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1025883 Posts in 41113 Topics- by 32714 Members - Latest Member: glintycreative

July 23, 2014, 10:04:42 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackPlaytestingWeekly 'Ludum Dare' theme challenge
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Author Topic: Weekly 'Ludum Dare' theme challenge  (Read 1083 times)
Flynn1179
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« on: November 10, 2012, 03:44:35 PM »

Hi! Not 100% sure if this is the best place to post this, but as it's still very much an 'in development' idea, I figured some feedback will probably be helpful.

I'd love to take part in game jams or competitions such as Ludum Dare, but I'm trying to hold down a full time job while looking after a disabled wife and two pre-school children, which makes it impossible to devote the amount of time I'd need to seriously participate.

So, I've decided that I'm going to take all the themes that the 48 hour Ludum Dare contests have been based on, and make one game each week, Sunday to Saturday, releasing whatever I've got so far on Saturday night. I'll start with the 'Guardian' theme tomorrow, and end up doing something on 'Evolution' in about 6 months time, although I'll probably have to miss a week for holidays occasionally.

I originally planned on doing this just on my own without telling anyone, but I think feedback will obviously be very useful, and any interest will hopefully provide some encouragement; it's far too easy to give up on something if nobody's going to notice, but if I know there's people waiting to see what I produce each week, I'll have a lot more incentive. I'm also hoping that one of the games I produce will turn out to be worth developing to a greater extent.

Wish me luck!

Here's the games:

Week 1 - Guardian : http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc1
Week 2 - Vermin Bomb (Construction/Destruction) : http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc2
Week 3 - Logibots (Preparation) : http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc3
Week 4 - Infection : http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc4
Week 5 - Random : http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc5

Ok.. after 5 weeks, I decided not to continue. I was loathe to do this, because the last thing I wanted was to be a 'quitter', but the fact is, I'm so short on time I'm churning out substandard junk every week, and I've come to the conclusion that one week just isn't enough time to produce something I'm happy with, at least not consistently.

I have however learned a few things about what does and doesn't work when you're short on time, so I've decided to join the 'one game a month' challenge, and I'll be putting the experience I gained so far to good use (and re-using a lot of code, most likely!)

I still hope to produce one game for each of the Ludum Dare themes over time, but I'd prefer to take the time to do them justice. Vermin bomb for example, felt like a really nice idea, and I actually think it works quite well, although it needs a lot more depth and a LOT more polish to make a decent game. Still, it's 1st of January.. to work!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 02:17:18 PM by Flynn1179 » Logged
agersant
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 03:52:50 PM »

This is very ambitious but I'm curious to see how it goes. Best of luck =)
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 03:22:58 PM »

Progress so far after one day:

http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc1

It's more a test of the basic technology than anything else, but it's a playable game, even if it isn't too exciting. The next step is to have a more interesting environment for mobs to navigate, rather than just moving in a straight line across a blank screen. I haven't even got any graphics in there yet though, it's just plain circles for towers, mobs, missiles and the 'base'
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Quicksand-S
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 06:17:12 PM »

I like that I can place towers anywhere I want, instead of on a grid or something. I completely failed the first time I played, though, because nothing told me how far the towers could see until I had already placed them. Adding a semi-transparent "firing radius" circle around the mouse would be nice, to show me how far something will shoot before I actually place it.
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 03:57:57 PM »

Yeah, I agree- done. I've also implemented a simple landscape, with a fairly simple pathing UI for mobs; you can only place towers on walls now, too. I think I've made it too easy though.

I'm trying to think of something that makes it a bit different from a typical tower defense game.. I'm thinking of 'utility' towers that repair/build walls somehow, and mobs that can break down walls.
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Impmaster
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 02:14:02 AM »

Maybe the mobs can attack the towers? You have to build mobs to protect your towers? I'm thinking dota here.
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Quicksand-S
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 09:19:45 AM »

Yeah, I'd say it's too easy now. The first version was easy too, until the screen was full of enemies, but this one I can pretty much leave running indefinitely. My score is now too long for the space given.

Random thoughts:

-enemies that shoot (combined with life-bars for towers)
-non-tower objects like explosive traps (can't place on walls)
-enemies should take alternate paths more often
-power generators that are built on the path (they increase power to your towers but they also give you another object to protect from the onslaught of enemies)


You know what I'd like to see? A tower defense game that has AI more like an FPS. Enemies could run along the path, then take cover a moment before making a run for the next bit of cover (possibly short walls that can't be built on). Instead of a steady stream of enemies, it'd feel more like a group of people/creatures/whatever desperately trying to move forward. Then the gameplay becomes "How do I push them into certain areas?" and "Where might they go next?"

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Steven Colling
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 12:37:42 PM »

Hi! Here is my feedback Smiley

Tower Placement

I think a grid-based placement of towers would be better, because
I noted while playing the game, placing as many towers as possible
on a wall gets fiddly, trying to get the pixel between placeable and
non-placeable area.

Random Level Generation

You should force the level generation to avoid one-way-passages, because
the game gets to easy then.

Waiting for Money

While you placed all towers, the only thing you can make is watching, how
the enemies get shot. Thats kind of rewarding, but there should be something
to do. This must not be additional interaction - instead, e.g. the player can
make more thoughts and decision as where to place the next tower... like,
which tower to upgrade, which tower ability to buy etc.. So you should
add more decisions the player must make.

Bug

I got a tower on a wall, which failed to shot a single enemy. The shots just
lag behind.
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 03:54:14 PM »

Uploaded more updates, with upgradable towers and mobs that take a few hits to kill; they get progressively harder over time.

I like the idea of mobs avoiding towers where they can; I need to implement better route-finding AI anyway, I'll look into having mobs prefer routes avoiding towers while I'm at it. Right now each tile has a 'distance to target' field attached to it, and mobs just move to whichever neighboring tile has the lowest value. I can use that as a measure of 'am I getting closer', and have mobs get more 'brave' if they're not detecting any progress. I could add camouflage to towers so you can prevent mobs from noticing them.. lots of possibilities!

I also thought it might be an idea if mobs dropped salvageable materials, that you need to collect to build special towers, or special adaptations to existing towers. Not sure how well that would work though. A simpler 'power-up' mechanic might be simpler and more fun.
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 04:41:27 PM »

Latest version's up.. final push tomorrow. I'll be putting in waves/levels rather than just one continuous onslaught, a few different mob types, better map generation and path-finding AI, and finally some graphics and sound effects. If I have time, I'd like to add in power-ups that offer a temporary boost of some sort, probably increased weapon strength or 'repair all towers' or something.

I don't think I'm really going to be able to get it to be anything more than a typical tower defence game by tomorrow, but of course I can always expand on it.
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2012, 04:02:41 PM »

Well, I didn't get it nearly as far on as I'd have liked, but despite the poor graphics, it's reasonably playable.

Tomorrow I start on the Construction/Destruction theme. I had an idea for a game, I was hoping for some feedback/opinions on it. Basically, the objective is to clear out some form of vermin from an area, but they're crafty enough to avoid a direct assault, so you need to build them a 'home' or other form of ideal habitat, and booby trap it in such a way that you minimize how many escape.

For example, mobs would avoid dead-ends by choice, and if they see another killed or hurt, or detect a trap somehow, they'll try to escape. Score would be based on how many you manage to entice in, and how many you manage to stop from escaping while the traps go off.

I think it'll be an interesting puzzle, hopefully quite challenging, as long as it doesn't degenerate into 'big hole in the ground, with cheese and explosives. Boom, job done'. Well, level 1, maybe, but later mobs would be smarter than that..
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Quicksand-S
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2012, 08:27:56 PM »

Your Construction/Destruction idea sounds pretty good. It also sounds like the sort of game that might require a decent amount of planning and pretty good/interesting/enjoyable AI, both of which might take more time than you've allotted for this. Still might be worth trying, though, just to see how far you get.
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2012, 10:16:54 PM »

Man, I like this idea! One week is short enough to force you to keep the scope under control, but gives some wiggle room in case Life Happens (tm).

May I play along?
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2012, 04:28:45 PM »

Well, this week was a bit of a disaster.. aside from having much less time available than I expected (Life (tm) DID happen..), I couldn't make the path-finding work reliably with a 'free-form' design, so I had to resort to a 'tiled' approach instead, scrapping most of the week's work. It's playable, and kind of fun.. I didn't get time to put in-game instructions though, I'll put some on the web page shortly.

http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc2

It's much simpler than I had hoped to get done, but it still works, although it might need some balancing.
The idea is to blow up 50% of the scuttling vermin on each level. To do this, you have a limited supply of walls, cheese, bombs, pressure-plate triggers, and fuse wire- select what to place from a right-click menu. Walls take 10 seconds to construct, and bombs take 3 seconds to detonate; this is to add a degree of difficulty, making it hard to trap vermin near a bomb when it detonates. Bombs detonate with a 10 block radius, but you can't blow up vermin that are clinging to the edges.

The vermin are jittery little critters, they get scared whenever they see a wall constructing, a fuse wire burning, or the mouse pointer moving. If they chill out a bit, they'll head for the nearest cheese, but if they get scared they'll head for safety. If they get TOO scared and there's a bomb nearby, they'll panic and run away from it. One tip: If you try to trap vermin in a closed room, DON'T move the mouse until the wall's done constructing, you might scare them enough that they run out.

Biggest single problem with it right now is the size of the tiles- for some reason I thought at one point that 8x8 pixels was a good idea, but it's going to take a bit of work to change it.

Tomorrow, 'Preparation'..
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Flynn1179
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2012, 03:29:11 PM »

Half way through week 3's creation, 'LogiBots', based on the 'Preparation' theme.

http://www.flynn1179.net/games/?page=ldc3

The premise is simple enough- you need to provide simple instructions to a robot (or robots), then send him off on his way. The objective is to program your robots to activate all the reactors on the map, and get out again. I really done any decent level designs yet, there's only two, and they're really just there to test the technology- the first one's even pre-programmed to win.

You can instruct bots to move around, pick up items they're standing on (e.g. a key), use items they're carrying (e.g. to unlock a door), or activate whatever's in front of them (e.g. reactors, switches). Instructions can be set to repeat any number of times, and can be grouped, with an optional condition. I'll put instructions for how to program bots on the web page.

I'm looking for feedback on the premise in general, and hopefully some suggestions on other possible 'carryable' items that can be 'use'd to make interesting level designs, or other 'activatable' tiles. It already supports multiple bots, so I'm planning later levels involving programming two (or more) bots to work together, to open doors for each other, that sort of thing. There's a non-player bot on the first level as well, that comes to life when the reactor's powered, and a switch is activated.
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