A few months ago, I made my first puzzle game ever for Ludum Dare 29. It was well received (#16 in Innovation!) and players called it “clever” and “challenging”, but the difficulty curve was too steep. Now, I finally found the time to make a post-compo edition with more and easier tutorial levels to ease the beginning and a really hard one where you can test your mettle! I humbly present:
Snake meets platformer physics!
A short puzzle game combining two
well-known concepts to form a unique hybrid.
“But,” you might say, “only 9 levels?” Yeah, for now. I think it’s enough to demonstrate the concept well and especially the later levels might take some time to solve. I’m pondering releasing it on Android soon, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll search for a level designer and get more levels made. If you like it and want more of it, please leave a comment!
A few weeks ago, I participated in the Ludum Dare 30. The theme was “Connected Worlds”, and I thought “Hey, nevermind that I never made an online multiplayer game before, I should totally try to make one in 48 hours!” Unexpectedly, it actually turned out pretty great – you can read more about that in my postmortem if you’d like to. And below you can find the ~52 hour post-compo version with a few bugfixes and sound effects!
You are flame bearers, braving the darkness,
carrying letters and escorting travellers
through the eternal darkness between
the mountains to the south and
the sea kingdom to the north.
Overcome obstacles. Carry the torch on. Work together.
The rating period is slowly but surely nearing its end, and I thought it cannot hurt to write a postmortem for the game I made three weeks ago. I wish I would’ve promoted the game more (it’s my first online multiplayer game after all!) and I wish I could’ve played more games, but my master’s thesis was jealous and demanded I spent more time with it. That being said, I have a free minute now, so here goes nothing!
Read more... (1254 words and 2 images, estimated 5:01 minutes reading time)
Like just about every game, some lessons were learnt, and I thought I’d write a small piece about them. It’s 12 hours before the judging ends, and nobody has time to read through a novel, so I’ll keep this short!
Game & Level Design
If a level has the right difficulty for you, it’ll be too hard for everybody else. I swear I’ll remember this lesson one day, haha. That doesn’t necessarily mean “make it easier”, because in a level-based game, there is another approach:
When in doubt, make more levels. Easier levels, preferably. I should’ve spent a lot less time on the menu and instead made more transition levels. Which brings me to:
Don’t introduce more than one mechanic per level. Level 2 introduces: Lava, falling stones AND growing the snake. That’s, uh, a bit too much.
Even if you think the goal is clear, it might be not. So – better make it clearer. The goal in my game is to exit the screen to the right, like in most platformers. Some people thought that they had to eat the whole level though, which is a more Snake-like goal.
Put instructions in the first level.
Some players don’t read the instructions before starting the game – but once they are confused inside the game, make it as easy as possible to re-read them.
Art, Sound & Music
Glow is freakin’ cool. Seriously.
Homemade sound effects can be quite entertaining.
Any game needs sound effects, and since I’m no good at making them digitally, I tried to use my mouth for most. Turns out that’s a lot of fun to listen to, and I actually had a few people praise my sound design, especially the eating- and the end-of-level-sounds.
Abundant Music (music generator) + GXSCC (a MIDI chiptunes-like renderer) are the best team.
I’m no musician, so I had to use generated stuff. Those two are PERFECT. It still took very long to find songs that sound well together, but that definitly was time well spent.
Cheery music for hard and punishing gameplay.
Gnhihihihi. So much fun while watching streamers.
Trust in the process and stay open for new ideas. The concept I started out was a lot more boring, but but sometime after implementing the stones I asked myself “Okay, so those stones fall – what if gravity affects the snake too?” – and then SnakeFormer was born. So even if your initial idea isn’t perfect, go for it anyway instead of giving up, it might evolve into something great later on!
If your idea comes late, don’t worry! There’s still time! I don’t think i started any development 12 hours after the start of the compo – 8 hours sleep, 4 hours pondering. I think it paid off!
ToDo lists are great to maintain focus.
Always use a ToDo list so you won’t lose track of your next tasks. Workyflowy works best for me.
Thanks a lot for reading! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Maybe I made you a bit curious about my game too? If you want to, you can play SnakeFormer here – and I don’t think I have to mention how much I like comments and ratings, do I?
Hey folks! So, this time I’ve only rated 82 games. Shame on my, I know – I’m busy with my Master’s Thesis, but apart from that, I really have no excuses. I didn’t think I’d actually get around to do a Best Of list this time, but since those games are just so incredibly great I’ve made one anyway now!
So here’s a list of the best and/or most interesting games I’ve played – and so should you, in my opinion! But hey, I know it’s only three days left, so just pick the cherries. (Hint: They are all cherries.)
Read more... (1333 words and 21 images, estimated 5:20 minutes reading time)
I’ve previously done two “Best of” lists of the games I enjoyed the most so far – you can find them here and here. I always planned to do this third part, but then life happened – and now at last, with one day of judging left, I present to you this final part!
So one last time, in no particular order, here are some more entries that I think nobody should miss out on!
Read more... (728 words and 8 images, estimated 2:55 minutes reading time)
Ludum Dare was going on last weekend! It’s a huge internet game jam where you develop a game in either 48h all alone (Compo) or 72h with a team (Jam). I’m participating in the Compo – you can see my entry Lost in the Darkness here!
After the compo/jam, people who participated can rate each others games. I’ve rated 100 games now – I wish I could rate more, but I seem to have the tendency to write detailed feedback. It takes up so much time! While doing that, I found some gems that I think nobody should miss. There are a lot of those, so I’ll split it in multiple parts. In no particular order…
Read more... (603 words and 7 images, estimated 2:25 minutes reading time)