I participated in Ludum Dare 40 this weekend! The theme was “The more you have, the worse it is.”
I’ve spent a lot of my spare time in November learning Game Maker 2 by trying to build a Tower Defense game. So, when the theme was announced I immediately thought, that sounds like a Tower Defense game! So, that’s what I made. You play as a mage who’s been imprisoned in a maze built as a prison for criminals with magic abilities. There are monsters patrolling the halls and you can cast a spell that creates a Totem (tower) that can shoot fireballs. It’s pretty basic, but I think it works pretty well. I think it’ll be very hard to beat.
Game Maker preformed great! It was one of the most productive gamejams I’ve done. Game Maker did get on my nerves in a few places but overall I was impressed how quickly I could get ideas working. I can see using it more going forward. But, I must admit a part of me still wants to dump it and just write something from scratch, typical programmer.
The game itself is pretty interesting and I can see a lot of ways to make it better. It’s basically a Roguelike mashed with Tower Defense. So, making the maze procedurally generated is the clear next step. I’ll see how the reception goes, if is does a tiny bit okay, then I’ll probably make a post-compo version and expand on the ideas.
I’ve just finished Ludum Dare 23. The theme was Tiny World, so I made a game about Seed warfare. It came out pretty good. You can play Seeds of Destruction: here.
I didn’t finish. I just didn’t have my weekend clear. You really need a clear weekend to finish Ludum Dare. The tech change in the middle didn’t help.
My main take away: Unity slowed me down. I’m too much of a programmer. When a game engine gets in the way, I can see all the different ways I would code myself out of the problem, but I can’t see any solutions in the engine’s context. Code is a powerful too, and I’m good at using it. Game engine’s are alien worlds with bizarre rules and un-explainable behavior.
So, I’m going to stop using game engines (or frameworks etc.) I’ll use non-game libraries and leave all the game programming to myself. Specifically, something like SDL, SFML or even XNA are good for me, but not stuff like Torque 2D or Unity. I think XNA is “library” enough not to be considered a game engine. It’s more like a toolbox. Oh, I think the caveat here is I want to make 2D games, not 3D.
I think there is a bigger principal at work here: KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid Game Engine’s are complicated systems built by lots of programmers. They have multitudes of audiences with different needs. This all makes them hard to understand with lots of bells and whistles. In order to accommodate all these different requirements, some feature are overly complex with lots of assumptions. Those assumptions require rigidness to keep you out of the weeds that aren’t handle so well because of those assumptions. So at the end of a Ludum Dare weekend, you look back and see all the time lost figuring the game engine’s nuances and gotrchas. Then you pine for a chance to go back in time and just pounded out the code you needed.
The XNA version of my game now surpasses the Unity version. What’s working:
- Player display
- Player movement
- Player collision with items
- Background Board (no wall collision yet)
- Door key displays
- Player can pickup keys
- Wall collision
- Door display (Locked and Open)
- Level transition
- Enemy display
- Enemy following
- Enemy killing you
- More Levels
Sick of fighting with Unity. Switching to XNA. And, I have a party to goto now, so I don’t expect too much of a game done by Sunday night. That’s the way Ludum Dare’s go!
I’m about half way throught this weekend’s Ludum Dare 21 (althought the traffic level is really bad right now.) The theme is Escape.
Tools so far:
My Pac Man mechanic isn’t exactly fun, but it too late in the contest now to change 🙁 I’m using momentum or forces to move the player, which at least one interesting difference over the classic game. This make moving around a little less straight forward, and might have some emergent strategies, we’ll see.
Interesting! Notch of Minecraft fame is video streaming live as he programs his Ludum Dare 21 entry!!
It’s going to be a hard Ludum Dare, because the theme is It’s Dangerous to go Alone! Take this!
What is Ludum Dare?: You have 48 hours to make a game from scratch meeting a theme announced at the start of the contest. Learn more about Ludum Dare here.
Started: December 17, 2010 10 PM EST
Ended: December 20, 2010 10 PM EST
Dev Log: MrPhil at Ludum Dare
- Source Control – TortoiseSVN
- IDE – Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
- Framework – Microsoft XNA 4.0
- Windows 7 Paint (a Windows 7 Feature)
- XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner’s Guide (affiliate link)
- Learning XNA 3.0: XNA 3.0 Game Development for the PC, Xbox 360, and Zune (affiliate link)
- XNA Game Studio Express: Developing Games for Windows and the Xbox 360 (affiliate link)
- XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone and Xbox Live (Developer’s Library) (affiliate link)
- Microsoft XNA Game Studio Creator’s Guide, Second Edition (affiliate link)
Note, The following prerequisites are required: