Super Genome – Timelapse and Postmortem

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September 5th, 2012 1:15 am

Keeping with the ludum dare tradition, time to do a little analysis on what went right and wrong during my development this time!  Before I get started with that though, for one I’d like to apologize, normally i do this at the same time as my “100 games rated” review and best of list but unfortunately so far my review list, though not quite at 100, to be perfectly honest i just dont have that many games that really stand out yet, not enough to make a real list, so expect that some time in the next week or so as i revew more!  Secondly, my timelapse is now up, accompanied by a nice track of classical music as always, so please enjoy this.

Get on with it!

Right! postmortem! The point of this post, for starts, here’s the link to the competition page itself

What went right:

  • The theme: frankly i was dreading another dreary, artys/emo theme like “abandoned” winning again, those kinds of themes are simply NO FUN for us programmers and it’s horifficly hard to get a decent gameplay idea that’s not just bolting the theme onto the story/background. (I generally rate 1 on theme when people do that myself, as just tacking it on isn’t really “meeting” the theme)
  • My engine: my game engine worked BEAUTIFULLY, a few minor fixes were needed after release but having a fully cross-platform engine set up and ready did wonders, so even though my idea made me write a full entity system and isometric renderer from scratch having windowing/input/state management/texture and memory management already taken care of made the task a lot easier
  • My tools: the newest version of my sprite editor (available under the “tools” link at the right) worked like a charm, it made animating the modular sprites a breeze even for a crappy artist like me, this time around a lot of people have even said they LIKED my art style!
  • Time: for the first time, I was actually able to be HOME on both days of ludum dare! So this was the first competition i technically actually had 48 hours to work in

What went wrong?

  • Timing: This ludum dare took place on the first weekend college is in, in the middle of one of the hottest weekends of the year in southern california so of course we had rolling blackouts all day saturday, my UPS tried it’s best to keep my desktop running but i ended up with a few hours of downtime midday, losing a good 4-5 hours of development, I ended up having to cut features due to this
  • Mouse control:  The game was meant to be controlled entirely by mouse using pathfinding, unfortunately due to being down most of the day saturday i ended up having to cut pathfinding or I wouldn’t have had time to make actual levels and art to play.  This made getting around corners somewhat tricky though thankfully still do-able (wasd also works as analternate, it was debug code though and not the way the game was meant to be controlled so it’s a little jumpy)
  • No way to restart: Another feature i had to cut due to time was resetting the player after he dies to restart (the levels already reset, only the player needed to reset) so i was forced to put just a simple game over screen when you die
  • Lame ending: Another cut feature, I was going to make a better image to show when you get to the end and to thank you for playing but again, due to playing catchup for saturday a lot of art had to be cut, so all you get now is a blurb of text for the temporary ending
  • not all evolutions have artwork:  my game actually tracks a LOT of statistics when you’re evoloving, over 2000 combinations are actually possible but only a tiny portion make visible changes due to my inexperience in isometric art that’s not geometric in nature and lack of time. There is no distinct skin/leg/ear/or fang graphics for the other features that evolve, only general body type, head type, and back type are actually shown
  • needed a statistics readout window:  I really needed a window to show your current statistics, the “overall” statistics modified by your current evolution status are  attack/defense/speed/flight/poison/and vision, a lot of people had trouble in the caves because they did not kill enemies outside first that would buff their defense before starting to fight the much tougher bats and spiders inside

And to close out, here’s a short gameplay video of how it all turned out!

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