LD#32: A Giant Weapon Development Time Lapse #LDJam

I created a time lapse video of my development of “A Giant Weapon”:

Once again, you can find the game, albeit incomplete, at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-32/?action=preview&uid=251.

LD32: Submitted but Disappointed #LDJam

When I started this weekend, I thought, “I’m going to make a complete game that’s enjoyable to play.” I wanted the Button Masher Bros to play my game and enjoy themselves.

Towards the end of the deadline, I was thinking, “I might be able to get the bare minimum of something that could be called a game in.”

And by the end, I didn’t even have that.

I submitted my project, A Giant Weapon, which you can find at http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-32/?action=preview&uid=251

LD #32 A Giant Weapon

You click to tell your soldier to move, and you try to avoid the monster. There’s a game over screen when you get killed.

You can attract the monster’s attention by clicking on it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t add the reason why you would want to do so: to destroy your enemy’s camp.

Fighting bizarre and non-bizarre bugs slowed me down, but I did not do anywhere near as well as I would have liked.

I wanted to get something controllable by 12 hours in, and it took me almost 25 hours. Then I didn’t have anything resembling playability until the last couple of hours, and then I ran into trying to figure out what AI bugs and graphic offsets issues I had.

I watched my timelapse, and I can see that I didn’t take my own advice about not spending too much time on the art. I think the majority of my efforts involved getting the sprites right.

Oh, and the weird bug that caused bizarre issues with the buffer not updating? I think it turned out to be a glitchy system. Once the computer crashed, and yeah, I needed that to happen near the deadline, everything ran fine for the remainder of the compo. I should have rebooted right away. That problem cost me way too much in time and stress.

I’m pretty disappointed and deflated. It’s been two years since my last Ludum Dare compo, and I feel like I’m not any more capable as a game developer than I was then.

I know I have another 24 hours for a Jam entry, but I planned to dedicate only the past 48 hours to Ludum Dare and I will not be able to do much more.

All that pity aside, I did like my idea, and I think the game in my head would be enjoyable if I could have developed it. A bumbling giant monster that gets easily distracted is chasing the player who is trying to lead it to the enemy camp without getting killed in the process. Part of the game play was to get the giant to move in one direction while looking another, causing it to trip and fall. If it falls on top of a building or other enemy structures and units, they would get destroyed.

The monster and the player would each be able to pick things up and throw them. The player would throw things to attract the attention of the monster, while the monster would be aiming to kill. This feature got cut.

Towards the end, I even created quick art to create a building, including rubble, but it never made it into the game.

LD32: I’m 12 Hours Behind Schedule and Have Bugs #LDJam

I wanted to have something playable or at least controllable within 12 hours. I did it within 25.

LD #32 - Controllable Character

You can now click on the ground, and the soldier will move assign itself the goal of moving towards that point.

The monster is still just placeholder art with basic AI.

There are bugs, though.

For some reason, when I run my game, the loading screen gets inconsistent for me. The mouse cursor freezes on the screen on the main menu screen, in both of these cases, I see the screen look like it is locked, or flickering between two images that should not be on the screen. For instance, my loading screen says “Loading resource 8 of 14″, and it bounces back and forth between 8 and 9, which isn’t happening in my code, which makes me think that there is a problem with rendering.

Animation looks weird once I enter into the game, and so I have to restart the program and hope that I don’t see the issue again.

I tried it in another game which has more or less the same code, and it seems to work fine, so at least that rules out an expensive hardware issue.

But the bad news is that I have a ridiculously difficult to diagnose bug in my Ludum Dare project, and there is less than 24 hours left in the compo. There’s also a weird rendering issue in which my terrain is showing gaps behind it as I move about the world. B-(

And I still have a ton of work to do.

Also, I realized that with all of the struggles, I have been forgetting to commit my changes. Here’s the complete commit log:

$ git log
commit 35fabffff77407ce6a66a146ff297df254c5626e
Author: Gianfranco Berardi
Date: Sat Apr 18 20:29:47 2015 -0500

A lot happened; can control player character, have basic AI framework.

commit cc662aa500df16c01dae56ac3a419a64e0448c22
Author: Gianfranco Berardi
Date: Sat Apr 18 10:32:08 2015 -0500

Fixed camera; added grass, monster placeholder, and boulder.

commit 4656623ca6dfc9fc2e68620a7ec5056e171276e1
Author: Gianfranco Berardi
Date: Fri Apr 17 23:27:09 2015 -0500

Initial commit for LD#32.

Early on, I realized that my efforts were all over the place. I wanted to work on adding a playable character, and I ended up making some terrain instead. Nice, but not as important.

So I actually put together a quick design document, inspired by Hybrid Mind’s Ludum Dare 29 timelapse.

Holy cow, it made a huge difference! I was able to dump everything out of my head, realize there were some gaps, recognize that I had a scope issue, and also prioritize whenever I identified a new problem or bug to fix.

It also helps me see my progress. It’s easy to get demotivated when the clock keeps ticking, but seeing all of the completed work reminds me that I’ve made a dent, and it also helps me keep focused because I want to get more of those planned tasks crossed off my list.

Of course, I’m always realizing something that needs to be added, so the list will get larger. I’m not sure if more planning or more doing would have revealed that information to me sooner.

LD32: Breakfast and Even More Design #LDJam

Good morning!

I had some oatmeal with peanut butter and raisins, with some cinnamon and nutmeg. I also had a small glass of orange juice and the smoothie my wife made.

LD #32 - Breakfast the First

When I drank the smoothie, I noticed that the side of the glass had this very neat texture:

LD #32 -Potential Texture

I might tweak the color and turn it into the landscape in my game.

I decided that there will be a player character represented in the game. It adds risk, because if the monster catches up to you, you lose.

So, who are you? I originally envisioned some spoiled brat who wanted to get revenge on the people in his town. Maybe that cool neighbor with the better treehouse will think twice the next time he brags about how much better it is than yours.

But then I took a shower, where we often have our best ideas, and I thought of an outnumbered military unit desperately seeking a way to tip the balance in their favor. Finding a monster to do their fighting for them seems like a good alternative to dying and losing the war.

Which also gives the player a reason to worry about the monster getting killed before it can do its damage.

There’s 34 hours left in the compo. I better start planning.

LD32: Art for “A Giant Weapon” #LDJam

After I got a working build of my project, which didn’t take too long, I started doodling some monster faces.

LD #32 Giants And Ogres

I love how goofy the faces are. I want the monster’s face to be expressive so that it can give clues to the player about what it is thinking.

But just how giant is this character going to be? It can’t be so huge that you can only see its feet. I suppose it would cut down on asset creation, but I envision a very emotive monster which requires a visible face. I want it to be seen as a huge monster, so being merely a head taller than all of the other characters in the game isn’t enough.

But what if there is no player character? That is, the player can interact with the world without having a representative in the world. Then the monster can fit on the screen, and any characters can be incredibly tiny. After all, their faces aren’t as important as the fact that they are running from a marauding monster coming through town.

Maybe they are very tiny stick figures in comparison.

I’m not completely sold on the idea of having no player character. I like the idea of the player running around, trying to get the monster’s attention while avoiding the chaos and destruction.

LD #32  Moving Monster On Screen

That mock up image of the monster now moves about the screen on its own, although the AI is basically “bounce off the walls” and will need to be replaced.

I realized I was falling asleep as I was coding, so I think I’ll go to bed.

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