Ludum Dare 23 – April 2012: It’s a small world…

Alright, my second Ludum Dare diary. Follow the trials and tribulations of another 72-hour games jam marathon. Just like last time, I’ll add anything exciting as it happens, or post here when I should be making stuff…
For more Ludum Dare, just go here!

A bit of pre-jam information

I’ve managed to lose my standard Ludum Dare partner, Gazok, in the middle of his university exams. Gazok, if you’re reading this, “HA!”.
However, I have formed a super-team, strewn though-out the length of England… Well, kind of. We’ve got Jon (ViciousHorizon), Jenny (Syra), and one me (SalamiChild). We should have a team name or something… I’ll update this if we think of a good one.

We’ll be making the game using GameMaker 8 (Who’d have thought it?), but I’ll be trying to stay away from the drag-and-drop as much as possible.
The graphics are going to be in GIMP or Photoshop, or whatever else Jon and myself have between us.
Sounds are hopefully being made using SFXR, BFXR, or something like that, and music… We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I can’t speak for all of us, but I’ve stocked up on energy drinks and ginger beer (which has, for various reasons, become my “up-all-night” drink). I also have a neat little timer, slowly ticking down into oblivion…

It’s not a pure-pink desktop… Honest.

Crunch Time

And the theme is… Tiny World!

…Oh boy…

Time left – 68hrs 37mins

And so ends nearly five hours of brainstorming. Pretty hardcore. Jenny had all kinds of hi-lighters, white boards and sketch books on the go. We’re all heading off to get some sleep (Jon had a head start on this), but it’s impressive how much we’ve manage to cover. We went from initial ideas and thoughts on “Tiny Worlds”, to choosing the best ones, to designing a totally radical, and mostly secret, game. Back at 12 noon =D

-Top Secret-

Time Left – 60hrs 10mins

Team meeting, interupted only by soup, has nailed pretty much everything design-wise. Game mechanics, story, game flow. It’s all going down, yo’. Next we’re on to the actual level design, such as puzzles based on different augmentations… Yep, you heard right. I’m bringing out the big guns.

Time left – 58hrs 11mins

Split the level into four.

Will make it easier to draw.


Hurrah for place-holding block-colours

Time left – 56hrs 35mins

Spent a while working out the level designs for the first few areas, and designing puzzles based on what you would obtain with them. We all had pretty different ideas about it, which made it… interesting, but it’s progress.
Speaking of progress, managed to speak to Ali (Scalade), who is totally up for making us some music. Thanks buddy. =D

Time left – 51hrs 21mins

Made some good progress, finalizing power limitations and other fun things. Jon’s got some awesome looking nanobots on the go. Planning, counter-planning and re-planning is also popular right now.
But for, we’re having a League of Legends brake…

Jon’s Orb
Jenny’s Orb

Ed is not allowed an orb-robot ._.

Time left – 49hrs 36mins

Ok, break time over. Back to level design!

…Or to bed, if you have work in the morning….

Time left – 47hrs 08mins

Just when you think it’s safe… BAM. More inspiration, questions and issues. Jenny and me spent the last couple of hours rethinking the game play, cutting out half of the power-ups, in favor of more time spent using a smaller arsenal. The game now feels more cohesive, better paced, and most importantly, more manageable. Right now, however, power naps and/or energy drinks are in order. Then on to more engine-tweaking or level designing.

Time left – 43hrs 19mins

Jon just headed of to work, Jenny is (I’m guessing) still sleeping, and I’m doing something different every half hour. A bit of sprite-work, then some actually programming, a bit of level design, research, then back to sprites.
Of course, I need some hot tunes to keep me going.

Time left – 36hrs 58mins

Well, what was meant to be 3 hours sleep became 5… So, I’ve lost a bit more time than I’d like.
Good thing I did get some shut-eye though… All the code I wrote past 6AM is complete nonsense.

Time left – 30hrs 57mins

Everyone has gone their separate ways, for the time being. Jenny is still hard at work designing levels, Jon is hard at work making sprites and backgrounds, and I should be hard at work implimenting the mechanics…

Time left – 25hrs 50mins

Everyone is back together after various breaks. We’ve got finalised level aesthetics coming along, splash art, camera views and finally some mechanics. It’s almost like we’re making a game or something…

D’aww. He’s so cute. Bless his tiny robotic sock.

Time left – 24hrs 24mins (and 24secs)

Glad I’m not doing the Compo =D

Time left – 20hrs 27mins

Sometimes, it feels like technology is already trying to kill us, by making our lives as awkward as possible. Right now, we have some awesome level designed, ready to be added in… But, due to different versions of GameMaker, we simply can’t just drag the rooms into the file with all the mechanics.
This means I either remake all of the levels that Jenny has done in GM8, or redo the mechanics in GM8.1 Lite, but have the annoying little banner all over our lovely game…
Or we upgrade…

Sigh… I’ll just get some sleep for a few hours.

Time left – 13hrs 3mins

Ok, crisis averted. Jon has GameMaker 8.1 Standard, so I guess it’s all going to be alright.
However, I overslept horribly… Keeps the pressure on though, right =D

Time left -7hrs 31mins

Closing in on the deadline now, but I for one am fairly confident we’ll get something done, and to the standard we want it…

At any rate, we’ll do better than last time… No offence, Gazok =D


The lack of updates was caused by frantic work as everything started to unravel…
Mostly coding and programming…
Yeah, ok. It was me, trying to fix everything

In the end,  we ended up not making the deadline, as to do so, we’d have cut out a lot of things that we thought were internal to the story and theme.
However, we can all agree that we learnt a lot, and we’ll definitely continue with this game. =D


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