Hannah’s First Ludum Dare

Last weekend (14th – 16th Dec 2012) was Ludum Dare 25. The theme was “You are the villain”. For roughly the last year, various people have been attempting to talk me into entering Ludum Dare. Surprisingly, the time I had the least requests, I actually bit the bullet and entered. About damn time, right?!

Although I somewhat have confidence in my game design/dev skills, I can safely say that I don’t really have the confidence to complete a game within 48 hours (as per the Compo rules). That was my way of thinking until last weekend.

Although what I created is far from perfect. Hell, it’s far from good, but it’s still something. My entire confidence has altered now… Hopefully for the good.

So right now, you’re thinking “this little game dev panda has found some confidence, thanks to a game jam. That’s fantastic!” Here’s another little piece of information for you; I made another game that weekend. However, the Jam entry rules are a lot less restrictive than the Compo rules (you have 72 hours, and assets/code can be used from previous projects etc). I edited one of my Panda Kart games to include goats. Yes, goats. Y’see, there was a secondary theme of this Ludum Dare (not a required one, as my Compo game was just about as far from goats as you could possibly get!).

So, what did I create?

A maze game. Yes, I created a maze game, aptly titled “A Maze Game”. I’m not really all that good at titles. So I make do with what I can. You play as a lonely star who just wants friends, that’s not really villainous, right? Well, spoilers – but the friends that you “collect” are other stars in the universe. And we all know what stars are… Suns of other solar systems. So you’re going around and collecting other suns, extinguishing them from their solar systems. Bottom line – you’re an accidental villain by unknowingly ripping the life from hundreds of solar systems, and thousands of planets that may or may not contain intelligent life.

The “art” is a basic star-like shape with the colours changed for the pick-ups. The maze outlines were created from the random maze generator plug-in in Paint.net. And the background did start off as different colours every three levels (as the difficulty increased). But then that didn’t really make much sense in the environment of “space”. So now the backgrounds just consists of a dark grey block colour with white dots – just pretend they’re really, really distant stars!

Audio! Yes, audio. I’ve never done anything to do with audio before. So I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to even think about it. But then I thought it may be nice to have some sort of little pick-up sound effect. Using Bfxr, a sound effect generator, I created a little pick-up sound effect. To me, just this sound effect, with no other audio just sounds hilariously bad. So I implemented it into the first level… But not the others. I only noticed whilst being in the same room as my boyfriend as he was playing this game that I forgot to add in the sound effect to the other eight levels! Ooops!

The graphics are near to non-existent. There’s extremely little audio. The collision is hilarious as hell, and the movement leaves a lot to be desired. The entire game is a mess. But I’m damn proud of it. Perhaps it’s more a case that I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, rather than what I’ve created.

This might sound like I’m starting to brag, but both of these games were created and submitted within 18 hours of the event starting, 30 hours before they needed to be.

I don’t know if I’ll be entering in the next Ludum Dare, as the dates will be very likely be right around the time that my dissertation and other uni projects are due in. However, I wish to thank the lovely LD community as these guys are the most supportive community any game developer could ever hope to encounter!

Compo entry “A Maze Game” can be found here and Jam entry “Eat A Goat” can be found here


Note: I’m sorry if this post is written a little disjointedly – my thought processes are just as disjointed!


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