Home » Games » Ludum Dare – Treasure Seeker post mortem~!

Ludum Dare – Treasure Seeker post mortem~!

LD_09

It’s post mortem time~! I really need to post this. Ludum Dare was my fist real compo, and Treasure Seeker (or TSeeker for short) is my first ‘original’ idea… soo… I’m quite excited and all ^__^

You can download it and play here it’s just 3 levels about five minutes long, but hope you’ll like it anyway. Also – if you participated in Ludum Dare I’d be grateful if you rate (:

Theme

I can’t say that I go unprepared for any theme before hand. Obviously while voting I have some first-thoughts, that seemed interesting, but all ideas I came with were those small gameplay features you could add to any game without making them that special. Also I must admit that I’m quite social person in times. It was my first Ludum Dare, and I wanted to share it with some of my friends, unfortunately none of them participated, but we discussed some themes from 1st and 2nd round of voting. We came up with one idea. One of these that’s hard to implement, finishing is very rewarding for developer, but not fun to play at all.

So I came with three small feature ideas and one big, but useles.

Fortunately current theme was Beneath the surface, one that I didn’t think about, and one that really gave freedom. It aggregates many different ideas from simple ‘below earth’ (digging and even undead stuff), through below water (surfing!) even living beings!

Concept

I live in UTC+1 area, so for me theme announcement was in the middle of the night. I waited for it and go to sleep. Woked up with some ideas of what I wanted to code.

Something similar to digger or boulder dash, with dogs. You take a role of mother-dog and hide delicious bone from your puppies, so they can learn how to seek food. First you hide bone, and then puppy start searching. I liked the idea, but if you want to hide something properly it should be near surface, so… not very playable.
Maybe player should take a puppy role and seek for bone? But it’d be too straight-forward. Seek for proper smell and dig. Boo~ring.

So maybe a man with metal detector? Treasure finding. But only difference between that vision and boulder dash was starting point. Above the surface. And I really liked ‘puppy player’.

After small brainstorm I decided: you’re the seeker (like a mother dog, or metal detector) that belongs to somebody and helps find something. A treasure. Maybe it’s a bit cliché, but still have more sense than digging underground in search for food.

In the end you’re seeking spirit imprisoned by evil, gauche ogre, who wants to lay his hands on magic chalices hidden underground many years ago. If you help him he might relase you.

Final decision and fast pen&paper sketch:
LD_00

Time handling

LD_01

Well, since I’m quite used to work under time pressure, and I considered this as funny challenge so I didn’t panicked as I thought I’ll. Of course it had bad effect, during first 24h I was very distracted. Helping out my depressed friend, walking with a dog, folding origami, and so on.
Because of that I was gradually tossing out ideas and features, and ended making something that more resembles prototype than actual game. Bad thing is: it relaxed me, so I had too many breaks in last 10 hours.

Altogether I spent about 16 hours on actual game making (implementing, testing, drawing graphics), and about 4 on re-learning allegro library, and learning other stuff.

Coding

LD_02

It’s one hell of a mess. Really, when I look at source code (here’s repo) I fell bad. First step while continuing TSeeker will be some serious refactoring, with learning a proper way to organize game code. I tried to learn it on the fly, but I guess it didn’t go that good. On the other hand I moved slowly, from simple moving on ground, digging to commanding ogre was rewarding and I’m proud that I really implelemented it. Small iterations were great for short compo like this – I was able to repair errors relatively quickly – maybe longest took me nearly 3 hours, but I’m pretty shure that it’d take longer with bigger iterations. After all Sic parvis magna – “Thus great things from small things”.

Another good side is: with smaller iterations you can take little breaks more often (;

Graphics

LD_06

All done by myself, and maybe it don’t look as good as it looked in my head, but I really like them. And I really appreciate fact that I have solid vision what I should draw. Maybe spirit (white guy) is looks more sci-fi than I planned but… hey, it’s my third pixel-art attempt, and all other things looks consistent in my eyes (I know they’re bad in some way).

Audio

None. What a surprise. At first I really wanted to add, even simple “right”, “left” command played after ordering ogre around, but – as mentioned in time handling section – I threw out that feature at some point, and I really regret this. It’ll be one of first features to implement in next version.

Summary

LD_08

To improve:

Well once again I confirmed that :

  • I tend to cling to my ‘basic’ ideas. It was really hard for me to abandon that mother & puppies idea, even though I know it’s hard to add any features to it, and it probably wouldn’t be that funny to play…
  • I hopelessly block up at some points. I know what to do, I’m quite sure how to do it, but I just can’t… (now you all know why I still haven’t completed MDP-helper…) I sit, and stare at code, and think about all ways it could possibly go wrong.

I need to work really hard on these to improve myself!

And what for just that project:

  • Level design – I need to read some tutorials. I prepared 6 levels – three made it into proper game, 2 were too easy, and 1 was way to difficult. But after all those 3 lvl still provides about 5 minutes of gameplay…
  • Graphics – time to practice pixelart or find nice artist. Maybe my sprites are somewhat cute (in my eyes at least) but still they’re ugly as hell, or even more…
  • Code organization – it really, really… oh, you read that before. So you know.

Good things:
  • Lots of fun, and satisfaction. When I submitted T-Seeker I literally wanted to sing and dance! Unfortunately it was middle of the night for me, and I don’t live alone…
  • I learned a lot, and re-learned even more.
  • It may be quite childlish but I really felt like part of community (:
  • People seems to enjoy basic idea behind T-Seeker.

Future

Well… I definitely want to continue Treasure Seeker, add some sounds, some enemies, dying mechanics for ogre, more levels! Maybe voice commanding for ogre. I have many ideas, some of them are great (I hope), some could be realy wrong.

But for now I must complete MPD-helper, and we’ll see what future brings.

Posted in Games and tagged as , ,

Comments are closed.