Ludum Dare 30 – Hello, Alien! – Post Mortem

This Ludum Dare we created a little puzzle game, which we called ‘Hello, Alien!’ and you can go play it here.

Gameplay of Hello, Alien!

About the game:

The aliens have been living happily in their connected galaxies, until an asteroid storm disconnected their interplanetary connection based on laser satellite technology. Help them to restore their connection, by using mirrors, splitters and bombs.

The good things that happened:

  • LAZORZS! The laser effects turned out to be pretty neat, and it’s really fun just playing around with the lasers. (Thanks to this laser creation guide.)
  • Artstyle: I tried out various artstyles and came to the conclusion, that pixelart is what I suck the least at. So, I’m happy I decided to create pixelart and stuck with it.
  • Teamwork: Although Florian (Sound and Music guy) had a lot of other things going during the weekend, he managed to create some sweet music and sound-effects, so that I could focus on other tasks. We had a pretty fast feedback-loop so that iterations over created assets were quick and painless.
  • Dropping the lose condition: In the first versions of the game, you would lose the level when you grilled those nice aliens and you had to restart the level, undoing all your hard work. But killing the aliens is the most fun part! And it’s a god damn puzzle game, there is no need to ‘lose’ the level. There are states of the level that mean the level is solved, and everything else just means it isn’t solved yet. On the other hand it will certainly make sense to add some sort of element that the laser isn’t allowed to hit, before the level counts as solved. But it shouldn’t need a complete level restart, just some repositioning of the necessary game elements.

The bad things that happened:

  • Unnecessary (Failed) Optimizing: I wasted some hours reworking (“optimizing”) the laser raytracing code just to fail at one small bug. It turned out the first sloppy code was good enough in the end.
  • Last minute level design: I created some levels during the second day, but a lot of the third day was spent refining them as tutorial levels. The last hour before submission was used to quickly create more ‘non’-tutorial levels, and were quite hastily put together.
  • Level Editor Lacking Usability: Also the editor for creating the levels was made during the weekend, and some features were really clunky to use and/or not fully implemented. So creating levels was a really tiresome progress. This further slowed down the ability to create more levels for the game.
  • Did not finish art assets: I did not manage to rework all the graphics for the final version, so the planets and buttons don’t quite fit aesthetically into the rest of the game.

Ludum Dare was certainly a fun experience and gave us the feeling of actually having accomplished something (even if not much).

So, the next thing we will do, is to polish our Ludum Dare entry and add all the features we would have liked to add. For the post-compo version, we would also like to get it on Android, because we figured, it would make a neat mobile game.

-Anton

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