Ludum Dare 40 Post-Mortem

January 24th, 2017

Five years of participating in Ludum Dare and I finally get around to writing my first post-mortem.

First, let me introduce my game, Embol.

In Embol, you play a character named Jon who has social anxiety. Words pop up around Jon's head, and you click on them to form sentences. But beware! among these words lurk "umm"s and "uhh"s, awkward filler words polluting Jon's sentences.

I am actually quite happy about Embol, it is the most complete and fun game that I have made for Ludum Dare thus far. My main problem is that I did not have enough time to complete the story. As a result, the game is quite short with a rather abrupt ending.

The theme for this Ludum Dare was "The more you have, the worse it is" *. I thought it would be fun to make a game about words which led to thinking about filler words like "umm" and "err". I quickly drew up some mockups on a piece of paper and set to work.

* consistently for the past few Ludum Dare's, the winning theme is the one for which I have the least ideas.

Time Breakdown

graphics 2hours
programming 19hours
sound/music 1hour
story 4hours

What Went Right

What went wrong

What I learned

Of course — in terms of tools — I learned the basics of the Godot Engine during this Ludum Dare.

But I feel like I learned the most from watching Twitch streamers playing my game. The initial idea of the game was to avoid clicking on filler words, but people really seemed to enjoy clicking on everything and trying to make nonsensical sentences.

Future Improvements?

If I continue with this dialogue mechanic in the future I intend to embrace the fun weirdness and spontaneity of sentence creation. It would be fun to accidentally click on say, "platypus" in the middle of a sentence and try to figure out how to still make it make sense.

I would also like to get rid of the timer — at least in its current state. Currently it chooses a random word if you run out of time which is extremely confusing and unsatisfying. Perhaps instead, I could have NPC's respond after a specified amount of time whether or not you complete your sentence.

Allowing patchwork and unfinished sentences will definitely make parsing and responding to sentences much harder. But without a 48 hour time constraint, I'm sure I could think of a much better solution.


Overall, I'm really happy with how this game turned out. It is definitely my most complete and fun game that I have created for Ludum Dare. And of course, I am always looking forward to making something even better next Ludum Dare.


Download on Itch.io
Ludum Dare Page
Source code