December Ludum Dare

48 hours to make a game. An awesome idea.

I make games for two reasons:

  1. I like programming them.
  2. I like that people play and like my games

For reason #1, is really simple, you sit, program and done. But for the second one, getting people to actually play your game… that is quite difficult. It is even more difficult to get people like your game.

Ludum Dare is perfect for #2 reason. It has a huge audience and if played right, you can get a decent amount of plays in your game. With people playing your game, you get feedback and feedback makes you and your game better.

I started with Ludum Dare 23 using game maker to build a bullet hell(Bathtub Story) and then took a huge break and made a comeback in LD28 with still more game maker and made Monster Interceptor. Then LD29 with javascript programmed Switcher which to my perspective was a huge hit and even got a mention in Indie Statik. And the last one LD30 with Mammoth Monkey Mole (a modest hit) also in javascript.

Every game made in LD has taught me something and that is priceless. Looking forward to LD31.

Ludum Dare 30 – Results

The results were up since Monday, but I was a bit busy writing the js13k posts.

For the LD results:

results

Great results, reaching #99 in the fun rating is an excellent achievement, we polished the game as much as we could. Perhaps my only regret was not making better graphics… but you have to sacrifice something in such a small time frame.

Coop game developing was definitely a good choice since we could bounce ideas around and discuss while the game was in development and not waiting until the end for some feedback.

A nice addition to our game jam team would be an artist. That way we could add sweet graphics and instead spend more time coding.

You can still play Mammoth Monkey Mole!

 

Mammoth Monkey Mole – Post Mortem

mmm

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.

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.

Delivery day

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.


 

Tools

IDE: WebStorm
Great for javascript writing and debugging. It includes a Chrome plug-in to quick deploy and debug.

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.

LD30: Mammoth Monkey Mole

mmm

August is the month for Ludum Dare and this time I made a puzzle game in collaboration with @nigonzalezm. The theme for this jam is Connected Worlds, so we made a game in which you control three animals from three different worlds. The animals can’t see each other, but the environment did interact with all the animals at the same time. 

As Mammoth you can use your weight to press switches and move rocks, just be careful not to place a rock on top of the monkey or mole.

As Monkey you can jump further and activate levers to allow your other animal fellows to pass.

And as Mole you can move dirt to clear the way or to bury your mates…

It is a game made under 72 hours for the jam.

The game is available from the ludum dare site if you want to vote for us or directly on skullmate.itch.io/mammoth-monkey-mole I hope you enjoy playing it as much as we did making it.

mmm2

Mini LD 53: Inmortals

After about a month of no gamedev, this weekend I was ready to get back to work. Go Mini LD 53!!!

I made a small game, probably about 10 hours investment, just toying with ideas. I have been drawing in a tool called Hexels, it is really nice and I wanted to develop games with hexels style. This is the first game with all assets created in Hexels.

MainMenu_itch

The workflow

1. Design characters and stage in Hexels

gunnerSmall2stage

2. Export to sprite sheet using Pixen to test animation

mainlancer

3. Use in Phaser game engine together with particles and sfx/music

scr

The final game

You need to make time for your comrades. The catch, you are fighting the inmortals. Try to survive for as long as you can by destroying their current body.

CLICK on the inmortals to focus fire.

Visit the LD website or play it directly at itch.io

Ludum Dare Results

Ludum Dare 29 has reached its end and the results are ready. This how Switcher did:

Coolness 100%
#225 Graphics 3.73
#562 Innovation 3.06
#585 Humor 2.40
#736 Mood 2.79
#772 Fun 2.77
#774 Theme 3.00
#775 Overall 2.95
#1004 Audio 1.63

Not bad for a game made in a new engine.

One great improvement since my last Ludum Dare was the reach of the game. For Ludum Dare 28 my game received about 40 votes, but this time Switcher received the amazing number of 150 votes.

In my next post I will share some statistics provided by itch.io about the times Switcher was player.