TowerAssault0 Post-Mortem

Posted by
August 25th, 2008 11:23 am

I too was waiting until after seeing the final results before I would post my post-mortem.

First I’d like to say well done to everyone who took part and completed a game within the time limit, and thank you to everyone for giving me honest reviews. I had great fun taking part and learned an awful lot about game development during and after the contest.

(post mortem continues after the break)

I have to say that I agree with most of the ratings and reviews given for my entry TowerAssault0. Although it’s not bad for something that took ~2.5 hours in the creation, it was entered into a 48-hour competition and on that basis my entry stinks, and I’m glad everyone judged it on that basis as this gives me something constructive to build upon for next time. :)

What went right:

– Actually getting something almost playable out the door.

– The graphics turned out quite nicely by my own standards.

– From my aborted earlier attempts, I now have the beginnings of a fairly robust 3d game engine in flash, and I now know my way around Flex/AS3.0 somewhat and should be able to start developing with it properly.

– I’m quite proud of my submission considering how little time I had to spend on it.

– The learning experience. I learned heaps about deadlines and problem solving through this, and will be eager to use the fruits of these lessons in the next competition.

What went wrong:

I don’t want this section to turn into a hand-wringing self-deprecating whine, but a lot of things seemed to go wrong for me in this contest (most caused by myself)

– Lack of preparation. I basically started the competition with no knowledge of flex or AS3.0, and had to learn as I go along, and had not previously developed a game to completion since Amos Pro on the Amiga some 13 years ago. In hindsight I should have done some warm-up projects using the platform I was targetting.

– Overambition. Using a new platform is bad enough, but trying to create something completely unfamiliar (a wireframe 3d first person tower exploration game a la the freescape games on the 8/16 bit computers of yore) while combatting the above problems was completely beyond me.

– The awful awful online Flex documentation.

– I left the decision to abandon Flex/AS3.0 for my competition entry far too late, and then tried to port stuff back to Flash8/AS2.0 and continue on the weaker but more familiar platform, with some success.

– Failing to learn from my earlier mistake, it was very late in the competition before I realised that I would have literally NOTHING to show for my effort. This led to me to a choice between the total failure of not submitting anything at all, and the poor fallback option of rushing a quick-and-nasty flash game out the door. Had I decided to abort earlier than I did and go down the route of quick-and-nasty flash game I might have been able to add more gameplay to my entry and make it better.

– Out of time – I wasn’t able to finish my entry, the plan had been to give the player several attempts to hit the castle before game over, but as I ran out of time I wasn’t able to code all the things required to reset the game back to initial settings keeping the castle at the same distance, so I forced it down the route of a browser refresh. A cheap and nasty way around it. This got the most criticism of all, and deservedly so.

– Spent too long in IRC and not enough time writing code. Enough said 😛

I’m going to rustle up a post-LD version and will post it here in the next couple of days when I get a chance to work on it.

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