« See you at GDC! | Main | Ludum Dare 20 »

Thank You Hobo Postmortem

This postmortem was originally posted on the Ludum Dare blog, to put it in context.

This was my second Ludum Dare after failing miserably (but still submitting) my first time a couple years back. Thank You Hobo was my entry, an arena shooter that really emphasized the "take this" portion of theme via the hobo swapping your weapon every 10 seconds.


  1. The tools - I recently got back into 2D game development after focusing on 3D for a very long time. I had used AS3 and Flashpunk for a couple of prototypes, but I was still worried about getting stuck on some functionality the engine might not allow me to do easily. Thankfully, I was way off. I don't think I hit one technical hurdle the whole weekend. In fact, FlashPunk saved me more work than I thought when I realized it had functionality for moving and swept collisions, something I thought I was going to have to implement myself. I told Chevy Ray on Facebook that I owed him a beer, I will probably be using FlashPunk for several more projects. GraphicsGale, which I used for the first time for this project, was also the other reason things went so smoothly. Being able to author, animate, and export assets in spritesheets quickly from one program was incredibly helpful. And of course, Ogmo Editor and SFXR were really good timesavers. The reason I am so happy about this positive is that this was the biggest negative for me the first time around. I was using my own still-in-development engine and working in 3D, so I spent most of the time dealing with plumbing and getting Maya (although I use Blender now) to do what I wanted level-wise rather than writing the game itself.
  2. The art - This was something else I was worried about that happened to work out in the end. I don't consider myself a good artist, but I've been working really hard for the last year to improve through a lot of study and practice. Most of that was on paper and pencil though and I hadn't done pixel art, much less animating it, in a very long time. Given that, I was happy with the end result and hope it's at least a step up from programmer art. Also, like I said above, GraphicsGale got out of the way for most part (although I dont like how it deals with alpha) and sped up my workflow.
  3. No stress - This may seem like a weird one but I only mention it because the first time around I found myself getting stuck on dumb stuff because I insisted on using my own incomplete tools. This led to a lot of stress and almost no time to participate in the blog posting/reading and IRC part of Ludum Dare which I think is very important to the experience. Due to the feeling of getting stuff done and not getting stumped on anything, I didn't feel bad about taking time to read and participate in the IRC channel and the blog. I was still pressed for time obviously, but was still able to keep up and even play with a couple of the games. This led to a much more enjoyable experience overall, the way LD is meant to be done in my opinion.


  1. The theme - I did make my peace with what I'm about to say, but I put it in the negative because it did cost me time. I feel that over time Ludum Dare has attracted more and more people, which is good, but along with that comes a lot of newer game developers that tend to shy away from the more narrow and challenging themes. This has led to a lot of generic themes getting voted on and winning most of the time ("Enemies as weapons" was the only recent exception) which I think affects things negatively for two reasons. First, the personal reason that probably others share: I tend to come up with better ideas faster with a good thematic constraint. Themes like this one are very vague and apply to almost any game, so it's very difficult to come up with a game from the set of every game imaginable. I ended up wasting 3 or so hours because I couldn't come up with an idea I was happy with and I do think that I settled because I didn't want to devote any more time to brainstorming. The second reason, which sounds superficial but it's still important, is that the games don't tie together very well at the end. The theme isn't obvious when you play all of the games like it is with themes like "Advancing Wall of Doom". Regardless, I don't think I will ragequit Ludum Dares because of generic themes. The experience of getting a game done in 48 hours and participating in the community far outweighs bad themes.
  2. Cutting features - This happens to everybody obviously due to the time constraint, but I think my game would have been more interesting with varied zombie types as I originally described it. I would have also prefered more weapons to get done from my list, but I'm surprised I got through as many as I did. There was also a few larger art assets I wanted to work on to vary the environment but I decided to improve a couple that were in there already instead with the little time I had at the end. I also didn't have time for music, but I predicted that in my intent-to-join blog post. Regardless, I'm still bummed about that because I think music is very important to most games. The bright side of this is that I have a pretty clear set of things to add or change if I work on the game post-compo, which I probably will at some point this year.

Overall, this LD was a far more positive experience. I can't wait for the next one!

References (17)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (1)

The price of wholesale handbags can be from a few dollars for simple duffel and garment burberry handbags outlet. Or they can be several hundreds or thousands for some top brand collections per bag. Of course you will make sure quality goes with the low prices of the wholesale replica goyard bags you purchase. For your wholesale handbag needs, choose from any of the websites offering competitive prices, quality products, and prompt delivery. From casual garment bags to woven, or embossed leather strap bags, to designer inspired replica louis vuitton luggage bags and evening bags, you will find wholesale handbags a delight. Wholesale handbags can be classified into several types. Based on the materials used, their function or usage, and by the gender of users, cheap replica handbags come in endless forms and shapes.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterryhdgh

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>