My First Ludum Dare Is Over!

So I just submitted my finalised build of the game to the Ludum Dare website. It’s probably got more bugs than I can shake a stick at, but I’ve fixed as many as I could find in the last few hours and added as much visual polish as I could. It’s now time to pack for tomorrow’s trip to Wolverhampton for teaching stuff and then put my feet up and have a cup of tea. I am knackered!

I proudly present “THE EVIL REVEAL” a game in which you play an evil CEO who has plans for world domination. You are about to present your evil plans to the company’s board of investors… hoping that they’ll all fall into line and become your evil minions. Unfortunately for you: All of your employees have consciences, and will eventually become scared of your insanely evil ramblings. When they get too scared, they’ll attempt to flee the room and alert the authorities! Luckily, you have an array of dastardly traps set up in order to kill and maim your enemies!

Evil Plan Reveal

So here’s a little post mortem from my first attempt at a Ludum Dare:

What Went Well:

  • Programming/Designing Speed: The time-period I had to make the game was quite tight, not only due to the 48 hour limit but also I had some other things on at the time… I’ll talk about them in the second section.
  • Idea Generation: I came up with quite a few ideas in the morning for the game I was going to make, but I’d like to thank Alex Saye for providing me with the inspiration for the final version of my game by showing me this Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch.
  • Graphics: I really like the style I achieved in this game, I was going for a style similar to that of Lone Survivor. I think it works quite well and its definitely different from what I normally do when it comes to art in games… not to say that my traditional style menu screen didn’t pop-up like usual.

What Didn’t Go Well:

  • Lack of OOP methodology: I’m afraid I slipped quickly into a non-object oriented approach quite quickly when I started this project, unfortunately meaning I ended up with LOADS of arrays for storing different Board Member variables (like whether they were on fire or if they were dead.) One day I’ll learn to pre-plan my classes… but right now my clsSprite.cs file has never really done me wrong!
  • Going Out Drinking: I kinda might have gone out drinking with friends on Saturday night. This probably cut out a massive amount of time I could have used to make the game better. But I feel that I made up for it by coding til about 6AM afterwards though.
  • Sleeping In: Pretty self explanatory – I’m in serious need of a fixed sleep pattern as I keep waking up at midday. Like with the point above this cut deeply into my possible coding and asset creation time.
  • Balancing Issues: The final game is a little broken if you play it right. The flame-thrower is really OP right now and it spreads like wildfire between the Board Members and always guarantees a kill. It kinda makes the Tesla Coil useless… but it’s still a lot of fun to hear a loud zap noise as the people get killed by it.
  • Lack of AI: I considered having some form of AI to allow the board members to avoid getting hit by certain traps. It would have been really cool to see them avoid traps that they’ve seen other board members get nabbed by – unfortunately due to time constraints and my lack of path-finding knowledge this was to remain a dream!

Just to finish things off, here is a trailer for the game that I whipped up in about ten minutes:

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What Time Is This?!

Six in the morning… I think I’m seeing things in my living room and I’m getting tunnel vision. I think it’s about time for me to call it a night here on my frantic programming and artistic madness. It’s probably for the best as I think I’ve got the vast majority of the major work completed… now I’ve just got to polish and add more features when I wake up in the morning/afternoon. I also need to balance the game a little as there are points where the player isn’t doing much for long periods of time, and its far too easy to kill people right now… maybe a health bar is in order?

Goodnight to all! Let’s hope I don’t sleep in too late…

“The Legend Of Groomp” and 1st Year Game Challenges

Each year I’ve been at the University Of Lincoln I’ve really looked forward to seeing the games made by the new first years. This year I wasn’t disappointed, there’s some real talent in that group, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them all progress through the year.

Each year the first years have been tested with the creation of a one-button game, here was my attempt. Below is 2011 video for the first year “One Button Game” challenge:

One game that really caught my eye this year (2012) was Alex Saye‘s “The Legend Of Groomp” a tower defence game, here is a basic description:

The Legend of Groomp is a simple tower defense game where you must defend against a horder of soldiers using up to nine different spells. Spells are cast by either tapping or holding the Space bar. To unlock spells, you must get experience by killing enemies. Stronger enemies give more experience!

My gosh is this game fun. It’s got a really clever take on the one button game genre, using taps and hold-downs of the space button to decide which power to use. The game itself is so juicy – spells feel incredibly good to use, even those at a low level. The spells the player can use also can chain together, for example the flame-thrower can be chained up with a push spell to set other enemies on fire!

One of my personal favourite spells is the lightning spell, as it makes enemies spasm wildly and forks across the map in a very cool way. I also love the way that catapults lob rocks at the castle, and then they bounce off under physics… hilariously killing their own men. There is so much to this game, which is especially impressive when you think that they only had two weeks to develop it from start to finish – it has a very high level of polish.

I highly recommend trying the game out it’s so good. Also it’s free to download and play… so what exactly are you waiting for?! Download it  for Windows!

If you’re interested in playing some of the other games made for the 1st year game-maker challenges, check them out here: