Electric Froth

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Postmortem for 'Grid Ten', my LD48#27 entry

by Joel Kleier on 2013-09-29


For the 27th Ludum Dare 48-hour game making competition, I created an entry called Grid Ten. It was my 6th entry into the competition, and needed to be based around the theme '10 Seconds'. The competition voting isn't quite over at the time of this writing, but here are my thoughts on how my game turned out.

Timeline

Pre- theme annoucement: I had planned to use Inform 7 or Twine for creating a text adventure, but I had also considered Haxe with HaxeFlixel or HaxePunk as a fall-back if I didn't want to do a text adventure. Other than that, I went into the competition with no substantial ideas for the direction I wanted to go.

Theme Announcement: The IRC chat room was full of hate for '10 Seconds', and I just knew this was the theme going to be picked. So, when it was announced, I was already thinking about what I could do. Initially I started drafting some sort of story that would revolve around using '10 seconds' in the context of a lat/long coordinate. I actually spent a good 4 hours working on this concept before going to bed for the night.

The next morning: With the announcement happening only 4 or so hours before I went to bed, it gave my subconcious a good chance to mull over what I had worked on the night before. When I woke up, I started having doubts about my ideas from the night before -- none of them were really 'gelling' with me. So after about 2 hours, I came upon the core idea for what turned into Grid Ten, which was definitely not a text-adventure.

The rest of the first day: After getting the core concept for Grid Ten fleshed out a bit more, I decided to forgo Haxe, etc, and just work directly with html/css/javascript. It's a toolset I'm really familiar with, and my concept would work very well with programmatically generated textures that I thought would be easier to do with the canvas element than with HaxeFlixel or HaxePunk. I also decided I didn't want a compile step in my development, nor did I want to deal with flash. The majority of the work went really smooth, I was really able to focus in on just the minimum code necessary -- I actually had some code to implement tails for the enemies, but then I quickly saw that that code would just bloat the game unnecessarily. It got cut out pretty quick, I didn't just comment it out, I completely removed it. I didn't want anything that would distract my focus. At the end of the day, I had the mechanics that I was shooting for pretty well fleshed out. There was still a LOT to add to the game, but the very core was in place!

Day 2: I spent a good 7 hours polishing everything up -- I added some primitive animations, another 'block' the player could place, I also did some optimizations and improved the 'intelligence' of the enemies and added a menu, and a end-game screen. Generally, I polished the thing up quit a bit. I did stop early, around 3pm, to start the process of packaging and releasing. I'll talk about this a bit more later, but I should have definitely kept at it for at least another 2 or 3 hours.

Post- competition end: I ended up fixing a bug whereby user placed blocks would stick around after a reset. Small, and easily fixed, but I should have totally caught that before submission!

The GOOD

The BAD

There are really only three things I think were really bad this time around:

The UGLY

Overall I'm really happy with the project, and I think the core concept has a lot of potential. I see a few ways that it could grow and change, and I'm actually pretty excited to continue working on this game in my down time.

However, I think I'll probably end up re-writing most of it. The style I used to code the game isn't sustainable I think... growing the project much larger would hurt, especially adding some of the mechanics into it that I have ideas for. I don't know that I'll have to write every piece of code from scratch, but good chunks of it for sure.

Otherwise, I think I've gotten some fairly positive comments on my entry page, and I got around a 2.5 out of 5, which is about where I was expecting this time around. If there were more mechanics and more polish, then I think I would have absolutely nailed it.

Next time!