Have you ever dreamed of being a tacky, low budget, day time talk show host? Well time to fulfill that dream by playing as compassionate but not afraid to say it straight faux-therapist/talk show host Terry Pebble. Interview the guests and decide if you should play the shoulder to cry on or give them a swift wake up call. Sometimes the truth hurts… and gets more viewers!
Another Ludum Dare, another weekend of misery… I don’t know why we do it. We’ve been doing it since LD #33 and it’s always a pain in the arse! It rolls around and we always say we’ll skip it cause we are snowed under with our main project but we’re some how compelled to take part anyway.
We were both 100% against taking part leading up to it. We both had to go to work on Saturday plus Rodo had his firm’s Christmas piss up on the Friday so he was dead to the world. But, I loved the theme…
Whilst skiving in work and pondering the theme I was drawn to the idea of these young single mothers struggling with multiple children as a case of “the more you have, the worse it is”. I see them in the shops stressed out with their uncontrollable kids causing chaos. My little brothers used to be right bastards when Mum dragged us out shopping with her. I thought we could make a game playing as the mother trying to shop and control her kids at the same time, we could present it like a tacky social commentary documentary as we always like to give our games a TV show spin.
Of course, the idea was out of scope, especially so considering we hadn’t planned to do Ludum Dare. I think there is a certain amount of mental preparation for LD. You need to tell yourself days leading up to the event that your weekend is going to be filled with hard work and stress. We hadn’t got into that frame of mind so the sudden idea of an out of scope project wasn’t about to go down well with hungover Rodo.
I briefly explained the idea in a text saying there is no obligation to take part. Rodo said if we take part it has to be a tiny game with no new systems as he didn’t want to kill himself over the weekend. We could only make a small entry with the tools we already have, just so we can take part. Well, the shopping game is out then!
On the way home from work I had the theme going around my head. I still liked the single mother documentary idea but instead of hectic action scenes the player could just interview her on one of those trashy capitalize on the downtrodden kind of talk shows. We have The Jeremy Kyle show in UK which is just awful but could it translate into a fun game? It would be a really simple dialogue choice driven game where the host/player can choose to be patronizingly compassionate or fly off the handle and give the guest a wake up call. That could be fun, right? I wrote a small description when I got home and waited for Rodo to get home from work.
Rodo appeared online Saturday evening and said he had to go straight to bed! What!? I know we never agreed to take part but I’ve just spent 10 minutes writing an overview for our game, there’s no backing out now! We came to an agreement that Rodo would have a nap and I would write out a more in-depth overview of the game and a list of jobs he would potentially have to do. If he wakes up and agrees to the terms we can make a tiny game on Sunday. Rodo went to sleep and I wrote the design document.
The game would have 3 guests, each with 3 questions for the interview. Each question would lead to a player choice where you decide how to treat the guest. Those choices would branch off for the player to decide how to finish the line of inquiry. We won’t have time for anything complex (fun) so I hoped we could just make a funny interactive skit.
Mr. Scope Crusher finally woke up a few hours later and said he’d only agree to do it if it was just one guest but with a longer interview. I wasn’t sure about just one, I felt it needed at least 2 to sell the concept of the talk show. In retrospect, I think Rodo was right but we’ll get to that. We parted ways that night still not knowing what we’d do or if we’d even do anything at all.
What with being foreign, Rodo is 3 hours behind me. I couldn’t afford to wait for Rodo to wake up. IF we were going to take part we needed to start now! I wrote a rough script for 2 guests by the time Rodo woke up so I countered his offer of 1 Guest or no game with my offer of 2 Guests or no game. Rodo agreed eventually, to punish me I believe, he knew I was going to suffer getting my jobs done in time.
I carried on writing the script. While Rodo waited he wrote a theme tune for the show, which is probably the best part of the game!
We then had to do all the art, move the script into our script database tool, create the dialogue trees, set conditionals for different endings and just make sure it all works. We essentially made the entire game on Sunday. It was grueling! Waking up, sitting at a computer for 15 hours doing this rubbish and then going straight to bed is not the best way spend a Sunday. I’m not sure it’s the best way to spend a Monday either but here goes…
Ow! My head hurts and I’m tired, luckily I have the day off work, poor Rodo does not. We need to add voice overs, lip syncing, camera cuts, photos for the TV screen, more music, polish, etc but Rodo won’t get home till 22:00, four hours before the deadline.
I had what I’d describe as a miserable day. I struggled recording the voice overs against the pressure of the ticking clock. They all came out a bit rushed and I started to lose my voice. I managed to finish them and some of the other jobs. Rodo got home and worked really hard to get the voices into the game, fix all the bugs and polish. I tried to write a piano theme for the interviews. I showed Rodo the results and he asks if I can add a saxophone solo to it. It’s like 30 minutes to the deadline and he asks for a saxophone solo yet has the cheek to have a go at me over scope all the time!
The saxophone solo didn’t make it, unfortunately. We scrambled to create a build and uploaded it just in time. We didn’t have time to play it properly until the next day where numerous typos and camera and audio issues were found. We did a little post jam update to fix them but really we needed an entire extra day to fix it all, but it is what it is now…
It would have been nice to add the third guest, an unpredictable drug addict where terry would have to call on the security guard to ease tensions on stage. The drug addict would have been the pregnant girl’s boyfriend who would have been screaming from off stage. It would have helped to sell the trashy chat show format.
I liked the idea and we pretty much made what we set out to do but I feel it ended up too rushed and lacked the quality of our previous jams. For me, I like one day writing, another drawing and the last day audio and polish. Condensing that into 2 days was too much to ask without compromising on quality and that’s what happened. Just having one guest like Rodo suggested might have given us more time to make that interview more involving but that still would have taken as long to write as 2 guests. The whole thing was out of scope for 2 days work! With that said, I’m really proud of what we created considering we didn’t plan on taking part.
Thanks to everyone that played, rated and left a comment. See you next time (maybe)!
This was written from Poffle’s perspective. Rodo usually creates a time-lapse of his side of the story but you probably don’t want to watch him sleeping off his hangover for 12 hours.