Mr Kaplan (Ludum Dare #31 Post Mortem)

Hey gamedevs!

We’re LasagneGames a small team of 2 x Game Designers and 1 x Coder who love Ludum Dare!  And how does it repay us? With the theme:

Entire Game On One Screen‘!!

Actually it wasn’t so bad, and we’ve learnt that a theme that you’re not too keen on can really challenge you to go out of your comfort zone a little and try something new.

With that in mind our brainstorming session began and after a few ideas, we settled on a game where you control the facial expressions of this guy called Mr Litso Kaplan and help him through various social situations by using the keyboard to pull the correct expression.

Mr Kaplan: up and running!

                   Mr Kaplan: up and running!

We thought it would be a simple idea to start prototyping with, and see whether there was any fun locked away in there.

The Good

Compared to other LD jams, we were actually all in the same room, we’re split between San Marino and London, so we normally do things over Skype. So this time was definitely way cooler!

We got set up fairly quickly and then threw ourselves in to the content side of things. I spent my ‘free-time’ thinking about how to best submit and score expressions. I tried a few things and decided a rhythm game style input would be worth exploring. The default setting was to either submit by checking the keys were correct, or progressing the player after the timer ran out if they didn’t get the right combo.

In the end, I thought it would be a cool mini game to break up the stages a bit, so stuck it in anywhere I could. 😉

Rhythm game - oh yeah!

                Rhythm game – oh yeah! 

The Bad

In the end, it turns out that the last 3-4 hours coding is worth approximately 20 mins of proper non-exhausted-red-eyed coding. In the end, all I did was keep breaking the game and not having the mental capacity to know what I was actually trying to do, and how to fix the bugs other than hacking at the code like an axe to a silver birch!!

Also, I ignored all calls from my team mates to add a submit button so that the dialogue wouldn’t skip through if you were still holding the keys down. Plus, based on feedback in the comments, what was with the rhythm game?! It was unanimous that it didn’t fit in to our game mechanic, and my inability to ‘let it go son!’ meant it reflected bad on our game overall.

So, for the next jam, LISTEN TO YOUR TEAM MATES!!! Let them do their thing, and get on with your thing, based on the awesome suggestion they just shouted to you from across the room! 🙂

At the moment, we’re working on the post-jam version, Mr Kaplan is now the submission it should have been! From this point on it’ll be polish, get some good artwork (we have a great illustrator doing the line work), and expand the levels with more dialogue.


If you want to check out our POST JAM version you can see it progress as the game evolves.

Until next time, see you all in three months (well in 11 days when I check the results…) Good luck, and thanks to all those who voted and commented!!


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