And then, alone at Epsilon-1, the post mortem!

Posted by
December 19th, 2011 4:18 pm

Playable here

Last time around I had jumped feet first into flash and actionscript3, knowing very little, but learning a lot. This time I was going for a way more graphical project, and I was going to make it within unity.
The theme ‘alone’ hit and it meant I would be doing a space themed game, with no other people, and a lone astronaut. I love that kind of sci-fi.


The good

Using unity.
The Unity engine turned out to be the most useful thing this time around, the amount of prototyping that could be done rapidly, the seamless exportation from blender which meant I could make a change to a model and it would instantly appear back in the game.

Graphical tricks
Most visual things in this game is pulled off with sloppy tricks, like focusing the detail I made where you actually see it on the player and leaving other areas largely untouched. Textures were made less to ideal, but still functional, so that I could get them in and pull a consistant visual rather than just ending up with two models.
All environmental station parts are built from a tiny piece of texture with enough variation to pull it off, the outside is nearly a crime, but works. Leaving the shading very flat overall gave me the ability to paint in more details into the textures themselves rather than having to rely on shading, which would add more work on top of the much I already had on my list.

Modular reusable gameplay elements
I made a few objects and wrote scripts for them in a way that I could just spread them out and connect them to things, such as doors to any amount of hacking panels, which at the point of writing the story I was able to squeeze out a few datapads within the last hour or so, and alter around hacking panels for different effects such as hotspot movement/shrinkage, difficulty, and amount of hacking stages.

The terrifyingly bad

Late actual prototyping
The first day was spent entirely just thinking of a setting and making art, with the first thing being a fully textured player model, could’ve only been worst if the first thing I made was a menu. The effects of this can be seen in the game itself, while the setting worked out nice and looks pretty, the gameplay is rushed and largely untested, with the hack-minigames lacking the variety they could’ve used. Prototyping early will be my goal for the next ludum dare.

Heavily visual project
Aiming to make this very visual and 3d project was a bad idea and still is, but still totally worth it. The effects were that of spending a majority of the time on art, which essentially makes the game an interactive story rather than a game.
Making a simple 2d project will be my goal for next time, but I know I will most likely end up doing another full on 3d project.

Lack of testing
Large parts of the game and story was implemented late the last day, which means they went untested, I wasn’t able to give it a proper gradual increase of difficulty, and instead it jumps around.


Overall I was quite satisfied, from learning, pressing myself and eventually not giving up, which I was close to doing early the second day. My marriage also survived another ludum dare!
Definitely doing this again next one!

6 Responses to “And then, alone at Epsilon-1, the post mortem!”

  1. felix says:

    This is looking good, trying it out now. I’m impressed y its completed-ness

  2. DevMax says:

    Good Post-Mortem! Really liked the art style Easy to create and fast to develop/implement, but has a fine eyecandy-quality to it.

    This “Late actual prototyping”, resonated with me very heavily. In my game I mistakenly thought that I had
    the gameplay mechanics nailed down too soon. At least I am very happy with the graphics and mood 😀
    As my first compo it was great fun none-the-less!

  3. green says:

    I loved the game in all its simplicity. And I especially loved the art.
    And although the gameplay became rather boring in the end, it still kept me playing.

    • eld says:

      Yeah, the worst part of the game.

      I’m looking to fix all those things, make the minigames more varied and fun and better balanced, and include some puzzles surrounding them, in a special fixed up extended version sometimes in the coming weeks.

  4. Winterblood says:

    Looks fantastic, will play this ASAP. Puts my Unity effort in the shade. Your focus on creating art in reusable chunks is very smart, compared to my technique of attempting to hand-craft every detail of the gameworld.

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