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The Underground Hollow - Post Mortem 1

ToasterTot • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  The Underground Hollow

So, I finished my first Alakajam with my game "The Underground Hollow" and here's my post mortem!

What Went Well (No particular order)
Gamemaker: I haven't worked on a game in Gamemaker since April 2020 when I did Ludum Dare 46 and I got back into the groove of game devlopment really fast! I obviously was constantly checking the Gamemaker Manual to remember exact functions and what they did (especially about cameras, I suck at remembering all those functions) but overall I basically picked up right where I left off.

Organization: I wrote out a whole script for my game and broke it up into 6 big sections,

  • Intro cutscene
  • Fairies
  • Gnomes
  • Trolls
  • Kobold
  • Dragon
    I then broke each section up into a sequence of events that I wanted to happen, such as with the Fairy section I wanted the player to see the fairies in the distance, then see their home, and then have to deal with invading the fairies home. Also for each event I wrote voice lines that I was going to record later to help guide the player. The website Trello helped out with the process a ton because I could make a card for each event and then have a description of how I wanted it to play out, and then add a very helpful checklist of tasks I needed to do to finish that section.
    I ended up having to scrap the Kobold section because I didn't have enough time but it was ok and didn't set me back at all because I was working full section by section instead of jumping around and only having little things done of each section.
    Along with the bigger sections of gameplay I also had a Trello card for smaller but also very important things. I had a card and checklist for movement, interaction with the gnomes(picking them up, throwing them), audio, art, and then bug testing.

Scope: This is something I heavily struggle with during game jams. I always set my scope way too big and then I end up having to scrap most of it anyway. But this game jam, everytime I thought of an idea I would write it down on a notepad and then later when I needed a break from coding or doing art or just needed to get up from my chair I would look at those ideas I wrote down and think about if the game really needed them. 95% of those ideas didn't make it into the game and I'm glad they didn't because they would've been things that would have distracted from the core gameplay or would have been too much of a time sink to add.

Art: Art is one of the things that I usually have a very big scope problem with. I could spend all 48 hours of the jam working on just art and perfecting it. I think of new little things I can add to the game to make it look "that" much better. But this time around I did a pretty good job of reeling in the scope of my art. The player was just a black square until the last hours of the jam! I probably spent the least amount of time on the tileset but it worked super well. All of the environment is the same pattern with just different colors and then the ground and stalagtites and stalagmites and just edited version of that same rock drawing. I spent the most art time on just drawing the Troll because it was so much fun. I also spent a lot of time on the player animation trying to get the movement to feel right, but overall I think art went really well.

Music: I recently got an audio interface so I can connect my guitar and bass to my computer and record straight from it so I don't have to set up a microphone or anything complicated to record music. This was really fun to just mess around on guitar for a little bit to come up with the menu theme and the gameplay theme. I recorded straight to bandlab which is a website music maker and it's super cool. It was super easy to record my guitar and use my midi keyboard with. And then the built in drum pattern maker thing was easy to use to add drums. Music is usually my biggest struggle during game jam's besides scope because I can never think of anything and so I usually enter my game as a team and have my friend help me with music. But this time it just flowed so easily. I wrote all of the music for the game in just under 2 hours. The music isn't anything to write home about but I think the short loops turned out pretty good.

Sound Effects & Narration: I have never done narration in a game before and so that was interesting writing a script for a game. I recorded most of the lines very early in the moring so most of them are kind of whispered but I think it ended up fitting the vibe of the game very well. I used Adobe Audition for recording audio and adding certain effects to lines like pitch and echo(You'll have to play to find out why I used those effects) Audition was probably wayy over kill for what I was using it for, but I have it free from college and I know it well from taking a class about movie audio. I've used Audacity in the past for game jams and you can do everything I did in Audition just as well with that free program.
I didn't want to use an 8bit sound effect maker like sfxr or ChipTone because I didn't think it would fit very well with the music style I went for and the narration so I made all of the sound effects with my mouth with some exceptions. The inventory open and close sound I used ChipTone because there was a specific sound I was imagining for it, and the troll step I banged on my table and stopped on the ground. Most sound effects I would make about 10 different sounds with my mouth and then layer my favorite 3 or 4 together and then mix them together with some effects in Audition.

Idea: I'm really proud of the idea I came up with. At first I was looking at synonyms for cave to see if I could come up with a more original idea than just top down movement but I couldn't think of anything. I've been listening to the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series and so that's where the idea of mythical creatures came from.


What Could've Been Better (No particular order)
Idea: The game jam started at 1pm my local time and I struggled to come up with an idea the whole first day. I didn't think of a solid idea I liked until I was falling asleep that night around midnight. I kept waking up and writing down ideas and even drew a picture of what I wanted the first cutscene to look like.

Time and Health: I started way too late on my game. Basically wasted the first whole day because I couldn't think of an idea and then slept in super late. When I started working on the game around 12pm the second day of the jam I only had a rough idea, a concept drawing, and 25 hours to go. I worked basically all day from 12pm to 6am and I was in a really good groove picking up Gamemaker again and listening to music all day. I basically only got up to go eat lunch and dinner and then rest room breaks. I also walked around my house maybe 2 or 3 times. I didn't really drink enough water and I was super thirsty by the end of the day. After I finally went to bed around 6am I set an alarm for 10am and got up right when it went off. Ate a light breakfast and started grinding out the last couple hours with bug fixes, finishing up the sound effects, and drawing and animating the player.

More quality of life: I wish I had added more quality of life things just to make the game clearer to the player. Better narration timing and different helpful tips to the player. I also wish I had more time to play test it to get the difficulty right.


Going Forward
More game jams!: I really want to enter into a lot more game jams! It so statifsying to just finish a game even if it isn't perfect. Also it's a very good way to learn new things!

Focus on new skills: I want to branch out the types of games I make during game jams more. I think each game jam I want to focus on a specific skill. It will depend on the theme but I want to try making a video game like a card game, maybe a point and click game.

Scope Scope Scope: In coming game jams I just need to keep bringing my scope smaller and smaller. I need to plan on doing less than I think I'll be able to complete so I have time for bug fixes and polishing. Maybe I'll finish so early that I can add new features that weren't orignally planned!

Participate in Communities: I want to give back to the communities I work with. I want to write more post mortems and rate more people's games. Usually I'll make my game and then just rate 5 or 6 games. I want to try to spend more time after the jam rating and playing way more people's hard worked on entries. Speaking of which, I'm off to go do that right now!

Cavexploder post mortem 0

yozy • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  Cavexploder

For this jam I have decided to ditch LÖVE and Lua for the good old C++ with SDL2. I have very much enjoyed using lua but being not the most of efficient coders, I like to have a bit of a performance edge. And did I need it :D

I was always a fan of shoot em up games, usually the vertical kind. One thing they don't usually have is destructible terrain.

So there was my idea: "A horizontal shoot em up inside a cave composed of descructible rocks"

What went well

  • I really liked coding in c++ again. C++20 has brought a lot of goodies.
  • I am very happy with the end result, although all of the boulders are a simple bunch of triangles, piling them up creates a reasonably good approximation.

What went poorly

  • I didn't have time to make music and sounds, again.
  • What C++ giveth, Windows taketh. I had to modify the code (post jam) to be able to compile the game on windows, and I've spent quite a bit of time making it work.
  • Performance is not that great when a lot of stuff is on the screen. Since I am rebuilding all the buffers all the time this is not that surprising.
  • Initially the enemies should have been spiders, I wanted them to crawl over the rocks on tiny legs. Haven't had time to code these so blobs you have!

Takeaways

  • I really need to make some sounds and music on the side, in order to know what to do during a jam. Learning tools during a 48h jam is way too late.
  • The same goes for windows, for the next time I need a solid basecode that has already everything setup to produce binaries on all platforms.

Post jam ideas

  • The game needs more juice!
    • Shaking when hit and when big rocks get destroyed.
    • A scrolling parallax background.
  • The game needs more content!
    • Noise!!
    • More weapons, bonuses, different enemy types. (e.g.: smart ones that shoot where you will be if moving at the same speed)

and we're done! 0

alyphen • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  In search of underground music

final game features dynamic sound based on how far you are from sound sources, conversations that you overhear as you walk around, and a deep cave system to explore, in search of the most underground music.

I'm in 0

heyheyhey • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  The Witch, the Moon, and Alice

My first Alakajam. I know I'm late but maybe I can come up with something playable.

Tools:

REPLICA 2D Game Framework
JavaScript with jQuery
Krita
ChipTone or similar for sounds

Good luck everyone

camera & animated tiles 1

alyphen • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  In search of underground music


animated tiles and camera movement are working ok. so we have disco tiles.

game? 0

alyphen • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  In search of underground music


there's physics or something, you can move, and the maps load. that's a start.

Late to "I'm in" but I'm in! 1

Kerri • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! 

I surprised myself last night when I settled on an idea in just a couple of hours, I had spent the week thinking about several for Books and A Star, but Caves winning took me by surprise. Needless to say I'm excited to take part and I've spent this morning putting my idea down and drawing the mechanics out of it. The rest of today will be spent building placeholder assets and developing the mechanics.

The important part for me this time around is the story I want to tell with the game so I'll be focussing a lot on the narrative elements and on a dialogue system, unfortunately I may have to sacrifice sound effects. To that end though I've put out a request to my musically inclined sister and if she is able to deliver there may even be music! (Not counting on it though). Excluding music this will be a solo entry.

Software:
Godot 3
Wings3D
Krita/Paint.net
Visual Studio Code

Good luck to everyone participating I look forward to playing your games.

Rook 3

xaha2425 • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! 

Pretty excited to join my 1st game jam ever.
I hope I could get myself through successfully after a yearly break from game dev.

I'm in for the first time 3

Kesslwovv • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  Toxic Cave

This is my first game jam ever and I'm super excited.

Question:
The documentation states:

You are also allowed to use:
Third-party fonts

how does this apply to my own pre-made fonts?

Engine: None
Language: Python
Graphics Library: PyGame
IDE: PyCharm (community edition)
Music: BeepBox
Sfx: I don't know yet…
Graphics: Px Editor 4.2 (improved version of @DaFluffyPotato's Px Editor 3 )

My goals:
I will not be able to do anything on Sunday so here are my goals:

  • finishing the Game
  • making music and sfx (I have never done this before)
  • animations (also my first time)

First Alakajam! 0

ToasterTot • 3 months ago on 12th Alakajam! entry  The Underground Hollow

This will be my first Alakajam I've ever done! I've done Ludum Dare before and also gm48() but I haven't worked on a game in a while and I want to get back into the swing of things. I'm fairly busy this weekend so we'll see how much progress I'll make. I always set my scope too large when doing game jams, so my primary focus is going to keep reeling in my scope so it'll be possible for me to finish. I'm excited to see what everyone makes, have a good jam!