Bat Cave – Post Mortem

Bat Cave is a simple shooter I created for Ludum Dare 37, and this article attempts to document what went right, what went wrong, and some general thoughts on the entire weekend.


Looking through the list of potential themes Friday evening, I put together some ideas. Bat Cave was hashed out and was my choice for a few themes, including “One Room”, which was ultimately picked.

Once the theme was decided, it was time to get to work. I spent a lot of time the first day working on designing the room and testing collision detection. Not sure why this took so long, but around 3:30am Saturday I had working collisions, and decided that was it for the evening. Saturday morning rolls around, and it’s time to work on some art, and get to coding. Sunday was spent finishing up the game, tweaking options, and adding sound and title screen.

I used Unity for this compo, and the actual coding went rather well. I like to use my simple object pooler script to handle the management of game objects, and I created some controller scripts to handle the audio, game management, and enemy management.

What Went Right

  • I released a playable game!
  • “Keep it simple” is definitely the way to go.  Since you have only 48 hours, don’t bite off more than you can chew… if time permits, you can add some features. For me, I had a couple hours left and added the scrolling background, looping bats, and audio manager. I also wanted to add a “boss” character, but time ran out.
  • I now know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites!

What Could Have Gone Better

  • My art skills are “meh” at best. I did manage to animate a bat though. I wanted to draw and animate a person instead of the gun turret I used, but I was spending too much time on it and it was not anywhere near what I would consider good enough. While I think the art is good for this game (other may disagree!), I need to keep this limitation of my skills in mind for future compos.
  • I did’t think the entire game through, and I realized some issues while developing:
    • I wanted the power-ups to be lowered down a mine shaft and have the player pick it up to use. I don’t think I would of finished that, so they just randomly drop at some interval.  If you look at my time lapse video, you might see a mine shaft in the game for quite a bit of time before I decided to remove it.
    • Once a stalagmite forms, it was impossible to shoot any drips coming down since you had to be under the stalagmite, and that would cause instant death.  I decided to add a bomb to remove stalagmites, and I also allow the player to jump/shoot over smaller ones.


Another successful Ludum Dare for me… I had a great time developing and releasing Bat Cave, and even though there were moments of doubt, I continued on. I hope that this game rates higher than my previous two entries… time will tell.

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