500 years : Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @pimichIstia)
August 31st, 2012 11:32 am

500 years is my first LD but also the first game Jam in which I manage to make the game in time. The game is basically a simulator in which there are 1-4 tribes on an island and depending on their profile (ex : friendly or aggressive), they shall interact with the other tribes differently. As the player, you can’t control a tribe. However, it is possible to unleash disasters “like a trolling god”.

You can find a link to my enty here!

Here’s a little diary of how the game was developed:

  • Day 1 :

I guess we can consider that day 1 started at 3 am when the theme was announced. I stayed up late until that time just to get a small idea before starting the game the next day. By the time I was to bed, I had 2 main game ideas. The first one being about some guy trying to go back in time to kill Darwin and prevent the invention of Evolution. The second idea was what later became my game.

I spent most of the first day trying to decide what idea to take. In the late afternoon, I decided to start working on the menu system since it would be the same no matter what I would later choose. It was only at the very end of the day, not too long before going to bed that I finally chose to do the simulation. My main argument being that it would probably be harder to make so It was perfect to do some experimentation.

  • Day 2 :

The second day was probably the most unproductive day of the Jam. That day, I spent most of the time working on the AI for the tribes. It was the first time I had tried to program an AI (but that’s not an excuse) and the program I used (Game Maker 8.1) was making things very difficult at some moments. Game Maker is a wonderful program when it comes to getting started in game making, but for me it was quite frustrating because objects are not handled the way they are in other languages. So my code ended up being very messy.

By the end of the day, the AI was working but with a few bugs, and all the sprites were done. I had to choose between submitting the game as it was and make it for the compo, or work on it an extra day for the Jam. In the end, I chose the Jam because there was a lot of polishing that could be done, and also I hadn’t implemented as many features as I wanted.

  • Day 3 :

On the last day, I spent a bit of time working on the AI some more and managed to remove several bugs. The rest of the time was dedicated to programming several features I wanted to see in the game (ex : disasters, pop messages, sounds). I had to change the link to my submission a couple times for correcting typing mistakes. My last edition almost killed me. Only 30 minutes were left and I had to refresh the page many times before I could do anything. But in the end, I somehw managed to get it done.


The good :

– the AI : Even though it’s the first time I did such complexe AI and there is huge room for improvement, I quite satisfied of the result.

-the Menu : It’s probably not amazing but I think it’s good enoughfor the little time I spent on it.

The bad :

– The game may be a little fun at the beginning. You can troll the tribes as much as you want but it quickly gets redundant.

– When I think about it there isn’t much that you can actually do. It lacks features.

-Even when looking close, It’s very hard to say if a human is a worker or a soldier in the game.

The ugly :

– The graphics : I spent probably 1% of the time on them. The only sprite I think is almost satisfying is that tile set for the island. And that’s just because I randomly tried some filters on GIMP.


Conclusion :

I guess that for a first LD, I’m quite satisfied because I could at least release something. There is still a lot of work that can be done.

I’ve had lot’s of fun making ‘500 years’ and I hope you’ll have as much fun playing it.


PS : I have decided to start working on a post-compo submission. So far, I’ve done maybe half of what I want to add.

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