Sunday, December 15, 2013

Here Goes Nothing: Ludum Dare 28

Well, I said I'd have more free time starting after the 9th, but that seems to have been a little premature; while I did have an important deadline to meet on the 9th, it turned out there was a little more to do that I got a few days' extension on, as well as other things to catch up on that I'd put off because of that deadline, so my schedule didn't clear up quite as quickly as I had (rather unreasonably) expected.

And I'm afraid this weekend I won't have another post on Eamon or 001 just yet. They're coming, I swear. There will be another post on Eamon soon. But something else came up this weekend that... kind of took priority.

See, in one of my first posts, reader Zenic Reverie posted a comment asking if I'd given any thought to participating in Ludum Dare. Now, Ludum Dare, for those who don't know (and didn't just follow that link to find out), is an activity that involves creating a complete game, from scratch, in 48 hours, following a given theme. I'd been aware of it before, and it's something I'd always sort of wanted to get into. I've participated in a number of other limited-time creation activities: NaNoWriMo, 24 Hour Comics Day, the 48 Hour Film Project. (Well, okay, that last isn't a solo activity, but I wrote the script and composed the score for a completed entry in the project.) As I posted in response to Zenic Reverie's question, "the main reason I haven't tried Ludum Dare is that I don't think I have enough experience in game creation to be able to work fast enough to create a game in 48 hours."

But then, I went on to write, I shouldn't let that stop me... I succeeded on my first attempt at 24 Hour Comics Day despite never having created a comic before. So I decided that yes, I'd go ahead and do it, "[a]ssuming it doesn't fall on a day I have a commitment I can't get out of".

A wallpaper showing all the games from Ludum Dare 21 (from here)

Well, I thought I was subscribed to the site and would get updates about Ludum Dare, but apparently not, because I didn't find out till a few days ago that Ludum Dare 28 was taking place... this weekend. As in, right now, as I post this. And unfortunately, I do have several commitments this weekend.

Also not helping matters is the fact that for some reason I'd assumed Ludum Dare started Saturday morning, when in fact it turns out it started Friday night, at about 6 p.m. Pacific Time. Had I known that (and really, there's no good excuse for my not having been more assiduous about checking the website for the exact starting time), I would have had a good extra evening to work on the game. As it was, I checked on Saturday morning to find that it had already started. Not that I had time to work on it that morning; I had several commitments that day, and while I was able to think about game ideas while driving to and from the places I needed to go, I wasn't able to actually get started on the game until around 6 p.m. Saturday. That means a full day lost.

And really, it's more than that, because I'm not without commitments Sunday, either. I have to be at a movie set at seven a.m., and then I've promised to come to a Solstice party in the afternoon. Which means really my window for working on the game ends before 6 a.m., and even if I stay up all night (which at this point I guess I will; there'll probably be coffee at the film set) I've really got less than twelve hours. (There's a chance I may have a sliver of time to work on it between the movie shoot and the Solstice party, or after said party, but it's not something I can count on.)

And of course that's not taking into account the time I'm taking to write this blog post, I guess.

What have I got done so far? Well... I've got the graphics. They're not great, but they'll do, I guess. That gives me a few hours to do all the coding.

My graphics, such as they are.  Pixel art is not my forte.

Oh... and as for what program I'm using to create the game, well, I'm not. I'm just coding an HTML5 game. I have worked a little with HTML5 canvas programming before, but never created a full game with it. So my attempting to write a full game in a few hours is... probably unrealistic. And yes, it has crossed my mind that this may be a hopeless cause, and that I should probably just give up. But... I want to do this, to set a precedent for myself. If I make excuses for not participating in Ludum Dare this time, even if they're really good excuses, then it's that much easier to make excuses for not doing it next time, too. But if I forge ahead and do my best to finish a game despite all my commitments and obstacles, then I'm that much more likely to do it next time. I don't expect to do well in the competition. I'm not sure I even really expect to finish the game. But I'm going to try. Yeah, it's possible the game won't get done. But if I don't make the attempt, it definitely won't get done.

The game will be called "Underequipped".

And, in keeping with the subject of my blog, it will include a level editor.

When and if I get it done.

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