Young Earth Road Trip Postmortem

Posted by
August 30th, 2012 4:35 am

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Young Earth Road Trip was my first LD game. I had a great time (for the most part: see Period of Despondency), was able to include all of the major features I wanted, and learned a lot.

What Went Right

  • My game plan worked very well. Friday brainstorm, Saturday build, Sunday polish.
  • I only had one strong concept idea, but I was able to develop the rest of the story and the game play very quickly once I decided that my core idea was, “YEC pilgrimages to the Creationist Museum.”
  • I narrowed my scope early on. The original neighborhood had eight neighbors, plus Miguel’s house at 316 and a few other locations, but I decided to go with the four strongest characters and only have 4 locations.
  • Gained confidence in my graphic abilities. I mentioned this when I finished the game, but I thought the real crutch would be graphic assets. But once I got started, the graphics part went very quickly and the assets are “good enough” to convey the story and some of the humor.

What Went Wrong

  • Most notably, music. I “scouted out” music tools beforehand and decided, “Oh, I’ll just use inudge.” Somehow, I didn’t notice that inudge had no convenient way to export the song, so when I started working on music about three hours before deadline I realized I was stuck. My computer doesn’t have speakers, so I couldn’t even record a crappy version that way. I didn’t trust myself to learn how to use new software before the deadline, so I ended up pecking out something on piano for the ending (the rest of the game has sound, but no music).
  • My Period of Despondency: Early afternoon Sunday I started to wear down. I was tired and I wanted away from the computer. The game was technically complete, but there were a lot of graphics, music, and sounds to add. I didn’t think I would be able to finish the ending sequence, which required a lot of new images. Fortunately, I got a second wind (had to give myself a little pep talk there).
  • When I leave an asset, I really leave it. Forever. On a number graphic assets I told myself I’d come back and add detail work, but never did. In the future I’d go ahead and spend the extra minutes polishing up each one before I move on.

The Future
I ran out of time for a few things, like a parallax bus-driving scene and blinking eyes, but overall I was able to include everything major that I planned for. With the exception of adding music and a splash screen, I probably won’t make any changes (and I might not even make those, since this game is a nice time capsule of my current skill level). But I’d like to take some of the things I learned (like how to make the random God hints) and apply them to new games.

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