Ludum Dare 4th 48 hour Game Development Competition
Entry by Jetro Lauha (tonic)
Entry name: "Pathogen Warrior"
(written after the competition but before new releases)
This was the second time I entered the 48 hour compo, although this was
the first time I actually had the weekend reserved mostly for this. Last
time I was in such a hurry that I only had about 12 hours to work on an
entry. I started working on my entry about 7-8 hours after sleeping
quite late. The compo had begun in middle of the night but I didn't
bother to be around at that time.
Initially I spent a little while just scribbling different ideas I could
work on, going through all the most obvious ones, of course. After
the brainstorming session and discarding the most obvious, I had about
four rough base ideas or directions for a game. At that point I decided
that I could take something from three of them combined into one.
My initial plans were much larger and heavier as usual. I first thought
I would make the game much more "map centric" with quite a few strategic
game play features, so that there would also be a frequently occurring
sub game which would have been what the main game actually is in the
result. Because of this I initially wasted time in search of different
map graphics and images from the web, which I could then use as
reference when drawing the graphics.
After a few hours I decided that all my plans were probably too much to
implement in the available time frame, at least if I wanted to spend
time on tuning the visual quality as well. I decided that it was better
to concentrate on implementing primarily only the sub game. I think this
was quite appropriate time to do such change, since I hadn't yet
implemented anything game play specific, so the only thing I lost was
some time spent on web research relating to world maps with information
and statistics about cities.
Developing the game went sufficiently smoothly, although I still had to
perform minor bug hunts a few times. This was the first time I have ever
made a hexagon tile map in a game, so it was a new experience for me.
And I'm glad that I chose to do that, since it was a nice thing to try
out at the same time.
Keeping the amount of required assets low was a very good idea. This
enabled me to make the visual look moderately good. Unfortunately I made
the mistake of not testing the game on more than one computer. I should
have done that, or alternatively I should have given out preview
versions for people to test
I left the adding of different levels a bit late, so I didn't really
have much time to tune the difficulty of the game. Some of the later
levels may feel quite hard because of this, although I know now that the
game has been played at least up to the 31st level. I actually made and
added the background music before adding the levels. It would have been
probably beneficial to add the levels etc. first, although doing the
music stuff was a nice small break from coding the game features.
Since I started a bit late and stopped way before the deadline, the
total amount of "being in compo mode" for me was around 32 hours. If
sleeping, taking a shower, eating and such stuff is subtracted from
that, active developing time is probably around 24 hours.
I think the result is quite nice and I'm sufficiently pleased with it.
Of course I would have liked to tune it further before submitting the
final version, but I feel that I could still put in all the most
What went right:
- Made game design decisions and changes early enough.
- OOP design helped to manage the game structure.
- Saved development time by using already available libraries which
were allowed in the rules. This includes usage of SDL, SDL_image and
SDL_mixer libraries as well as usage of STL containers.
- Game design did not need a lot of assets.
- Trying to keep chatting on #ludumdare to a reasonable amount so that
it wouldn't distract me too much from developing the game.
- Took a few small breaks from coding, for example to discuss about the
game with my wife or to drink some coffee. Sleeping a bit was also a
- Picked an interesting topic for game design, which wasn't just an
rehash from what I have done before, but allowed me to learn something
new at the same time.
What went wrong:
- Spent time too early on finding reference material for graphics and
other information, which I didn't eventually really need that much.
- I hadn't updated the SDL and additional libraries before the
competition but still wanted to upgrade to the latest versions before
starting to work with them, so I wasted some time doing that.
- Not having possibility to work until the deadline of the game, which
resulted in perhaps slightly too big difficulty level for later
levels. And lack of sound effects and high score list.
- Didn't test on more than one computer and didn't give out any preview
versions. Because of this the game is too dark on some systems since
I had the development computer monitor set a bit too bright.
Some random stats:
- 1 PC (1.3 GHz Athlon, GF4Ti and TFT monitor set too bright)
- 32 hours of time (including sleeping, eating, etc.)
- Some food, juice, coke and coffee
- 68 KB of source code (2795 lines, 21 files)
- 40 KB of graphics (11 png files)
- 97 KB of music (one module music file)
$Id: postmortem.txt,v 1.1 2004/06/27 20:06:26 tonic Exp $