LD28 The most beautiful day of her life, Post-Mortem

The most beautiful day of her life
Post-mortem

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Goals before the jam

As usual with a game jam, the main goal is to release a complete (playable) game in the time allowed.
For this peculiar Ludum Dare (#28) I was hoping to enter/release my game in time for the compo (48h) for the first time. At worst, I was OK to enter the jam (72h) the main goal being to release.
I was also aiming at having fun, as much as possible.
I was also considering entering @McFunkypants usual side challenge. This time #NoKill.
There shouldn’t be death in my game.

A bride has to slap and purse her way out of bimbos to get to the churchA bride-to-be has to slap her way out of bimbos to get to the church

Theme revealed

And as usual (especially for the LD) on the theme reveal, it’s the time to freak out, be at first angry with the votes results, cursing all the people and their voting ways and considering not being a part of this LD/not making a game.
“You only get one”.
As I twitted at some point, at least it wasn’t “Justin Bieber <3” which happened to be one of the possible themes and just shows, in my opinion, how broken the theme choice system is.
Then after a few reflections and discussion with my lady friend Nyx, I was able to have a global idea of the game I was going for.
A kind of beat them all around the theme “you only have one chance to save your wedding” where the player would control a woman that needs to slap her way out of bimbos to get to the man of her dreams.
From this theme, very cartoony and over-the-top stereotypical I was aiming to make a fun game that wouldn’t take itself seriously.

Jumping over cars, a healthy practice before getting married, isn't it ?Jumping over cars, a healthy practice before a wedding, isn’t it ?

What went right

I use Construct 2, a HTML5 game making tool that I’m pretty familiar with.
To have a basic platformer/beat them all playable with collision boxes only took a few hours.
At first I wanted to have different chapters, possibly giving one hour (game time) to the player, à la “Prince of Persia” first of its name. Later on in development, I shifted to the less original “you only have one minute” which, nevertheless was in sync with the theme, made more sense than “You only have one chance…”.
The “only one chance” would have meant something like permadeath or something, and it wasn’t really what I was aiming for since the game shaped to be more a fail and retry.
I think in the end, the game fits the theme (because of the one minute time limit mechanic) but also is coherent since you don’t kill the bimbos/opponents but knock them out (if you wait for them, after a while they’ll simply wake up and come for you again), the enemies don’t kill you but knock you back and stun you so that you lose time.
There is even a boss that appeared to be a stopping obstacle, according to some of the comments I got after release making the game, not so easy, yet doable.

All in all, the construction of the game went well. I didn’t really encountered bugs. I did not lost too much time over tests or features that didn’t make it in the game in the end. I lost some time, but not too much, and I was able, after some tests to just cut/simplify said features for the good of the game and the fulfilment of the goal : releasing the game.
It even have story, ingame and ending “cinematics”.
I did the art myself. I’m not a graphic artist, I’ve learned some tricks/basis on how to draw and used it for all my productions, but I cruelly lack practice. Nevertheless, I’m pretty happy with the result for this game.
The drawings are simple, yet understandable, the animations do their job, every object/part of the scenery does its part as it is supposed to.
The sounds compliment the action even though, and as usual in my jams, it is the part I keep for last and on which I tend to spend the less time (even if I am not a graphic artist, I have some background as a musician and sound design is a part I’m quite confident with).

I was able to have some playtests from my friend Nyx also which gave valuable feedback and motivation to go on with the game.

I even noticed no complaints about the HTML5 nature of the game.
No comments about lags or the game not working, proving that, at least amongst the people who commented, HTML5/browser gaming is a thing, it works and it works good.

Slap, slap, slapSlap, slap, slap

What went wrong

I wanted to release for the compo, for the first time in all my participations in Ludum Dare, but yet again, I wasn’t able to manage it.
On the moment of release for the compo (and even with the next hour of submission) I was still missing some graphics for the main objects (the car especially), the whole graphics for the scenery, the sounds and the mother in law wasn’t yet the end boss (I had some sort of immobile shooting device).
I had lost some time on the sunday morning, despite having slept, waking up a bit demotivated/tired and sick. During the day though and as the concept of the game shifted to make more sense (a single layout/chapter, one minute time limit, enemies were to make you lose time…), I found myself winning back motivation and will to complete.
I guess it is a poor management of time (despite having been able to do quite a lot, quite fast, I must admit that the length of the jam wasn’t fully spent on working (except for the monday).
At the same time though, I wanted myself to have fun as well and not feel like I was crunching for something that would get poor/few reviews in the end. And it’s not the case, I really consider this game as one of my “best” so far and one of the most fun. Especially considering the frame time it was made in.

The graphics took me a lot of time. As I mentioned, and despite being happy with them, considering my current “skills”, I lack practice and should really draw more and more to be able to produce “decent” work at a faster pace.

I’m missing some sound elements, as well as an ambiance music.
The ending tune was generated out of a midi file found on the internet, instead of me replaying/arranging it as the compo rules would have expected.
I almost decided to not put sounds as I wasn’t finding a valid slap sound at first and was under the pressure of the close release time.
(For example the “ninjas” sounds for the mother in law attacks were put in the game during the last hour before submission, and really made a difference)

About the use of the stereotypes I have had a few comments about the sexist nature of the game.
I may not have mentioned it so far but Nyx is a girl, and she’s the one who suggested the use of bimbos and the mother in law as well as most of those “stereotypes”.
To me, it was funny. I’m not a sexist person and I really was seeing the whole thing as a cartoon/caricature. [SPOILER ALERT]That’s also kind of why she slaps her husband at the end.[/SPOILER ALERT]
Also, those ideas coming from a girl, I ran with it as far as I could, with the same kind of “blessing” as when a black person makes a racist joke about black people. That makes it socially “OK”.
I guess I did not run far enough, didn’t make it a caricature enough instead of simply using the stereotypes.
In my opinion though, the character of the bride is an empowered woman with strength of will who gets out of a bad predicament through her own power. The humour comes from the fact that it is through slaps and purse blows. At least such was the intent.

It’s not fully a wrong point, I’m totally open to discussion and willing to discuss the issue. But the game is truly and completely meant in a humoristic way.
The “bimbos” are (poorly drawn) caricatures with a poor AI (they just walk toward the bride when she is in their LOS).
No true human is THAT poorly behaving/stupid.

Time is up

What I’ve learned

I don’t feel I’ve learned so much during this jam. I rather feel I had confirmations of things I already knew.
I’ve had the confirmation Construct 2 is awesome and when mastered is just a breeze to make games. I say that not only for my game but for a number of other people from Scirra’s community I’ve played the game of. There are some crazy productions out there, especially considering it was made during a week-end; 48 to 72 hours !
Some gorgeous entries on the visual side, but original and funny in their mechanics/construction as well.
Even some entry made “in a rush” and without any special “intent” harvested a “funniest game I’ve played so far” in the comments. I’m pretty sure the author wasn’t expecting that much !

I’ve had the confirmation that I can do OK on the sound design level even in a rushed time.
I’ve learned/had the confirmation that I can do graphics as well and “just” need to put some serious work into it to keep getting better and better results.

I’ve had the confirmation that playing and commenting games after the LD is a good way to get your own entry rated and commented. Especially if your comments are built and takes more than a line (even if said comment is mostly critic, as long as it isn’t free, it’s OK).
I’ve had the confirmation that game making community over the world is getting big, that some people still don’t know what they are getting into, that some others do and are good at/for it and I have a part in that community as well.
I’ve had the confirmation that all my self-teaching over programming and game design/analysis pays each game I make.

A happy endA happy end

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Conclusion after the jam

Well the conclusion is this post-mortem.
I hadn’t written one in a while, but here it is. I hope you can learn/take something from it.
I’ll keep on making games, because I like it a lot, and there is a lot of fun out there still waiting to be released/handed to the public.
I feel I’m getting better at it, I’ve been told so as well which helps motivation a great deal.

A nice arrival at the church, and a funny end cinematicThe arrival at church and a funny ending cinematic

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