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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rainbow - Post-Mortem (Part 1)

Well, that went well! Rainbow placed first in Innovation (and tenth overall) in Ludum Dare 25. (See also: results page, Ludum Dare page for Rainbow)

I've been meaning to write a post about how I ended up making Rainbow, and I guess that I might as well do it now, while the potential audience is larger than the usual set of {me, myself, I}.

Friday: Brainstorming, Sadness

Late on Thursday, I asked the coolest girl I know out. On Friday, she rejected me. This is relevant, because I was feeling rather melancholic; and I thought that perhaps I'd hold on to this feeling and use it to power a really emotionally charged game.

I went out to dinner with a group of friends who were all planning on making games for Ludum Dare. After the theme was announced, we threw ideas around. I found that -- being sad -- all my ideas were rather mealy and depressing.

One was to make a game where everything you do fails and you end up scapegoated and alone, despite your most nefarious (or beneficent) intentions. This sounded like a terrible idea; I imagine it would be like playing an angsty teen-age livejournal post. Also, it was really heavy on graphics and story assets, and I wanted to write some code, darn it.

A theme of the ideas folks were coming up with at dinner was reversing the hero/villain roles in an established game. Some nifty games came out of this (e.g. Tom7's Age of Umpires, David's Robot Revolution Dance).

Thus inspired, I did make some sketches about inverse sneaking games -- say, where you are a wealthy baron and want to populate the world with guards. This, I reckoned, might involve solving things like the castle and the princess puzzle. But I also figured that the level design was going to be hard-bordering-on-impossible. And I felt sad.

So I went home after dinner with a heart full of unproductive melancholy, and a head full of ideas that didn't really seem very good. Not a productive first night.

(Continued in part 2. Spoiler: I'm not very good at being sad.)

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