PLASMAGUN! – a post-mortem for Ludum Dare 39

Hello, there! This is the post-mortem text of my latest Ludum Dare entry: “PLASMAGUN!”, I hope you enjoy reading it.

The 39th edition of the Ludum Dare accelerated game development competition started, for me, last Friday, July 28th 2017, at 10pm, local time in São Paulo/BR. The theme for it was “Running out of Power”, one of the themes I really did want to win in the voting, so I was kinda excited to see what I could possibly do for a game.

After a few months working as a front-end developer (JS, Angular, etc.), this was the first time I kinda dived fully into gamedev mode, so I was kinda in the mood for the challenge. Mostly because I worked with developers who are really great and nice, and I really helped me get more confidence in doing stuff. :smile:

As soon as the theme was announced, I started brainstorming a few ideas and thinking about the concept of “power”. It was kinda broad, since power exists in many forms and all of them can run out (political, energy, stamina, hunger, whatever). Also, I’ve had a lot of ideas that were kinda cliché, which is also something that happens when there’s this type of theme. I decided I was not going to think too much, so if an idea got me, I’d make it.

I ended up using the idea of a plasma-type gun and equipment that leaks its power, the only thing I was going to decide was which genre and how I was going to implement it. Kinda easy, right? Well, not really.

While the theme was good, and reaching an idea was quite fast and easy, the development had a lot of stuff that made it slower than I wanted to and, even though I’m quite satisfied with the outcome, the game ended up not being 100% as I intended to.

Of course, having a published control script library (inspired by how Derek Yu’s Spelunky Classic deals with controls) for GameMaker did help me kickstart things a bit fast, but only that. :confounded:

As I don’t want to make this too long (but I think it will be anyway), I’m gonna put it into topics (so I can easily make a TL;DR later too), so let’s check, in my opinion, what were my best and worst points of this Ludum Dare!

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On brainstorming ideas for a game jam

So, Ludum Dare 39 started roughly 2 hours ago, with the theme “running out of power“. It’s past midnight here in São Paulo and, even though I thought about an idea or two, I’m still thinking about the ideas.

The concept of “power” is so broad you can easily get lost with what kind of power you should employ that’s possible to run out. Also, with such a concept, it’s also quite easy to end up with a not-so-original idea (think about some endless runners, or games like Concerned Joe or Move or Die).

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