Ludum Dare 38, the Post Mortem (part 2): Saturday

This post is the second of the post mortem of Pod2000, our submission for the Ludum Dare 38. Go here to read the first part :)

Saturday morning rimes with brainstorming

As we decided to try the compo mode of the jam (48h & no pre-made assets), we knew that we quickly needed to define a theme and a gameplay (to give some times for assets creation). So from 10am to 12am, we noted all ideas and themes, as they were coming!

White board & post-it, reaaaally nice to bootstrap ideas! (Gildas & Baptiste)

Here are some ideas we had during this crazy brainstorming:

  • A game in which you play small people / creatures inside a coffee machine. You receive orders that you should fulfill by activating different parts of the coffee machine (Diner Dash like game)
  • A game where we can influence a small planet with external factors: weather, geological transformations, biome control
  • Something with ants

We loved the way we could influence on a planet with indirect actions. So we quickly dug into this idea.

Phaser & Typescript

We decided to go for a simple stack by using Phaser (a Javascript / Typescript game engine). Nidup had a nice custom boostrap to setup Phaser projects, which avoid us to have to configure Typescript build, configuration, etc… something we definitely don’t want to spend time on during a Game Jam :D

14h30

Once we found the basic gameplay of Pod2000, we quickly started to develop the main brick of the game, aka. the terminal ! At 2pm, we started to have a very basic terminal (no GUI, just ready in the code). Meanwhile, Pierre draw the interface of the game:

The very basic interface of the game, drawn by Pierre.

18h30

For like 4 hours, we plugged the terminal engine with graphic elements (the input & the textarea, as we use Phaser). Plus we already had the first very basic commands!

Fun fact: we lost some time trying to use a Phaser input component, which was very complicated. Finally, as we worked in the web browser, we decided to play it raw and use simple <input> and <textarea> elements :3

20h00

“Hey guys, I’ve recorded all keyboard sounds, could you plug it into the game?”

HELL YEAH. Baptiste secretly put himself in a room for several hours with… something:

A freaking Thomson MO6, where all the keyboard sound in Pod2000 come from (banana for scale)

32 key sounds, 8 spacebar sounds & 8 enter key sounds (available here). That’s how crazy he is. Once we plugged the typing sounds in the game, we really CAN’T stop playing with these haha!

It was time to celebrate with some barbecue & beers :)

Beer time (Geoffrey & Adrien)
THE FIRE (Baptiste & Gildas)

22h00

Once we were full of food, we thought about adding more narrative elements plus having the main story making sense.

As this step of the development, the game was a bit poor, the player just had to build 4 modules to win the game. Ahem. But at least we had the game mechanic, now we had to bring some life to this planet and give feeling to the player.

As a bonus, we added the nice screen scanning effect, a modified version of this WebGL effect.

How we handle the screen FX.

00h20

For more than 2 hours, we refactored (yes, during a Game Jam hahah) the way we displayed messages to the terminal. We have indeed 3 outputs:

  • The Terminal screen itself
  • The Monitor screen (to display pictures)
  • The Audio soundspeaker

With this refactor, we could simply play a sound, plus show an image & some text in the terminal, we were ready to add more content :)

Working on the pod sound ambient… (Baptiste)

Baptiste continued his work on sound, now we had the nice computer boot sound and buzz errors when the command was invalid!

At this time, we roughly implemented the landing of the Rover (VJ-Net42), with this very special sound and squeaks. To me it’s a huge part of the game (it’s one of my favorite). The only direct action you can take in the game, and the last time VJ-Net42 will be physically with you, on the pod…

02h15

The last 2 hours of the day were interesting. When it’s becoming late, it’s easy to fall in the trap of “refactoring” and “implementing this oh-so-crazy idea that could be great”. But it’s NEVER a good idea!

2am, team becomes to be a bit tired, but we were happy to have the very basic gameplay (Geoffrey, Nicolas, Gildas)

As you can see on the picture above, we practiced time to time the mob-programming on a huge screen. It allows to dig a subject with multiple brains and avoid deadlock on complex topics, it helped us a lot :)

We added some narrative elements and the ability to finally load an image on the small monitor. That was it. The game was ready for more content!

Here is a potato quality video of what the game looked like at the end of the first day, at 50% of the game jam:

As you can see, we still had the low quality 3D rendered pod computer ^^

Well, that’s it for the first of the 2 days, in the next post, we’ll see how we managed to finish and polish the game the most we can, plus by adding an alternative end to the game. See you!