Ludum Dare 21

Posted on August 22, 2011 in General

After my complete failure in the last Ludum Dare, I didn't plan to take part in the next one (the 21st), however I decided to give it another shot. I'd learnt a number of things from my failure last time: go with a concept that's really simple, and use simple art, like pixel art, at least if you're a programmer like me.

I also decided not use my personal framework for LÖVE; the biggest reason I failed last time was that my framework was riddled with bugs. My framework is much more solid now, nevertheless my main reasons for not using it are:

  • Don't really need it for a project of this size.
  • Makes it fairer for other contestants, like those using C++, at least in my opinion.
  • It would be interesting to make a game without my framework.

I took the advice given in the keynote, and one of the blogs on the site, to be prepared before starting, and to have the game finished a few hours before the deadline. The latter certainly came in handy.

As usual, Ludum Dare is a big rush; there's so much you've got to do in so little time. You've got to prioritise the most important things to do, and do them quickly! It takes some discipline to just to keep on working for the whole day (with a few breaks of course).

Indeed, it's pretty crazy, but very rewarding. I don't think I've ever been so productive in my life; the tight deadline kept me working flat-out. At the end of it all (if you made it to the end), you get a nice little game which you can use and expand (which I plan to do).

The game I created is called Facilitated Escape, and involves you escaping a crumbling facility of some kind using your rocket. The challenge comes from dodging oncoming "blocks". You can view it on its page on this website and its Ludum Dare entry.

There were many new things in this for me. First there's the procedural generation used to create the blocks and background on-the-fly. I've never done this kind of procedural generation before, so it was a very interesting experience. This was my first time creating tiles for a game too, and my first real experience creating pixel art for a game. It was all good fun.

I quite enjoyed the sound side of things too. This was the first time I've created an 8-bit song, which is quite different from the instrumental songs I've made. I really enjoyed creating the soundscape too, with the background crashes and all that.

By the end of Sunday (yesterday), the game was mostly done; it's amazing how much it transformed in one day! I'm glad I had a number of hours the next morning to tweak/fix things, and package the game up; I sure needed it. I submitted the game around 2:30 hours before the deadline.

All in all, I had a great time, and I've gained a lot of practical experience. I would recommended it to all game developers out there. Count me in for Ludum Dare 22!

Tagged in programming, game development, Love2D, Lua, Ludum Dare, Facilitated Escape
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