PET THAT KITTEN! Postmortem

Posted by
May 2nd, 2009 7:49 am

Introduction

PET THAT KITTEN! was my second attempted Ludum Dare,  my first actual entry, and my first XNA game. Going into this I knew I was going to use this competition as a way to get my feet wet with XNA. Considering the added learning curve I aimed for a very tiny scope. I think I went with the idea that crossed most LD’ers minds, turn the wall into an enemy and have it chase the player.

Development Tools

I had worked with a bunch of C# in the past so putting everything together in XNA wasn’t a problem. I had done my art up in Flash CS3.  I had planned on using hobnox to generate my sound effects and music.

What Went Right

The scope I had planned out mostly revolved around the fact that I was tackling XNA for the first time. The scope had lots of features I could easily cut out while still leaving me with a “complete” game.  I had done a bit of VB.net and C# managed DirectX stuff in college, XNA turned out be extremely similar so only very few features got cut.

Despite the programmer art, I’m pretty pleased with the way the artwork turned out. It was more time consuming than I had liked, but I feel like it breathed a lot of life into an extremely simple concept. I also decided that however crappy the artwork looked at the start, it would make it into the final project, no placeholder art.

What Went Wrong

I was using this Ludum Dare to kick myself in the butt to get something done in XNA. Most of my perceived problems stemmed from this though. I realize the ideal entries are executeables and broswer based games, no one really likes having to install dependencies or go to too much trouble getting your game going. I’m sure the installer for the XNA framework turned at least a few people away.

On that note, I know I could have gottent his entry done in half the time, possibly with more features if I had just done it in Flash. A good chunk of my time was converting assets to spritesheets and then fixing up the spritesheets (you’ll notice in the wall animation that you can see bits of other sprites on some frames).

My time management for this competition wasn’t too bad, I think I spent too much time on getting some of the artwork done, the time would have been better spent with an in game help screen explaining the game objects and scoring system.  The confusion brought on by the scoring system (and a scoring bug) was a huge oversight on my part.

Conclusion

As an XNA project I’m pretty happy with PET THAT KITTEN!. It’s a complete mostly functional game, and I managed to plan my scope out pretty well for the time frame. However as a Ludum Dare entry it’s a little less than ideal as I know I would have been able to polish it(Sound effects!) quite a bit more in Flash and avoid installer issues.

This Ludum Dare was a great learning experience for me. Planning out a scope under such a tight deadline, learning XNA, and finding a couple of really nifty tools for mixing music and creating sound effects.

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One Response to “PET THAT KITTEN! Postmortem”

  1. PsySal says:

    At first I was turned off by the XNA installer. But I have to say, compared to other installers from Microsoft, it was utterly painless on my wife’s Vista laptop. Worked flawlessly and your game played great!

    I thought your game was really polished, and the art was above-par for sure. Excellent post-mortem!

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