Sunday 12 August 2018

Godot Is PERFECT For The Ludum Dare

So it's Ludum Dare 42 in about six hours at the time of writing and I've decided that I'd write a little script about why I think that the Godot Engine is perfectly designed for game jams like the Ludum Dare.

Mostly, this is because Godot is just perfect for very small iteration cycles. If you have a solid idea in mind, you can spend probably no more than a few hours to actually get a very basic product up and running.

This means that if you really wanted to, you could run through several different ideas over the course of a day to determine which of them you like the most. Not that I'd strictly recommend doing this, since y'know- time constraints are time constraints, but in case your first idea doesn't pan out so well it's nearly trivial to try out another one.

Also, the engine is super light which means that an average game made in the Godot Engine will only use up about 20 to 30 megabytes. This makes it much easier and convenient for people to actually play your game, although I will admit that the web export system is a little bit hit-or-miss. Usually it'll work great, but sometimes you can run into problems that might warrant encouraging the user to run the downloadable version instead.

Also, here's a personal favourite of mine- particle effects. In short, it's *really easy* to make something look a certain base level of good if you just overload it with particle effects. It's similar to reverb in songs- you might not get very far if you don't know what you're doing, but if you're really clueless or just in a hurry then it'll work out great for you.

Godot is great for particle effects, they run super nicely (even if you're trying to render about 10x more than you should) and the actual particles editor is honestly amazing. If you need proof, then you should know that in my game WARP-TEK which is currently being shown on screen, pretty much all the graphics are based in Godot particle effects in some way or another.

In combination with that, light effects. Creating and adding lights are very trivial and again- they look awesome even if you don't really know what you're doing. These can get a little bit expensive if you have too many so just be careful of that, but as long as you're not creating like 25 of them on the same exact location, you should be good to go.

Also, Godot is excellent for keeping things organized- especially with small projects. In a game jam situation, you're probably not going to want to have spend a lot of time trying to work out what this weird variable does, or where you called this function from. With a combination of signals, multiple distributed script files and the occasional recursive egrep, it's pretty hard to go wrong and get too confused.

Now this last point isn't really in the same category as the others, since I would say that it primarily deals with why game jams are perfect for Godot, rather than the other way around. Godot is a fairly small engine in terms of community and publicity. Unity and Unreal are both backed by astronomical marketing budgets, whereas Godot pretty much only has word of mouth and a Patreon page.

If you really like the Godot Engine and want it to see some extra consideration from other developers, then I'd recommend using it for this upcoming Ludum Dare. Hell, even if you've never used it before- a game jam is a perfect time to try out a new engine in a low-stakes environment. It's good for your skillset and it's good for the engine if more people use it.

Thanks for watching, best of luck in Ludum Dare 42, and stay tuned for more videos about some things which video games are sometimes a part of. Goodbye!

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