Adventures of Box Man post-mortem

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August 27th, 2012 3:55 am

Haven’t done a full project with box2d before so that was a new experience, found almost straight away that it doesn’t lend itself too well to platformers basically due to the controls.  Physics libraries tend to like input being done in the form of applying forces or impulses but while that works very well for things like racing games, it doesn’t feel good when trying to make a fast platformer which needs really tight controls.  I ended up having to hack around it by managing the player velocity in my own code and just telling box2d what to do – essentially using box2d for the collisions.

This is the second project I’ve done using allegro5, the previous one being my entry for LD#23!  Still liking it – very easy to get stuff up and running, I extended my use of it this time to drawing arbitrary polygons so I could see the physics proxies, admittedly this was only for debug but it let me test the mechanics without needing to draw lots of complicated art.

Art style is very similar to my previous games, basically because I’m terrible at drawing!  I think I need to get a graphics tablet and some better software before the next competition – mouse drawing in Paint.Net can only get you so far!

What went well

Well I got a game submitted, that’s got to count for something!  I’m fairly pleased with the gameplay, controls are mostly nice (see “what went badly”).  Basic forms of all the mechanics were done by the end.

Making an editor was a great idea, it’s built into the game executable (although only accessible when in a debug build).  Being able to switch between modifying the level and playing it with one button gives you a huge amount of scope for experimentation and polish.

What went badly

Realised most of the way through that I hadn’t implemented the core evolution based mechanic yet!  Next time I need to think more up-front about the theme and get that core gameplay in as the first thing I do!

There are a few problems still in the game, mainly around the controls – the player doesn’t like steps – no matter how short they are you just hit them.  Also it’s not possible to wall jump off walls that overhang, even if it’s only by 1 pixel on a wall that’s 250 pixels high!  This coupled with the arbitrary polygon based levels mean’t that I had to tweak the levels more than I perhaps should have needed to in order to make sure that there weren’t any places where this bug hit.

Summary

Went pretty well!  I’m happy with the result.  I had a lot of ideas for extending the evolution stuff to drastically change the level as you were going through it but I didn’t have anywhere near the amount of time that would be required to do that.

Oh and obligatory game link: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=6492


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