Another great weekend. Ludum Dare is such a special event. You go into it knowing it’s going to be a boatload of work. You know you’re going to lose sleep and probably not eat very healthy. But all the pain and suffering is over in 48hrs and all you’re left with is a game you made yourself.
LD #17′s theme ended up being “Islands”. To say I was unprepared for this theme choice would be an understatement. I spent the first hour sketching out possible ideas. None of them were really resonating with me. In the back of my head I really wanted to make a Roller-Derby themed game so I decided to shoe-horn it into the “Islands” theme. I talked over the concept with Melinda during dinner and committed to the idea of a Roller-Derby themed side-scrolling, platformer, “chase” game. My technology of choice was Flixel.
In all my previous Ludum Dare entries I’ve used my own custom libraries with the standard Flash Professional IDE. This generally meant a lot of copy and pasting code snippets and writing up simple classes from scratch. After LD #16 in December I started learning Flixel along with Flash Builder. I hadn’t yet built anything to the complexity I was going to attempt with my LD#17 project.
Flixel did not disappoint. It was extremely easy to work with and iterate rapidly within. I had a side-scroller with enemies and dynamically generated platforms within only an hour or so. I’d never used the FlxBlock object before, but these handy items created my random, dynamically generated world.
I actually found I had far fewer excuses to hide in my code. The stability and ease of building my tech meant I was forced to spend far more effort on art and gameplay tweaks. It’s way easier to put off making better art if there’s a tech bug to squash.
I really really pushed myself here. I really don’t think I’m a good artist when it comes to drawing things. It took a butt-load of effort to start drawing out the roller-girl sprite sheet. I don’t think my sprites turned out very good, but I’m just impressed that I managed to get them to the level they are at.
My background tiles I’m a lot happier with. I used some reference shots from MegaMan 6 and basically copied the lighting techniques pixel by pixel.
Using the typical NES Palette was also something I’ve wanted to do in a long time. It took a bit of trial and error over the weekend to get my Photoshop workflow down such that I was always exporting .png files with exact NES colors. I’m particularly impressed with my title screen which has a photo of me (taken on Sunday morning).
I barely felt pressure this weekend. The confidence of working from a strong codebase with so few unknowns meant I was rarely in the situation of having crazy annoying showstopper bugs. I kept my scope very tight figuring it was better to polish something small than to overreach. In the end I decided to submit about 4hrs before the competition end time.
I got to do a lot of new things this weekend:
- Build a platformer
- Complete a reasonably sized project in Flixel & FlashBuilder
- Go outside my comfort zone with pixel art
- Play with the NES Pallette
I did all of this without stressing too much or hurting my brain nearly as much as LD #16. I wasn’t taking the game too seriously either (as you can probably tell) so I had a hell of a lot of fun just making it as absurd as possible.
My end game barely connects to the theme of “Islands” so I’ll most certainly take a points hit there. But I do feel pleased in the fact that Roller-Derby 20XX: Mega Islands of Awesome is quite fun!
When is LD #18 again? What? Not till August? Booo…