This Side Up2010-08-08
My Ludum Dare 18 entry is complete. Grab it here and the (public domain) Game Maker source here. The result is better than I expected, but not amazing. But hey, for about fifteen hours of work in my first 48 hour competition, it’s not bad.
I suppose I should write up a post mordum.
What went well
For my first competition, I’m happy that I even came out with a finished game.
Using a tool I’m intimately familiar with was a good choice. I hadn’t used Game Maker for a real project quite some time, but the important things have barely changed since the 4.x days.
I still like the concept of defeating an enemy, watching it flip upside down, then using it’s overturned belly as a platform. The rhinoceros rabbit was also fun, although the code behind it was a pretty big last minute hack.
What did not
Game Maker does not have an amazing workflow. I was using the “lite” version, and importing images was a pain. It especially didn’t like transparent areas; I was pasting in images from Paint.net and then having to change the background transparency for every single sprite. Additionally, I had to reenter the tileset placement details and finagle with the level editor’s tendency to corrupt the tiled background after major tileset modifications.
My engine going in was a quickie two hour job. As simple as it was, it turned out to have quite a number of bugs which surfaced dramatically when I started trying to implement gameplay. Additionally, I needed to have more than just player code written; a generic enemy object or some simple physics to inherit from would have helped a lot when I started slamming out code in a panic.
I didn’t have a vast amount of time to work on the project. Maybe fifteen hours or so. This might not have been a big deal if my engine had been more complete.
Almost all the level design and gameplay came together in the last two hours. I noticed that people like Notch and Sophie H got something playable with as few game objects as possible as soon as possible. Several other people avoided making games that required much level design at all, a choice a began to envy in my last hour of work.
I should also build up a decent engine before the next competition. But that would require planning and foresight. Ha! Maybe I’ll just get good at a development platform instead.