Lost in the Woods Post Mortem

Posted by
December 27th, 2011 9:40 am

For my entry I made a little point-and-click adventure game without the clicking.  If you haven’t already, you can play it here.

What went right:

Music – going into this I was fairly certain that I would be using some sort of chiptunes generator, but when the theme “Alone” was announced I figured there was no way I would get a chiptunes to work with the mood of being alone. I had given up on music within the first hour of production, but at the end of Saturday I got a little tune in my head, nothing fancy but it just might work. Sunday morning I got out a guitar and found a microphone and started recording just to see if I could make something. What I ended up with may not be fancy, but I like it and I think it is definitely better than silence. Though, since I went with live music I don’t think I should have used sfxr to generate sound effects, I think they kind of clash.

“Just do it” Attitude – When the theme was announced, I was at a loss for ideas. Fearing I would just give up if I didn’t do something, I started drawing a little sprite protagonist. After seeing him walk around I thought “he needs to be crushed by a tree.” The act of starting something allowed other ideas to flow and created a game for me, all I had to do was finish it.


I'm about the get crushed. That's what went wrong.

What went wrong:

“Just do it” Attitude – By just starting right away without a plan, towards the end I had to start hacking things together in order to make them fit. Not having a plan before hand meant that I didn’t realize just how many assets I had to draw (as you will see, I’m terrible at drawing assets). And the code it cobbled together and held there with duct tape. I found myself writing the same thing over and over because the base class wasn’t created properly because I didn’t really know what it was going to be used for. Had I started with a decent plan I might have saved enough time to put in a small tutorial.

Theme – I was all prepared to create a tile based platformer and was hoping the theme would present a neat mechanic that could be used in the game. But when “Alone” was announced, all that went out the window. I was at a complete loss for ideas and nearly gave up right there. I actually wrote down several ideas for the themes from round five, but “Alone” was one of two that I couldn’t come up with a decent idea for. In the end, all I had was the vague idea “environment for the enemy” and I tried to make the best out of it.

Lack of instructions – If you watch the timelapse you may be able to see that there was an “Instructions” field in the main menu all the way up until about an hour before the end of the contest. I had intended to include just one screen explaining what type of game this is, what types of interactions the player has with the world, what clickable objects look like, and a hint to where to find the kitten. In retrospect, this really shouldn’t have been cut because without prior knowledge it isn’t obvious at all what the player can and can’t do.

The would-be Instruction screen

This is what the instructions were supposed to look like

Lessons Learned:

Take time to make a plan – I think next time I will dedicate the first hour to planning out what I’m going to do

Have completed basecode – There were still many things missing from my base code, like collision detection and a way to do fade outs. I didn’t want to look up anything while in the contest as it would waste time, so I made due with what I knew how to do at the moment (and that is why screen transitions are screen wipes).

Be strict about friends/family not bothering me – In the middle of Sunday I was called away by my family by what I expected to only be an hour which turned into five. Whenever I look at this game now I think what I could have done with those five hours.


All in all I learned a lot from the LD22 weekend and look forward to participating again. And please, if you haven’t, could you play and rate my game.

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