T-Pod Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @spiridios)
April 26th, 2012 9:23 am

So it’s probably time to do a post-mortem of my project, T-Pod. The submission page is here if you want to check it out.

I started off on the wrong foot. I took hours on Friday to come up with an idea. The theme just didn’t inspire me – no offense to anyone who was inspired, because there’s some really great interpretations on the theme out there. My brainstorm page was filled with doodles, but nothing was saying “create me!” The idea I finally came up with was mostly just desperation to get started on something, and it really wasn’t original in any way.

When I had two hours remaining I had the game you see here and still a long todo list. I opted for a refactor of the explosion code since it was hacked in and messy (alien saucers don’t explode, lasers do. Hey, it seemed like a good idea a the time!) and I wanted to make the planet explode too. That took almost the hole two hours, not the 20 minutes or so I was hoping for. It also introduced a ton of bugs that I had to clean up last minute. And in the end, the code is still just as hacked in and messy, and I never did get the planet to explode. Next time: messy but working code stays until AFTER compo. In that time I could’ve had a third alien AI behavior, more tuned alien spawning/speed, or just general balance fixes.

Also, my particle effects were supposed to fade with time, but my unfamiliarity with PyGame left me with the always red particles you see in the game. If you check out the resources you’ll see the particle graphic is grey so I can tint it at runtime. Unfortunately the only way I could find to tint a graphic was to do an alpha fill on the surface…. Which would mean a separate surface for each particle, a complex system that keeps surfaces for each possible color, or a fill to a temp surface just before blitting.  Instead I opted to just work on other features (like the useless refactor!)

So what went right? I completed the game and actually had time for polish I’ve never had time for before (music? I actually managed music? Oh yeah, it’s autogenerated). I learned enough Python and PyGame to make a finished game! Prior to this, my only real experience with either was the practice conversion I did of my earlier LD48 game about a week earlier.

Thanks to everyone who’s left a comment on my game! Here, have a cat with a Wii remote on its head.

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