Ludum Dare 42 post mortem

Ludum Dare 42 post mortem

September 12, 2018

I submitted my second Ludum Dare entry last month. This time with the help of my brother Thomas, who did the sound and music. Here are some afterthoughts about how it went.

In contrast to what i wrote in my previous post about the Ludum Dare game jam, i wrote the date on my calendar and i knew i was gonna hit the ground running when the weekend of the online event came. Before it even started i was checking the site a lot for updates and i was able to join in on the theme voting rounds. Which was very exciting! You are constantly thinking: "If this would be the theme, what would i build with it?" and "Oh my god, i hope this theme doesn't make it!"

Another thing i did beforehand was trying to make a game jam survival kit. I really mean trying, because i only prepared a hand full of color swatches and a 256x256 tileset that was only 1/3 full. The swatches were really cool. I knew i wanted to do something with peach pink and radioactive green. But i had no idea if that was gonna represent slime or radioactive waste or acid rain or something else...

So when finally the theme "Running out of space" was announced at midnight (my timezone), i thought: "A room slowly filling with acid and you need to escape..." That's it! Small scope! I set up a github repo with the name Acid Sink, dumped some boilerplate phaserjs code in it and went to bed.

When i woke up on saturday, i video called my brother and we discussed what types of sounds and music we were gonna need. Then we got to work both on our own backporch, because it was a sunny day after all. The rest of the time we sent files and links back and forth through chat.

There are two things i want to note about how the music influenced the game: the first thing is were the idea for the diving suit came from and the second thing is about abstract figuration.

The idea for the diving suit came when i asked Thomas to make some music for the endscreen. He actually made 4 or 5 short pieces. One piece didn't actually sound like happy end music, but was still so cool that i really wanted to use it. You could also hear when it was about to end. So i thought maybe this can be some powerup state. And on monday i devoted the whole day to developing a diving suit and swimming mechanic.

The second thing i want to note about the music is, that Thomas used only synth sounds and not realistic recorded sounds. So in a way he abstracted the sounds, just like i do with the pixelart. Off course you can also use chiptunes, but i also use more colors, space, memory and code then in the 8bit days.

Anyway i think we captured a really good and a little surreal mood here. At least for me it has that right touch of weirdness that i am looking for.

So after the jam, developers can vote on each others game. If you have 20 votes in a category you get a score at the end. The first time i joined the jam, i used to filter the games. This time however when i was looking for new games i used the ldjam site itself and used the "danger" filter. The danger filter show games that almost have 20 votes, but need just a little help to get there. Always fun to give someone that last vote they need.

I also tried really hard to play the games from the people that commented on our game. Sometimes people vote without leaving a comment and then i don't know who they are and can't find their game. So leaving a comment on someone's game helps people to play your game. I also don't explicitly ask them to play our game by the way. People are curious creatures by themselves. In the end we managed to get enough ratings and Thomas even made it to 7th place in the audio category and in some other categories the game ended also in the top 100.

Anyway that is everything for now. In the meantime: keep gaming!

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