The musings and creations of Cody Claborn

Hi! I'm a programmer currently living in Indiana. I'm passionate about video games, music, and how programming intersects the two. Here are the projects I've worked on along with tutorials and other various blog posts. More about me

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Down the Rabbit Hole Postmortem

This was my first Ludum Dare (though not my first game jam) so I thought I do a little post-mortem about my experience. First off Ludum Dare is now my favorite game jam I've been in and I can't wait to do another one. The community is the best game developer community I've ever seen. Now to the post-mortem thing. My main goal was to just finish a game. The game didn't have to be fancy, I wasn't trying to make some ground breaking new game mechanic, and the game didn't have to be crazy good. I did however want to try and create a fairly complete and semi-polished game, and I think I did a decent job at that.

What I used...

What went right...

  • Music Music and audio was my passion long before programming was so I did want to try and make a cohesive audio (music/sfx) experience. I was very proud of how well the music set the tone for my game. I do wish I had a little more time to mix the music but not having time is kinda the norm for a game jam. The sound effects where made using SFXR and were actually generated with code instead of being prerecorded sounds. Using the SFXR library for haxe actually allowed me to create multiple sound effects really fast. That allowed me to create less repetitive and more interesting sound effects. My biggest surprise was how well the sound effects mixed with the music. Overall the sound effects were the biggest improvement to the game with the least amount of time spent on them.
  • Story Near the end of the compo I though my game was a little too short so I added some text in between each level. I can't tell you how much this gave my game personality and that personality took my game from a standard platformer to something more. Just a few lines of text added a lot to my game. I think adding a little story/text to any game, especially one made for a game jam, can make it so much better.

What went wrong...

  • Ideas/Gameplay The theme threw me off a little but I stuck too it. I'm glad I stuck to the theme but wish I would have had the knowledge to create my initial idea. Looking back I should have tried to come up with a simpler idea that I knew I could pull off at the start. Trying to do something that I hadn't even remotely done before cost me a whole day of work. In the end I think my simple idea of just a platformer turned out much better than my original idea.
  • Code Knowledge Game jams are the best place to learn new things but being my first Ludum Dare I was more interested in the competition aspect of it all. I just wanted a decent game that would hopefully place semi-well in the compo. That said I should have made myself a little more knowledgeable about the framework I was using. This didn't hurt me a lot, but I wish I would of had a better grasp on the framework I was using to give me more time for content creation and polish.

Final words... I think my game turned out pretty well for my first Ludum Dare. I'm really happy how everything came together and I can't wait for the next one. The best thing about this jam is the community and how nice they are. I've received a bunch of helpful comments and not one hateful statement. The community surrounding Ludum Dare is a great one.

© 2022, Cody Claborn

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