Alone Midway – Post-mortem

Posted by
December 20th, 2011 2:56 pm

*phew* Finally back on Solid ground after flying half across the world from Europe to Asia…

So, I made a very very rough game, or more of a game mechanic prototype and it shows:

But it also is my first game. Regardless of the downfalls of not reaching my -too high aspirations- I learned a lot from this little challenge, had fun and I am definetly looking forward for the next Ludum Dare event.

The first thing I confirmed to my self was the fact that, 3D asset creation is a bitch when it comes to UV mapping. That perhaps took way too much of my time, simply trying to create UV  surfaces to which I could map tilable textures, on the assets I created for the game. I also seemed to fidget too much on this part, when In fact I should have first done the layout of the map using primitive shapes, and place all the objects onto the scene before working on the assets them selves. Perhaps the worst part was: I was completely aware this would take time from my experience with working with 3D models from before, but ignored my own instincts and warning sas I was working on the game.

Another thing that probably was also a big downfall and a big sink of time, that caused me nearly to reach madness was getting the doors to animate properly: At first I used Unity3Ds transform function in the scripting to try to make a smooth rotation, but I quickly found out that it simply adds to the rotation, instead of making an implicity turn.

After battling with it for over 8 hours straight (I nearly gave up and was going to call quits try to make a function that toggles it open and close), I found a very, very simple solution: That was simply to make an animation and command it to be executed it. Even with this it took a while to figure out why the door wasnt staying open, and constantly looping the animation, before I figured out that there is the Clamp-Forever. After I completed this, I did do the correct thing, and started to work on the game mechanic: But once I did complete the basic inventory system, and the interaction system, 38 hours in, I started my biggest mistake with fidgeting with the UV mapping and trying to work in textures, instead of working on the Map it self, when I had all the systems in I could work with.

I might have as well used blocks placed everywhere to make very simple puzzle.

So in summary, my mistakes were the following:

  • I was not completely familiar with Unity 3D… Well it wasnt really a mistake, but I could have done my warmup with a bit more seriousness, and atleast check out how to make stuff interaction, Sure I found out how to make a flickering light within 15 minutes, but the fact that I had to bruteforce my way in with trying to make a door, thats something Basic I probably should have investigate on first.
  • Take “alone” as an inspiration for an artistic puzzle game, instead of thinking up something much more simple
  • Fidget too much on assets creation instead of the map, trying to get some textures aligned, and trying to do my UV mapping within 48 hours. Perhaps Next time I should just do simple minecraft style textures instead.
  • Try to optimize my models, which probably caused lots of problems with the shaders in unity 3D (not sure if this was a mistake, but I saw alot of odd shader issues that are present in the final prototype release)
  • My timelapse software could have been researched on more. my default webcam software and fraps simply couldnt do the job: Fraps apparently stopped 5 hours in to the timelapse, while my webcam software only kept a buffer of the previous 30 seconds… Any suggestions what I could use in the next LD?
  • Perhaps make something more usual instead of trying something new: My first idea was an creepy abandoned house: Which could have been easier to make, instead of a abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere, I had to then remove the abandoned, because after doing further research I found out I had shot my self in the foot: This was that you had to find a screwdriver, near a vandalized phonebox to open a Barricade infront of the gas stations door, and then try to do stuff in theree.
  • Didnt get to work in the nemesis which would have been a planar 2D black shape with red eyes in the darkness: this would have been athing that would be getting closer and closer, unless the player got indoors and hid them selves.

Now so what went right:

  • Game Mechanics: I am rather suprised I managed to get this far: I figured this out rather well and created scripts that would make the creation of puzzles relatively simple and easy to implement
  • Gettings the Lighting, and Environment set up: I learned how to create a very nice looking cubemap without much issue, as well as flickering lights
  • Sleep: I got enough of it, 4 hours a night is actually a fairly good timeframe, along with a few hours of naps here and there: I was never excessively tired, until the very end.
  • I actually got the idea for the game down within 1 hour of the competition starting, regardless of its complexitivity,


Anyway, I am looking forward for the next LD, When I have time later this week, Ill probably check out the works done by everyone else in the compo :)


One Response to “Alone Midway – Post-mortem”

  1. Shigor says:

    Yeah, I too spent unnecessary time on UV mapping… but my real mistake was decision to use skinned “meshes” without any experiences creating them 😀

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