Ludum Dare 37 Postmortem

Ludum Dare 37

Theme: One Room

Game Name: Hedge Maze Overlord

Play The Game Here

Results: (Results compiled with all past Ludum Dares)

Category Rank (Out of 901) Community Rating
Innovation #119 3.68
Fun #239 3.32
Theme #264 3.68
Overall #294 3.32
Audio #342 2.68
Graphics #560 2.26

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!

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