From Ludum Dare:
Hello, this is my postmortem for The Necropolis, the first Ludum Dare that I’ve finished not counting the mini Ludum Dare last month. Looking at some of the games here is quite overwhelming since there are a lot of great looking games considering that we only have 48 hours to make them, and I told myself that someday I’ll make great looking games but not this Ludum Dare. This Ludum Dare I’ll have to make do with crappy art, and my current programming skills. This is the result my friends.
So in Ludum Dare we start out with a theme first(and build the mechanics from there), as opposed to making the mechanics first before pasting on the theme. The night before the Ludum Dare I looked at the round 4 list of themes and chose parallel dimensions(since it was on the top of the list) to think about. I thought about gameplay ideas for it just in case it was chosen and then went to sleep. The next day I woke up sat down in front of my laptop, excited like a kid on a Christmas day. The theme I saw on the screen was ‘Alone” and I thought “great!’ at first until I noticed the ideas were not coming. I wanted my game’s dynamics to be reflective of the theme but when you think about it(at least from my perspective) the majority of the games out there can justify the theme of being ‘Alone’. It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting ideas,it was that there were too many ideas(about 80% of them I can’t implement..yet). I spent the whole day thinking of a suitable game mechanic that I can implement and that would reflect on the theme of ‘Alone’ as best as it could, and after sleeping on it I came up with one.
The first game I thought about was ‘The angel of Death’. In the game you are the angel of death sent to kill one of the baddies in the level. The idea was all the baddies in the screen with you will take damage until they die as long as you were there with them. So you had to avoid them while looking for the baddy you were sent to kill. I scrapped the idea because the screen was too large and the hero was limited in movement for a 2d platformer to avoid the baddies.
So I came up with the current game after more thinking. I came up with the idea about a character refusing the idea that monster’s exist. I heard in a university lecture once that ‘your perception is your reality’ so I imagined a character trapped in an underground labyrinth with a lantern. He firmly believe that he is alone and that the monsters he keeps seeing just beyond his lantern’s light(to limit the vision) is just his imagination. Unfortunately they might not be, and the moment he realizes that he is not alone his mind breaks down and its game over. To do this I thought of putting( inspired by an emotion engineering lecture I attended lately) the following stuff:
Blood trail(not implemented)- the monster leaves a trail of blood on the floor which disappears after a few seconds so that the player knows where its been and the direction it is going.
Heart beat(not implemented)- I actually put this in the game but the sound that I got was inaudible(its still in the source folder) so I just removed it. Whenever a monster was near the heartbeat would warn the character.
Compass(not implemented)- for game play reasons purely. The compass would point to the direction of the nearest scroll to help the character.
Light(implemented)- The core mechanic. Any monster revealed by the players light will give him sanity damage.
Scrolls and portals- the goal of the game is to explore and collect this stuff(so its an exploration game).
Lurking Monster(not implemented)- something that wanders the Necropolis randomly.
So yeah I removed a lot of stuff and decided to finish with just the core mechanic. I would like to put them in the game sometime in the future( I’m learning how to program them now) . Looking at it(at least to me) the game play reflects the theme of being ‘Alone”, alone in the screen as much as possible(game wise), and believing that we are alone, and that the monsters we refuse to believe are not really there(philosophical shit to make me sound more intelligent ;p).
What went right
I decided to use Flixel, I’ve been using it for the past months and so far so good. I’ve been learning Unity and almost decided to go with the ‘alone in the island’ game (e.g. put a guy in an island , tada! he’s alone!) just so that I could test the stuff I’ve learned. Good thing I realized immediately that I can’t model stuff yet.
What went wrong
I lost a lot of time trying to implement the pathfinding for the lurker monster before scrapping it and go with the other stuff first. I was supposed to make better art too( better is something better than my art). Forgot to put kittens in my game.
As always, I’ve enjoyed this Ludum Dare and I can’t wait for the next one. I almost thought of giving up the first day but I trusted myself enough to come up with ideas with just a little help of sleep and a dose of dreaming. Thinking of other stuff to say but I’ve ran out of stuff for now, I’ll probably put up follow ups in my game journal if anyone’s interested. So there, good luck with your games and thanks for another sleepless but excellent weekend!