Little Sunshine – Ludum Dare 46 Postmortem

Little Sunshine – Ludum Dare 46 Postmortem
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Good morning my little rays of sunshine! It’s now a little more than 48 hours since I handed in my game for the 46th Ludum Dare Game Jam (COMPO). This is my Ludum Dare 46 Postmortem for the game Little Sunshine. It was my very first game jam, and the very first game I completed all by myself! This is my sunny postmortem to remind me of the cloudy and sunny parts of the competition. To make things better the next time.

Ludum Dare is a fantastic experience and leads to the creation of “Little Sunshine”. Ludum Dare is a Game Jam where people all over the world come together and create a computer game in 48 hours by themselves. Or in 72 hours with a small team. I am happy with my result, even if it may not look much to others. Here is the good, the bad and the learnings in the postmortem of my Ludum Dare 46 game: Little Sunshine. Check it out on itch.io.

THE GOOD of my Ludum Dare 46

– I made a proper game in 48 hours! Currently, I work on an endless racer game. I want to release on the Appstore but get stuck at every corner on the way. I settled with minimal scope for my endless runner, but, I am never satisfied with my models or my execution. Instead of continuing my game, I learn tools like Blender3D. Get distracted on the way or search for ways to make my implementations better. This time, I created something worthy that I can call a game and released it. Little Sunshine for the Ludum Dare 46!

– The Theme was broad the ideas flow! It’s 3 o’clock in the night and I got up by myself because I was so excited. I just had my idea more or less from the beginning. I started setting up the project in unity and GitHub and set up basics, I thought I need anyway. Like a simple UI, Main Menue and an Audio Manager.idea.jpg

– Learned “Spriter” on the way! During development, I learned a new tool that I acquired in a Humblebundle package a long time ago. Its called Spriter, but I never used it so far. It’s pretty powerful but has its problems. A game jam is probably not the perfect place to learn a new tool, and everything started out smoothly. The issues started with implementing the assets into the engine. Creating them was easy.

– My cheap drawing tablet from eBay is incredible! I received this Wacom tablet from eBay a couple of weeks ago. I just used it a little to improve my terrible drawing skills. But it was very convenient for this LudumDare as you can create pretty decent looking assets pretty fast.

THE BAD of my Ludum Dare 46

– Features that did not find good use. I wanted to create a game where a plant grows, and you have to defend it while taking care of it. I implemented the plant growing feature and an indicator that the soil around the plant changes colour according to if the plant needed water or sun. Unfortunately, I never had appropriate assets for the plant growth and the earth changing colour was too saddle to be recognised.

– Assets not implemented. I created my different assets, animations, plant stages etc. in one batch. After implementing them into the engine, I noticed some problems and had to touch every asset again. It took 12 hours (!!!) to fix the adult plant that it plays the animations and that it looks alright in the game. In the end, I had even plant states (like a little sunflower) I could not implement anymore as they did not fit with the design of the current sunflower.flower.jpg

– One class fits all. I wrote most of the code inside one script. The Game Manager. This is fine for the GameJam, but it’s very complicated to change things later on. I guess its good practice to create at least one new script for every feature.

– Too embarrassed for the music. I recorded some simple music for the game I never implemented. As I don’t play any instrument, I sang a melody into the microphone that I thought fit the dancing sunflower. But I was too embarrassed and discarded it and went without music instead. But after getting to know “VillageQuake” doing exactly that, I regret never putting it in. (That’s your fault @kontroman)

– Fly came too late After everything seemed so smoothly on the first day, I took my time to implement the enemy. If I would have known that the sunflower growing made so many problems, I should have implemented it right away as its one of the core elements. Not the growing sunflower part. Now I have an enemy, but it is facing the wrong direction when coming from the right side of the screen.

THE LEARNINGS of my Postmortem

– Why not prepare. I will be part of the Ludum Dare in October, and then I want to be better prepared as for Little Sunshine. Update all the programs and create a GitHub repo before the COMPO starts. (I guess it is allowed isn’t it?)

– Better use of existing elements. I noticed a lot of games utilising their game elements better. Introducing them one by one and using them over and over again. I want to make use of that more and not waste time with features nobody notices and does not provide any use in the game (Soil)

– Talk about Ideas. It helped me a lot discussing Little Sunshine with fellow Ludum Dare participants as well as friends. Even if I found at least five copies of the same concept as I made, it helps to focus on the crucial parts.

– Join a live community with people who can help you. I found myself stuck with pretty easy coding problems from time to time, and it would have been great if there was a Discord or something with other people that could help me on short notice. Next time I want to find such a place before the Ludum Dare starts!

tutorial.jpg

WHATS NEXT for my little sunshine

– Feedback received! It was great, getting all the feedback for the game to see what other people think. I went on and worked a little on the game and implemented nearly everything requested and noticed that some ideas work, and others sound good and logical, but don’t work. I observe my comment section carefully and work to a second version of the game after the LD46 results have been published.

– Implement the missing features/assets. I want to “Finish” the game with the vision I originally had. That means implementing a few new features and assets and adapting it for a new platform (mobile)

– iOS / Android app. As I mentioned in the beginning, I am trying to create a game I can release on the Appstore. It’s mainly to say that I have an app 😉 but as my development on my original project stalled, I decided to push this project to the limit and hope that Apple let me release it. I will post it here if I manage to do it!

I hope this Ludum Dare 46 Postmortem for the game Little Sunshine, was somewhat entertaining or helpful for you. Don’t miss my progress on my Ludum Dare game – Little Sunshine and get it for Android / iOS here!

More Ideas?