Post Mortem + Control Improving Update

Posted by (twitter: @whitingjp)
December 21st, 2008 10:38 am

Right, now that I’ve taken steps to correct the control irritations in Only Forward (see below for the updated version) this seems like a good time to write up a postmortem for the competition.

What I aimed for:

LD13 was my first Ludum Dare competition, and whilst I’ve previously dabbled in coding with tight time limits it’s the first games competition I’ve entered into, so it was all pretty new to me.

My goal from the start was to try and make a game that was essentially complete/polished etc.  I was less worried about managing something technically impressive, or dramatically original, I just wanted to *finish* something in the time.  This ended up shaping the majority of the game, I picked the concept I did because it required minimal simulation, the graphical style because I wouldn’t need to make too much etc. etc.

What went well:

I’m really happy with the direction I took, and particularly my choice to bite off as little as possible.  I ended up being able to get the core gameplay, graphics etc. down very quickly, and that left me with a lot of time to polish and polish.  Were it just a prototype (say what I had at the end of day one) I’m not convinced it’d have been very good, but I’m pretty happy with the fleshed out version.

Following (not quite to the letter, but not far off) the Survival Guide paid off to, it’s a very good set of advice.  I think even the time I spent blogging/on irc/or cooking all ended up helping me keep sufficiently distanced to be able keep polishing and improving something despite being so close to it for such a short length of time.

What went badly:

The controls!  I was a little bit worried about them from the very start, and with all the time I spent polishing the rest of the game I could have easily taken the hour or two I’d have needed to do something less frustrating.  I think the problem was that by the time I had the free time to deal with such things I was so familar with the controls I’d put in earlier on that they just felt natural to me.  I should perhaps have got more feedback during development (and listened more to that I did get).

The other issue was that I couldn’t really see a simple solution and I didn’t want to spend time faffingiaround on something that might not have even worked.  The solution now seems very trivial with the benifit of hindsight, you just allow directions to be pre-selected before the junctions.  It’s the only thing I’m *really* unhappy with in the game, and as such I spent a little time fixing it.  The updated version can be downloaded from http://jwhiting.nfshost.com/coding/onlyforwardfixed.zip it is perhaps worth mentioning that the only thing I’ve changed is the controls, and also that if you’re still judging entries do play the genuine entry instead. The updated version for the unlikely event that anyone wants to play a better version after they’ve made their mind up.

Conclusion:

Wow, that was a bit more epic than I was expecting, congratulations if you’ve just struggled through all of it!

Overall I really enjoyed the competition, I’m definitely looking forward to the next one (fingers crossed I’ll be able to enter it).  It was all a lot of fun, and some extremely impressive stuff was done (just not by ‘safe option’ me).  I’m quite looking forward (only forward, har har..) to seeing the results tomorrow too, I never thought I’d care about that side at all, but it’s kind of exciting nonetheless.

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