LD39 Postmortem

For 5 years, with my friend Cyto, We have participated in the Ludum Dare Jam event of august. We didn't deliver every time but we always had fun. This year we delivered our most polished game since we started doing this!
Learn more about this game on its ldjam entry page:

Download on ludumdare.com

I have to say that this game received the highest score we ever had, and this is rewarding, because while making this game, we had the feeling that we were well prepared for once. We tried our best to avoid the errors and pitfalls we used to fell into every time.

The questions are:

  • What went wrong?
  • What went right?
  • What was different this time?
  • How could we improve?

What went wrong

This is the hardest question, because to me it felt like everything went right, but of course some things must have gone wrong, the hardest was to keep our motivation, especially because after two straight days of gamedev, every small distraction is hard to ignore.

What went right? What was different this time?

This time we weren’t more prepared or more motivated than the previous times, we didn’t have a better or more complete codebase to kickstart coding, we didn’t warm up the week before. We were just as unprepared as everytime we joined in in the past.

This jam was a success because of a few things:

  • We live in the UTC+2 timezone … we decided to go to sleep early to wake up at 9am. why used to wait until 3am for the theme, now I understand why this is a stupid idea, you start the jam by shifting your body clock which makes you tired, then waking up in the morning to discover the theme and start working with a fresh and rested brain is a real advantage that we, European participants, have over Americans.
  • We’ve found a good idea almost immediately (brainstorming while having a nice breakfast is effective!)
  • We decided to use GitHub’s new Projects feature to keep track of tasks using these columns: minimum to do to deliver, extra features, in progress, done.
  • We started by breaking up the work to be done in smaller tasks and filled the first two columns according to the priority of these tasks.
  • We focused our efforts on the first column.
  • We managed to finish most of its tasks during the first two days! (epic success).

It seems that sleeping well and being organised is the way to go to deliver.

How could we improve?

The main reason why we felt more comfortable this time is probably because it’s our fifth participation, we are getting used to game jams and did not fall in the usual traps. But nobody’s perfect and there is still room to improve:

  • Be prepared:
    Every time we joined in we weren’t prepared, I do enjoy making games from scratch but I also want to save time by not rewriting the same code every game jam, our codebase has been rewritten a few time, we switched from C to C++ to benefit from object oriented programming, templates and the STL, all of this has improved our efficiency, we no longer waste time writing “engine” parts for the game.
  • Practice:
    I’ve bought some equipment to create assets, a USB microphone (Samson C01U) and a pop filter, a USB midi keyboard (Akai LPK25) and a graphic tablet (Wacom Intuos). But having fancy gear is useless if you don’t know how to use it properly, I spent some time playing with it to learn how to create using various software (Aseprite, Krita, LMMS, Audacious, …)
  • Jam:
    Participate in game jams more often, it’s fun!