Well, I’ve played a few of the games and I’ve looked at the feedback on my own, now, so I think I know basically what I’ve learned from this experience.  My game was called “Sweepers!” So here goes.

  1. Take time off work to participate!  I spent a total of six hours on this entry, and was forced to create something so unbelievably hacky that it’s impossible to expand upon or deeply modify.  I also did not get much time to rate games, sadly :(
  2. I suck at working under pressure, but not as much as I used to. I need time to think as much as possible to get the job done right.  I am not really the best quick thinker when I know that a failure to think quickly will result in failure at the task.
  3. I am going to participate every single time from now on.  Why does that even need a “because” clause?
  4. I’m 3 times as inspired!
Here are some simple screenshots, the first with annotations showing what a gameplay sequence looks like:

What went wrong:

  • Bugs!  Because I was forced to complete it with really no time at all it was full of bugs!
  • Evolution mechanic implementation:  I wanted an evolution MECHANIC.  Not a THEME, but a MECHANIC.  So much of games as of now (yes, even indie games!) is conveyed in themes, I feel, which doesn’t really convey a certain way of thinking and experiencing stuff nearly as well as a calculated action.  The problem was that I couldn’t think of any way to make that mechanic work in the given time that didn’t involve my most natural starting point, a vector space sim.  So I ended up with each marker evolving seperately and creating a kind of fake “ecosystem”.  I see now that much more intuitive and satisfying evolution mechanics could be developed using a global approach modifying a map.
  • I forgot to actually mention I was participating before I started *facepalm*.  Just got too excited.  So I’m probably disqualified.  Yeah…

What went right:

  • Concept:  A clear illustration of how immediate and fast paced evolution mechanics can be really engaging.  Everyone I showed it to said it was fun.  :)  The broadside like strategy ended up being pretty cool even though it was unintended.
  • Sound:  While most people will probably dismiss the sound with a ‘meh’, I was quite proud, because I almost NEVER used to get around to adding sound.  I used BFXR to produce the sound effects, and I think I came up with a pretty good set.

But a game idea has come out of all this, one I think is pretty solid.  I’m doing a mockup of that now.  If you want to watch for news about it, here’s my blog: FungusGames  News is coming soon after the mockup is done.

But back to sweepers, I don’t believe I’m wasting any more time on it. The code is so horrible that I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about it because of how much pressure I had on me to get it done (6 hours out of the 48).  If you want to see for yourself, click here and enter the realm of LUA noobery.  If you want to play it, click here if you’re on Windows or here for any platform that supports LOVE 2D (MacOSX, *nix).  I hope it was well enjoyed by all who played it, and I hope that if you’re just now playing it that you enjoy it now!  Just a note: if you lose, RESTART THE GAME BEFORE YOU PLAY AGAIN.

It is unplayable the second time through, and I think it has something to do with LUA garbage collection.  I generally hate garbage collectors and avoid them like the plague when the language doesn’t make me use them, because my brain can’t handle fuzziness when it comes to “does x object still exist?”

I’m sorry about not being so active with the community this time around, but my decision was spur of the moment and I didn’t really have the time I needed to participate correctly.

One Response to “What I learned, Sweepers Prototype Post-Mortem, new full game idea”

  1. Don’t worry, announcing that you’re participating is not mandatory! (And nobody checks it anyway…) Only if you’re using base code that you’ve written before the compo starts, you’re required to make a post.

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