Last week I participated in Ludum Dare, one of the most popular game making competitions out there. The idea is to write a game in 48 hours. You have to create everything in those 48 hours. That includes graphics, sounds and code. This time the theme was “you are the villian”. I tried to participate before but failed to finish something. This time my primary goal was to finish a game, even if it was very simple. I decided to write something between Space Invaders and Galaxian, where you actually played the aliens. I also decided to mix some tower defence elements. I had a lot of fun writing this game, even when in the end it was boring and buggy. Next time it will be better for sure.
For the game code I used Dart and a very immature library I’ve been working on. The result wasn’t very good. The controls were poor and the game is not very fun. It also has some ugly bugs. Writing a game in 48 hours is really hard; more than I initially thought. I was new with these tools and that made everything harder too. For graphics I used The Gimp and Inkscape.
Here is a bit summary of my experience.
What went right:
- I finished! That’s the best thing!
- I made something simple.
- I started using very simple graphics and decided to improve them later only if there was time.
- I could come up with a design pretty quickly, this allowed me to spend more time on coding and creating graphics.
- I created a simple plan and was able to follow it on time.
What went wrong
- Game mechanics and controls. The controls didn’t fit quite right with the game. The game mechanics could have been improved.
- No sound 😦 I didn’t have time for it.
- Final game had some bugs because I tweaked the controls at the last minute.
- I had bugs with other browsers that I didn’t detect until the last minute.
- Sunday was significantly less productive than Saturday and Friday night. I was really tired and took a lot of breaks. Probably because I had a lot of work the previous week. I will try to take a rest before the compo next time.
- I’m not an expert with the tools. That slowed me down with the code. And the engine I wrote is still very immature.
What I learned
- Playing and rating games is equally or even more fun than writing the game. I love to see such explosion of creativity!
- The community rocks! Thanks for everything.
Ludum Dare was an incredible fun experience. I won’t miss the next one!