Every new Ludum Dare, I feel more prepared. I know more tools, improve my workflow and improve in game making. For the first time in my LD participation I found some else crazy enough to share his weekend with the common goal of delivering a video game.
I had a feel that Connected Worlds would be the winner theme. We were stuck in traffic when the theme was released and to my surprise, Connected Worlds was selected. We spend the first 4-5 hours discussing game mechanics, searching for reference games such as: Zelda, Lolo, Guacamelee, among others.
Usually a puzzle game is something I avoid because of having to program the rules and also design the levels. This time participating in the jam and also having a partner we decided to go with it. Designed the characters, the basic movements and some special abilities for each character.
Our timezone allows us to start friday night about 8pm, which is a great advantage.
I started coding the game and Iván started with the level design. The first approach was to move using mouse click to select the destination tile. This was good, but felt slow and we decided to change it to use keyboard. The game now used the arrow keys to move.
Programming was taking a lot of time and I feared we may not be able to add all the features we required. We then made a priority list with all the rules required to get the most levels with the least features implemented. I started tackling each item one by one. By the end of the day I was worried the monkey still could not jump, but decided to sleep and try again the next day.
Started with the monkey jump and it was implemented. It took about 6 hours more to get in the rest of the rules, all the planned features were programmed. We had a playable, yet ugly game. Since the graphics were not helpful, solving the puzzles was extra difficult.
Spend the rest of the day creating graphics, while Iván started with the music and sound effects. Also some testing and lots of bug fixing. By this time we had 12 puzzles.
This day we worked remotely. I had a free day from my day job and spend most of the day polishing. Added main screen, the level names and fade out transition. Added the pending SFX for switches and other items. Added the 13th level and submitted to the site.
After delivering spent some time playing other LD games.
Audio Edit: Audacity
Really useful to crop audio and edit pitch or tempo.
Version Control: Git with SourceTree
Having the game under version control, means you can experiment freely without the fear to break something. Really improves the workflow.
Art: Pixen + Pyxel Edit
Pyxel Edit is great for tile design and selecting palette colors. Also used Pixen for quick edits.