Ok, so before I begin let me preface or give a tl;dr about what I mean by taking a hiatus. Simply put, I don’t plan on casually modding or making a focus on modding over the time period. I do have one obligation with Darkosto that I will be helping out on and I still plan to fix bugs as they are reported, but I will be trying to take time off of modding and focus on school and the people that are in my life.
If that tl;dr was a good enough explanation for you than cool, but if you still have questions, let me try to answer them here. First off I know the biggest question that most of you are having is how long will this “hiatus” last and to be frank, I have no idea. Recently my life has become extremely busy as I am in my 1st year of college within the college of engineering, which in it’s self is a lot of work. Secondly I have drawn some bad straws with my schedule for this semester which includes four 8am classes each week and I don’t return to my dorm until almost 6pm everyday during the week. From there, I am usually completing class work or relaxing from the day and then due to my 8am the following day I have been going to sleep earlier which eliminates most, if not all of my free time to mod at nights. On the weekends I do have more time for stuff, but recently I’ve been trying to get out more to just enjoy my time at college and meet new people to be with and build up some relationships with. Modding has been putting a lot of stress on me lately, not so much from the amount or type of work that it is, but more from the fact that I haven’t had time for it and modding almost seems like a second job for me. Speaking of that that brings up another point in the fact that I actually do have a real job with my university in mobile development where recently I’ve even been struggling to get in 10 hours a week with them. All and all, this has nothing to do with the community or anyone specific and is more of just a decision that I need to make for me to have some time away while I focus on the more pressing things in my life. Hopefully you guys can see where I am comming from and I’m always available on twitter and such to answer any questions that you may have, just know that I will probably not be as quick to respond as I have been in the past. Thanks for reading, stay amazing everyone and I’ll see you all around the interwebs.
You can watch the time lapse video of the creation of the game here
Results from Ludum Dare 37 were posted just over a week ago now, so it’s time I got around to writing another postmortem about my experiences and thoughts about my game from this past game jam. If you don’t know what a postmortem is, it’s simply a write up that lots of people due after competing in Ludum Dare to talk about their game that they have created and to discus what they liked and/or disliked about what they created as well as anything they may have wanted to do differently either in this game or in future games. This Ludum Dare occured on the weekend during finals week (although my finals were not until later in the week), so it really lowered the amount of time I was able to spend on the game. I will explain in more detail below, but I mainly used ideas from past games to simplify my design and In the end I was able to create my game in just over 10 accumulative hours while also preparing my self for my finals :). Anyways let’s get into the details of the game, shall we?
First lets start of with the bigger question of what did I make. For this Ludum Dare I ended up returning to some of my earlier game designs and themes and what I came up with turned out to be one of my best games as I topped some of the scores from the past Ludum Dare that I competed in (Ludum Dare 35). The game is called Hedge Maze Overlord is an interactive game where you are trying to manipulate a randomly generated maze in order to escort a “child” character out of the maze without running into any of the skeletons that patrol the maze. You are able to manipulate the maze by placing down walls to block the child, or skeletons’ path and force them to chose other paths to pursue. The player has a limited number of walls and each wall only lasts for a few seconds before disappearing and needing a few seconds to recharge before it can be placed again. Before getting into the game, the player is also able to choose how many walls they want to have access to as well as the number of skeletons that patrol the maze. That’s about it really, the game has a fairly simplistic play style and there is not a whole lot to it.
Next up I want talk about the more enjoyable, what went right with the game section of the postmortem. Now that I’ve actually thought about this, however, it’s not so much that things went right in this game, it’s more of things didn’t break. Since this Ludum Dare took place the weekend before finals, I was very limited on time and made this game while on breaks from studying and, as crazy as it may sound, as a way for me to relax during the stress of finals. As I had done in past Ludum Dares, I utilized base code that I had compiled for Ludum Dares to speed up my game making progress by lowering the amount of recoding I needed to do. This combined with the fact that the main mechanic of the maze and ai are both something that I have done and made many times, allowed me to have basic game play completed pretty quickly. For the most part, the only new concepts that I had to actually tackle in the game was to add the new GuiSliders and then tweak a few mechanics of the maze generation to fit the needs of the game. Even the leaderboard was something that I added in the last ludum Dare I completed in, so I had a reference to use for that as well. Given the outcome of the game results and the feed back I received, I’m not going to sit here and say the game didn’t go well because I didn’t challenge myself, it’s more just that I don’t feel the game contained anything new or exciting that I haven’t already done before and thus it didn’t feel like as big of an accomplishment as prior games felt.
On the flip side, there were some elements of my game that, after seeing comments and reviews, I wish I could have included or changed. The first being the overall art, and while my digital art skills are not the best, I do fell like I could have cleaned it up a bit better to make the game feel a tad more polished. Secondly, now that people have commented on my game, I agree with them in the respect that the exit should have been more well defined in the game, because unless you stopped to search for it, there was no real indication that it was the exit or place to guide you character to, to win the game. Along similar lines of in game tweaks, I would have also made the sliders more defined since it seemed many people didn’t use them. Or they just submitted their scores with the default settings which is possible, but even if that were the case, I still thought they blended into the background a little too well. Lastly, something that I would like to change about the game and I will speak more about it in the next section is the sounds. Yes while it does seem the sounds still make the game feel more complete, the style of sounds didn’t really fit the style of the game, so it provided some slight conflict of interests.
Finally the last topic that I want to talk about is what I plan to change for future Ludum Dare games. The date for Ludum Dare 38 has already been announced for late April, which coincidentally, is the week before my spring finals…. what luck! Anyways I will probably do the same thing that I did this time around where I use the game making process as a break from studying and what not, but we shall see when it comes around. Getting back to the question of what I plan to do differently, I would like to Change up the style of audio that I use as well as put some focus into game effects. The first part I began to talk about in the last section, but I want to change the audio style that my sound effects are. Currently I use a program called bfxr and Its a really good sound effect creator, but only problem is that it have a very 8-bit style sound to it and my games do not have 8 bit style art or game play, so it doesn’t really make the sounds feel connected to the game. I will be doing some searching for similar programs and try to find one that does not have the 8-bit feeling that I can use for future games to better complete my games. The second part that I would like to improve on for future games is “Special Effects” to make my games feel less static and more immersive or action packed. Whether it be particles, animations or shaders I do not know, but I would like to incorporate one or multiple types into future games to make them that much better.
That about does it for this Ludum Dare postmortem write up. If you tried out my game at all, I would love to know what you think, but other than that, thanks for reading and stay awesome!
It is now 2017 and I am still behind on basically everything. That being said however, I have also gotten A LOT of things done recently and have been fairly productive over my winter break while I have been home. First things first, I have switched my webhost to a small VPS which will now allow me to do lots of new stuff. Mainly this allows me to host my own Jenkins server to build my own mods and projects and then put them into a maven server for you all to use! This also allows me to redo my webhook “api” and I will soon be switching Chance Cubes to use this website to grab rewards and info off of instead of Github. Speaking of Chance Cubes, I have finally released a 1.11 version of the mod as well as fixed lots of bugs in the 1.10.2 version as well. My current plans are to fix bugs and get one more update out to 1.10.2, 1.11 and to 1.7.10 (update to use new webhook) all before heading back to college on the 9th. Also I will be working with Darkosto and the wonderful group of mod devs that have all gotten together to help make the awesome packs that Darkosto does create and will be working on a custom mod for his supper seacrete special pack that has yet to be fully announced. I do hope and plan to stream some of the mod development before heading back to college once I am given the ok when the pack is announced, so stay tuned! Lastly just some small updates. I will hopefully get around to writing a Ludum Dare 37 post mortem eventually….. we’ll see. I have also been toying around with GobbleCore and TurkeyUtil for 1.10.2 and I may end up finishing it, but I’m not sure. As of right now I’m not liking how Gobble Core is turning out at the moment and am unsure if I want to continue it. I think that’s all I have for now, so thanks for reading and Keep being awesome guys!