POLARITY: what worked (and what didn’t)

Posted by
May 4th, 2012 7:01 pm

It’s been two weeks since that fateful weekend on which we all decided (perhaps against our better judgement) to make a game in less than 48 hours.

How’d it go?

Well, since the compo finished, POLARITY has been rated by 58 awesome LDers, seen nearly 900 unique visitors and been rated “Clever and brain exercising/10” by Rock Paper Shotgun. Not bad!

So how did I pull it off? POLARITY is all HTML5 and CoffeeScript, using a tiny helper library I wrote called atom (coincidentally theme-appropriate). I used the excellent¬†Chipmunk-js¬†for physics, which made collision detection and response trivially easy. I drew the pixels in GrafX2, which is a superb tool but for its animation support (of which there is very nearly none). The sound effects were a result of noodling around with BFXR‘s “Random” button for a while. And the font is 04font, created by the sublime Yuji Oshimoto.

I think one of the things that really made POLARITY was the polish. I had the gameplay more or less finished early on day one, and I even had a few levels. Day two was entirely polish: particle effects when you die, animations when you change polarity, level names and transition effects, an attract screen, and so on. On top of POLARITY’s simple and flexible mechanic, these bits of aesthetic tightening worked wonders.


That said, there are certainly some things that I wish had gone better. Most obviously: music. Since LD I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it (unsuccessfully).

Less obviously, I’d like to improve my tools in preparation for the next game jam I participate in. GrafX2’s lack of animation support is pretty bad, and I would have saved a bunch of time if it’d had e.g. live preview. I need to find a tool that works on Mac that I can do pixel anims with.

When working out how to make your web browser bloop, I spent nearly an hour staring at Sound Manager 2‘s documentation before giving up and using the Web Audio API. Unfortunately that meant that my sound effects would only work in Chrome, so a goal for next jam is to add some audio support to atom that works with Firefox’s audio API as well.

And with that, please enjoy this video of me making POLARITY. Yes, I really type that fast.

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3 Responses to “POLARITY: what worked (and what didn’t)”

  1. You can use sound from JS using the element, if I recall. I’m not sure how well-supported that is, though.

  2. Derp. “audio” element, that is.

  3. nornagon says:

    Yeah, works but the timing isn’t very good (not accurate enough for SFX in games). It’s good for music though.

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