Tiny Shard postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @pixel_cows)
May 10th, 2012 11:50 am

Hello, fellow jammers! Being a strong believer that later is better than never, here’s a link to the Tiny Shard postmortem. In truth, I started it during the jam and finished it at some point last week, but totally forgot to post here.

Before all that, though, I just wanted to thank the Ludum Dare veterans and the other newcomers for the warm reception and awesome feedback! This is my first time here and I’m amazed with the great community. You guys rule!

In the Pixel Cows blog (www.pixelcows.com – no idea why I can’t make it a link), there is a more detailed narrative of our rollercoaster method, for if you like narratives, rollercoasters or methods! Also, Tiny Shard is vaguely based on our main game, The Journey of Eko. It’s not the same game or setting, but the style and main character are certainly similar! You can find more info about this game in our blog as well.

The Kid from "Tiny Shard" and Eko from "The Journey of Eko" - look alikes!

All right, down to business.

What went right

-Using tools that we’re familiar with, specially Multimedia Fusion 2. We didn’t have to spend time reinventing the wheel.
-Dedicate enough time for polishing. Small details such as the weekday sign, the next day’s shard being shown at the background, the opening and closing animation for the gates, etc, ended up contributing a lot to the game’s setting and message.
-Low res. We’re still shocked with how quickly you can come up with reasonably well polished content when you work with a 200×150 pixels screen!
-Creating the type of game that we like to design and to play. This makes it easier to immediately notice if a feature is important or not, if the game is well balanced, etc. Besides, since The Journey of Eko is mostly a platformer, Ludum Dare wasn’t the first time we had to meddle with the science of balancing jump height, gravity, inertia, etc, which is a good thing from a time standpoint.

What went wrong

-Initially planning a scope that isn’t feasible in 48 hours. We fortunately had the idea of merging our projects and redirecting our efforts to the jam, also gaining an extra day to finish the game; but if it wasn’t so, each one of us would probably have submitted a poorly finished compo entry.
-Underestimate the time that level design and content importing take. This was pushed to the last hours, and we really had a very real risk of not being able to finish the game in time because of that.
-Think that iNudge is a magical tool for creating music with no time and effort. Don’t get me wrong here, the software is really good, but a random sound made in 5 minutes will most likely not convey the atmosphere you want for your game. To use it to its full potential, it certainly takes practice and time (that we still don’t have and that we didn’t have, respectively)
-Balancing the game difficulty based on our own skill level. Many people found the game to be too difficult, specially the already infamous last passage in Harday!

We have overwhelmed by all the encouragement and productive feedback we’re receiving from the community, and truly amazed on how many talented people are here! In fact, it’s being such a great experience that it motivated us to finish Tiny Shard. We’re working on the main things: making the final levels of the game a little easier and with checkpoints, rebalancing the Gentleman’s Rage, making the slime less anoying, and expanding the ending. We’ll publish it at www.pixelcows.com when it’s done, check it out if you like!

Finally, let me just take the chance to thank the Ludum Dare veterans and the other newcomers for the great reception. You guys are just great!


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