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Ludum Dare 38: A Postmortem

The Flower Trade
Ludum Dare Compo Entry

This is the 11th time that I've at least attempted Ludum Dare and if I recall correctly it's only about the 6th or 7th release I've done at the end of it. So I'm pleased to say that this is the first time in a while that I've actually hit the competition deadline and released a game. I have to say that it was very fun to do and it was interesting to find out that the current way that I code most of my systems work really well for prototyping.

The general idea of the game called 'The Flower Trade' is to make money by growing flowers, there's no ending to it since the whole intention for this was to have it be a calm and relaxing experience.

So, what went right?

In short a few things...

Generally, in regards to game development, I feel that my strength is more as a programmer than that of a 3d modeller/musician/artist etc. It was generally that strength I played towards while designing and building this game, but I also felt that I pushed some boundaries in regards to modelling and trying out some new little things that I want to put into A Way Home.

A Random Ship

As you can see from the image above I actually modelled a ship, which I'm very impressed with considering my modelling skills are very subpar.

But that didn't really make it into the actual game in the end.

I generally feel that I got the visual style really well done to match the feel of the game, especially looking at the finished game.

It feels really calm and relaxed.

Another thing that I felt went well was the fact that I could take breaks, stick to my actual sleeping pattern. I found that when I first came into doing Ludum Dare, I'd actually pulled all nighters to do it, which turned out was a bad idea.

So, if there's anything you take from reading this blog post please let it be that you need to pace yourself when it comes to game development. If you feel like you're stuck, take 15 minutes away from it all to gather your thoughts, maybe go out for a walk or having something to eat.

I can assure you if you have a routine for something like this you'll do really well.

What went wrong?

Again probably a few things really...

As I said above I feel that my strength lays with programming more than anything else in game development, but it's also something that causes me to over complicate things when initially making them, or making them in a horribly inefficient way.

A prime example of this is with the ground parts of the game.

In the game, it's made up of what are effectively tiles, now initially when this idea was conceived, the thought that I could just spawn the plant object anywhere in a set area didn't occur to me. So I went about designing and making the game in the view of each square had to manage its own singular plant object, rather than being able to spawn them anywhere (See the image below).

The one on the left was the one that I used in the game, which (even though I haven't noted it on the image) uses box triggers on each of the squares for detecting what GroundManager was currently selected. The one on the right, on the other hand, was what I came up with yesterday after having a good think about the whole weekend in general.

As you can see it wouldn't require the ground manager to actually be a thing and the plants would actually be more independently controlled in regards to their own growth patterns.

Another thing that I felt went wrong was the fact that I still had too much scope in regards to this. If I was doing the jam I think I would have had time to do more tweaks and finish off all the intended features, but in the grand scheme of things, I haven't over scoped as much as I have done in the past.

So that's a good thing.

I also got pretty hung up on a few bugs that appeared during the development of the some of which would take me over an hour or so to find and fix. I feel that it was because of the way that I had made it work that the bugs occurred.

That and my own stupidity

Final thoughts:

I feel this time round has probably been one of my most productive periods participating in Ludum Dare. I know that I've certainly pushed into things that I didn't have much knowledge of before, along with having an idea of where I want to go in regards to some of the techniques I've used in this.

If you want to see the whole development process for this project then I have a Youtube Playlist showing what I live streamed during the development of the game if you click here.