Escape Velocity Post-mortem

We developed game for Ludum Dare 31 called Escape Velocity in three days using UDK.

First Day (prototype)

We arrived at Technopark of Novosibirsk Academgorodok at 11:00 AM. After an hour of unpacking our stuff and briefing we sat in conference room and began pre-production stage.

 

 

 

Theme of Ludum Dare was "Entire game on one screen". We, however, decided not to follow main theme. Plan was to make fast first person platformer with Quake style movement in sci-fi setting. Player needed to run and obstacles and platforms appears on his way with fancy material effect. After that we came up with idea of two different worlds each with its own unique feel. First world is something in cyberneric setting with fast movement, small jump height and high FOV. Second world is sat in space and have minimum gravity (higher jumps), less run speed and small FOV. Movement mechanics made with no acceleration rate time. That way, the player can start running at full speed as soon as possible and keep high pace of the game.

We planned many mechanics but in fact 3 of them made it to release.  

  • Jump pad - accelerates player in forward direction
  • Portal - teleports player to another portal saving player's speed
  • Moving platforms - helps player reach destination

Also only one hazard was implemented (due to time restrictions)  

  • Moving blocks - can block way or even push player away

So after few hours of discuss we sat at our computers and begin developing prototype. Andrew started making his Ubershader, I started coding and play with BSP brused levels. Alex opened up Logic Studio and began making music. 

At the end of that day (actually somewhat around 4AM) we had rough prototype and few test levels.

Second day (Level design)

After good sleep at home we returned to technopark at 2PM and continue development. Alex stayed at home, so it was only me and Andrew.

We've played with movement mechanic variables quite some time (but even with so much time spended on that I still think it could be better). As for level design - we abandoned idea of making levels with BSP brushes, so I started making many many meshes. I finished around 10 completed meshes and tried making levels and it was not as good as I expected. So I made 1 mesh and start build whole level with it. It worked! And thing is, it was vry convinient to know exactly how far player can jump and make level based on that information because meshes was equal sized. 

We experemented with level design ideas all day and had pretty good results I think. At night we move back to our place to get some sleep.

Third day (Visuals, sounds and music, interface)

We (Alex, Andrew and me) arrived at 2PM. That day we finalized mechanics and get all stuff together. At the same time we make some post production stuff like making gifs screenshots and videos. Also we played some table tennis :D. At the end of the day we finished a lot of work but we still needed menu scene, sounds and interface. It takes all night and at morning we struggled with build errors. Luckily we managed to build PC build and 30 before end of submission hour we uploaded build.

Conclusion

It was our first experience as individuals and as a team at gamejam. It was very fun and challenging and we learned a lot. We actually had 1 day for preproduction and 2or preproduction stages which forced us to make desicions and fuature cuts. After 3 weeks of judging we had #5 place in graphics, #97 in sounds and #147 in overall rating and total number of contributed games was more than 8000! I think this is success and we definitetly will continue do gamejams.

Escape Velocity page on our website.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!