Message – Postmortem

Posted by
May 1st, 2010 9:00 am

Thats my game

That's my game

Welp, guess I should talk about this.

Message began out of frustration for the theme of Islands; a theme I initially had no clue how to make interesting.  I mean, it was so specific that I had problems wrapping any of my previous ideas and mechanics around it, but strangely enough that’s what pushed me into starting; I knew I would be using Unity, and I thought “hey, I’m going to need an island anyway.  I mine as well just start modelling an island and go from there”.  So I made the island in the screenshot above.  After that, looking at the island and a little dude moving around caused my mind to wander, and before long I had a vague idea of how the game would look.

So according to I’m supposed to talk about what went right now.

Things started going my way when I sat down and started coding.  I’ve worked with Unity before, and I knew that for the most part getting things up and running was extraordinarily simple.  Like, the player movement from the beginning to what’s in game now took 10 minutes tops, adding new islands became quicker every subsequent time, the music (which I’ll talk about later) was trivial to put in game.  Also, all the “modelling” was done in Unity entirely out of primitives.

Of course, there were hiccups during development (trigger-trigger collision not working unless both triggers are forced awake took the better part of the first day) but for the most part it went as well as I would expect from Unity.  Also it’s web playable which I think is nice.

But there were significantly more things that went wrong during the development of Message.  Here they are in no particular order.

  1. I took way too long doing nothing but trying to peg an idea for islands.  Literally nothing but staring at the ceiling and going “HMMMM”.
  2. When I did come up with an idea, it was too vague.  There was no primary mechanic to focus on.
  3. The game is story heavy, which meant the style had to carry the game; if I wanted to make the game have any impact, I would have to do it right and that took time I didn’t have.
  4. I didn’t really read the rules and used a song which, albeit perfect for the game, was not legal for use in the competition.  I have my own opinions on the subject, but it was still not right to have used the song I did.
  5. My game didn’t have enough hockey.

The song thing was sort of remedied later on when I found out about the infringement.  You can see not only the process I took to make the music in the new version of the game but my reaction the the hubub here.  Also, more information about the tool I used in the summary.  I can’t remedy point 5.  That’s just something I have to live with, one day at a time.

In regards to comments made, I agree that the character is really boring.  I was thinking about implementing a voxel character with a beard and tattered pants with simple walk, swim and ground reach animations but believe me when I say I was still implementing win/lose cases like 2 minutes before submission time.  Also thanks for liking the second puzzle.  I finished doing that right before I started the win/lose cases.  So  I guess 6. Not enough time, but says (and one should note this is bold face important) “try to come up with things that went right/wrong during project that are likely unique to your project”.


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