Ludum Dare 35 – Post Mortem

Another Ludum Dare in the books! Another great experience, another game released.  My game is called Shape Shifter Match Maker:

Shape Shifter Match Maker
Click picture to play and rate my game!

The Experience

This was my second LD and to be honest, I was not thrilled with the final list of themes, so my enthusiasm dropped a bit the day before. Once the theme (Shapeshift) was announced, I drew a complete blank on what game I should make. I spent more than a couple of hours hashing ideas and came up with nothing. At this point I figured I had to do something, so I decided to create some code to take a shape and change it. This was out of desperation, since I didn’t want to waste valuable time just sitting around and hoping an idea would come to me. Once the basic shape shift code was created, I was determined to take that code and wrap a game around it. The result was this game. I don’t normally recommend working like this, but since time is valuable I needed something.

I utilized Unity’s cube and sphere assets, but I needed a third model and decided to use a triangle. My Blender skills absolutely suck, but I managed to take a basic cube and make a pyramid out of it.

So now I have code to change shapes and colors, and a basic game around it.  Time to get going.

I recently bought a Tweening library called DOTween and decided to use that in my game. I didn’t have a chance to use the library before LD35, so this was an added unknown in the development of my game. Tweening libraries are fantastic… you can easily move, rotate, and animate objects with some cool effects. I used DOTween to:

  • Rotate, shape shift, and color shift all the 3D objects in the game.
  • Warp in the additional level objects.
  • Animate the colored backgrounds.

Also new to me was the use of audio tools bfxr and Otomata. Both (free) tools are incredible for creating sound effect and music. Otomata was a gem of a find. I was very pleased with the outcome of the music.

Thoughts On My Game

I am not sure how I feel about my game. It’s not what I expected to develop, but then again, I didn’t expect to develop anything at one point. As I play it, I do tend to enjoy it.

About a day after I submitted the game I had an idea to use the left and right mouse buttons to change the shape and colors. Hmm… I wish I thought of that while I was in development mode. I think that would be better than clicking on buttons.

An hour after my idea for improved controls, I had a brainstorm for a much better game. I am not going to explain it here, since I am seriously considering developing this new idea.

What Went Right
  • I finished and uploaded a working game within 48 hours.
  • Great opportunity to learn and use new tools DOTween, bfxr, and Otomata.
  • I decided to use C# Events instead of linking to scripts via Unity’s “Find” and “GetComponent” (where appropriate) like I did in my previous LD entry. I prefer a loose coupling, but this can get out of hand very quickly if you are not careful. I also prefer C# Events over Unity Events, but that may change after I revisit Unity’s manual for another read-through.
What Could Be Better
  • I had a tough time thinking of an idea… I guess I was very short sighted in using this theme.
  • Better game play is needed. The game does not get harder after the 3rd set of controls warp in.
  • Using multiple new tools during a 48 hour game jam is a little stressful. Glad I did it though, since it greatly improved the game.
Where to Go From Here

Of course, I am looking forward to LD36. In the meantime, I need to decide if I should continue to work on my current project, or shelve that for a bit while I look into developing the new version of Shape Shifter Match Maker. I guess the comments in the review section of my LD entry will help me decide that.

Ludum Dare #35 – Update #3

It’s about 27 hours into Ludum Dare 35 and what I have is the shape matching game shown in the video below. As I mentioned before, the theme of LD35 was difficult for me to work with for some reason, but what I have is playable. What’s nice is that I do enjoy playing it, and I can see some possibilities for improvements post-LD.

I’m getting a bit tired, so tomorrow (or if I get a second wind tonight), I plan on a bit of polish, some graphical enhancements, and a few UI tweaks.

Ludum Dare 35 – Update #2

About 18 hours in and I have a lot done.. except for the game rules. I have to admit, this LD theme is really messing with me. I spent a lot of time working on the shape shifting routines even before I came up with this game idea. No sound yet, no game rules yet, but still chugging away.

This is a quick video of the shape and color shifting functionality.

SMS: Early April Update

A couple of weeks since the last update and things are progressing, although a bit slower than I would like. The “Retro 70s” and “Classic 90s” versions of SMS are pretty complete (minor tweaks still needed here and there), and I have begun the development of Shmup Mode.

A few reasons why progress is slowing:

  • I have been experimenting with various ideas for Shmup Mode, and this is taking a bit of time. There’s a couple things I know I want in the game, and there are some things I need to try in order to determine if it will work for me or not.
  • I had to spend a lot of time in order to try things that I ultimately decided I wanted.  For example, in order to test moving the player’s ship across several screens, I had to implement a camera follow and a parallax scrolling routine. The results are promising, but still require some fine tuning.
  • I decided that a tweening library would be a great addition. I spent a few days playing around with the one I chose to buy and use. Amazing stuff, and I see the possibilities. I may also go back and add some tweening to the Classic 90s and Retro 70s version as well.

So, progress was a bit slow, but a lot still got done:

  • Addition of tweening library.
  • Successful test of parallax scrolling.
  • Division of Shmup, Classic 90s, and Retro 70s into individual Unity scenes.

I have another week or so of development, and then I will take a weekend off to participate in Ludum Dare 35. Looking forward to it.