gecko's site

The Great Unescape - Post Mortem


This was the first jam game I ever made, when I was 14 years old. Originally posted on the old Ludum Dare site, I'm putting it here for prosterity!

Looks like people are still writing post-mortems a week later, so here's mine!


I woke up last Saturday and checked the theme on twitter. I didn't really expect the theme to be 'escape', but I had a think over breakfast and got a cool story idea, sort of inspired by an episode of an old TV show called Porridge. I started off with a dull blue wall tileset and made a prison cell in DAME.

Drawing tilesets in Graphics Gale.

Once the character graphics were done, I threw together a system which scans the DAME project file for game entities then places them on the map, since I didn't have time to get to grips with the complex export system in DAME. Eventually I had little Rick running and jumping around in his cell, and I spent the rest of the day composing in SunVox and using Tweener to arrange the introduction text and events.

I didn't actually start on the gameplay or levels until Sunday, when I decided to construct a small jungle full of spiders and spikes. It took most of the daytime to create the enemies, tiles, and music which left me with the evening to work out how to bring everything to a close. I stayed up right until the deadline designing the last area and finishing the game off, but I managed to squeeze in another tune, bringing me to a total of four songs!

Making the soundtrack in SunVox.

What Went Right

  • Considering this was my first time using DAME, creating the levels and making them work in Flixel was surprisingly painless.
  • I've practised a lot with SunVox, so I can churn out decent music fast!
  • I had a nice storyline idea and managed to keep it short without ruining it.
  • I've been practising with Flixel and FlashDevelop for quite a long time. Even though I hadn't released any Flixel games before this one, I was very comfortable with my choice of language and library.

What Could Have Gone Better

  • I missed a few details, for example there is no wall on the left side of the jungle, so you can fall off the screen and be stuck forever.
  • Quite a lot of people heard strange hiccups in the music playback. I have no idea what's causing this and I can't hear them myself, but I added a standalone download which should hopefully fix any audio problems.
  • I made a couple of bad design decisions, there are quite a lot of blind drops into enemies. I thought the levels were short enough not to need checkpoints, but it looks like I was wrong.

I'm really pleased with the amount I managed to get done in two days! If you're interested, check out the entry itself here.