Rock 'n' Slash: Ludum Dare 23 Postmortem

Posted on April 29, 2012 in Projects

Well, I think it's about time I made my Ludum Dare 23 postmortem. First of all, I blame not posting in a long time on my seemingly inherent laziness. Procrastination is an easy trap for me it seems, but that's another topic altogether.

Back on subject, the latest Ludum Dare took place between April 21st and 24th, with the main competition ending on the 23rd. It just so happens that this event was Ludum Dare's 10th anniversary, which is pretty awesome.

Before we get into what went right and wrong, here's a little introduction. I entered the main 48 hour competition like most others, and used FlashPunk to make the game. The game I ended up creating is Rock 'n' Slash, and you can find a timelapse of the process on YouTube.

The Good

Comfort

First off, I believe I'm getting more and more comfortable with Ludum Dare each time I enter. I'm getting better at making a rough schedule in my head, more comfortable with my toolset, and so on. I'm just getting more of a feel for it I guess.

Speaking of toolset, I essentially used the same tools as last time, with the exception of using my Wacom pad to draw the background. Since I hadn't used FlashPunk in earnest since the last Ludum Dare, I was surprised at how second nature it all felt.

Relaxation

This was by far the most relaxed and laid back Ludum Dare for me. I overslept on both nights, took more breaks, and still ended up looking for things to do before the end of day two. It was actually quite confusing and worrying.

In hindsight, this probably wasn't a good thing; I could've made the game a lot better with those hours put to better use. The trouble is I couldn't think of any feasible ideas at the time. But hey, I enjoyed myself and made a game, that's what really matters.

Art

I'm really happy with the art I produced for this game. Art is definitely not a strong point for me (I'm getting better of course), but this is probably the best looking game art I've made. The grass looks awesome, the character animations are very good for me, and the "depth-of-field-like" background looks pretty cool too. It's a great visual achievement for me.

One thing I'd like to mention is my choices for limbs. As you may notice, the limbs of the player and enemies are incredibly simple; the legs are 2x1 pixels, and the hands are 2x2 pixels. The reason I did this is because I know that animating limbs is a big weakness of mine. Considering all that, I'm quite happy about the way they turned out.

Polish

The extra time I had on my hands did mean I was able to polish the game some more. I added little things like a vignette, a menu background, text shadows in the menus, and stuff like that. More polish and refinement on a game is never a bad thing, and really aids in making the game a cohesive experience.

The Bad

Gameplay Issues

The gameplay could've been better. It could've had more enemies, been more challenging, and generally had more to it. I decreased the difficulty from the original level after receiving feedback that it was too hard. I know that I can easily create games that are too hard for most everyone but myself; Facilitated Escape was, and may still be, an example of that. However, the general consensus now is that it's a bit too easy.

This is the trouble with working in such a small timeframe. Tweaking difficulty can take a long time, and usually requires a good deal of testing from other people; it's tough to do that in 48 hours.

As said before, it could've really used more gameplay elements as well. Two good ideas that were suggested, which I'll probably address in the post-compo version, are more enemies and power-ups. Again, it's a time management thing.

Testing

Unfortunately, I wasn't to get as many people testing the game as the last two times. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't happen this time. I always like to use the last few hours to get people testing the game and providing feedback, but only one or two did so this time. Anyway, that can't really be helped.

Conclusion

Overall, I'm very happy with the result, even if it was a bit lacking in gameplay elements. So far the feedback has been all positive to varying degrees. It's not as enthusiastic as the initial reaction to Uncorrupted (my Ludum Dare 22 game), though I'm not too worried about that.

Last time my game scored place 34 out of 717 competition entries. This Ludum Dare there was a whopping 1402 games submitted, with 1072 of them being competition entries. The optimistic side of me hopes for a top 25 placement, but the probability of that is doubtful.

I do plan to release post-compo version of my game, though that won't be for a while; there's a lot I can do with this one. In the meantime, I'm making commits every so often over at the game's GitHub repository.

Anyway, thanks for reading!


Tagged in Ludum Dare, FlashPunk, game development, programming, art
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