Dec 192011

I entered the Ludum Dare game making competition this weekend as usual. The theme was “Alone”. I didn’t have any immediate ideas, so I began by making the basis for a platformer with the theme in mind. Then it sort of evolved as I came up with things I thought would be cool to add.


The tools I used:

  • Flashdevelop (IDE)
  • Flashpunk (Game library)
  • Photoshop
  • Audition (sound editing)
  • Cubase (music)
  • Chronolapse (timelapse recording)

I decided early on to make it atmospherical, and I put a lot of focus on the effects, sounds, music and animation.

Continue reading for more info and a post-mortem.

What went wrong:

My computer kept crashing throughout the weekend, I think it crashed 8 times in total, which was really annoying. Fortunately I didn’t loose much work.

I waited far too long to implement basic things like getting hurt, dieing and winning, which meant I had to rush that in in the last couple of hours. The basic gameplay challenge when fighting the ravens is not that hard or fun, I should have worked more on that, as well as added more kinds of enemies, and perhaps a boss. It would also make the game more fun if I added some sort of progression, like new abilities.

The story is intentionally vauge, but only because I didn’t have time to flesh it out. It might add to the mystery and mood, I’m not sure. I would really have liked to have time to add a proper ending.

If you miss one of the spheres, you have to go back and find it. I wanted to have some sort of checkpoint, where to pass you would need to complete the part of the game behind you, but I didn’t get around to it. This also means you can win the game in different places, which is maybe cool, but…

What went right:

I think the strongest part of the game is the atmosphere. The rain and lightning effects really add to the mood. I’m also happy with the graphics, and especially the animation, considering I haven’t done that much before. The music is simple but effective, I didn’t go crazy despite listening to it for 10 hours straight.

The player physics feel pretty good, although the attacking part can use some more work. I’m proud of the healing mechanic although it isn’t used to such a big extent.

The camera doesn’t follow the player all the time, instead it snaps to 32×24 tile screens. This was an experiment, and I think it turned out ok. Because the screens are predetermined, you have more control over the scenes the player will see, and can tailor each scene to look as best it can. Of course, it’s also a limitation, and can be irritating for the player when navigating small passages for example.

I made the level as one big png-image in photoshop, where each pixel corresponds to one 10×10 pix tile. This made it really easy to edit, and because it was one single big image, I could quickly see how the whole world looked together. In order to see where each screen in the game was positioned, I just filled the image with helper rectangles. It worked suprisingly well.
Here is the final world image scaled up a bit (Warning: SPOILERS!): world.png

The auto-tiling was a thing I threw together in a hackish manner, but it worked really well too, and supports additional tilesets easily given an offset to the base tile (solid tile).


I’m happy with the result. The graphics are simple but effective, the atmosphere is good, sound and music works, the gameplay could be better but is ok, and it’s a completed game! I focused on stuff I usually don’t, and think I learned a whole lot. If you haven’t played the game yet, you can try it out here:!

Here is the entry page on the Ludum Dare site.