Postmortem – Leave Black Alone

Posted by
January 5th, 2012 5:33 pm

Here’s a very late postmortem for my game Leave Black Alone. To be honest, I’m surprised at the fairly positive feedback I’ve been getting, considering that I’m not really too fond of it.


The Good:

  • Choosing to use Game Maker. I know a bit of Java, but it would’ve been a nightmare for me trying to make this with it. I’ve spent enough time with Game Maker that I found the coding to be fairly painless.
  • The idea, because I think it’s fairly original take on Alone, even if the story was just sorta pasted on towards the end.
  • For the most part, I managed to stay focused on the game.
  • Getting someone to look at the game from time to time. If not, I might have kept my original graphics, and they would’ve scorched off your eyeballs… Instead, I made a simple and somewhat more pleasing color scheme. My tester also caught one or two bugs that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Also, there wouldn’t be a hint button if my tester hadn’t had so much trouble with the puzzles.
  • Getting lots of sleep on Saturday, even though I wasn’t very tired. I felt exhausted later on Sunday even with the extra sleep, so I imagine it would have been even harder to actually finish the dang thing.
  • Finishing the game! This was my very first LD ever, so I’m really happy that I managed to finish.


The Bad:

  • Sound. If you’ve played my game, you’ll notice that the sound effects aren’t that great and there’s no music to speak of. This was my first time ever really messing with music and sound, and it shows. I used bfxr for sound and pxtone for (attempted)music, but I hadn’t ever used bfxr before. Next time, I’ll need to practice making music and sound a bit.
  • The level design process. Game Maker’s room editor is nice, but it would’ve helped to setup a small level editor , especially later on Sunday when I was scrambling to make levels. I also didn’t really know what to do with all the elements of the game, which is why I kept adding new stuff even as the last level loomed.
  • The tutorial system. I like it, but my tester hardly even looked at it, despite the fact that it’s the only place with any instruction to speak of. If you rate my game, please tell me whether you used it or not.
  • I used collision detection for everything, when I really should have used an array. This came back to haunt me later, when I desperately tried and failed to fix a horde of weird bugs regarding the powerups. In the end, I had to design around them, and I hated that. If you see an off center powerup, you know the cause.
  • The win screen and story screen. I thought it would be cool to try messing with blender to make a cool win screen, but instead it took quite a while and produced a pretty terrible result. It would have been simpler for me to use the gimp and drawn it. As for the story screen, it was just a tacked on extra, and I really should have either put a little more time into it, or not had it at all.
So there you have it. If you have a minute or two, please play and rate my game!


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