Game Development

Ludum Dare 36 – Post Mortem

Sorry – long time, no see!

I haven’t been able to work on any new or existing projects since last post, because I had to attend to non-game development matters and was trying to learn different game development engines.

After all that though, I was finally free and decided to enter my first game jam, after seeing a group in my local area posting about entering in the 36th Ludum Dare jam. The jam’s theme was ancient technology, so I decided to do my game about Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press.

I did not actually expect to finish my game within the three days that Ludum Dare game jams allows developers. The planning for the game was very poor – the only planning I did was to tell myself, “I’ll create all the graphics on the first day, start ‘programming’ the game the second day, finish the ‘programming’ in the first half of the third day, and test and package the game on the second half.” I managed to stick to this haphazard schedule for some miraculous reason and was able to send in my entry before the deadline. Now, a reflection on the completed game, itself.

I’ll start with the gameplay first. It’s not too fun at its current state. Even other people who played the game say that it’s pretty boring, and I have to agree. The gameplay I quickly planned out prior is actually much more complex than what people experienced in the released version. The player actually had a life bar, aside from the ‘Belly’ bar, because a pirate would actually appear at random moments to try and mug you. There was also a timer, Mario style, you know the drill. As far as the customer goes, I initially planned to have three different customers, each with a different-colored dress. The dress color determined what color the majority of the numbers on the blackboard were and how often an ink bottle that is the same color as the dress will spawn. I actually planned to have a mini-game for the Type O’ Matic, where the more ink bottles you had, the higher chances you’d get a better-quality movable type; but I had to remove it at the end, because there just isn’t enough time in the jam. The printing press has a similar story to the Type O’ Matic, it also had its own mini-game, but I had to cut that out, too. One of the biggest features I had to cut out of the game was an offline two-player mode – that’s right, again like Mario, a second pallet-swapped version of Glutenburg, named Gluttonburg, was going to be playable. The screen would be split in half by a wall, so it looks like they’re in different rooms.

I didn’t really pay any time to developing a story for this game. I don’t really think this game warrants a complex or even simple story to begin with. The story is very rudimentary: A fat man in the 1400s named Glutenburg decided to open a printing press shop, and he had to deal with snobby, demanding rich women, pirates, and his huge stomach while doing his job. Besides, I felt like the gameplay (regardless of how boring) and the graphics will overshadow the game’s plot.

The graphics are the work that I’m most proud of. I’m no master artist, but compared to the other parts of the game, I think this one is the best. I had fun drawing these sprites, and I couldn’t wait to see how they looked once I put them in the game.

Overall, for my first Ludum Dare game jam entry, I feel like this wasn’t too bad. It isn’t the next Minecraft, but it certainly has potential to be a much better game, if I decide to continue working on it. If this is a game you’d like to see further developed, I’ll definitely continue working on it, if there are enough of you who are interested in seeing a more complete version of it. If you haven’t played the game yet, check it out on the game’s page, there’s a link to it at the bottom of this post.

Let me know what you think about me expanding on the game.


Link to Glutenburg
Link to Ludum Dare 36 jam entry

2 thoughts on “Ludum Dare 36 – Post Mortem

  1. It was a please to read this post. I see that you actually planned something way bigger. But during game jams it’s always so hard to implement everything in such a short time. All seems pretty good improvements to the game and really sound fun. I wish I can play the full version soon.


    1. I’m glad that you found the post useful. Yeah, LD36 being my first jam, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Never realized how short 2/3 days could truly be. What I liked about entering in a Ludum Dare jam, however, is knowing that game developers all over the world have a great sense of ambition. I think that’s one of the awesome strengths of a dev.

      As far as Glutenburg goes, I’ll continue working on it soon (although slowly – I started another project prior to LD36 that needs to get finished). I really do feel that it has potential with some significant polish.

      Thanks for the comment!


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