. I thought it would be interesting to create a world that lies within a filmstrip, and that players themselves are in turn telling themselves a story as they play it, this was how I interpreted the theme. I was surprised to find a number of people who thought I hadn’t considered the theme and were unable to see the connection.  There is no gameplay mechanic that directly links to the theme; my interpretation was purely visual and aesthetically which I felt could have been the reason for this misunderstanding.
Making artwork and animating: Creating art and animating are my stronger side so naturally this went relatively smoothly. I feel I do well in establishing a certain feeling or mood in the game and are happy with the results. I didn’t want to do a purely black and white game as my old LD26 game was all black and white; I wanted to have at least some hint of colour. So I went for an old sepia brownish tone which was intended to give an old fashioned kind of feel, that I hope it does.
Managed to submit something: Having almost scrapped the idea midday Saturday to do something that was easier for me to program (I was thinking of a point and click adventure perhaps) I was happy that I stuck at it and managed to submit something that ran relatively smoothly. 

What went wrong
Learning AS3/Coding: I’m not much of a programmer but I love coming up with interesting design ideas for games which is why I participate (and to learn). But I got very frustrated throughout programming the game which is why this entry isn’t as substantial as it could have been.
The game mechanic I wanted to implement would have been that the characters could let go of each others hands and that when separated one can make it over further to reach gaps and aid the other character across, so basically hints of puzzle elements to the game.
Bugs (oops): I submitted the game with one silly bug I knew about but completely forgot to fix If players hold the ‘up arrow’ key the characters just fly up endlessly. There are also some minor collision issues which are beyond my knowledge of programming to fix so I just had to work around these issues throughout development.

Not Much of a Game/No Gameplay: I think I ever so slightly bit off more than I could chew as I know very little AS3. This meant that I was able to get a concept out but unable to implement a game mechanic and to design some intrigue levels with a nice curve around this mechanic. However I learnt a ton of new things because of this. What I submitted isn’t much of a game (yet) more of an interactive storytelling conceptual piece and proof of concept.

What is next
I’m fairly happy with the concept and I feel it has a lot of room for potential. I plan to continue working on this due to the nice feedback I have received from fellow devs. I have found myself a programmer and we’re currently working evenings and weekends to maybe make this little prototype into something hopefully substantial. All the artwork/characterization will be further iterated and touched up for a more unique/established art style based on some very valuable feedback I have received. A solid game mechanic will be put in place which in turn will give some puzzle elements to the game, as well as adding some variety to the twitch skill mechanics currently in place for platforming.

Thank you to everyone who played and for your kind words.