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A little "Unity & Ludum Dare"-adventure

This was my 4th entry for Ludum Dare. I enjoy the concept of the challenge a lot, but unfortunately I don't find time as often as I would like to participate. And if you cut short on the 48 hours for Compo, well, there's really not much time left then.

Anyways. As I always want to tackle something new, something to learn, something I never used before, I got myself into Unity's tilemaps. With a jump start I created my first tilemap, dragged in some tiled images from www.kenney.nl (thanks Kenney!) into the grid and was surprised how easy it is to create a grid based level.

I had an idea in mind for some days before the event about a game that I would like to do. Now, I gave myself another challenge, although it's not mandatory, I wanted to develop something around the chosen theme of the event. And not just the first thing that comes into mind when you read the theme, but rather find an idea that is strongly related to the theme but has a twist or a different interpretation of said theme.
Unfortunately my idea wouldn't fit no matter how I turned it around. So I got stuck in the concept pretty quickly. After a few hours I finally gave up and scrapped everything I built so far. I deleted every prefab, script, object and the scene I created. A fresh start! Ahhh - what a relief! But now what? I began quickly to evolve a new concept and it felt better this time. Btw the theme was "The more you have, the worse it is". As I'm very bad at remembering stuff I thought to myself that it would be worse the more I have to remember, right? So the idea was to remember a sequence of colors and hit buttons according to the sequence to end a level. Yes! That's it! Solid concept and doable in the remaining 36 hours.

My enthusiasm didn't last for long though because once I started getting into coding with the tilemap I got stuck pretty quickly. OK, so it's something new that I don't know about yet, I thought to myself, and started browsing the Unity manual pages of the tilemap APIs. I then realized that it was way harder to develop against the tilemap tiles than accessing simple objects and their behaviors. But I wanted to push through and so I found my way around pretty much every little problem I came up against. Thanks a lot to the StackOverflow community. What a useful resource!

So the next 30 hours or so - minus 5 hours of sleep - I kept evolving the idea into a playable game with a start, a tutorial for the controls, level design, game logic and an end after 8 levels. Done! Wohoo! Publish, upload everything and you're done, I thought. The one build that wouldn't work though was for webGL. For the Ludum Dare event it is worth a lot to have a web version of your game for the others to rate. Because downloading tons of little executables on our systems from unknown persons on the internet - ehm - yeah not so good. Everything I tried didn't change a thing. The quality for web was shitty as hell and even a critical gameplay mechanic wouldn't work. So I definitely couldn't publish the game for webGL. What a bummer! Also I was pretty tired already and just wanted to finish my entry. So I submitted just the downloadable version for Mac and PC.

It still bothered me the next weekend after submission and so I kept looking into it. Now I found out that you have to set the option "Snap to pixel" in the shader used for the tilemaps. Wow, now it looks as expected in webGL. But still there is the problem with the game breaking mechanic that won't work. So I kept looking and found out that in the version of Unity I used indeed their was a bug that prevents the tilemap tile to be changed from code when publishing to webGL. Argh! That's no good. There was no easy workaround and I closed the project and forgot about it... Nope, I can't leave it like that. I have to find a way around this bug. The solution was to not use the tilemap for that game mechanic but to use basic 2D sprites instead. I had to change a bunch of scripts to make it work, and put another 2-3 hours into it, but in the end I got it. Published to webGL, upload it and - Yes! - finally everything worked in the web version. So I updated my entry with the fixed versions and started rating other entries.

It feels good to complete something and that's what I like about Ludum Dare.

Play "Memory platformer" online: http://www.wobbleboxx.com/ludumdare/40b/Web/
Watch a time lapse video of the 48 hours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp5DTmZHRdk
Check out my entry on ldjam.com: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/40/memoryplatformer