This post mortem was originally written on May 2nd, 2011 for my entry to Ludum Dare 20 “It’s Dangerous to go Alone! Take this!”: Penguins vs Aliens.
Okay, in retrospect I’m not that unpleased with my entry. 🙂
Anyway about my first LD. When the theme was announced, it was 4 am in the morning here (in Budapest, Hungary, Europe). I was still up working on something else. I have to admit I didn’t even know what was this sentence about, I had to google it. My first thought was OMG. My second was a Katamari Damacy/Nibbles-crossover, in which you are with someone going somewhere and people keep approaching you and obtruding various shit on you. So your inventory gets longer and longer. Another idea: Nyan Cat getting balloons and sandbags at random times so you have to balance her. Another idea: Robot Link Attack, you get the sword in the intro and then keep running and “dashing” with your sword. Another idea: Jadwal Siaran Bola something about Adam who gets Eve so as not to be alone. Another idea: vertical shooter about boy and girl in love, who fight aliens with a link of “laser hearts” between them. Another idea: something about a lot of prey animals who avoid being caught by predators by going in a crowd (it’s a real-life phenomenon and I like biology).
Then I fell asleep at 5:30 in the morning, got up at 10, tidied up my place, went to the railway station for my gf, and then a wedding until 4 in the morning. I was hoping to get a lot of ideas from real-life experience and asking friends. It didn’t work at all. At least I could chill out and not care about LD. 🙂 We went home and slept until 2 in the afternoon.
Okay, 34 hours already gone and I have still nothing. I’m thinking about the Nibbles thing and I don’t remember why was it fun at all. So I try a Flash version and realize that it’s *not* fun at all. Okay, Nibbles dumped, let’s get this vertical shooter going. I know I don’t have the brains, the time, the talent to make decent graphics by myself. My gf is a graphic artist but it’s a lonely compo so I cannot “use” her. She’s watching Porco Rosso thankfully in Japanese so I can concentratre on the game. Anyway I bump into the Silk Icon Set made by famfamfam.com. That’s when it gets clear that the two main characters will be penguins: Linux Tux is the cutest icon in the set. 🙂
So, two tux penguins and a heart bumping left and right between them. Feels a bit like Pong. In about two hours I have a “working” version. It’s not fun at all, speed not right, enemies not right, intro not right, no music and sound fx. I start looking for a good piece of music. The Crow: City of Angels and then Restoration going muted in the background. It seems like all the great music in the whole wide world is protected by copyright. I even google “GNU music” but I only find some shit by Richard Stallman. Yes, he might by a black belt open source ninja, but not a musician. Finally I find Talco, an Italian ska band who make free music. Then it turns out it’s not that free, no derivates are allowed. Fuck!
Better forget the music and tweek everything else in the game. Sound fx by Dr Petter’s sfxr. It’s an awfully great tool, I have no idea how else could I get sound effects. 🙂 I run through the Silk icons and copy every piece that could be an alien. I mean in some surreal cartoony suitable-for-small-kids world. Like a wrench, a basketball, an iPod, a key, a bell, a clock, etc. The only graphical work I do is magnifying and “blueing” the cloud icon to use it as a background animation. I even forget parallax (more layers of clouds running with different speeds) which would make the game so much better. Finally I get the speeds of the game and the scoring “system” right.
It’s 2 in the morning and I’m totally fed up with everything. At this point I hate not only my game but Ludum Dare as well. 🙂 And I still need some background music. And yes, I find a lot of free music on Last.fm. After about 5 minutes of searching, I get Fot i hose by Casiokids. Nice indie music from Norway.
I can’t believe I’m ready! Let’s upload the game, submit the entry and forget about the whole thing for ever. 2:30 going to bed. Can’t sleep for about 2 hours, I got the “boogie” in my legs. Then I fall asleep.
That was it. My third gaming compo and my first LD. Thanks for the opportunity!
Post post mortem: and I might have even broken the rules for using (though free, but) other people’s graphics and music. 😐