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.