Ludum Dare 35 Postmortem

Ludum Dare 35

Game Name: Geo-Shifter

Play The Game Here: http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-35/?action=preview&uid=24562

 

It’s almost 2 weeks since Ludum concluded, so I thought I might as well get around to making this Ludum Dare Postmortem thing that people sometimes do. I have actually done one of these before, but never posted it anywhere and I went searching for it before making this one, but I sadly couldn’t find it. Now that I have my blog set up on my website, I think It’s a great time to start doing these post Ludum Dare write ups to just say a few things about my experience. I have no idea who will actually ever read these and well, my english skills are not the best (I’m a programmer, what do you expect?), but let’s do this thing anyways!

 

What did I make?

Ah yes, the big question everyone asks when Ludum Dare finishes. Well this time around I used LibGDX for the third time after not being able to get my OpenGL base code finished in time. I actually tried to make a 2D version of my OpenGL base code and I actually contemplated using it, but given the theme and geometric design that I ended up taking on, I decided to not use it. Anyways, back to the game. Given the theme of “Shape Shifter”, I decided upon the idea of applying the theme into a geometrical sense where you were literally changing geometrical shapes. After a good half hour to an hour of talking to people on my stream and brainstorming, I finally settled upon the game idea. The game follows a Binding of Isaac type control system with a single room, endless, wave based enemy configuration, and some dropping perks. The enemies are composed of 5 geometrical shapes: squares, circles, or triangles. These shapes are broken down into 3 body parts, ears, eyes, and main body, with each body group having a random shape. From these enemy configurations, your job is to “Shape Shift” you ammo to match and shoot at the monsters. Each hit upon the monsters will remove one body part if the bullet shape matches a shape on the monster until all 5 body parts have been removed, at which time the monster is destroyed. Lastly, there are perks that are randomly dropped from the monsters after destroying them. Some are good, some not so much, but they do add another layer on top of the game to give it a bit more depth as well as entertainment while playing. This game is actually a fairly simplistic game, but the waves speed the difficulty up fairly fast and provide a challenge.

 

What went wrong?

Well to start it off, probably the one thing that didn’t turn out well was the monster movements. I went for a very basic and crude method of movement and pathing and in turn forced me to make the monsters move at the same speed as the player in order to not allow them to be easily jukeable. Unfortunately this caused the opposite extreme to happen and made it next to impossible to strafe and juke the monsters. This ultimately causes serious problems for the player if they can’t destroy the monsters before they reach the player. Overall, probably something I would change in future games.

Enemy stacking provided another struggle to players and to me as well as I noticed it during testing at the end of the 48 hours. I probably did have enough time to fix the problem, but due to the very minimal collision detection currently used as well as crude movement of the monsters that I mentioned above, I decided to just leave it as is and let the game be. The main problem with stacking is that the monster the player is shooting is not on top of the stack. This prevents the player from knowing what It needs to shoot at the monsters and causes blind, random guessing that slows their progress and overall, a lot of hassle. This is something that I really wish i would have fixed or at least made it less of a random guess, or struggle to the player.

Another mechanic that I didn’t have a problem with, but people playing with my game suggested that I should have implemented was full range, or full 360 degree shooting. My reason for only including shooting in the main four directions was to keep it easy to make, as well as keep it mostly true to the Binding of Isaac style controls and physics that I initially went with. The players who played my game seemed to disagree, mainly saying that they would have rather user a mouse to shoot at all angles. I personally think that this would have made it harder to destroy the monsters, but If I were continuing to develop this game further, it would be something that I would consider.

 

What Went Right?

Now for the fun part, talking about all of the things that I am happy with in the game.

Biggest thing that I am most happy with is the sound effects that I added. First time ever including sound to one of my Ludum Dare games and It goes without a hitch. Sure It took me a little while to learn BSFX, the tool I was using to make my sounds, but It was all done as extra and implementing it into the code provided no problems. Best of all, it really did put my game on a whole new level as there was actually sound to entertain the players ears and not boring silence like I had in my past games.

The artwork was another major factor that stepped my game up to the next level this year. Geo-Shifter was only the second game, next to God-Kill-A and not including Flash Memory, that did not follow my normal top down game and artwork design. The art was very simplistic (If you couldn’t tell by the all black background and solid color shapes), but at the same time, the art that was included was very basic and meshed very well with the overall game. The player and bottom bar are the only two pieces of art that are always visible during the game and many probably don’t notice the bottom bar is not actually part of the overall background because it just fits so well. Just like the sound, I think that the art really provided another aspect of something visually appealing that caused a lot more positive feedback from the players.

The last concept that I really enjoyed was the game concept itself. The minimalistic approach along with the endless style gameplay encouraged players to play again to try and beat either their top score, or the global top score. Even though the game had it’s problems that took away from the concept, I am still overall happy with what I decided to go with.

 

To wrap things up, I am very happy with the game I have created over the 48 hour period. While it may not be as aesthetically complete as my past games, I do think the overall gameplay and features make it the best game I have made thus far for Ludum Dare. I have conquered 9 Ludum Dares so far and I have no intention to stop anytime soon. 

 

p.s. If you find and spelling or grammatical errors anywhere in this post, please feel free to contact me and point them out. One of my goals in doing these blogs is to hopefully improve my writing abilities.