Ludum Dare 25

Posted on December 19, 2012 in Projects

Well, I participated once again in Ludum Dare and managed to succeed in creating a game (unlike last time). The game I created is called Amongst Shadows, and you can play it here on my website, or rate/comment on it at its Ludum Dare page.

Anyway, on with the post-mortem.

Theme

The theme was "You are the Villain"; I had hoped it would be "End of the World", given the date and that I had a good idea for it, but that was not to be. Now this was a somewhat difficult theme for me, because I hate playing characters of the evil archetype; I wasn't going to create some mindless mass-murder simulator. I decided to make the morality of your actions somewhat ambiguous. You're on an infiltration job for some mysterious organisation, you're probably a mercenary, making you morally grey. Furthermore, it isn't clear whether this organisation is good or bad, though it's hinted that they're bad.

This brings me to a more philosophical question, who is the villain? To the guards, you're clearly the villain. To the organisation, you're a good guy. The villain is a matter of perspective, and who you asked.

What Went Right

The AI I created for the guards is probably the highlight of the whole thing for me. I've never really delved into AI before, so it was a new experience for me. Considering that, I'm quite happy with what I came up with. The guards have a field of view, and they can't see past solid objects, nor can they see you when you're hiding in the shadows. The have a level of awareness, they fire at you, and search around your last known position when they've lost sight of you. Ludum Dare certainly fosters rapid innovation.

In terms of visuals, I was quite pleased with the animation work I was able to do, especially the guard's death animation. The lighting worked quite well, although the light shapes were a bit rough.

Other than that, I was able to work around 27 hours in total, a new record for me.

What Went Wrong

I was planning on using LÖVE this time, but I hadn't thought about level loading and editing, and tiled collision (things that FlashPunk makes easy). Ogmo Editor has worked quite well for me in the past, but it exports to XML. I tried various Lua XML solutions, but none seemed to work properly. Besides that, I'd tried tiled collision in LÖVE, but I just couldn't get it working properly in time for the competition. It's a real shame, because LÖVE has so much more capability than Flash/FlashPunk, especially in graphics and physics.

One major post-release problem seems to be input lag. I don't know why, but as soon as you run the game in the browser, there's some minor input lag that makes it difficult to backstab guards, and makes it slightly harder to move. Another reason why I wish I could've used LÖVE.

The game was shorter that I'd have liked, but I just didn't have the patience, nor time, to create many more levels.

Besides all that, there were points where I was very worn out, and starting to get emotionally down. The work catches up to you, and anxiety creeps in; it goes away after time, but it's not pleasant to go through.

Conclusion

While I had fun here and there, and ended up with some great innovation in AI, I don't think I'll participate in the main competition for some time. There are good periods, but even more "I want to end it" periods. Perhaps I'll participate in the jam next time if there's others to work with; that might be a more laid back experience.

Anyway, thanks for reading.


Tagged in Ludum Dare, game development, FlashPunk, Flash, artificial intelligence
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